Unbreakable, unshakeable, unmistakable, unputdownable

Game Boy / Game Boy Color (1990 / 1998)

I think we can all be pretty much unanimously agreed on what are the three hardest substances known to man. Forget about any of your piddly diamond or adamantium, or even unobtanium if you wanted to get really ridiculous – I’m talking moreso about the three bits of hardware that’ll never let you down, and they could only be, in no particular order: a Nokia phone; an AK47 assault rifle, and most Toyota cars.

Firstly, the humble Nokia phones. I’m thinking of the old 3210 and 3310 here in particular, although one of my own early phones, the 5110, almost smashed my foot into a thousand pieces when I dropped it after another fruitless attempt at getting a great high score in Snake.

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Another rumble in the concrete jungle with this bad monkey wasn’t part of the plan

Donkey Kong (1994)

I’m gonna come right out and say it: planning is for losers. You can try and plan out every aspect of your life and meticulously try to follow it, but what is it all worth? Any plan has to be realistic and measurable, and that’s where things become depressing. Get married at age 25, kids at age 30, divorced by age 40, first suicide attempt age 45, incontinent by age 60. Good luck trying to plan against all that.

It’s also a well known fact that the best holidays, trips and nights out are spontaneous, unplanned. If you start planning these things, you’ll just fall into the mundane, the safe bets. Leave it all up to chance and that’s when things get interesting.

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Get in Kirby’s belly and enjoy the gastronomic ride, while it lasts

Kirby’s Dream Land (1992)

We all like a big feed of unhealthy food, don’t we? Well, have you ever eaten so much junk food all at once that all of the grease begins to coagulate, and you actually have to clear your throat? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was just me, because I’m just gonna say it now: if I wasn’t so ruddy health-conscious, and such a strict adherer to my fitness regime, I honestly think I could defeat any food challenge you throw at me.

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Congratulations, you’re going to be blessed with… a Baby Metroid and a life of monotony

Metroid II: Return of Samus (1992)

Some men, and presumably some women, are born cynical, some become cynical, and some have cynicism thrust upon them. One becomes naturally more cynical towards modern trends as they become older. Actually, from what I’ve read online, a majority of people seem to become absolutely decrepit in their 30s, waking up in the morning with all kinds of new aches and pains which quickly become the norm, if they haven’t already woken up during the night to take a whizz.

These days you could probably measure how old you are, mentally, by pinpointing where in the social media tapestry you finally decided to bow out. I didn’t even go near TikTok, because I already knew I was a hundred years too old for it. But one of the more depressing trends that has grown lately, thanks mostly to how attention seeking it is, is gender reveal parties.

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Spitting, hitting, and a portable chance to feel the fury

Pokémon Pinball (2000)

Personally I’ve always been a pretty placid type of guy. There’s been a few occasions when I’ve had a healthy fill of drink and lost the run of myself, of course. But otherwise, I’d always regarded losing one’s temper as something that a grown adult shouldn’t do. At least, you shouldn’t throw the head with other people, people who are generally doing their best for you.

I’d say that inanimate objects are fair game for taking out your anger though, so the next time you bang your leg on the table, or your computer is breaking your heart, do feel free to slap or boot it into oblivion. And if anyone complains, just tell them Burkey told you it was OK.

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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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