Nintendo dropped forty minutes worth of Switch news and announcements in a recent Nintendo Direct so on this week's podcast we're discussing all of the most interesting material from that broadcast including Banjo-Kazooie launching in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super NES games arriving on Nintendo Switch Online, Overwatch inbound for Switch, Doom 64 getting a second look after all these years, new teases for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and much more. Join us as we inspect and dissect the Direct. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.
Today is the twentieth anniversary of Sega's release of its final console (not counting reissued mini hardware), the Dreamcast, in North America. It seems like everyone in the gaming community has a Dreamcast story to share today, and so do I. In fact, I have just one Dreamcast story. Only one. And this is it. 1999 was the year that I graduated high school and moved away to the big city to start college, so by September of that year I was on a trajectory that took me away from video games for a brief while. My main console was still the Nintendo 64 and the last game I'd bought for it was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time nearly a year prior. I wasn't gaming much and even if I had been, I was a Nintendo gamer through and through at this point in my life, so whatever Sega was doing after the bombshell that was the Saturn wasn't really on my radar. 9/9/99 came and went for me without notice or awareness.
Skip ahead almost two years. By 2001 I was catching up on the last few N64 games I'd missed out on such as Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo-Tooie with my eye on the upcoming Nintendo GameCube. One summer weekend I was browsing around at the mall, killing time at FYE, when I saw a Dreamcast kiosk for the first time. By now Sega had announced it was withdrawing from the console market, so I really don't know why FYE went to the trouble of setting up a demo station for the console, but nevertheless it was there and showcasing the recently released Sonic Adventure 2. If any game during the Genesis years would have made me cross over to the Sega side of the street, it was Sonic, so I picked up the controller and took the game for a run. Instead of a speedy Sonic level, my first experience with the game was the Dr. Robotnik mech shooter level at Prison Island. The game caught me by surprise with its playable villains and emphasis on story in addition to action. Next up was my introduction to Shadow the Hedgehog, a character that, for me, came out of nowhere and made me wonder just how much I'd missed in the post-Genesis franchise lore, but the sense of motion and twisting level designs had my attention. This was fun! It was a shame that this game was tethered to a dead console. If only it was ported to GameCube, I would be able to enjoy it properly. That was the end of the demo, so I put the controller down, walked away to the DVD aisles, and didn't really give it a second thought.
I'm sure you know where this story ends. Sega brought Sonic Adventure 2 to the GameCube less than a year along with, shortly thereafter, the original Sonic Adventure, and eventually both games were made available on a variety of other consoles and on PC, so there are no shortage of ways to play these games today with a variety of gameplay and visual enhancements compared to the original Dreamcast versions. Everyone remembers how the Dreamcast was quirky, inventive, and trailblazing in its own way, but my only firsthand exposure to the system is bemused curiosity at a kiosk demo for a dead platform and idly wishing its marquee series would end up on a console I owned. It seems to me that given all of the other Dreamcast titles that made their way to other platforms means that both legacies are valid.
Nintendo seems to have drained the well of worthwhile available Nintendo Entertainment System games to bring to its Nintendo Switch Online service judging by the past few months worth of lackluster releases, so now is a perfect for the company to switch gears and get to the truly good stuff: Super NES games. Debuting today as part of the paid service, twenty games are available for play including some all-time heavy hitters such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, and Star Fox along with some obscurities like Stunt Race FX and Demon's Crest. In fact, this is the first re-release for Stunt Race FX having skipped the previous three Virtual Console services and the Super NES Mini. Check out the initial release list.
I know there are the inevitable complaints in the gaming community that Nintendo is just serving up Super Mario World again and that these games should have been added to the service months ago, but they're here now, so let's all enjoy these classics and take the unfamiliar games for a spin. The best games like these never get old! Nintendo plans to add more games over time and there are plenty of all-star titles that I'd like to see included such as Super Mario RPG, the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Chrono Trigger, EarthBound, and Kirby Super Star. If you want to get into wishful thinking territory, there's always Star Fox 2 which so far has only appeared on the Super NES Mini and, for a deep cut of similarly unfamiliar proportions, there's Special Tee Shot which is the finished, unreleased game that became Kirby's Dream Course. So much to play, so little time.