TBC 030: Metroid: Zero Mission

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Metroid: Dread is almost upon us, and that sentence alone still sounds like a miracle to Metroid fans who have been waiting for a new 2D entry in the series for nearly two decades. Scott & Glen are swept up in the excitement, and are here to revisit Samus’ origins in Metroid: Zero Mission, a GBA remake of her original NES outing. After both hosts replayed the game on Wii U Virtual Console, they sit down to discuss its merits as a Metroid game, and debate a bit about that adding ending sequence. Come along for the ride!

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 029: Dos and Don’ts of Console Design

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Happy four-year Switchaversary! We can’t believe Nintendo’s little hybrid/home console has gotten this old. When the Wii U turned four, it was just about lights out for that console. With this many years of Switch under our belts, we wanted to discuss the Dos and Don’ts of Console Design. Creating a console is a juggling act for Nintendo… power, but not too much. Cheap materials, but not so cheap that durability is sacrificed. Many other factors go into the Research and Development that results in the Nintendo systems we know and love. Where has Nintendo nailed it in the past, and where have they missed the mark? From our perspective, what needs to be changed and done differently on the rumored “Switch Pro”? Listen in for Scott’s and Glen’s thoughts.

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 028: A Talk with the Tarantos

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Matthew Taranto is a prevalent figure in the Nintendo fandom, having created the longrunning comic series called Brawl in the Family. Joining forces with his brother Michael, they went on to become game developers and produced Tadpole Treble, which is now available (with new content) on Nintendo Switch. Most recently, Matthew has teamed up with the legendary “Gamemaster” of Nintendo, Howard Phillips to produce an illustrated tell-all book about Nintendo called Gamemaster Classified. With so many amazing projects under their belt, it was an honor to sit down with the Taranto brothers and spend an hour discussing their exciting and successful careers as, essentially, professional Nintendo fans.

00:00 – Introduction
00:52 – Brawl in the Family
19:35 – Tadpole Treble Encore
38:42 – Gamemaster Classified
47:21 – Smash Ultimate Character Picks
51:18 – What’s Next?

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 027: Ring Fit Adventure

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Scott and Glen have been playing Ring Fit Adventure for over a year, so it’s time to check in and see how the routine is going. How does the game hold up in the long term? Is it a fun RPG, or just a lame excuse to squeeze a ring a few times? Listen in!

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Check out our old YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/TwoButtonCrew

“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 026: Spin-Offs!

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Nintendo did it again. They spun-off the Legend of Zelda into Hyrule Warriors, and now Hyrule Warriors is spinning back into Breath of the Wild with the latest entry—Age of Calamity! But what exactly defines a spin-off, and what are some of Nintendo’s best and worst attempts? The TBC band is back together to discuss those very questions. Get listening!

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Check out our old YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/TwoButtonCrew

“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 025: Paper Mario: The Origami King

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Paper Mario is back! Whereas the last few entries in the series were not received warmly, Nintendo fans were slightly more optimistic about this particular outing. Maybe because Nintendo has been serving up first party hit after hit on the Switch. Maybe because the developers finally seemed to hear our feedback about certain things like attacks-as-inventory being bad or battle companions being good. Even with a more positive outlook, many decided to sit back and wait for reviews before plopping 60 crisp dollar bills down for this origami adventure. Glen and Scott have spent a lot of time with the title and are here to talk about every detail.

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 024: Rumors, Hype, and Disappointment

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We went a year without a major Nintendo Direct, and every other day the Nintendo fanbase was clawing at different rumors saying that the next big batch of announcements was right around the corner. We are a hungry and passionate fanbase, which has its pros and cons. Scott and Glen are here to discuss the issue in depth, and examine the fanbase’s relationship with Nintendo’s marketing… the fun, the frustrating, and the nonsensical.

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 023: Nintendo and the Apocalypse

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As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we reflect on the fact that Nintendo has been no stranger to the idea of the apocalypse. Indeed, many of their games have featured long-since destroyed settings, or the ruins of extinct civilizations. Why does Nintendo seem to focus on these elements and weave them into the backstories of their games? Does Japanese history play a part? Join Glen and Simeon for a deep dive on Nintendo and The Apocalypse!

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 022: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here. After several series missteps, the franchise is back, and it’s on Switch in a big way! Scott, Glen, and Ryan get together to discuss the latest Switch sensation, check in with each other’s island progress, and discuss all of the game’s mechanics in depth.

Ready for more TBC Podcast? We are an ad-free show!

Check out our old YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/TwoButtonCrew

“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

TBC 021: Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

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Now that Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is finally complete, it’s time for the TBC team to get their opinions on the record. Join us as we discuss Shovel of Hope, Plague of Shadows, Scepter of Torment, King of Cards, and all things SHOVEL KNIGHT!

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“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

TBC 020: How to Manage a Backlog

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Are you buried in unplayed games? Do you keep purchasing new titles, knowing full well that you don’t have the time to play them? Are you drowning in a long list of classics that you want to try and make time for… someday… eventually? If any of this sounds familiar, we know exactly how you feel. And we’re here to discuss a strategy and make that backlog manageable. Hop on board the TBC train!

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

TBC 019: Luigi’s Mansion 3

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Glen and Scott are back to discuss Luigi’s Mansion 3, a beautiful game and strong Game of the Year contender. They have a lot to say about the game’s pros and cons, so get cozy and listen to their deep dive on Luigi’s newest solo outing.

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

TBC 018: Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

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Glen and Scott sit down to discuss the recently released Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Switch. How did Nintendo’s latest remake sit with us? What was improved, what was memorable, and what left a bad taste in our mouth? At the end, each host shares a surprising game they would like to see remade next from the Legend of Zelda series.

Review: Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game by House House is a unique, charming game for Nintendo Switch.

Disguised as a goofy goose sim, this stealth/puzzle game has you work your way through to-do lists, perfect for a productivity nerd like myself. But these tasks are all mischief related, and involve messing with innocent people’s things without getting caught.

There are four areas to explore, so while you may have an ear-to-ear grin throughout the experience, the credits could roll before you feel that your investment has been returned. It took me under two hours to complete (though post-game content in the form of additional to-do lists should effectively double your play time).

Everything is quite sound here, whether we’re talking about controls, music, systems, graphics, etc. This game took awhile to release considering its short length, and it is evident that the developers made the most of that time to iron out any potential kinks in the gameplay.

While I would love to praise the game in specific ways, it’s difficult to do so without spoiling the moment-to-moment gameplay, which is often humorous and always inventive and charming.

I had a great time solving all the puzzles as they progressively got more complex. Making someone spit their coffee out as a troublemaking goose was an experience I won’t quickly forget.

Making someone spit their coffee out as a troublemaking goose was an experience I won’t quickly forget.

Untitled Goose Game is clearly lacking one feature, however, and that is a hint system. After having just played BoxBoy + BoxGirl, I can’t help but think of how helpful that hint system could have been if implemented in Untitled Goose Game.

Without an option for hints, some puzzle solutions just will not present themselves to you, no matter how long you waddle around the level flapping your wings and honking to no effect. You can always Google a walkthrough, but something more subtle and built-in would have been a worthy inclusion.

The value proposition for Untitled Goose Game is… well, suspect. House House is up against a lot of great competition on the eShop, especially around the $20 asking price. My gut tells me that the game will perform well during sales, but otherwise will have a hard time convincing people to part with a crisp green Jackson.

Conclusion: Untitled Goose Game is a tight, fun, memorable experience that leaves the player wanting more.

7/10

How GameStop Betrayed Game Informer

On Tuesday, August 20th, a series of tweets from different Game Informer writers made it clear that something was amiss. One after another, employees of the longstanding gaming magazine informed their followers that they had been let go.
The first tweet I saw made me sad. When I started noticing more, I became worried.
They all had a common theme: the parent company, GameStop, had unceremoniously dropped seven staff members from the editorial roster. Via email, no less.

As part of the gaming industry, you and I have known that GameStop has seen better days financially. Even so, the sheer number of layoffs that hit the GI office, and the unprofessional and scummy way in which these employees were let go, was shocking.

Here’s a sampling of the injustices that took place:

  • GameStop also let go several GameStop associates on the same day, equalling a staggering 14% of their personnel. However, they fired a disproportionate amount of GI staff when they gave the axe to 7 out of their 19 editorial team members, crippling the magazine’s manpower in one fell swoop.Javy was notified of his employment termination while overseas, covering Gamescom in Germany. Can you imagine being on a business trip, giving up evenings and weekends at home for a company, only for them to fire you in the middle of the convention you’re covering?
  • Jeff Marchiafava received his notice while he was on vacation. And I sincerely hope he was able to find some enjoyment during his travels, meanwhile having to deal with this terrible and life-changing news.
  • GameStop proceeded to lock these employees out of Game Informer headquarters, so they couldn’t even grab their own belongings without setting up an appointment like some kind of outsider.
  • The corporation couldn’t even be bothered to allow the employees’ health insurance to remain intact through the end of the month, a mere week and a half, forcing these former staff members to go without coverage for the time being or purchase extremely expensive COBRA plans.
  • Not only were the seven ex-employees given no advanced notice, but the layoffs also appear to have taken the Game Informer Editor in Chief, Andy MacNamara, by surprise, giving him no time to prepare for print deadlines and Human Resources nightmares.
  • GameStop also let go several GameStop associates on the same day, equalling a staggering 14% of their personnel. However, they fired a disproportionate amount of GI staff when they gave the axe to 7 out of their 19 editorial team members, crippling the magazine’s manpower in one fell swoop.

All of the factors I cited lead me to believe that GameStop was completely and utterly out of touch with the GI side of their business. The ignorance and uncaring attitude that would cause someone to be let go while overseas is disgusting! The fact that Andy had no say in who was more or less crucial to the team is unbelievable!

I understand that layoffs are an unfortunate reality of business sometimes. But they don’t need to be handled this horribly.

On Monday, the Game Informer office was made up of 19 editors, with a few people gone for vacation or work trips. On Tuesday, 12 remained. It was as if Thanos grabbed his Infinity Gauntlet and snapped a huge portion of them out of existence. This is the type of event we would expect in an Avengers movie—in a fiction story. But it was their reality.

After such devastating blows, fans of Game Informer were reasonably wondering if this spelled the end for the publication, but we have received confirmation that GI issues will continue to be produced.
The Editor in Chief also laid to rest concerns that the print edition had become unsustainable, saying that the magazine will continue to be available in physical and digital formats.

The fact that the magazine is continuing is a testament to the team’s tenacity. But the scars of GameStop’s betrayal remain; destroying remaining team’s morale, their trust, and their sense of job security.
Continuing to cover all the news in the industry, pumping out entertaining podcasts and videos, all the functions of Game Informer now seem like monumental tasks on an emotional level in the wake of “corporate restructuring.”

So what does this mean for me?
I will not support GameStop. Honestly, I haven’t stepped foot in their stores for a long time, and I won’t ever need to. There are better deals everywhere and I can’t give my money to a dying business that treats its staff members as expendable commodities.

I will, however, increase my support for GI. I will subscribe digitally, or get the more expensive print subscription directly from their website, avoiding the PowerUp rewards program through Gamestop.

I’ve already started networking with some of the industry professionals I know that may be hiring, recommending the excellent writers who are now looking for work.

And I will also continue to be vocal with my gratitude for the GI team. Their podcast has always been severely underrated; it’s long, consistent, has zero ads (they never mention GameStop, and they don’t even plug their own magazine!), they have a rotating panel of experts, always give a generous amount of time for listener mail, they include detailed timestamps in their shownotes, etc.)

As a whole, their outlet deserves more respect. It’s one of the only gaming industry mediums that has remained pure, largely avoiding politics and entertainment focus, keeping games first and diving deep in journalism, traveling the world for expansive cover stories.

Please show Game Informer some love. They deserve it.
Game Informer: https://www.gameinformer.com
Subscribe: https://www.gameinformer.com/index.php/subscribe
GI Podcast: https://www.gameinformer.com/p/gishow.aspx
GI YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/gameinformer

The 7 ex-employees:
https://twitter.com/elisefavis
https://twitter.com/imranzomg
https://twitter.com/GIJeffM
https://twitter.com/KyleMHilliard
https://twitter.com/mattbertz
https://twitter.com/SurielVazquez
http://javygwaltney.net

Savor It Scott's Thoughts: Smash Ultimate is HERE!

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is here! This blog post concludes the Ultimate Countdown.

What a wait it has been! It’s been so fun to see glimpses of this game over the past nine months, and the next character reveal was always an event to look forward to.

Now we have the game in our hands, and our wait has been rewarded.

Savor it.

To savor is to enjoy completely. 

This game has to be the title with the most content, the most replayability, of any Nintendo game ever!

Nintendo fans have a horrible reputation for being insatiable, for calling a game “old news” the week after it hits store shelves.

It be tempting to start calling for certain balance patches, to create campaigns for additional DLC…

But this time, what about being content? How about being satiated? Let’s appreciate Sakurai, the development team, the marketing folks at Nintendo, the Treehouse testers, everyone who was involved in making this superb title.

And let’s enjoy it fully for years to come.

My Release Night Plans Scott's Thoughts: 1 Day to Smash Ultimate

It’s Thursday—AKA, RELEASE NIGHT!

We’ve endured the long wait for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, although if you think about it… the wait really hasn’t been that long! We only learned about this title in March, and development faced zero known delays, something that’s almost unheard of for this series.

Word on the street (read: Reddit) is that eShop servers will update at midnight Eastern, which is fortunately 9pm in Pacific timezone where I live. If you preloaded the game digitally, that’s when it should unlock on your home screen!

Simeon and I are ready and extremely excited to play. I just wanted to share a quick post about our plans for release night.

  • Get done with a meeting about 8:15pm. It absolutely must NOT go late, or there will be consequences!
  • Rush to Best Buy so I can pick up my physical copy at 9pm.
  • Simeon will accompany me, and will then use his phone’s mobile-hotspot feature to connect his Switch and unlock his digital copy.
  • Speed through every red light and stop sign to arrive at home. Periodically shoot Simeon dirty looks of jealousy as his Switch’s speakers emit sounds of smashing in the passenger seat.
  • Scale the 3 flights of stairs up to my apartment in about 7.3 seconds.
  • Slam the cartridge into my Switch (after a quick lick).
  • Start up a stream on our YouTube channel [ring that bell to get notified when we go live].
  • Unlock characters as fast as possible.
  • Kick Simeon’s sorry tushy with Dark Samus.

If you’re not picking up the game and playing it right away, we’d love to have you join our release night stream!

I’ve got one more blog post in this series, publishing tomorrow, Dec. 7th at noon Pacific.

TBC 016: Custom Robo Retrospective

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The Two Button Crew makes a surprise return! We’re here to discuss… Custom Robo of all things! And who better to have on the podcast than Nathan Blake of Nathan Blake Games, Custom Robo expert?! Listeners are in for a treat.

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“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Will there Be Another Smash? Scott's Thoughts: 2 Days to Smash Ultimate


ul·ti·mate
/ˈəltəmət/

noun: the best achievable or imaginable of its kind.
adjective: 
being or happening at the end of a process; final.


Will Super Smash Bros. Ultimate be the last game in the series? Is the subtitle more of a noun, or an adjective?

It certainly seems that this 5th entry in the series is a celebration of all things Smash. Until E3 2018, we were unsure if the Switch would see a simple port of the Wii U game, or if we would get a true sequel. From the moment the words “Everyone is Here” flashed across our screens, we knew that this game was something special.

With every character and nearly every stage reporting for battle, it’s easy to see why some would think this is the climax of the franchise.

Not to mention Sakurai’s constant threats that he may be finished with Smash development after each entry nearly kills him. He calls the games being completed a “miracle” and has battled various physical conditions while new games are in development, often putting strain on his wrists and his sleep schedule.

I believe we’re nearing a time of turnover in Nintendo’s headquarters in Japan. Of course, the President’s chair has seen a few different occupants in recent years, but their stable of developers and directors is also showing its age. Miyamoto-san has been actively raising the next generation of Mario makers, resulting in many of the new ideas found in Super Mario Odyssey. It’s only a matter of years before Aunoma decides that it’s time to retire as well.

Sakurai is a bit younger than his aforementioned contemporaries, but has seen more crunch-time than just about anyone in the industry. He also tends to take on more responsibility than necessary, insisting on doing all the balancing himself by hand. Carrying a franchise as large as Super Smash Bros., with a roster as big as it’s grown, is too big a burden for one man.

I can easily see Sakurai stepping down after Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If he had additional games in him, I don’t think this Switch title would have gotten the name it did.

Now, from a business perspective it’s hard to imagine a world without a new SSB game in the pipeline. It’s one of Nintendo’s most dearly loved franchises, one of their best selling series, and is one of their few tenuous connections to hardcore, competitive gaming and events like EVO and Genesis.

I don’t think Nintendo will ever let Super Smash Bros. die, but Sakurai will likely pass the leadership on after the Fighter Pass DLC is complete.