What it’s like being an OLD MAN


Miles is here to have an important discussion with Scott; what’s it like being an old man? Old men are important to video games, ever since the one in the cave told us it was dangerous to go alone. Miles will share his insight into being an old hero.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Don’t Forget the Fun Factor | Scott’s Thoughts

I often see newly released games being appraised for their graphics, controls, music, and price.

What the industry needs more of a focus on is simple: fun.

A game can have terrible graphics, no soundtrack, and clunky controls, but still be a lot of fun.
Conversely, a beautiful and imaginative game can be boring and punishing.

Video games are a form of art, but that doesn’t mean they need to be treated with as much weight and gravitas as other mediums.
Some critics don’t understand this and neglect to consider the fun factor, so take review scores with a grain of salt. A 7/10 game might be the most fun you and a friend have ever had.

The Best Glitches in Nintendo History


Nintendo is highly proactive with quality insurance, but every so often… glitch’s sneak in and they are real doozies. We’ve collected a top-10 list of our favorite glitches from Nintendo history – see if your favorite buggy childhood memory is included!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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To Backlog or Not to Backlog | Scott’s Thoughts

That is the question. The question we are all asking as a new wave of indie titles hits the Nintendo Switch each and every week.
It’s nearly impossible not to fall behind.

To illustrate this point, consider the following group of games: Shovel Knight, TumbleSeed, Thumper, Sonic Mania, SteamWorld Dig 2, Golf Story, and Stardew Valley.
Did you purchase and play all of those?
This is just a quick list of games filed under “DON’T MISS” off the top of my head. Chances are, you’ve let a handful of these slip through the cracks. (If you actually played all of those, I want to shake your hand.)

Each week is a new opportunity to either A) catch up on amazing games in the backlog, or B) play the newest latest game that was released.

Option A feels good because you get to experience that title that’s been sitting on your wish list, enjoy it, and cross it off.
It creates a problem, though, when it causes your backlog to grow. Thanks to the deluge of new releases, truly “catching up” isn’t really an option.

Option B is exciting. You get to buy a brand new game and join in the conversations while it’s still hot. All the Nintendo podcasts and groups are discussing it.
The downside is, it prevents you from getting back to some of those earlier eShop games that received 8s or 9s out of 10.

No matter what we choose, we’re missing out.
How do you pick between shoring up your collection and trying out the latest greatest?

You have better chances of enjoying your purchases, and not regretting them, if you go with the backlog. Hindsight is 20/20, and a few months after a game launches, you know from the way a title is talked about (and IF it’s even remembered) if it’s worth it or not. You probably build a wish list and whittle it down as your perception of each game’s value evolves with time. What’s left is a series of sure-fire hits that you’re bound to enjoy.

Delve into games like that.

The cutting edge is risky, but rewarding. You can get in on a game’s fandom on ground 0 and be a part of a community’s formation. Other times, the game just isn’t what you thought it was and you’re out $10 or $20.

When you have a really good feeling about an indie title, and you can just sense that you will love it, buy it on launch day. Don’t let it pass you by. During those times, the backlog can wait.

What does the Future of Gaming Hold?


VR and AR are certainly hot topics, and we’re discussing those as well as other future possibilities as we look at what is to come. The future of gaming could look quite different than what we’re experiencing today, so Simeon and Scott are placing some bets on what’s coming down the pipeline!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Welcome to Your Future: DLC Expansion Passes | Scott’s Thoughts

Nintendo has been diversifying their income of late. Not content to only sell you a console per generation and a shelf-full of games, offerings have increased to amiibo, special editions, and add-on downloadable content.

Rather than earning $40 off of Metroid: Samus Returns customers in North America, Nintendo was given twice the amount by hardcore fans who bought the limited box-set and amiibo two-pack.

There’s a new pricing model on the rise, and Nintendo calls it the DLC Expansion Pass.
Some might remember Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as the game that introduced the Expansion Pass to us, but this method of DLC delivery was first utilized in Mario Kart 8 on Wii U, where two major add-ons were sold in one bundle and fulfilled over time.

Of course, Nintendo is one of the last companies in the industry to adopt the practice, but now that they have, there’s no looking back.

Seeing the success of Mario Kart 8 and Breath of the Wild, Nintendo and Ubisoft created an Expansion Pass strategy for Mario + Rabbids and Fire Emblem Warriors.

It’s a brilliant business model for a number of reasons.

  • Players are encouraged to purchase additional content as early as day 1, when excitement for the game is at its peak.
  • The people most likely to give a business money are the ones who are already giving it money.
  • Revenue earned from advance DLC purchases fund continued development, where teams can keep working with existing assets for some time, rather than switching to a more expensive project from scratch.
  • Expansion Pass owners are extremely unlikely to sell their game for some time, delivering a blow to the used market.
  • 100% of DLC sales go straight to Nintendo, not split with a retailer.
  • Prevents the base sticker price from climbing.

The benefits are self-explanatory, but the final one could use some unpacking.
High-definition video games have been $60 for a considerable amount of time (over a decade). Nintendo gamers held onto the $50 threshold a bit longer thanks to Wii’s standard definition output.

The cost of a video game feels high. It’s the better half of a hundred dollars. But it has remained low relative to two major factors:
1) Development costs are rising, not declining. 2) Inflation is constantly active.

Watch our Pricing Through The Ages video to get an idea of how quickly the dollar loses value. You need more “money” to purchase the candy bar today than you did five years ago. Despite this, software prices remain steady.

That’s why Nintendo has been diversifying, and the Expansion Pass is a win-win strategy. Gamers get to support the developers of titles they care about, and Nintendo gets to stay in business!

Make your Gaming Time Matter | Scott’s Thoughts

35 hours.
That’s how many I put into Picross S for Nintendo Switch. It was an impulse buy at $8, “cheap” by many standards, but its true expense was my time.

My days contain 24 hours, like yours, but not many are leftover for gaming. What precious little minutes remain for entertainment must be wisely spent, and I failed to do so with Picross.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the series. But this particular title didn’t offer much by way of new or exciting material. My first few hours were motivated by fun, and I played a bit longer in multiplayer, which was a worthwhile experience with friends and family.

The rest of my time was spent out of compulsion. Nintendo has successfully trained me as a collector, so earning the medals on each group of puzzles felt rewarding at first, but ultimately became a chore.
I truly noticed the problem after completing all 150 levels, then immediately setting out to do them again in Mega Picross mode. The SAME puzzles!

I wanted to be 100% done with the game so that I could move on to other, more fun titles.
Therein lies the issue: I didn’t have to complete the game to move on. I should have closed the software, let it rest, and came back in a few weeks or months.

What I endeavor to do in the future, and I encourage you to as well, is make wiser choices with your gaming time.
Maximize your fun. If a game isn’t doing the trick, sell it. If you can’t get rid of it, forget it.

Our time on this planet is short, so recreation should be used for relaxing, improving skills, and most importantly: spending time with people we care about. Whether that’s your friend or your spouse, gaming can be a great way to grow bonds.

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone by being a completionist. For goodness sake, there aren’t even achievements on your Nintendo profile! And you don’t owe it to yourself to slog through a game just because you purchased it. You wouldn’t eat every bite of a meal at a restaurant if it tasted bad, or pained you to swallow, right? The same applies here.

When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss | Scott’s Thoughts

They say “ignorance is bliss,” which can be true.
If you’re enjoying a meal that accidentally touched the ground, you’re probably better off not knowing that.
We’re always within a small distance from insects, but if they’re not bothering us… ignorance is bliss.

Other times, being ignorant just leaves you feeling left out. Like for the gamer who’s never played a Final Fantasy title in their life, and the discussion turns to the series.

Here’s what it sounds like to me, someone who has never touched the popular RPG franchise:
“Oh man, when are we ever going to get the proper follow-up to Twelve?”
“You know, Three is actually Six in Japan.”
“I’m holding out hope for Fifteen Two.” (What is this, Cribbage?)
“Why did it take so long for Seven to get remastered?”
“One and Four are available on iOS, but you’ll have to buy an original PlayStation to access Five.” (Clearly, I’m making all of this up.)

Final Fantasy games are referred to simply by their number designation, which makes conversations around them even harder to follow for newcomers.

When people start talking FF, my eyes glaze over.

Sometimes I wonder if I should play the entire series just to be in the know.

Making Time for Gaming As Adults


The great majority of our viewers are adults, so you know what it’s like to try and squeeze a hobby into your schedule. You’re already busy, whether it’s with kids, work, school, or all of the above. How does one set aside time for gaming? What are some things you might have to say “no” to, in order to get that coveted console time in? Simeon and Scott have a few thoughts and ideas to share.

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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2017: One of the Best Gaming Years in History?

Fall is already upon us. Leaves are changing, the air is becoming cool and crisp, and good games are seemingly being released left and right. Alas, this blog is not about the season, but about 2017 as a whole. Yes, we have a few more months before it wraps up, but in less than a week, Nintendo’s juggernaut, Super Mario Odyssey will finally be released. I for one cannot wait to sink my teeth into this game. Having already received a perfect score, I think we are in for a fun ride. That being said, I want to focus on what has already been released, and why I think 2017 has been one of the most glorious years for gaming in recent history.

Nintendo is a company that fans expect a lot of. They always seem to set the bar of quality game design higher and higher. Take Breath of the Wild for instance. This game takes the best aspects of the franchise and capitalizes on what makes it great. I felt no greater sense of adventure since I was a young kid playing Super Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time for the first time. This is undoubtedly special, and why so far Breath of the Wild is currently* game of the year for me.

*subject to change

A franchise that was essentially brought back from the dead this year is Metroid. Samus Returns does everything that I was hoping it would. Appealing visuals and tight controls, along with the new melee addition, make for a really addictive journey. I would love to see the developer have free reigns and make a brand-new Metroid game.

This year in particular, smaller, more tightly knit developers are also getting more attention. Sonic Mania is living proof that sometimes, fans know exactly what is best for a franchise. The game was made by only a handful of inspired and passionate people, and look what resulted. The same can be said for the recently released Cuphead. Though not on a Nintendo platform, I couldn’t pass this one up. The 1930’s art style is one that I have never seen before in a game, and pushing through the brutally hard difficulty is so worth it only to experience more. My point is, gamers are starting to appreciate the hand crafted, quality approach, and developers are responding.

A Game of Year Contender for sure. Competition is fierce this year.

The release of the Switch was also monumental, and completely necessary, to erase painful memories of the Wii U era. I love that Nintendo doesn’t feel the need to compete with competitors by powerful processing or graphics, but with intuitive design. A portable home system is something that will pave the way for years to come. When Nintendo becomes irreverent in the industry, Nintendo is at its strongest. We were also fortunate enough to get the SNES classic, so I can replay some of my favorite games of all time the way they were meant to be played.

Perhaps I consider 2017 so impressive because it made franchises relevant again. It made Nintendo relevant again. No, we didn’t get a new Animal Crossing game or a Pikmin game (at least not the type I’d want to see), but we did get a plethora of games that were not afraid to redefine themselves. When I look back on the year and reflect, I see a year of revitalization. A year of redefining what gamers actually want: quality.

What Nintendo Has Taught Us

Also we’ve learned to dislike money!


#599 – Nintendo has been around our whole lives, and when we take the time to stop and reflect on it, it turns out: we’ve learned quite a lot from the quirky Japanese game publisher. We knew Nintendo was fun and creative, but also a source of life lessons? Why not! Simeon and Scott have a list, as well as some great additions from Two Button Crew patrons. Thanks, Crew!

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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Hey! Pikmin Review (3DS)

Finally, the sequel to Hey You Pikachu!


#589 – Hey! Pikmin launched on the 3DS as a big departure from the series. The world of Pikmin has been flattened from 3 dimensions to 2, but how does the gameplay fare after the transition? Is this 3DS title worth tearing you away from your shiny new Switch?

Footage credit: GameXplain

“Escape the Premises” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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How to Have Fun Playing Video Games

Now you NEED to have fun – no excuses!


#588 – We wish we could say we have “nothing but love” for video games, but to be honest, sometimes it’s more of a love/hate relationship. Our goal at Two Button Crew has always been to enhance your enjoyment of Nintendo gaming and fandom, so today we’re doing that quite literally: explaining how to have fun while gaming. We’ve got tips for casual and competitive environments, as well as single player gaming. Hope it helps!

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

Put that in your paint brush and stroke it.


#584 – Are video games art? You bet they are! Or… they CAN be. Simeon and Scott have an eye for artistic expression in games, and today we’ve gathered a list of the best looking games to feast your eyes upon. We hope you enjoy!

Footage credit: CGR Undertow, BradleyNews11, Polygon, IGN, Throneful, Free Emulator

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

As you can see, we are full of original ideas.


#583 – When you take a game too literally, you come up with some pretty hilarious descriptions! Our job today is to make you laugh by giving you terrible explanations for games. For once, we’re trying NOT to be helpful. And we think you’ll enjoy the results.

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

This episode is TOTALLY different from our Best Villains episode – trust us!


#580 – Baddies – can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Today, we’re talking about the chiefs of all baddies, the Bosses. But we’ve already featured our favorite villains in a previous episode of TBC, so today we are focusing on the best battles themselves – the conflicts that were memorable for their setting, challenge, build-up, or conclusion. Enjoy!

Footage credit: PunkDemonNeo, Boss Fight Database, Hazey A, AquaChannelerChris

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

Remember the good old days?

Longtime fans of Nintendo will often reference the past fondly, maybe even going so far as to say that the company has since lost its way.
Look, I get it. We named this brand “Two Button Crew” out of our nostalgia for Nintendo’s first game console and its simple controls.
But before we continue focusing our infatuation with what has been, I’d like to pose a question: What if the Golden Age is actually now? Have you stopped to wonder if we could be experiencing Nintendo’s best efforts currently?
I think so. Allow me to prove it by examining each era individually, and by the end, you might just agree!

NES

A strong case can be made for Nintendo’s debut home console. It made arcade-worthy experiences accessible in the home; revolutionary at the time. The hardware and controllers were simple and intuitive, and developers used the limitations of the day in creative ways. The resulting game library was expansive, full of memorable games that were easy to pick up, but difficult to conquer. We owe the NES generation for nearly all of the franchises we continue to enjoy.

SNES

The Super Nintendo period was one of refinement and perfection. Just as the console received a “Super” upgrade, so did each of Nintendo’s tentpole series. The Holy Trinity of Super Mario World, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid is a trifecta of “Best Game Ever” contenders. Titles like these succeeded by taking the formulae of previous games and maturing and enhancing them.

Nintendo 64

How we played video games was forever changed. Dimensionality increased by 50% with the introduction of polygonal 3D, and with the help of the analog stick, we were invited into Nintendo’s imaginative worlds with an all-new plane of immersion.
Another innovation must be credited to the 64: Group gaming. Yes, multiplayer modes existed previously, but this console fully realized the idea by including four controller ports and bringing people together with games like Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros., and the Mario Party series.

GameCube

This era was all about modernization. Nintendo’s competitors were beginning to steal the spotlight with their specs, and the Big N didn’t want to fall behind. However, they still wanted to provide the affordable alternative, so the resulting console suffered a bit of a hardware identity crisis. The upgrade from N64 was similar to the one seen between NES and SNES, where the approach remained largely the same but games improved alongside technology.
Nintendo was not afraid to experiment with software on GameCube, bringing us fresh experiences like Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin, and Animal Crossing. Many classics from this era like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, and Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door are viewed as best-in-series games, and are begging to be played to this day.

Wii

Nintendo’s brand awareness exploded. A video game console with two letter i’s became a household name overnight, and Nintendo wasn’t ready. Production of the motion-controlled units couldn’t keep up with demand, and the company had to reevaluate their target audience on the fly. Development and marketing efforts were split between catering to core Nintendo fans and the newly-tapped blue ocean markets. It was great to see Nintendo topping the charts, but some of the decisions came across as tone-deaf to longtime Nintendo fans, like their focus on casual experiences during gaming press conferences.
Certainly, some strong titles were released during this era like Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, and Excite Truck (don’t look at me like that!), but the console was crippled by its outdated, low-res graphics and weak online support.

Wii U

The misbegotten console. In a clear attempt to capitalize on Wii’s success, the branding stayed along with attempts to appeal to the casual crowd. What Nintendo did not anticipate was how sharply those users would pivot to mobile gaming. By the time Nintendo shifted their focus back to their faithful followers to deliver core titles like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Mario 3D World, and Star Fox Zero, it was too late. Slow sales lead to a lack of 3rd Party and Indie games, leaving fans to wait for 1st Party releases while Nintendo delievered the best games on its more successful 3DS handheld.
Wii U’s GamePad controller was useful for (spatially-limited) off-TV gaming, but its other implementations often got in the way of fun by splitting players’ attention across two screens. Solid software attempts weren’t enough to save Nintendo from the lack of buzz around their system. This console generation firmly knocked Nintendo off their pedestal and left them hungry.

Switch

At present day, Nintendo has launched their new console/handheld hybrid and are following it up with a stream of top-notch software. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild paired with the sleek hardware made an enticing match. Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brought the best experiences from Wii U to where more gamers could enjoy them. A level of hype surrounds Switch that hasn’t been seen since the Wii days over a decade ago, only this time… Nintendo fans are the ones generating the noise. Nintendo appears to be pulling out all the stops to support Switch with mainline entries in their top IP, from Super Mario Odyssey this holiday to Metroid Prime 4 and a Pokemon RPG in the future. If this is how the first few years look, imagine what we’ll be talking about in half a decade.
Indies love the platform… 3rd Parties are coming into the fold… Nintendo hit a real home run with this one, having crafted a console this a joy to play, feel, dock, and reconfigure.

I declare the Golden Age of Gaming… NOW!
We’re living it today, The momentum that Nintendo has entered into this console generation with is insane.
Many people “got it” the instant they watched the reveal trailer. Some critics doubted it at launch, but in the time since, the console has earned its way into the hearts of many unsuspecting fans.

And I believe it’s here to stay. We will likely see more iterative updates for Switch hardware, in line with what Nintendo has always fone with their handhelds. Joy-Con XL, anyone? Switch VR Headset?

Grab yourself some games and enjoy them with friends! Nintendo’s going all in on Switch, so do the same.
Enjoy the Golden Age of Gaming.

Embrace the good new days.

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
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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
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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
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