Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (1986)
Every now and then in your working life you’ll run upon a person who is just unrelenting. The type of person who wakes up, runs into the bathroom and smiles at the mirror, just to get it over with for the day. You can get them in school and college too, but it’s in work where people aren’t under any pretenses to be nice to you anymore. I’m the type of person who gives these grouchy gits concessions – I try to understand them, get a bit of craic going with them, make excuses for their infuriating behaviour. Then they still rebuff me and I’m left feeling like a pilchard.
Continue reading “Every game developer is just one bad day away from being mean”
Super R-Type (1992)
In any of life’s endeavours, you can make bundles of progress and be just about to seal the deal when one little mistake, one tiny spanner in the wrench, causes the whole enterprise to blow up in your face in spectacular fashion and leave you with naught. I know this feeling only too well.
At the risk of alienating myself from my missus and buying myself, oh, about nine years on the sofa, I tried to chat up girls once upon a time. I wasn’t much good at it. I’d only do it when I was near catatonic with drink, and at that stage anything coming out of my mouth more closely resembled a tortured hyena trying to scream bible verses in Afrikaans. But sometimes, it might only happen once or twice in your life, a golden and almost unbelievable opportunity falls into your lap. And in a darkened corner of that night’s den of iniquity, hovering just at the periphery of our round table full of drinks, there she was.
Continue reading “Lesson one of chatting girls up – don’t lose your bottles”
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!
Continue reading “Peppa Pig is OK, but kids are missing out on Joe Perry’s Spiderman theme”
Kirby Super Star (1997)
When I was doing gaming videos with my pal in a desperate attempt to find YouTube popularity, I made the observation that I’d rather be caught wearing my mother’s clothes than have someone walk in on me playing a Kirby game. I can gleefully tell all you Kirby lovers out there that my partner did not immediately frown and slap me for making such a cretinous comment. Quite the opposite actually – he laughed, I laughed, we patted each other on the back and our anti-Kirby circlejerk continued.
Continue reading “Kirby finally made me stop wearing my mother’s clothes”
Dragon Quest (1986)
Now please believe me: I’d love to spend my days and nights playing only the very best games, the champagne titles, properly sinking 200 or more hours into your Witchers, your GTAs, your Breath of the Wilds, even your Saints Rows. Alas, I’m cursed to play games from all walks of life. I’ve got this first world problem of owning too many games consoles, which means that I’ve got access to a wide range of games, and that’s before you even get to emulators. So when you see that I’ve written a piece on the original Dragon Quest, AKA Dragon Warrior, I know you want to tut, roll your eyes and ask why I’ve bothered. Well, put it this way – at least you can press Back, or you can read on and be finished in a few minutes. Dragon Quest 1 took seven hours from me.
Continue reading “Nowt like a bit of grinding to make you go all hard-headed”
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996)
I spent my college years wandering about in this kind of cynical trance, like Holden Caulfield. Didn’t really have anywhere to go, anyone to meet, so I just sat about writing and listening to music instead. Even if I’d studied or attended lectures, it’d have hardly made a difference anyway. I went to a ‘prestigious’ university, see. And they can’t fail you.
Maybe if you don’t turn up or if you vomit crayon wax all over the exam paper, you’ll score a big fat zero. But write your exam number down, blindly fill in some of the multi-choice questions, regurgitate parts of your earlier assignments that only barely passed anyway, and you’ve pretty much nailed it. See, if they were to fail you, then you’d go down as a negative statistic, harming the college’s reputation that bit more, domestically as well as internationally. And you know what that means? Lowered funding, something more unspeakable to an educational institution than Voldemort and Macbeth combined.
Continue reading “In his first foray into Maths and Stats, Mario graduates with honours”
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?
Continue reading “The moustache saved him four tenths a lap”
Star Fox 2 (2017)
Even when the NES Classic was announced, I found a way to be snooty about it. Here was a wonderful, official little gizmo from Nintendo, with a good price point, perfectly replicated aesthetics, and heaps of retro goodness. How could I possibly look down upon it? But you already know that that’s a silly question, because nerds will look down upon anything to suit their own agenda. In this case, I already had a NES plus a lorryload of games that, in any case, were mostly clag, so what was I missing out on?
Continue reading “I used to sleep under a blanket of price-scalped NES Classics”
Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Game design. The one thing that we’ve always wanted to do. Well, not all of us. Most young lads growing up wanted to be footballers or astronauts of course, but I was aware of my limitations early. As a result, even in my most wildly unrealistic fantasies, I was still essentially a no-name code monkey. Isn’t that sad?
Continue reading “I coulda been a game dev contender”
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?
Continue reading “Fancy hanging out with Zero? Just remortgage your house first”