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Power Button - Episode 351: Thirty Hours With Sonic Frontiers

Power ButtonThere's lots to do in the open zones of the Starfall Islands in Sonic Frontiers, and since I spent thirty hours last week seeing it all and earning the platinum trophy, it seems only right to spend this episode of the podcast discussing the game.  Before we get into that though, Blake Grundman regales us with tales of his recent European tour and we take a suggestion from the audience and give The Pinball Wizard for PC, iOS, and Nintendo Switch a spin. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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. 


Star Fox Gets A Boost

Star Fox EXNintendo's Star Fox for the Super NES is fondly remembered today despite aging terribly.  It runs at twenty frames per second if you're lucky, its polygons are very basic, and it lacks the refinements found in its sequels.  Aiming to make the game a better modern experience without sacrificing what still makes it fun, kandowontu has created a hack of the game called Star Fox EX that adds a ton of improvements and refinements.  There's seventeen new levels, a model viewer, support for the Super NES mouse and Super Scope, multiplayer mode for up to five players, wingmen controlled by the player, and much more!

The Mario Bros. have decided that the Star Fox franchise no longer has a place within the grand Nintendo universe, and has set out to destroy the Lylat System forever, with the help of characters from more successful Nintendo IPs! They have also posed as Andross in order to hire the infamous Star Wolf team, a rival band of mercenaries led by Wolf O’Donnell, to distract Star Fox while they pull off their plans! Can Fox and his team put aside their former friendship with the Nintendo All-Stars to save both the Lylat System and everything associated with their franchise?”

I love hacks that build something entirely new out of the original content.  Watch for appearances from Mario and Luigi, Metroids, and many other familiar faces from the Nintendo universe.  Better yet, if you have the right accessories, you can play this hack on original Super NES hardware.  It's exciting stuff.


Build Your Own Game Boy Pocket SP

Game Boy Pocket SPNintendo's Game Boy Pocket does a lot of things right when it comes to handheld gaming, but the one thing you cannot do with it is fold it in half (and expect to be able to use it again afterward, anyway!).  Programmer Allison Parrish set right what once went wrong by taking the best aspect of the successor Game Boy Advance SP in terms of folding, the hinge, and applied it to the Pocket hardware.  The result is a Game Boy Pocket SP, and with a little engineering knowledge and access to the proper resources, you can build one of your own.

Over the summer I dug in deep with Game Boy modding and made this: the Game Boy Pocket SP. It’s a Game Boy Pocket motherboard that I cut in half and then put into a custom-designed shell with a hinge, a la the Game Boy Advance SP. The build has a pair of custom-designed flex PCBs to make routing signals between the two halves of the board easier. Along the way I taught myself CAD (with FreeCAD), PCB design (with KiCad) and 3D printing. The 3D models and PCB layouts for the Pocket SP are available on GitHub.

In this post, I’m going to talk about why and how I made the Pocket SP, and how you can make your own.

At first I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to do this.  After all, the GBA SP already plays Game Boy games right out of the box and then some.  The Pocket cannot play Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance games.  Why go through all this trouble just to end up with a piece of hardware that does less than its more advanced counterpart?  Then I saw the photos of the GBP SP and understood completely.  Sometimes these kinds of things are worth doing just to accomplish them.  I have no need for a GBP SP, but damn if it's not a beautiful little device.

(via MetaFilter)


Special Thanks To Vram Stoker

CastlevaniaOn this Halloween, let us turn our attention to the end credits of Konami's original Castlevania for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Rather than credit the staff that worked on the game (either real names or pseudonyms), the credits list the supposed cast of the game itself as played by notable horror icons such as, er, Christopher Bee and Jone Candies.  Mistranslation much?  Probably not.  Drew Mackie at Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games has dissected the Castlevania credits to explain who these parodic names are supposed to be.

Slide two: “Screenplay by Vram Stoker / Music by James Banana.” Again, the first one is very obviously a nod to Bram Stoker, author of the novel Dracula, with a little of the [b]/[v] confusion I mentioned in my piece on Sypha’s name. Interestingly, the person who best fits the title of screenwriter for the first Castlevania is again Hitoshi Akamatsu, so I’m guessing the credits are all purely horror references and not stand-ins for actual people. 

James Banana is presumably a reference to James Bernard, Hammer Films composer and specifically the person who scored the 1958 Dracula. The music for the first Castlevania game was composed by Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima. For whatever reason, the name has stuck to Yamashita specifically, even though it’s Terashima who wrote the iconic track “Vampire Killer.”

Those three NES Castlevania games use the tropes of classic horror movies starting on the title screens, so it's no surprise that the credits would complete the experience. Today's modern games include closing credits full of real names that scroll on and on and on, listing everyone who worked in programming, marketing, catering, international versions, people who drove by the studio one day, etc., and it's important to credit everyone who works on a game, but sometimes I think we've lost something by doing away with quick credits that go for a laugh (or at least, in Castlevania's case, a bemused "huh?").


Power Button - Episode 350: Gone But Not Forgotten

Power ButtonFollowing on from our last episode where we discussed the closing of Google Stadia, this week's episode follows on from that theme with a discussion of games and modes you cannot play anymore because support for them has been terminated by their publisher.  Spend an hour with us in gaming's graveyard. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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 348: Nintendo Direct / Sony State Of Play September 2022 Recap

Power ButtonNintendo and Sony both knocked us out last week with new announcements including the return of Goldeneye 007 for the Switch's online service, a new God of War: Ragnarok trailer for the PlayStation 5, Kirby's Return to Dream Land getting new life as a Deluxe remastering, PSVR2 information, and a long-awaited title drop for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.  Join us as we discuss all of this news and more.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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 347: Turtle Power!

Power ButtonOrder yourself a pizza and settle in as we have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feast for you on this week's podcast with discussions of Shredder's Revenge and the recently released Cowabunga Collection.  Before we get to that though, we answer a listener request and I tell the story of acquiring an actual honest to goodness Claptrap robot from the Borderlands series to give my wife for her birthday.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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 346: Kirby's Dream Podcast

Power ButtonWe're celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Nintendo's famed pink puffball Kirby on this week's episode of the podcast, so join us for a bottomless feast of Kirby memories and favorite moments.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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. 


Mega Man Versus Bruce

Mega Man 3Travel back in time with me tor a moment to the era of pre-release hype for Capcom's Mega Man 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  After Mega Man 2 seemingly came from nowhere to score critical acclaim and player popularity, fans were eager to see what was next for the blue bomber.  GamePro magazine took an advance look at the game in the November 1990 issue and ended up mistranslating a few things from Japanese sources.  My absolute favorite mistranslation of all time in gaming media has to be this one in which the magazine proclaimed that Mega Man would face off against his evil brother named Bruce.

During this level Mega Man encounters his evil brother Bruce (an early experiment of Drs Light and Wily that failed) for the first time. Sometimes he'll just get in MM's way, and other times he'll try to destroy MM by shooting him or pouncing on his head.

PROTIP: To beat Bruce, time his jumps and run under him just as he's about to jump on Mega Man. Then, turn and shoot him with the Mega Blaster.

Bruce!  I love it.  It seems like such a random choice for a name and makes you wonder if someone at Capcom was a fan of the E Street Band, but I can see how GamePro ended up with the wrong name.  Bruce, as we know now, is actually Proto Man whose name in Japan is Blues which could easily be munged into Bruce when translating.  Oh classic GamePro, sometimes I really miss you.


Power Button - Episode 345: Coma Catch-Up

Power ButtonWhen you spend forty-five days in the hospital like I did, you miss a lot of video gaming industry news.  That's why on this week's podcast, Blake Grundman fills me in on all of the stuff that I missed.  Join us for months worth of events jammed down into ninety minutes.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, 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.