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Power Button - Episode 383: All New For 2024! More Updated Re-Releases! (Part 2)

Power ButtonFollowing on from last week, back in 2018 we did a two-part look (Episodes 269 and 270) at video games remade with new or changed features such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening gaining a color expansion as Link's Awakening DX.  I don't know if you've noticed, but video game publishers are still doing this sort of thing six years later, so it's time to take another look at the topic.  This one is so large that we're breaking it into pieces; Part 1 was released last week and this is Part 2. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


Power Button - Episode 382: All New For 2024! More Updated Re-Releases! (Part 1)

Power ButtonBack in 2018 we did a two-part look (Episodes 269 and 270) at video games remade with new or changed features such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening gaining a color expansion as Link's Awakening DX.  I don't know if you've noticed, but video game publishers are still doing this sort of thing six years later, so it's time to take another look at the topic.  This one is so large that we're breaking it into pieces; Part 1 is available right now with Part 2 coming next week. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, and 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


Power Button - Episode 380: Yakking About Llamasoft

Power ButtonWe were fortunate enough to get advance access to the new Digital Eclipse Gold Master series of documentary releases, Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story, so for this week's episode of the podcast we discuss the title, its interactive exhibits, and the 42 games and light synthesizers included.  From Attack of the Mutant Camels to Hover Bovver to Tempest 2000, there's quite a collection of history here.  Join us and find out what all the fuss is about.  Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story is available now on all major platforms.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


H Is For Horse And Other Hodge Podge

Hodge PodgeWhen we were recording our podcast this week, Blake Grundman described our grab bag of topics as a hodge podge.  That phrase knocked loose an old childhood memory of a Commodore 64 game called, fittingly enough, Hodge Podge.  A quick Internet search found that it's been archived and you can play it online in a browserHodge Podge is a primitive educational vocabulary game created by Leonard Bertoni & Rich Scocchera for preschool children that maps each key on the keyboard to a specific related animation and, sometimes, music.  Press H and you'll be greeted with art of a horse.  Press Q to see the quick worm scootch across the screen.  E, as it turns out, is for Empty.  Press J to see the word JUMP literally jump across the screen.  Hodge Podge is one of the first games I remember playing for the Commodore 64 in 1985 along with another word-based edutainment title, Sea Speller.  Goodness, games were so simple back then.  Soon the Mario brothers would show up and then nothing would ever be the same again.


Lost Co-Op Mode For Mega Man 10 Discovered

Mega Man 10 co-op modeCapcom took Mega Man back to his 8-bit roots for Mega Man 9, structuring the game based on the features and abilities seen in Mega Man 2.  By the time Mega Man 10 was in development, the team at Inti Creates had a little more freedom to experiment and iterate upon some interesting concepts.  While the finished game has some new material including adding Bass as a playable character, a series of recently recovered early versions of the game for Microsoft Xbox 360 shows that there was a lot more planned for the game that was cut from the final release.  Most interestingly, a co-op mode allowed two players to team up and tackle the game together!  Rockman Corner has the full breakdown on the abandoned mode and several other cut features.

Each prototype build includes demonstration videos featuring the "Assist Co-Op Mode" and a set of "How to Play" instruction screens. From the footage and instructions, it appears that players had the option to assume the role of either Mega Man or Proto Man to tackle stages together and face obstacles not seen in the final game.

For example, in Commando Man and Pump Man's stage, as well as the first screen following the Weapons Archive fight in Wily stage 1, players encounter a blockade that impedes their progress. To dismantle it, both players must "Sync Up" to unleash a powerful Buster Shot. Players enter a "sync" state when they are in close proximity to each other, marked by a sparkling effect. 

It's interesting to think that for all of the Mega Man sequels that aren't unusual novelty titles like racing or sports games, only two games included any sort of co-op mode, and those were the two arcade games, Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man: The Power Fighters.  Being able to tackle an entire traditional Mega Man game with a friend is one of those things I never knew I wanted, but now really need.  I wonder why it along with the other abilities and modes seen in these prototypes were removed.  They seem to work just fine.  While the Mega Man franchise is now under the administration of a different studio within Capcom, maybe someday the new team will revisit some of these ideas.  There's interesting potential here and I'd like to see it explored.  Want to try the prototypes for yourself?  Hidden Palace has them available for download.


David Crane Reflects On Bringing The Ghostbusters To The Commodore 64

GhostbustersOne of my very first computer games was Ghostbusters for the Commodore 64, and being a fan of the animated The Real Ghostbusters (at age six, I hadn't seen nor did I even know there was a movie yet!), I eagerly played the game to completion many times over the years until my parents sold the C64 in favor of a Windows 3.1 PC from Gateway 2000.  It's a tightly structured game that allows players to start their own Ghostbusters franchise and is just as much about money management and inventory than it is about zapping and trapping ghosts.  There's even sections devoted to driving the Ecto-1 around New York City while vacuuming up ghosts.  Here's a video of the game from start to finish to check out if you're unfamiliar with it.

Back in 2007, developer David Crane discussed the making of the game in an interview with Next Generation, although that article has since been lost to time.  I even covered it here on PTB.  I happened to come across it again via the Wayback Machine and thought it was worth bringing back around now that there have been several new Ghostbusters games produced since it was published. 

But a team wasn’t enough on its own – it also required a head start. Happily, at the time the licence came his way, Crane had been hard at work on a game called Car Wars. It was this title that would help Crane crystallise the unusual design concept for Ghostbusters.

“In Car Wars you customised a car with weapons that you would use while driving around the city. Sound at all familiar?” says Crane. “There was no hope of finishing a new game in time without using work already in progress, so I had to tie the driving sequence to the Ghostbusters concept. And what better way than to change the weaponry on the car to ghost-catching tools? Of course, at no point in the film do the actors drive through the city vacuuming up ghosts, but why not? Let’s add a ‘ghost vacuum’ to the car and suck up wandering ghosts.”

I think the reason this game works so well is that it mirrors what the original film did.  The game is essentially a business simulator with some shooter elements, and even director Ivan Reitman said that the movie is more of a "going into business" story than it is a straight sci-fi horror tale.  It's a relatable touchstone that brings players in more than just shooting at ghosts and calling it a day.  It's not enough to stop Gozer; you need to watch out for the bottom line, too.  Crane didn't work on the many ports of the game to other computers and game consoles, and it definitely shows.  The Nintendo Entertainment System version added more ghostbusting tools, but also tried to fix what wasn't broken and created a lesser experience.  The Sega Master System version sticks closer to the source material and looks better, but is still just an imitation.  There's some definite magic in that C64 version that wasn't duplicated anywhere else.


Power Button - Episode 377: The Best That 2023 Had To Offer

Power ButtonAnother year done, so it's time for us to look back for our annual Game Of The Year episode.  There are some surprises on this year's list as we each have a Top 6 that we're counting down, plus there's honorable mentions and a separate list for best remastered releases of the year.  Join us for a supersized show!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


Power Button - Episode 376: 2023's Biggest News Revisited

Power ButtonNow that the dust has settled and 2023 is in the books, it's time for our annual look back at the video gaming industry's biggest news of the year, and folks, I hate to say it, but it's pretty dire.  Lots of bad news came out of last year including layoffs, leveraged buyouts, and lesser quality games at higher prices.  We're going to revisit it all over nearly ninety minutes, so get comfortable and settle in.  It's going to be a bumpy ride.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


Power Button - Episode 375: The Future Of Law Enforcement

Power ButtonListen to this week's podcast or there will be... trouble.  We're focusing on RoboCop: Rogue City for the Sony PlayStation 5, Microsoft Xbox X|S, and PC this week, discussing all of the ways that it honors the original films and how much of an asset Peter Weller is to the RoboCop characterization.  Minimal spoilers for this one, so if you're planning on playing it, it's a safe listen.  If you're on the fence about it, hopefully I can persuade you.  I recommend a making-of documentary about the original film, too, called RoboDoc.  Also, at the end things spin into a brief conversation about Night Court.  Give us an hour and seventeen minutes, we'll give you the world.  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way. 


Power Button - Episode 372: The Mario And Sonic Wonder Superstars

Power ButtonWe have a special supersized double-length episode for you this week with lots to talk about.  First, I visited Verse, an augmented reality experience that uses the Microsoft Hololens to allow players to explore a surreal garden of animals and the outer reaches of our solar system.  Next, Blake tackled Sega's recently released Sonic Superstars with his son and just had a terrible time of things.  Third, I spent a weekend with Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. Wonder and smiled the entire time.  Finally, we have a teaser for our next show in two weeks where we discuss Sony's Spider-Man 2.  That's a lot to cover.  Let's do it!  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, 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. We also have a tip jar if you'd like to kick a dollar or two of support our way.