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  1. Welcome to the sixty-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Now is your chance to grab Darkrai at participating GameStop stores. The last day to do so is May 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! And hey, if you're reading this on the day it's published, you can grab a Shiny Yveltal from the Nintendo Network with your copy of XY/ORAS. Last but not least, you can register for a chance to participate in the Pokémon GO field test if you live in North America. -------------------------------- Snap Judgements I can“t remember how I first heard about Pokémon Snap. Was it in Nintendo Power, or via teeny, tiny rumblings on the much-smaller-at-the-time IGN dot com? Either way -- the only screens I saw were of Todd... or Snap, depending on who you ask... on foot, barely missing shots of a wild Mew in action. As we know now -- , and not indicative of what the gameplay would actually be like. But man, was my head full of ideas. I pictured an open, albeit gated world -- like Kanto itself, but with the objective being to capture Pokémon on film instead of in PokéBalls. So. If I“m being completely honest: once I found out that the game was on rails, I was kind of disappointed. I kept looking for ways to stop the Zero One buggy that Todd traveled in, so I could get my perfect shot. Alas, part of the challenge was getting your highest scores while on the move. While I was disappointed at first, and perhaps let my own wild imagination leave me with a lesser impression of the game than if I“d just gotten to play it outright -- the charm Pokémon Snap had stuck with me. Where else can you get Pikachu on balloons, or riding on Articuno? It didn“t have all 151 Pokémon, but it had enough to keep me reasonably entertained. And hey! You could take your pictures off to a Blockbuster kiosk to get them printed out, too. The first game was such a huge success, that I was almost sure they“d try to capture lightning twice...and make a bigger, better “Pokémon Snap 2” on the Nintendo 64 or Gamecube. But, I guess the closest that we“re going to get is when Miyamoto said “Pokémon GO kind of reminds me of Snap!” Mhm. Whatever you say, Mr. Miyamoto. There have been 570 new Pokémon added to the total since Pokémon Snap was released. There“s infinite possibility here! The Internet“s certainly been clamoring for it, for about as long as we“ve been clamoring for a fully 3D Pokémon game. I only vaguely alluded to it a long time ago. But I“d like to go into a little more detail now, regarding what my ideal Pokémon Snap sequel could be like. If they insisted on keeping it on rails like the Nintendo 64 game, I think both the Wii U and 3DS are ideal platforms to suit the experience, thanks to gyroscopic controls. Moving around the Wii U Gamepad a full 360 degrees to look at Pokémon both in front and behind you as you moved along from level to level just sounds super fun. They could totally make the points of view work like Star Fox Zero, where the TV would feature Todd and what was directly in front of him, while the Gamepad would be your camera itself, allowing for Zoom and all kinds of other functions. I don“t think the 3DS would be able to mirror this experience exactly, but I suppose it could come pretty close. More than anything, though -- I“d like a Pokémon Snap sequel to take you out of a moving buggy in favor of putting you on foot, where you could freely explore areas and move at your own pace. They could do so much to mirror what actual nature photographers experience -- have you wait for a bunch of Hoothoots that only come out at night -- slowly sneaking up on your shot so you don“t disturb it and make it run away. Like, the possibilities are pretty limitless. I“m really surprised The Pokémon Company haven“t tapped into this market, especially considering how much fans want it. It“s not as though the original wasn“t wildly successful--I think releasing a sequel to the game during the 20th anniversary would practically print money. But, I suppose I“m just a dreamer. The game is available on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan (allowing for Restore Points, Miiverse posts, and all kinds of fun that are way different from the Wii Virtual Console“s release. No word on when it“s coming to North America or Europe. But maybe when it does make its way here -- eventually -- I“ll follow up this largely speculative piece with a sort of “Does It Hold Up?” retrospective on the Nintendo 64 Classic. There“s lots more to talk about RE: Pokémon Sun & Moon, especially prior to E3. But I figured it was finally time for a bit of a break this week, taking a moment to discuss one of my favorite spin-off games. What were your favorite parts about Pokémon Snap? Do you have any fun memories to share? What would your ideal sequel to the game be like?
  2. Welcome to the ninth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. -------------------------------- Stadium Events The first Pokémon game I ever owned was Blue Version, way back when the games were first released in 1998 and the “craze” was just beginning to catch on. My twin brother and I had to share the same Game Boy and save file, until constant arguing (and maybe a holiday bonus?) lead to getting him Red Version and a Game Boy Pocket. A lot has happened, and while we traded in or sold our Pokémon games, that Game Boy Pocket survived. While my best friend was going through some of her old childhood stuff, she came across a bunch of Pokémon cards and her old games. A combination of those events, TwitchPlaysPokémon (I“ll devote an entire piece to that eventually, believe me), and wanting to write something nostalgic like this led me to play through Pokémon Red in March. While there is a myriad of things to write regarding Red Version alone, for now I“ll sum it up by saying this: For being “samey” across multiple generations in terms of plot and gameplay objectives, the Pokémon series has come a long way since its beginning. Gen 1 didn“t even have a Move Deleter, for goodness sake. I had to live with teaching crucial critters on my team Strength, Flash and more! I“ve always loved the handheld games, but I“d be lying if I didn“t say that playing through Pokémon Stadium wasn“t a thing that absolutely captivated me. I could see my team brought to life on the big screen? This Transfer Pak in the Nintendo 64 could let me play my Pokémon games on my TV? I never owned a Super Game Boy, so "yes please" was my answer. That same friend I mentioned is my only way to relive my N64 days, too. I gave my console and all my games away to my little cousin eons ago when I got the Gamecube and Dreamcast. My friend and I would often play through Star Fox 64 and Mario Kart, but it wasn't until a few months after I“d finished Red Version that I noticed she also had Pokémon Stadium and the Transfer Pak! I finally got the chance to bring her system and game back to my apartment, so I got to relive the game that captivated me almost exactly fifteen years ago. Not a lot has changed, as far as how Pokémon battles work. So yes, there are quite a few comparisons to be drawn between Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Battle Revolution, the last attempt at bringing your Pokémon to the big screen to duke it out (over seven years old, at this point). There are quite a few things that make Pokémon Stadium unique, though, such as the charming mini-games, the ability to teach your Yellow Version Pikachu "Surf" (instead of relegating it to some Event Pokémon that you can“t nickname or call your own, really), the fight with Mewtwo at the end… There“s a brief bit of nostalgia for you. Since it“s been so long since we last saw a traditional Pokémon game on the big screen, I know a ton of folks are clamoring for a revival of Pokémon Stadium on Wii U. Are any of you reading this among those hoping for more? If so, what makes Pokémon Stadium memorable to you? Be sure to let us know!
  3. So it looks like some guy made a Proof-of-Concept video where he plays The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Oculus Rift. It isn't the full game, of course, but what it is is still pretty cool. Check it out:
  4. We don't think much about gaming controllers nowadays. Except for Nintendo's typically left field control options, the gaming industry has found a pretty good sweet spot when it comes to controllers. While some may complain that the 360's and PS3's controllers may have a bit too many buttons, the controllers do their jobs well and offer developers easy to map options. Of course, it wasn't always like this. As the gaming industry itself grew, gaming controllers went through some growing pains, and some truly unusual controllers were made as a result. From the overly complicated, to the awkward, to the just plain odd, let's look at some of the weirdest controllers released for our consoles. Atari 5200 Controller Most people know what the iconic Atari controller looks like - it's just a joystick, with a red button in one of the corners. Simple, effective, and easy to wrap your hand around. But, that's the Atari 2600 controller. The Atari 5200 controller, on the other hand, has some unusual design choices. First, there are now two of the red buttons... but they're on the side, which isn't the best choice considering the shape of the controller. Then there's the reset button; it seems like a cool addition, but having it near the pause button would mean a lot of accidental resets. Then, there's the number pad. Why a number pad? It's so awkward and out of place... I can't even imagine what the purpose of it is. Oh, silly Atari 5200. Nintendo 64 Controller When people think of unusual Nintendo controllers, they are most likely going to think of the Wii Remote or the Wii U GamePad. While those certainly aren't the norm in today's gaming world, the Nintendo 64 controller was really something different in its time. The N64 was one of the first consoles to support true 3D gaming; therefore, Nintendo had the task of trying to design something to help control these new games. Though the N64 controller may get the job done, it's still very cumbersome and awkward, especially by today's standards. The controller's physical design makes it almost impossible to use a third of it (you can't really use the D-Pad and the analog stick at the same time (though at least one game made use of that control scheme), and the C buttons are just plain odd. There's one thing that can said for the N64, though... it's easily recognizable! Steel Battalion Controller There's little doubt that you haven't heard of this monstrosity by now. The Xbox game Steel Battalion had an unique concept: You will feel as though you are truly in the cockpit of these hulking mechs. How? With this huge controller. If anything, it really does emulate how piloting this sort of machine is like; you have to flip switches to turn your mech on, make sure to pilot correctly so you don't fall over, and so on. If your mech's about to blow, you have to get out quick with the eject button, too: If you don't, your save file will be erased and you'll have to start all over again! This is pilot simulation taken to the limit... and it's a limit that may or may not jive with a lot of gamers. The controller alone is enough to scare most people away! Slime PS2 Controller While the other controllers above are odd in a way that affect how you play in an awkward or bad way, but this controller isn't all that bad to use, despite its looks. At first glance, this slime controller may simply look like a Dragon Quest statue, but lo and behold, it's actually a PlayStation 2 controller. Holding the slime as a controller may seem very cumbersome, but reportedly it's actually quite comfortable. It goes to show you that you can make a controller that's unique and still useable. That's it for this spotlight of odd, unusual, and weird controllers. While nowadays we're used to the same offerings from companies for our controllers, there was, and probably always will be, that controller odd-ball. What weird controllers do you remember trying out? Any more you think should make it on this list? Let me know in the comments below!
  5. Marcus Estrada

    Grant Kirkhope Shares Perfect Dark Album

    One of the things that has always seemed odd is how many video games have great music but never get an official album release. Instead, fans end up rigging methods to capture or rip the audio themselves for free consumption. Grant Kirkhope's music has been available by album, but the albums have since become hard to come by. That's why lately Kirkhope has been uploading tracks himself. Last month he uploaded both the Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie albums to his BandCamp page. Visitors could pay to download the tracks but they were also available for free. It was quite a generous move on his part considering he could easily charge for all downloads. Now Kirkhope is back again with the soundtrack to Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64. Some modern gamers might not understand the appeal of Kirkhope's work but the music coming out of Rare was quite memorable. Of course, the games were pretty great as well. With three albums released in a row we now wonder what game might be next.
  6. Only a few weeks ago, composer Grant Kirkhope was kind enough to put the soundtrack for Banjo-Kazooie online. The much-loved Nintendo 64 game had great music but little means for fans to legally get a hold of it. Users could choose to pay for the download or simply take it freely. Now Kirkhope has done it again. This time, it's Banjo-Tooie tracks that have shown up on his Bandcamp page. There doesn't seem to be any cause for the latest upload, but it's likely he received a lot of positive reaction from fans over uploading the initial soundtrack. Anyone can go and grab the fourteen track album from his page for the low, low price of free just like before. Or, if you'd like to be lovely you can send some money Kirkhope's way. As with before, FLAC, MP3, and other common file types are available for the download.
  7. Banjo-Kazooie was quite a loved game when it launched on Nintendo 64 in 1998. The platformer appealed to many which helped it spawn a direct sequel in the form of Banjo-Tooie. After that came two spinoffs and the more recent Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Although there's no one best aspect of the game, it's safe to say that the soundtrack is distinctive and appealing. Composer Grant Kirkhope was incredibly involved in scoring Rare games in the N64 era and it's easy to discern his music from others of the time. Unfortunately, it's never been easy to get legitimate copies of most Nintendo 64 soundtracks, let alone ones from Rare's catalog. That's why Kirkhope's gesture today should appeal to many N64 (or just Rare) fans. On Twitter he posted the news that the Banjo-Kazooie soundtrack has been made available through his BandCamp page because people wanted it. You can pay any price, which includes none at all, and download the tracks as MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, or AAC. What Nintendo 64 game had the best soundtrack?
  8. Jordan Haygood

    Superman 64

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Titus Software

  9. Have you ever wanted about a hundred sealed Nintendo 64's for your collection, but just couldn't find anyone with that many consoles for sale? Well today is your day to shine! An Ebay user by the name of squishy013 has come forward with their late son's massive Nintendo collection, and they're looking to sell it... for $65,000. A bit too rich for most, but with a collection like this anyone willing to part the massive haul out is sure to make money in the long run. Some notable mentions from the post include ten Pikachu consoles, about a million new controllers, different systems and games that are VGA approved, multiple sealed copies of Turok, Goldeneye, Majora's Mask and a boatload of other things. I would have loved to have gotten one of those sealed consoles, but the seller is understandably trying to clear the stock out as quickly as possible. When there's a death in the family and the sudden acquisition of so much stuff you really don't have the time to part it out. So if you have a bunch of time and money then this auction is clearly for you. I've linked the page below. Nintendo 64 Collection
  10. From the album: Classic Gaming Expo 2012 (CGX 2K12) Photo Album

    "There are reportedly less than 50 of this limited edition of the Working Designs game, which was offered as an award and promo item during E3 1998. The padded metal case contains the game, a gold plated GunCon and memory card as well as an explanatory letter that warns you about how your sweat might wear the gold plating off of the gun."