TBC 031: Metroid: Dread

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Metroid: Dread: long-rumored, long-awaited, and highly anticipated. Now it’s here for us to enjoy – the finale in a famed 35-year franchise. Scott & Glen have dug into the game and explored its secrets, as well as researched the development history of the mysterious title. This is about as deep of a dive into Metroid Dread as you could hope for, so fasten your earbuds and come along for the show!

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

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 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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“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

Hideaway Island An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Narrative Let's Play

Day 1

I arrived at the airport around 9 A.M. Upon entering, I was greeted by two young raccoons who immediately got to work arranging my trip. We boarded the plane not long after that. Once finished suffering a long, boring flight during which there was nothing to do except watch an informational video and avoid eye contact with the other passengers, we arrived on the island. The two young raccoons informed the other residents and me that there was an orientation meeting nearby and that our presence was requested. Needing to retrieve my tent and other supplies, I begrudgingly followed the others to what appeared to be a construction site. There a middle-aged raccoon delivered a droll and poorly-rehearsed corporate monolog. Read more Hideaway Island An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Narrative Let’s Play

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.

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“Two Button Crew Theme” by Katie Straughn

Vitamin Connection Review (Switch)

Vitamin Connection brings new meaning to the word cooperative.

Most games are pretty content with just putting you and a buddy in the same space and letting you play together, working in tandem and exploring the same areas. Even though you are working together, what you or your pal are capable of doing isn’t beholden to what the other does. In Vitamin Connection you have a truly symbiotic relationship – you play as a couple of ridiculously cute cartoon bobbins who save a family from their literal ills by way of a two-pilot capsule ship that can’t function without full
communication and cooperation from your friend.

Well, you could by playing the game solo, but what’s the fun in that!?

Each stage is set-up like an episode of an old Saturday morning cartoon – a member of the Sable family is on their way to an outing when disaster strikes as they step out the door and they become sick. It is then up to our heroes, Mina-Girl and Vita-Boy, to get them back on the healthy train by attack the bacteria plaguing them so they can get about their day. You travel through their interiors on mostly predetermined paths (with occasional branches to help you find secrets or pick your own route) and find and suss out that level’s big baddy by taking on what amounts to boss battles in pivotal areas of the body.

As you’re traveling, one player is in control of moving the ship in all directions and also the trigger to the Vitamin Beam which you use to clear your path. The other play is in control of rotating the ship, which is crucial in navigating your human host as well as aiming the Vitamin Beam. Both jobs are not created equal, with the person in charge of rotation and aim has to use motion controls which makes for some harrowing moments. The challenge of the game can be mitigated by one simple trick – communication. If you talk to each other and work together, it becomes a breeze!

The aforementioned boss battles are less your typical “find the weak spot and attack” nomenclature and more like mini-games. These too often make use of the Switch’s oft-forgotten gimmicks by having players play Irritating Stick-like obstacle courses and the IR sensor camera to extend a hand through a highway of viruses. It’s a nice break for the most part and yet another fun way to test your communication skills, but it felt like the game would ramp up the difficulty of these segments rather quickly, with my son and I getting stuck on the second level because the IR camera was finicky and the bad guy’s patterns being rather unforgiving. It was frustrating and could have done with maybe a different control option, but it doesn’t dilute the enjoyment we were having.

If nothing else, Vitamin Connection’s presentation compelled us to keep going as the saccharine storyline and infectious music kept us entertained so much that we had to see it through to the end!

Much like Affordable Space Adventures on the much-maligned Wii U, Vitamin Connection feels like an essential on the Switch. The game can be played solo, but it’s use of motion control feels important to the experience as a whole, thus making this game a tough sell for people intending on playing by themselves but imperative to those who have a friend or kid on hand. It has that WayForward charm permeating the whole experience and was so much fun I plan on playing through it again soon with a different son!

Vitamin Connection is a worthwhile way to spend a sick day, especially if you’re stuck at home with a co-pilot.


By Matt Mason. Follow him on Twitter @ObtainPotion and read more of his writing on his blog.

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/

Mario’s Express Ticket to Subcon An Examination of Mario's Sleep Habits

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor an expert on sleep disorders. This article is for entertainment purposes and should not be consulted for medical advice. If you are suffering from a sleep disorder, please consult a specialist.

It’s January again, a time of year when many people resolve to improve themselves and their lives. Long-time Nintendo fans are no strangers to the subject of self improvement. From the Brain Age games to the recent Ring Fit Adventure, Nintendo has a history spanning over a decade of releasing products to improve the health and cognitive well-being of their fan base. There was even a time not too long ago that the Big N toyed with the idea of building a third pillar to their business around the idea of quality-of-life consumer electronics. The only product in this line that we fans ever even heard about, however, was a device that was supposed to improve the user’s quality of sleep. As someone who has trouble maintaining a healthy sleep cycle, I was disappointed when they announced that the project had been canceled.

Now that I think about it, though, I’m not the only one with an odd circadian rhythm. One of Nintendo’s most iconic characters has exhibited strange and potentially worrisome sleep behaviors on multiple occasions: Mario. Ever since his landmark 3D debut, Super Mario 64, Mario has often been depicted as nodding off in a matter of minutes if left inactive. This leads to me wonder: how does he do it, and is it cause for concern? Read more Mario’s Express Ticket to Subcon An Examination of Mario’s Sleep Habits

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/

Super Mario Odyssey Spit Shine

Back in August, I finally managed to complete Super Mario Odyssey. While I found much to love about it—the gorgeous and eclectic visuals, the fast-paced story, the fact that Mario is weird again, the myriad of accessibility features, etc., etc.—there was a reason it took me nearly two years to complete. While I definitely intend to replay the game’s story someday, I can say with confidence that completing it is a task I will never undertake again.

As the number of remaining moons dwindled, so too did my enthusiasm. In fact, by the end of my run, I was having more fun grinding for coins in Luigi’s Balloon World so that I could afford the last few moons needed to max out the counter than I did hunting for the ones populating the game’s various worlds. Why was that, and what could Nintendo have done differently to avoid the slog? That’s exactly what I intend to answer in this edition of Spit Shine. Read more Super Mario Odyssey Spit Shine

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

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.