Pikmin

Pikmin (2002)

So how do you know when you’re old? You could go off physical signs, but they can be misleading. After all, unexplained pains in muscle and joints? I’ve had them all my life, or at least since I turned 18. It tends to happen to me only after nights out, which only adds to the mystery. But in reality, although I read about people turning 30 and suddenly getting all kinds of aches and pains, I just have to wonder how decrepit they are. Having grey hair is another obvious symbol of elderhood, but again, I’ve confounded follicle science by having greys since I was 15 [link to starwing?] and you could never accuse me of being 16 going on 60, could you?

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“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years with the mice and sheep”

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (2013)

My last stint at running a city went rather badly. I cared little for the opinion polls, which were grossly misinformed. The pollution and crime were natural by-products of a bustling, modern city. You never hear people criticising Las Vegas do you? My decision to genocide my townsfolk is what really did for me. After having been tried and very nearly convicted of crimes against humanity, it was decided that I would avoid 1,008 years in prison if I promised to never run a town of people ever again.

I needed some group to bully in order to fill my days though, so I took the midnight train towards Cunnyton, a hopeless little berg located far away from human civilisation. So far away in fact that I’d be the only human sod there, a fact brought home to me by the strange cat who began Gestapo questioning me on the train. I swiftly informed him that I was the only totalitarian around here and that he should watch himself. Never saw him again.

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Come along a guided tour down a gradual Pokédecline

Pokémon X and Y (2013)

I have to wonder what it’s like for those famous people who have completely outgrown their friend group on their way to greatness. It’s happened to me a lot, actually. That is, people around me go on to find success and meanwhile I’m still finding farts funny, especially when I wake myself up with them.

There must be some dreadfully awkward scenarios where the superstar get temporarily embarrassed; after having been whisked away into the world of fame and fortune, they suddenly have to re-face their old childhood. Take noted treacherous Sassenach Graham Norton for example, he’s actually from the same neck of the woods as me, but he’d never tell you this himself of course.

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How Burkey longs to be a skinny flat white

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations (2008)

Try as I might, I’m never going to be accepted into the inner circles of polite company, and I think I’ve finally found the reason why: I’m not a coffee drinker. You mustn’t get me wrong, I actually do enjoy the taste of the stuff. I’ll even do you the favour of eating a coffee-flavoured chocolate sweet every now and again. It’s just the coffee culture that I can’t get on board with.

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Man’s mission is to get her in zero clothes

Metroid: Zero Mission (2004)

I’ve been thinking lately about what’s been the worst event of my life. I just about managed to avoid soiling myself in school, which means I don’t have a guaranteed winner to submit here. Any other possibility I conjure up, they really all just fade in comparison to the one and only time I ever had to wear a wetsuit.

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Nothing like jobhunting to make heroes feel like zeroes

Sonic Heroes (2004)

I’m on the job hunt again, which is an almost unbeatable way to sap your self-confidence. Probably online dating is worse for morale, but at least if you’ve got a bit about you, you can have several dates, buddies and bits on the side. With a job, having more than one means you’ve probably got all kinds of debts to your name, and you’re a much harder worker than me.

Generally you want one job, if even that; if you’re lucky enough to be in a country with a generous dole, then I genuinely don’t mind you taking my taxes, so long as you’re good stuff, you know, not a scrote, not lacking flair. And if you’re a creative type, have a double week on me.

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Throw 25 Pesetas in and feel the Fury

Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (1991)

It must be nice to live in luxury, I thought to meself, as I sat back and loaded up the Metal Slug Anthology. I’d dropped fifty or sixty bones on that in 2006 for the Wii version when I was new to the series. Come 2020, I bought it again, this time on PS4 for a measly fiver. A fiver, for seven games, at least some of which used to come in their own dedicated arcade cabinets with some of the loveliest hand-drawn graphics you’ve ever seen. Posers like me can go on about how you practically need to sell a kidney to be a retro collector these days. But never mind the original, physical copies; if all you want in your life is the 1s and 0s, then it don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

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Ryu, Ken and the Peanuts Parents’ Association are ready to rumble

Street Fighter (1987)

I don’t embarrass easily, which any one who has ever seen me after a few gargles will know. But when my very awkward childhood is brought up, I find myself going as red as a well smacked arse. You know, I suppose when it’s written down, my childhood of eating coins and cigarettes and being obsessed with traffic lights and wandering around naked is all very funny, but when it’s said to me and brought up in polite company it doesn’t half get embarrassing. But that’s probably the same for everyone right? Right…?

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“What can I do for you today, sir? A Slime afro? Some Dracky dreads?”

Dragon Quest XI

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (2018)

I have been emasculated again. It happens to me quite a lot in life actually, but this one was a real beauty. The scene was the Grafton Barber, a fancy place of mangrooming. Well, I wouldn’t have cared if the red carpet was thrown out for me, because barbershops are never my favourite place to be at the best of times. We’ll get onto the looks of disgust and derision that barbers usually treat me with another time, but I wanted to go on about the Russian (well, former Soviet anyway, it was a big place) lady that was to be my groomer.

You’re offered a drink while you wait, which they say is free but given you’re paying a bit of a premium rate anyway, you’re hardly coming out ahead. Can anything in the high life really be free? Chumps can elect to get sparkling water or a soft drink here; real men like me opt for beer. Though my aspirations of being a real man were summarily shattered when I was called forth to sit in the hot-seat.

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Sudden Belly Syndrome, it could happen to anyone…

Wii Fit

Wii Fit (2008)

Have you ever just woken up fat? I guess it’s possible that you were fat anyway, but it was weight that you knew about. This time however, it’s unknown mass – just fat that seems to appear and makes your shirt unflattering. It goes beyond a mere bloating, and it even happens after you’ve been eating less, not more.

I tend to be in harmony with my body in most aspects, especially when I need it to get sick or if my brain has had a big feed of alcohol, checked out and now I need my bandy legs and blurred eyes to get me home safe. Bring weight, macros, calories, metabolism and all sorts into the mix though, and my corps is as stumped as a Greek doing his tax return.

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