What a Wonderful (Super Mario) World


Super Mario Odyssey might be all the rage right now, but Super Mario World was also released this year! On the SNES Classic Edition, of course. Simeon and Scott are taking a trip down memory lane to a game that many still consider the best of its class. Super Mario World changed things dramatically for the Mario series, and introduced many beloved mainstays.

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

The Devolution of Paper Mario Scott's Thoughts

I remember being drawn to the first Paper Mario like a magnet.

It was in a video rental store, and I saw the N64 cartridge sitting on the bottom shelf. I didn’t know why Mario was paper, or why it was turn-based, but I immediately brought it home.

Of course, an RPG like Paper Mario can’t really be explored and beaten during a rental period, so I ended up buying it. I had to! The story, the characters, and the gameplay were so compelling that I had to see the adventure through to the end.

The Thousand Year Door was a beautiful follow-up on GameCube, which I first laid eyes upon at a WalMart. It was one of those demo kiosks where you had to stare up at the ceiling and snap your head backward to see. It continued the wonderful characterizations, thickened the plot, and introduced exciting new transformations for Mario that shook up the gameplay.

Super Paper Mario was memorable. Although stripping out the beloved traditional RPG elements, the game introduced a compelling tale of love and tragedy, alongside an interesting 2D-to-3D mechanic.

And then it all went downhill.

Unique, lovable, captivating characters were replaced with gimmicks of stickers and paint.

This image sums it up well.

The modern entries have their own merit, and bring some amount of charm. But along the way, the franchise lost focus. Paper Mario became more about churning out a quick win for sales and marketing than it was about world-building.

It might have been when the father of Mario gave the Sticker Star team these directions:
There were two main things that Miyamoto-san said from the start of the project—”It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?” and “As much as possible, complete it with only characters from the Super Mario world.”Iwata Asks

Miyamoto was wrong.

Nintendo’s Job ≠ Parents’ Job Scott's Thoughts

I grew up with three parents: Mom, Dad, and Nintendo.

My mother and father were great—kept me out of trouble, let me earn trust, and gave me some slack on the leash.

Nintendo, on the other hand, has always been the stereotypical helicopter parent.

And still is.

When I moved out of my Mom and Dad’s house, I took my Nintendo games with me. Along with them, I brought some overbearing restrictions along for the ride.

I got my own place to live, my own car to ride, and my own job to cover my bills. That’s what we call “adulting.” Unfortunately, I still feel like a kid when I try to play online and use the limited internet services built into Nintendo systems.

This company from Japan thinks it’s their job to raise me. It’s not, and it never was.

If Nintendo wants to provide a parental control app—great. The one for Switch has some neat features. That needs to be the end of their responsibilities, so parents can do the rest.

It would sure be nice to talk to my friends… or even my competitors if I want to!

Innovation vs. Iteration Scott's Thoughts

Innovation: to revolutionize, change, transform, or evolve.

Iteration: to repeat, improve, patch, or expand.

Historically, Nintendo is a very iterative company. Most of their characters and concepts came from the mid-80s, when the company created its first batch of games for NES.

For many subsequent generations, they’ve followed the formulae, making a Mario game. A Zelda game. A Metroid game. Sequels got marginally better, improving upon past issues.

They’ve been honing their craft. Perfecting.

The only problem with this tradition is that it’s not very exciting. People start saying things like “if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all,” and “they keep recycling the same story over and over again.”

Nintendo Wii was the company’s first major hardware innovation in a long time—and they knew it, naming it codename “Revolution.” We were starting to see a brand that was ready to transform the gaming industry. Funny enough, the console’s success caused the console-maker to follow up with a safe “half-step” successor, but the masses weren’t listening anymore.

The good news is: innovative Nintendo is back, and that culture is seeping into their most beloved franchises. Breath of the Wild and Odyssey took a big leap in evolving the gameplay front. Next, we’ll see bigger shifts in story and presentation.

Buckle up! Your responsibility is being open to the change.

Mega Man 11 and Portal* for Switch!


Every few days, a brand new game is announced for Nintendo Switch. We’ve started doing a news segment weekly and we can barely keep up! In this installment, we discuss the (blue) bombshell that Mega Man 11 is blasting his way to Switch next year, followed by the biggest surprise in a while… Portal is back?

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

Nintendo Fans are Running the Company Scott's Thoughts

For a few years now, Nintendo execs have been talking about passing the torch. Younger developers are starting to take the reigns on new intellectual property like Splatoon and ARMS, as well as helping more seasoned devs shake up existing franchises that have stagnated.

These youthful employees are of a new generation, cut from a different cloth than Nintendo management has typically been made up of.

They’re Nintendo fans.

Kids who grew up a couple decades ago have been playing the company’s games their whole life, learned how to design and code, then landed a job at the Big N itself.

There’s a lot of respect for Nintendo’s stable of franchises, yet, the new employees aren’t as emotionally attached. That distinction allows for more change, experimentation, and advancement than we have previously seen.

When Nintendo fans run the company, you start seeing decisions that make more sense (to us fellow Nintendo fans). Things that we would actually come up with! Like naming a two-dimensional 3DS the 2DS. Like bringing back Star Fox 2 on a Classic Edition. Like reproducing the excellent GameCube controller for Super Smash Bros. 4.

We’re in good hands!

NEW Mario + Rabbids Vs. Mode!


Ubisoft just dropped a brand new Mario + Rabbids mode on us, their unsuspecting fans. Vs. mode?! Yes please! Simeon and Scott will showdown and see who is the better strategist. Oh, and one more thing… BWAAAAAAAAAH!

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

Will Nintendo Ever Make a Pro Console? Scott’s Thoughts

Nintendo fans know the drill by now; their products are innovative and fun, but always underpowered.

Competitors are releasing impressive systems that end in “Pro” and “X,” which process teraflops like nobody’s business…

Will the Big N ever enter the computing arms race?

It would certainly make it easier for third-parties to bring their multiplatform software over. Of course, the trade-off is always price, and it seems that Nintendo is unwilling to be the most expensive option on the market.

Historically, that kind of price tag didn’t serve the PS3 well, or the Xbox One in the following generation.

Nintendo has picked their battles wisely, because they know their audience and how to reach them.

2DS and 3DS are the current entry-level offerings, while Switch is their only product on the high-end. What if another tier existed at the top (a third-pillar, so to speak) that appealed to the more spec-savvy crowd?

I’d like to have the option. Nintendo will likely sit back this generation and watch how Microsoft and Sony’s top-of-the-line hardware performs before considering an equivalent.

tldr; no—probably not.

Game Giving Gift Guide

Christmas is nearly upon us! I’m not sure where you live, but the Two Button Crew homebase is covered in snow and ice. It’s a good thing we have the Holidays to look forward to: quality time spent with family and friends, along with the exchanging of gifts.

Before you dash out the door to go Christmas shopping for your friend, make sure you’ve got the right game-plan in place!

Do!

1. Get something you can enjoy together.
You can give something more valuable than your money or another possession this Christmas; an experience. Your time is worth more than anything you could put in wrapping paper. Try to find a game that can instantly be started up and played together – especially cooperatively! This is how memories are made that can last a lifetime.

2. Go in as a group.
There is power in numbers. Sometimes, the best way to get your bestie something special is to gather a bunch of friends and pool your money. Instead of 4 separate games, maybe you give 1 console and make it a Christmas to remember! Or with your combined resources, maybe you can plan a PAX or Comic-Con trip for your lucky friend and cover everything. Together, you can expand your creativity and buy something more substantial.

3. Consider an accessory.
Your friend might be the kind of person who buys all the games they want. It can be difficult to shop for that person. But don’t forget about accessories! These “nice-to-have” upgrades like a carrying case, extra battery pack, console skin, or even an extra controller can help your friend get a lot more mileage out of the games and hardware they already have. Accessories don’t seen essential, so they can be hard to buy for yourself. But as a gift, they suddenly feel invaluable!

4. Ask them what they want.
Enough guess-work! Everyone has a Christmas wish-list, whether it’s on paper or simply unspoken. Ditch the risk of spending money on something that they don’t truly want by hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth… what would they like to receive? It isn’t lame to order something right off of your pal’s list; how happy would you be to get just what you want?

Don’t!

1. Don’t find the cheapest deal available.
I’ve been guilty of swooping down upon a deal. Retailers are all trying to offload their product as soon as Thanksgiving Day rolls around, so you’re going to see some pretty cheap games, guides, and gaming goodies galore.
Don’t fall for it! It’s a trap. It’s the easy way out. Besides, it’s on sale. If your friend really wants it, they’ll pick it up.

2. Don’t buy them a game you already have.
Yeah yeah, you have awesome taste in games. You buy the most exciting, most fun titles. That doesn’t mean you should look at your collection and get your friend one step closer to matching it. The reason is simple: you can lend that stuff out. Instead of allowing things collect dust on your shelf, let a friend borrow some games and get them something unique.

3. Don’t get them to finally try something.
You’ve been telling your buddy to try this new game; just to try it! But they’re not easy to convince. Christmas seems like the perfect opportunity to push them over the ledge and provide them with that sweet new experience.
I wouldn’t do this. Speaking from experience, there’s probably a good reason that friend has been reluctant to take your advice. They haven’t sprung for the new game because it just looks like it’s not for them.
Oh well—you tried! Instead, give a gift that they’re more interested in.

4. Don’t give them store credit.
Sure, everybody likes money… but it’s not exciting to open. It’s definitely not personal, and might suggest that you don’t know the recipient well enough. That’s not what you want to communicate on Christmas. Besides, the value on the eShop card is obvious and apparent, placing a pricetag on your friendship.


Got the Four ‘Do’s and Four ‘Don’t’s of the Game Giving Gift Guide?
Good! Go and give some great games.

The Simple Reason Miitomo Failed Scott’s Thoughts

As both a Nintendo fan, and an Apple fan, seeing Miyamoto walk onstage during an iPhone keynote was pretty incredible.
I was on board with the Big N’s foray into mobile gaming from the outset.

Now, three games and a weird social sim later, the partnership with DeNA has proved to be an interesting one.
Development on these iPhone and Android games is sure taking longer than anyone expected, with the set of 5 games from the DeNA partnership still incomplete after multiple delays.

Miitomo turned out as a fun take on social media and online interaction, but was nowhere near snappy enough to have staying power. Social apps are all about long feeds and quick interactions. When tapping Like (or “Yeah” – whatever Nintendo is calling it) takes 15 seconds, it discourages users from coming back.

They’re mobile efforts are bogged down by long loading times, and assets that live on servers rather than the user’s device.
This is not how mobile gaming is supposed to be, and it’s certainly not how social media is supposed to be.

Instant startup followed by a few quick wins. That’s all we usually have time for on our phones.
If there is more time, I’m likely to turn on my Switch instead.

How to Make a Non-Horrible Movie Tie-In Game Scott’s Thoughts

You can sell a kid a movie ticket for $10, a DVD for $20, and plush of their favorite character for $15. But a video game tie-in to your movie franchise? That’ll run ‘em $60.

You see why businessmen mandate development projects like this. It’s lucrative. Kids get home from the theater singing songs from the animated film, pretending to be the heroes, and talking to all their friends about how awesome it was. All manner of merchandise make their way onto Christmas lists, but none so expensive as _________ The Movie The Game.

These titles are purchased based on their cover, not their contents. These are not developer passion projects, instead, they’re corporate cash-ins. That’s why they are utter shovelware.

Speaking generally, you’ll find this to be true. For the rare developer who actually puts effort into making a compelling product, unfortunately, the industry doesn’t always pay attention because wolf has been cried too many times.

There is a way to create a movie tie-in that isn’t complete garbage, and it’s simple: Build off one aspect of the franchise’s world.

The most common mistake is recreating the movie beat-by-beat and trying to make the same story playable. That’s wrong, boring, and not fun. Movies are made to be watched, not played. The film is always better than the game that tries to recreate it with lower-paid writers, worse graphic engines, junior voice actors, all directed by people who don’t love video games.

Rather than churning out a sub-par interpretation of the movie, get into that world. Grab ahold of one fascinating thing. Make a game about it.

These ones did it right:
Quidditch
Podracer
Battlefront

Quidditch is a sport from the world of Harry Potter. The movie-to-game adaptations are trash, but Quidditch stands on its own as a unique and compelling experience. It’s perfect for a video game; competitive, full of fantastical elements, and featured heavily in the movies.

What kid coming home from the movies wouldn’t want to race on a broom or in a podracer? The best way to do that is through video games.
And let’s be honest, this isn’t just about children. Star Wars: The Force awakens debuted in winter of 2015, and a huge portion of the Earth’s population were in the mood for some wars of the star variety. Look no further than Battlefront.

The movie-game is a trap. Instead, look to people who are passionate about the source material and want to bring the world to life in a tangible way through gaming. Put them in charge.

Super Castlevia IV – Let’s Whip Some Tail


A pattern is emerging… each week, our Patrons get to vote on which games we stream live. Each week, they pick the hardest ones possible. On this edition of Let’s Play Classics, Simeon and Scott are tasked with conquering the first few levels of Super Castlevania IV on the SNES Classic Edition. Will they abuse the rewind feature? Will they throw their beautiful new controllers in frustration? Find out, and enjoy the show!

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

Now You’re Pronouncing with Power!


We dare you not to laugh as Simeon and Scott attempt to change the way you pronounce Nintendo words, forever! The premise of this episode is simple; we say words as wrongly as possible and you enjoy the funny results. Comment your favorite!

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

The Copious Console Color Curse Scott’s Thoughts

If you’ve ever bought a Nintendo handheld, this has happened to you: you saved up, bought your system, and seemingly the next day Nintendo releases the hardware in a different color.

This is becoming a problem for Switch owners as well. Early adopters had the choice between grey or Neon Joy-Con, but little did we know that Nintendo would release not one but two console bundles with exclusive controller colors… in just over 6 months!

It’s just common practice for the Big N. They revitalize sales by injecting new collectible colors into the market.

People say that the install-base for 3DS is 60-70 million. It’s not.
That’s how many systems have sold, period, not unique users.

The question becomes, when do you buy the system? When do you wait for a different color or edition? Galaxy, Samus, creamsicle, you name it… it could be on the way; right around the corner, three years from now. Or never.

Lucky for you, I have the perfect answer!
Oh wait—no, I don’t. It’s entirely subjective, but here’s what I personally like to do: as an early adopter, purchase one of the first editions. Skip all the other bundles and plastic dyes until the actual internal hardware is improved.
For example, I bought the original blue 3DS (the one that looked like a tiered cake). I didn’t upgrade until the New 3DS XL was released (and no, they haven’t convinced me to downgrade to any model of 2DS).

In a perfect world, Nintendo would handle this a lot differently. See, releasing the best stuff midway into a platform’s lifecycle is bad for your early adopters. It teaches fans the lesson “always wait to buy—the best is yet to come.”

To combat that: release all the best editions at the start. Make them “limited,” invite the masses onto the platform and let them choose from many different configurations. Once early adopters have been satisfied, narrow down the offering. Make it simple and easy for latecomers to choose a SKU.

The objection here is that console launches are hard, and releasing multiple colors complicates the production and fulfillment side of things.
I acknowledge that, but Nintendo already has production issues, so why not work on those and kill two birds with one stone?
They need to start sitting on inventory until they have enough to appease day-one buyers anyway. A conversation for another day.

I propose a method that will reward Nintendo’s loyal customers, not punish them and teach them to wait and buy.

Smash Bros. on Switch: Sequel or Remake? Scott's Thoughts

Along with many Super Smash Bros. enthusiasts, I assumed that a port was on its way to Nintendo Switch.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U felt fresh, recent, and was one of the main reasons to hang onto that console when considering an upgrade.

Now, as the launch of the portable-console hybrid grows more distant, I’m starting to reconsider my stance. Maybe Sakurai, Namco Bandai and co. are not tinkering away at a port, but instead are hard at work on the proper sequel.

It seems unthinkable; in many ways, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U felt like the definitive edition of the series, with a wildly huge cast and surprisingly well-balanced gameplay.

But not so fast… those are 2014 titles. In 2018, a remaster might feel less appropriate than a straight-up sequel. Enough time has passed that a true follow-up is definitely on the table for discussion.

I’m honestly happy either way, but I feel like a port would have been released by now, with the launch of the system or especially with the final amiibo of the set.

We might actually be looking at a brand new title soon!

Super Mario Cereal – Worth the Hype?


Super Mario Cereal is a real deal! Initially leaked on the Internet, Nintendo has now come out and officially confirmed the partnership with Kellogg’s that’s going to bring us our new favorite bowl of flavor. Oh, and it’s an amiibo!

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

Pokemon Snap 2: Now or Never Scott's Thoughts

Pokemon Snap was an unexpected hit on Nintendo 64. Not only did it gather a cult following, but it went beyond that and achieved mainstream popularity.

It was a really simple game; basically an on-rails shooter with a camera instead of guns. Your “head-shots” were awarded based on how centered the pictures were, and you had items to help lure certain monsters out of hiding and into the frame. A truly excellent spin-off.

Nintendo fans haven’t stopped clamoring for a follow-up since it was released. Between then and now we’ve successfully argued our way into getting Earthbound localizations, Operation Rainfall RPGs, a 2D Metroid sequel, and more. But no sign of Pokemon Snap 2.

The Pokemon Company knows that it’s popular. They have heard their fans. Sun & Moon featured a bare-bones mode that nodded to Snap gameplay, but nowhere near enough to satiate the fanbase.

Look, I want a proper Pokemon Snap 2 as much as the next guy, but if we don’t get it on Switch, you can safely let go of that hope.

This is the generation that Nintendo is listening. They’re hungry and scrappy after the financial failure of Wii U, and they’re putting their best foot forward with Switch to provide gamers the experiences they’ve been asking for.

If Nintendo and The Pokemon Company don’t team up to make this happen in the next few years… I’m sorry, it’s just going to live on as a fond memory.

Now or never, Nintendo. Your move!

Slime-San: Are we Sold?


Slime-San is an indie game for Nintendo Switch. It’s got a unique art style, interesting physics, and a steep challenge. There’s a demo available for free, and Simeon & Scott give it a spin to see if it’s worth the buy.

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

What if Nintendo Shut Down Tomorrow? Scott's Thoughts

Nintendo is older than your Grandpa, and they’ve stored a lot of money in the bank over the years…

They could afford a couple Wii U disasters in a row—even another Virtual Boy or two—and still be in business.

But hypothetically, let’s say they chose to shut down tomorrow. Upper management wants to take their money, lay everyone off, and close their doors.

I think I would actually be completely fine with this.

Sure, it’d be sad on multiple levels. Many hardworking developers, designers, marketers, production facility workers, and more would lost their jobs.
Loose ends would be left dangling off our favorite franchises, and we’d never know if Mario and Peach finally got married.
We’d always wonder what the next console would look like.

On the bright side, however, I would still get to be a Nintendo fan for life. See, the company has already produced thousands of products in the form of games that span generations of hardware. Realistically, I’ve only played a fraction of these experiences.

My collector sensibilities would kick into high-gear, knowing that there was now a cap on the quest.
I could try to play, beat, and 100% every Nintendo game ever made, and I could make videos and podcasts about the journey for years to come.

They’ve supplied me with a lifetime of entertainment.