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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The US Air Force keeps writing checks my body can’t cash

R-Type Delta

R-Type Delta (1999)

Bored on the job, I decided to investigate the possibility of a career change. I was therefore looking up the requirements to be a jet fighter pilot and bloody hell, the list was as long as your arm. I ask, do they want an air force or not? You’ll end up with nobody up there and the battle for air supremacy will be lost if you keep up that carry on. I’ve got more runner-up and participation medals than you can imagine, so clearly I’m a pretty qualified guy. But these Air Force heavies, all they wanna do is exclude you.

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The castle costs a fortune but the Succubus comes free

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)

I always said that if I won the lotto I wouldn’t be overly extravagant about it. Don’t get me wrong, I hate when there’s a massive Euromillions win, €190 million squids and the winners aren’t virile, attractive young man like me (yes, me). No, it’s always Mary (73) and Joe (75) and they say it won’t change them and they’ll still work every day on the farm and all that rubbish.

What?! Joe, this is your big chance, and your heart hasn’t got much pump left. Get out there to Vegas and throw thousands of dollars on every spin of the roulette table. Keep the drinks and drugs coming, and even if you blow through a hundred thousand in a night, you’ve zillions left in reserve. That’ll have the “dancing girls” round your hotel room quick as well.

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Confusing memories of load times, dangerous polygons, demo discs and Croc

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PlayStation 1 (1996)

For almost the entire duration of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan in Europe, from the not-so-lengthy 1997 to 2001, I was all over the weekly Nintendo magazines. I had made the conscious decision to get a Nintendo 64 over a PlayStation 1, see. And it was entirely my decision, because I was 6 years old and bratty, so my older brother had to do as I said and ask for the correct console from Santa for Christmas. Never mind that every single one of his friends was getting the much-vaunted PS1, little Burkey wanted the N64 for its Nintendo franchises and he was about ready to befoul his pants if Father Christmas didn’t do the biz.

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If I answer the phone to you, consider yourself privileged

Mega Man X5 Logo

Mega Man X5 (2001)

People are always asking me why I never answer the phone when they ring. Isn’t that obvious? In my book, calling somebody is probably the most selfish everyday thing you can do. It’s as if the caller is telling you, “stop everything you’re doing, you have to talk only to me now”.

If your number comes up as one of my saved contacts, you should know that you have about a 20% chance of being answered. If it’s a number that I don’t have saved, I shall let it ring out and Google it later. I may then ring back if there’s potentially something good in it for me, or pat myself on the back for my vigilance if it’s dodgy. And if it’s a private number, or from Botswana, you can forget about it entirely – waste of time.

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Alpha males are born, not manufactured in robotic laboratories

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Mega Man X4 (1997)

It’s a competitive time to be a man, and you might be well aware that there’s nothing more fragile than the male ego. As a man, you may have had occasions in your life where you found yourself at risk of looking small or weak, and you had to fight back – like those impassioned little terrier dogs you see causing a ruckus, or when Napoleon started running amuck in Europe. And as a woman, you may have borne witness to your boyfriend making a right show of himself, after some well-hung hunk tried to chat you up. A man lives in fear that the bigger fish, the more dominant alpha male, will be along very shortly to prey on him. And when it happens, you just have to take your licks.

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Fancy hanging out with Zero? Just remortgage your house first

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Mega Man X3 (1996)

When people ask me how I believe the world is going to end, my cold, dead heart says that it’ll be as a result of some Terminator 2-esque nuclear nightmare. However, my head knows the real suss – and not only that, my head is hugely surprised that it hasn’t happened yet.

Simply put, a rapidly spreading virus, some horrendous man-made biological weapon, is going to get released from a lab whether by mistake or not. It’ll spread like wildfire, but it’ll be one of those invisible fires like you get when alcohol burns. So you’ll be sat down, about to tuck into your Yorkshire pudd, when suddenly you get an instant waft of the sequel to Sarin gas that’ll do you in ten times as fast as any piddly carbon monoxide poisoning. Sounds like a decent way to go out, right?

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Somebody crowbarred a love story into this card collecting RPG

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Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

A year ago, when I was doing up a piece on classic gaming couples for CHUNK.ie and The R.A.G.E. for St. Valentine’s Day, I was actually struggling pretty badly. Yes, there were a whole host of tantalising will-they-won’t-theys like Link and Zelda. There were also friend-zone jobs like Mario and the Princess, and even a rare reversal with Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Rose. And there’s even pairings that eventually turned sour, like Snake and Meryl. But proper romantic love stories? They were quite tough to shoot my arrow through.

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I spend every hangover chasing the purple dragon

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Spyro the Dragon (1998)

It’s the Halloween period, which can mean one of three things. To little children, it’s an almost too good to be true tale of free sweeties for doing just about nothing at all bar making yourself look silly in a costume for an hour or two. And for older adults, it represents buying two truckloads of sweets from the local wholesalers, only to do your best not to answer the door anyway, or at least frantically try to delegate the grand task to someone else.

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