Gamers on the Go

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Download this episode or listen to it on SoundCloudSubscribe to Gamers on the Go on iTunesAnother year has passed, and that means another Game of the Year episode of Gamers on the Go. Frequent guests Matt Giguere and Pierce Courchaine return to run down the best handheld games of 2017, pour one out for the Vita and welcome the Nintendo Switch into our handheld lives.Look for individual GOTY lists from Matt, Pierce and of course Chase all this week on Gamers on the Go. See you in 2018!
This is a companion piece to Gamers on the Go Episode 61 with Sam Chandler. To hear what Sam’s day was like as well as commentary from other players at the event, definitely give that episode a listen.The morning of March 4, 2017, I woke up pretty groggy – I’d been up past 2am playing Zelda on my brand-new Nintendo Switch the night before. But as I traveled around the fields of Hyrule, I remembered the promise I’d made to my friend Sam: That I’d accompany him to a Pokemon tournament in Collinsville, Illinois. “So when and where is thing happening?” I texted Sam.“Check-in is at 9:30 for video game players, so I’ll get there about 9:15 or so,” was the response. Oh. This wasn’t just some little local tournament like I’d been led to believe. I drove the 20 minutes to the Gateway Conference Center and met up with Sam. As we stood in line, we talked about Sam’s team and strategy (of which Sam has gone into depth here), traded Simpsons quotes with a guy in a University of Wisconsin hoodie and marveled at just how many people were at this thing. It wasn’t just the amount of people that shocked me, it was the diversity: Young, old, boys, girls, black, white, Asian, metalheads and a dude in a bathrobe with a homemade trucker cap that read 8-BIT in flashing green LEDs, all brought here for their love of Pokemon.I fancy myself a Pokemon fan having played since the original Red and Blue Game Boy titles, but I was a complete casual compared to many of these people. All-over print Mega Blastoise t-shirts, hats in the shape of Gengar and Rayquaza and Magikarp. There were even a few cosplayers there dressed as Umbreon, Ash Ketchum and the latest Pokemon professor, Kukui. Sam registered himself and his team of pocket monsters and was ready to play his first live, competitive Pokemon match. The once deafening main hall dulled to a murmur as both VGC (video game championship) and TCG (trading card game) players began their first round of play. Judges in white lab coats roamed the aisles, helping to resolve conflicts (like a glitch using the moves Sky Drop and Spiky Shield that had been reported prior to competition.)Though I couldn’t get close enough to see his screen, I watched as Sam and his opponent played for nearly an hour (matches are best two out of three I learned later, and Sam’s match went the distance). To my (and Sam’s) surprise, he pulled out the victory! As we waited for Sam’s next preliminary match, we played some co-operative Snipperclips on the Switch (because of course I brought it). We also visited the merchandise room, with all sorts of Pokemon-themed knickknacks, TCG cards and booster packs and most out of place, a booth for customized game controllers (weird since all the gaming at this event is done on a 3DS where the controller is the system itself.) I ended up buying a Zapdos pin for my bag for $3. Sam considered a plush Wailmer keychain, but after seeing it was $18, he thought better of it.After Sam’s second match (a loss, sadly, but another one that went the full three rounds), I spoke with some other players in the tournament. I met Mirka, a woman in her 60s who’s been coming to events like these since they first started 20 years ago. She originally brought her boys to the TCG tournaments, then to the VGC competitions as well. She said she eventually just got bored of sitting and watching her boys play (I could relate: Watching Sam huddled around his 3DS for almost two hours now hadn’t been the most exhilarating part of my day), so she started playing the video game herself. And she wasn’t some scrub either. Mirka told me she’d placed fourth in a tournament in Wisconsin and 24th in California. Considering there were well over 200 people competing in Sam and Mirka’s division (Masters – where you must be born in the year 2001 or earlier to qualify) that was pretty damn impressive.I also met TCG player Jennifer Long after I accidentally found myself in her opponent’s seat as I watched Sam play his third match of the day. When Jennifer finished her card game, she told me she was actually a pro Magic the Gathering player under the handle Mrs. Mulligan, and she and her husband were trying their hand at the Pokemon card game competitively for the first time. We talked about the differences in play between the two games (something I could only comment on generally, since my Magic the Gathering days had long since passed). Catching back up with Sam, he’d won his third match but lost his fourth. I think we had both assumed this would be a single or double-elimination tournament, so when we learned Sam would actually be playing in nine preliminary matches, he realized he didn’t have the time to keep playing late into the evening. Having gotten a taste of the action (and holding his own), Sam withdrew from the tournament and we headed home. I still have no desire to play the Pokemon TCG or VGC competitively – I’ll stick to the “catching them all” goal I’ve always kept – but I’m really glad I went to this thing. I met and talked to a lot of great and different people, all friendly and knowledgeable, and gained a new appreciation and optimism for a franchise I’ve enjoyed for over two decades now. And I got a lot of StreetPasses.
Ed. Note - Matt is Gamers on the Go’s east coast correspondent and most prolific guest, dating all the way back to our very first episode on Super Mario Land. Read what he thinks are the five best handheld games of the year, and then go listen to him and Chase look back at all the biggest and best 3DS games of the year.For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″5. Snakebird (iOS/Android)Developed by Neumenon Games, Snakebird is another simple concept puzzler I had a hard time putting down in 2016. Taking the idea of the game Snake, but instead of automatically crawling around an open stage, you have to navigate a stage and collect fruit to open the exit. Every piece of fruit you eat makes you grow bigger by one unit. The main idea of the game has probably been done before, but its charm and bright art style sells it. A nice little find on mobile devices that can suck a lot of time figuring out how to solve a level.4. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 (3DS)I bet Mighty Number 9 wished it had the better press like the Azure Striker series. Picking up right after the first game (depending on what ending you got of course), the second outing of Gunvolt sees more of what can be found in the previous title. Playing very much like a Mega Man, down to the quick dash and wall jumping, the hook with this is not just shooting enemies but to lock onto them and then taking them out with a charge of static electricity. This time though you can choose to play as the “definitely not Proto Man” antagonist Copen who has a whole different set of rules and skills to play by.IntiCreates certainly up the production on this sequel. The 2D sprites look razor sharp on the 3DS limited resolution screen, the variety in the level design was addressed from the last game, and they even managed to squeeze in some Japanese voice acting. While it might suffer the same fate as some later Mega Man games where no one can seem to just shut up for a whole minute, you can thankfully turn off most optional dialogue when you are going for those high score runs. A straight up by-the-numbers sequel in some respects, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 manages to improve on a lot over the first game, which was already a great portable experience.3. BOXBOXBOY! (3DS)While a lot of sequels will appear on this list, I feel that BOXBOXBOY!, developed by HAL Laboratory, doesn’t fall into the trap of “add too much to an already simple idea.” The game expands upon the first one, but this time instead of only getting to make one set of blocks you can now make two sets. The idea might seem like a very simple afterthought to the previous game, but in the end it makes what was once worn ground feel refreshed. I was pleasantly surprised how complex the puzzles became, even going to a higher difficulty curve sooner than the first one did. Another great, cheap puzzle game to be found on the 3DS.2. Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)No surprises here that Intelligent Systems continues to knock it out of the park on the strategy genre, and Fire Emblem: Fates is no exception. Weaving a tale told over three different scenarios, IS and co developers Nintendo SPD pulled out all the stops with this edition of the turned-based strategy series. While most of the core elements from past FE games up to Awakening remain unchanged, the production of these games hits a whole new level for the 3DS. From the way the camera pans and zooms in on battles, to the new way teaming up in combat that changes the way to strategize battles, I really welcomed many of the subtle changes made to this entry. Though it might add on too much at times, such as the somewhat vapid castle building, there is so much content in these three games, it is hard to pass them up, be it long time fans or first timers.1. Pocket Card Jockey (3DS)Ever thought of racing a horse by playing rounds of solitaire could make a good portable game? Well, Pokemon developer Game Freak decided such an offbeat idea would make a great concept. Mixing the idea of being a jockey in a derby, who in a roundabout way has to play fast-paced rounds of matching ascending or descending cards in order to gain pace certainly sounds wacky on paper. In execution though, it plays wonderfully. The whole idea surrounding this game sounds ludicrous, be it the core design or the fact you can also breed faster horses after they retire puts a very cheap package (it’s roughly $6 on the 3DS eShop) layered with depth that hooks you in for “just one more race.” The game might not be 100% fair in every event, sometimes you can do everything right and end up at the end of the race pack, but it is that same element of chance that give this game its thrill and keeps me going back for more. One of the most offbeat ideas of the year that I just could not get enough of.
Download the episode here or listen to it on SoundCloudEast Coast Correspondent and Gamers On The Go Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Matt Giguere makes his return to GOTG to talk about one of the best Switch games that came out last year. No, not Zelda or Mario, we’re talking about SteamWorld Dig 2!Show Notes:Want more SteamWorld? Listen to GOTG Episode 26 for an interview with Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson about the first SteamWorld Dig.Still not enough? Well, Pierce Courchaine dropped by on Episode 58 to chat about SteamWorld Heist.
Download the episodeOr listen on SoundCloudWe’re kicking off 2020 with a look back to 2013 as East Coast Correspondent Matt Giguere returns to GOTG to talk about Millennium Kitchen’s serene adventure game, Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale. In this episode we’ll cover the rest of Guild series of games, Friday Monsters influences like Jet Jaguar and Japanese tokusatsu shows and we even cast our custom spells at each other. So, jiwa-jiwa, fuwa-fuwa, koron-koron and enjoy this latest episode!Show Notes:Here’s the interview we referenced featuring Millennium Kitchen game designer Kaz Ayabe by the Gaming Intelligence Agency.If you need more tokusatsu, here are some fight scenes courtesy of Zepher024.When Matt’s not guesting on GOTG, you can find him guesting on the Abstract Japan music podcast.
Download the episode here or listen on SoundCloudGOTG’s East Coast Correspondent, Matt Giguere returns for our 5th annual Game of the Year show. We take a look back at the year in handheld gaming (specifically, how the Switch has really affected what counts as a handheld game in 2018) then run down our personal top 10 lists for the year. 
Ed. note – Pierce has become a regular voice on Gamers on the Go, appearing on the show eight times, most recently on our Vita and mobile game of the year show. 2016 was a year of Vita discovery for Pierce, so while some of his picks first dropped on other handheld devices a year or two ago, recent Vita ports mean give him the technicality he needs to include them (and you won’t see me arguing that SteamWorld Heist isn’t still worthy of discussion in 2016).For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.”5. Pokemon GO (iOS/Android)Do I really need two Pokémon games on my list, especially when one of these games (this one) is barely a game? Yes. Pokémon GO belongs on this list for the fervor it created personally and, shit, globally. For a few blissful weeks of summer ‘16 it seemed like everyone was playing and talking about this game. Any game that game brings together that many people from that many different backgrounds deserves recognition. Yes, it is an immensely flawed game (and one I haven’t played since July), but it’s still a special one.4. Hitman GO: Definitive Edition (Vita/iOS/Android)I have issues playing tabletop games in video game form. It feels like cheating. Square Enix’s GO games are clearly inspired by tabletop board games, but implement gameplay that can really only work in a video game. Hitman GO’s universe works particularly well. You shuffle boardgame piece Agent 47 from node to node, avoiding detection, scooping up briefcases and assassinating targets. My advice is to put on headphones and let the ambiance of the levels (mumuring conversation from a party, tinkling pianos) wash over you.3. Pokemon Moon (3DS)This is the only game on this list that I have not beaten yet. I’m ten hours in, but I know it already belongs here. Game Freak has made a genuine attempt to shake up the structure and presentation of Pokémon without removing what makes the series special. It has its flaws but it’s still Pokémon (aka rock-paper-scissor dog fighting).2. Mini Metro (iOS/Android)Mini Metro is part puzzler, part city builder, part RTS. As population centers appear in famous cities, it’s your job to connect these people to various stops using limited resources. The aesthetic is sharp and simple. When combined with the ambient Disasterpiece soundtrack, Mini Metro is oddly calming despite a seemingly stressful theme of public transportation.1. SteamWorld Heist (3DS/Vita/iOS)Since this was Chase’s Game of 2015, I resisted crowning Steamworld Heist as my game of 2016 (It’s eligible since it was released on Vita in 2016). But how can I deny its greatness? Image & Form once again took a familiar genre – turn-based strategy this time – and made the simplest, refreshing tweaks. Instead of going on and on about this, just listen to the GotG episode here.
Ed. note – Bryan has yet to find his way onto Gamers on the Go, but he did show up on an old podcast of Chase’s called World 8, so we’re going to make an exception here. Follow his Twitter for some great insight into games and other entertainment.For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″Honorable Mention: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)I almost forgot this game came out this year - no thanks to its January release - but a further lack of gratitude to the series’ inability to recapture the brilliance of its earlier incarnations. That said, Paper Jam was still a notable improvement over Dream Team. Brevity was decidedly not at the soul of Dream Team’s wit, and Paper Jam trimmed most of the fat - and the running time - of its predecessor. It also happens to be an RPG that features Paper Mario, something you really haven’t been able to say since the GameCube era, and alone a reason to celebrate. His inclusion with Mario and Luigi felt just right for the series, and the various paper platforming out of battle and paper attacks in battle mixed up the usual formula nicely. Paper Jam probably won’t blow you away (pun intended), and I don’t know where the series goes from here, but if your 3DS has been in recent neglect, please enjoy this short and sweet romp of an RPG.5. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (3DS/Vita)Never would I have thought the Japanese visual novel would be a genre I’d have any interest in, but when I first played 999 several years ago, the first in the Zero Escape trilogy, I knew I was in for something special. While I don’t think Zero Time Dilemma is as satisfying a conclusion to the trilogy as it could’ve been, it’s still an unforgettable game in an unforgettable series. Really, I’ll just stop here; the less you know, the better. Give the series a shot, BUT know that it is imperative you play them in order.4. Severed (3DS/Vita/iOS)It is increasingly rare that I prefer the act of touching and swiping a screen over a classic gamepad, but the folks at Drinkbox Studios are a pack of geniuses who know how to make the act both fun and surprisingly deep. Take away the combat system and Severed is still a compelling first-person Metroidvania. But it’s the unique and challenging limb- and appendage-severing battle system that steals the show. Combine that with the dark tale and twisted art direction, and Severed is easily one of the more unique and inventive games of the year.3. Volgarr the Viking (Vita)I risk being struck by lightning for beating this dead horse of a colloquialism, but Volgarr the Viking is truly the Dark Souls of 2D action games. And while that’s enough to make many turn heel and run, like the Souls series, Volgarr holds many a reward for the dogged adventurer. The game demands a level of patience and focus rarely seen in today’s games, and yet never feels unfair. If you died, you were probably being sloppy. You weren’t paying attention. You forgot that that enemy makes that exact move and at that exact spot. You forgot how your character’s various tools can interact with the environment. It’s all on you. The game is always subtly teaching you through elegant level design. Yeah, you’ll die a lot. And you’ll learn by dying. But the feeling of elation when you best a boss - or even a simple enemy grunt - is rarely matched in video gaming.2. Crypt of the Necrodancer (Vita/iOS)Does a 2-D rhythm platformer where you move to the beat of the music sound interesting to you? It should, as Crypt of the Necrodancer is one of the most brilliantly designed games in years. I sometimes think video games have reached the point where we’ve tried pretty much every idea, and it just comes down to iteration. Then this game comes along, and I’m once again invigorated by human creativity. Crypt of the Necrodancer’s aforementioned premise sounds simple enough, but I was constantly impressed just how deep and challenging the game gets the further you go down its rabbit hole. It certainly helps the music you’re moving to is from the always-excellent Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac). I’ve probably listened to the soundtrack more than any other this year outside of the game. Like Nuclear Throne last year, Crypt has been my “one more run” game of the year. Yeah, I think I’ll finish this list later, I’m feeling the itch even right now… 1. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (3DS)Alright I’m back. Was there any doubt though that Fire Emblem would take my top spot? I mean, I guess most of you don’t know me…or my tastes… So, uh, yeah, no, the answer is no, there was no doubt. I thought about just half-cheating and going for the all-encompassing “Fire Emblem Fates,” but, one, I’m no half-cheater, and, two, Conquest is easily the best of the three. I thoroughly enjoyed Birthright; it felt like the logical sequel to the excellent Awakening. And Revelation was a stellar conclusion to the Fates trilogy overall. But Conquest went above and beyond in a way I haven’t seen since Fire Emblem’s early days. Mission design so clever, and map design so devious, that my turn-based strategizing skills have never been put to a greater test. Seriously, Fire Emblem: Conquest on hard/classic is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, period. Many missions took me multiple hours. One even took me nearly five hours. And I lost almost my entire team in the final mission, defeating the final boss by likely one move. But it never felt unfair, and was nothing short of extremely rewarding when I’d emerge victorious. It’s a feeling only turn-based strategy can elicit. No series employs the genre so masterfully like Fire Emblem, and perhaps no Fire Emblem campaign has ever been as ambitiously designed as Conquest.
Download the newest episodeListen to the episode on SoundCloudEast Coast Correspondent Matt Giguere is back again to give his full, on-the-ground report of the PAX East 2018 convention. We talk about upcoming Switch games, what is new with Capy’s eternally in development Below and what it’s like to spend four days in Boston’s convention center on the bay.Show Notes:We talk about Travis Strikes Again on the show and there was a question about whether there are multiple games within the game. This Nintendo Direct trailer says there are (even if only one was being shown at PAX East).Matt’s friend Tyler from Abstract Japan is on tour with JINMO. See all the dates and venues for the shows on the Abstract Japan Facebook page.
Download this episode or listen to it on SoundCloud.Subscribe to Gamers on the Go on iTunesOn this episode of Gamers on the Go, we’re talking about Ironhide Games’ newest release, Iron Marines. And we’ve got Ariel Coppes and Manuel González from Ironhide to give us some insight on the game and its development. We talk about the gaming culture in Ironhide’s home of Uruguay, the history of the studio and what challenges arise when you try to make a game new IP in a new genre.Show Notes:If you like what you hear, you can buy Iron Marines on the App Store or Google Play.And also make sure to follow Ironhide Games on Twitter and Facebook, and check out their YouTube channel if you need some tips and tricks for a tough level.Ariel and Manuel provide a nice history of the studio, but if you want some visual aids, there’s a great timeline on Ironhide’s website.For more info on Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal, this New York Times article has a lot of the details (and also features Ironhide Games!)
it8bit: Vectorious: Game Boy Created by Rik Oostenbroek || FB
Download the episode hereOr listen on SoundCloudCasual Hour co-host Johnny Amizich is back on GOTG to discuss a surprising low point of the Pokemon series with Pokemon Black & White 2. Johnny and Chase discuss what we think went wrong with this one, while also picking out the handful of good things still to be found. And Chase somewhat softens his stance on nicknaming Pokemon.
Listen to the episode here.With the surprise release of Monument Valley 2 earlier this year, there’s no better time to talk about the entire franchise. Joining Chase is his Casual Hour co-host, Bobby Pease. Listen in as we talk about the game’s influences, creation, design and legacy. And here Chase opine about Echochrome, a game he’s barely even played!Show Notes:These Behind-The-Scenes videos for Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 are not to be missed. They’re short, but provide some great insight on the development of the games. Listen to the podcast Chase and Bobby do together with their friend Johnny, The Casual Hour. And Follow the show on Instagram and Twitter!And if you want to read Chase’s essays where he plays through and writes about 12 RPGs in 12 months, check out his series on Casual Thoughts.
Ed. note – Marcel brought his competitive Pokemon knowledge to our 29th episode on Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, so it’s no surprise to see Sun and Moon make his cut. See what else made his unordered list, then go check out his stuff on Destructoid. For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″Bravely Second: End Layer (3DS)I was a big fan of the first game and the nostalgic feeling of classic JRPG trappings. Luckily, the sequel expands immediately on my favorite feature of the game, the mixing and matching of different job skills to create unique battle strategies. Bravely Default is also well known for its major plot twist, so the fact that Bravely Second succeeds at creating its own plot twist was a great satisfaction.Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (3DS)It’s funny how I was looking forward to Spirit of Justice from the teases of Maya’s inclusion, but in the end it was another character entirely who gave me a ton of emotional payoff from the game. The unique mechanic for Spirit of Justice can be hit or miss like a lot of other logic games from Phoenix Wright, but the sheer variety of characters new and old giving their own point of view on the story makes Spirit of Justice one of the deepest feeling Ace Attorney games for me.Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)Despite Planet Robobot feeling very similar to Triple Deluxe, the simple addition of the mecha for Kirby to pilot adds a lot of fun to the already excellent level design in Kirby. Everything about this game feels good and the cinematic interactions during key moments and boss fights are surprisingly enjoyable.Monster Hunter Generations (3DS)Even though Generations lacks the 60fps that made 4 Ultimate such a buttery-smooth experience, Generations does a lot of things to streamline the Monster Hunter experience as a whole. Enough that it should easily be any beginner’s entry point into the series, but with still enough of what I remember from 4 Ultimate to feel rewarded for all the skills and reactions I’d picked up from hunting monsters hundreds of times.Pokemon Sun & Moon (3DS)The Alola region is an incredibly fleshed out and lived in world. It’s probably the most well developed region of all the Pokémon games thanks to the interconnected communities, characters and the total feeling of community everyone imparts on you during your island trial. Even in Pokémon battles, turn-based in nature, feel more organic with new attack animations, backgrounds and the inclusion of trainers on the field. This is the Pokémon game where it’s really about Pokémon in a believable world.
Ed. Note - Johnny, along with Bobby Pease are the hosts of The Casual Hour podcast (on which Chase moonlights). And while Johnny added a New 3DS to his collection this year, he spent most of his time playing catchup on older titles. Still, here are his top two handheld games that released in 2016. For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″2. Reigns (iOS)Reigns is great at reminding you that no matter how great of choices you may think you’re making we’re all doomed to the same fate in the end.1. Pokémon Sun/Moon (3DS)This game made me care about Pokémon again in a way I haven’t since Gold and Silver.
Download this episodeI traveled with my friend (and previous GotG guest), Sam Chandler as he competed in the video game side of the Pokemon Regional Championship in Collinsville, Illinois. It was both of our first times at an event like this, and it was way different than either of us thought it would be. I talked to a lot of different people and took a bunch of photos. Look for a more in-depth piece on my experience soon. Show Notes:In addition to Sam, I also interviewed two other people during the event: A mother-turned competitor named Mirka. She and her two sons are pro-level players of the Pokemon card and video games. I also spoke to Jennifer Long, a pro Magic the Gathering player giving the tournament-level Pokemon card competition a try. Jennifer is also known as Mrs. Mulligan and streams on her Twitch channel. 
tinycartridge: Puyo Puyo Tetris out on PS4 and Switch this spring ⊟ SEGA IS GOOD NOW.  It’ll be released digitally ($30) and physically ($30 on PS4), with a special limited physical Switch version ($40) that includes Puyo and Tetris keychains. Sorry, ice cube-emulating controllers, this is the best accessory news of the night. SUPPORT TINY CARTRIDGE Join Club Tiny! This world is great and good
Ed. note – Corey’s more of a console gamer these days, but he made his debut on Gamers on the Go’s eighth episode where we debated the merits of Infinity Blade and its sequel. Taking a break from his weekly podcast So…Videogames, Corey hit us up with the two handheld experiences that stuck with him in 2016.For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″Reigns (iOS/Android) [the above screenshot is from the PC version for its landscape orientation]Reigns is an easy to play king simulator where you make binary decisions on how to run your empire from prompts of the local population. It unfolds like Tindr via swiping right or left to make the decision when someone asks you something. Although it’s a hard game to beat, it’s innovative and the dialogue is hilarious.  Deus Ex GO (iOS/Android)Square Enix Montreal continues their streak of clever puzzles after Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go and they recently added a level-maker to Deus Ex Go.
Download the episode or listen to it on SoundCloud.Johnny Amizich makes his GOTG debut to talk about 2011’s Super Mario 3D Land. We discuss the merits of 2D vs. 3D Mario games, how 3D Land bridges the gap between the two and how much better Nintendo EAD was before their restructuring (y’know, if you don’t could The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Mario Odyssey).Show Notes:Like most Iwata Asks, the one on Super Mario 3D Land we referenced in the episode is packed with interesting tidbits.
Ed. note – Episode 23 brought in Patrick to chat about the Vita killer app that wasn’t to be, Tearaway. Formerly of 1UP, MTV, Giant Bomb, Kotaku and more, Patrick is now quite busy digging up the hottest scoops at Waypoint, though he found some time to share his top three handheld games of the year with us.For more of our continuing coverage of 2016′s best portable games from all our contributors, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.″3. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (3DS/Vita)I’m of the mind that 999 was the best entry in Kotao Uchikoshi’s trilogy of time manipulation games, largely because it was before the plot became so convoluted that I was forced to reference FAQs in order to keep up with was going on. For some people, the deeper the rabbit hole went, the more interesting the series became, but for me, playing these games has been about resolution. Once I played Virtue’s Last Reward, whatever my reservations were about where the story was going, I had to know how it ended. And while the ending may not have landed in the way I was hoping, I can’t help but admire Uchikoshi’s commitment to just going for it. It’s an absurd plot, but it’s absurd because that’s what it aspires to be.2. Deus Ex GO (iOS/Android)There’s no reason for mobile games based on Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Hitman to be any good, but Square Enix Montreal struck gold a little while back with Hitman GO, which realized the right way to adapt a big-budget game isn’t trying to replicate that experience holistically, it’s translating the feel. What makes all three games work is how they bring the core tenants of their parent games–Hitman (carefully navigating a space), Tomb Raider (exploration), Deus Ex (player experimentation)–into a much simpler world, yet one that still feels very on-point. Though Deus Ex GO may be the least successful of these attempts, the formula Square Enix Montreal’s fallen into is one that continues to bring me a lot of joy.1. Picross 3D: Round 2 (3DS)While everyone lost their minds over Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian shipping in 2016, the game I’d been waiting for was a sequel to Nintendo’s DS puzzler, Picross 3D, from 2009. It always struck me as odd that Nintendo would take so long to produce a sequel to a game with 3D in the title after shipping a handheld capable of producing 3D images, but the lengthy wait was worth it; Picross 3D: Round 2 is as brilliant as I’d been hoping for. The game’s deceptively simple puzzles are the perfect companion for a long trip, the kind of game you can easily hop into for five minutes or two hours and come away satisfied. The only problem is that, at some point, I’ll run out of puzzles and be stuck waiting another seven years.
Download the episode here.Our east coast correspondent, Matt Giguere is back to chat with Chase about the best games to grace Nintendo’s handheld in 2016, a semi-comprehensive year-in-review if you will. Matt also made his list of the top five handheld games of the year. You can read that here. And to see all of Gamers on the Go’s game of the year content, check the tag “GOTGGOTY2016.”
Friend of the show, Sam Chandler competed in the Pokemon Regional Championship this weekend in Collinsville, Illinois (the finals of which are apparently happening as I am posting this). I was there to support Sam, spectate and learn a little more about competitive Pokemon play. To hear more about the day, listen to Gamers on the Go Episode 61. Sam was nice enough to give me the rundown on his team and strategy for the event.In building this team, I elected to stick pretty close to some of the most popular Pokemon in the metagame at the moment. I did this seeing as it was my first tournament; I wanted to have a team that had some tried and true battlers on it. However, I did branch out on a couple of choices (movesets, items) I think really did make a difference in the end.Pokemon:Arcanine @ Firium Z Ability: Intimidate Level: 50 EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature – Flare Blitz – Extreme Speed – Wild Charge – ProtectThis is a pretty standard moveset for one of the Video Game Championship’s most popular Pokemon. The Firium Z allowing me to use Inferno Overdrive managed to win two key battles for me.Tapu Fini @ Leftovers Ability: Misty Surge EVs: 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 Spe Timid Nature IVs: 0 Atk - Scald - Taunt - Nature’s Madness - MoonblastThis was one of the Pokemon that really put in a solid day’s work for my team, and also one I went a bit against the grain with in terms of setup. Originally was testing a Calm Mind-using setup build, but found it to be underwhelming in terms of how many Pokemon it could knock out vs. how often it was knocked out in turn. So, I decided to go with a bulkier, utility build. The two keys from my standpoint ended up being Taunt and Nature’s Madness. Taunt was able to shutdown a Curse-using Snorlax and a couple of Trick Room teams. Nature’s Madness helped against many of the bulkier Pokemon I faced, dealing a guaranteed 50% HP regardless of Tapu Fini’s relatively mediocre Special Attack stat.Kartana @ Focus Sash Ability: Beast Boost EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Jolly Nature – Leaf Blade – Smart Strike – Sacred Sword – Psycho CutA pretty standard Focus Sash Kartana. I found that a lot of people were prepared for Kartana at this tournament, leading me to using it as a later game send in. In retrospect, I would likely replace Psycho Cut with Detect.Porygon2 @ Eviolite Ability: Download EVs: 244 HP / 76 Def / 188 SpD Sassy Nature IVs: 0 Atk / 0 Spe – Ice Beam – Return – Recover – Trick RoomPorygon2 is one of my favorite Pokemon so I’ve been very happy seeing it have so much success in this year’s VGC! This is a pretty straightforward Trick Room user (a move that allows slower Pokemon to take their turn first), leading off with the twisted dimensions and having a lot of staying power by virtue of its bulk and Recover. Ice beam dealt with Garchomp each time I met one and ended up scoring a key freeze moment. The one tech I put on this build is Return, a physical attack. This has seen a slight bump in popularity recently and it stems from Porygon2’s Download ability. Essentially, Return makes use of the SpAtk or Atk boost afforded by download no matter which boost you get. Muk-Alola @ Iapapa BerryAbility: GluttonyEVs: 204 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Def / 4 SpD / 4 SpeAdamant Nature– Poison Jab– Knock Off– Curse– ProtectI included Muk as my primary Trick Room attacker who can also do fine without the TR support. He did just that. Muk’s excellent bulk and attack served me well all day, especially with Knock Off causing a lot of chaos for the opposition, often knocking off a useful berry, rocky helmet or assault vest. I did find that he was targeted quickly when on the field, lending more credence to his high value.Garchomp @ Groundium Z Ability: Rough Skin Level: 50 EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe Jolly Nature - Earthquake - Dragon Claw- Poison Jab- Rock SlideThe final member of my team was another popular one. Garchomp is able to threaten a large variety of opposing Pokemon with a strong and varied moveset. Rock Slide in particular scored a key double KO in my second battle. This is another build I wish I had run Protect on, likely replacing Dragon Claw.Usage:I led with Trick Room whenever I was able; the bulk of Porygon2 and Muk were very difficult to overcome for unprepared opponents. I also found the threat of Trick Room to have a certain effect during team preview. Seeing Porygon2 would often times make my opponent take in one of their slower Pokemon as coverage. The few times I went all offense (no Trick Room use) were a direct result of this line of thinking. Under Trick Room settings, Muk was excellent except for being prey to the many Garchomps that saw use. When Porygon2 wasn’t able to check the ground/dragon type, Muk had a hard time. Luckily, his bulk kept him useful even in this situation.My team was also able to hold its own against a hyper offense team, being no slouches on the attack themselves and generally fast enough to keep up with any team.The Tapus are very popular at the moment, and my Tapu Fini performed admirably, especially against the hard Trick Room team I played. Getting in a Taunt and being able to drop the bulkiest of ‘mons to half HP from the get go applied a lot of pressure to this team, causing its user to abandon Trick Room in the second match to try and weather my team’s damage output. On the converse, almost every team is carrying a poison attack to handle the Tapus, so they had to be used intelligently.Kartana, Garchomp and Arcanine being the primary physical attackers for the team worked well. Kartana is absolutely incredible at dealing massive damage, and I found myself using him and keeping him safe with switch-ins regularly. Garchomp surprised me the most on the team, as before the tournament I didn’t use him nearly as much as I clearly should have. As far as weaknesses, I never found a situation where I truly felt like there wasn’t some way to be productive. This is a pretty well-rounded team that checks and balances its members effectively. However, I did find some issues. I found myself wanting for another special attacker, perhaps a Special Attacking Arcanine as he’s not often expected to be played in that way. I made the mental error of not including Protect on Garchomp and Detect on Kartana. Both of these would have been useful many times. I also would likely run a more bulked up nature for Tapu Fini, as her special attack was just ok and not a game changer very often.I really liked using Trick Room, and also really liked using Muk. However, I think another valid option would be Araquanid given the popularity of ground types.Overall, a lot of the team’s shortcomings came from user error. I’m a new player, so I’m not super effective (ha) at figuring out when to switch or how to identify a win condition off the bat. One player complimented my use of Tapu Fini and Garchomp to get rid of an opposing Arcanine in order to clear the way for my Kartana to finish the game. Had I known I was doing that at the time, I probably would have agreed with that assessment. It was a great experience to just be playing such a fun game among so many strong battlers. In my four battles (I unfortunately had to leave early), I went 2-2 with this team, and all but one of the battles went the full three rounds. The games I won, I stuck to my team’s strengths and the games I lost I tended to have a couple of lapses. Not only that, but I played against very strong opponents who really had me learning on the fly. In the end, I wish I could have stayed the whole time to see my battles through.This was a really awesome first experience at a Pokemon competition. I was most surprised at the sheer number and variety of players. I think nearly very demographic in America was represented, from the awesome African American guy who I laughed through our entire match with, to the 70-year-old woman battling right alongside her son, it was an amazing melting pot of an event that really inspired me. I hope I can get back to an event and come away with a winning record in the future, but as for my rookie tournament, I couldn’t have asked for a much better experience.
Download this episodeOr listen on SoundCloudAs we wave goodbye to 2019 and the end of the 2010s, GOTG’s East Coast Correspondent Matt Giguere joins us to discuss the state of handheld video gaming and the best portable games of the year. But if listening to a three hour podcast is not your thing, we’ll be posting our individual written top 10 lists in the coming days. Thanks to everyone for your support this year. We look forward to making more shows in the next decade!
Download this episodeSubscribe to GOTG on iTunesGOTG Frequent Flyer Pierce Courchaine and relative newcomer to the show Bobby Pease drop by to have a spirited discussion about Oxenfree, a game that leaves us rather mixed. 
Download the episodeOr listen on SoundCloudWe’re kicking off 2020 with a look back to 2013 as East Coast Correspondent Matt Giguere returns to GOTG to talk about Millennium Kitchen’s serene adventure game, Attack of the Friday Monsters!: A Tokyo Tale. In this episode we’ll cover the other games in the Guild series, Friday Monsters’ influences like Jet Jaguar and Japanese tokusatsu shows and we even cast our custom spells at each other. So, jiwa-jiwa, fuwa-fuwa, koron-koron and enjoy this latest episode! Show Notes:Here’s the full interview in GIA with Friday Monsters designer Kaz Ayabe that was referenced in this episode Need more tokusatsu? Here’s some Zone Fighter fight scenes courtesy of Zepher024 on DailymotionThis isn’t the first Level-5 game we’ve talked about on GOTG. Go all the way back to Episode 7 where we talk about the Professor Layton seriesWhen Matt’s not on GOTG, you can find him guesting on the Abstract Japan music podcast
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Dec 9th, 2016
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Mar 12th, 2020
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