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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Stick all your money on Wario, he’s a dead cert

Wario Land II (1998 / 1999)

Having not had any kind of proper gambling in my life since I was 18, and even that was a measly forty quid. Although let me tell you, it wasn’t measly at the time, in fact it was about 3 nights out. Don’t times change? But once I lost all the dough in my betting account – they wouldn’t let me withdraw any winnings until I’d provided photo ID, the cheeky snakes – I decided to become all boring and conservative, or at least more boring and conservative than usual, and never gamble again.

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It’s a nice little slice of Mario to have in your back pocket

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1993)

There’s a bit of a verbal phenomenon that I need to tell you about. This could be a global one or merely just an Irish one, I’m not entirely sure, but I can tell you that “little” is one of the most devastating words in the English language, especially if it’s directed your way by a woman. And I don’t mean if she’s being direct about the size of your organ – after all, not every organ plays in a cathedral – I’m talking about the patronising use of “little”.

Case in point, say you’ve got a particularly socially unacceptable hobby, Dungeons and Dragons perhaps, or rugby. Obviously you’re meticulous about hiding this unfortunate fact when necessary, but it’s a tough charade to maintain. Eventually, you’ll be careless for only a few seconds and suddenly, somehow, a girl finds out about your hopeless indiscretion. Being nice and genuine and friendly as she is, she asks you about your hobby. “Oh, you’re into little Dungeons and Dragons, aren’t you?”

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The monsters of depression, anxiety and self-loathing? Believe me, they’re no myths

kid icarus of myths

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (1992)

We’ve had a lowest ebb, all of us, even if we came from a life of refinement and privilege. And unfortunately, not all of us make it out of our funk. There’s someone dying of suicide out there every 40 seconds. And according to the WHO, it’s possible that for every one of those adults taking their lives, there could be more than 20 others attempting it. What we can’t know is how many people are or have ever contemplated doing the irreversible.

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What’s pocket-sized, bundles of fun and never out of a young man’s hands?

Pokemon GSC

Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal (2001)

I was cleaning out my room the other day, always a thankless task that ends up getting cut short by many a distraction. You’d need a team of top archaeologists to sift through everything in my room, and even if they got past the first few layers of clothes, they’d have to resort to using proper Carbon-14 dating to detail everything else that’s buried in here.

On this occasion, I found my first ever mobile phone: a Mitsubishi Trium Geo flip phone. It’d probably still be working too, if I’d had the charger for it. Actually, I’m surprised it wasn’t still holding on to an inkling of battery. This was a phone from the days when they were designed to last through a nuclear war, if they had to. Well, let’s be fair – their large battery packs didn’t need to power highly complex operating systems, architecture and dozens of applications. Still, WAP was a pretty intense deal, right?

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When I find a chav paradise I like, I stick with it

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Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation (1992)

People often talk about what’s in their bucket list, this bucket presumably being the one that we’ll all eventually kick. Top of most peoples’ lists is ‘travelling around the world’, which I find extraordinary. I’m a miserable old sod as you well know, but this travel the world thing was never for me. To be honest, with the exception of Japan, New York and maybe Vegas for a laugh, I’ve done just about all the places I wanted to. Australia, where I have to wrestle with spiders? China, where God knows what’ll happen next? African safari, where I might get eaten by lions, or far more embarrassingly, giraffes? No no, that ain’t for me.

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Every game developer is just one bad day away from being mean

Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (1986)

Every now and then in your working life you’ll run upon a person who is just unrelenting. The type of person who wakes up, runs into the bathroom and smiles at the mirror, just to get it over with for the day. You can get them in school and college too, but it’s in work where people aren’t under any pretenses to be nice to you anymore. I’m the type of person who gives these grouchy gits concessions – I try to understand them, get a bit of craic going with them, make excuses for their infuriating behaviour. Then they still rebuff me and I’m left feeling like a pilchard.

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6 Pokémon You Wouldn’t Want in Real Life

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6 Pokémon You Wouldn’t Want in Real Life (2019)

Any player of Pokémon has surely had a near nerdgasm at that fantastic idea of Pokémon being real. Even if it were just Pidgeys flying into your garden and eating Caterpies, you’d still lap it up. Even if these things already happen in nature, it’s all a bit mundane for you – why can’t there be 15-foot long blue worms living in the water that turn into humongous orange dragons if you feed them enough candies?

And why can’t there be a bee the size of a small child? Or an enormous squid that can take down buildings? But no – we have to get our Responsible Caps on, every once in a while. It just wouldn’t do if every Pokémon were real. Some of them are just downright dangerous, even in David Attenborough’s hands, never mind a snotty 10-year-old child. Here, we take a look at a full team of six Pokémon that one wouldn’t fancy the hassle of keeping in real life. Keep in mind that all six of these hail from the primitive first Generation of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow. I have to cater for the casuals sometimes, don’t I?

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The moustache saved him four tenths a lap

nigel mansell logo

Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing (1992 / 1993)

When people ask me who my favourite Formula 1 driver is, to a man (because women never seem interested in asking) they are all amazed when I say Nigel Mansell. By any measure, he is a terrible choice. Why not someone like Nelson Piquet? He was wild, and said what he want. What about Niki Lauda, God rest him, who came back from the dead in 1976? And James Hunt, whose reputation precedes him. Or, from the modern day, big fan favourites like Kimi and Daniel Ricciardo. Stacked up against these characters, Our Nige’s famously boring persona gets magnified and made to look all the more dreary. So why him?

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 11)

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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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