If you and your mother wanna have yourself a time…

South Park (1999)

It’s always a bit of a laugh when parents try to censor your viewing and playing habits. Alright, there’s some extreme stuff out there that kids shouldn’t be watching, but it’s always a great thrill for kids when they hear their parents swear, and doubly so when they get to the age when it becomes acceptable for them to swear around their parents. I can’t imagine trying to regulate a kid’s mobile phone in this day and age, not when the kids tend to be more tech savvy than the adults and are usually able to find a way around it.

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Ladies and gentlemen, class and decorum have left the building

Animal Crossing (2004)

Just like you can never really know what your workmates are gonna be like until you’re deeply entrenched in the low-pay grind with them, it’s pretty difficult to consciously choose your neighbours. Mind you, in this day and age you can at least go onto local neighbourhood watch pages on social media and do a quick search for the street or estate you plan to move into. If there’s barely any mentions of your desired area on there, then your children will be able to practice the dulcimer and eat their activated almonds in peace. But if your finger gets tired scrolling through all of the reports of anti-social behaviour, your home life will shape up like a scene from the Walking Dead.

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I’m the best penalty taker in the world… on paper

Paper Mario (2001)

So, do you have a happiest memory in your life? Maybe I’m just depressed, but for me, it’s harder than one might think to come up with memories or days that stick out as being overwhelmingly happy ones. I know we’re supposed to say our wedding days, or the day we graduated from college or something. Or the moment we lost our virginity. But what sticks out ahead of all these is usually a particularly great night out with all your pals present – or even better, a pizza fuelled house party where everyone’s there.

Harry Potter enthusiasts will know that the method of combating the Dementor creatures is to conjure up a very happy memory, and somehow turn that memory into a spirit animal that chases the shadowy demons of depression away. I remember reading that and thinking that I’d be bang in trouble if I ever needed to do that. Ask yourself, what moment would you draw from?

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A short story without much fun is something truly criminal

Yoshi’s Story (1998)

I’ve got to come clean with you today – I’m a no good criminal. Actually, I’m no stranger to breaking the law: I’ve pirated just about every form of media you can think of. I’ve even got Virtual Boy ROMs on my computer, for heaven’s sake. I’ve downloaded – and watched – Mean Girls and The Notebook. I’m not sure if you want to know any more about my depraved downloading habits, but one thing I’ll tell you – my conscience is clear.

After all, when downloading films and music, I’m only taking a bit of money out of the pockets of those fine upstanding fellas like Harvey Weinstein. Today though, I have to confess to something a bit more grave: renting games and not returning them on time.

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The name’s Burkey… Heathen Burkey

GoldenEye 007 (1997)

There seems to be a strange phenomenon in life whereby the most major and far-reaching decisions tend to be left in the lap of children, while the decisions made by adults are of no consequence at all, or you never had that much agency in the first place. You might think that marriage, or buying a house are earth-moving decisions on your part. But it’s society that makes this decision for you, if you’re really being honest with yourself.

That momentous decision to have kids? Oh come on, how many of us were accidents? Even if you’re too careful for accidents, and you want to reproduce, then it’s still not your decision, that’s your genes acting on your behalf. And as you get older, it’s not like you’ll be the one deciding when you’re going to shuffle off to a home, which one you’ll even go to, and when to pull the plug at the end of it all. It seems to me that the older you get, the less you get to decide.

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Never bring a white van to a go-kart track

Mario Kart 64 (1997)

In around 150 AD, after several years of labour and study, Claudius Ptolemy completed his Cosmographia, his long-studied understanding of the geography of Europe and the world. Beginning in 1308 and finishing in 1320, Dante produced his masterful magnum opus, the Divine Comedy. And in this year of our lord, Burkey presents to you his much anticipated treatise of the worst types of road users.

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Never mind what they say – women love to Smash

Super Smash Bros. (1999)

My girlfriend recently asked me why men are always fighting, with more than a hint of melancholy in her eyes, a melancholy that suggested all of the nice things she’d heard about the world had come crashing down at the thought of male penchant for pugilism. I didn’t really have an answer for her, although I’m keen to point out that I do my best not to start the aggro. That’s probably for the best, since I have a win record of zero. 

It’s always great to watch a pagger erupting out on the street though, particularly when it’s chucking out time from the nightclubs. And even if you’re not there, there’s usually a tremendous series of videos to catch up on – fights, grappling, lunging tackles, roundhouse kicks, sirens, blue flashing lights, women screaming, the whole nine yards, and it’s properly compelling viewing.

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

Logotipo_Majora's_Mask_3D

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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Take your pick between the Phony GreyStation, the Dreampants, and grey cartridges

Nintendo_64_Logo

Nintendo 64 (1996 / 1997)

My first experience with the Nintendo 64 console, way back when in Christmas ’97, was fairly inauspicious. For a start, I’m sure my older brother harboured some secret resentment about gettin gone, given that just about everyone else in his school peer group were getting or had already gotten PlayStations. And there is no section of society more judgmental, more better placed to finish you socially, then your schoolyard fellows. I wasn’t embarrassed at all, in fact I was chuffed. But what did set off some humiliation for me that fateful day was my quite literally ham-fisted attempts to hold the controller.

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If your Growlithe doesn’t tear children apart on sight, then forget about it

Pokemon Stadium

Pokémon Stadium (2000)

One thing that always amazed me about the Pokémon series is that, for all the controversy it garnered from things like causing seizures or being satanic or requiring you to buy 50 games to catch ‘em all, nobody ever really seemed to care that it was essentially about pitting two cute animals into a fight to the finish with each other.

I think it’s rather easy to draw comparisons with Pokémon and that film Amores Perros – if you want to become a serious, competitive Pokémon battler, then you’ll be doing much the same thing as those vicious muchachos: breeding Mons in foul conditions, slaughtering those whose genes won’t quite cut it, drugging up the best monster you have and forcing it to battle almost from the moment it’s born. If it wins, great: you get the plaudits while the beast gets the larrups. If it loses… the slaughter begins anew.

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