Nothing as sacred as sisterly love, straight to the stones

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (2005)

You know, when a woman walks into the room, I look the other way. When she looks at me, I look at her shoes, trying not to catch her chest on the way down. If she talks to me, I go full clam. I know, I know, you wouldn’t expect a thunderchad like me to let himself down on the big stage like that, but why are you surprised? There were no girls in my schools. No girls in my chess clubs. No girls in the pro Pokémon trading card circuits. And certainly no girls in my house, apart from my mother, but she hardly counts now does she?

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Do you think they’d let you bring a Game Boy Advance to the frontlines…?

Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (2003)

I hate to say it, but I think we may be due another World War. All of the classic signs are there – the population figure is getting too high, and that means there’s millions more wastrels being born every year. Medical science has the gall to continue improving, meaning less and less deaths are occurring from natural causes and disease. Something’s gotta give here.

More people need more resources, and the planet is not thanking us for it. Who knows? Maybe the earth really has started to fight back, by nudging some nasty pandemics along and throwing some icecap melting our way. Also, and let’s be open here, aren’t teenagers getting just a bit too obnoxious and comfortable with their lives these days? Isn’t it high time we shipped them off to war?

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Man’s mission is to get her in zero clothes

Metroid: Zero Mission (2004)

I’ve been thinking lately about what’s been the worst event of my life. I just about managed to avoid soiling myself in school, which means I don’t have a guaranteed winner to submit here. Any other possibility I conjure up, they really all just fade in comparison to the one and only time I ever had to wear a wetsuit.

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Unbreakable, unshakeable, unmistakable, unputdownable

Game Boy / Game Boy Color (1990 / 1998)

I think we can all be pretty much unanimously agreed on what are the three hardest substances known to man. Forget about any of your piddly diamond or adamantium, or even unobtanium if you wanted to get really ridiculous – I’m talking moreso about the three bits of hardware that’ll never let you down, and they could only be, in no particular order: a Nokia phone; an AK47 assault rifle, and most Toyota cars.

Firstly, the humble Nokia phones. I’m thinking of the old 3210 and 3310 here in particular, although one of my own early phones, the 5110, almost smashed my foot into a thousand pieces when I dropped it after another fruitless attempt at getting a great high score in Snake.

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It’s a funny thing, anime – it’ll sneak up behind you and Falcon Punch you out of nowhere

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F-Zero: GP Legend (2004)

You won’t want to know this, but there’s bundles of things they do in Japan that not many of us know anything about. We all wondered whether sexbots could actually be feasible, and they went and did it. Their toilets have a dedicated button to powerhose what the Americans call fanny and what the Americans don’t call fanny. There’s bunches of the most hardcore hentai available at eye-level in pretty well every shop there is.

That brings us to anime adaptations, where the list is long. We know about the Pokémon anime, and who can forget Sonic X? But there were also adaptations for game series that could never, ever be viable. Kirby, for one. I recently found out about a Parappa the Goddam Rapper anime, for God’s sake. And of course, there was an anime for that old not-so-golden egg, F-Zero.

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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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Like random encounters, the Swedish girls were coming at us thick and fast

tales of phantasia logo

Tales of Phantasia (1995)

You have me down as an uncultured oik, I know you do, so it’ll probably surprise the hell out of you when I tell you that I’m pretty well-versed in Norse mythology. No, really, I know all about that Thor fella, and he had a hammer that did something with lightning or somesuch. Something that made him overpowered, anyway.

I’m not altogether happy with Thor, Chris Hemsworth or any hammer user, if truth be told, because he ended up inventing Thursdays, and Thursdays are my busiest day in work. A bit arrogant too I find, naming a day after himself. Why don’t we get Supermansday?

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World War 3, be all you can be

Advance_Wars_logo

Advance Wars (2002)

I’ve never been sure if this was a myth or even if it was particularly common, but I’ve been led to believe that if you were caught being a naughty boy in 1960s or 1970s Ireland, the exasperated judge would often give you the choice of doing a six-month stint in jail or a year in the army.

We aren’t exactly what you’d call a belligerent country – if Ireland had been involved in the Gulf War we would’ve sent snowploughs – so a spell in the army always sounded like a bit of a holiday camp to me. But then again, isn’t that what they always accuse the prisons of being? You start to see now why we need a death penalty for all offences, except software piracy.

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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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Don’t listen to your parents – teachers are tedious, and they always lose

500px-SonicBattle

Sonic Battle (2003)

The steep decline and near-death experience that the Sonic the Hedgehog series went through occurred at roughly the same time that I went to school. From that period of 2003-2009, the series trajectory went a bit like that one really steep fall in Spring Yard Zone. All in that period, you had Sonic Heroes, where the rot started; Shadow the Hedgehog, which I’ve spoken about and has now become genuinely hilarious; Sonic 06, which is infamously bad and which I really must pick up one of these days; and a glut of rubbish for the Wii after that. Running concurrently with all this was the the 4Kids-poisoned Sonic X series. And somewhere amongst all of this was one of the most affronting spinoffs, Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance.

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