It’s not easy being the best portable racer around

F-Zero Maximum Velocity

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (2001)

Can you claim to be the best in the world at any game out there? It’s tougher than you’d think. You probably reckon that you’re the only one that’s played Super Formation Soccer ‘96 for Super Famicom, but you’re crazy if you think you’ll even get to the last 64 of a tournament for that game in a Japanese tournament. I know what it’s like to be a failed athlete because, despite having played GoldenEye 007 in my childhood for more hours than God was sending, I was still nowhere near the top. Not even top 50,000. And this means that I never got to join the pro-circuit, the GoldenEye circus, travelling the world with the other pros and playing each other in thrilling deathmatches for megamoney.

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

As we make more headway through the Gold and Silver part of our irreverent Pokémon review, we finish off some babies, which sadly isn’t as violent as I’ve made it sound; we take a nature-themed turn and see how a cotton plant, a sunflower and a fake tree hold up in battle; and finally, Pokémon gets an honest-to-God green frog as part of its lineup. Which is great and all, but when’s the quokka Pokémon due?

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R-Type is the series that says goodbye to everyone at a party twice

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R-Type Final (2004)

A performer needs to know when to bow out. There’s nothing worse than seeing an aged, washed-up athlete who just won’t admit it to themselves that they have reached ‘The End’. Their legs have gone, mentally they’re no longer that vital step or two ahead, they can no longer last the distance. No matter how prime an athlete they once were, time eventually caught up to them, as it always does. They just haven’t accepted that cruel fact yet.

It’s not just the sportspeople either – it seems all of show business suffers from a reluctance to accept that their day in the sun is long over. This has to be true, otherwise the Rolling Stones wouldn’t have embarked on their sixth Worldwide Farewell Tour. They even came to Ireland, for God’s sake. And as my grandad always observed, they only come here when they’re finished.

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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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Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

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Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! (2018)

The year was 1999, and Pokémon did what the Catholic Church could no longer do – got an ecclesiastical grip on children up and down the country (wait a minute, let me edit that one). Even as toothless simpleton kids, we were able to get on with the fact that Pokémon weren’t real and they were never going to poof into existence. It was just a sad fact of life. Big shame though, not having Pokémon all around us. Didn’t matter that the world was already full of thousands of beautiful creatures of all kinds of different species, waiting for us to learn all about them, maybe even help save them from extinction. No no, we wanted them to breathe fire and shoot water cannons, and we each wanted six of our own.

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For tedious desert jaunts, Lawrence of Arabia’s got nothing on Mad Max

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Mad Max (2015)

A few years ago, I happened to see the new Tom Hardy flick, Mad Max: Fury Road in cinemas. It seemed to have drummed up a fairly substantial amount of hype, so on we plodded to see it. It had all kinds of rave reviews, looked destined for quite a few Oscar nominations, the lot.

Four hours later, having watched a man and a few hangers-on exchange dialogue that didn’t make any kind of sense, drive across a vast desert and keep teasing a big action sequence without ever delivering, the credits finally rolled. Myself and my pals were pretty much left speechless, wondering was this just a fake-out before the film actually began, before one flat Dublin accent behind me opined, “All that for a bit of water?!?”

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 7)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 7)

Sometimes I get the feeling that the Marketing and Business Analyst chaps working for Nintendo and Game Freak graduated at the bottom of their class – a real ‘shame brought on the family’ effort. I suppose the zillions of yen acquired by Nintendo sort of makes that a nonsense statement, but they’re certainly prone to some crazy decisions. Still, even the most spoonfed, thicko graduate would have worked out that the Pokémon gravy train was becoming absolutely jammed with passengers.

After 3 mainline games in Red, Blue and Yellow plus spinoffs, a booming Trading Card Game and all kinds of merchandise, fans were still baying for more. Everyone and their grandmother had a Pokémon game (and if your grandmother didn’t, then have words). So what better way to exploit this market than with a whole new ‘Generation’ of Pokémon?

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Housing recommendations, courtesy of Pierce Brosnan’s Taffin

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Taffin (1988)

I had always wondered how easy or difficult it would be to make a film in Ireland. You don’t exactly have the clout or backing of Hollywood, Bollywood or even Pinewood Studios. Your backdrops are most likely going to be fields, and your extras will be cows and sheep. On your budget of zero, even Rawhead Rex won’t answer your casting manager’s calls. The typical Irish accent is going to be far too squeaky for camera, and two of our biggest acting exports are Mrs. Brown’s Boys and Fair City, which says it all. Worse than that, Glenroe is the closest we’ve gotten to a look at the gritty realism of rural Ireland.

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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

Mega Man X2

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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