A war’s brewing, you say? The country’s on fire? I ain’t your guy, then

Fire Emblem Gaiden (1992)

It’s all going nuts again. Geopolitically, I mean. Of course, even that sentence doesn’t date this piece too badly – a headline like “Tensions mount in Middle East” could be on any online news outlet since the mid 90s and still be relevant. For today’s purposes, let’s just say that the Taliban are at it again. I wonder if they’ll still be at it in 20 years time? Or will there even be a 20 years time, because it gives you a right frightenener down the jacksy when those boys are at it, America and Russia are responding (the UK tries to pop up but deliberately gets ignored) and then suddenly fingers begin hovering over the big red button.

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24 centimetres, I didn’t know they stacked it that high

Stack-Up (1986)

It’s funny how your job description gets thrown out from under you. I was initially employed as a Customer Success Manager, which is a nice and fancy way of saying a Project Manager, with a particular proclivity for taking guff from clients. By the end of it I was a chatbot programmer, developer, troubleshooter, optimiser, humaniser, tester and detester in all but name.

Yes, if you’ve ever gone on to a company’s website and tried to complain, only to find yourself confronted by a “hip”, “cool” chatbot who says “Great! I’m happy to hear that” when you tell it that your grandmother has died, then yes, that was me, and I’m truly very sorry for all that.

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Looking for a puzzler on the go? Just take your Pic

Mario’s Picross (1995)

You know you’re getting pretty goshdarned by-gum old when you’re getting a bit excited by puzzles. I’ve been well into the cryptic crosswords lately, the easy ones of course. My brain nearly melted right out of my ears the last time I tried to tackle a Guardian cryptic. Talk about hard, just how many viagras can you stuff down a crossword puzzle’s throat? Enough to give it a stiff neck, that’s what.

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The King of Iron Fist Tournament, it’s just a YouTube nutshell video away

Tekken (1994)

I’ve decided that I’ve been emasculated for too long and that I’m finally going to become a man. I’m not too far away either, I’ve ticked off quite a few of the other boxes, almost got a full house on manly bingo. I can drive, I can grow a beard, I’ve even had sex. They all took an awful long time for me to get there, and even now they only occur under very special circumstances. The only string missing to my masculine bow nowadays is the trickiest of all to master – DIY.

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There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a woman in the depths of an Animal Crossing binge.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

If you’re sitting out there in a loving relationship, no major tiffs every other day and the two of you are only slightly dysfunctional, then congratulations, I am genuinely happy for you. Singletons, fear not, because there are a lot more unhappy relationships out there than you might realise. And we’re all growing up now, “adulting” as some particularly childminded people might say, so the causes of strain and conflict are more mature now. It’s a bit more than her asking you whose bra this is, or you asking her why your last whazz nearly set the shower curtain on fire.

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Pubmaster Burkey does his best to ensure everyone is here

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate (2018)

It’s quite the event on the social calendar, you know, and I take great pride in organising it every year, or at least on the years when people can be bothered with it. It quickly becomes front-page news, with everyone talking about it, and I’m ashamed to say some lewd scenes and paparazzi photographs have made it to the back pages on occasion.

Everyone is welcome, but if you haven’t got the stamina for it then you’ll find yourself left behind in an instant. Make it to the end though, and you can take great pride in the fact that there are not many who’ve achieved what you just have. I’m talking, of course, about the 12 Pubs of Christmas.

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 22)

Oh me, oh my, we’re getting into the Sinnoh Legendary Pokémon now, where even if I became a Rap God it’d still take me all year to get through. I beg only 10 or 15 minutes of your time today to at least get started on… if you’ll let me check my notes… the Lake Trio. I suppose it’s better to start wit hteh inoffensive before getting righ tdown to the dream destroyers and time purloiners.

I’d better keep it in my pants though – no, Cynthia hasn’t just walked in with a sort of “where’s Burkey” expressiono on her face, but we need to finish off some new evolutions to old Pokémon first. I know, I know, I’m as sick of them as you are, but don’t worry, I’m sure they can’t all be as bad as Rhyperior.

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Virtual grasscutting? What am I, The Lawnmower Man?!

No More Heroes (2008)

I just want to put it on the record that I absolutely despise cutting the grass. I think I could like it, if I had one of those sit-down lawnmowers that I could just swing out of, almost rallying it through my heavily undulating garden. Perhaps I could even rig up some rope pulley system, attach it to the steering wheel, fall asleep and have it mow the lawn in a nice, automated circular pattern. It beats having to push your pathetic little banger-mower against the Amazon rainforest anyway.

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Ladies and gentlemen, class and decorum have left the building

Animal Crossing (2004)

Just like you can never really know what your workmates are gonna be like until you’re deeply entrenched in the low-pay grind with them, it’s pretty difficult to consciously choose your neighbours. Mind you, in this day and age you can at least go onto local neighbourhood watch pages on social media and do a quick search for the street or estate you plan to move into. If there’s barely any mentions of your desired area on there, then your children will be able to practice the dulcimer and eat their activated almonds in peace. But if your finger gets tired scrolling through all of the reports of anti-social behaviour, your home life will shape up like a scene from the Walking Dead.

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I’m the best penalty taker in the world… on paper

Paper Mario (2001)

So, do you have a happiest memory in your life? Maybe I’m just depressed, but for me, it’s harder than one might think to come up with memories or days that stick out as being overwhelmingly happy ones. I know we’re supposed to say our wedding days, or the day we graduated from college or something. Or the moment we lost our virginity. But what sticks out ahead of all these is usually a particularly great night out with all your pals present – or even better, a pizza fuelled house party where everyone’s there.

Harry Potter enthusiasts will know that the method of combating the Dementor creatures is to conjure up a very happy memory, and somehow turn that memory into a spirit animal that chases the shadowy demons of depression away. I remember reading that and thinking that I’d be bang in trouble if I ever needed to do that. Ask yourself, what moment would you draw from?

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