Retro/Classic Feed

Power Button - Episode 327: Twenty Years Of Playing With Advance Power

Power ButtonNintendo's Game Boy Advance turns twenty years old in month, so it's the perfect time to reminisce about one of the strongest handheld libraries that only use a single screen.  On this week's episode we're sharing GBA stories, covering the usual suspect games like Super Mario Advance, and recommending some obscurities such as Drill Dozer, marveling at unusual accessories including motion sensors, rumble paks, TV tuners, media players, and the e-Reader.  Join us for an hour of conversation about the popular handheld.  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. 


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)


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 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 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.