Guilty Pleasure Games

Game of Pwns.


#578 – Make sure you watch to the end of this one – Simeon shares something super embarrassing and HILARIOUS!

Footage credit: cobanermani456, kngdmhrts3MvG, Super Best Friends Play

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

D-Pad: 4 Directions of Patented Genius

Remember kids, Up, Down, Left, Left.


#577 – The Directional Pad is something that many gamers take for granted, but it really was a novel invention at the time that Nintendo introduced it. While it’s been largely taken out of the spotlight by analog sticks, the digital input solution still has its own merits. We’re going to discuss its inception, the Nintendo patent, and what their competitors did in response. It’s another interesting history lesson brought to you by Two Button Crew!

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

What is “L is Real 2401”?

I guess we’ll have to wait 384 years to see what this cryptic message means.


#576 – L Is Real. Those 3 mysterious words have echoed in our minds since the Nintendo 64 days, where they showed up in Super Mario 64 and later in Ocarina of Time. But the question still stands: what does it mean? This video goes out to Crew member Rachel!

Footage credit: The Easter Egg Hunter
“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Best Nintendo Bumper Stickers

Be sure to decrease the sale value of your car with these awesome bumper stickers!


#575 – Gamers – that’s what we identify as. But it’s not enough just for our close friends and family to know that side of us… no, we need to broadcast it to the world with stickers for our bumpers. Simeon and Scott have selected the best Nintendo related bumper stickers and are going to share them with you!

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

TumbleSeed FIXED! “Four Peaks” 2.0 Update

ALSO forgot to mention that there is a new Multiplayer Vs. mode!


#574 – This game is now awesome. Thanks to the developers listening to feedback about the game being too hard (like ours), you can now purchase TumbleSeed without reservation! This indie game had everything going for it EXCEPT for its cruel difficulty, which has now been scaled back in a 2.0 update. Enjoy! Footage credit: Zeromus

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

How Switch Can be Improved with Patches

We’ll take one internet browser please, and a side of… hmm… the DEATH OF FRIEND CODES!


Nintendo succeeded in winning our hearts with the Switch. It’s a fantastic console that’s just begging to be played. However, it is missing some no-brainer features, and we can only hope that their software team is working on implementing those. Things like Internet Browsers and, you know, the violent DEATH of friend codes! Simeon and Scott are here to discuss everything that should be coming to the console/portable hybrid in the near future!

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

Nintendo Board Games

UNO!


#573 – Every once in a while, we need to step away from our entertainment sets and our handhelds. If only to prevent carpal tunnel, a healthy round of board games every so often goes a long way for the average Nintendo fan! But what if gaming and board gaming could unite in a glorious happy medium? NOW we’re talking.

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

You Might Be a Nintendo Fan If…

Keep score as you watch!


#572 – Nintendo fans are starting to grow in number again. But there for a while, it was a lonely title to have. Often misunderstood by our Microsoft and Sony brethren, Nintendo fans have to band together and stick together. We have a lot in common, after all, and that’s what this video is all about! Identifying ourselves as who we are: Nintendo fans.

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

What Gaming Life Hacks Work?

How many hacks would a wouldhack hack?


#571 – So many games to play, such little time. The only way we’re ever going to make it is if we hone our efficiency to a razor sharp edge! That’s where these Gaming Life Hacks come in, to save you time, stress, and in some cases, money. Thank us later! (Or now, in the comments.)

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

You’re NintenDoing It Wrong

We take OBJECTION to these gamers!


#570 – Points for trying. That’s the only thing we are authorized to award in this episode because we’re featuring some spectacular fails! Epic fails, some might even say. These Nintendo fans either weren’t fans at all, or they were having VERY off days. Get a kick out of this compilation, or at least feel better that YOUR picture isn’t being circulated like this on the Internet.

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

The Ethics of Console Bundling

I’ll take one NES Classic Edition with a side of GOUGE-ME-FOR-$200 please and thank you!


#569 – GameStop, ThinkGeek, and other retailers are starting to hold their Nintendo inventory hostage and sell it along with a bunch of other junk. If you’re looking for a Switch or even an NES Classic Edition, you may have noticed this questionable business practice… Simeon and Scott are here to look at the issue from all the angles, and determine if stores have a right to do this. And is it in consumers’ best interest? (Go ahead and guess the answer to that one.)

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

Manual Transition

If you’re old enough to remember printed game manuals, you’ve probably heard gamers joke about how superfluous they were. Ever since the mid 90’s, games have featured in-game tutorials and, even then, most people are smart enough to figure out the basics just by fiddling with the controller for a few seconds. They were utterly redundant. And yet, just about everyone admits that the first thing they did when they bought a new game as a kid was read those blasted booklets cover to cover. I know I did.

Nowadays, print manuals have been phased out in favor of in-game tutorials and digital guides accessible with a few, quick button presses. But just because something’s extinct doesn’t mean it’s not worth studying. Let’s take a look at how game manuals evolved over the years.

Kids love extinct things!
These have been gone for eons, and yet every natural history museum has to have at least one.

I’ll be limiting this examination to one mainline Mario title per console generation: Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy 2. Why? Because contrary to popular belief I actually have a life, and to do this properly is way more work than even I’m willing to put out.

Printing

The most noticeable difference between manuals at first glance is their physical construction. The original Super Mario Bros.‘s manual is approximately 5.2×4 inches, which is considerably smaller the manuals of later generations, which all average to roughly 4.6×7 inches. Of course, size differences pale in comparison to the actual printing. With the exception of the cover and the gold Nintendo Seal of Approval on the first page, Super Mario Bros.‘s manual is entirely in black and white. Later generations would feature full color print for their manuals. Moreover, much more thought was given to how the pages were laid out, with sentences no longer being split between pages and more organic placement of text and illustrations. The last item of note is Super Mario Galaxy 2‘s manual is written in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. As to be expected, this tripled the booklet’s thickness.

Story

Back in the day, the only way to know a game’s plot often times was reading it in the game’s manual. Even after games started to become self-contained by providing opening cinematics, manuals continued to provide brief summaries of the game’s premise.

As to be expected, the plot summary of the first Super Mario Bros. is short and to the point. It describes what happens, without going into much detail as to how or why. Moreover, we don’t get to see things from any character’s point of view. Because of this, the narration has a sense of detachment from the plight of the hero, giving the plot summary a matter-of-fact tone. In short, it’s not so much a story as it is a plot.

In short, it’s not so much a story as it is a plot.

By contrast, Super Mario World‘s story uses a limited third-person narrative, presenting the story from Mario and Luigi’s perspective. The characters are presented as, well, characters: they’re given motives, emotions, and even dialog. Moreover, the story is actually presented as a narrative, with events playing out in sequence. Interestingly, the story (in the North American manual, at least), makes reference to the events of Super Mario Bros. 3, indicating that SMB3 is canonical despite Miyamoto stating it was all a stage-play…

Super Mario 64 continues the increased focus on narrative, notably by spending two whole pages on story! The story starts with a dose of self-awareness by asking, “Is there no end to the constant feuding between Mario and Bowser?” Afterward, the plot is told entirely from Mario’s perspective, with frequent interjections from the man himself. These quips from Mario are actually a bit jarring for anyone used to Mario’s modern portrayal, as they actually communicate some personality. It seems at this point Nintendo wasn’t afraid to let Mario be his own character instead of a stand-in for the player. Other than that, the story unfolds much like Super Mario World’s, which is to say a narrative instead of a plot. Interestingly, Mario 64 and Super Mario World‘s stories both include some overlap with what the player would see during gameplay.

It seems at this point Nintendo wasn’t afraid to let Mario be his own character instead of a stand-in for the player.

Super Mario Sunshine‘s story section is somewhere between the style of Super Mario Bros. and its super Nintendo and N64 predecessors, mostly leaning toward the former. While it attempts to convey the story with the sense of drama of Super Mario World and Mario 64, it only describes things in broad strokes. Like Super Mario Bros., there’s no focus on characters, instead favoring a description of events from an outside perspective. I assume this is in part due to the inclusion of cutscenes in the game itself. Since this was the first Mario game to be almost entirely self-contained when it came to plot, Nintendo probably thought it would be redundant to put information in the manual that the player would receive in-game.

Lastly, Super Mario Galaxy 2 somehow manages to beat even Super Mario Bros. in brevity. It doesn’t even set up the story’s conflict. All we learn from it is that Mario’s been invited to the castle and meets a Luma along the way. That’s it. The Prologue page actually devotes more space to character bios than story, which—given the game’s focus on gameplay over any semblance of plot—is probably appropriate.

Controls and Gameplay

The most important part of a game, and thereby the most important part of a game manual, is the gameplay. Gameplay and controls vary from game to game, even within the same franchise. As such, these sections are going to differ quite a bit on the granular level. Seeing as this is an examination of the evolution of game manuals and not the Mario series, I’m going to look at the big picture: what’s emphasized and how those instructions are written.

So right off the bat, I noticed something peculiar about the way pre-2000’s manuals were written. Often times when explaining controls or specific actions, the manuals often phrase actions in terms of Mario and not the player. For example, when listing the uses for the A-button, the Super Mario World manual says it “Makes Mario jump,” instead of, say, “Makes you jump.” Sunshine and Galaxy 2‘s manuals instead phrase controls and player actions in terms of the player, using terms like “when you touch an enemy” and so on.

This is interesting as conveys the idea that—despite the player controlling him—Mario is his own separate entity, with the player simply giving him instructions rather than Mario being an extension of the player. That said, I would be remiss to not mention that the pre-2000’s manuals were inconsistent in this trend, often alternating between describing actions as being performed in third-person (i.e. Mario) and second-person (i.e. the player). Also interesting is that while Mario Galaxy 2‘s manual exclusively describes the actions Mario can perform in second-person, actions that Yoshi can perform are exclusively third-person, indicating that the player isn’t the character he’s controlling, he is Mario.

This conveys the idea that—despite the player controlling him—Mario is his own separate entity.

Older games take a very different approach to describing gameplay. Both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World go into great detail about everything: defeating enemies, items, kicking shells, using the weird pink ramps in Mario World, everything. Super Mario 64‘s manual spends most of its pages explaining analog movement, items, and how to progress through the game, with basic concepts like stomping on enemies being mostly glossed over. Sunshine‘s gameplay section is almost exclusively about all of the different moves and actions Mario can perform, only briefly touching on game progression or items. Lastly, while the Galaxy 2 manual mostly lists moves, it does go into more detail when explaining the mechanics of recurrent items and stage features like checkpoint flags than the previous 3D games.

I don't know why, though; it all makes perfect sense. Hitting something from below knocks it over, stomping on something hurts it, and kicking turtle shells turns them into balistic missiles capable of defeating entire armies.
Early manuals explained every facet of the game.

Personally, seeing how ideas and perspectives have changed over the last 30+ years is fascinating. We’ve seen Nintendo promote Mario as a character, only to make a 180 and make him a simple stand-in for the player. Then there’s getting to see what they thought was important for each game: back when Mario was first introduced, stomping on enemies, kicking shells, and so forth were new ideas, and the manuals tried to explain everything they could. Later games trusted that the player was familiar enough with the series—or video games in general—to figure out how to use their abilities and instead focused on the basic controls and the game’s new ideas, such as Mario 64‘s analog movement.

Unfortunately, this is where the story ends; Nintendo phased out print manuals during the Wii U era in favor of digital manuals, and now with the Switch, we don’t even have those. It’s a shame really, because, as I’ve just shown, even if you don’t need a manual to play a game or understand its plot, you can still learn from it.

Mr. Shifty Review (Steam)

Thank you Dark Simeon for giving Simeon and Scott the day off!


#568 – Does this episode feel… dark to you? We requested a Switch review code, but were given one for Steam. That left us no choice – no one to turn to, but… DARK SIMEON. He’s played Mr. Shifty on Steam and he’s here to tell you all about it. The game is supposedly EXTREMELY similar between versions, so this video should help you decide if you want to own the Switch game or not!

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

WonderBoy: The Dragon’s Trap Review (Switch)

Or Wonder Girl – don’t you forget it!


#567 – SEGA fans, rejoice – your time has come. This Master System classic has been remastered and released on the Switch! This is a RPG-ish, Metroidvania-ish, Zelda II-ish game that looks and sounds stunning in the rereleased version. Beautiful hand-drawn graphics are really on display here, so take a look at the footage as you hear our thoughts!

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

Thumper Review (Switch)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Thump for Prez.


#566 – Thumper is a rhythm game unlike anything you’ve played before. Take control of a speeding scarab as you try desperately to stay alive. Crash through barriers, take the tightest turns, and fight back against giant boss battles… all in time with the music! This is an indie title that you DON’T want to miss.

Footage credit: Polygon

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

World of Goo Review (Switch)

Goo Balls is really the official term in this game.


#565 – This indie classic has no problem resurfacing on new consoles, and Switch is no exception! Outfitted with touch (and pointer?!) controls, this remake is a must-own if you’ve never played it before. If you HAVE, well, this review should help you decide if the $10 double-dip is worth it or not.

Footage credit: SwitchForce

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

Smash Bros. Debate: Casual Vs. Competitive

There’s really only one way to determine the winner of this episode… SETTLE IT IN SMASH!


#564 – Crew member Glen makes his Two Button Crew Show debut! You’ve seen him in the comments, you’ve read his blogs, but today here’s here to make a case for casual Super Smash Bros. He’s got an uphill battle to fight in this debate as both Simeon and Scott are seasoned competitive players, and you know what that means… no items, no wonky stages, nothing like that. But Glen says that that goes against the spirit of the game. What do you think? Stick around for the argument and vote in the poll that will pop up at the end.

Footage credit: Kampfellas Smasha

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

Which Button Am I Pressing? (Blindfolded!)

You’re really pressing my buttons.


Are you so familiar with Nintendo controllers that you could recognize individual buttons without looking?! That’s exactly what Simeon and Scott are attempting today, while blindfoldedly shoving fingers into gaming input devices. Who will win?

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

Nintendo Pronunciations… Wrong All Along?

Did we cross any lines in this episode? Barely not? Okay!


#563 – This video is a little hard to explain… let me try: You’ve been pronouncing everything Nintendo related WRONG. For a long long time. I’m sorry, but you’ve been horribly misled all these years. Your heroes, Simeon and Scott, have gone on a journey to discover the true pronunciations of all things Nintendo and this video contains their findings. Watch, listen, and learn… but most of all, repeat.

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

SEGA

SAAAAY GUUUUH!


#562 – It’s really happening. Dark Simeon makes his return to the Two Button Crew channel and he’s derailing it with non-Nintendo talk! Today we’re discussing all things SEGA, from their confusing console lineup to the mistakes that threatened to put them out of business. Please like this video for the guy-liner that was used for your enjoyment.

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