Retro/Classic Feed

Power Button - Episode 381: Dangerous Blake In "Copyright Infringement"

Power ButtonI sent my international buyer, Blake Grundman, overseas to acquire some rare gaming antiquities for me.  That is, he picked up some fairly priced amiibo and games that are hard to find and not so fairly priced here.  This leads into a discussion on how else to play retro games whose corporate ownership has turned to dust over the decades, and that's how we get into hacking devices to run emulators. 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. 


A Brief History Of Mario's First Film

Super Mario Bros2023's The Super Mario Bros. Movie was a real "local plumber makes good" story that the media loved to frame as making up for the 1993 film loosely based on happenings in the Mushroom Kingdom, but if you weren't around back then, you may not understand what all the fuss was about.  That's where Dan Larson steps in.  Digging into what made Super Mario Bros. such a troubled production is a very deep rabbit hole, but Larson condenses the key points down to a half hour tale of discarded drafts, inexperienced directors, and dissatisfied actors for an overview of what went wrong.  Consider it a gateway to a larger topic and a good starting place.  I'll say it once again: it's not a perfect movie, but I enjoyed it and have happy memories of watching it.


Power Button - Episode 379: Hack Pack

Power ButtonWe're strolling on the shady side of the tracks this week as we focus on some favorite retro ROM hacks and the baked-in achievements that go with them.  All of this talk of emulation inevitably leads us to touch on the Nintendo/Yuzu Switch emulator lawsuit, too.  Join us and bring your ROM patching tools for some new takes on old fun.

ROM Hacks Mentioned In This Episode

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.


Power Button - Episode 378: More Grab Bag Goodies

Power ButtonWe have a hodge podge of smaller topics for you on this week's podcast as we touch on the recent Nintendo Direct, Microsoft taking select Xbox games to other platforms, retrogaming emulation made easy, the Borderlands movie trailer, and much more.  Join us for another reach into the grab bag!  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. 


Rare Classics Come To Nintendo Switch

Rare classics for NSONintendo released a batch of unexpected classic video games from developer Rare this morning for the suite of Nintendo Switch Online apps in North America.  Subscribers can now enjoy Snake, Rattle, & Roll and R.C. Pro-Am for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Killer Instinct and Battletoads in Battlemaniacs for the Super NES, and the underrated Blast Corps for the Nintendo 64.  This is the first time many of these games have been re-released at all.  I'm happy to see them back, particularly Blast Corps which I sank a lot of time into back in the late 1990s but could never fully unlock everything.  Looks like it's time to get moving.  My wife, on the other hand, is excited for Snake, as it was one of her favorite games from her childhood.  She even has a framed in-box copy hanging on her game room wall!  I know she'll appreciate being able to play it without having to open up the frame. 


Lost Satellaview F-Zero Tracks Return

BS F-Zero Deluxe

It's time for a brief history lesson.  Back in 1994, Nintendo began creating video gaming content for the BS-X Satellaview satellite modem add-on for the Super Famicom.  This device connected to the console's AUX port and allowed players to download games and other content via satellite.  Much of the content was recycled from retail Super NES releases, though some of it (such as an Excitebike sequel featuring Mario or a remake of the original The Legend of Zelda) was brand new.  Curiously, some of the new content took the form of expansions of retail games.  Consider F-Zero, for instance.  The Sattelaview service offered a semi-sequel to the game that went unreleased on cartridge.  While considered for international release on a cartridge, ultimately nothing more came of the project and when the Sattelaview service shut down for good in 2000, those new tracks were lost. 

F-Zero fans are a committed bunch though and have never let a little something like "lost to time" stop them, and so after six years of work and offering a $5,000 bounty for the lost data, the F-Zero hacking community has created what it calls BS F-Zero Deluxe.  Containing all ten of the new BS-X tracks split over two cups, four new cars, and a mode where you race against a course ghost, the Deluxe content is seamlessly added to the retail F-Zero cartridge data to create the ultimate Super NES F-Zero experience.  You can download the patch files from Archive.org and load the resulting ROM into the emulator or original hardware of your choice.  I've been talking with project programmer Guy Perfect about the effort that went into recovering the lost tracks and adding them to the base F-Zero game.  You may remember him from such previous F-Zero hacks such as adding the 64DD tracks exclusive to the F-Zero X Construction Kit to F-Zero X and adding the lost e-Reader courses to F-Zero GP Legend.  I'm going to turn things over to him because he can explain it much better than I can.

Continue reading "Lost Satellaview F-Zero Tracks Return" »


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.


The Many Faces Of Sonic The Hedgehog

Sonic the HedgehogThe original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis has to be one of the most ported games of all time alongside arcade hits like Pac-Man.  For what was meant at one time to be a console exclusive, Sega has sent Sonic out to as many devices as it can.  Over at Fanbyte, De'Angelo Epps has chronicled many of those ports (the list stops short of appearances over the last decade; the article is dated December 1969 so I do not know when it was written) and denotes the little technical details that make them all different in their own unique way.  There's versions without sound effects, versions split into multiple parts, versions with broken physics... something for everyone!  Here's a bit on the Mega Play Arcade version (which is also now available on Nintendo Switch):

I bet a lot of you had no clue that Sonic the Hedgehog appeared in arcades. Well, back in 1991, Sega developed an arcade board capable of running Genesis/Mega Drive games in an odd attempt to bring the home console experience to arcades. Of course, Sega’s mascot had to make an appearance on such an artifact.

Mega Play Arcade Sonic the Hedgehog is just about the same exact game as its home console father. Besides the removing the continue system in favor of credits, the biggest change was the complete omission of Marble Zone and Special Stages, along with the removal of Act 3 from Labyrinth and Scrap Brain Zone’s . Funnily enough, these stages are some of the least-liked portions of the original game. Depending on how much of a purist you are, this might be the best version of Sonic the Hedgehog yet!

Notably missing from the list is Sonic's inclusion in the Sony PlayStation 3 version of Sonic Generations where the game is a bonus unlockable, Sonic Classic Collection for the Nintendo DS which takes a common ROM file and corrupts it just enough to work in the DS's weird little Genesis emulator, and of course Sonic Origins which includes the iOS version from Christian Whitehead with additional features.  For a totally complete list of all of the platforms on which you can play the game, check out Sonic Retro.  This game gets around!  You can get Sonic the Hedgehog just about everywhere and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of it.