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

dragon quest 7

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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Tons of lore, an extravagant score and the girl next door

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

I’ve been trying to put some time into just why Final Fantasy VII seems to be so much more popular than the rest. Even here in Europe, where we didn’t get much in the way of RPGs, FF7 made an impact on hardcore and more casual gamers alike. We didn’t get much in the way of RPGs, including Final Fantasy I to VI, Dragon Quest I to VII, and other titles without Roman numerals like Super Mario RPG and Chrono Trigger. We didn’t get any of that stuff, check fantasy star. So why is it that Final Fantasy VII just took everything by storm? It’s a fascinating question, and I believe I’ve cracked the reason for it.

This may not explain why women also like as well but I think the story of Final Fantasy seven and why resonated because it is all about how the boy who thinks he’s great but turns out to be a geek at heart, managed to ascend with the girl next door. And the girl next door in this case has cans bigger than her head, which, you know, only adds to the pathos and the intrigue.

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Start your holidays right with a gyros platter and a dragonfruit mojito

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! (1999)

We could all do with a holiday, that’s for sure. That’s true at any time of year though, isn’t it? A holiday should be designed to destress you, but if you ain’t careful, then there’s a lot about holidaymaking that can distress you instead. Get your holiday booking very wrong, and it’ll make you wonder why you didn’t just hide behind your papers at work instead, where everything made sense and the teabags didn’t have strings on them.

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The little boy in blue screams like a girl, and Elmer Fudd is to blame

Mega Man 8 (1997)

I used to think I had a voice like the Gods. It’s deep as hell alright, or at least it rumbles through buildings – good when you want to intimidate the mice, rats, and spiders in there, but not so good if you’re doing your best not to wake people up. I always hoped I’d have what they always disparagingly call “dulcet tones”, but the first time I heard myself on playback I was mortified.

Everyone always says the same thing when they hear themselves sounding like an ignoramus on tape: “That’s not me, is it?!” And actually it’s a pity that they’re not still being recorded when they exclaim this, because that’s the most emotional range they’ll ever be able to voice.

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Like random encounters, the Swedish girls were coming at us thick and fast

tales of phantasia logo

Tales of Phantasia (1995)

You have me down as an uncultured oik, I know you do, so it’ll probably surprise the hell out of you when I tell you that I’m pretty well-versed in Norse mythology. No, really, I know all about that Thor fella, and he had a hammer that did something with lightning or somesuch. Something that made him overpowered, anyway.

I’m not altogether happy with Thor, Chris Hemsworth or any hammer user, if truth be told, because he ended up inventing Thursdays, and Thursdays are my busiest day in work. A bit arrogant too I find, naming a day after himself. Why don’t we get Supermansday?

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A seminal RPG! But, only find it in America of North and the Moonland Isle

Final Fantasy 4

Final Fantasy IV (SNES) (1991)

Did you know that you change your friends every seven years? That’s right, one day you’re out playing football on the road and a bit of Tip the Can for good measure, and the next moment (well, over the next seven years), they’re just left sitting on your Facebook friends list gathering more and more cobwebs. Actually, Facebook is last century’s buzz, isn’t it?

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Top Ten puppy dogs Eminem was too afraid to diss

parappa

PaRappa the Rapper (1997)

Ah, the things we do to try and impress a woman. When I learned that my wouldbe missus was a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, I thought I was in. All I’d have to do is reference California and drugs a million times, and I’d get a result, right? Well, it took a bit more than that. Any old fool can reference the classics., but being as simpering as I was, I had to go deeper.

So, I downloaded all of their albums (she wasn’t to know of this piracy), obscure B-sides and all, and proceeded to try and learn the lyrics of every single one. I’d put together one big playlist, then start a long endurance race on Gran Turismo or a full-length race in F1 2013 and try to become an RHCP expert by osmosis. How thirsty is that?

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Uh-oh! The gravy train have started to move!

megaman x6

Mega Man X6 (2002)

A lot of people, when you ask them how their day in work was, tell you that they did “nothing”. Actually, they’ll say the same thing when you ask them what they did last night or what they’re doing for their upcoming 37th birthday. But “nothing” is always something, even if that just entails sitting there, faffing about like a pudgy potato and watching Netflix. And would you believe me if I told you that I once had a job where I was paid full whack for doing absolutely nothing, besides watching whatever I wanted?

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Black Mages are promoted to their level of incompetency

Final Fantasy 1

Final Fantasy (1987)

Sometimes I have to wonder how frustrating it must be to be a manager. Obviously, as I am an unambitious layabout, I haven’t got a staff to manage. But I do have extensive experience with Football Manager, which almost counts. There’s no need to overcomplicate management, because it’s a lot more simple than people realise.

Just have a think about what it’s like for sports managers, or better yet, put yourself in their shoes. You try to empathise with the players, get on the same psychological wavelength as them to make sure the big babies aren’t on the verge of bottling it. You prepare the team as well as possible, make sure they’re conditioned, make sure they’re fit. You lay out the full strategy against your next opponents, several times and as plainly as possible. Then your players go out and act like a bunch of pilchards doing whatever they like, and you’re left tearing your hair out. And in the end, guess who gets the bullet?

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Peppa Pig is OK, but kids are missing out on Joe Perry’s Spiderman theme

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Final Fantasy V (1992)

I don’t mean to be the type of old fart that goes on about what the kids are missing out on, but let me ask this: are Saturday morning cartoons a thing anymore? Christ, is sitting your child in front of the telly a thing anymore? I can see neo-parents going “OK Google, put Peppa Pig on for 4 hours,” a child entirely raised by Google, morning noon and night. A great symbiotic relationship, actually: the child gets an always-on nanny. And as for Google, look at all that data they’re getting, from the cradle to the grave!

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