Spark Man Remix Rocks Your Sockets

Spark ManCapcom's Mega Man series gets a lot of OverClocked ReMix love, and delightfully it's not all Air Man and Dr. Wily stage remixes.  Today I'd like to bring your attention to a funky jazz remix of Mega Man 3's Spark Man stage by Nostalvania/Markus who brings the funky bass, violin, and organ to the mix along with a variety of fittingly electric instruments with "Rock My Socket".  Come for the bass pounding out the introductory measures of the theme, stay for the organ solo, and linger afterward for the rejected titles for this track including "I'm Live And Alive" and "Ohm My God".


Nintendo Announces Super NES Classic Edition

Super NES Classic EditionFollowing up on last year's hard-to-find Nintendo Entertainment System mini console, Nintendo has just announced a Super NES counterpart.  The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition is headed to stores in North America on September 29, 2017 with two controller and twenty-one built-in games including the never before released Star Fox 2 for $79.99.  It's probably already sold out.  Anyways, here are the included games according to the press release:

  • Contra III: The Alien Wars™
  • Donkey Kong Country™
  • EarthBound™
  • Final Fantasy III
  • F-ZERO™
  • Kirby™ Super Star
  • Kirby’s Dream Course™
  • The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
  • Mega Man® X
  • Secret of Mana
  • Star Fox™
  • Star Fox™ 2
  • Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Castlevania IV™
  • Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
  • Super Mario Kart™
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™
  • Super Mario World™
  • Super Metroid™
  • Super Punch-Out!! ™
  • Yoshi’s Island™

You'll have to unlock Star Fox 2, by the way.  They didn't make it too difficult; you'll just need to complete the first level of the original Star Fox.  There are some solid classics on this list that will keep players busy for quite some time, and it's interesting how Nintendo learned from the success of the mini NES last year.  This SNES mini contains fewer games at a higher price, but it also comes with a second controller in the box and the included games are all gold.  No filler here and I see most of what I was hoping to find in this collection.  I look forward to trying to get one of this consoles later in the year, but after the trouble I had last year with the NES model, I'm not expecting to be able to get one.  I hope they manufacture enough of these to meet demand.  They have to know these will be in high demand, right?   


The Time Has Come For Mega Man Pinball

Mega Man PinballI've been asking digital pinball table publishers like Zen Studios to develop a Mega Man pinball table for years now, but I completely missed out on the fact that Capcom authorized such a table in 2004 exclusively for pre-smartphone mobile devices.  Frank Cifaldi dug it up on Twitter yesterday evening and really started me thinking again about how Mega Man needs to star in a pinball table right away.  Can you imagine this little mobile idea blown up large for consoles?  Here's how the Mega Man Knowledge Base wiki describes the game:

The game features three Robot Masters from Mega Man 2 (Air Man, Bubble Man and Quick Man) in pinball stages that are modelled after their stages from the game. Each stage has two screens, the first having a door protected by a Lightning Lord and the second with the boss inside a door that must be hit to be destroyed, and once open the player can hit the boss. After defeating the three bosses Dr. Wily appears, his stage resembling Crash Man's stage.

If digital Mega Man pinball isn't quite enough for you, then check out Kevin Richardson's project to convert a 1979 Flash table from Williams into an actual Mega Man table.  It's slow progress, but surely worth every moment of work.

C'mon, Capcom.  If you can give Mega Man his own soccer game, you can bring him back to pinball for modern consoles.


Nintendo Badge Arcade Ends Its Broadcast Day

Nintendo Badge ArcadeThe daily updates of new badges and fun commentary from the Arcade Bunny at the Nintendo Badge Arcade for the Nintendo 3DS have ended with the service signing off from new updates in North America yesterday.  This follows similar finales in other regions around the world.  While the arcade will still be available, new badges will no longer be added and will instead rotate out some of the more than eight thousand existing badges.  Playing at the arcade will still cost money, but the service will offer two free plays per day starting late next week.  Over at USgamer, Caty McCarthy says farewell to the arcade.

The Nintendo Badge Arcade was an odd thing when it burst onto the scene around the same time that the New 3DS did in late 2015, with its customizable faceplates and all. It was the peak of "customize everything" Nintendo—the badges were both a joyful celebration of neglected IPs (Rhythm Heaven, Tomodachi Life) just as much as it showed off the familiar ones (Mario, Pokémon). Badges were digital trinkets implemented to spice up a 3DS' home screen, whether with obtrusive clutter or careful implementation. Some even replaced icons that already resided there, like a necessary settings icon, now made cute and functional.

I was a fan of the arcade and played it several times per week especially when free plays were offered.  I often told my podcast pal Blake Grundman to never give it any money to encourage the continued rise of free-to-play services in the Nintendo ecosystem, but I'm guilty of tossing a few dollars at the Arcade Bunny over the years to try and get that one badge or two that I really absolutely had to have. 

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Power Button - Episode 240: E3 2017 Wrap-Up

Power ButtonAs another E3 draws to a close it's time to review and recap the year's biggest week in gaming.  Join us with annual guest Ross Polly to discuss all the news and excitement including Microsoft's new Xbox One X console; classic Xbox games arriving on Xbox One; Blake's excitement for Crackdown 3, Sony hitting trailers hard with teases for the new Uncharted, Spider-Man, and Days Gone; Ubisoft's ambitious Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and Assassin's Creed: Origins; and Nintendo's big showcase featuring Super Mario Odyssey, Metroid Prime 4, Metroid: Samus Returns, Yoshi, Kirby, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions, and much more.  We have a supersized two and a half hour episode for you, so settle in and prepare for some fun.   Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes 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.


Nintendo Is Committed To Amiibo

Samus Aran amiiboWhile the toys-to-life market is shrinking after the withdrawal of Disney Infinity from the business, Nintendo continues to support its successful amiibo line with over a dozen new figurines announced at E3 2017 based around Mario, Peach, and Bowser in wedding attire from Super Mario Odyssey; the four champions from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild; assorted Links from other Zelda games; Goomba and Koopa Troopa from the world of Super Mario Bros.; Samus Aran and a metroid from Metroid: Samus Returns; new Fire Emblem entries; and more.  It's an impressive product range that offers at least one thing for just about everyone.

I love amiibo.  Despite only planning to buy three or four of them when the product line first launched, I now have over a dozen.  I've taken them out of the packaging and use most of them.  Amiibo like Mario and Bowser are frequently used in games like Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, but some of the figurines like Waluigi and Pac-Man I only bought as desk decorations.  Basically, my amiibo collection is a land of contrasts.  Each time I tell myself I'm done with purchasing amiibo, Nintendo goes and announces something like a metroid amiibo that has an actual squishy membrane.  How can I not want that as a long-time fan of the little lifesuckers?  Then there's the iconic and beloved Goomba and Koopa Troopa to which I've decided that my glow in the dark Boo amiibo needs friends.  I'm not at the level of fans who want to own each and every amiibo and hang the boxes on the wall in a showcase, but I can understand how some people get to that point.  These little figurines are just so neat.  So, in the end, I'm glad that Nintendo is committed to amiibo because goodness knows I am too. 


Metroid: Samus Returns Gives MercurySteam A Shot At Redemption

Metroid: Samus Returns

Nintendo surprised every today during the company's E3 2017 showcase by announcing two new Metroid games.  Metroid Prime 4 for the Nintendo Switch was revealed with a logo and a statement that the game is in development, while the Treehouse Live broadcast spent nearly an hour discussing Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS which is an updated remake of 1991's Metroid II: Return of Samus from the Game Boy era.  Not since the coming of Metroid Prime and Metroid Fusion fifteen years ago have Samus Aran fans had so much Metroid on the way.  Here's the bullet points from Samus Returns:

  • This intense, side-scrolling action platformer has been completely remade with engaging and immersive 3D visuals and a rich, atmospheric color palette.
  • Classic Metroid II: Return of Samus gameplay is joined by a wealth of new content, including a set of brand new abilities that utilizes a mysterious energy resource called “Aeion,” a powerful melee counterattack, and 360-degree Free Aim Mode. 
  • There are plenty of secrets to find—and if you uncover enough of them, you may even start to unravel the mystery of Planet SR388’s past. 
  • Two new amiibo™ figures*—Samus Aran and Metroid—will be released as a set alongside the game. This game is also compatible with the Zero Suit Samus and Samus amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. series. Functionality details will be revealed at a later date. 
  • While supplies last, fans will be able to purchase a special edition of the game, which includes a physical copy of the game, a sound-selection CD featuring 25 tracks from across the Metroid franchise, and a reversible title-sheet insert for the game case. 

Developer MercurySteam is behind this one and you may remember them from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and its 3DS spinoff, Mirror of Fate.  I wasn't happy with any of their Castlevania work, but Mirror of Fate was very much in the Metroid/Castlevania: Symphony of the Night style, so they have the skills to pull this off.  They are talented people, but they seem to have a bad habit of letting their games wander away down the path without proper guidance and oversight.  Each of their Castlevania titles started strong and then ended up in the weeds, becoming long slogs where the immediate goal was easily forgotten.  Nintendo is surely keeping them close to help move Metroid in the right direction. 

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Spider-Man Swings To PS4 In 2018

Spider-ManThe collaboration between Insomniac Games and Marvel Entertainment continues to develop as Sony debuted new gameplay footage of Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 at the company's E3 media briefing last night.  Coming off as Spider-Man: Arkham City with shades of Uncharted thanks to the takedowns, quicktime events, and seemingly linear story, Spider-Man closed out the show and had everyone hungry for more.  Here's the clip:

I was excited when Marvel announced it was getting back into the gaming business and was teaming with top talent to create the big budget games their characters deserve in addition to the smaller fare.  Licensing characters like Iron Man and Captain America out to any publisher that wanted them to turn a quick shovelware buck did nothing good for anybody in the end.  Actually being a bit choosy about who gets to play in the Marvel sandbox boosts property profiles, will surely make a lot of money for everyone with a financial stake in the games, and ideally leads to the creation of all-time classics that will be fondly remembered for years to come. 

Best of all from a fan perspective, Marvel's gaming licensing is free from the restrictions of its cinematic and television deals, so we get to see Spider-Man and Wilson Fisk interact rather than relegating the former to films and the latter to Netflix's Daredevil series where, despite supposedly existing in the same universe, they can never meet.  Even Miles Morales gets in on the fun, so it's going to be so much fun to play the game and see who else from the Spider-verse appears that we may not expect.  Spider-Man is due out in 2018 and I say that Insomniac should take all the time it needs to get this right.  Polish, polish, polish.  When it comes to games like this, I'm very patient. 


Do You Need The Xbox One X?

Microsoft Xbox One XMicrosoft formally announced the finalized version of its Project Scorpio experiments at E3 2017 this week, the result of which is the Doomsday Device Xbox One X console.  Designed as a 4K-capable beast of a machine, Microsoft is boasting that it's the most powerful home console ever.  It has gigaflops and liquid cooling!  Certainly sounds advanced to me.  So do you need one?  Should Xbox One owners upgrade?  Or is the X1X a PlayStation 4 Pro-like optional step up?  Stephen Totilo at Kotaku explains your options.

“We’re all about 4K, as you know,” Microsoft’s Moore said near the kickoff of my demo. He pointed out that Xbox One S supports 4K streaming and Blu-Ray, but the X is the machine for doing 4K gaming. He pulled up a still shot of the eight million pixels that can fit in a 4K image, compared to the two million pixels you can see on an HD TV running a game in 1080p. Yep, it was definitely four times as many pixels. Xbox One X will do “supersampling” for people who connect the machine to a non-4K TV, which they say will crunch those eight million pixels into something that’ll still look better than 1080p.

Basically, my takeaway on all this is that if you're the kind of player who demands top visual fidelity from your gaming experience and you have the expensive hardware (4K television, Atmos surround sound, etc.) and expendable income to back it up, upgrading to the X1X is probably a no-brainer.  Those who are unable or unwilling to throw down $499 just for extra pretty pixels and are happy with their existing television (which, by now, is most likely a 1080p or 720p set), then there's nothing essentially missing from the Xbox One ecosystem.  There are no truly exclusive X1X games that will buzz in anger if you try to run them on a regular Xbox One.  Like PS4 owners who haven't jumped up to the PS4 Pro, you're fine.

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Classic Xbox Games Coming To Xbox One

XboxAching for something to play on your Microsoft Xbox One and feel like reaching into the past?  Grab your old original Xbox games and prepare to party like its 2001 all over again because Microsoft has announced that its extended the Xbox One's backward compatibility past the Xbox 360 into the realm of the original Xbox console.  Jeremy Parrish at Retronauts points out how big a deal this is from the game preservation perspective.

Xbox 360 backwards compatibility has often been a selling point for the machine in the past, often with the arrival of something legendary that’s not easily played elsewhere such as Red Dead Redemption, and Microsoft’s learned friendliness towards backwards compatibility is in direct contrast to Sony — who have not really cared about it much since taking PS2 compatibility out of the PS3, and are instead content to offer a limited range of older games through their PlayStation Now streaming service…still, highlighting the OG Xbox for backwards compatibility now is a surprise, considering there’s games on there that are now old enough to take their GCSE exams.

Peripheral manufacturer Hyperkin is even getting in on this action by offering a resurrected original model Xbox controller for the Xbox One.  Backward compatibility is, despite what executives at Sony would insist, an important part of a console's backbone.  Yes, we're all spending more and more money on the latest and greatest new releases, but sometimes you want to revisit an old favorite without having to dig out dusty cables and searching for lost memory cards.  Microsoft is playing catch-up this generation, and offering easy, affordable access to those original Xbox games is something that its chief competitor just isn't interested in doing.  Keep pushing this angle, Microsoft.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is the first classic Xbox game to be playable on the X1 later this year with more to follow.