Power Button - Episode 326: Nintendo/Pokémon Direct Q1 2021 Recap

Power ButtonNintendo has started to come out of announcement hibernation with a recent Nintendo Direct presentation loaded with new games and remakes of favorite titles plus a separate Pokémon Direct presentation with news of its own to cover.  On this week's podcast, we break down the biggest news from the shows and discuss what it all means. 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. 


Next End Of Life Milestone Approaching For Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DSI think by now most everyone in the gaming community has made peace with the knowledge that the Nintendo 3DS's best days are behind it as the Nintendo Switch (and especially Switch Lite) has taken over its market in the handheld gaming space.  Now Nintendo is driving the next nail in its coffin with the announcement coming ten years to the day of the launch of the original 3DS that after March 31, the company will no longer offer repair service on the original Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL models due to a lack of replacement parts.  Service for the New 3DS and 2DS models will continue.  Nintendo already announced the end of overall 3DS production overall last year.  Kotaku translates the news

It's a shame to see the 3DS go, as it was a perfectly pocket-sized portable device with a strong library of classic games both new and old.  It can play something from every generation of Nintendo handheld system under the right circumstances.  Virtual Console releases cover the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, members of the Ambassador's Club can play select Game Boy Advance games, and it's backward compatible with the original Nintendo DS.  That's impressive!  Note to self: finish buying any remaining Virtual Console games I want before that service is retired, too.


Super Mario 64 But You Are The Scary Piano

Mad PianoHobbyist ROM hackers and modders have made minor changes to classic video games since the dawn of computer gaming.  Well, maybe not the dawn.  Perhaps the week after the dawn.  When I was first dabbling with console emulation back in the 1990s I saw a glut of crudely changed games clearly altered for shock value such as nude and/or racism-inspired hacks of Super Mario Bros. where all someone did was change a few pixels here and there.  Today that scene has evolved, and while I'm sure there are still young teens making trash for their own amusement, most hacks and mods today focus on quality of life improvements, creating new levels, reviving canceled features left dormant in the game data, and even changing the player character into someone completely different.  For instance, here's a mod for 1996's Super Mario 64 that removes Mario from the equation and replaces him with the terrifying, sharp-toothed piano from the Big Boo's Haunt level.  Once confined to a dingy room, the mad piano is free to explore the world.  Ramming into familiar foes with mighty chompers, the piano seems absolutely unstoppable.  It's somehow able to grab Bowser and swing him around even without arms and can even don wings to fly free.  Go, piano, go!  You've earned it.

(via Platypus Comix)


Get The Most Out Of Your PS4 Games On PS5

Backwards-Compatible.com
Backwards-Compatible.com entry for Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Sony's PlayStation 5 is thankfully backward compatible with the PlayStation 4 and most all PS4 games can be played on PS5 and often with an improved experience.  Games that ran at thirty frames per second on a PS4 run at sixty frames per second on a PS5.  Resolutions can increase.  Not every game is improved in the same way though and it's up to players to try their favorite games to see how they perform.  Now there's a centralized database of enhancements that makes the process so much simpler.  Backwards-Compatible.com organizes all of this information so that it can be reviewed at a glance to compare stats between the PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5.  It's just getting started, but will allow user contributions soon.  Once again the player community comes through!


Watch The Nelsonic Mario Watch

Nelsonic Mario watchToday when you talk about handheld gaming, most players think of a Nintendo Switch or a mobile device connected to a remote play or cloud gaming service.  Twenty years ago, handheld gaming meant carting around a Game Boy Color.  Thirty years ago?  Well, there was the original Game Boy, of course, but for a cheaper and more portable experience there were the Nelsonic gaming watches featuring famous licensed franchises from Nintendo including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey KongI wrote about my cherished Mario watch back in 2006, but Brian Crecente at Pad and Pixel dug into the history of the gaming watch concept and details how Mario wound up on our wrists once upon a time.

“Of course, the game-changer was the Pac Man game watch,” he said. “Again, I think the reason Bernie saw this first was because we were the demographic of the kids putting hundreds of quarters into the arcade versions. To play this game on your wrist was just too unbelievable. We had two suppliers in Hong Kong making the game for us. Both had color screens that looked identical to the arcade version and made that thoroughly annoying munching sound. One version actually supplied four colored mini joysticks to insert into the port in the watch face and play the game as if it were in the arcade.”

I had no idea Nelsonic was producing these watches into the Super NES era with a Star Fox model.  Today these watches are more of a unique collectible and conversation piece than an practical way to tell time or play a video game.  I wore my watch to my office job once on a lark and spent most the day explaining what the hell was strapped to my wrist.  Now it resides in my gaming collectibles display case with other Mario memorabilia.


Power Button - Episode 325: The Best That 2020 Had To Offer

Power ButtonAnother year done means a new batch of video games elevated into the vaunted Top 5 List of our Game of the Year picks.  This week on the podcast we discuss our top picks for 2020 along with a few honorable mentions.  Will the next-gen consoles sweep the honors or is there still juice in last generation's library?  We have a supersized show in which to hash it all out. 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 324: 2020's Biggest News Revisited

Power ButtonWith the portal sealed and 2020 banished back into Hell, it's time for our customary look back at the most memorable video gaming news from the year that was.  Thanks to the coronavirus, 2020's news was largely "inside baseball" in nature as nobody could safely stage a large physical presence at a convention or trade show, but there was still plenty to talk about as Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary, Apple and Epic go to war over - what else? - money, Microsoft goes on a buying spree, and so much 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 323: Movie Mode: The Mandalorian

Power ButtonWe're taking a break from video games this week to discuss Blake's recent source of excitement, The Mandalorian.  Spoilers ahead for seasons one and two!  And we also dip into Wonder Woman 1984 as a sidequest using Pedro Pascal's presence in both as a stepping stone. 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. 


A Christmas Gift Fit For A Princess

Princess Peach's CastleWhile my wife and I have only been married two months, we've been together for five years now and always have fun exchanging gifts.  She's the artistic one and is a master of tailoring, crafting, and painting, and she's given me several of her creations that have special romantic sentiment to us that also tie together with our love of video games.  Climb our stairway and you'll find framed photos of us next to the jerkass goose from Untitled Goose Game stitched with his to-do list of tasks, one of which is a crossed off "Steal your heart".   Around the holidays she hangs our Mushroom Kingdom-inspired wreath and we bring out the menorah she built based on the pipes from Super Mario Bros.  As for me, I'm not creative in that way.  I'm a writer, not a builder.  Usually I give her things that I buy from stores instead of something I create because I know that's not where my talent lies, but this year I was struck with special inspiration for a Christmas gift, and like so many of the good things that have come out of this damned year 2020, it all started with our wedding.  No, wait; actually, this really goes all of the way back to over twenty years ago.

Continue reading "A Christmas Gift Fit For A Princess" »


Power Button - Episode 322: Play Has No Limits (Some Limits Apply)

Power ButtonAfter spending time with the Sony PlayStation 5, we are finally ready to discuss our initial experiences with the console and playing games such as Astro's Playroom, Watch Dogs Legion, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales.  Plus, Blake Grundman tells the story of spycraft and heisting that went into him acquiring a console and, in a sidequest, we touch on the recent Cyberpunk 2077 issues that have been in the news lately.  Join us for an hour before we go back to playing PS5. 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.