Well, it came without much warning, but we had a feeling we would see a Nintendo Direct dedicated to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate before its release in December. There were a few things I could gripe about (like the fact that both Zero and Shovel Knight got the Waluigi treatment), but it contained so much to be excited for! As opposed to going into every incredible detail about how what we saw will make the upcoming Smash Bros. game the best yet, I want to just talk about three.
1. Sakurai Is Using Common Sense
You would think that a company of Nintendo’s stature would apply logic in conducting their business. Moves like the Nintendo Creators Program will quickly prove the opposite. Often the unorthodox thinking of the company’s big players is what makes their games wonderful and unique. Indeed, the wonderfully creative fighting system that is Smash Bros. would not exist without the unique spin Sakurai threw on the fighting game.
However, the Smash series has been plagued by several head-scratching decisions that should have been tossed out right away. For instance, every time you power off and on the game, the ruleset you used for your previous session is completely erased, and you are left with a wonky default that nobody likes. FINALLY, Sakurai has implemented the feature of saving preset rulesets, and forcing you to look at them before you start a match. Just about every fighting game I know saves your rules, and it is about time Smash does, too.
But Sakurai has gone beyond this. As opposed to waiting for correction, he goes one step beyond, taking something that was not lacking before, and pushing it to be the best it could be. “Our game has one of the most expansive sound tracks of all time? Let’s not only allow players to pick music for their stages in the way that makes the most sense, but maybe we should turn the Switch into a boom box so that the players can listen to the music whenever they want?” Integrated crew battles and a beefed-up training mode were not necessarily on everyone’s wish list, but they show that the game was designed with the community in mind.
2. All of the Classics Are Here.
With the insertion of Simon and Richter Belmont, just about all of the developers that were powerhouses in the NES days are represented: Nintendo (of course), SEGA, Capcom, Namco, and now Konami. Not only is it great to see rivalries of old come to peace, but if it was not clear before we can see that anyone can join Smash. Time, obscurity, and party lines are no barricades for the roster. Except Rare characters. That will never happen.
3. Echo Fighters Are… Kind of… Cool?
OK, so maybe Two Button Crew has made fun of Echo Fighters a number of times already, and maybe the distinction between who is an echo fighter and who is not one is kind of arbitrary… but more fighters means more fighters, right? We already know that echo fighters do not take much time to develop. Have you never wished that a character could be tweaked just a little bit? Echoes are a clever way of handling that. Will it make the game more difficult to balance? Well, maybe, but a game that already has as many characters as Ultimate will have is going to be heck to balance anyway. More at less cost is better here.
Needless to say, this fan is ready for one of Nintendo’s greatest releases this fall.
I may have been late to the bandwagon, but there is no denying the fun that is Fortnite. If you are tired of hearing about this game, and have not yet played it, I highly recommend you give it at least a try. And now is the perfect time to join! It’s the start of a new season, which means that the map is new, there are new weapons and features, and everyone is getting used to them together. Plus, it Is free to play on Switch (or computer, if you’re taking a more tactical approach)!
Enough advertising. I was skeptical to start playing Fortnite for a number of reasons, including:
The game has been out for a while, which means I thought I had no chance (which turned out not to be the case).
I am not very good at, or typically drawn to, any type of shooting game.
The game is super popular, and sometimes I’m a hipster hater like that.
In the end, though, after an invitation from Scott, I finally succumbed and gave it a shot. Scott had been introduced by his brother, and it was his turn to bring me into the fold. After a round or two of battle royale (100 competitors all against each other) I was cracking the top twenty, and my turns were regularly lasting longer than Scott’s. Unbeknownst to me, I began to unlock some mind games that, although not beneficial for me, threw my buddy into a mood.
During one particular match as I decided which shotgun was better to keep, Scott, having been unable to find a gun his previous match, mocked with, “HUH! SHOULD I HAVE PUMP SHOTGUN, OR SHOTGUN PUMP?!” His brother and I were the only ones laughing.
After a day or so, Scott and I had about evened out, regularly placing in the top ten, but never claiming the elusive first place.
My wife happened to be with me on one such visit and requested to give it a shot to see what the big deal was. My wife is by no means a gamer, and I was elated that she was willing to give this ridiculous game that held her husband captive a shot. She dropped from the flying bus pretty much straight down next to the lake with a cabin situated on an island in the middle of it. without a gun, she marched through the lake, up the hill, and into the house without any opposition. Climbing the stairs, she entered a room with an occupant, and the rest of us (Scott, his wife and brother, and myself) cried out in shock! Swinging her pickaxe, she slew the unwitting squatter and took his gun.
We cheered and yelled through each step of her run, as the storm slowly forced her out of the house, making her take cover on the shores where the eye set up camp for the rest of the game. She crouched and crawled around as the number of remaining players dwindled. A port-a-fort popped up in the valley below. She popped out of cover, lobbing a stink grenade into the opening. Though she was not credited with the kill, we all saw that the bomb’s victim was killed after being forced into the open.
Eventually, the streak came to an end, and my significant other was slain. Her first game’s placement? Third place. We were all flabbergasted at the results. But her results were no fluke: her next two runs landed her in second and fifth respectively.
Though Scott has finally netted several victory royales since, the two of us were both jealous of my wife’s success. I had my very own piece of humble pie to eat. No matter the game, sometimes salty humble pie is the fuel of champions.
After this year’s E3 video presentation, the consensus among the Crew here at TBC is that, as a whole, it was a little disappointing. There were very few “surprises”, and, though we were excited to see Smash Bros., we felt like the amount of time they spent showing us what they showed us was not wisely used. You can see our in-depth E3 reactions here.
Even so, Nintendo can’t present a game for a half-hour at E3 and not show anything to get excited about (don’t. Just… Don’t). In the spirit of contented mess, I wanted to draw attention to three things about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that should get us excited.
#1: Port-Like Qualities
This may sound like something to gripe about, but I see so many advantages to all of the similarities between Sm4sh and Ultimate. First, some minute balance issues aside, Sm4sh was a fantastic fighting game. My hopes for the upcoming title were that it was either a totally new direction for the series (ala Marvel Vs. Capcom) or a tweaked port, and it looked like the Big N granted my latter wish. Do we really need major “improvements” when what we have is already great? I do not think so.
Second, porting a game with slight changes should take less time and cause fewer problems at the game’s release. For Sakurai’s sake, I hope this is the case. The man’s tireless dedication to his work is legendary, and he needs some sleep.
#2: Attention to Audience
Super Smash Bros. has evolved a lot over time. It started out as a fun new foray into the crossover fighting genre. Melee made the game more competitive. Brawl fleshed out the single player experience as well as made the game more accessible to newcomers. Smash for 3DS and Wii U fleshed out previous imperfections, making it clear that, though party elements are still very much present, it had grown into a well-balanced fighting game.
With the last entry, especially, we saw a shift in the developers listening more to the competitive fans. Even in the simple gesture of placing the stage select before the character select, we see that Ultimate will continue this tradition. They are piecing elements of what made each of the previous entries great and unique together to make happy a crowd that has wanted to see this series taken seriously. Sakurai shaking his head at imbalances, roll staling, ”easy” character unlocking, and more keep me excited for release.
#3: Everybody’s here!
So what if “Echo Fighter” is just an attempt to avoid calling characters “clones”? The fact that every fighter from all previous games is playable right out of the box has me stoked! The fact that Sakurai stated that there will be few new characters does not have me concerned for a number of reasons. First, the amount of free characters is more than any previous game in its final state, and we do not have to pay extra to have that. Second, Sm4sh had a large enough roster as it was. Throwing in more characters makes the game more and more difficult to balance. Lastly, I think Sakurai is not quite being honest with us. The DLC support for the previous game was extensive, and, though the initial bundle might not be teeming with new characters, I am sure we will see more newcomers after first release.
Nintendo’s Direct this year might not have been knock-your-socks-off great, I think there are plenty of things for which to be grateful. I think ultimately (see what I did there?) what I am trying to say is that people who are complaining about the lack of Animal Crossing need to grow up and realize they got a game every year for the past three.
I know that what you do is an art form. You strive hour after hour to perfect your masterpiece. You build hype the best you can in order that as many people as possible will enjoy your work. You are a craftsperson, you are a businessperson. You are an artist. You are good at what you do.
Dear video game developer…
Stop it. Stop it, please.
I despise your talent. I hate it because you are too good at what you do. Because you pour your blood sweat and tears into your Sistine Chapel of a game, I never want to stop playing. And it’s not just one of you, it is so many talented individuals who create endless grand adventures. I cannot be separated from your works. My only hope to play all of these amazing games is for you all to quit now. I implore you; have mercy.
Now, to those of you who make bad games, on the other hand, please, I beg of you, never stop. In the spirit of Two Button Crew, your terrible games bring me most profound joy. They bring me a laugh, or, at the very least, a scowl of confusion. Your immediate stench alerts me to the fact that I have encountered the extent of what you have to offer me in the first five minutes. You bring me smiles. You bring me tears. You make me want to pull my hair out because of your painfully obvious design flaws. Most importantly, you give me no incentive to come back for more, so that I can move on to the next piece of garbage. Our love is a passionate, though brief, one.
Oh, the pains of pleasure! To hate to love, or to love to hate? Why must this mortal frame force me to choose betwixt the two? For to do both would throw me into a deep valley and leech my time to naught.
I hate art. Well, to be more correct, I hate the concept of art. I am (as many of you reading this are) a man who likes concrete answers. Numbers. Black and white. Objectivity. Things that escape exactness vex me. With much art (especially of the abstract variety) not only do I not understand it, but I do not understand why I do not understand it. Why can it not be like math: “It is right (or wrong), and this is the reason why it is right (or wrong)”. At least give me a scale of one to ten to deal with, please!
Many of you can sympathize with my pain. Some of you are probably shaking your head, thinking, “You poor, lost soul.” Indeed, today I will tell you the tale of how this poor soul became lost, and how it found its way home. And I promise you that I will tie it back into video games in the end.
This story opens, as many others do, with a small child, happy in his home. He loves video games, movies, and sharing these experiences with his friends and family. This child… was me. I’ve watched comedies from the ‘30’s, the latest Disney releases, and all sorts in between. Of course, some movies I liked better than others and had my favorites, but I always recognized that a film was built to entertain me.
And entertain me they did; I hardly ever remember being bored while watching a movie as a kid. Other children would play, goof off, or run into the other room when a movie was playing. I do not know whether it was some etiquette I learned or a part of my nature, but once the screen flickered on, my eyes were glued. I was mystified at the thought that someone would get up to go to the bathroom or to get snacks in the theater. I still am, actually.
When you are a child things are bigger, magical, and you cannot see the little imperfections. This age of blissful ignorance lasted for some time: years, in fact. I still remember that fateful day when it all changed.
My oldest brother brought home a VHS tape from the video rental store (obligatory age joke here) and showed me the box. A phrase akin to “Winner of the Golden Turkey Award!” was displayed across the back. It was a film called Plan 9 from Outer Space, a 1959 b-movie about aliens and zombies. As I held it in my hands he told me, “This is the worst movie ever made.”
My eyes grew wide as he popped it in the VCR and pressed play. I was met by acting so bad I could hardly believe and pie tins held up by fishing line to be passed off as UFO’s. I strained to follow the plot as well as keep my eyes from closing or from looking at the clock. I never did finish the movie, but it had left its forever impression on me.
Of course, we laughed at how horrible it was. Eventually, though, the laughter subsided, and I was left with the question echoing in my head: “How could something be ‘the worst’?” Quite a simple question on its face, but it carries a lot of weight with it. By calling something “the worst”, you admit that a movie can be “bad”. From here all that needs to be decided is the metric which one uses to determine what is good and what is bad, and to what extent either is displayed. If you have watched “Dead Poets Society”, you may have already caught my fallacy. Unfortunately for me, my propensity to measure in finite terms took me for a longer drive than would be pleasant.
For some years I tried in vain to measure the virtue of each art piece I consumed: movies, books, and especially video games. Not only did I point out why things I liked were great, but I could tell you as a fact why your choice was inferior. It did not help me that often my choice of company had similarly staunch opinions. If my knowledge ever fell short, they would be sure to educate me on what was the “best”.
It was during this period that Two Button Crew was in its primordial stages. It may or may not have had the same name, but Scott and I had started game journalism and reviews. We did not really have any “in” with Nintendo (or any following to speak of, for that matter), but that never kept us from producing content. We made blogs, podcasts, and even let’s-plays of Nintendo’s most recent. Scott’s frequent trips to Game Stop also got us a sweet deal: one of the managers let Scott take home a review copy of some recent games for a time. We would scrutinize them, looking for each imperfection in any jewel we were handed. Every new game became a performer, and we sat as the audience with a handful of tomatoes should it have any slip-ups. I even went so far so as to draw up a formula to determine a game’s definitive score in search, not of the best game, but of the perfect game. My philosophy told me that a perfect game could only come from one of two genres. Does all of this seem a little pretentious?
Needless to say, the search for a perfect game was a futile exercise. Video games became homework instead of leisure. Critics are supposed to expose errors, I thought. I had mistaken a critic for a cynic.
Surrendering the Yardstick:
Eventually, Scott noticed that playing video games no longer made us happy. It had become a chore. I remember him asking me, “Why aren’t video games fun anymore?” We both breathed a sigh and admitted our error. We were so focused on the negative. Video game reviews are meant to help others have fun, not to make a statement of truth to be etched into the obelisk of morality. We made a pact to each other to have fun playing games again.
And it worked! Over the next years I began not only enjoying games more, but my movies, too (I stopped reading books for fun. School can do that to you, kids). Every time I watch a movie I try to identify the things I like as well as things I dislike. It drives my wife nuts when I tell her that I like a movie, and then spend a half hour explaining the problems I had with it. Critical thinking, not cynicism, enhances my enjoyment of media. I see criticism, discerning consumption, like eating a meal: sure I could scarf down my steak, but I will enjoy it much more if I chew each bite, taking in the texture and smell as I appreciate the unique situation around me. Whether you find me in a fancy restaurant or a dive, I hope you see a smile on my face as I take in that one-of-a-kind moment. The same goes for media. Even from the two movies I hate most I picked out a few things I liked.
Does this mean that I think that video game reviews are pointless? No. Do I think we should throw out rating scales? No, I don’t. My hope is that this journey has made me a better reviewer with a better rating scale. What I do think, however, is that each game is an experience. That experience will leave you with a memory. Don’t let anyone take that memory from you.
With Nintendo Labo announced, something that is sure to change the way we view how video games control, I find it appropriate to look back on some of the times that Nintendo flipped game control on its head. Now, obviously, not every time Nintendo ventures into an unexplored frontier is a smashing success, but they are usually the only company “daring” enough to branch out as far as they do. Games like WarioWare: Twisted, Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, and 1-2-Switch brought a whole new dimension to gaming that took the geniuses from the Big N to complete. Today, I will be adding three new games to the Nintendo Experience that challenged the boundaries of what it meant to be “in control”. (If you are not sure what the “Nintendo Experience” is, check out the previous blog posts).
Donkey Konga was Nintendo’s attempt at jumping into the (then-budding) rhythm genre. It was a little more entry-level than staples like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, a little more immersive than Parappa the Rapper, and, of course, containing that Nintendo charm. Overall, it was an average game with mediocre covers of classic songs, but it did give birth to the DK Bongo peripheral. Once you had enough of Donkey Konga and its sequel (and tried it out on Smash Bros.), there did not seem to be much use for the hunk of plastic; I mean, if you consider the size-to-button ratio, you are losing the space-saving-game.
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GameCube)
Leave it to Nintendo to make a deep, compelling platformer that only uses two buttons. Consumers had the option to buy the whole package, including the bongos, or just the disc if you had the bongos already (you could also play it with the normal GameCube controller, but where’s the fun in that?). This game was fantastic, and is a must-play for fans of Nintendo that want that truly unique hybrid experience.
Wii Sports (Wii)
What more can I say about Wii Sports than has already been said? Motion controls may not have turned out how we thought they would (only seeing wide application currently paired with VR or AR), but it was really nothing before Wii Sports. Now, it is true that there was motion control games before Wii Sports, and that the Wiimote was not 1:1 like we (at least, I) thought, but from the first time I picked up this game, my view of what video games could be was never the same. I do not think I need to elaborate too much further, as I can almost be certain that everyone reading this blog has either played this or, at least, its sequel, Wii Sports Resort, and had a similar life-altering experience.
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
Just as Twilight Princess rolled the dice with motion controls in a beloved Nintendo franchise, Metroid Prime 3 similarly pioneered how the Wiimote would handle first person shooters. Other FPS’s had released on the Wii by the time Prime 3 was released, but those could not be compared to what Corruption brought to the table: not in genre, and certainly not in successful execution. In fact, Prime 3 controlled so great that Nintendo decided to re-release all three games of the trilogy with the new Wiimote controls. The world it created and the story it tells are fantastic as well, but the way Samus controls in the new age was forever revolutionized by this fantastic piece of Nintendo history.
These are just a few examples of Nintendo’s abstractly-controlled masterpieces. What are some of your favorites? The Nintendo Experience continues to grow…
Sequels typically have one of three purposes. They are either meant to continue a story, to make a game more “current” or sensible to modern trends (we see this often with fighting games), or to simply improve the original. Usually, a combination of those three purposes can be seen when a sequel is announced with new features or characters to make you want to buy the next edition; I mean, if it were the same game, or an intentionally worse game, there would be little motivation to purchase it. Sometimes, the sequel is different enough to motivate us to return to it regularly, whether that be for the story, level design, or some other reason. For many games, though, especially in competitive series, when a sequel is released the previous title is abandoned almost completely. I find it helpful, occasionally to return to the oft-inferior predecessors to see just how far we have come and maybe appreciate something we lost along the way to where we are now.
Today, I will be comparing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch to Super Mario Kart for SNES. It is handy that Nintendo has just re-released the latter via SNES Classic, so if you want to experience the difference that 20+ years makes to a sequel, Nintendo has made it easier (as long as you can get your hands on one)! There are so many ways in which the series has improved, but I would like to focus on the ways that the original has some advantages over the most recent entry. Also note, some of these features are shared by other entries in the series but were phased out at some point along the way.
I know that “simplicity” is my fancy word for “fewer features”, but hear me out. When you boot up Mario Kart 8, you are greeted with a host of options and customization possibilities which the game may or may not explain to you. Yes, the options may seem primitive, and MK8D has its own options to make it easier for newcomers, but it is still a lot to process when you first boot it up.
With SMK, there are eight characters, each with their own attributes. No need to worry about whether the kart choice is the best or whether your tires are giving you the best advantage. Each character is a little different. Mario and Luigi are well-rounded, while Bowser takes it slower but has much more control. It makes it easy for someone who has never played to pick up a controller and not have to worry about harming their chances with a customization choice.
2: “Retry” button
Flow is important in multiplayer games. You want to keep the action quickly moving with few interruptions. In MK8D you first have to set the number of races in each set, which means you have a definite start and end to the set. After those races, the game kicks you out to the main menu and you start over again. In SMK, unless you decide to play a cup, the game sets you loose to play as many races as you want in a row, only keeping an overall win counter.
When my wife and I play Mario Kart, we often find ourselves wanting a rematch on the same track. MK8D kicks you back to the track select screen each time (a product of setting the number of races you play), whereas SMK gives you the option for an immediate replay without any loading time. I know this seems like a nit-pick, but having to go back through a menu when you want a quick rematch takes you out of the experience a little bit.
3: Donkey Kong Jr.
It has been a while since this little guy has been swept under the rug. A forgotten relic of a bygone era. Rest in peace, little buddy.
4: The Feather
Now, I know the feather is present in MK8D, but they removed it from the racing mode, which took away much of its usefulness. Need to make a shortcut? Use a feather. Need to cut a corner especially tight? Use a feather. Need to get out of the way of a red shell? … Well, that leads into my next point.
Items are kind of the bane of my existence in MK8D. If someone hurls a red shell at you (unless you have properly-placed protection, of course), it will hit you. It will snake around just about every corner and object, break all speed barriers, and it will hit you. In SMK, as long as you are paying attention, you can duck around a corner to outsmart it. You can fly into the air using a feather, because, as it should be, shells stay on the ground. Also, if you are especially skilled (or lucky), you can place a well-timed hop to dodge a shell on its way toward you. The newest entry removes just about any skill element to this dynamic. Your fate is sealed.
6: NO BLUE SHELL
Ever been bumping along in first place, no one is around, you are having the lap of a lifetime. Then, the dinging starts. You know what that means…
The blue shell is on its way to ruin your day. Now, I do want to point out two things. One, the blue shell was implemented to give everyone a chance at winning a race. But does that mean the blue shell should be as common as it is? Perhaps once every third race is more appropriate (as more of a “Hail Mary” than an “Oh, I’ll just wait till whoever is in last throws one”). Second, MK8 did introduce the “boom box” (I honestly do not care what its actual name is) to give the assaultee a possible defensive mechanism. These seem to be more rare than the blue shells, though.
Super Mario Kart, if I am not mistaken, is the only game in the series without the blue shell. This means that not only is the game kind to beginners (keeping the options simple so they can jump in right away), but it also rewards the skill of experienced players without punishing them for their hard work.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a great game to play, and I recommend it if you have not yet picked it up. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the features we have lost along the way, though, and I am glad we will always have the classics.
In the coming year, as we forge into the fast-approaching unknown, may the enjoyment we derive from our leisure activities grow. Whenever those opportunities present themselves, however often or not, may they find us smiling. I hope that we find games that make us happy. For some it will be our favorite developers’ newest creative endeavors. Others will rely on retro titles revisited for the “nth” occasion. Console loyalists, PC gamers, mobile gamers, all. May 2018 be a year of gratitude for the art in our medium.
Lastly, may 2018 be the year in which we play together, more than any year before. The love of a community amplifies mirth. Join me in raising a glass (filled whatever it is you toast with). To the Crew and all other gamers out there. May we have a blessed 2018.
Some of you, the Crew, may have noticed that I am usually a little behind the times when it comes to my hardware library. If you were to ask me what I have been playing recently, you will probably catch me talking about Smash Bros. or about an older handheld title. It is an interesting dynamic, keeping up on current Nintendo news and zeitgeist, while not updating my Nintendo library alongside other Nintendo fans.
But I know it is not just me that has a hard time keeping up with Nintendo’s ever-expanding hardware and software library. I would like to start a discussion here on being a Nintendo fan on a budget. I want to keep it practical and easy, and I will kick it off with a few of my own tips and tricks.
Manage your Expectations
Before we get to practical application, we have to begin with the proper mindset. As I said before, Nintendo never stops making great consoles and games. It is not possible for pretty much any Nintendo fan to acquire everything they put out, much less spend quality time with each game. Not only can the quantity be overwhelming, but, just like it would be with any other hobby, playing video games is expensive. It may be true that gaming now is more affordable than ever, but that does not change the fact that even (most) gamers have bills to pay.
Also, refuse to get caught up in “must-play” mentality. It is fine to set goals of games you want to eventually play, but, as I have gone on record saying, do not let other people dictate the games you play. Just because a game is “10/10” or a “classic” does not mean you have to play it to be a Nintendo fan. Do not feel pressured into playing a game. It is likely you will not enjoy your experience, and the anxiety to acquire and complete that title is not worth it.
Bum Off your Friends
This is one I do a lot. There are some titles that are worth owning, and you and a friend each have your own copies. Often times with fighting games and other competitive games, you will want a copy for yourself to be able to play and improve at your own pace. Many other single-player ventures, however, can be experienced once through to satisfy your need. In these instances, it is handy to have a friend that can lend you the game and/or system. It is how friendships should work.
(Okay, maybe “bum off your friends” is a little over the top, but it gets my point across.)
Scott has lent me games on numerous occasions, and I have lent him some of my own things as well. Reciprocation is a healthy way to build a friendship. Often Scott will be too busy to play for a month, so he will allow me to borrow a game for that period. Currently, my wife and I are enjoying the SNES Classic. Later on, he just might have a problem that I’d understand. We all need somebody to lean on.
Check Pawn Shops
Now, no matter where you go, new equipment and games will probably cost you a few coins. But, if you have managed to manage your expectations properly (see what I did there?), you will not be driven by your need for the new stuff. This is where you have a decision to make: do you save up some money and/or wait for the new stuff to come down in price, or do you go for the bargain old junk at the pawn shop or eBay? Nintendo has so many classics to explore for the systems that you already own, and they can be more than reasonable in price.
Also, with pawn shops, you never know what you will find. Maybe you will run across a rare gem that would be exorbitantly priced elsewhere, or you might find a game that looks cheesy and bad for twenty-five cents, take it home, and make a new memory of the terrible piece of trash you found. You could even find a reasonably-priced old Nintendo console, allowing you to retread the glory days of your childhood, or see what gaming was like when your parents were kids.
Of course, if you want to get really edgy…
Foray into Non-Nintendo Fare
*Gasp!* Say it isn’t so! Am I suggesting you play something on a non-Nintendo console? Of course! If you have never owned a Sega console, pick one up at a local thrift store or pawn shop. I can recommend several titles, if you need any assistance digging for gold. All sorts of retro consoles wind up in second-hand stores, or in your uncle’s closet; grab one and try it out! Games can be cheap, and it exponentially broadens the field of games you can play. If anyone knows the value of playing retro games (even on non-Nintendo consoles), it is the staff here at Two Button Crew.
I hope this article has been an encouragement to you, especially if you are on a tight budget. You are not alone, and you can enjoy new experiences no matter your financial plan.
Mega Man is at a weird juncture in its life. It has been five years since the last actual game release with Street Fighter x Mega Man. But since then, there have been fan games released, a “spiritual successor” in Mighty No. 9, guest appearances in fighting games like Super Smash Bros., a cartoon series and movie announced, and a “big announcement” coming in December for his 30th anniversary, not to mention several collections for modern consoles of some of his classic adventures. I guess you could say that he is experiencing his own mid-life crisis, trying to find his identity in these unfamiliar times.
Not to alleviate that, it is my goal today to tell him that the franchise that bears his namesake is not about him. It may be rude to kick someone while they are down, but I want to bring some reality to the situation. First, I want to prove that Mega Man is NOT the central protagonist of his franchise, then present to whom I believe the spotlight has shifted.
In talking about this franchise, I would like to get some terminology out of the way. First, I will be using “series” and “franchise” in very different ways. “Franchise” will refer to all things Mega Man (especially media considered “canon”), and when I use “series” I will denote the specific subdivision of the franchise to which I am referring (i.e. classic, X, Battle Network, etc.)
Also, I will be dealing primarily with the “classic” timeline. For those of you unfamiliar, the Mega Man canon is divided up into 2 main timelines. The first is what I will refer to as the classic timeline. This includes the classic series, X series, Zero series, ZX Series, and Legends series. The second timeline, in which Dr. Light pursued software solutions as opposed to robotics, contains the Battle Network and Star Force series. It is a little more complicated than that, but, as I said, I will refrain from using those sources when I can.
I will also try to refrain from boring you with storyline minutia, though some talk of story points is inevitable. Consider this a spoiler warning… If you ever cared about the Mega Man storyline being spoiled for you…
Who is “Mega Man”?
The difficulty in defining Mega Man as the star of his own franchise begins with defining who you are referring to when you refer to Mega Man. Do you mean the classic 8-bit rendition, or the reploid named X, which bears resemblance? Perhaps you are referring to Mega Man Volnutt, or maybe the persona created by the fusion of Geo and Omega-Xis?
If you were to count characters commonly referred to as Mega Man (by games of fans) you would come up with no less than five, or three in the classic timeline, and possibly as many as twenty or more depending on which renditions you “count”. Even if you were to only count three, all of them are separate entities with their own origins and personalities which they do not share with any of the others. Also, no one of those characters plays a major part in all of those games or series.
The best way around this is to hold to a view that Mega Man is not a single entity, but rather an idea centered around championing peace, justice, and the color blue to a troubled world. At that point, Mega Man is no longer a character, but a loosely-defined set of characteristics that do not find themselves clearly stated in the games, but are then defined by the player. It is an entertaining thought, but hardly a basis of a character.
One champion above the others…?
Now that we are forced to chose one Mega Man, we must choose wisely. First, we should immediately eliminate Mega Man Volnutt from the equation. His series takes place thousands of years apart from the other series, holding only tangential story ties.
Next is the classic Mega Man. It was with him that the franchise began, and I think that it is safe to say that he was the original protagonist of the series. But this Mega Man does not have any direct influence after the time of the classic series end. Though nostalgia may cloud our vision, he had to pass the torch eventually.
Lastly, we have X, which I believe is the best of the Mega Man candidates. We see his origins in the classic series, created by Dr. Light as Mega Man’s successor and an experiment that one day robots might be just like humans. X’s main story begins in Mega Man X, extending through the X series. He fights in the Maverick Wars against Sigma and his underlings. X’s influence is seen through the Zero series (though not being the main protagonist) turning into a cyber elf, still fighting for the greater good, but dying-ish in Mega Man Zero 3. His soul returns in the form of Biometal Model X in the ZX series, continuing in his assistance to the current heroes.
No doubt X’s influence is felt throughout these time periods. His help in defeating Sigma countless times, as well as other threats against the earth cannot be overlooked. But even with all of these points, the developers have not ceased to draw our attention to the real star of the show.
Zero’s the Hero
Was there any doubt when you started reading this article who I would land on as the franchise’s main protagonist? Not only does Zero have a great design, killer moves, and hair that makes all the ladies jealous, but Zero is the central character of the Mega Man franchise as a whole.
First, there is the issue of presence. Of course, Zero is not clearly present in the Legends series (yet), but, once again, the Legends series is so far removed from the rest of the timeline that we must minimize its effect. Zero’s story, as X’s did, begins in the classic series with Wily’s creation of Bass as a rival to Mega Man. Though Bass failed to live up to Wily’s expectations, he studied the energy he had used to create Bass (called Bassnium, lol) to create the ultimate weapon. Here we see Zero’s sinister origins.
Before the events of the first Mega Man X game, Zero is shown to be a maverick (read: “crazed, destructive robot”), unstoppable by any of the Maverick Hunters except Sigma, and only that due to a headache caused by the Maverick Virus, which is released from Zero’s body upon defeat. Sigma has Zero brought back to the Maverick Hunters’ base.
From this point forward, the storyline of the series follows two repeating themes. The first is Zero’s redemption. Though Zero fights for truth, justice, and all that jazz, his primary struggle is against himself. In fact, just about everyone’s struggle from this point on, for the next few hundred years, at least, can be traced back to Zero, either directly, or in the form of the Maverick Virus, or some other “chunk” of Zero that finds its way to a sinister purpose. Sigma, the main villain from the X series, turned evil because he was infected by the Maverick Virus. All of these things set the stage for Zero to not only become the primary hero of the X series (and beyond), but also the primary antagonist, as he must fight to redeem his initial purpose as a weapon of evil and his past (and recurring) destructive actions. X is a hero for good that pretty much stays good. Boring.
The second theme is sacrifice and rebirth. As you may know, Zero dies. He dies A LOT. His deaths are not just the result of his defeats, however, as he routinely sacrifices himself for the greater good (defeating Vile on MMX, Sigma in X5, etc.). But just as the evil part of him is consistently brought back to life by some wicked plot, he always seems to find his way to the land of the living as well. The cycle continues at least through the ZX series, and probably beyond.
The passing of the torch
The last thing I feel I need to address is the “when”. When did the focus shift from Mega Man to Zero? I think the easiest answer is Mega Man X4, as we see a greater, overt emphasis on Zero’s role starting there (X1-3 seem to focus on X, X4-6 focus on Zero, and X7-8 on Axl), but I think we can go back a little further.
At the beginning of the first Mega Man X game, we see X defeated by Vile, and Zero swooping in to save the day. While giving X a pep talk Zero says, “If you use all the abilities you were designed with, you should become stronger…you may even become as powerful as I am.” From this point forward in the game, whenever X gains an armor upgrade, he becomes more and more like, say it with me, Zero (this point is taken from Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson’s Mega Man X Sequelitis video. There is strong language in the video, so follow it at your own risk)! Though X is the central protagonist, becoming like Zero is his ultimate goal. What is the plot of the Second X game? Rebuilding Zero after his heroism in the first game! Even when he is not alive, Zero is given the center stage. Though the plot in X3 does not necessarily revolve around him, he is still given an increasingly important role, as he is finally a playable character, setting the stage for him to be the center of attention for the rest of the series and, after that, the franchise.
So, there you have it. All roads in the Mega Man universe lead to Zero.
P.S. Did I mention that he also appears in the Battle Network timeline as well?
Recently I have been looking to downsize my video game collection. I am giving away and selling some old consoles, games, and accessories (blasphemy, I know). The fact is, I am a pack rat, but there are just some games that I do not play anymore, and I need to do some de-cluttering. I have had to think long and hard before I made the really difficult decision to toss some of the games in my closet, but the experience has been a freeing one. Not only do I have less “junk” lying around the house, but I no longer feel bound to my possessions, which is extremely freeing. So, if the thought of getting rid of a single game in your collection has you mumbling incoherently in the fetal position, let a fellow gamer lend you a hand.
These are the questions I ask myself of each game/piece of equipment I come across in my sorting adventures.
Do I even like this game?
I have a hard time getting rid of any game. I see that, as a thing, it has to have some sort of monetary value. I purchased it (or it was a gift to me), and, therefore, somebody spent good money on this! I cannot just throw it out, can I?
Well, it turns out I can. I do not really care for sports games, though my older brother did. I have cut a good portion of my clutter size down by being honest with myself, saying, “He might have liked this, and I might have had a good time or two, but I would rather be playing something else if I had the choice.” Remember the good times, but do not be afraid that your memories will fall out of your head if you get rid of something.
Does it work?
This is a similar question to the one above but is usually in reference to hardware. We either think, “I put money/time into this, even though it is broken.” Sometimes we try to rationalize, “I am going to get this fixed, someday!” even though you have no intention (much less the time or money) to actually fix it. I am not saying that broken equipment never has enough sentimental value to keep it solely “for old times’ sake”, but, like with bad games, if the memory is that important to you, it will not go away because your busted GameCube is in the dumpster.
How long has it been vs. how long have I had it?
This one is extremely practical. I have Wii games that I have had for years but never play anymore. They are going out with my next batch of games to be pawned at a small, but reasonable price.
Some games I have, though, just have not been given the chance to outstay their welcome. On one hand, I have hardly played Super Smash Bros. for 3DS since the release of the Wii U version. On the other hand, the game is only a few years old, and I have not had the chance, necessarily, to go “back” to it yet. Maybe I will want Smash Bros. on the go sometime soon. If I am asking myself that in ten years, however, I might have to take a second look.
There is another side to this, of course. Scott has been in the mood to sell his games soon after purchase because he does not see himself returning to the title. He gets the biggest bang for his buck by reselling right away, as opposed to seeing the game collect dust, and trying to get rid of it after the game is out of date.
Do I have this game in a more convenient form (Virtual Console, collections/anthologies, etc.)?
“But this is the original NES cartridge! Playing it on a modern console, even though it has been perfectly faithfully been ported, is just not the same!” This is one that, as a pack rat, I have had to wrestle with constantly. I am getting rid of many of my NES cartridges because I have them on collection elsewhere. Yes, this even includes some of my original series Mega Man games (but not my world record Mega Man 6 cart. That thing is getting framed or something). Collections are not only a great way to make accessing your games more convenient, but they also pave the way to downsizing, which is a good thing.
Is this an outdated version?
This question does not apply to most genres, as, usually, each version of a game brings something completely unique to the table. Fighting games, on the other hand, are often outdated by the next version. Is Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 REALLY worth keeping when you have the Ultimate version? Sure, there is a UI difference, but balancing patches and new characters have just made the update a better game. Let it go.
Do I have alternative console methods?
Because I have a Retron 3 I will probably be getting rid of my NES and SNES. The only downside to saying goodbye to them would be my inability to use my wireless NES multitap (though, if I got a wired one, my problem would be no more).
Also, you might have access to an emulator, like a Raspberry Pi. Not that I am advocating illegal emulation. Or admitting that I use my Raspberry Pi for emulation. I am not.
… Admitting it, that is.
These are some of the considerations that I used in sorting through my video game collection. Take it from someone who has been there: the process may be difficult, but the rewards are well worth it. Tune in next time as we discuss proper console dusting techniques!
Two months ago I wrote about why Smash Bros. is stupid. While I stand by what I said, I think it is time to balance out the conversation. There are so many problems with the Smash Bros. series, but there are so many things to love as well. These are just a few reasons to love these games.
The Characters. While there are a few characters on everyone’s wishlist that have not made it to a game yet (I’m looking at you, real Geno), Nintendo has done a pretty awesome job bringing out the best fighters from their own games as well as characters from other companies. When they confirmed Sonic in Brawl, I completely lost my mind. The same thing happened again when they showed Mega Man in Smash 4. They even polled the players to ask what characters they wanted to see as DLC, and they listened! Even if you were not familiar with a character when they introduced them (like the Fire Emblem characters), it would be nearly impossible to think of playing these games without them.
The uniqueness of each game. Many people complain about Melee being too fast-paced, or Brawl being too janky, but, honestly, I do not think the series would be complete without every single (official) iteration. The original demonstrated that fighting games did not have to be put in a box. Melee showed just how serious a Nintendo fighter could be. Brawl showed how a fighting game’s story mode could be fun and interesting, and gave us the ability to customize it to no end. The 3DS version allowed us to take it on the go (also, one of the top players in our region used his 3DS as a controller on the Wii U version because he was more comfortable with it at the time). The Wii U offering gave us everything we want in a modern fighting game, including online play, balancing patches, and worthwhile DLC.
Custom combos. Any fighting game worth its salt has some sort of combo system; one attack leads into another to create a devastating string of hits. Smash Bros is like that, but there isn’t a set system. Any combo has to be “discovered”, and not only that, but almost all of them are situational and can be performed at certain damage percentages. This means that you have to be creative as time progresses; you cannot just use the same combo over and over without any chance of dropping it. Smash Bros. is exciting, dynamic, and will never be formulaic because of this custom combo system.
Killing people with Luigi’s down taunt. Hahahaha… Hahaha… HAHAHA! That is great.
Low tier heroes. Now, I know that this is nothing new to the fighting game scene, but there is always something exciting about seeing a player do well who plays a character you do not see played often, or a character often considered “bad”. Watching someone tear through the bracket with Ganondorf or seeing Nairo switch to Bowser for certain matchups gets everyone hype! One of my all time favorite memories was a thrown-together tournament in the Brawl days at my college. I made it to grand finals with Ike, and I was up against one of the top players in the region, playing Peach. I ended up winning the match, using my low-tier character. Years later, Scott had the chance to talk with him, and he still recalled the event, mentioning I had a great Ike. That victory meant so much to me, not just for who my opponent was, but for the obstacle I overcame as someone who played a “bad” character.
Jank. Yes, I know this was on my list of things that made Smash Bros. stupid, but who does not love to see a nice jank compilation? Things happen in Smash Bros. that would never happen in other fighting games, simply because of the variables involved. A hitbox that extends far past what it should? OK. Characters that randomly start glowing? Sure! Samus’s Up-B killing at 15% or less?Why not?! Part of the fun of Smash Bros. is wondering what unpredictable thing you’re going to see next…. and then raging about it.
The Subspace Emissary. I already mentioned this, but, did you know that Brawl had a story mode? It was even pretty good! In fact, probably the most common complaint I hear about Smash 4’s transition from Brawl is that it did not carry over a story mode. It felt like they put time and effort into the stages and the bosses, and might have made a complete game by itself (maybe at a discounted price). I have not played it in a long time, but I can still remember specific parts of the story and how epic the scale of it was.
D1. Who does not like D1? No one, that’s who. (He’s the guy that we get the DEEEESSSSSTTTRRRRRRUCTION meme from. If you’ve never heard of it, well, I can’t help you!)
A million ways to play. When I play Smash Bros. I typically play it one of two ways: tournament rules singles and tournament rules doubles. I enjoy that. But even if I did not, I would never run out of ways to play Smash Bros.! Break the targets, arcade mode, all items on, custom stages, events, eight players, amiibo, weird token-pushy-offy game, story, board the platforms, Crazy Orders (or whatever it is called), coins, All-Star, multi-man, handicaps, three-on-one, metal+stamina… the list goes on! You could play the different Smash modes forever and never see it all. There are things to collect, secrets to unlock, and styles to invent. Whatever way you play games, the Smash Bros. series has something to offer you.
There are so many things to love about the Smash Bros. series that I could never list them in a readable blog. Share in the comments below what you love about Smash Bros.
TBC’s regular viewers (the Crew) are truly the people who make Two Button Crew work. If you are reading this, you are probably one of them. If you are not, we welcome all with open arms (more on that later)! With such a growing community, I thought it would be helpful to remind myself what makes our community unique.
With the exception of a few, TBC’s videos have had consistent views, which means that the same viewers come back day after day to watch our videos. Recently, Scott and I have gone back and looked at the low points of our daily show. But I realized that, even when our videos were not our best efforts, our fans were always there, watching faithfully… Except for the Mystery Block. No one watched the Mystery Block.
Our overall channel views (which just recently crossed the 100,000 mark. Yay!) and comments section corroborate this fact; many of our regulars comment on all of our videos. Speaking of YouTube comments…
Something that is so common in many communities, no matter what type, is toxicity. People tend to tear each other down and apart much more than they like to build each other up. The Crew has been nothing short of amazing in this aspect. Comments on our videos are nearly always positive, whether it is a compliment or a criticism; all of it is done with grace. It was recently suggested to me that we add a “rules” section to our Discord. My first reaction was, “Yeah, that’s a really good idea. Why haven’t we done that already?” Then I realized that it was because we have not had to worry about such problems before. Just this last week seven of you recommended Scott for a gaming journalism position on Twitter to IGN. Seven! Kindness like this is a unique characteristic for a gaming community. As the Crew grows, I hope this is something we never lose.
The last element I want to focus on is something I like to call progression. Everyone starts out watching a single video (I wonder how many of you can remember which one it was!); this is the “peruser” phase. A peruser is shopping around to see what channel is worth investing in. After a few views, a peruser might become a subscriber and enter the Crew. From here, subscribers become faithful watchers and commenters. Some of the Crew, after spending some time in the family, might even take the next step into patronage; this means that they not only believe that the Crew is worth investing their time but also their resources. This is crazy to me, and I am so grateful that there are so many who have taken that step. Beyond this, some (*cough* Glen *cough) have even become content creators for TBC. Not every member of the Crew finds his way into the inner circle, but it amazes me to see fans make their progression further into the Crew.
The Crew should go down in the history books as the greatest internet-based community ever. Thank you so much for supporting TBC.
If you ever have the chance to talk to Scott, ask him how I feel about Smash Bros. If he happens to recall all of the many times I’ve almost thrown my controller while playing it, he will remember to tell you that I hate those stinking piles of trash, and then probably begin laughing hysterically with memories of my salty tears.
Today, I am going to list reasons I despise the Smash Bros. series. I will not be focusing on one entry, but rather looking at the series as a whole. The list is also not exhaustive. The internet does not contain enough space to list all of this garbage. You may have found some of these same things frustrating, or you may not have. Let me enlighten you to the truth of these monstrosities:
The Crotch. I hate the crotch. For those of you who do not know what this means, it is a term I coined some years back referring to the point on the side of a stage (especially noticeable on Brawl’s Final Destination) at which one gets stuck while trying to recover. This was a major problem for Marth before they fixed things in Smash 4, as he would get stuck due to his forward momentum bringing his upward momentum into the crotch. FYI, you can also use crotch as a verb (“Oh, man, I just got crotched!“).
The invisible Ceiling, or Y-Cancelling. I’ve seen videos that say that Melee’s invisible ceiling is only noticeable when Luigi is being hit. That is so false. It is also extremely noticeable on Roy’s (and Marth’s) counter moves. That crap was extremely annoying.
Teching the sides of walls when you are going straight downward. What is this garbage?
Brawl had online. Hahaha! That was a thing! Hahaha! Oh, boy. Remember that funny joke? It was funny.
Nerfed Ike in Sm4sh. My favorite character to play in Brawl was Ike. It took a few patches, but Ike is finally at least semi-playable in Sm4sh. They did, however take out the best thing about him, which was that he had no landing lag on N-air, which allowed him to go straight into jab. That moment of landing lag is a killer.
Jank. No other competitive fighting game has this much jank, people, especially nowadays. That crap gets patched out. Why Samus’s standing up-B can kill at 0% I will never be able to explain to you.
Samus’ Matchups in Sm4sh. Speaking of Samus, she has some ridiculous matchups in the fourth Smash game. Samus may not be the best in the game, but Samus vs. Dorf or Samus vs. Ike is super dumb for the person who is not playing Samus.
Sm4sh’s “Voice Acting”. One of the first things I noticed about Sm4sh on release night was that a lot of the characters’ voice clips for the game were the same as Brawl. Now, that in itself is kind of lazy, but I get it. What I do not get is when ONE character has, like, THREE different voices! It’s especially noticeable in Dorf and Fox. You might be trying to recover and hear the sound of a chipmunk squeaking “Fire!”, Then the next moment, after your opponent has two-framed you, you hear the deep guttural bellows of 1,000 manly warriors entering the gates of Hades. What?
Playing Brawl on Wii U. It just drops inputs? WHY!? I have never had this problem with ANY other Wii game! Is there a reason? No. It’s just stupid.
B-Reversing. The reason I hate B-reversing is probably just a personal thing. I almost never try to do it intentionally, but it always seems to happen at the worst times when I use a grounded up-B. Why?
Melee Cultists. The rest of these are more “community” complaints, and for the sake of my own precious time, we all know what this one means. Oh, and if you miss meteor cancelling, just don’t get meteored. Git gud, scrub.
EVO making custom moves legal. *Sigh* Why did they have to complicate things so? If you’re not familiar with this fiasco, it goes like this: EVO is the biggest fighting game tournament of the year. All of the important games are there, all of the best fighters are in attendance, so when the EVO people make a rule set, everyone pays attention. In 2015, EVO set the Sm4sh rules to allow for custom moves. We even did one of our first episodes on it. This meant that, until EVO, all of the local tournaments used the new rule set, which meant that each player that was going to bring a set up had to play the stupid extra modes for hours on end trying to unlock all of the custom moves (which, by the way, you could collect multiple of, meaning each time you worked hard for one did not guarantee you would find one you didn’t have) AND set each character’s ten EVO-approved set-ups, which translates to days of work! After all of this local scenes stopped using custom moves after EVO 2015 passed, and the EVO people themselves discontinued this practice.
Project M Scene. I understand, if you enjoy a game, have fun with it. But if you want to play a Smash Bros. game that’s more like Melee… play Melee. I see Project M as an abomination. It’s not Melee, and it’s definitely not Brawl any more. Oh, and the fact that the scene pretty much died after it stopped getting updates? I laughed. #sorrynotsorry
Project M caught on instead of Balanced Brawl. Balanced Brawl was an attempt to fix the MANY problems that Brawl had, and, do you know what? It was pretty stinking good! It embraced what was good about the game instead of mutating it into an unrecognizable mess.
Because, um… uh… Fine. I do not hate Smash Bros. But it does have a bunch of stupid things that make me want to rip my hair out sometimes. Some of those are the same things that make me laugh at how ridiculously zany these games are. So, as much fun as it is to whine about smash Bros., I have to admit, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to rage about.
P.S.: Notice that I was able to write this article without even mentioning tripping. … Darn.
Though it’s E3 weekend, and so much is happening, I would like to turn focus to just one of Nintendo’s events: The ARMS Open Invitational. The Big N is getting into the spirit of the season by throwing a tournament for their upcoming title ARMS. Summer fighting game tournaments are nothing new, and since we’re about a month away from EVO 2017 (the biggest, grandest fighting game tournament of the year), I found it appropriate to celebrate all of the riot time festivities by inducting some of the best Pantendo (appearing on Nintendo consoles, including first, second, and third party) fighting games into the Nintendo Experience.
We’ll kick off with an old classic: Soul Calibur II for GameCube. Soul Calibur is a series of 3D fighting games that center around weapons-based combat as opposed to hand-to-hand. If you are familiar with the franchise, you know that they’re usually multi-platform and each platform has its own exclusive character(s). For the second offering, the Playstation 2 version contained Heihachi from the Tekken series, and the Xbox version had the Spawn comic book character. Fortunately, Nintendo fans got the best deal, and Link from the Legend of Zelda series was playable. For that appearance alone this game is worth playing.
The game was a solid fighter and was an arcade classic; perfect for both friendly and serious play. With the exception of Soul Calibur Legends for Wii (of which I had not heard until researching this blog, and is not even a fighting game), this was the only one of the series that made it to a Nintendo console. I suggest you hunt down this old gem and give it a shot.
Next up is a game that should not be foreign to anyone reading this blog: Super Smash Bros. Melee. Whether you prefer this specific version or not (it is not my personal favorite), you cannot deny its impact on Nintendo and Fighting Game Community (FGC) culture.
Melee was released in 2001, and has remained relevant since, having what is possibly the longest, most-permeating tournament longevity of any fighting game ever. People continue to play competitively to this day, and it has found its way into the EVO tournament lineup six times (counting this year’s upcoming tournament) and has churned out record-breaking turnouts. Melee is the fighting powerhouse you cannot ignore.
Lastly, I would like to discuss a pushed-aside Wii gem known as Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.
The saga of TvC is an interesting, but sad tale. The original version of the game, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes, saw some of Capcom’s best-known brawlers facing off against characters from popular Japanese anime studio Tatsunoko (probably best-known in the states for Karas and Samurai Pizza Cats). Since many of Tatsunoko’s characters were unfamiliar to the rest of the world, the game was only released in Japan and the Wii featured region lock, the rest of the world was missing out on a fighting game produced by the community’s best developer. The outcry was so great that Capcom not only decided to relent and release world-wide a year later, but to polish the game up and add new characters. Fighters who owned a Wii were overjoyed, but therein lie the crux. Many people who were serious about fighting games (especially Capcom fighters) had already found satisfaction in one of the other consoles (PS3 or Xbox 360) with Street Fighter IV, and with the announcement of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (for which TvC seemed a test run) for those consoles, there was little incentive to invest in this game. It soon faded into obscurity after reaching the EVO stage once in 2010.
All of this is a shame, because the game is not only technically challenging, but also one of the most balanced fighters ever made. If you scour the internet for TvC tier lists, you will find a few opinions. Almost all of them will rank the giants (Gold Lightan and PTX-40A) as dead last, or at least bottom tier. They’re a huge target, slow, and you do not get a partner to help you out. But if you look at the top eight finishers in the EVO tournament, you will see three of them used giants in their run to the top. In fact, you will see a lot of variety, which is not common in a lot of fighting games. You usually see a few characters over and over again because those characters have a natural advantage over the rest of the cast. TvC was one balanced mamma-jamma, and I love returning to it whenever I can.
… Can I get a chant? (Sequel! Sequel! Sequel! Sequel…)
That is all for this special fighting game edition of the Nintendo Experience. Pick these classics up and go the distance.
Pre-high-speed internet culture may be foreign to you, and we may be nostalgic, but we’d never go back.
#520 – Unlocking stuff used to be the highlight of the gaming experience. It was like finding a buried treasure with each new character or stage discovered. Nowadays, especially with party games, the hunt is less and less exciting. Should Nintendo keep this pattern?
Footage Credit: Super Smash Bros. – The Co-Op Clan | Mario Kart DS – Thomas J. Ashwell
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
1-2-Switch, to say it gently, had mixed reactions after its release. We’re going to start this article by analyzing why there seems to be people giving it positive reviews, and many critics bashing it. Once we’re finished looking at that, this article will rank the 1-2-Switch games from best to worst, and sort them into three categories!
To me the issue is simple. It all comes down to audience. League of Legends is a wildly popular strategy game that has taken the world of gaming captive. I’ve tried it, and it’s not my cup of tea. 1-2-Switch is judged harshly because it is being judged by gamers. If you were expecting 1-2-Switch to be a gamer’s game, or even on the level of Mario Party, you are sadly mistaken. From its reveal its intention was clear; don’t look at the screen. With a goal like that, you immediately understand that it’s not aiming to be a video gamer’s game.
This game is PERFECT for any sort of gathering. It is more accessible to everyone than Wii Sports was. It is instantly “get-able”, and most mini-games can be jumped into without any explanation. I have yet to find a non-gamer that did not find it to be a blast.
All these things about audience being said, that does not mean that this game is completely without flaw. There is enough here to keep the crowd entertained for some time, but some experiences were clearly missteps. I believe that all of the 1-2-Switch mini games fall into one of 3 categories: 1) enjoyable games, 2) games, at least, 3) unplayable messes. We’ll start with the best and work our way down to the worst.
1. Fake Draw: This is the genius of the Switch all in one mini-game. It’s a super simple premise with a little extra strategy added. You need a quick wrist and a trained ear, and it’s perfect to test reaction times.
2. Quick Draw: Surprised to see this next? Don’t be! It’s just a simpler version of Fake Draw that’s 100% about speed. This is the game that everyone should start out with. It’s exciting, and it’s the one to which everyone wants to have a go.
3. Ball Counting: This game by itself made me believe in HD rumble. It may not be the most exciting game, but it requires patience and a gentle hand. Seriously, it makes me believe there are marbles in the Joy-Con.
4. Sword Fight: Sword fighting on Wii Sports Resort was fun, but usually turned into a waggle-fest. The motion sensors in the Joy-Cons are much more accurate, and this combat game is the best of them.
5. Plate Spin: It doesn’t sound like a very exciting game, but your goal is to keep your plate spinning while you knock off your opponent’s. Very entertaining. I only wish I could find more people to play with me…
6. Safe Crack: Another game that does the HD rumble really well, Safe Crack requires precision. The right rumbles become more difficult to detect as the game goes on, making it quite the challenge.
7. Wizard: Is this one cheesy? Yes, yes it is. But it is fun, and requires strategy.
8. Gorilla: I like this mini-game, but few others are in my camp, so I rarely get to show off my apely prowess.
9. Treasure Chest: Once again, a simple premise, but shows off the motion controls of the Joy-Con well.
10. Shave: This one is fun to play and entertaining to watch especially if they throw you the buzz cut challenge!
11. Copy Dance: Give the Joy-Cons to the goofiest and most flexible people in the room for this one. Trust me, it’s hilarious.
12. Air Guitar: This one definitely had to be made, and it is fun to play. Most of the times I’ve played this game the Joy-Con seemed to track the beat well and not reward waggling, but in more recent play sessions, it seemed like the biggest waggler won… Try it a few times for yourself.
Well, They’re Games…:
Now we take a step down from the good into the… meh.
13. Milk: Yes, it looks ridiculous, but people enjoy laughing at each other. It’s inevitable that this mini-game will continue to be a staple and will be immediately associated with 1-2-Switch till the end of time.
14. Boxing Gym: Requires quick reflexes, but I’m not really certain how well it reads the different punches.
15. Baseball: The presentation on this one is nice. It’s like Wii Sports Baseball, but without looking silly, and you use your ears as opposed to your eyes. It’s all about reading your opponent.
16. Zen: Not moving as a game… I think the premise works, but it’s not exactly a rip-roaring time.
17. Eating Contest: It’s fun to watch people play, but can be really frustrating if you are playing and it does not read your movements. On Nintendo’s behalf I did try putting the camera in front of my hand and puppeting mouth movements and it didn’t work at all, so the camera CAN tell the difference between my mouth and my fingers.
18. Dance Off: It’s a good premise, but copy dance is more entertaining.
19. Samurai Training: Maybe it is just because I am a sore loser, but I do not really care for this game.
20. Beach Flag: Beach Flag is kind of a waggle-fest that wears you out. I enjoy it, but I haven’t found one other person who does.
21. Runway: Once again, humorous to watch, and it requires technique! I brought 1-2-Switch to school for my students to play one day. One of the boys won EVERY time because he had the hip sway portion absolutely pinpoint perfect.
22. Signal Flag: JUST making the cut as an actual game, this one is about concentration and not plunging a pencil into your ear at how annoying the voices are.
None of these are playable. Turn back now.
23. Telephone: Pick up the controller when you hear a certain sound. That’s it. Also, be careful when you do. It is easy to drop the Joy-Cons.
24. Soda Shake: I understand the premise of this game, but apparently, the developers didn’t. The demonstrational video doesn’t explain it at all! When the last guy loses, they all rejoice, including him! I guess they’re just excited to have whatever’s in that bottle… and to be done with this non-game.
25. Table Tennis: Good idea, poor execution. You’re always going to be missing the timing. The Wii Play version was better. And yes, I meant that.
26. Sneaky Dice: This game is so complicated that I had to explain it to anyone I played with after the instructional video, and they still didn’t understand. Flip a coin. You’ll have more fun that way.
27. Joy-Con Rotation: THE most frustrating thing. You play on a table, someone will bump it. You play on the floor, it had better be hardwood and no one should be moving. Like, at all. Even after that, it will give you hypertension, then make you question your life decisions. My recommendation is to dupe two friends into playing it, then standing behind them saying, “Careful, Spongebob. CAREFUL, SPONGEBOB!” and laugh hysterically after they impale your eye with the Joy-Con because it was worth it.
28. Baby: Why? Why did they think this was a good idea. Better yet, what audience were they going for? For people who don’t have kids, is it supposed to be a method of birth control? For people who have had kids, why would they want to relive the most annoying part about having a baby? It’s baffling that anyone thought this would be enjoyable for any audience. Why? WHY!?!?
All in all, there are more good games than bad in this collection, and I think it is the new must-have for any party or large get-together. It showcases what the Joy-Cons can do so well, and for that reason, it is the next necessity in the Nintendo Experience as well.