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Power Button - Episode 373: At Long Last Spider-Man

Power ButtonWay back in 2019, Blake Grundman started playing Marvel's Spider-Man for the Sony PlayStation 4 and couldn't wait to finish it.  We said we would revisit the topic once he had, and he finally just completed it last week.  Better late than never!  And so this week we're finishing that conversation originally started in Episode 289 as well as going to the Miles Morales sequel that he also finished last week, and along the way I slip in some thoughts on Spider-Man 2 which I finished while Blake was playing catch-up.  There are no spoilers for Spider-Man 2 in this episode, but the statute of spoiler limitations for the other two games is long past.  We'll come back to talk in greater detail about Spider-Man 2 once Blake finishes it (which should be sometime in 2027).  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. 


PowerWash Simulator Goes Back To The Future

PowerWash Simulator - Back To The FutureI wouldn't have expected to enjoy PowerWash Simulator as much as I do, but it's become one of my favorite games of this generation because it's just so relaxing.  I turn on a podcast or an audiobook and wash the hours away with mindless fake accomplishment.  Sure, I could go outside and wash my real fence, but I'm much too sick for that anymore, and my recliner is a lot more comfortable and dry.  There's a new expansion coming to PowerWash that I think I may have willed into existence somehow, as on November 16, 2023 the Back To The Future DLC will release, allowing players to clean up iconic Hill Valley locations such as the famous courthouse where lightning struck the clock tower in 1955 and the holomax theater showing Jaws 19 in 2015 plus vehicles such as the DeLorean, the time train, and Doc's van.  New achievements/trophies are part of this pack, too. 

Publisher Square-Enix has an information page about the DLC, but fitting for a time travel expansion, the page says the DLC is available now when it's not yet released.  Incidentally, in what I'm certain is not a coincidence, November 16, 1955 is the date that Marty drove the DeLorean to 1885 to rescue Doc from being shot in the back by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen in Back To The Future Part III.  Nice bit of timing on that release date.


How To Make Spider-Man Look His Best

Spider-Man 2A few years ago I upgraded my aging television that could "only" output up to 1080p and replaced it with a larger 4K 120Hz unit, but even with the Sony PlayStation 5 hooked up to it, I never felt that I was truly getting everything out of it.  Now here comes Spider-Man 2 from Insomniac Games and it has a number of visual options for high-end displays that I can finally turn all the knobs up past 11, but how do I know if I'm really getting the best image for my screen, and just because it's the best, does that mean it's right for playing the game smoothly?  Thankfully, Samit Sarkar at Polygon has written a thorough explanation of what all of the in-game settings mean and how to get the best image for my (and your) needs.

There are two ways to play Spider-Man 2: Fidelity mode and Performance mode. You’ll find them under the “Graphics” area of the settings menu’s Visual section, and unlike in many other games, you’ll also find detailed descriptions of each mode and the associated options.

As you’d expect, the image quality and resolution are at their highest in Fidelity mode, which has a frame rate target of 30 frames per second (and is the default setting). The Performance mode makes trade-offs in resolution and other areas to target 60 fps. Both options use dynamic resolution scaling, adjusting the amount of pixels being rendered in order to hit the frame rate in question.

Neither mode can quite maintain a flawless locked frame rate. Playing the game’s intro sequence in Performance mode, for instance, I noticed some minor hitching during Sandman’s attack in Lower Manhattan as the screen filled up with billowing dust clouds. But across 15 or so hours with the game thus far, I’ve only run into a few instances of this issue, lasting for a couple of seconds at most.

The Fidelity mode operates in a resolution range from 2160p — i.e., native 4K — down to 1440p, and scales the output to 4K using Insomniac’s temporal injection technique for anti-aliasing, according to the studio. That lower end, 1440p, is where the Performance mode tops out; the average resolution there fluctuates between 1080p and 1440p.

So far I've played on Performance mode to get that sweet fluid 60fps, but after reading this, I'm tempted to switch to the hybrid mode available to 120Hz televisions that lowers to 40fps overall, but it a bump up from the regular Fidelity mode.  I suppose I should play around with the settings and see which looks best to my eye and responds best to my style of play.  Insomniac included so many options and settings in Spider-Man 2 from the visuals to the sound to what should really be industry-standard accessibility tools that I almost feel spoiled. 


Power Button - Episode 371: Grab Bag Goodies

Power ButtonThis week's podcast is a hodgepodge of smaller topics that don't have the structure needed for a full hour of discussion, so it's a lot more easy-going and breezy than the average show.  Join us as we flit around for 75 minutes through Sea of Stars, Magician Lord, Starfield, simulators for mowing lawns, simulators for power washing, and whatever else is on our minds as we clear out some mental baggage.  Also, I have an important update about my health and how it will impact the recording of upcoming episodes.  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 369: September 2023 Catch-Up

Power ButtonWe've been playing a lot of games lately as we come out of the summer season, so before the holidays hit with all of their big new releases, we're spending an hour discussing what we've been playing lately as we clear out the backlogs and sample new releases.  Blake Grundman and I both have some harsh words for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge DLC, I finished the World Tour storyline in Street Fighter 6, Blake is on his way in Starfield, and I'm just setting out in Sea of Stars.  Honorable mentions to Baldur's Gate 3 and Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection.  Join us!  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 368: The Making Of Karateka

Power ButtonJordan Mechner was a man with a dream: a dream of making a game for the Apple II about a karate man who punches and kicks his way past minions to save a princess.  Forty years ago he created Karateka, and now Digital Eclipse has partnered with Mechner to create The Making of Karateka for modern platforms.  This digital documentary exhibition features video interviews, design document scans, and playable prototypes of Karateka as well as a modernized remake.  On this week's podcast, we spend an hour discussing this first in Digital Eclipse's new Gold Master Series of making-of titles to see what all the fuss is about.  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 367: Thinking About Strength In Street Fighter 6

Power ButtonLately I've been thinking about strength, mostly because when playing Street Fighter 6, the game won't let you forget about it.  Capcom has found a way to modernize the classic series and add some new tricks to the experience, and on this week's podcast episode I convince Blake that he needs to play this game.  It has an RPG mode now!  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 364: Duplicates And Dragons In The Legend of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

Power ButtonWe're blowing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom wide open on this week's episode with total spoilers including the game's key story twist and ending, so please join us when you're ready to hear all about it.  Before we get into that though, we dip into a little bit of Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassin and the difficulty of buying Steam gift cards.  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, 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 362: PlayStation Showcase June 2023 Recap

Power ButtonWith Not-E3 in full swing for the summer, all of the big publishers are holding digital events to debut new trailers and announcements, so on this week's episode of the podcast we turn our attention to Sony's recent PlayStation Showcase.  Yes, they showed Spider-Man 2, but did you notice everything else?  We'll take you through the items of interest.  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.