The Bomberman Recap

BombermanIn advance of Bomberman's glorious return to the console world stage later this week in Super Bomberman R for the Nintendo Switch, it's worthwhile to review the bomber king's mighty legacy across the console, handheld, and mobile gaming spaces.  Chris Scullion at Tired Old Hack looks back at Bomberman's many appearances and variations over the years from his early days in Dynablaster to becoming one of the gaming heroes to appear on a high definition television to the rise of sidekick Pommy to the unfortunate misstep that was Act Zero and beyond.  I hope that Super Bomberman R lives up to expectations.  I would love to be able to introduce my girlfriend to the wonders of the traditional Bomberman style of co-op play.  The franchise has been gone for so long and flown under the radar so low that she's never played one.  I really want to fix that!

Don't Make Sense Of The Legend Of Zelda Timeline

The Legend of Zelda

In the beginning there was The Legend of Zelda, and it was good.  Then there came the direct sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and it was also good if a little flawed.  That was almost followed by a proper Zelda III, but it was reworked before release into a prequel subtitled A Link To The PastLink's Awakening followed that, but all of the above were preceded by Ocarina of Time which was followed by Majora's Mask.  This is about the point in history where you needed a flow chart to follow the chronicles of Hyrule, and while the creators at Nintendo eventually set the timeline issue straight, not everyone agrees on it.  Over at Poison Mushroom, David Oxford tries to bring order to chaos.

This period between The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess is when I remember things going straight to Hell with regards to any sort of timeline discussion, because prior to this, there really wasn’t a discussion. There were six games with a clear linear narrative and their two bastard offspring cousins that we let hang around because they were cool, even though no one was really sure if they fit in.

Oh yeah, and among other things, Nintendo eventually thought “Hey, you know what we need? We need to go back to the beginning of the whole story!” and gave us Skyward Sword… which also had a manga prequel set before its time (and don’t believe for a second they won’t go further back; I’m just waiting for the tech in Skyward Sword to be their way of saying “it was Earth all along!“).

I stopped trying to follow the overall Zelda timeline years ago.  There's no grand vision here, no meticulously planned narrative that is designed to seamlessly span dozens of entries.  It's less Marvel Cinematic Universe and more LOST.  Nintendo's developers are extremely talented, but when it comes to Zelda games, they are clearly making it up as they go along.  There's nothing wrong with that approach.

I've come to see each Zelda title as a single adventure that may throw in some fun nods to other games in the series, but that's as far as I'm comfortable reading into details and looking for deeper meanings.  Yes, Wind Waker ties directly back to Ocarina of Time, but I don't believe for a moment that Nintendo planned to eventually flood all of Hyrule when they were setting up Link's time travel escapades.   Sure, Skyward Sword is the beginning of the Zelda story, but only until Nintendo releases some future sequel which is actually a prequel to that game (see also: the endless expansions of the Castlevania timeline in the early 2000s).  It's unwise to look for everlasting concrete meaning where there is not intended to be much, if any at all.  As soon as you reach a point where you have to say "this is where the timeline splits", you have complicated events beyond ease of explanation.   Just sit back and enjoy the ride.  It's more fun that way.

Is It Worth Keeping Empty Amiibo Boxes Around?

Mario amiiboIf the past decade has cemented anything about collecting video games, it's that games are worth substantially more if the original box, manual, and other pack-in materials are intact.  With that in mind, do you think it's worthwhile to keep empty Nintendo amiibo boxes around for their potential future value?  Will a common figurine like Mario be worth more if I still have the box that he came in?  Are you keeping your amiibo boxes?  Trashing them after gutting them of their prize?  Help a guy out here.  I bought my first amiibo figuring I would be, at most, maybe two more and today have over a dozen scattered around the house on shelves and desks.  The boxes are becoming a little overwhelming and don't exactly break down neatly.  Should I continue to hang on to what is becoming a glut of empty packaging?

Blue Bomber Music Break With Knight Man And Mega Man 10

Wp_02_1600x1200You all should know by now how much I love the talented artists at OverClocked ReMix.  Their remixes and rearrangements of classic video game music make up the bulk of my playlist these days, but I'm always looking to add more music to my archive.  The latest addition is a rocking remix that intertwines music from Mega Man 10's Dr. Wily stages with the Knight Man stage theme from Mega Man 6, and the resulting combination sounds like it would be perfectly at home in one of the early Mega Man X game.  Check out "Chivalrous Medicinal Murder" from Liam Charalambous if you day needs a little energy kick.

Nintendo Announces Zelda: Breath Of The Wild DLC

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildAfter launching successful downloadable expansions for Wii U titles such as Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, and of course Super Smash Bros., it's only natural that the company would keep the DLC train rolling with additional content for the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  Launching for both the Wii U and Switch versions of the game, the $20 Expansion Pass adds three new bundles of content throughout 2017.  You even get Link's iconic Nintendo Switch shirt!  Here's some of the press release:

Starting when the game launches on March 3, players will be able to purchase an Expansion Pass for $19.99, granting access to two new sets of downloadable content for the game when they become available later this year. Immediately upon pre-purchase or purchase of the Expansion Pass, three new treasure chests will appear in the game’s Great Plateau area. One of these treasure chests will contain a shirt with a Nintendo Switch logo that Link can wear during his adventure, exclusive to the Expansion Pass. The other two will deliver useful items. The first content pack is scheduled to launch this summer, and will include the addition of a Cave of Trials challenge, a new hard mode and a new feature for the in-game map. The second content pack will launch in Holiday 2017, and adds new challenges that will let players enjoy a new dungeon and a new original story. The Expansion Pass will be available for both the Nintendo Switch and Wii U versions of the game and are identical. Content packs cannot be purchased individually.

If you've missed out on Nintendo's take on the season pass in the past few years and are immediately assuming that this is a DLC cash grab like other publishers have been known to offer, I think based on past experience you can relax.  Nintendo took its time getting into the season pass game and, once it did, made a point to offer a lot of value for the extra money.  I've purchased past passes for a variety of Wii U games and have never been disappointed.  Sure, offering a Switch logo shirt for Link at launch is a little goofy, but I trust the company to deliver on its stated intentions.

Castlevania Is Coming To Netflix

CastlevaniaNetflix is getting into the Castlevania business with a new original series based on the once-thriving video game series due out later this year.  The project has been gestating for a very long time (and even predates Netflix's original programming initiative itself) and promises a dark and gory tale of vampire lore.  Mike Williams at USgamer explains who is behind this project.

Netflix has announced that it has greenlit an original animated series based on Konami's Castlevania. The animated series is being developed by Adventure Time producer Fred Seibert's Frederator Studios, with writing from Warren Ellis, the comic book author behind Transmetropolitan, The Authority, Netwave, and Iron Man: Extremis. Castlevania will be produced by Adi Shankar, the guy behind the Punisher: Dirty Laundry and the Power/Rangers fanfilms that everyone loved for being grimdark, alongside Ellis, Seibert, and Kevin Kolde.

There's certainly a strong mix of talent working on this.  Unfortunately, it sounds like the show will not use the established Belmont family protagonists such as Simon, Trevor, or Richter but will instead feature a new character from the slayer bloodline.  I'm feeling some early hesitation with a mix of impending pessimism here because it always bugs me when someone licenses a property and then doesn't use the characters from that property. Why not just make your own thing instead? The long-dead Castlevania movie had the same problem when it was supposed to be a "Dracula Begins" kind of movie instead of a Castlevania tale. I hope this show is worthwhile and I'll definitely tune in (and it's not the first time a game-inspired production has diverted from the source material), but it's a peeve of mine.  Shankar promises that this will be "the western world’s first good video game adaptation", and knowing that the creative team has already blocked out two seasons, I'm hopeful that this will work out after all.  Some of the iconic Castlevania soundtrack must make it into the show though.  It's just not Castlevania without "Vampire Killer" or "Beginning". 

Power Button - Episode 230: The Best That 2016 Had To Offer

Power ButtonThis week on Power Button we finish closing the door on 2016 with a discussion about our favorite games of the year as well as honorable mentions and a few stand-out disappointments.  Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, BoxBoxBoy, Street Fighter V, Overwatch, and The Witness are all here, but were they top tier or something to fear?  Spend eighty minutes with us to find out.   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.

Here's How Not To Accidentally Break Your Free Download Of LittleBigPlanet 3

LittleBigPlanet 3Sony is turning LittleBigPlanet 3 for the PlayStation 4 loose as one of its February 2017 free games for PlayStation Plus, and while it's more great fun for LBP fans, newcomers should heed the advice of Sackboy veterans who are familiar with the game's quirks and bugs.  It's frustratingly common that something could go wrong with your save data through no fault of your own.  It turns out that LBP 3 is a little, how should we say... frayed around the edges?  Over at Reddit, KlawwTheClown has some easy advice to help you steer clear of any mishaps.

Obviously when LBP 3 came out, it was terribly broken and almost unplayable for a lot of people, and a lot of the major problems have been fixed since then, but it's still far from perfect and it's really easy to accidentally have your profile become corrupted, or for your adventure mode save to permanently break.  I figure since a lot of new people are going to be playing LBP 3 soon, it's probably not a bad idea to point out some of the more common bugs that people run into, so hopefully you can avoid them.

The short version of this advice is to backup your save data often.  You'd think that's easy to do thanks to PlayStation Plus providing free automatic cloud storage for save data, but LBP 3 save data is notoriously huge if you collect enough stickers and objects (especially if you import your previous LittleBigPlanet profile into it).  I bought the game over a year ago on a super sale and while I had a lot of fun with it, the first thing I had to deal with was the sudden creation and attempted failed upload of a 600 MB profile!  Backing up to a USB drive became a necessity if I wanted to safeguard my data.  Just don't let these issues scare you away.  There's plenty of fun and creativity to be had here if you take proper precautions.

The Oral History Of Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man

Namco's smash arcade hit Pac-Man was all the rage in 1980, but could it be even better?  What if the game featured multiple mazes?  What if the bonus fruit could move?  What if the ghosts could potentially catch our protagonist when he hid in that one corner?  A few enterprising young students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found out in 1983 when they created an add-on kit for Pac-Man that added these elements called, er, Crazy Otto.  It wasn't long before American Pac-Man distributor Midway heard about Otto and made an offer to the team that would change the arcade scene forever as Benj Edwards chronicles in his oral history of Ms. Pac-Man

Macrae: As soon as Midway said, 'Let's make a sequel out of it,' we no longer had to avoid the Pac-Man name. They originally said, 'Let's make it into Super Pac-Man.' I think that was the first game that they suggested.

We looked at the intermissions. Even on Crazy Otto, in the first intermission, a yellow Pac character with legs called Otto meets a red Pac character with legs, which obviously had to be a female Otto, because a heart goes above their head. They chase each other, and eventually a baby is brought to them by the stork.

We were looking and going, 'Wow, we've got a whole storyline here about how a character meets a red character that's female. Why don't we turn this into a male and female Pac character, and build a bit more personality into them?'

It's a fascinating tale full of twists, clever programming, lawsuits, and a walking pretzel.  You should definitely make time to read this one in full.  I had no idea what this team went through to make their vision a commercial product and that they occasionally need to remind Pac-Man owner Namco that they did, in fact, create Ms. Pac-Man and are entitled to a piece of the merchandising pie.  I'm so glad that someone is collecting and telling these kinds of development stories.  Every major cultural milestone video game needs an oral history article like this one.