Red-Faced Neckbeard, standing by

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2002)

Well, I’ve officially lost count of all the Star Wars spin-offs. Of course it’s nothing new, once the nerds got hooked in the 70s and 80s, it was expanding faster than Mark Hamill’s waistline in the late 90s. And speaking of the late 90s, I’ll give you a little original trilogy memory that’ll mean nothing to you really, because why would you care about someone else’s nostalgia, but you might find it slightly cosy.

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Ahh, the GameCube… little… purple… different… better

Nintendo GameCube (2002)

I try to make these pieces as relatable as I can, you know, and that really is the key word. Let’s face it, if I told you all about how I was the most popular kid at school, a jocknerd if you like, you wouldn’t find any relevance in what I had to say, would you? But if I tell you I was a loser socially, but the brainy stand-out in an ocean of intellectual pygmies around me, you’d find yourself nodding along in agreement, wouldn’t you?

Perhaps not, but I’ll try to strike as many chords with you as possible. After all, in a world of trends and memes, the biggest crime is to be different. And it seems we’re all used to putting on different faces, moulding ourselves into entirely different personalities, in order to play well with whoever we happen to be speaking to. How else can I be a working professional, while still laughing at farts and giving it the usual locker room talk with the lads?

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Keep your chin up and maintain your radiance, even as the job market Crits you

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (2005)

We’re at that time again, fellow lemmings, time that I left my job to get a new one. For a start, I can tell you that I’ve never subscribed to this whole theory of never leaving a job unless you’ve something else lined up. I suppose there’s that mature fear where you’ll turn out to be a wee bit less of a tantalising employment prospect than you had thought, which is always a hefty blow. Not to mention it makes the mortgage payment look about ten times bigger.

But you can’t tell me that you just become immediately unemployable on the Friday afternoon that you finish up. The last job I left, no sooner had I given a fairly rubbish speech than I was out the door and in a car, booting to the airport for a drunken weekend in one of my favourite cities, Liverpool. When I got home on the Sunday, I was able to sleep through the Monday while the other plankton had to go to work. It was great – I felt like Ferris Bueller.

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I’ll Pik minimum work over maximum backache

Pikmin (2002)

So how do you know when you’re old? You could go off physical signs, but they can be misleading. After all, unexplained pains in muscle and joints? I’ve had them all my life, or at least since I turned 18. It tends to happen to me only after nights out, which only adds to the mystery.

But in reality, although I read about people turning 30 and suddenly getting all kinds of aches and pains, I just have to wonder how decrepit they are. What, do we all just collapse past a certain age? I don’t know, I’m in my 30s now and I feel fine. Having grey hair is another obvious symbol of elderhood, but again, I’ve confounded follicle science by having greys since I was 15. And you could never accuse me of being 16 going on 60, could you?

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Ladies and gentlemen, class and decorum have left the building

Animal Crossing (2004)

Just like you can never really know what your workmates are gonna be like until you’re deeply entrenched in the low-pay grind with them, it’s pretty difficult to consciously choose your neighbours. Mind you, in this day and age you can at least go onto local neighbourhood watch pages on social media and do a quick search for the street or estate you plan to move into. If there’s barely any mentions of your desired area on there, then your children will be able to practice the dulcimer and eat their activated almonds in peace. But if your finger gets tired scrolling through all of the reports of anti-social behaviour, your home life will shape up like a scene from the Walking Dead.

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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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