The transformation of Mega Man into Gomer Pyle Man

Mega Man 5 (1992)

As Mega Man embarks on his fifth death-defying adventure, I feel I must finally lift my head above the parapet. It’s time for me to be a little bit ethical here, and ask that difficult question: are we sure Mega Man isn’t traumatised by now? I suppose the logical answer to this is that he is a robot, and robots don’t suffer from PTSD.

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A good night’s sleep is an adult’s greatest fantasy

FFIII_logo

Final Fantasy III (1990)

Like a lot of people out there, I’m a fool to myself almost every night. No, for once I’m not talking about self-debasement – I’m talking about sleep, and that’s deprivation, not depravation. And I know you’ll sympathise with me; will have experienced that terrible moment in life, when you finally decide to try for some sleep, you set your phone alarm and it tell you, “Alarm set for 2 hours and 32 minutes from now”.

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Unless you’re bold as brass, just ask Santa for a trumpet instead

Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald (2003 / 2005)

There were quite a lot of things I didn’t do in 2020, and losing weight was probably one of them, though I hate to say it. One thing I managed to avoid for the whole year, by virtue of not getting to go on any holidays, is that I never set foot in any swimming pools. I do quite literally mean setting foot, as in dipping my toes into the pool.

I could never properly dive into one, because even at the age of 30 I still haven’t learned to swim. Am I embarrassed? Certainly not – as long as my killer summer bod looks good, who cares where the strumpets get to observe it?

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“We need to talk… I think we’d be better just as Friend Codes”

Mario Kart DS (2005)

Every man out there who’s managed to convince a woman to stay in his companny for more than three days will have experienced that blood-curdling, spine-tingling text message that reads: “We need to talk”. I’m certain it’s taught as part of the curriculum in all-girls’ schools.

You know, a quick module they do just before they learn how to show indecisiveness about what they’d like to eat, and how to get the last word in arguments. Well, if you’re a male and you’re reading this, fear not because I have struck a blow for our whole gender – I have subjected a woman to the “We need to talk” routine.

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How to keep your Babushka happy, on an infinite budget

Mega Man 4 (1992)

So the question is this: where is Mega Man from? In-universe, I’m talking about now. We know he lives in the future, because proper numbers no longer exist and the calendar eventually tells us it’s the year 200X, although I haven’t a notion how you’d pronounce that.

Mega Man does look like a distinctly Japanese creation, with his big wide anime eyes. And yet the American box arts make him look like something out of a Fallout game, if it were set in the 1980s. So is he American or Japanese, or miscellaneous? Do these countries even exist anymore, in Mega Man’s world? What about France, the UK, Russia?

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Beating the lockdown drum until there’s no more air in it

Donkey Konga (2004)

Looking back on a miserable 2020, I have to say it’s pretty impressive that my family and I were in lockdown for several months now and we never ended up killing each other. Now, I didn’t have it as bad as others; there were four of us living in the house and we all generally kept to ourselves anyway, until hostile lunchtimes and dinnertimes of course.

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Trust Tetris to leave you in a crumpled, sweaty mess

Tetris99_2019

Tetris 99 (2019)

The rumours are true – I don’t know how to satisfy a woman. But what my detractors don’t realise is that I actually know something they don’t. As it turns out, there’s no way to keep a woman happy, because they’ll always fall victim to at least one side of the female triangle – they are either hungry, tired, cold, or all three. Through hard-work and perseverance, you can close off two sides, but nailing all three? Forget it. Trust me, this is a triangle that’ll leave you in more pain than a Toblerone that’s been in the fridge for days.

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Learning languages ain’t easy, so don’t beat yourself up over it

Final Fantasy 2

Final Fantasy II (1988)

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Learning to speak and write in foreign languages is a pursuit most noble, you know. It’s a sure-fire way to broaden your pathetic, shallow mind. For language learning purposes, there are all kinds of devices you can make use of that’ll make you a proverbial polyglot.

In the old days you’d have to use books, which is never ideal. That’s what they keep trying to do in schools, and school is the last place you want to try learning a language in. Case in point, I tried learning Irish for 13 years in school, and French for 6 years, and what can I show for it?

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Third time’s just about the charm for the boy in blue

Mega Man 3 (1990)

The third instalment in any series can often be finely poised on the knife-edge of quality, and very rarely will they be middle-of-the-road – they could be sensational pieces of work, like Goldfinger and Rocky III. Or they can turn out properly lacklustre, like The Godfather III and, I’m sorry to say this, Back to the Future 3.

With the NES though, there was plenty of greatness where the number 3 was concerned. Plenty of great trees were pulled up, an Irishman might say. Super Mario Bros. 3 was the crown jewel of the system. Castlevania 3 was strong as well, Ninja Gaiden 3, Dragon Quest 3… we’ll not mention Double Dragon 3 – good things don’t always come in threes.

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The difference between this game and its brothers… it’s like day and night

castlevania2 simons quest

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1990)

So here we are then, back to the shortest day of the year, and that means we’re still only at the midway point of a dark and depressing winter. It’s worse than a month of depressing Sundays, this, especially when you’re a worker drone.

Go to work when it’s dark and blustery, alongside your fellow lemmings. Stare out at the tantalising daylight if you’re lucky enough to have access to a window. Then it’s already dark by the time you leave, even if you bunk off early. Your whole leisure time is dominated by that lurid mixture of black emptiness and orange streetlight.

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