The Top 7 Legend of Zelda Items (2019)
Being one of Nintendo’s most popular and profitable franchises must be like becoming a made man in the gangster movies – every door gets opened for you. Such is the case for The Legend of Zelda, a series that’s had so much love and affection poured into it over the past 25 years that it makes you wonder whether the developers even look at their husbands, wives and kids the same way.
When you’re discussing games, particularly retro games, with other members of the gaming crème de la crème over expensive cocktails, it’s obligatory to mention one of the games of the Zelda series at some stage – it shows that you have at least a tiny clue. But you gotta be careful to get things right, for many’s the time a young hotshot gamer found themselves blackballed from swanky establishments for thinking that Zelda was the guy you played as.
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Mega Man X5 (2001)
People are always asking me why I never answer the phone when they ring. Isn’t that obvious? In my book, calling somebody is probably the most selfish everyday thing you can do. It’s as if the caller is telling you, “stop everything you’re doing, you have to talk only to me now”.
If your number comes up as one of my saved contacts, you should know that you have about a 20% chance of being answered. If it’s a number that I don’t have saved, I shall let it ring out and Google it later. I may then ring back if there’s potentially something good in it for me, or pat myself on the back for my vigilance if it’s dodgy. And if it’s a private number, or from Botswana, you can forget about it entirely – waste of time.
Continue reading “If I answer the phone to you, consider yourself privileged”
Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 11)
This bumper edition of the now universally famous Pokémon Team piece brings us to the end of the Johto times, before Game Freak ushered in the Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald era with a blaze of trumpets. It is 100% nostalgia talking and it makes me a damn fool, but for me, Generation II of Pokémon brought with them the last truly great games in the series – it’s been, not downhill ever since but it’s been a bit of a lower plateau, and I don’t mean the Indigo one. The villains were still a bit sinister, there was that sense of mystery as the internet wasn’t ubiquitous, and it even bundled Kanto into the bargain. For Generation VIII, Game Freak, you give me a massive Pokémon world with non-linearity, at least 16 badges to earn and maybe even the ability to visit one or two previous regions. Then I just might be interested!
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Super Mario Land (1990)
When I revisited Super Mario Land not long back, I thought I was playing a calculator, never mind a Game Boy. We had to buy scientific calculators in school in order to keep up with some of the ridiculous maths stuff that was coming our way – things likes xs, ys, and many other letters – what was wrong with numbers? Then there was sins, tans and coses… we were getting hit by these daily, and even our shiny new calculators couldn’t deal with whatever on earth an asymptote was. But I used to be seething with envy at our school colleagues in the US, who had access to Texas Instruments calculators, machines which I’m led to believe are the Rolls-Royces of computation and arithmetic. We really were deprived schoolchildren.
Continue reading “A scientific calculator is no match for exploding Koopas”
Star Fox 2 (2017)
Even when the NES Classic was announced, I found a way to be snooty about it. Here was a wonderful, official little gizmo from Nintendo, with a good price point, perfectly replicated aesthetics, and heaps of retro goodness. How could I possibly look down upon it? But you already know that that’s a silly question, because nerds will look down upon anything to suit their own agenda. In this case, I already had a NES plus a lorryload of games that, in any case, were mostly clag, so what was I missing out on?
Continue reading “I used to sleep under a blanket of price-scalped NES Classics”
Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 10)
It turns out that Pokémon Sword, Shield and Battering Ram won’t have all 1,000 or so Pokémon available to catch, and the nerds don’t like it one bit. I don’t like it either, because it means my favourite Pokémon, Chatot, is almost certainly for the chop. My decision to buy the game may very well rest on whether a wise-cracking 3D parrot makes it into the game. If he doesn’t, then unfortunately Game Freak have lost themselves a customer this time round – and you can picture me as Homer Simpson, shouting that to Moe at the height of the Flaming Moe craze. The real question is, how many of the forgotten Johto boys, girls and Shuckles will make it over?
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Nintendo 64 (1996 / 1997)
My first experience with the Nintendo 64 console, way back when in Christmas ’97, was fairly inauspicious. For a start, I’m sure my older brother harboured some secret resentment about gettin gone, given that just about everyone else in his school peer group were getting or had already gotten PlayStations. And there is no section of society more judgmental, more better placed to finish you socially, then your schoolyard fellows. I wasn’t embarrassed at all, in fact I was chuffed. But what did set off some humiliation for me that fateful day was my quite literally ham-fisted attempts to hold the controller.
Continue reading “Take your pick between the Phony GreyStation, the Dreampants, and grey cartridges”
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (2018)
The other day I was reading about World War 1 casualties in the final days of the conflict, and bloody hellfire. It was the old Hundred Days Offensive, that frightful last rush where the British front decided “Bugger to it all, chaps. Let’s bloody well finish the Gerrys,” to which the French faction gave a hearty “on hohn hohn” laugh and squealed, “Formidable!”
The Germans caught wind of this plan, and for three months they all ran at each other and drove tanks at each other until Germany finally cried for mercy. The net result? Over two million marked casualties. Many were captured, but the majority were killed, and all in the length of a summer’s holiday from school. With numbers like that, you can’t even imagine the face of a typical British or French or German or Austro-Hungarian fighting man, too young to be on a battlefield, but too old not to fight for his country. That nutter Stalin was right, it really is just a statistic.
Continue reading “How would Bokoblins and Gorons have done in World War I?”
Super Mario Maker 2 (2019)
Call me a fanboy, but I always have to admire Nintendo’s testicular fortitude. They’ve sold us bathroom scales, knowing that we’d buy them in our droves. You almost never want to buy a DS, or a 3DS, or even a Switch, because you already know they’re going to throw out a Lite or XL version any day now. But with the Super Mario Maker duology of games, they’ve really done it this time – they’ve sold you a Mario game, except you have to make the levels yourself.
Continue reading “We’ll sell you the whole tablet but you’re only gonna need the stylus”
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”