Put me in your best high heels, and I’d do no better

Metroid

Metroid (1988)

I saw a recent picture of Heather Locklear the other day and it was a sad sight, readers, a sad sight. You get this idea in your head that someone like Heather would be what you’d call ‘infinitely attractive’. As in, even after a thousand years, with the polar ice caps fully melted and we’re living in Water World, you’d still get Heather herself cutting about and looking head and shoulders above everybody else. I must sadly report that these days she’s a bit of a mess of collagen, puppy fat and wrinkly eyes, and her bolt is well and truly shot. I suppose it’s an unfortunate fact of life – everybody eventually declines with age. Everybody except Kylie, of course.

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If only they’d dropped Mario cartridges on Pearl Harbour instead

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Super Mario Bros. (1987)

I won’t bore you to death on the whole video game crash, blah blah blah, E.T. wrecked the whole thing and all of that other stuff. History was the most boring of school subjects as we know, and anyway, the whole event is pretty much the first thing a prospective gaming YouTuber searches for on Wikipedia, before delivering a webcam filmed lecture about it with jumpy editing. Suffice to say, we had an awful lot of terrible “games” (and I’m talking, less impressive than interactive DVD menus) in the late 70s and early 80s.

I’m not just talking about clag that delivers less than 5 seconds of enjoyment either. Even ‘clag’ is too weak a word for games like Custer’s Revenge, or Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em. It was this kind of rubbish that was being sold, morse code graphics and all, into households at premium rates. Eventually the poor old gaming camel took one too many straws to the back, that straw being E.T., and over it went. Electronic TV games were a fad that had come, stank up the place a bit, and now they were gone.

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Top 5 NES Games

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Burkey’s Top 5 NES Games (2019)

The NES, the first bastion of retro goodness – its lively 8-bit chiptunes are as homely as tea by the fire and an Easy Sunday roast. The NES has almost become the retro badge of honour, or even the acid test: you may remember playing Streets of Rage or Tekken against friends, and laugh with a trace of embarrassment to others about it years later. But those games simply don’t dig deep enough into the retro enclaves. A question has to be asked to separate the retro-enthusiast wheat from the chaff: are u old skool enuf for NES?

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The moustache saved him four tenths a lap

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Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing (1992 / 1993)

When people ask me who my favourite Formula 1 driver is, to a man (because women never seem interested in asking) they are all amazed when I say Nigel Mansell. By any measure, he is a terrible choice. Why not someone like Nelson Piquet? He was wild, and said what he want. What about Niki Lauda, God rest him, who came back from the dead in 1976? And James Hunt, whose reputation precedes him. Or, from the modern day, big fan favourites like Kimi and Daniel Ricciardo. Stacked up against these characters, Our Nige’s famously boring persona gets magnified and made to look all the more dreary. So why him?

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Nobody dresses up like Frankenstein’s Monster anymore

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Castlevania (1988)

So what’s happened to all the good horror films, then? I wasn’t around for the 1970s, which is probably just as well because I’d have slipping in my own stools at some of the films. If it wasn’t Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it was The Exorcist. Actually, I watched The Exorcist at a far too young age, since me and my pals had heard it was the scariest movie ever made – but honestly, it’s fine.

It’s dated really, the effects and all. I won’t pretend our dungarees didn’t crumple a bit at the scene where she legs it down the stairs crab-style and makes this horrendous sound, blood going everywhere. But honestly, we’d all blown away something just like it in Resident Evil 2 that very day. We handled The Exorcist better than my mother and her pal who snuck into the cinema to watch it, anyway – the moment Tubular Bells started up, they screamed to high heaven and ran out the door.

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I wish the Dark Queen would whip me every day

Battletoads

Battletoads (NES) (1993)

I always thought I’d fancy a bit of sado-masochism, whips and chains and all that. It sounds right up my alley, until I realised that you sort of have to get hurt or hurt other people yourself to get anything from it. I’m more of a delicate care bear, you know, and despite my famously rugged exterior I’m actually quite a softie. I’ve had handshakes where I thought I got rough treatment, and I’m the type of person to say “Sorry” when they bump right into me. If I see any kind of bruise coming up on my leg, I fret for days. This doesn’t make me a real man, I’m aware, but at least my skin stays nice and soft and unwhipped. Anyway, who wants to be tied-up when there’s yoga to be done?

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Billy Mitchell is the Machiavellian villain of our times

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Donkey Kong (1981)

I’m not destined to be a great Donkey Kong player. In fact I’m probably a bit of a disgrace to the name of Donkey Kong. My first bad high score came when I was playing through Donkey Kong 64 and it became apparent that in order to beat the game, I’d have to beat an arcade perfect Donkey Kong conversion. Not only that, but I’d actually have to beat it twice, with one life each time, and it was harder the second time round. This is where I recorded my second bad high score, and my third, all the way through to my seven hundred and fifth, after which I burst into tears of failure. And I honestly can’t remember any other game ever making me do that.

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There are a lot of top first date ideas, but none of them involve hiking

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Ice Climber (1986)

It’s enough to make any man self-conscious. After weeks of pestering and creepy-crawliness, you’ve finally secured a date with that girl and she hasn’t yet deigned to ghost you or cancel right at the last minute with no mention of a reschedule. You’ll now be relying on two things to help make the date go well – firstly, you’ll need to have good patter, otherwise that crucial ‘spark’ will not be there and you’ll be out of pocket forty nicker. Secondly, you need to make sure that you’ve got a good plan as to what you’re both going to do, because you better believe she won’t be making any suggestions. Get this wrong, and you’ll be agonising over it for a very long time once she gives you the bad news a few days later.

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The Russian World Cup wasn’t such a disgrace after all

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Soccer (1987)

The 2018 World Cup is long over now, and it was really a terrific tournament, despite all of my initial fears and misgivings. Firstly, it was hosted in Russia, which always quickens the old pulse and gets the fear receptors running red-hot, and secondly FIFA decided to roll out the Video Assistant Referee or VAR for a major tournament.

Both the Soviet hosting and the video doo-hickery worked out great even though football is long dead and has had its soul unceremoniously stripped. In the aftermath of this hugely successful competition, in which the limited Ireland team were probably lucky not to feature, I had football withdrawals to deal with. That all changed when I discovered the bluntly titled Soccer for NES.

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Society’s in such grand decline because no-one’s doing action films anymore

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Probotector/Contra (1990)

Most males get made to feel inadequate a lot of times in our lives. We all clamber to try and be alpha, of course, but there are those occasions where you’re comprehensively made to look absolutely feeble. Puny. It can happen to us from a young age too – while all the other young boys my age marvelled at how Arnold Schwarzenegger resembled a condom stuffed with conkers, I looked at this Austrian adonis and thought, “Christ, I’m gonna have a job looking like that when puberty hits”.

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