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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.


There Sure Are A Lot Of GameCube Controllers

GameCube ControllerSome people collect video games, but other people collect video game controllers.  Consider the collection of Nintendo GameCube controllers on display at The Controller Library as maintained by Carl Synnett, for instance.  You're probably thinking that if you've seen one GameCube controller, then you've seen them all.  How many can there be?  I mean, there's your basic wired model, and then the wireless WaveBird, and then maybe a few different color variations, and you're done, right?  You've got some nerve, mister.  There's a lot to see from prototypes cobbled together from spare parts to Club Nintendo-exclusive variants to specialized models used in hotels to some downright strange creations that integrate extra functions in surprising ways.  There's even room in the collection for the more recent version of the controller produced during the Wii U and Switch eras for Super Smash Bros.  Spend some time browsing and prepare to be intrigued.


Lost F-Zero: GP Legend e-Reader Tracks Recovered

F-Zero: GP LegendNintendo released a trio of F-Zero titles for the Game Boy Advance to diminishing returns internationally.  The second of the three, 2004's F-Zero: GP Legend, was based on the anime of the same name and included support for the e-Reader accessory exclusively in the Japanese version of the game.  These e-Reader cards were distributed through a combination of retail and Cardass card vending machines and added new tracks, racers, and course ghosts into the game.  You can probably guess what happened next; the cards were hard to find, then they improperly preserved in the online community, and it wasn't long until the add-on tracks and other scannables fell into obscurity.  Thankfully, F-Zero modder Guy Perfect has spent the past few years working on adding these e-Reader add-ons into all regions of the game (even those that did not originally support it such as the North American release) without the need for the e-Reader or the cards and eliminates the limit on how many courses can be saved to the game at once.  The mod is finally complete and ready for the green light.  Here's the breakdown of what's going on here from the mod's documentation:

This hack is a mod for all three versions of F-Zero: GP Legend (Japanese, North American, PAL) that incorporates all of the e-Reader content directly into the game. The modifications are as follows:

All versions
• Time Attack and Training are now permanently unlocked
• Card e+ is now permanently added to Time Attack and Training
• All 20 e-Reader courses are available in the Card e+ cup
• Challenge ghosts are available on select courses
• Existing save files will automatically be migrated on first boot

Japanese version
• e-Reader exclusive machines are now available if they were still locked
• The e-Reader+ option has been removed from the Link menu

PAL version
• The Card e+ cup menu has been localized for each language

The courses are available in the "Card e" cup for time trials and training modes and, having played them, I can say there are some bizarre layouts here that I've never seen in a typical F-Zero game.   There are courses shaped like a hand, a foot, and a bird.  Want to race through a lightbulb?  Here's your chance.  Take a look at these layouts.  The developers were having fun with these.

 

 

I love to see the fan community working to preserve this sort of content that would otherwise be lost to time.  I asked Guy to explain a little more about the work that went into the project.

Continue reading "Lost F-Zero: GP Legend e-Reader Tracks Recovered" »


Power Button - Episode 315: A Celebration Fit For A Plumber

Power ButtonNintendo opened the floodgates on its Super Mario Bros. thirty-fifth anniversary plans and game announcements this week with lots of new products on the way to celebrate the occasion.  On this week's podcast, we're discussing all of the news including the Mario Kart Live toys, Super Mario 35 battle royale game, Super Mario 3D All-Stars coming to the Switch, and so 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. 


Power Button - Episode 313: Paper Mario, The Origami Killer

Power ButtonWe can't resist a new Paper Mario title (except for when we do), so on this week's episode of the podcast we're discussing the first half of Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch.  There are lots of spoilers in here for the red and blue streamer areas plus a little bit beyond, so hold off on joining us for this one until you reach the Monty Mole village if you are concerned about spoilers.  We'll pick up the second half of the adventure when Blake gets around to finishing it. 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. 


Williams Pinball: Vol. 6 Coming To Pinball FX3

Williams Pinball Volume 6Zen Studios has gone quiet over the past few months when it comes to new pinball table announcements for Pinball FX3, but the company is back on track with the upcoming Williams Pinball: Volume 6 which includes three more classic Williams tables coming to the usual platforms Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10, and Steam. Mobile users can play through the Williams Pinball app on iOS and Google Play.  This pack includes 1990's infamous FunHouse (with Rudy!),  1987's Space Station, and 1990's Dr. Dude and His Excellent Ray.  There's no announced release date yet, but the tables will include the usual FX3 features including challenge modes and leaderboards.  You know, the usual.  If it ain't broken, don't fix it.  Check out the trailer.


Hallmark NES Ornament Is The Real Deal

NES ornamentHallmark has done it again with its recently released Keepsake ornament of a classic Nintendo Entertainment System.  I ordered mine last week when it became available and happily received it yesterday.  Sculpted by Rodney Gentry, the little NES is incredibly detailed and includes tiny little video and audio ports plus antenna connector, channel switch, and power input.  The control deck door even flips open to reveal a Super Mario Bros. game pak inside.  Underneath the ornament is a small compartment for batteries (representing the infamous unused expansion port on the real console).  Press the Power button and the red LED lights up and the ornament plays the overworld theme from Super Mario complete with flagpole tune and end-of-level fireworks.  It's a must-own ornament for all NES fans.  I'm not even saving it for a Christmas tree.  It's taking a place of honor on my game room shelf.  Check out the embedded video below to see and hear it in action.


Power Button - Episode 310: The Big Borderlands Show

Power ButtonOn his fifth attempt to get into Borderlands, Blake Grundman is finally making progress on his way to open the vault thanks to playing the Borderlands Legendary Collection for the Nintendo Switch.  Now that he's ready to talk about his experiences on Pandora, we brought in our resident expert vault hunter, my fiancee Corey, to join the discussion.  We have an our of conversation about all things Borderlands for you, so catch a ride to Moxxi's bar and pull up a seat. 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 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. 


Shakedown: Hawaii Coming To Wii And Wii U

Shakedown HawaiiVblank Entertainment's delightful 16-bit-stylized Shakedown: Hawaii was released for modern gaming platforms such as the Nintendo Switch last year, but developer Brian Provinciano loves a challenge, so he's bringing the action/adventure title to a pair of older consoles just for kicks.  Later this summer the game will launch for the Nintendo Wii and the Wii U.  Why did he do this?  Because he can.  Here's how it worked out:

While it still feels like yesterday, it's been nearly 14 years since the Wii launched. Although we've still seen some Wii releases over the past few years, seeing one more wasn't a given. Indeed, despite my best efforts, it just wasn't in cards anymore, at least, not for North America. However, as luck would have it, the doors hadn't quite closed yet with Nintendo of Europe, so it was still able see a release! Words truly can't express how appreciative I am, and I can't thank them enough for all the heavy lifting they did on their end to make it a reality. It's meant the world to me, and these Wii discs specifically hold an immense place in my heart.

As incredibly as it all worked out, unfortunately, Wii discs aren't region-free, and I didn't want North American players to be left out. Although I continued talks with NOA, floating around a Plan B, Plan C... Plan Z, sadly, every idea hit a wall. The clock was ticking, and after exhausting all other options, I decided to pivot to the next best thing: the Wii U. After all, the Wii U still supported Wii Remotes, Wii Classic Controllers, and even 4:3! So, I rushed against time to port Shakedown: Hawaii to Wii U as well, and get it through certification before that door could close too!

I absolutely love this.  Bringing this game to a pair of dead platforms is really money down a hole, but sometimes things need to be accomplished just because they can be.  North America will miss out on the Wii version completely, as in addition to the disc not launching outside of Europe, the Wii Shop Channel was discontinued some time ago, so a downloadable release is out of the question.  I suppose this makes Shakedown: Hawaii the final Wii game to be released on disc.  Hang on to that for future trivia nights.