Mega Man X4 (1997)
It’s a competitive time to be a man, and you might be well aware that there’s nothing more fragile than the male ego. As a man, you may have had occasions in your life where you found yourself at risk of looking small or weak, and you had to fight back – like those impassioned little terrier dogs you see causing a ruckus, or when Napoleon started running amuck in Europe. And as a woman, you may have borne witness to your boyfriend making a right show of himself, after some well-hung hunk tried to chat you up. A man lives in fear that the bigger fish, the more dominant alpha male, will be along very shortly to prey on him. And when it happens, you just have to take your licks.
Continue reading “Alpha males are born, not manufactured in robotic laboratories”
The Many Jobs of Mario (2019)
Now in his thirties, and still exhibiting no signs of a mid-life crisis, it’s not beyond the remit of a talented man like Mario to have had many different job titles and roles behind him. Actually, you’d have to say that some of Mario’s travails throughout his glittering life are so wild and out there, that him entering a go-kart tournament against his eternal enemy Bowser is now entirely normal. A man so travelled and so adept surely can’t escape the romantic attention of the Princess much longer, can he? All the same, given the rate he goes through jobs, you’d think Mario would be able to afford better clothes than his patchy dungarees.
Continue reading “The Many Jobs of Mario”
Battletoads (NES) (1993)
I always thought I’d fancy a bit of sado-masochism, whips and chains and all that. It sounds right up my alley, until I realised that you sort of have to get hurt or hurt other people yourself to get anything from it. I’m more of a delicate care bear, you know, and despite my famously rugged exterior I’m actually quite a softie. I’ve had handshakes where I thought I got rough treatment, and I’m the type of person to say “Sorry” when they bump right into me. If I see any kind of bruise coming up on my leg, I fret for days. This doesn’t make me a real man, I’m aware, but at least my skin stays nice and soft and unwhipped. Anyway, who wants to be tied-up when there’s yoga to be done?
Continue reading “I wish the Dark Queen would whip me every day”
Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Game design. The one thing that we’ve always wanted to do. Well, not all of us. Most young lads growing up wanted to be footballers or astronauts of course, but I was aware of my limitations early. As a result, even in my most wildly unrealistic fantasies, I was still essentially a no-name code monkey. Isn’t that sad?
Continue reading “I coulda been a game dev contender”
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004)
When I were a younger lad, I tried very much to make hats and caps ‘happen’ for me. I was a proud owner of this naff baseball cap with Sampdoria on the front, an Italian football team that were successful in the early 90s – I was a football hipster before there were football hipsters. I’ve tried several beanie hats over the years, but never got much success out of them what with my humongous head. They did fit my head, of course, with a bit of stretching, but the end result was ridiculous. You can’t keep all of that head bate underneath a small canopy of wool. It’ll burst and tear, or look like a crater on your celestial bonce, and you’ll be left with hat-hair everywhere. There was even a time when I wore a Parisian beret to school every day. As you can expect, that one won me loads of friends.
Continue reading “Wearing a beret to school makes everybody want to be your friend, trust me”
Mega Man X3 (1996)
When people ask me how I believe the world is going to end, my cold, dead heart says that it’ll be as a result of some Terminator 2-esque nuclear nightmare. However, my head knows the real suss – and not only that, my head is hugely surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. Simply put, a rapidly spreading virus, some horrendous man-made biological weapon, is going to get released from a lab whether by mistake or not. It’ll spread like wildfire, but it’ll be one of those invisible fires like you get when alcohol burns. So you’ll be sat down, about to tuck into your Yorkshire pudd, when suddenly you get an instant waft of the sequel to Sarin gas that’ll do you ten times as fast as any piddly carbon monoxide poisoning. Sounds like a decent way to go out, right?
Continue reading “Fancy hanging out with Zero? Just remortgage your house first”
Metroid Prime (2003)
I don’t usually get blown sideways by these cute pop culture comparisons that are meant to make me suddenly feel old. I already told you that I’ve had grey hair since about age 15. I have a properly lived-in face. I’m often to be found drinking Smithwick’s. I am old, there’s no way you can surprise me with anything. That was, until a throwaway YouTube comment had me nearly spitting out my Viagra and Deep Heat soup – Metroid Prime’s release date is closer to the original Metroid on NES than it is to today. And a slight detail that seemed to compound the pain tenfold – that was true as of 2018, never mind 2019.
Continue reading “Just let me reach for my Viagra Prime”
Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 9)
You may already know this, but fairly recently an old prototype of what would go on to be Pokémon Gold/Silver/Crystal was found and shared on the internet for the world’s Pokéanoraks (that’s me and you) to enjoy. In there, you had a whole host of Pokémon designs that never saw the light of day, including pre-evolutions for Meowth, Vulpix, Doduo and more. There was a kind of metal condom Pokémon that was allegedly Ditto’s evolution. And you won’t believe what Porygon2 was slated to look like.
Some of the Pokémon below were present in that beta prototype, with some surreal changes. There was a poison Umbreon, a Girafarig that really did look like CatDog, and Wobbuffet never happened. Can you imagine a reality like that, with no Wobbuffet? That would have solved all of our problems.
Continue reading “Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 9)”
Pokémon Stadium (2000)
One thing that always amazed me about the Pokémon series is that, for all the controversy it garnered from things like causing seizures or being satanic or requiring you to buy 50 games to catch ‘em all, nobody ever really seemed to care that it was essentially about pitting two cute animals into a fight to the finish with each other.
I think it’s rather easy to draw comparisons with Pokémon and that film Amores Perros – if you want to become a serious, competitive Pokémon battler, then you’ll be doing much the same thing as those vicious muchachos: breeding Mons in foul conditions, slaughtering those whose genes won’t quite cut it, drugging up the best monster you have and forcing it to battle almost from the moment it’s born. If it wins, great: you get the plaudits while the beast gets the larrups. If it loses… the slaughter begins anew.
Continue reading “If your Growlithe doesn’t tear children apart on sight, then forget about it”
Super Mario 64 (1997)
Do you ever feel like you’re putting too much effort into a game? A bit too much time min-maxing, or playing online, until your Steam account says you’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 like there isn’t gonna be internet tomorrow? Do you ever sit back and wonder what it was all for? I don’t, because my approach to playing games these days, as there are so many and I’m cursed with bundles of disposable income, is to leave them on the shelf in their cellophane wrapping. Occasionally I’ll feel a bit guilty, and load up some AAA game of the month like God of War, and give it a whole 30 minutes of play. And 23 of those minutes are spent waiting for it to finish installing.
Continue reading “Mario’s lost all hope, and all for want of an A-press”