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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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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Could it have all gone differently for Brazil, if they’d had Wario up front…?

Mario Strikers Charged Football (2007)

I have my own theory on football obsession, or soccer to you sceptic Septics. Being crazy into football when you’re a young kid and teenager is absolutely no problem at all, it’s quite understandable. And even as you get longer in the tooth, football is always handy as a universal men’s language, something to awkwardly discuss at surface level with the other henpecked dads at the next kid’s birthday party you both get bullied into attending.

I must say though, and here’s my theory – if you’re over the age of say, 20 or 21, and you’re still obsessed with football, to the point that your team getting a bad result ruins your entire weekend, then I’m sorry, but this is an admittance that you have absolutely no sex life. After all, there’s better things to be doing of a Saturday and Sunday. And let’s face it, you’re probably a plastic supporter of a mega-club anyway, which means you might as well be watching the share price battle between Coca-Cola versus Pepsi – and at least those two don’t change their ingredients every six months.

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Trust me when I say, there’s no reason to time-travel back to ’93

Mario’s Time Machine (1993)

There’s one very simple, selfish reason why I don’t want time-travel to be invented; because it just wrecks all credibility in any given story. Honestly, if fiction has taught us anything, it’s that if you introduce time travel to your book, film or pornographic magazine, there’s no coming back from it. They did time travel in Harry Potter, and it was a nonsense, all kinds of new plot holes everywhere until J.K. Rowling sensibly had the Time Turners destroyed entirely.

They brought time travel into Artemis Fowl as well, although this was a few books after the initial craze had died down, and the Disney-backed film was so badly thought out that time travel may even have saved it, if we could have only gone back in time and destroyed the workprints first.

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Mario and his meatballs, they just keep tasting better and better

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)

Look, it’s the 21st century now, so it’s not completely wetty for a man to do the cooking anymore. At least, that’s what my many, many self-help books tell me. Well, I don’t like it, but I’ll have to go along with it. Anything to keep the old tummy from rumbling. And you know, naturally I’d be perfectly happy to subsist off white bread and chicken all day and every day, with a few pints mixed in.

Unfortunately, you come to regret that one healthwise. I don’t mean that these foodstuffs will make my heart seize up or explode; that outcome is inevitable anyway. I’m far more worried about being subjected to that you-really-should-know-better-at-your-age tone from my doctor, which is worse than any other form of social shaming. This unhealthy diet ain’t making me look any better in my tartan-coloured stockings and old-boy suspenders either, which really ought to be addressed.

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There’s plenty to click, and it’s not much of a drag either

Mario & Wario (1993)

To this day, I still can’t decide whether or not I like mice. I’m not talking about computer mice, to which I’m fairly ambivalent. I’m certainly a lot more ambivalent about them than an old boss of mine who was from an age before computers, and therefore distrusted them immensely. He’d pull the old wired mouse around his desk like he was trying to start a lawnmower, and he only ever called it “the rat” in a low grunt. You’ll know the difference between mice and rats if your cats ever bring them in, that’s for sure. Here’s a tip – rats are a bit more chewy.

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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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Don’t feel sorry for the plumbers, they’re well used to being knee-deep in it

Mario Bros. (1986)

It strikes me suddenly, with no reason and over 35 years later, that for a supposed plumber I’ve never actually seen Mario do anything you’d call plumbing. He’s clambered through a few pipes alright, and he undoubtedly got up to some messy waterworks while on holiday in Super Mario Sunshine. But when have you actually seen him get down on his hands and knees and fix the gunge and rubbish coming out of those nasty pipes?

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I’m all for compensation culture if it gets me a free Nintendo glove

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Mario Party (1998)

Adding Mario to anything at all seems to make its marketability increase tenfold, and that’s not just limited to games. We have seen this phenomenon with Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario Kart, Mario Teaches Typing, Mario Chemistry, Mario Forensics and Mario Quantity Surveying, but Mario Party was an odd one: a turn-based board game featuring Mario characters, with each turn ending in one of 50 minigames, which really made up the bulk of the game? How can this work?

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One of these days, Mario is gonna give me diabetes

500px-SuperMarioGalaxyLogo

Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

As a man of boisterous build, it goes without saying that I need my rubbish food just to keep me going. All these lovely things that I see being restricted by fad diets, you know, carbos or whatever it is, trans fats, saturated fats, fats domino. I need generous amounts of all that stuff just to keep me ticking over. So you can keep your marathons and your ironmans and your abs – it’s behemoth beefburgers, killer kebabs, flatliner fries and even heartstopping hummus for me.

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