I used to sleep under a blanket of price-scalped NES Classics

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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?

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I coulda been a game dev contender

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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?

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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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Harvest Moon makes us all wish we could marry a hick girl

 

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Harvest Moon (SNES) (1998)

I’ve gone on before about how the farming life isn’t exactly one that appeals to me. You will have driven past fields full of cows and sheep, and smelt the fresh mess coming in through your closed car windows. Well, farmers are quite accustomed to that smell. Some of them even live for it, except they dress it up as “the fresh country air”. Can you believe that? I’d take carbon monoxide every time. Better than that, I’d rather stay as close to electricity as possible and keep my farming fantasies restricted to gaming-based pipe dreams. It’s in this way that I discovered Harvest Moon SNES, and I began tingling in my wellies.

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Being the mayor is easy when you can unleash Bowser at any time

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Sim City (SNES)

After my gig at running theme parks all ended in tears (quite literally, in the case of the nigh-on 500 children who bore the brunt of that exploding roller-coaster), I thought my days of planning and construction were over. I had managed to swerve the law on that occasion, because on the islands we operated from there wasn’t any law. But unfortunately my space-world theme park went up in flames and took my job with it, and so it was back to the dole for me. It’s tough on the dole, let me tell you, a tough plate to keep spinning. Don’t listen to the naysayers, the ones who call us scroungers. It’s a 24/7 type of affair.

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Tweety and Capcom have a lot in common – they’re incessant, yellow, and they’ll bully you all day long

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Mega Man X2 (1995)

One thing from the cartoons that I’ve always wanted to do, apart from being able to travel the world with Misty and Brock, is to float towards food. You know, the succulent smell of a pork roast wafts over to Hector the Bulldog as he rests in his kennel. Eyes closed, nose in the air, expectant smile on his mush, he levitates majestically towards the grub. He might even still be asleep while he’s doing this, a floating toasty cinnamon bun with a rumbling stomach. Then he gets to where the food is, and something terribly disappointing happens. An explosion in his face perhaps, or the house falls down or Tweety throws boiling water all over him.

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All young men need something to scare them straight

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Secret of Mana (1994)

I had a tough start with Secret of Mana. Things seemed so rosy – the year was 1995 and my mother had gone into town with the promise of bringing us home a new Super Nintendo game. What she brought us was the green wonder that is Secret of Mana, a game that was advertised as being like Zelda! That was all I needed to hear. I probably near took the glorious woman’s hand off and clambered up the stairs to play it immediately.

As I often did as a 4-year-old gamer boy, I pressed my little golfball head as closely to our 1970s television as I could without my hair standing on end. Then I pressed the Power button to load up the game, a chilling roar that must have surely come from the bowels of hell blared right in my face, and I screamed to the high heavens and left Mana alone for several years.

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My dear Gaspar, history is for the anoraks

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Chrono Trigger (1995)

Alright, philistine time: I was never much interested in history. You’re better off making history than studying it, right? It was great when we got around to studying the World Wars in school, though. Men love war, and those two were the best rammies of the lot. Unfortunately the curriculum in Ireland is a bit slow to update, and the history books when I was in school never featured 9/11.

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Space travel? No thanks, it’s a bit too chilly for me

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Star Ocean (1996)

Look, I can understand it, but it still really astounds me just how many children want to become astronauts and go into space when they grow up. They don’t know anything about what that entails, of course. They just want to wear a cool suit and they think space is cool and they think rocket ships and meteors and lasers are cool as well.

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USA Shootings could’ve gotten me days off school

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Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)

At time of writing, we are at 154 mass shooting incidents in the USA since 2018 started. I make that about one incident every 36 hours, and it is an amazing coincidence that these seem to take place in the United States on a regular basis and are almost alien anywhere else in the world. It is also a tad worrying, for such a God-fearing country, that ‘thoughts and prayers’ don’t ever seem to deter any prospective shooters either.

Even more amazing coincidences are that these incidents all tend to involve overwhelmingly powerful assault weapons; they seem to never result in changes to legislation; the shooters are all mentally ill; there are always apologists and conspiracy theorists lining up to calm things down in case any intelligent or sensible debate breaks out; and eventually, somewhere down the line, the wilfully ignorant blame video games.

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