I make sure to tell everyone who listens that I’m a 90s baby. And believe me, there are some ghastly pretenders out there who’ll call themselves 80s or 90s babies – even when they were born in December ‘99. These fools don’t even remember the Y2K bug, for heaven’s sake. Although I don’t remember any kind of bug like that either, to be honest. Something about the clocks in computers being all wrong. How’s that something worthy of global panic? They should have a word with my microwave oven, if they wanna know all about incorrect times. Fancy some nuclear sausage rolls?
Sometimes I have to wonder how frustrating it must be to be a manager. Obviously, as I am an unambitious layabout, I haven’t got a staff to manage. But I do have extensive experience with Football Manager, which almost counts. There’s no need to overcomplicate management, because it’s a lot more simple than people realise.
Just have a think about what it’s like for sports managers, or better yet, put yourself in their shoes. You try to empathise with the players, get on the same psychological wavelength as them to make sure the big babies aren’t on the verge of bottling it. You prepare the team as well as possible, make sure they’re conditioned, make sure they’re fit. You lay out the full strategy against your next opponents, several times and as plainly as possible. Then your players go out and act like a bunch of pilchards doing whatever they like, and you’re left tearing your hair out. And in the end, guess who gets the bullet?
I don’t mean to be the type of old fart that goes on about what the kids are missing out on, but let me ask this: are Saturday morning cartoons a thing anymore? Christ, is sitting your child in front of the telly a thing anymore? I can see neo-parents going “OK Google, put Peppa Pig on for 4 hours,” a child entirely raised by Google, morning noon and night. A great symbiotic relationship, actually: the child gets an always-on nanny. And as for Google, look at all that data they’re getting, from the cradle to the grave!
I’ll say this for Generation 3, they sure gave us a whole heap of new Pokémon, over 130 new boys and girls and Claydols to get acquainted with. And unlike Generation 2, which barely even showed you a nipslip of its new Pokémon, Hoenn invited you backstage to a strip show with everything on display.
Everywhere you looked it was bouncing Spoinks and smooth Lunatones and horny Solrocks and thick Wailords. It threw its Pokémon in your face until you couldn’t breathe, and the Gen 1 Pokémon waiting for you at home suddenly looked so bookish and librarian and frumpy in comparison. You know what I mean?
Toerags, Titanics and thunderous crying – it’s a pretty diverse range of emotions below, to match the pretty diverse range of Pokémon available to you in the Hoenn region. Don’t count your chickens now, because there’s still a zillion water Pokémon to get through in the Hoenn Dex. And in later regions, we obviously have to acquaint ourselves with the fact that there are rubbish bags, ice creams and carkeys all vying for a spot on our team. Next to guys like those, your Minuns and your Volbeats don’t look so bad, do they…? Ah, don’t answer that.
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.
Can you claim to be the best in the world at any game out there? It’s tougher than you’d think. You probably reckon that you’re the only one that’s played Super Formation Soccer ‘96 for Super Famicom, but you’re crazy if you think you’ll even get to the last 64 of a tournament for that game in a Japanese tournament. I know what it’s like to be a failed athlete because, despite having played GoldenEye 007 in my childhood for more hours than God was sending, I was still nowhere near the top. Not even top 50,000. And this means that I never got to join the pro-circuit, the GoldenEye circus, travelling the world with the other pros and playing each other in thrilling deathmatches for megamoney.
The steep decline and near-death experience that the Sonic the Hedgehog series went through occurred at roughly the same time that I went to school. From that period of 2003-2009, the series trajectory went a bit like that one really steep fall in Spring Yard Zone. All in that period, you had Sonic Heroes, where the rot started; Shadow the Hedgehog, which I’ve spoken about and has now become genuinely hilarious; Sonic 06, which is infamously bad and which I really must pick up one of these days; and a glut of rubbish for the Wii after that. Running concurrently with all this was the the 4Kids-poisoned Sonic X series. And somewhere amongst all of this was one of the most affronting spinoffs, Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance.
I want you to sit back and see if you can think of your earliest memory. I’m not asking this in the hopes of you giving me your accounts, photos or videos of being breastfed – although if you do, please send them to the usual address. It’s just interesting, isn’t it? You may very well have memories of yourself from back when you were a crying, gibbering, clumsy, self-defecating mess, and I mean from before you turned drinking age. No matter how great you are today, you know that squawking child that caused irritation to every member of the public in a 400-yard radius and prompted mass tutting and unspoken, polite disapproval? That was you that was, and we all hated you.
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret – I love emulating games, I simply love it. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Configuring BIOS, downloading Good ROM sets, jailbreaking modern consoles to get the bogey games up and running, come at me. Of course, I love collecting the actual legal physical games as well, but would I be unreasonable to suggest that ROMs and emulators are the best invention since sliced bread and recordable television?