What Is The Origin Of Blue Mario?

Nintendo PowerThe inaugural issue of Nintendo Power magazine features an iconic cover of a clay Mario pursued by a clay Wart, but modern Mario fans can spot the error right away: Mario's colors are all wrong for 1988, particularly his blue hat.  Even in a time when Mario's color scheme was in flux (red and brown in Super Mario Bros., red and blue in Super Mario Bros. 2, etc.), how on earth did the cover's artist mix up Mario's hat color and swap famous red for unusual blue?  As part of a year-long series focused on the thirtieth anniversary of Super Mario Bros. 2, David Oxford at Poison Mushroom has seemingly figured it out.

Moving on, something people take notice of right away (aside from the use of cool clay models) is that Mario’s colors are very mixed up. At this point in time, he was typically presented with red overalls, a blue shirt, a red hat, white emblem with a red “M” on said hat, yellow buttons, and brown shoes. Meanwhile, his hair seemed to vary from picture to picture, being either black like his mustache, or brown. These days, they seem to be going with a dark brown for both, at least in 3D modeled assets.

Mario’s overalls and shirt would settle on blue and red respectively over time, but the rest was still off. One might guess that with Mario seemingly adopting a new color scheme with each new appearance that Nintendo hadn’t settled on anything firmly yet, but I don’t think anything has been firmly said on the matter to this day — merely speculated upon.

Mario Bros SpriteThat said, it turns out that the colors aren’t exactly wrong for Mario, they just more closely reflect an earlier game: The arcade version of Mario Bros., as seen at right. Though not a perfect match, it seems a more likely link that makes it easier to get an idea of where the cover artist might have been coming from.

Or someone just screwed up royally. We may never know, but some of the images used inside the issue itself would at least seem to imply it wasn’t solely the cover artist’s doing.

Mario has worn many costumes over the years and Super Mario Odyssey celebrates his most memorable.  Maybe a special "Blue Mario" Nintendo Power cover costume would be appropriate in a future update.


Power Button - Episode 256: Failure To Relaunch (Part 1)

Power ButtonI was overjoyed when Accolade returned from the grave in 2017 and announced a revival of everyone's favorite chatty bobcat, Bubsy.  Starring in the sequel/reboot Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back for the Sony PlayStation 4 and PC, Bubsy's big revival stumbled out of the gate which brought to mind other moribund franchises that came back and then left again just as quickly.  On this week's Power Button episode, Blake Grundman and I discuss the new Bubsy which leads us into some of our favorite and reviled video game reboots. Also, it's last call as our annual News of the Year and Game of the Year episodes are coming up and we want you to get in on the 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.


Microsoft Seemingly Retires Kinect

KinectWatching Microsoft do its best to integrate the Kinect motion sensor camera for the Xbox One has been interesting to watch as the device started out as an absolute necessity for the latest generation of Xbox that could never, ever be unbundled from the console and has become not just an afterthought, but now an unsupported afterthought.  The Xbox One S and Xbox One X hardware revisions did away with the built-in Kinect port and instead required a proprietary USB adapter to use the add-on, and now that adapter has been discontinued entirely.  This essentially scuttles the Kinect for good.  Samit Sarkar at Polygon reports.

“After careful consideration, we decided to stop manufacturing the Xbox Kinect Adapter to focus attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming accessories across Xbox One and Windows 10,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon. As for any plans to bring back the item in the future, the representative declined to discuss Microsoft’s product roadmap, but said the adapter “will no longer be available.”

We've come a long way from the motion control madness kicked off by the Nintendo Wii which led to both Sony and Microsoft playing catch-up with ways to wave your arms around in front of a television while a perfectly good traditional controller sat nearby.  More than a decade after Wii, Sony and Nintendo have backed down to building motion control technology into those traditional controllers to find a happy compromise between moving and not, while Microsoft ran headlong into Kinect territory only to find that the market really just wanted a happy compromise.


Power Button - Episode 255: The Mega Man 11 And Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Cavalcade Of Capcom

Power ButtonCapcom is going all-in on new nostalgia with the announcements of Mega Man 11 and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection due out in 2018 for all major current generation consoles (including Nintendo Switch) and PC.  On this week's podcast, Blake Grundman and I discuss the news and kick around our hopes and dreams for the new titles.  There's a lot of potential here and we're eager to see Capcom reach it. Looking ahead, our annual News of the Year and Game of the Year episodes are coming up and we want you to get in on the 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.


Super Mario: The Next Generation

Claire

For Thanksgiving this year my girlfriend and I had dinner with her family and, as part of the festivities, I was asked to bring my Super NES Classic console to the house so that her nieces, Talia (age six) and Claire (age three), could try a Super Mario game for the first time.  I took this as an honored responsibility.  When I was first introduced to Super Mario Bros. at the age of six, it was a life-changing event that rippled outward into the rest of my childhood and beyond into my adult years.  I owe my career to an early start with computers and video games, particularly games with Mario and friends.  Who knows what impact Super Mario could have on these children if I introduced the game correctly?  There's no telling what positive impact they could later have on society as a result of it.  I had to get this right.  The future was counting on it.

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Power Button - Episode 254: Dumb Moments In PR History

Power ButtonHuman meat.  Balloons.  Armed robbers.  Animal sacrifice.  Brass knuckles.  Sure, these sound like ingredients for an unforgettable weekend, but they're also tools of the trade for video game public relations firms for use in advertising campaigns.  On this week's episode of the Power Button podcast, Blake Grundman and I look at some of the dumbest, most irresponsible (and in some cases illegal!) moments in game advertising and promotions.  From Homefront to Mass Effect 3 to Resident Evil 5 and beyond, we have a list of astoundingly bizarre and dangerous campaigns that will boggle your brain. Also, our annual News of the Year and Game of the Year episodes are coming up and we want you to get in on the 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. Next Week: It's a cavalcade of Capcom as we celebrate announcements regarding Mega Man 11 and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.


Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Announced

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of Capcom's venerable Street Fighter franchise so it's only right that the publisher bundle up the most important games in the series for a new compilation.  Coming to the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC in May 2018, get ready to revisit the original Street Fighter (not properly seen in many, many years), Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter III, Street Fighter III: Second Impact, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike.  That's a lot of street fighting!  Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike will also include online multiplayer modes, leaderboards, and other fun online stuff.  Here's the announcement trailer.

This is far more a complete package than I'd have expected from Capcom.  It's developed by Digital Eclipse (who brought us the first Mega Man Legacy Collection and The Disney Afternoon Collection) so I'm already comfortable with their track record.  Expect plenty of fun museum inclusions.  Not included are all of the home port off-shoots of these games.  For instance, the Sony PlayStation Portable version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 was entitled Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX and included extra characters not seen in the arcade game, while the Game Boy Advance version was Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper and featured different bonus characters.  The last special anniversary iteration of Street Fighter II, Hyper Street Fighter II for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, is missing in action, as is the HD incarnation Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  Will any of that matter?  Probably not!  There's more than enough to play in this compilation, particularly for Switch owners.  Kinda makes that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers launch window title seem redundant now.


Somebody Set Us Up Even More ROM Hacks

DuckTales 2

Back in August I brought your attention to John's Harris's book about ROM hacks, Somebody Set Us Up The ROM.  How Harris back with the sequel that dives into ingenious hacks from the worlds of Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda, and beyond as part of the Winter Wonderland Game Story Bundle on sale for the next two weeks.  If you missed the first installment, then you can pick it up as well in this bundle.  I had the pleasure of reading a pre-release copy and it's just as interesting and informative as the first volume.  Here's a taste:

It's Ducktales 2! Woo-hoo! Supporting two players simultaneously! Again I say, Woo-hoo!  I can't say that the game works flawlessly. You're going to have to make special allowances for two-player play. Player 2 is, entertainingly, represented by the hero of another Capcom Disney game, Darkwing Duck. His gas gun has been traded for another Pogo Cane (even if it doesn't look like he's pogo-ing). At least it gives the Terror that Flaps in the Night a second opportunity to spread his 8-bit wings.

Yet, there is still something unquestionably fun about this hack! It's just a blast running through the game with Darkwing tagging along, something which never happened in the cartoons. Maybe this is a bit of fan opinion sneaking in? Fun is a very subjective thing, heavily reliant on personal context. At least there's a chance that, for whatever reasons I find it to be fun, you might find it to be fun too. And there are places where it can be helpful to have a Player Two around, specifically during boss fights, where having two attackers participating can make fights easier than they'd be otherwise, provided that both of you are good at dodging attacks, that is.

That's right!  Someone melded Capcom's classic DuckTales sequel and Darkwing Duck for the Nintendo Entertainment System together into one glorious quack pack attack.  There's your real Disney Afternoon collection.  There's also a special section of the book devoted to fan translations of interesting and notable games that never left Japan in their original format such as Wrecking Crew '98 and Seiken Densetsu 3. It's another fascinating read and I recommend it.


Power Button's End Of 2017 Podcasts Need You!

Power ButtonWith 2017 coming to an end in just a few weeks, Blake Grundman and I are preparing our traditional year-end podcast episodes and we want you to be a part of them.  As usual we are going to record an episode focusing on the big gaming news of the year and then another episode in which we name our Game Of The Year picks.  Get involved!  Call the podcast voicemail hotline at (720) 722-2781 and leave a message discussing either of these topics and you may just hear your call on the show.  You can also reach out via the comments section below, through Twitter at @ThePowerButton, or send an e-mail to with your thoughts.  Help us close out the year and recap the highs and lows of 2017 in gaming.


Mega Man's Ten Greatest Moments

Mega Man

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the original Mega Man for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and so on this special occasion it's only right to take a look back at the ten greatest moments in the franchise's history. From the initial burst of releases in the early days of the series to its 16-bit and 32-bit reinventions to its unfortunate lull in the 2000s and then back in action with new sequels and compilations, there are many moments from which to choose and so many games to replay. While time does not permit spotlighting all of the best moments, there are some that demand attention.  Read on for everlasting peace!

10: Mega Man - Versus Yellow Devil


Mega Man

While later games in the series would refine what became a familiar formula, the original 1987 Mega Man game established the basic framework of what a Mega Man game would be, and while the game threw plenty of (sometimes unfair) challenges at players, those challenges were largely built around stage design or dealing with enemies roughly the same size as Mega Man himself or smaller.  That's why it's such a surprising shock when, in the first Dr. Wily stage, Mega Man enters what appears to be an empty boss arena (a gateless one, in fact; a first for the game).  As new intense music starts to play, a stream of flying fragments zip into the dead-end room one by one, catching players off guard, inflicting damage, and quickly forming the monstrous Yellow Devil (aka Rock Monster).  Today we know that a single bolt of the Thunder Beam and the game's infamous pause glitch will take out the Yellow Devil in seconds, but encountering this boss for the first time without warning or foreknowledge is a moment of breathtaking panic.

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