Get the collectathon on like Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong 64 (1999)

When you’re part of the squeezed middle like me, you’ll know all about not having enough money to buy a house, though you’ll probably have plenty of disposable income otherwise. You could save your hard-earned cash towards property prices, but why bother? They only ever go up, so you have already lost that battle.

You’re not gonna keep up with it. So why not spend your money building a collection of something instead? With any luck, you might be able to sell your completed collection for top dollar in twenty years’ time, which is conveniently around the time you’ll finally be able to buy that house.

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Frenzy on the freeway, it’s a good Mario game spoiled

Mario Golf (1999)

There’s only one thing that golf fanatics like me are after, of course, and that’s the coveted green jacket you get for winning the Masters. So listen up, prole, here’s how you do it.

Right, first hole, par 4, the green is 350 yards away which is a few football pitches, and you’re not sure you could even walk that distance unassisted.

But no matter because you’ve got your caddy alongside you, who will helpfully double as a chauffeur to bring you around on one of those nifty golf carts. Your first job is to drive the ball as much as possible, which of course means using your driver. You might at this point attempt to grab your caddy by the ankles, walk him towards the first tee, wheelbarrow style, and use him as a club to strike the ball with. After all, he’s your driver, right?

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Everyone’s got a plan until they get mauled by the bear

Banjo-Kazooie (1998)

Do you plan everything in your life? I certainly don’t. Life is at its most fun when it’s unplanned, spontaneous. I truly believe this can be applied to all facets of life. You may have found yourself holidaying with some awful people who try to plan everything to the letter. Distressingly, they bring in the use of something called an itinerary. I know, sounds like something for itinerants, but it’s worse than that. At 10 AM, we do this, at 12 noon we do that, it’ll involve walking 100 kilometres a day and if you wanna sit down and rest your little booties, forget it.

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I’m the best penalty taker in the world… on paper

Paper Mario (2001)

So, do you have a happiest memory in your life? Maybe I’m just depressed, but for me, it’s harder than one might think to come up with memories or days that stick out as being overwhelmingly happy ones. I know we’re supposed to say our wedding days, or the day we graduated from college or something. Or the moment we lost our virginity. But what sticks out ahead of all these is usually a particularly great night out with all your pals present – or even better, a pizza fuelled house party where everyone’s there.

Harry Potter enthusiasts will know that the method of combating the Dementor creatures is to conjure up a very happy memory, and somehow turn that memory into a spirit animal that chases the shadowy demons of depression away. I remember reading that and thinking that I’d be bang in trouble if I ever needed to do that. Ask yourself, what moment would you draw from?

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A short story without much fun is something truly criminal

Yoshi’s Story (1998)

I’ve got to come clean with you today – I’m a no good criminal. Actually, I’m no stranger to breaking the law: I’ve pirated just about every form of media you can think of. I’ve even got Virtual Boy ROMs on my computer, for heaven’s sake. I’ve downloaded – and watched – Mean Girls and The Notebook. I’m not sure if you want to know any more about my depraved downloading habits, but one thing I’ll tell you – my conscience is clear.

After all, when downloading films and music, I’m only taking a bit of money out of the pockets of those fine upstanding fellas like Harvey Weinstein. Today though, I have to confess to something a bit more grave: renting games and not returning them on time.

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Never bring a white van to a go-kart track

Mario Kart 64 (1997)

In around 150 AD, after several years of labour and study, Claudius Ptolemy completed his Cosmographia, his long-studied understanding of the geography of Europe and the world. Beginning in 1308 and finishing in 1320, Dante produced his masterful magnum opus, the Divine Comedy. And in this year of our lord, Burkey presents to you his much anticipated treatise of the worst types of road users.

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Never mind what they say – women love to Smash

Super Smash Bros. (1999)

My girlfriend recently asked me why men are always fighting, with more than a hint of melancholy in her eyes, a melancholy that suggested all of the nice things she’d heard about the world had come crashing down at the thought of male penchant for pugilism. I didn’t really have an answer for her, although I’m keen to point out that I do my best not to start the aggro. That’s probably for the best, since I have a win record of zero. 

It’s always great to watch a pagger erupting out on the street though, particularly when it’s chucking out time from the nightclubs. And even if you’re not there, there’s usually a tremendous series of videos to catch up on – fights, grappling, lunging tackles, roundhouse kicks, sirens, blue flashing lights, women screaming, the whole nine yards, and it’s properly compelling viewing.

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6 of Gaming’s Scariest Creatures

scary logo

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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Take your pick between the Phony GreyStation, the Dreampants, and grey cartridges

Nintendo_64_Logo

Nintendo 64 (1996 / 1997)

My first experience with the Nintendo 64 console, way back when in Christmas ’97, was fairly inauspicious. For a start, I’m sure my older brother harboured some secret resentment about gettin gone, given that just about everyone else in his school peer group were getting or had already gotten PlayStations. And there is no section of society more judgmental, more better placed to finish you socially, then your schoolyard fellows. I wasn’t embarrassed at all, in fact I was chuffed. But what did set off some humiliation for me that fateful day was my quite literally ham-fisted attempts to hold the controller.

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If your Growlithe doesn’t tear children apart on sight, then forget about it

Pokemon Stadium

Pokémon Stadium (2000)

One thing that always amazed me about the Pokémon series is that, for all the controversy it garnered from things like causing seizures or being satanic or requiring you to buy 50 games to catch ‘em all, nobody ever really seemed to care that it was essentially about pitting two cute animals into a fight to the finish with each other.

I think it’s rather easy to draw comparisons with Pokémon and that film Amores Perros – if you want to become a serious, competitive Pokémon battler, then you’ll be doing much the same thing as those vicious muchachos: breeding Mons in foul conditions, slaughtering those whose genes won’t quite cut it, drugging up the best monster you have and forcing it to battle almost from the moment it’s born. If it wins, great: you get the plaudits while the beast gets the larrups. If it loses… the slaughter begins anew.

Continue reading “If your Growlithe doesn’t tear children apart on sight, then forget about it”