Retro/Classic Feed

Power Button - Episode 320: Gaming's Greatest Weddings

Power ButtonIn celebration of my own imminent wedding day, this week's podcast is all about gaming's greatest weddings!  From Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach for a wedding on the moon in Super Mario Odyssey to the shotgun weddings of Fallout 2 to the Mad Moxxi love potion scheme of Borderlands 2 to, uh, Booster kidnapping Princess Toadstool for a wedding in Marrymore in Super Mario RPG and beyond, we're talking about the good, the bad, and the matrimony.  Join us for seventy minutes of discussion before I head off to say my vows. 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 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 319: Into The Console Wars Documentary Trenches With Directors Blake J. Harris and Jonah Tulis

Power ButtonOne of our favorite books here at Power Button, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation, is now a documentary streaming on CBS All-Access, so it's the perfect time to talk to the book's author and friend of the podcast Blake J. Harris and his co-director on the film, Jonah Tulis.  Join us for an hour of conversation in which we discuss topics such as how the book made the transition to the screen, the difficulty of clearing all of those archival clips for use, the visual impact of showing key moments in the story as actual archival video instead of just a textual description ("$299."), new material in the film that isn't in the book, and so much more.  Console Wars is a fascinating book and a fantastic movie, so I highly recommend that you experience both.  Thanks to Blake and Jonah for joining us this week! 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 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. 


A Dangerous Darkwing Duck Musical Medley

Darkwing DuckSince the first video games to feature music were created, fans have tried to take those simple composition and tap them out on a piano or strum them out on a guitar.  Over the years, the fan community has continued to advance, taking increasingly complex melodies and turning them into impressive new creations.  If your game includes Super Mario or Mega Man in the title, then there's no shortage of people who can perform your tunes.  The familiar strains of World 1-1 or Air Man's theme are a bit overdone these days, but deeper cut games deserve to have their moment in the sportlight too.  Consider Capcom's 1992 release for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Darkwing Duck.  It's rare that you hear of a fan who can perform the music from that game, but today is your lucky day as LloydTheHammer has published a YouTube video of his take on a medley of the game's entire soundtrack.  From Quackerjack's bridge theme to Megavolt's wharf music to Bushroot's forest jam, it's all here and waiting for you to get dangerous.


Power Button - Episode 318: Cities In The Sky

Power ButtonCity-building simulators and their ilk are all the rage on this week's podcast episode.  Join us as we reminisce over classic titles including SimCity, SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000... well, you get the idea there, plus SimCopter, SimFarm, Rollercoaster Tycoon, SimTower, and all the way to our current obsession, Cities: SkylinesDownload this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, Amazon Music Podcasts, 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. 


It's My Fault That Donkey Kong Country 2 Is Only Just Now Coming To Nintendo Switch

Donkey Kong Country 2I have a terrible confession to make, friends, and I hope you can forgive me.  You see, Nintendo announced yesterday evening that three more Super NES games will be coming to the Nintendo Switch Online's Super NES collection next week, one of which is 1995's Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest.  I regret to say that it's my fault that the game is only just now coming to the service instead of arriving weeks ago.  Earlier in the summer when the first game in the series, Donkey Kong Country, was added to the service, I took my sweet time getting around to replaying it, and even then only playing a level or three in the evenings before turning it off and going to sleep.  It's taken a while to finish, but yesterday afternoon I finally took down King K. Rool and the credits rolled.  Then, mere hours later, Nintendo announced DKC2.  Obviously they were just waiting for me to finish the game before bringing on the next installment.  I apologize for dragging my feet on this one and promise to slam my way through DKC2 as quickly as possible so that we can get to Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! immediately if not sooner.


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" »


Hedgehog Under Construction

Sonic CrackersOne of the best parts of the Internet gaming community involves watching fans of a beloved franchise dig into games and discover remnants from the development process.  For whatever reason, Sega's 1990s archives of development materials is wide open to the right people and a bunch of unfinished versions of Sonic the Hedgehog titles have escaped to the Internet over the years.  Over at Kotaku, Heidi Kemps showcases seven such prototypes that each show us something interesting about the finished product by virtue of not being in it.

One wonders if Sega in the 1990s was just an exceptionally leaky company, because there are quite a few classic Sonic prototypes floating about. Many of them are simply incremental builds of the same game, each one featuring a little tweak to a stage design, maybe a handful of edits to the sprites. But several of the early builds that have been found are far more interesting: featuring cut stages, discarded gameplay elements, placeholder graphics, and wildly different soundtracks. Taken together, they paint a vivid picture of how these games were made: what the developers prioritized, what didn’t work, what needed to get the axe, what could have been.

Some of these prototypes are kind of well-known in certain circles such as the Sonic Crackers demo that would go on to become Knuckles Chaotix for the Sega 32X and the in-progress version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that still includes the Hidden Palace Zone in a playable state.  Others are a little more esoteric such as a Sonic CD version dated from December 1992 (which predates the version I mentioned in April that was sent out to magazines).  It's an interesting article about what could have been, what eventually happened, and what was never meant to be.


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.