General Feed

Power Button - Episode 318: Cities In The Sky

Power ButtonCity-building simulators and their ilk are all the rage on this week's podcast episode.  Join us as we reminisce over classic titles including SimCity, SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000... well, you get the idea there, plus SimCopter, SimFarm, Rollercoaster Tycoon, SimTower, and all the way to our current obsession, Cities: SkylinesDownload this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, 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. 


Console Wars Documentary Premieres September 23

Console WarsThe long-gestating documentary based on friend-of-the-podcast Blake J. Harris' Console Wars is finally ready for its premiere.  Set to debut on the CBS All Access streaming service on September 23, 2020, a trailer for the film was released yesterday that looks to keep the heart and soul of the book intact thanks to interviews with key figures from the Nintendo versus Sega battles of the 1990s including Howard Phillips, Peter Main, and Howard Lincoln on the Nintendo side and and Tom Kalinske, Shinobu Toyoda, Al Nilsen, Ellen Beth Van Buskirk, Paul Rioux, and Bill White from Team Sega.  I absolutely loved the book.  I've even given copies of it as gifts.  Obviously I'm excited for the documentary.  If you're a fan of gaming in the 1990s, you should be too.  I'm certain we will discuss the film on the Power Button podcast shortly after its premiere.


The Cats Of Borderlands

Emma mouth siren

My fiancee and I love Borderlands, we love artwork, and we love our cats, so of course we found a way to combine them all.  Thanks to @Natashagalyaart we have commissioned artwork of two of our cats in Borderlands settings.  First we have Moxxi the cat styled after her namesake, Moxxi the bartender.  We even have a little Moxxi costume for her to wear for special events.  Our local GameStop invited us to bring her to their Borderlands 3 release event last year and she was very popular.  Next there's the loudest cat in the clowder, Emma, who we refer to as a Mouth Siren thanks to her emergency siren-like volume.  She's drawn as an actual Siren, cribbing Amara's summoned extra limbs for her tail.

This is turning into an entire series of artwork of our cats crossed with Borderlands, as last week we adopted a little cat just out of kittenhood that we've named Tiny Tina Athena (merging the names of two Borderlands characters), so it's a safe bet we will commission art of her as her namesakes.  Reach out to the artist if you'd like art of your pet as a video game character.  She does wonderful work!

Continue reading "The Cats Of Borderlands" »


Power Button - Episode 309: Not-E3 2020 Roundup

Power ButtonIn a normal year would have just come off of a June full of E3 announcements and news, but this is no ordinary year.  News has still come in bits and pieces though, so as we leave this Not-E3 behind, it's time to take an hour and discuss some of that news.  We have Min Min arriving in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo backing away from the mobile gaming world, Crash Bandicoot 4 on the way, and more.  Join us and escape for a little while.  Apologies for my poor audio quality this week.  Skype decided to be "helpful" and use the ambient room microphone instead of the proper desk microphone. 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. 


Power Button - Episode 307: Favored Endings

Power ButtonWe're looking at some of our favorite video game endings on this week's new podcast episode with a trip through our dreams with Super Mario Bros. 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, a long game of endings spanning the Mega Man X series into the Mega Man Zero series, Halo Reach's unhappy ending, Mass Effect 2's suicidal ending, Portal 2 ending with a song, and much more.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. 


Lost Samurai Shodown Sequel Shows Up

Samurai Shodown V PerfectSomewhere in the middle of the major Street Fighter versus Mortal Kombat fighting game wars of the 1990s was SNK with its fighting favorites such as Fatal Fury, King of Fighters, and Samurai Shodown.  Each of these title led to several sequels and revisions in the arcade and home console markets.  Samurai Shodown is set for a compilation re-release in June from the developers / archivists at Digital Eclipse, and in the process of working on the project they were able to snag a lost, unreleased version of Samurai Shodown V to include in the collection.  Ian Walker at Kotaku chronicles how this all came about and why the inclusion of Samurai Shodown V Perfect is such a lucky happening.

After being tapped by SNK to develop Samurai Shodown V and its Special follow-up in the early 2000s, development studio Yuki Enterprise and director Kouji Takaya soon set about working on a third and final update. Samurai Shodown V Perfect was meant to fix some of the gameplay issues still present in Special as well as introduce new stories for every character. The only problem was that no one told SNK, who only found out about the game when Yuki installed it in a single local arcade for testing. As work had already begun on Samurai Shodown VI, SNK quickly shut down the Perfect project, relegating its legacy to a handful of blurry photos from the test site.

Sheffield later told Kotaku via email that, despite it being generally “frowned upon” to hang onto company data, SNK was actually ecstatic to learn that Takaya still had a copy of Samurai Shodown V Perfect on hand. He credits SNK employee Adam Laatz with making sure the proper channels were notified and permissions were granted within the company to allow Perfect into the collection. Getting the game accepted took work, but thanks to a group effort, players will finally be able to experience this unreleased fighter.

I love when this kind of thing happens.  Absolutely love it.  Here we have a final revision of a game that was unceremoniously dumped by the publisher that, years later, is finally being released so the fans can experience and enjoy it.  What's to be gained by leaving it in a metaphorical vault to gather dust and be otherwise lost to time?  We've seen other publishers dig up their buried titles in the past few years.  Nintendo is starting to build a reputation for mining its vaults for finished-but-unreleased games such as EarthBound Beginnings (originally meant for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, but held back for the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2015) and Star Fox 2 (planned for the Super NES in 1996, but missing in action until it was part of the Super NES Classic console in 2017).  What other finished-but-cancelled games would you like to see given another chance?


Power Button - Episode 306: Leak Sneaks

Power ButtonMajor gaming leaks in the past few weeks have shown us the past and the future as Nintendo suffered a system breach that resulted in all kinds of trade secrets and information from the late 1990s through the 2000s posted online and Naughty Dog and Sony had to deal with fallout from spoiler-laden videos from the upcoming The Last of Us Part II were posted online.  All of this talk of leaks and stolen data had us thinking of all of the most memorable gaming leaks that have happened over the years, so this week's podcast topic explores focuses on that discussion.  Blake Grundman and I revisit some old favorites from Half-Life 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Destiny, Assassin's Creed Unity, Star Fox 2, EarthBound Beginnings, and plenty more. 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. 


Power Button - Episode 305: 100 Hours

Power ButtonThanks to the pandemic lockdown I've recently clocked one hundred hours spent in Assassin's Creed Odyssey and still have lots more to do, so that's a natural jumping point into this week's podcast topic in which we discuss games we're spent more than one hundred hours exploring and enjoying.  You'll find some expecting titles here such as Destiny, Borderlands, and Red Dead Redemption along with some unexpected entries including Crosswords Plus for Nintendo 3DS. 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. 


The Pirates Of Smuggler's Cove: An Assassin's Creed Mystery

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Thanks to the pandemic lockdown, I've had lots of extra free time to dump into a video game I've wanted to come back to playing for months, Assassin's Creed OdysseyACO is set during the era of Ancient Greece and sees the protagonist, Kassandra, wandering the Greek world doing all of the usual Assassin's Creed kinds of things.  This time around there is an evil Cult of Kosmos whose members are all hidden away across the land and their identities kept secret.  Over the course of the ninety hours I've spent so far in the game, I've managed to uncover most all of the cult members and eliminate them.  As the cult eradication sidequest starts to wrap up, I'm left to hunt cultists that aren't explicitly set in my path by the main story.  These last cultists are covertly hanging around Greece and I must uncover clues that will uncover their true identities so I can go finish them off.  Clues are acquired by slaying other cultists or, as I'm dealing with now, finding stray letters and memos hidden in unexpected places. 

I only need one more clue to uncover a specific villain and slay his portion of the cultist org chart, and the game helpfully tells me to search Smuggler's Cove in Achaia for the clue.  This should be easy enough.  For some reason, I expect pirates to be there.  I've been to enough places in Achaia that I've uncovered most all locations, but I don't remember seeing a Smuggler's Cove on the map.  That it's a cove is a giveaway that it's somewhere on a coastline, so I have Kassandra climb aboard her trusty fire horse of the damned (that's a long story) and I start riding my way around the Achaia coastline waiting to see which of the little inlets on the map is Smuggler's Cove.

Continue reading "The Pirates Of Smuggler's Cove: An Assassin's Creed Mystery" »


First Look At "CD Sonic" Was Impressive

CD SonicBack before the Internet turned video game news into a daily content-generating operation, fans had to get the latest information once a month through the magazines of the day.  In the early 1990s I was a subscriber to three of the big publications: Nintendo Power for my Nintendo needs, GamePro for strategy tips, and Electronic Gaming Monthly for glimpses of what was going on overseas.  EGM was very much a fan of Sega's 1991 Genesis release Sonic the Hedgehog, so much so that it felt as if every little Sonic tidbit that leaked out of Japan was worth at least one page of information.  All sorts of Sonic projects that never saw the light of day were mentioned in the magazine, but one that did make it out the door was Sonic CD for the Sega CD add-on.  The March 1993 issue of EGM showcased a first look at the game (known as CD Sonic at the time) with early screenshots and preliminary buzz about what to expect.  The Sonic the Hedgeblog Twitter account recently dug up that article and, let me tell you, it brought back a blast of memories. 

Seeing this coverage at the age of twelve made me feel for the first time that I might be missing out on something by owning only Nintendo consoles.  While I've never owned the Sega CD version of Sonic CD, I spent years trying to play the game on other platforms to mixed results.  I bought the Windows PC version of the game in 1996, but it was finicky and often crashed.  Emulating the Sega CD version on my PC all came down to the capability of the emulator and the horsepower of my computer.  The Nintendo GameCube version included in Sonic Gems Collection played decently enough, but it wasn't until the 2011 reworking of the game for iOS and the Sony PlayStation 3 that I finally felt like I could dig into the game the way it was meant to be played... and that wasn't even the original version of the game that the developers meant for us to play!  The online Sonic fan community has long since parsed through articles like these to discover the original source of the screenshots from early demo versions of the game. It's like getting closure on the rest of the story all these years later.