Those beginning days, when a big stick and being quick on your feet meant you ruled the roost

EarthBound Beginnings (1989)

I took a deliberately slow meander around my old housing estate the other day, the neighbourhood where I grew up. I didn’t have to wait until I moved out before doing this, of course. I could have taken a curious walk around at any time while I lived there.

But after I left, the urge just struck me to come back and have an outsider’s look around the old place. It’s like what they always say: you can live somewhere your whole life, but it’s only when you come back and visit the place that you truly see what it’s like. I think I’ve mangled that phrase a bit, but anyway, that’s what I was up to. A tourist in my old childhood estate, the streets where I used to tramp. And to be blunt, it was a bit depressing.

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6 of Gaming’s Scariest Creatures

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6 of Gaming’s Scariest Creatures (2019)

Regular readers of these pieces will doubtless be amazed to learn that I’m not always so alpha. Yes, I may often cross the road without waiting for the green man or looking both ways. I’ve swallowed my chewing gum more times than I’d care to mention. I’m even tough enough not to blink at this time of year when fireworks are constantly exploding overhead or shooting straight towards my head. You’ve never met me, I hope, but we can probably both agree that I’m by far the bravest man you know – until it comes to games.

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EarthBound is most famous for having a high price and several toilets

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EarthBound (1995)

The SNES was strong on so many fronts: side-scrolling platformers, puzzle games, tournament fighters, action-adventures… of course, if you lived in Europe you were deprived of all RPGs bar the more action-oriented ones. But otherwise SNES players around the world got the chance to play story-driven games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 4 and 6, Super Mario RPG, Lufia and Breath of Fire II. Here in UK and Ireland we had Mortal Kombat and Super Tennis.

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You don’t have to learn Japanese to be a weeb, but it helps

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Mother 3 (2006/2008)

It’s one of the most natural and dangerous human instincts we possess: we all want what we can’t have. And we PAL gamers ought to know this – after all, how else was I going to react to the news that Super Noah’s Ark 3D and Mahjong 64 wouldn’t be making it to Dublin? So wrapped up in my carnal desire for these games was I that I didn’t even know what an EarthBound was until I kept getting battered by some tubheaded kid called Ness in Super Smash Bros.

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