Those very early NES games… they’re not ones you get the bug for

Donkey Kong 3 (1983)

Bugs, bugs, bugs… I’m telling you, they’re everywhere. It might even be that my house is bugged with listening devices – actually, I already know it is, I’m typing this on my phone right now. But I’m not talking about electronics here – I’m on about our constant struggle to keep human supremacy over our fellow partaker in earth’s space: insects.

It’s obviously difficult for even the most ennui-affected, do-nothing professor to actually verify this, but we understand that there are 200 million insects for every single person on earth. Are you serious?! My calculator breaks when I try to multiply 200 million by 7 billion. Well, strictly speaking that’s not true, but it starts giving me the letter “e” instead which obviously stands for error. But I think we can surmise that, if those insects ever did put all their differences aside, banded together and took us on… well, I’m plenty tough, but I ain’t tough enough to take on 200 million in a row, am I?

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He’s the rotten apple of the nasty Kong’s eye

Donkey Kong Jr. (1982)

I know it’s coming, by God, I know it’s coming. I’m like the gorilla in that Dairy Milk ad, sitting and waiting on the drum-kit as Phil Collins lilts through the air, before everything comes crashing down. I’m talking about the biological clock of course, and how madly it begins to tick. It’s not my own clock, of course, my tadpoles are good for life. But the missus you see, the bells toll for her. She tells me now, “no kids”, “I like being able to hand them back” and all that game.

Don’t listen to all that, this is all just designed to trap young bucks like you and I into settling down. Then, before you know it, you’re changing nappies because you’re a “modern man”. Then you’re losing an absolute fortune. Then, you’re almost as much of a disappointment to your unruly child as they are to you. God, they might even bring the police home, or worse, someone who supports your favourite team’s biggest rivals. 

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A war’s brewing, you say? The country’s on fire? I ain’t your guy, then

Fire Emblem Gaiden (1992)

It’s all going nuts again. Geopolitically, I mean. Of course, even that sentence doesn’t date this piece too badly – a headline like “Tensions mount in Middle East” could be on any online news outlet since the mid 90s and still be relevant. For today’s purposes, let’s just say that the Taliban are at it again. I wonder if they’ll still be at it in 20 years time? Or will there even be a 20 years time, because it gives you a right frightenener down the jacksy when those boys are at it, America and Russia are responding (the UK tries to pop up but deliberately gets ignored) and then suddenly fingers begin hovering over the big red button.

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24 centimetres, I didn’t know they stacked it that high

Stack-Up (1986)

It’s funny how your job description gets thrown out from under you. I was initially employed as a Customer Success Manager, which is a nice and fancy way of saying a Project Manager, with a particular proclivity for taking guff from clients. By the end of it I was a chatbot programmer, developer, troubleshooter, optimiser, humaniser, tester and detester in all but name.

Yes, if you’ve ever gone on to a company’s website and tried to complain, only to find yourself confronted by a “hip”, “cool” chatbot who says “Great! I’m happy to hear that” when you tell it that your grandmother has died, then yes, that was me, and I’m truly very sorry for all that.

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Using your SNES as a learning tool? I must be missing the point

Mario is Missing! (1993)

If you’re anything like me, then you’ll have been living your life dodging as much responsibility as humanly possible. After all, what good can possibly come out of having responsibility? Talk about putting an enormous target on your back, and inviting mouthbreathers to come up and take their best shot at you. Putting yourself in the hot seat may confer you with riches, adulation and fame – but it won’t be long before someone tries to knock you off your perch, or worse, they all come to you looking for a clue. And who needs that kind of pressure?

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It’s the greatest sport since Tit Cricket

Tetris (1989)

You wouldn’t believe the kind of sports, games and events out there that are being done competitively. Ever heard of the Bog Snorkelling Championship? Here in Ireland we have the National Ploughing Championships, and once you’ve stopped laughing, I’ll have you know that it’s quite a big event on the redneck social calendar, and I’ve never gotten an invite to it. And believe me, though I hate to say it, I want one.

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The city streets are dangerous, full of fighting, and usually there’s a gal involved

River City Ransom (1990)

You can tell from my pipe cleaner arms that I’m not very well equipped for a fight. If Tyson Fury were to take one look at me, I doubt he’d even give me enough credit to call me a dosser. Then he might put me on my bum in less than a second, and I hardly think I’d come back from the dead like he famously did in the fight against Wilder.

But, and this might only be a British and Irish thing, when you’ve had a skinful of drink and get into a drunken stupor, that’s when the trouble starts. The line becomes very thing, and it’s easy to feel that someone else has wronged you and your fragile ego. It isn’t long before you start getting, as my behavioural psychologist calls it, slit-eyed and shirty.

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Those beginning days, when a big stick and being quick on your feet meant you ruled the roost

EarthBound Beginnings (1989)

I took a deliberately slow meander around my old housing estate the other day, the neighbourhood where I grew up. I didn’t have to wait until I moved out before doing this, of course. I could have taken a curious walk around at any time while I lived there.

But after I left, the urge just struck me to come back and have an outsider’s look around the old place. It’s like what they always say: you can live somewhere your whole life, but it’s only when you come back and visit the place that you truly see what it’s like. I think I’ve mangled that phrase a bit, but anyway, that’s what I was up to. A tourist in my old childhood estate, the streets where I used to tramp. And to be blunt, it was a bit depressing.

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Why couldn’t Dr. Mario have circumcised me?

Dr._Mario_series_logo

Dr. Mario (1991)

I must set the scene for my most recent trip to the doctor’s office by telling you about my GP. I’ll warn you beforehand though, this one is going to get a bit graphic and inappropriate. First of all, I hadn’t had to suffer the displeasure of seeing this doctor for about 15 years up until then – my last visit had concerned my unfortunate bout of balanitis, an inflammation of the old policeman’s helmet.

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Europe has been suffering a ninja brain drain, ever since the 1990s

ninja gaiden

Ninja Gaiden (1989)

I’ve got a new scourge on my plate this time, readers, and that’s LinkedIn. It’s somehow ingrained itself as the thinking person’s social media, somewhere that’s far removed from those ridiculously unfunny impression videos posted by inexplicably popular creators, the types of videos that’ll get shared to you several times a day.

You wouldn’t have watched them when they were emailed to you on a slow day in the office, and you’re certainly not going to watch them now when they’re ten minutes long and clogging up your WhatsApp. No, LinkedIn brings us an altogether more contemptible sight – the humblebragger.

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