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Power Button - Episode 303: The Many Games Of Nintendo Direct Mini

Power ButtonNintendo has come to save the day during lockdown with a surprise Nintendo Direct Mini which announced a variety of new games coming to the Switch.  Borderlands Legendary Collection, Burnout Paradise Remastered, a new fighter from ARMS for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and many more titles of interest were featured in the broadcast, and on this episode of the podcast we take an hour to discuss which announcements we are more interested in.  Plus there's also a rumor floating around that Nintendo is remaking/remastered a whole slew of 3D Super Mario titles, and we take that topic on as well to talk about our hopes for such a project if it turns out to be real.   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 302: Guilty Displeasures

Power ButtonHave you ever seen lots of people talking about a video game series that they absolutely love but you just can't see the appeal?  On this week's podcast we're discussing games that everyone else adores but just aren't for us.  From Animal Crossing to LittleBigPlanet to Borderlands to Persona, nothing is safe.  Remember that we're not overly negative or angry people, so we fully understand that these games just aren't for us, and we're alright with that.   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. 


Borderlands Coming To Nintendo Switch

BorderlandsThe Borderlands series has done very well for itself in the past decade, but surprisingly it hasn't come to a Nintendo platform until today's announcement of the Borderlands Legendary Collection which bundles the modern console remasters of Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel with all included expansions (minus Commander Lilith and the Fight For Sanctuary) and new optional motion controls. The physical game card version of the set will require a hefty download, too.  It's coming in May 2020 for $49.99 along with a bunch of other Switch releases of existing 2K Games titles including BioShock and XCOM, but my fiancee and I are all about the Borderlands.

It's a shame that it took this long for the series to arrive on a Nintendo platform.  I can imagine under difference circumstances that there would have been a Borderlands spin-off game for the Nintendo 3DS that reworked the action into a 2D action sidescroller with 3D rendered visuals like just about every other platformer on that system.  The worlds would have been smaller, the storyline created as an "also this happened" tale that spins around the stories from the other games in the series (and in the end it may not even really be canon), and so forth.  Following on from the precedents set by these kinds of games, it practically designs itself.  Of course, on Switch the Borderlands franchise is free to be portable for the first time in a way that really matters.  We don't talk about Borderlands 2 for the PlayStation Vita, no...


Power Button - Episode 301: Remain Indoors

Power ButtonAs the world takes a lockdown pause to deal with COVID-19, this week on the podcast we're talking about self-isolating and spending that extra time on playing video games such as Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero.  This week has been such a long month.   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 300: 30 Years Of Super Mario Bros. 3

Power ButtonOn this landmark 300th episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I explore the impact of Super Mario Bros. 3 on its thirtieth anniversary launching in North America, and while that's all well and good, we start off with a sidequest into a long-awaited event that I'm excited to share with all of you.   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. 


Mini-Review: SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sega has taken an active hand in the past decade in keeping its popular Genesis titles available for increasingly modern platforms, both as part of multi-game disc collections and à la carte downloads.  The latest game to make a return appearance is 1992's Sonic the Hedgehog 2, one of the best titles in the franchise and in which Sonic joins with his new pal Tails to take down Dr. Robotnik's plans of world domination using his Death Egg weapon.  While originally meant to spur sales of its 16-bit console, now that Sega is platform agnostic, anyone with a game system can take a crack at it.  And I mean anyone!  Without even especially trying to do it, I already own Sonic 2 for the Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, iPhone, iPad, Amazon Fire TV, and Sega Genesis Mini.  That's a lot of Death Egg!  Chance are that, in some format, you already own it too.  Now that Sega has brought it back again for the Nintendo Switch as part of its Sega Ages revival series, it's simultaneously an easy impulse buy and seemingly unnecessary if you already own it in another format.  Yet, as I played through the game one more time and explored some of the new additions to the package, I found that this may be my favorite of the re-releases yet.

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Della Duck Rewrites NES DuckTales History

DuckTalesROM hacks of classic retro games have come a long way in the past two decades as fans have reworked old favorites into new creations.  Capcom's 1989 hit DuckTales for the Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the console's classics, and while it was given a modern upgrade in 2013 for DuckTales Remastered on then-modern platforms, it remains based on the original game which in turn is based on the 1987 animated series.  Now that the 2017 DuckTales reboot is solving its own mysteries, it's only fair that someone would rewrite Capcom history by replacing the game's protagonist, Scrooge McDuck, with the new show's lead female protagonist, Della Duck.  Thanks to Garrett Gilchrist, Della can take on the Moon stage's challenges in the original DuckTales game with a clever graphics replacement hack meant for use in the Mesen emulator.  Garrett says:

It wasn't that hard to redraw the graphics for use in Mesen, but I'd drawn Della in slightly different positions than Scrooge, mainly her head positions, which got me in trouble later. The NES programming reuses graphics tiles constantly, and any inconsistency was immediately obvious, requiring some tweaking. I would recommend that anyone redrawing NES graphics for Mesen keep their characters either identically positioned to the original sprite or changed consistently on every frame ... just in case!

Trapped on the moon for years, the series features her return to Earth as a running storyline.  The writers even found a clever way to integrate the Capcom game's Moon stage theme into the show's narrative as not just background music, but an in-story lullabye.  It's fun to see her here where she technically doesn't belong, zipping around the NES game decades before her inclusion in any televised DuckTales production.  She's using Scrooge's pogo cane since this is just a graphics update, but imagine a further iteration of this idea that includes Della in a new proper DuckTales video game as a playable character alongside Scrooge, Donald Duck, and the rest of the crew.  I'm certainly interested!

(via @KenPlume)


Secret Origins: Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3Today being the thirtieth anniversary of Nintendo's landmark Super Mario Bros. 3's release in North America, I cannot let the day pass without looking back on one of the defining games of the 8-bit era.  I first became enamored with the adventures of Mario and Luigi in 1986 and over the next several years, Nintendo became my childhood religion with the pair of plumbers at the top of the holy ladder.  I watched the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon while eating Mario fruit snacks and wearing my Mario t-shirt, scribbling in my Mario notebook with a Mario pencil (with flag topper!) and checking the time on my Mario wristwatch.  In May 1989 I picked up a free first issue of GamePro at a Toys R Us while out shopping with my mother and flipping through the pages make my young heart skip a beat.  There was a Super Mario Bros. 3 coming and it looked fantastic.  The two-page preview spread of the Famicom title (already available in Japan) showcased the best visuals I'd seen for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and I scoured the piece for clues about what was ahead for Mario.  This time around, according to the preview article, Princess Peach (who?  Where's Princess Toadstool??) has been captured by the Kuppa King (any relation to the Koopa King?) and it's up to Mario and Luigi to defeat the Kuppa guardians (not kids?) and save the day.  I asked my grandfather about the odd names, comparing Kuppa to Koopa and being unaware of localization, and he told me that since these are made-up names, they can be whatever the creators want them to be.  I just wanted to understand the continuity between the different games.

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Mini-Review: NES Controllers For Nintendo Switch

NES controllersAsk any of us who grew up in the 1980s with a Nintendo Entertainment System controller in our hands and we'll all tell you the same thing: that controller is iconic.  Sure, it's been surpassed by the controllers that came after it (the Super NES controller made it immediately obsolete), but there's a certain special something about that solid rectangle with the red buttons that evokes all kinds of nostalgia.  Nintendo has sold its classic back catalog through download services on its modern consoles for fourteen years now dating back to the original Wii, but players have relied on the modern controllers that belong with those modern consoles to play those old NES games.  You can turn a Wii remote on its side to sort of approximate the NES controller and a 3DS has all of the necessary buttons to simulate the experience, but there's a magic ingredient in the authentic old NES controller that is somehow essential to the experience.  Now that Nintendo is releasing NES games for its Switch hardware, you might expect that the company would have you turn a Joy-con on its side and somehow play Super Mario Bros. 3 and The Legend of Zelda with a tiny little controller, but there's a far better option than that.  Nintendo sells real honest-to-goodness Nintendo Entertainment System controllers designed for the Switch, wireless communication and rechargeable battery included.  At $60 for a pair it seems steep, so when the package was on sale at half off over the holidays, I decided to take a chance and welcome nostalgia home.  I ordered a pack, charged 'em up, and my girlfriend and I set out to explore the two-player library of the Switch's NES library.

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Power Button - Episode 299: Loose Ends

Power ButtonAs we close in on our landmark 300th episode, this week Blake Grundman and I take an hour to tie up some loose ends still lingering from the holidays.  My girlfriend and I bought classic Nintendo Entertainment System controllers for the Switch and put them through their paces on a variety of NES games, and we're getting into Star Trek: Bridge Crew for the Sony PlayStation 4.  She's getting into Destiny 2, too.  I also have a lot to say about the surprisingly decent Sonic Forces and my amiibo obsession continues.  Finally, we turn our attention to Zen Studios and their work on the Williams pinball tables in Pinball FX3.  Fish Tales, Theater of Magic, Attack From Mars... what else could we want?   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.