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April 2015

Special Guests Invade Shovel Knight

BattletoadsShovel Knight from Yacht Club Games is already an indie darling on Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS, but when the development team decided to bring the game to the Sony PlayStation ecosystem and the Microsoft Xbox domain, both publishers offered up a little extra incentive to persuade returning fans to double-dip.  Poke around long enough in the PlayStation versions of the game and you'll find God of War's own Kratos roaming the world map and itching for a fight.  Meanwhile, over in the world of Xbox, the long-lost Battletoads Rash, Zitz, and Pimple offer to run Shovel Knight through their special training course.  IGN showcases both encounters for those missing out on the platform-exclusive action.

The encounter with Kratos is remarkably true to the God of War storyline; Kratos, through all fault of his own, spends his time in Shovel Knight screaming at the heavens to Athena and blaming her for his bad sense of direction that led him off course.  His three-part boss battle borrows elements from Sony's franchise and is a delightful sidestep from the game's main quest.  However, for as much fun as Kratos is, the Battletoads completely steal the show in their cameo.  Roaring into Shovel Knight's world following an encounter with a space warp, the 'toads open up their training course based on the Wookie Hole and Turbo Tunnel levels of the original Nintendo Entertainment System title complete with rearranged soundtrack.  If you thought the speeder bike segment was challenging on the NES, try running it while trying to take a swipe at Pimple.  The bike course is so true to the original experience that I swear I recognize some of the obstacle patterns from the old game.  The Battletoads segment fits much better with Shovel Knight's tribute to the 8-bit style than Kratos's appearance, but I can't think of anything from Sony's catalog that would be a better fit considering that none of their famous franchises have memorable 8-bit origins. Now we just need an update for the Nintendo versions that crossover with one of their famous franchises. How about a Bowser battle?

Power Button - Episode 173: Double-dipping With Shovel Knight And Mortal Kombat X (Part 1)

Power ButtonIt happens to all of us sooner or later: despite owning one video game, we buy a second copy of that same game for another platform.  What is it about some games that spark us to double-dip on them?  On this week's episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman defends his multiple purchases of Shovel Knight while I rationalize not buying Mortal Kombat X at all.  It's the first half of a conversation about why we double-dip on some games and not on others and what it takes for a purchase to repeat, but before we can get to that, we need to spend an hour talking about the many versions of Shovel Knight's famous adventure and the latest installment of Earthrealm and Outworld battling it out.  FINISH HIM!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButtonNext Time: The second half of this conversation digs into the history of buying the same game more than once and discusses how some double-dips are better than others.

The Day Of Sigma Presented In High Definition

SigmaWhile we lost the planned sequels to 2006's Maverick Hunter X for the Sony PlayStation Portable, we'll always have the original game (and it plays great on the PS Vita, too).  In addition to the remixed soundtrack and new playable character, the game also includes a special animated prequel mini-movie entitled The Day of Sigma that chronicles the adventures of Mega Man X, Zero, and Sigma prior to the events of the adventure.  Originally you'd need to unlock the video in-game to watch it, but it wasn't long before people recorded it and set it loose on YouTube.  Unfortunately, those recordings always topped out at standard definition resolution at best.  Now, however, we have a true high definition 720p version of the movie on YouTube for your enjoyment.  Here's Rockman Corner with the information on how this HD version came to be:

Unlike previous rips (which tend to be oversaturated or washed out) Silk Encoder actually went into Maverick Hunter X's source files, ripped the video and audio, synced it, and encoded the whole package to 1280x720 in meGUI. It's a big step-up from the 480x272 source and it should hold us over until Capcom provides an official HD release. If they ever do.

It's a shame that the Maverick Hunter X sequels died on the vine; can you imagine seeing some of the classic later events of the Mega Man X series depicted in short films such as this one?  While the X series eventually sputtered to a stop in the PlayStation 2 era, the first four games in the series are beloved and would have provided plenty of source material for more movies and game sequels.  It's such a lost opportunity.

Mini-Review: Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario MixThis article was originally published at on October 30, 2005. It is republished here as part of Review A Great Game Day.

The Dance Dance Revolution arcade and home console games have been around for a while now, but the Nintendo GameCube never quite factored into Konami’s plans for the franchise. That is, until now. Teaming with Nintendo, the two companies have combined their creative energies to mix familiar dance action with the craziness of the Mushroom Kingdom to create Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix. Packed in the same box with the Nintendo GameCube Action Pad, Mario Mix includes a vast library of familiar and favorite tunes spanning twenty years of Nintendo history, providing an auditory feast for dancing feet.

When Waluigi breaks into Truffle Towers and absconds with the magical Music Keys, the power of music rains chaos down on the land. Toad rushes to everyone’s favorite plumbers for help and our heroes quickly discover that if they’re going to recover the keys and bring order to the Mushroom Kingdom, they’ll have to dance, dance, and dance some more to make special things happen, such as crossing a flooded river in a boat or thawing a frozen blockade. Other favorite characters (both friend and foe) make appearances throughout the game’s five worlds, some of which Mario will help in return for clues and some of which Mario will try to out-dance for possession of one of the four keys. Mario Mix pokes plenty of fun at itself, pointing out on several occasions the bizarre aspects the game’s storyline. Even Wario gets into the act when he explains his plans to steal the keys from Waluigi in order to create Dance Dance Revolution: Wario Mix, the story of greed and stench as told through interpretive dance.

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New Avengers: Age Of Ultron Pinball Table Coming Soon To Zen Studios Platforms

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

A few days ago I was thinking to myself that with Avengers: Age of Ultron just weeks away from releasing to theaters, it should be about time for us to hear that Zen Studios is working on a tie-in pinball table for its Zen Pinball 2 and Pinball FX2 platforms.  Proving again that whatever I think about hard enough happens, today the studio announced that it is indeed about to release an Ultron table.  You're welcome, Internet!  Here's Bobby Loertscher at the Zen Studios blog to explain what's in store for Earth's mightiest pinball heroes:

The Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron table will allow players to relive the struggle of Earth’s mightiest heroes, including Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye against Ultron and his seemingly endless army. The table features dedicated game modes for each member of the Avengers team, including a first-person sharpshooting mini-game starring Hawkeye, a spectacular aerial melee combat sequence between Iron Man and Ultron, and selectable difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, or Hard) to cater to each player’s individual skill level.

The Marvel license has been excellent to Zen's creative output and I'm excited to see how they've linked the movie with their new table.  Of course, I'm going to have to wait until after I see the movie to play it.  I caved and tried Zen's Guardians of the Galaxy table before I saw that movie and ended up slightly spoiled on a few things.  The pinball table releases across Zen's platforms starting April 21, but the movie it's based on doesn't release in North America until May 1.  That's going to be a long week, I think.

Power Button - Episode 172: The Woe Of Amiibo

Power ButtonNintendo has found a new gold mine with its popular amiibo figurines featuring both popular characters like Mario and Link and more obscure, deep cut protagonists such as Ness and Lucina.  Unfortunately, high demand and limited supply means that lots of amiibo fans are left empty-handed when it comes to acquiring everything on the wish list.  On this week's Power Button podcast, we discuss the amiibo situation, outline just how it's all gone wrong for collectors and casual fans alike, and share our own stories about amiibo dreams going unfulfilled.  Finally, I solve the amiibo problem once and for all with a foolproof way for Nintendo and retailers to make everybody happy with plenty of amiibo for all.  Come home, Ness.  We need you!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Lucas And Mewtwo Coming To Super Smash Bros.

Mewtwo and LucasEveryone suspected that Mewtwo wasn't the only downloadable character for the Super Smash Bros. titles for Wii U and 3DS, but today Nintendo confirmed that by revealing that while Mewtwo is due out for release on April 28, Mother 3's own Lucas is returning from Super Smash Bros. Brawl in June.  Moreover, amiibo figurines for both characters are planned for future release. If Mewtwo and Lucas weren't on your character wish list, head over to the Smash Bros. website and vote for your favorite character to appear as future DLC. 

Adding to all of that, a bundle of new costume accessories based on iconic Nintendo properties are also coming soon so you'll be able to outfit your Mii with Majora's mask, Link's cap, Mega Man X's helmet and armor, Proto Man's red outfit, and more.  It's all paid DLC, of course, although Mewtwo is free if you registered both versions of the game with Club Nintendo before the end of March 2015.  If you want to pay for Mewtwo, he'll cost you $3.99 per version of the game or $4.99 if purchased as a bundle.  The costumes are available individually or as a bundle deal, too.

If you're heavily involved with the Smash Bros. experience, then I'd think buying more characters is an easy choice to make, although the costumes are really only worth it if you're a dedicated Mii player.  I don't know about you, but I play Smash to interact with Nintendo's all-stars and not the Miis, but it's nice to know there's options out there for all kinds of players.  Check out this portion of today's Nintendo Direct presentation to see all of the new Smash news in action.

N64 And DS Games Coming To Wii U Virtual Console

Yoshi's Island DSNintendo releases expanded the Virtual Console library at its leisure, so years after announcing that it planned to add Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS classics to the Wii U service, today it was revealed that classics like Super Mario 64 and Yoshi's Island DS are on the way at last.  In fact, those two titles are available right now on the Wii U's eShop.  Games are priced at $9.99-$11.99 (or $2 if you already own the N64 game in question for the Wii's Virtual Console) and $6.99-$9.99 respectively depending on the title.  Future releases include Donkey Kong 64, Mario Kart DS, Paper Mario, Yoshi Touch & Go, and WarioWare: Touched.  It's great to see more titles available from Nintendo's back catalog, but I think it's hilarious that the shallow Touch & Go is held up as a DS classic.  The rest are fun games and are highly recommended.  Check out the Virtual Console portion of the latest Nintendo Direct to learn how the Wii U GamePad can be configured to play these upcoming releases.

Final Club Nintendo Elite Gifts Revealed

Club NintendoClub Nintendo is winding down, but the program has one last gift to offer if you achieved Platinum or Gold Elite status for the 2014-15 calendar year.  Yesterday was the cutoff date to meet the minimum earned coin requirements (and the final day to earn any coins at all; from here on you can spend whatever coins you have left until the club closes completely on June 30, 2015) and today, fast as lightning, Nintendo has revealed the final prizes on offer.  It's all downloads again this year for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS rather than a physical item with fantastic games such as Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 7 available alongside eShop favorites such as NES Remix 2 and Crashmo plus Virtual Console titles like Metroid Fusion and The Legend of Zelda.  There's really not a dud on the list.

Club Nintendo

Considering that the Club Nintendo program is basically over, there's no point in complaining about the decision to offer downloads over physical items this year.  The club is dead; anything we get here at the end is a nice bonus.  If you're having trouble choosing between these options (and most everything is fantastic, don't get me wrong), I recommend Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Ultimate NES Remix, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.  The rest are all worthwhile and plenty of fun, but you can buy them on the eShop for much less money than the full retail price of, say, Donkey Kong Country.  Choose your final gift wisely!