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The X Button - Scare Supply

This week: Todd gets into the spirit of the season with a Halloween roundup! Plus Guilty Gear Xrd, Freedom Wars, and a letdown you might’ve seen coming. ― I seldom use this column to celebrate holidays, but this Halloween is different. This week I'll address the vital issue of appropriate games for this time of year, and next week should have the results of our Halloween contest. There's still time ...
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The X Button - All Day Long

This week: shocking rebels, humble thieves, and the adventures of Ranko Tsukigime! Plus PlayStation TV, Harvest Moon, and a Halloween contest! ― October means Halloween, and I think Halloween means contests. So here's your chance to win a pile of appropriately scary, bizarre, and otherwise unsettling games! This Halloween prize pack includes the classic PSP compilation of Castlevania: The Dracula X ...
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The X Button - Go Westone

This week brings a farewell to a talented game studio! Plus news about Terra Battle, Vib Ribbon, Captain Toad, and an NES nightmare. ― This week's column has a lot to do with those talented studios, designers, and characters who labor behind the scenes. For example, the upcoming Terra Battle may bring in Manabu Kusunoki, whose artwork you may have enjoyed in Panzer Dragoon and Sonic the Hedgehog. We...
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The X Button - Absolute Values

Import fashion brings us the latest in Danganronpa, Fatal Frame, and flashy trails! Plus Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day, The Last Guardian’s latest spawn, and a Samurai Shodown comeback! ― Still waiting for Fumito Ueda's The Last Guardian to come out? Worried that it wasn't shown at The Tokyo Game Show? Soon you may not care so much. Each major convention seems to bring a new game with a restrained p...
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The X Button - Now Showing

Let’s recap the surprises, the letdowns, and the horrible embarrassments of the Tokyo Game Show! Plus Natural Doctrine, Smash Bros., and Nintendo’s birthday! ― As a Nintendo-crazed kid, one of my favorite pieces of useless trivia involved the company's age. I liked telling people that Nintendo was over 100 years old and that it had started off as a playing card company in 1889. Most of my fellow Nin...
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The X Button - Legends Untold

This week, Todd looks at a big book that’s all about Japan’s game creators! Plus Super Smash Bros, Harvest Moon, and the games of summer! ― The end of summer approaches next week, and it already feels like the season is over in many parts of this hemisphere. That puts me in the mood for a summertime game, one full of sunny atmosphere and bright colors. It's good to have a favorite summertime game, p...
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The X Button - Bug Hunts

"This week we check out moth heroes, horrific outbreaks, and mutant dating! Plus Guilty Gear’s newest face, Dragon Quest’s latest thing, and some Street Fighter suggestions! " ― It was hard to avoid the Gamergate mess last week, and I didn't really want to try. It's the sort of thing I needed to see. The alleged scandal started when game developer Zoe Quinn's ex-boyfriend posted a lengthy diatribe c...
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The X Button - Mystery Hours

This week, Todd bumps a pile of imports and gets robots, betrayal, and murder mysteries all over the place. Plus Persona 5, Yakuza Zero, and rarely seen sides of Final Fantasy and Street Fighter! ― Rumors about Final Fantasy are abundant, ridiculous, and sometimes true. Consider the story of a Disney-backed comic based on Final Fantasy IV. It sounds like a playground fib, but it certainly existed. G...
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The X Button - Tales to Admonish

Todd puts the latest Tales RPG to a turbulent test of typical traits! Plus Pokemon, Terra Battle, Mitchell, and a Street Fighter giveaway! ― The official Street Fighter website recently uploaded a timeline depicting the various forms of Street Fighter IV. It's quite helpful for anyone confused about who's in which game. It's also a merciless tease to me. See how everyone's lined up in the Ultra Stre...
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The X Button - Hive Finds

This week brings pitches for dungeon treks, alien bug raids, and a nightmare long thought over. Plus Silent Hills, BlazBlue, and the results of an anime-editing contest! ― It's time to announce the winners of the One Piece: Unlimited World Red Contest, which tasked you all with censoring anime for kid-safe sensibilities. It's also time for some good news: I rounded up extra copies of the latest One ...
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The X Button - Creature Features

This week, it's an import pile-up of monster hunts, pure horror, and cute creatures! Plus Resident Evil, Hyrule Warriors, the hidden side of Strider, and another contest call! ― The X Button will take a vacation next week, but I'll find time to judge all of the entries for the current contest. You have until the end of next Thursday to get in your submissions and win a copy of One Piece: Unlimited W...
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The X Button - Equal Crime

This week, we find something to think about with Akiba's Trip and unwholesome rewards! Plus Judas Code, Street Fighter dress-up, and the chance to win some One Piece! ― Is it time for another contest already? I think it is. The last one was about Drakengard 3, which is a fairly gruesome and depressing game even when it's funny. So this contest needs something happy. And what's happier than the froli...
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The X Button - Popular Mecha Nicks

Todd digs into the history of games inspired by Gundam, and he likes what he finds! Plus Ace Attorney, Fatal Frame, Gurumin, and a music game that's all about fighting! ― So what happened to The King of Fighters? Rumors and hiring ads suggest that the fourteenth proper installment of the series now percolates somewhere deep within SNK Playmore, but fans are left to dream and argue at present. I just...
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The X Button - Temporal Tempers

This week: fundraisers for shooters, spaceships, and trips through time! Plus Tekken, Smash Bros., and a whole bunch of little pixel things! ― You'll see a lot of old-fashioned sprites this week, be they in Kickstarter projects or Pac-Man's palm. Some contend that neo-retro pixel art is an overused fad, one that leeches off our inbuilt fondness for the games we once played on the NES and Super NES a...
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The X Button - Fragmentary

This week, we take a look at Bandai Namco's upcoming Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment! Plus Firefly Diary, Under Night In-Birth, and the secrets of an old NES nightmare-maker! ― Monster Party is a weird, weird NES game. One of the more gruesome things to inexplicably slide by Nintendo's censors back in the day, it begins with an innocent scene of a baseball-playing kid deciding to save an alien bir...
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The X Button - Sweetness and Light

This week loads up on imports with Firefly's Diary, Casting Voice, and some drumming! Plus The Legend of Korra, Hyrule Warriors, and a pile of toys! ― I expect that anyone who reads this site is intimately aware of the ways that One Piece was altered for North America. The 4Kids version of the show censored firearms and violence, removed many references to alcohol, edited out entire plot arcs, and g...
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The X Button - Long Shots

This week, Todd tackles the fall, marginal rise, and possible future of shooters! Plus Lost Dimension, Persona Q, and some words about a face. ― A ping sounded on the Darkstalkers radar last week, and I naturally ran to see what it was. It wasn't a new Darkstalkers comic or soundtrack or breakfast cereal, and I knew it certainly couldn't be a new Darkstalkers game. As things turned out, it was just ...
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The X Button - Street Spirit

This week: fightin' with Ultra Street Fighter IV, shootin' with Astebreed, and…uh, unmitigated horror with Drakengard 3 subquests! Plus Codename: S.T.E.A.M., Harvest Moon, and a decades-old mystery! ― I can't help but remember the CES in the wake of this recent E3. Not that it's disappeared or anything. The Consumer Electronics Show still takes place every January in Las Vegas. It's just not about v...
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The X Button - Extravagant Excitement

This week, we're gawking at the first chunk of E3 news! Post-apocalyptic card games! Time-traveling detectives! Space robots! Deep-sea neon diving! ― E3 had me soaking up so many game trailers and overinflated announcements, I figured that I would have a dream about it the night after. And I did. I dreamed that Natsume, in an attempt to stake a claim on every type of farming simulator, announced a b...
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The X Button - Touch Sensitive

This week, we import with Touch Detective, Gundam Side Stories, and a Neptunia spin-off! And then there's Guilty Gear Xrd, Drakengard 3, and a Harvest Moon battle! ― Ultra Street Fighter IV arrived yesterday, at least as far as the fighting-game crowd is concerned. Sure, you could wait until August and buy Ultra as a self-contained physical release, but I think most players, tournament-goers and cas...
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The X Button - Tendered Mercies

This week delves into how games make us feel bad! Plus Nintendo's relics, a possible Mega Man revival, and the results of the Drakengard 3 contest! ― The Drakengard 3 Contest is now over. This was easily the hardest competition I've had to judge here, and not just because I had to read about 15,000 words concerning Drakengard 3. It was difficult to decide on the winners, since all of the entrants we...
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The X Button - After Dark

Todd discusses Darkstalkers the only way current releases allow: with a book review! Plus Hyrule Warriors, Persona, and the last call for a contest! ― We're into the home stretch of the Drakengard 3 Contest, as entries must reach me by the end of the day on Thursday, May 22. Here's one more look at the big box of Drakengard books (and an 8-bit soundtrack) that you can win! And here's another look at...
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The X Button - Neon Babble

It's time for another Kickstarter roundup with quests and pixels and banned games! Plus Pokemon, Nintendo's next big move, and the return of a semi-famous mascot. ― Last week's contest, henceforth known as the Big Box of Drakengard Bonanza, is still underway, folks! I've received about half a dozen entries thus far, and you've got until Thursday, May 22 to send in your stories! Here's a full list of...
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The X Button - Castle Quest

This week: Todd wonders just what's up with Castlevania! Plus Mega Man, Megami Tensei, and your chance to win a big piece of Drakengard 3! ― It's time for another contest, and a big one at that. Drakengard 3 comes out later this month, and Square Enix was nice enough to send over this Drakengard 10th Anniversary Box Set! The grand prize is a Japanese copy of Drakengard 3 (or Drag-On Dragoon 3, as it...
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The X Button - Attorney Bout

This week: importin' away with Phoenix Wright, Pengo, and a bunch of shooters! Plus Tales of Zestiria, Sword Art Online, and a Persona prediction! ― So Atlus has a big announcement prepared for the Persona series this Friday? That'll be well after this column goes up. But don't worry. If I can't break the news, I'll predict it. Some might suspect that the big new will involve the upcoming Persona 5,...
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The X Button - Cavalry Call

Todd talks with the developers of the Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs game! Plus Phoenix Wright, Kunio-Kun, and a strange question about RPGs. ― Japanese RPGs once again figure into the news this week, what with Child of Light's inspirations, Hot-Blooded Magic Story's new focus, and the news that Suikoden II might finally arrive on the PlayStation Network over here (according to copyrights, anyway...
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The X Button - Flying Lessons

This week, Todd herds Kickstarters about hamsters, transhumanism, and pure chaos! Plus Freedom Wars, Oreshika, and an unoriginal take on Sega classics. ― You may have seen the latest iteration of Sega Hard Girls, a light novel (and soon-to-be anime) series which seizes on both nostalgia and modern anime by turning various old Sega consoles into chipper young heroines. I'm not going to complain about...
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The X Button - Natural Resources

This week's about imports with Natural Doctrine, J-Stars, and high-school Hakuouki! Plus Smash Bros., Wild Arms, and the second half of the PSP contest! ― Another April Fool's Day came and went during my absence last week, and the prank selection wasn't so bad this year. Pokemon took over Google Maps! Blizzard made a Flappy Bird clone! Sony pitched a Rain sequel called Snow! Bandai Namco stuck Hello...
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The X Button - A Grand Jest

With April just ahead, Todd explores the short history of game-industry pranks! Plus Out Run, Class of Heroes, and the results of a search for the PSP's true gems! ― It's time for the winning entries in that PSP sleeper-hit contest I ran two weeks ago! I think I received more write-ups for this one than any prior competition, and it made me wish that I had more prizes to give away. Our grand-prize w...
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The X Button - Stride And Seek

Todd finally faces the new Strider with fatuous fan fascination! Plus Ultra Street Fighter IV, Guilty Gear Xrd, and the end of the Year of Luigi. ― I'd like to point out that last week's contest is still underway. You have until midnight this Thursday to send me your pick for an under-appreciated PSP game. If you're looking for a unique entry, I can tell you that no one's mentioned Chili Con Carnage...
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The X Button - Portable Power

Todd considers the PSP's past, possible future, and ultimate accomplishments! He also considers Gunvolt, Touch Detective, and a contest to mark the occasion! ― This week brings a look back at the PSP. Yes, I know it's not dead yet. We'll discuss that later. For this opening bit, however, I have a little PSP-centric contest. I talk about a quite a few PSP games below, but there are plenty I don't men...
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The X Button - Restored Nation

The imports come calling this week with Yakuza, super heroines, and two puzzle classics mashed together! Plus Drakengard extras and Hatsune Miku surprises! ― Puyo Puyo is part of this week's column, and that means it's time once again to talk about Compile, the original makers of Puyo Puyo. Having mentioned Compile many times before, I'll go for the short version: Compile made all sorts of games in ...
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The X Button - Polarity Position

This week, we discuss the duality of Ikaruga, the woes of weapon rental, and the wars of giant robots! We also discuss Forbidden Magna, Persona, and an unexpected find in RPG archeology. ― Some of you may remember the frustrations of growing up with a Sega Genesis and a fondness for RPGs. Others among you may not remember, possibly because you're actually younger than the Sega Genesis. Or perhaps, l...
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The X Button - The Hardest Walk

This week: what's up with Mistwalker, Saber Rider, and some other recently quiet types! Plus Super Smash Bros., Treasure, Dracula, Luigi, ancient secrets, and distant futures! ― The recent Nintendo Direct brought a lot of news, but one sad announcement awaited later on: the Year of Luigi ends March 18. Shigeru Miyamoto said so on Miiverse. If nothing else, the Year of Luigi was an interesting case o...
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The X Button - Kickstarting Points

Todd covers some current Kickstarters this week! Also: some Drakengard 3 trinkets, some BlazBlue history, and a critical examination of pigs. ― Before we get to the video-game grit and nit, I'd like to point out this cartoon by artist, author, and fellow ANN columnist Shaenon K. Garrity. It's about women in the game industry. Several game industries, actually. Followers of game-related news will not...
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The X Button - Mobile Suited Up

This week brings imports with Arabians Doubt, Sengoku Basara, and this new Gundam thing that everyone's going on about. Plus Little Tail Story, Ranko Tsuikigime, and some bad Twitter news. ― Cave did a fairly good job of selling itself in the West. Only a few full-blown console versions of those slick 2-D Cave shooters made it out here, but the iOS and Android versions of ESP Galuda II, various flav...
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The X Button - Stale Phantasia

This week has Broken Age, Sickle Weasels, and a Tale poorly told. Plus Phoenix Wright, Unsung Story, and the dark side of Hyper Crazy Climber! ― I stumbled onto something odd while researching Hyper Crazy Climber. The game seems fairly obscure, at least by YouTube standards. You'll find videos of the original Crazy Climber and other Nichibutsu arcade relics, but there's one notable video that comes ...
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The X Button - Costume Changes

This week, Todd talks about the history of one sort of censorship! Plus Nintendo's current state, Rune Factory's runaround, and something about candy. ― Certain game-industry pundits believe Candy Crush Saga to be a monster, a puzzle game that entices casual players with its simple mechanics and soon has them shelling out dozens of tiny payments to complete levels. It leads the vanguard of free-to-p...
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The X Button - Future Vision

This week's full of predictions about the new year! And it's full of Unsung Story, Broken Age, and some well-aged imports. ― This January has few big games…or games at all, for that matter. Yet it does have one terribly important release: Broken Age. That's the long-awaited adventure game from Double Fine, the game that raised astounding sums through Kickstarter and convinced smaller developers ever...
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The X Button - Gaist in the Shell

Imports weigh in with Gaist Force, Liberation Maiden Sin, and something about titans. Plus Mighty No. 9, Bravely Default, and less-than-relevant awards! ― The first X Button of 2014 brings many opportunities: new games, new trends, and new ways to be completely wrong about all of them. Before I get to that, though, I need to look back on the past year and the things I noticed the most. MOST IN NEED ...
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The X Button - Littered Picks

It's time to look at this year's underappreciated games! It's also time for a new Tales RPG, Street Fighter hints, and a Namco High giveaway! ― The X Button's taking off both Christmas and New Year's, so we'll pick things up again in the first full week of January. You won't see any big retail releases scheduled in the remainder of 2013, but you might want to watch for Namco High, the browser-based ...
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The X Button - God Bothering

It's time for imports with God Eater 2, Metal Max 4, and a robot war that we don't even bother numbering. Plus Bravely Second, Granblue Fantasy, and the way that anime should embrace old games. ― Last week I was a bit envious of our European cousins for getting a nice Bravely Default collector's edition, complete with a figure, months before North America even sees the game. Then photos of that figu...
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The X Button - Neverland Knows Best

Todd looks back at Neverland's career and tries not to make Peter Pan puns. Plus Dragon Quest, Bravely Default, and attempts to make you jealous of Europe! ― What happened last week? Well, we said goodbye to Neverland Company, the developer of the Lufia games and the Rune Factory series. I'll discuss this in greater detail further down, but right now the news reminds me of The Gaming Intelligence Ag...
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The X Button - Trials of the Soul

Todd explores court cases, the stage of history, and even mysterious cities. Plus Lighting Returns, Deception IV, and a Persona pile-up. ― I'm sure many of us are looking forward to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, whether to mock it or to see if Square can fish a good finale out of the Final Fantasy XIII morass. You may remember that some people complained about the sexy win pose Lightning as...
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The X Button - Tales Spin

We talk with Tales series architect Hideo Baba! Again! Plus Crimson Dragon, Persona 4, and the frightening depths of certain games. ― Crimson Dragon remains the most interesting piece of the Xbox One's launch as far as I'm concerned. That's primarily because I'm a huge fan of the Panzer Dragoon series and their ornate approach to on-rails shooting. Yet I also like how Crimson Dragon doesn't resemble...
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The X Button - One Reason

It's time to dive into the upcoming Xbox One launch, dragons and all! Plus Danganronpa, Namco High, and a bunch of big comebacks! ― Holiday shopping soon commences in full, and I have a little suggestion for the younger game-players on your list: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. From what I've played, it's a solid enough game in the Mario mold, and it's crafted largely for kids—who probably watch...
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The X Button - Station Search

Todd plunges into next week's PlayStation 4 rollout! But first he looks at God Eater, BlazBlue, and the possible return of an old enemy. ― The PlayStation 4 arrives next week, and with it comes an alleged new generation of video games. Yet there's one piece of the PlayStation 4 hype machine that's decidedly familiar. Have a look at Knack, eponymous lead of one of the system's more notable launch gam...
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The X Button - Cosmic Phantasy

We talk about RPGs and outer space with the creators of Cosmic Star Heroine! Plus Yumi's Odd Odyssey, Typing of the Dead, and giant inflatable anime girls. It's not what you think. ― Ultra Street Fighter IV has the usual marks of a fighting-game upgrade. It adds a Red Focus Attack that absorbs several oncoming moves at the cost of your character's super meter. It also lets you take both of a charact...
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The X Button - Chaos Theories

Chaos Code, Armed Seven, and some self-reflection are on hand this week. Plus Hakuoki, Harvest Moon, and Todd's attempt at rabble-rousing. ― I often start these columns by highlighting some controversy unfolding within the game industry. This time, however, I think I'll strike off on my own and try to create a controversy from scratch. Let's see if it takes. Most of you know about the upcoming Tales...
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The X Button - Pac Mentality

We're talking about the life and times of Pac-Man this week! And in other news, there's Drakengard 3, Cosmic Star Heroine, and a load of lesser-known shooters. ― Last month had two Kickstarter projects expertly served up for fans of classic side-scrollers. A new Shantae game emerged, and Mighty No. 9 became the heir apparent to Mega Man's legacy, potential legalities be damned. This month has someth...
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The X Button - Treading Trails

Imports abound with Trails in the Flash, Battle Princess, and whatever the hell an Elminage is. Plus new Kirby, kinda-new Zelda, and Mighty No. 9! ― Hey, folks. There'll be no column next week, but there'll be plenty of me as I cover the New York Comic Con. I expect it'll be a little more subdued in terms of game announcements—for one thing, Capcom apparently won't hold any panels. That's a drastic ...
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The X Button - Shown Up

Enjoy a recap of the Tokyo Game Show's high points, low points, and generally depressing points! Plus a Zelda makeover and the relationship woes of Rune Factory! ― It was always a bit strange to think of Hiroshi Yamauchi as the man who made Nintendo a success. For a company that sold itself with the cute, innocuous heroes of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, President Yamauchi and his borde...
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The X Button - Piece of Mind

Let's have a little chat with the people behind One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2! Then let's talk amongst ourselves about Game Center CX 3, Phoenix Wright, and, just for the hell of it, Final Fantasy. ― Last week I posted some artwork that was supposedly for a new Guilty Gear game. At the time, the prevailing opinion was that the illustrations came from a pachislot title, but I hoped that they were for ...
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The X Button - Sweet Somethings

What does Sweet Fuse have to do with Hunter S. Thompson? Aksys Games tells us! Plus Shantae, Phantasy Star, Guilty Gear, and two new takes on the Vita. ― Shantae came a long way. Ten years ago she was the star of a good but under-appreciated Game Boy Color game. Five years ago she was the star of a good-looking but unreleased Game Boy Advance game. Now she's the star of an upcoming 3DS game and a ne...
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The X Button - Bizarre Love Triangle

This week we're import-watching with Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Kunio-Kun, and Shakespeare! Plus Mighty No. 9, Bravely Default, and a gambling problem. ― I heard about Salty Bet last month, and I thought the idea quite banal. The site streams matches in MUGEN, that game engine that lets fans turn anything into a 2-D fighting-game character, whether it's a slightly tweaked Street Fighter icon or an MS...
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The X Button - Duck Down

This week: opinions on DuckTales Remastered and more! Plus Aquapazza, Chaos Code, Drakengard 3, and something about toys. ― Capcom's Gaist Crusher is a conventional attempt at spawning a new toy-and-game franchise for kids. It stars a bunch of heroes who wear Saint Seiya armor and battle giant robo-monsters, all of them ready for toy treatments. The game also joins together plaything and game with t...
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The X Button - Ultra Violence

This week brings talk of Ultra Street Fighter IV! But we find time for Persona 4 Arena, Rime, and a really busy lineup of releases. ― There's a lot of talk about the Vita these days. Some predict its demise and some just think it needs more games, but everyone agrees that the handheld is overdue for a damn price drop. And that's what it got. Sony announced yesterday that the Vita is now $199.99, and...
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The X Button - Watch Words

This week: monsters, robots, and gluttony fill the import aisle! Plus Breath of Fire, Professor Layton, Ace Attorney, and controversy yet again. ― Xenoblade Chronicles may inspire complaints forever, and through no fault of its own. For starters, people complained when Nintendo balked at releasing the game in North America. It finally came out exclusively through Nintendo and GameStop, and then peop...
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The X Button - Remaster List

Todd talks to Capcom about remaking DuckTales! Plus Guilty Gear, Hometown Story, Senran Kagura, and a big box of stuff. ― Tales of Xillia came out this week, and you can expect a review of it from someone who knows the series better than I do. To tide you over, here's a review of what's inside the collector's edition. First of all, the box is much larger than I expected. I figured it would have to b...
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The X Button - Massive Attack

This week: monsters of nostalgia, tanks of neon, and battalions of bugs! Plus some more conventionally described games with Ace Attorney, Rodea, and Guilty Gear. ― What are people talking about in the game industry this week? Aside from the Phil Fish thing, that is. The answer: they're talking about Lightning's chest. But it isn't a pack of obsessive fans debating the measurements of Final Fantasy X...
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The X Button - Dense Destiny

This week brings a chat with the folks behind the next Ace Attorney. Plus Strider, Earthbound, and the results of a Persona competition! ― It's time for the results of that Persona 5 Essay Contest that I ran a few weeks ago. The entries taught me two things: people really want Persona 5, and I really should wrap my next contest around a format that doesn't take quite so long to read. Cinquain poems....
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The X Button - Zoning Regulations

This week: a chat about the ins and outs and crossovers of Project X Zone! Plus Danganronpa, Steins;Gate, and something about curry. ― Hey, folks. There'll be no standard X Button column next week, so that I may deliver instead a look at this year's San Diego Comic Con. I must also point out that there's one more week for all of you to submit your suggestions for Persona 5 and perhaps win quasi-fabu...