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 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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Focus your mind. Sharpen your senses. Swap your controller port. Metal Gear Solid

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Metal Gear Solid (1999)

A stealth-based game? Well, they may be an ideal cup of tea for some people, but usually I can do without. Who wants to lose a game when they get seen, when you can have an action-packed, frantic shootout and blast your way out instead? The Metal Gear Solid games tend to be a different story altogether though, what with their flagrant disregard for the fourth wall and their US-based madcap plots from frustrated-film-director-turned-Americophile Hideo Kojima.

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