TBC 030: Metroid: Zero Mission

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

Reactions: Nintendo Switch Online!

Nintendo announced all of their plans for Nintendo Switch Online service, launching in September. The three main pillars were: Cloud Saves, NES games, and Pricing. Some details we already knew, and some just raise more questions. Simeon and Scott dive in deep during this episode of Two Button Crew!

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

SHOULD Switch have Virtual Console?

Almost everyone is saying a big, loud, resounding “YES,” Switch needs to have Virtual Console! But Simeon and Scott are both coming at this topic from a different perspective. Before clicking that downvote thumb and leaving a nasty comment, watch the video to the end and see if we present any compelling cases for why Nintendo should abstain from selling their old retro releases to us, once again, on a digital storefront.

“Exit the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Are Classic Editions the New Virtual Console?

We will be attending Classics Anonymous.

“Virtual Console” isn’t a term that we hear much these days, especially compared to all the buzz surrounding the SNES Classic Edition and the NES version before it. We’re wondering: Are these special retro consoles here to stay, while VC takes a back seat? Will we ever see Virtual Console on Switch? Let’s discuss!Footage credit: Polygon

Footage credit: Polygon
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Everything Wrong with Virtual Console

Have we mentioned that we hate Ice Climber?

#519 – We agree that Nintendo has some serious shaping up to do when it comes to their Virtual Console. Will we ever get cross-console purchasing or a subscription service?

Footage Credit: Wii Shop Channel – Fan Man | Earthbound Beginnings – ColeNL112
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

A Wii and a Van

The Wii was an awesome console. I admit that I was skeptical at first, but as with the DS, I eventually grew to love it and its amazing library. What made it even better, however, was the inclusion of the Virtual Console service, which let me revisit old favorites and experience classics I had missed out on the first time around. There was just one problem: it required a broadband internet connection.

I received my Wii shortly after moving to rural Oklahoma. Just so some of you don’t get the wrong idea about the OK great state of Oklahoma, high-speed internet is fairly common in towns, even back in 2006. That said, my family decided to move into a house about ten to twelve miles outside of town, which was out of the range of service of every broadband I.S.P. in the region. Heck, until just a couple of years ago, my folks were still on dial-up!

This made purchasing Virtual Console games an absolute pain. I would have to disconnect my Wii, place it in a bag, and (assuming my destination didn’t already have a TV I could use) lug a television with me, then haul everything somewhere I was allowed to use the WiFi or hook up a L.A.N. adapter, make my purchase, and then reverse the whole process when it was time to leave. Bear in mind this was back in 2006-2007 when flat-screen TVs weren’t ubiquitous, which is to say all I had access to was a bulky C.R.T. TV.

And yes, I actually did do this.

I didn’t like doing it this way: it was exhausting and tedious. Fortunately, I come from a long line of engineers, so coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems comes naturally for me. When my family got a new Dodge Caravan with a built-in DVD player and screen, I saw an opportunity to optimize.

The mini-van had standard component cable ports, so getting the Wii to interface with the screen wasn’t a problem. What was a problem, however, was powering the Wii. Most automobiles don’t have standard two-pronged AC power-outlets, which meant I had to find an apparatus to let me plug my Wii into the car’s 12-volt socket. After a little trouble finding the right keywords to get Amazon’s search algorithm to cooperate, I managed to get one for a decent price.

Now that I had all of the hardware, all I needed was a WiFi connection. Fortunately, E.C.U., the local university, has free campus-wide WiFi; even better, it isn’t password protected. All I had to do was drive the family van into town—usually late in the afternoon or evening once all of the parking spaces had opened up—boot up the Wii, connect it to the university’s WiFi, and download the game I wanted.

Sadly, by the time I formulated this plan and had everything I needed, the Wii’s life cycle was about halfway through, and I had bought most of games I really wanted. Come to think of it, the only games I bought this way were Super Street Fighter II and Secret of Mana.

Regardless, my adventures in wardriving make for a good story and fond memories.

What do we Still Not Know about Switch?

We won’t be satisfied until we know about every screw and strip of adhesive in the console! Oh, and, details on digital purchases carrying over would be awesome too.

We Nintendo fans have been described by Reggie as “insatiable” before, and that title still holds true for us today. Less than a week ago, Nintendo spent an entire weekend informing us about their new Switch console and giving press members hands-on time with the system, yet we STILL want to know more. There are still some burning questions that we must have answered before the home/portable hybrid releases on March 3rd!

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX Review

After being released in 1993, and re-released in color in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is now available on the 3DS Virtual Console. It is developed and published by Nintendo.

Unlike most of the other Legend of Zelda games, Link’s Awakening does not involve you finding or rescuing Princess Zelda. Instead, Link’s ship has crashed on an island after a storm. It’s up to Link to find the eight instruments of the sirens to wake the Wind Fish so he can escape the island. Little does he know, the island holds a secret…

Puzzle solving in the dungeon.
Puzzle solving in the dungeon.

If you’ve played any 2D Legend of Zelda game you know exactly how this plays. If not, it’s pretty basic. You start off in a main overworld and must find your sword. With sword in hand, you make your way to the various dungeons collecting the different instruments. In these dungeons you also collect a large variety of tools to help you along your journey, such as Roc’s Feather which allows you to jump, or the Power Bracelet which helps you move large rocks and pots. The dungeons are filled with puzzles and enemies with each one containing at least one mini-boss and one main boss. There are two main collectibles in Link’s Awakening, Pieces of Heart and Secret Seashells. The pieces of heart increase your overall health for every four you find and every time you collect a Secret Seashell it simply says, “If you find enough of them, something good is bound to happen.”

The DX version of the game includes and extra ‘Color Dungeon’, which if completed instead of rewarding Link with and instrument or Heart Container, gives him a choice between a Blue tunic (Cuts all damage Link takes in half) or a Red Tunic (Doubles all damage Link deals out). These tunics are extremely helpful.

It's out old pal, Boo!
It’s our old pal, Boo!

There are lots of references to other Nintendo games such as Kirby, a Yoshi doll, and a large variety of Mario’s enemies which are seen in wonderfully-done platforming sections.

The graphics are that of almost any Gameboy Color game. I found that this game’s visuals in particular still look simply fantastic and drew me in as much as the newer games.

If you enjoy Zelda games, or even adventure games at all, you owe it to yourself to play this game. The mystery of the story kept me wanting to play more to see everything unfold and captured me more than any other 2D Zelda. I can’t recommend this game enough.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening gets 5 opening chests out of 5.

(Link’s Awakening is available for $5.99 on the 3DS eShop and took me a little over 15 hours to complete.)

Nintendo’s Most Generous Offers

On Thanksgiving day, what could be more appropriate than recounting the generosity of Nintendo for which we are so thankful?

In the USA, today is the wonderful Holiday of Thanksgiving! So in a reflective episode, we take the time to think back on the times that Nintendo has been the most generous. Sure, we understand that they are a business and they have to make money in order to stay afloat and continue to provide us with great experiences… Yet! This video contains some great examples of Nintendo going out of their way to make customers feel valued and important, and for those we are very thankful.

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

No Cross-Buy? No Buy!

The year is 2016. Competing consoles have full-fledged online efforts backing their console and software. Purchases are tracked digitally, automatically, and conveniently. It’s not much different in the smartphone and tablet arena either: buy a game on your iPhone, play it on your iPad. Pretty simple! Pretty commonsensical!

That is until you step foot into the realm of Nintendo, where it’s like pulling teeth to get consoles and handhelds to talk to each other. The realm of Nintendo, where we all have Nintendo Accounts, My Nintendo accounts, and NNIDs, and we only have a vague idea of how those all fit together.

The realm where you buy an old SNES game on your Wii U and it’s not there on your 3DS.

We’re talking about cross-buy, and more specifically, the lack of cross-buy.

Nintendo’s Virtual Console service is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. After a decade of offering their classic titles for sale digitally, how has Nintendo’s service expanded? Well, the answer is unfortunate: barely.

Virtual Console made a small jump from Wii to 3DS with restore points. The next real iteration was on the Wii U, which implemented the 3DS improvements plus customizable controls and a few other small perks.

The nice thing was, it was really easy to transfer your VC games from Wii over to your Wii U console!

Oh – wait… no, it wasn’t. You had to buy them all over again. Sure, Nintendo gave you a slight discount for owning the same software on Wii, and the service recognized that, but rather than letting you access your VC games on Wii U’s home menu with the new perks, you had to pay again or just deal with the outdated features and slog through old emulated Wii menus.

Nintendo doesn’t charge for operating system software updates, why should they charge when Virtual Console technology is upgraded?

I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the news that Super Nintendo games were coming specifically to the New 3DS as an exclusive feature over the previous generation’s model. You can’t expect me to believe that the original 3DS couldn’t run Super Nintendo games – that would be absurd. But they desperately needed some unique features for the handheld (because they couldn’t make more than one exclusive game for it), so SNES VC titles were the answer.

I own quite a few SNES games on my Wii U, and by this time, Nintendo Network IDs were a thing. They have already been implemented. NNIDs were supposed to be the answer to all our 21st century problems with Nintendo’s online systems – it was supposed to track our purchases, unify the different Nintendo platforms… it was supposed to bring balance to the force!

Yet another implementation of the Virtual Console had arrived with no mention, no promise, not a peep about cross-buy.

I had been frustrated about Nintendo attempting to sell us the same exact retro software over and over again for quite some time, but I held onto hope that Nintendo was going to make good on their word to use NNIDs and make the whole Virtual Console experience more cohesive. When they came out with NNIDs in March (launching alongside Miitomo) and then put SNES games on the handheld, it was finally the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The straw being the terrible value proposition from Nintendo that shows they have a broken business model for their classic titles.
The camel’s back being my willingness to put up with it.

I boycotted SNES Virtual Console titles on 3DS, and in fact, I haven’t bought a single VC title in the time since. I’m through with it. I don’t have $8 (per game) x 10 (titles) for every new console iteration they come out with… for the same games!

Let me rephrase that… I do have the money, but I don’t have the will to spend it on this stuff time and time again. I have plenty of nostalgia for Nintendo’s older games, but I won’t allow them to keep using that against me.

It’s not $8 – it’s the principal.

Okay, maybe I am planning on buying the NES Classic Edition! But that’s different…

The point is, I’ve been burned too many times. I’ve invested too much in this broken, excuse for a digital platform called the Virtual Console and seen it count for nothing when new hardware comes out. Nintendo’s online systems and their business sense isn’t smart enough to allow my purchases to carry over, but I am smart enough to avoid the same traps over and over again!

Nintendo, listen closely: You don’t burn your early adopters. You don’t make your die-hard fans pay twice.

You don’t punish people for buying your games early!

You reward these customers. You say: here, you have a big collection of VC games on your Wii? We spent 700 man hours figuring out how to make those transfer over to your Wii U home menu, for free, and now you can keep enjoying those titles just as easily.

You reward your loyal customers. You take the information about their SNES purchases connected with their NNID and you download those games automatically onto their 3DS, so they open it up and see a surprise gift on their menu screen. I know you can do this stuff – you send me random demos all the time.

Because of so many bad past experiences with the Virtual Console, I’ve turned a deaf ear to the service. I won’t be playing another classic Nintendo game digitally until they address this issue.

I’m waiting eagerly for the Nintendo Direct where Kimishima, Reggie, or Bill Trinen takes the stage and announces the new direction for Virtual Console, a cohesive experience where Nintendo respects my investments in their software.

Until then, I’ll be ignoring all press-releases and the insignificant drip-feed of the same old games every week.

GameCube Virtual Console Wishlist

Are you as skeptical about the news as we are? Only time will tell.

The GameCube was before its time, and it’s time to bring back some of the classics for a second go-around. Which games do you want to see make a return to Nintendo’s Virtual Console?

Shot by Alex Campbell

“Reformat” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0