“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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“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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A wild Ian Beale draws near! Phil Mitchell attacks with the Toilet Flush! Critical Hit!

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Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (2001)

And now for something completely different, something that might shock and frighten you: I like to watch soaps. It’s probably unwise of me to jump into soap discussion alongside mature women, but it’s always a good talking point, right? The show just always goes on with soaps, and the lure of watching the mundane on television seems to be incredibly strong for humans – see Big Brother, Jersey Shore, Love Island and their derivatives for other depressing examples.

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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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Pop quiz, hotshot – there’s a moon about to flatten your borough. What do you do?

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Legend of Zelda, The: Majora’s Mask 3D (2015)

So here’s your story prompt – you’re sat on the loo, taking care of business and picking your nose at the same time. Then it happens: a red alert warning pops up on your phone, screaming at you and informing you that an enormous meteor will impact Earth in three days’ time, and the cataclysmic smash will engulf us all. It’s a good thing you were sat on the throne, because this revelation’s really got things moving for you down there. It’s no false alarm like the nuclear scare that Hawaii had a couple of years ago either, this is a bona fide apocalypse you’ve got on your hands. What’s your next step?

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How would Bokoblins and Gorons have done in World War I?

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Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (2018)

The other day I was reading about World War 1 casualties in the final days of the conflict, and bloody hellfire. It was the old Hundred Days Offensive, that frightful last rush where the British front decided “Bugger to it all, chaps. Let’s bloody well finish the Gerrys,” to which the French faction gave a hearty “on hohn hohn” laugh and squealed, “Formidable!”

The Germans caught wind of this plan, and for three months they all ran at each other and drove tanks at each other until Germany finally cried for mercy. The net result? Over two million marked casualties. Many were captured, but the majority were killed, and all in the length of a summer’s holiday from school. With numbers like that, you can’t even imagine the face of a typical British or French or German or Austro-Hungarian fighting man, too young to be on a battlefield, but too old not to fight for his country. That nutter Stalin was right, it really is just a statistic.

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Sakurai may have 100,000 demands, but all I ever needed was the Duck Hunt dog

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Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U (2014)

I’m always having to refute toilet graffiti, random WhatsApp messages and shouted street insults about me being some sort of Nintendo fanboy. But even I couldn’t help but delightfully squee like a constipated swine when Nintendo brought out an interesting new fighter for the Nintendo 64, featuring Nintendo characters, stages and items, all wrapped up into one veritable hit-parade of Japaneseness. A surprise birthday present from Nintendo to me, that’s what my old friend Shigsy told me via fax at the time.

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Seven years might seem a long time, but try an 18-month delay

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Legend of Zelda, The: Ocarina of Time (1998)

What a difference seven years makes. If I take a look back at my life seven years ago, it features me sitting in college doing nothing, after which I’d go to the pub or go somewhere to eat, then go home, play some games, harass a few women by text, and do it all again the next day. Now though? I go to work, do little… then go to the pub… somewhere to eat… hmmm, even the harassment still features. So maybe I have to be somewhat less profound here and conclude that, after seven years, nowt has changed for me. Which is just the way I like it.

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Change isn’t to be feared, unless it’s 3D or Virtual Reality

 

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (2013)

I have this frankly unnerving propensity for doing things the complete opposite way of how they really should be done. Manoeuvre, signal, mirror, that’s my motto behind the wheel. I tend to put the milk in before the sugar, which some tea authorities I know inform me is unfathomably wrong. And I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve tried to slip some baggy tracksuit bottoms down past my inevitably Nike-runnered feet.

So it proved to be the case again when a new handheld Zelda sequel, directly modelled on the best of the series in the Super Nintendo’s A Link to the Past, was announced. I should have had a penile accident, the good kind, right there and then. Instead I felt a combination of emotions, all of them negative. Disbelief! Panic! Fear!

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