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Power Button - Episode 294: Everything Old Is New Again

Power ButtonGreat games don't die, they just get remastered.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I spend an hour discussing three games from yesterday that are back for more today.  The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for the Nintendo Switch first appeared on the Game Boy in 1993 and consumes our first segment, then Blake takes us back into Destiny 2 to discuss elements of the original Destiny that have been upgraded for the sequel's latest DLC.  Finally, I'm always eager to discuss 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game and the recently released Remastered edition is a perfect excuse to go on and on about what may as well be the third film in the franchise's mythology.  Join us as we prove that everything old is new again.   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. 


Shareware Memory Lane

EGA TrekIn the days before Steam and the Epic Game Store, PC gamers would encounter new games in the form of shareware passed around for free via BBSs or for a small fee at your local Wal-Mart or Best Buy.  Gaming classics including Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Commander Keen, and Rise of the Triad all existed as games that offered the first episode for free and then, if you liked what you saw, you could send away for the remaining episodes of the game for a standard price.  Gamers were even encouraged to trade these free introductory episodes with friends; as in, share the software.  Shareware!  What a concept!  Over at ArsTechnica, Samuel Axon remembers some of the great classics from the world of DOS shareware including one of my old favorites that I hadn't thought about in years, EGA Trek, which is basically a Star Trek simulator with all of the Trek elements changed so as to not infringe on copyrights.

As the name suggests, one of EGA Trek's claims to fame was adapting the earlier Star Trek gameplay for the 16-color display format of the time. EGA Trek features a robust interface, a detailed, gridded galaxy map, a whole bunch of commands, and even a view window showing nearby ships, planets, and other objects of interest.

Your goal is to destroy all the invading ships from a rival space empire—a Klingon analog unfortunately called Mongols in this game. You travel between sectors, scan them, stop at starbases and planets for supplies, and battle enemy ships while managing your resources, redirecting power to the ship systems that need it, and conducting repairs.

I first encountered EGA Trek as a shareware download from a local BBS and then I later went on to buy the game on a 3.5" floppy disk from K-Mart.  None of those things exist anymore! All of the great PC games of the 1990s existed as shareware and people like me downloaded them over dial-up connections to try the latest titles from companies like Apogee and independent developers with a PO box and a dream.  The shareware model worked though.  I happily paid money for Commander Keen in Goodbye Galaxy after playing the shareware version of the game which encompassed basically half of the experience, but for every purchase like that there were also games that, for me, the shareware version was enough.  Duke Nukem 3D was awesome, sure, but I was happy with the three levels that the shareware version offered, so it was many years before I ended up buying the complete version on Steam.  There's still magic in those old shareware games, so check 'em out on modern digital distribution platforms where available or, hell, see if one of those old PO boxes is still open for business.


Ghostbusters Coming To Planet Coaster

Ghostbusters X Planet CoasterGhostbusters seems to be poised for another resurgence as a new film is in production, the 2009 video game is rumored for a current console generation re-release, and Dan Aykroyd has written a prequel script featuring the Ghostbusters characters in high school.  Now comes word that the amusement park simulation title Planet Coaster is crossing the streams with the supernatural spectacular featuring Aykroyd reprising his role as Ray Stantz who will mentor players throughout the campaign and William Atherton returning as Environmental Protection Agency antagonist Dickless Walter Peck.  New rides and other surprises await in this crossover add-on.

Ghostbusters fans will be steeped in nostalgia as other fan-favourite ghosts and characters make appearances as the story progresses, including Slimer, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and even the legendary ECTO-1 car. A new in-game interactive dark ride, The Ghostbusters Experience, allows Planet Coaster players to engage with the game in a whole new way as they take on the role of a Ghostbuster to bust ghosts with their particle throwers and log their high score.   

I've never played Planet Coaster, but if there's ever a reason for me to check it out, it would have to be this expansion.  The reveal trailer shows off just enough to pique interest.  No release date has been announced just yet.


Power Button - Episode 283: Wii Shop Channel Ends, Bungie Meets Its Destiny, and Anthem Performs

Power ButtonWe took January off due to busy schedules and terrible illnesses, but we're back and ready to go again by catching up on three big happenings from last month that we have talked about had we been producing new episodes.  First off we bid farewell to the recently closed Wii Shop Channel and cover one last run through the store's virtual aisles.  Next we hit Bungie and Activision calling it quits as Destiny returns home to its creators.  Finally, Blake Grundman takes us behind the scenes to discuss the Anthem preview event he recently attended at an Electronic Arts facility.  It's an hour of catching up on things.   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 282: The Best That 2018 Had To Offer

Power ButtonWith 2018 behind us we say a final farewell to the year with a look back at our top picks for Game of the Year.  Once again we're joined by our friend Ross Polly as we count down the best games that came our way last year.  With so many contenders such as God of War, Spider-Man, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Kirby Star Allies, Mega Man 11 and beyond it's a challenge to narrow the field and pick an absolute best, but somehow over the course of an hour we managed to do it.  Send 2018 out in style with us!   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 276: Belmont Meets Blue Bomber

Power ButtonOctober saw the glorious return of both Richter Belmont and Mega Man as Konami ported Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to the Sony PlayStation 4 while Capcom released an all-new adventure for the Blue Bomber in Mega Man 11.  On this week's Power Button episode, Blake Grundman and I discuss both of these recent releases with a contentious, tense discussion over whether Castlevania Requiem is worth the time and money and a more friendly approach to Mega Man 11.  Also, be sure to tune in for Blake's Extra Life charity stream this weekend and help him meet his donation goal to help the Beaumont Children's Hospital. Happy Halloween, everyone!   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 274: A Tribute To Developers (Part 1)

Power ButtonWe've talked a lot about our favorite video games over the years, but on this week's episode of the Power Button podcast we're talking about some of our favorite video game developers.  Insomniac Games, PagodaWest Games, Naughty Dog, Nintendo's litany of internal studios and partnerships, 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. 


Power Button - Episode 272: A Farewale To Telltale

Power ButtonAs we spent the week watching Telltale Games crumble into mismanaged dust, it's only right to take an hour to reminisce about the best of times and the worst of times regarding the beloved developer of adventure games.  Sam & Max, Back To The Future, The Walking Dead, Tales From The Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Puzzle Agent, Law & Order, and beyond fill the conversation as we sent the studio off in style.  Special thanks to all of the developers formerly of Telltale who worked so hard to bring us these memories.  You all deserve better than to be unceremoniously dismissed without warning and we know you'll land in better places soon.   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 271: Big Williams/Zen Pinball News Plus The Last Round Of Updated Re-Releases

Power ButtonWe're wrapping up our mini-series episodes of video games that changed when they were re-released with discussions on games such as Donkey Kong Country 3, Half-Life, and the Xbox Duke controller, but before we dig into that we have a dive into the big news that Zen Studios has acquired the licenses for the Williams and Bally pinball tables.  Spend an hour with us for some fun.   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 Tables Coming To Pinball FX3

Williams on Pinball FX3

Back in June the warning went out from Farsight Studios that their digital pinball platform, Pinball Arcade, would lose all classic pinball tables under the Williams and Bally family at the end of that month, so anyone looking to buy beloved tables such as Theater of Magic, Twilight Zone, Taxi, or any of the others today on the Pinball Arcade platform are out of luck.  On the other hand, things are looking up on the Pinball FX3 platform from Zen Studios as it's been announced that Zen has acquired the license for the Williams and Bally tables.

Marking Zen's first foray into offering tables based on real physical titles rather than original digital creations, the company plans to launch table packs for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac soon and has already made four tables available on Steam as part of a free beta test.  Fish Tales, Junk Yard, Medieval Madness, and The Getaway: High Speed II are up first with four more tables to follow before the end of the year.  Zen has prepared a full FAQ regarding then new tables.  Here's a piece of it:

Has there been any change to the physics for the Williams tables, or are they in line with Zen’s current physics offerings?

We have invested a lot of time and energy adjusting the physics simulation for the Williams tables, so they play true to form – it feels like real pinball. Early feedback suggests physics are spot on; however, we certainly welcome your own feedback as well. We think the ball moves and handles extremely accurately to the real thing, including accurate ball spin and “tricks” as well.

Will this game be very simulation heavy, or will there be options to have something like in Zen, where you can have score numbers popping up, etc.?

All Williams tables can be played with or without normal Pinball FX3 extras, such as score pops and in-game notification, allowing the table to be played in its purest form.

This is a huge deal and I'm extremely excited to see what Zen can do with these tables.  I own all of the tables currently available on the PS4 versions of Pinball FX3 and Pinball Arcade, and while the latter offers a lot of value, the former has the better overall experience.  Bringing great tables like Fish Tales and, hopefully, some personal licensed favorites like Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Addams Family into the FX3 experience with tournaments, bonus modes, and replay-enhancing challenges is a wonderful match.  We'll have more on this news in the upcoming Episode 271 of the Power Button podcast.