Why couldn’t Dr. Mario have circumcised me?

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Dr. Mario (1991)

I must set the scene for my most recent trip to the doctor’s office by telling you about my GP. I’ll warn you beforehand though, this one is going to get a bit graphic and inappropriate. First of all, I hadn’t had to suffer the displeasure of seeing this doctor for about 15 years up until then – my last visit had concerned my unfortunate bout of balanitis, an inflammation of the old policeman’s helmet.

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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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If you’re ever wondering why something is so popular, ask yourself how sexy it is

Mega Man (1987)

Why do some abominable people, places and things become so popular? I see for example that Jedward are regaining a bit of popularity on Twitter, by ticking as many progressive boxes as they can and piling onto witch-hunts against other hate figures. The word incredulity was invented for those two boys, born just down the road from me. Well, it’s a metaphorical road.

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The Power Glove is for sex offenders, while Super Mario Bros. 3 is better than sex

Super Mario Bros 3 Proper

Super Mario Bros 3 (1991)

I would have said that Super Mario Bros. 3 needs no introduction, but it’s important to note that the game got a pretty massive, in-your-face one in the guise of an entire motion picture called The Wizard. It came out in 1989 and starred young Fred Savage, and it was a sort of mix of Rainman and Stranger Things, with your typical Stand by Me format of kids venturing across Podunk America and evading the misunderstanding adults.

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Save the world from scaldy monsters? I will in me hole

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Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (1990)

Accents are a weird and wonderful thing. What I can never get over is how you only need to book it down the road before your own homely accent becomes strange and foreign – I’ve read before that in the UK, there’s an entirely different accent every 25km. So you’ll be going on your usual Sunday morning half-marathon, and then suddenly you find yourself surrounded by people speaking in this alien creole. And it’s a linguistic rule, perhaps written on an Ogham stone somewhere, that says “where there be accents, there be slang”.

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Burkey’s a wild card, flies by the seat of his pants. Totally unpredictable

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Top Gun NES (1987)

I already outlined various reasons why I could never really cut it as a jet fighter pilot, and it’s not like I’ve suddenly developed perfect eyesight or sufficient backbone to get into the dreaded Helo Dunker. Those guys want near-perfect vision that’s uncorrected, so even if I did get them lasered, I wouldn’t be allowed in. But how could they possibly know? I would try to risk it, but I’d be afraid of getting caught and then Mr. Strickland would chew on my ass.

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Every game developer is just one bad day away from being mean

Super Mario Bros The Lost Levels

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (1986)

Every now and then in your working life you’ll run upon a person who is just unrelenting. The type of person who wakes up, runs into the bathroom and smiles at the mirror, just to get it over with for the day. You can get them in school and college too, but it’s in work where people aren’t under any pretenses to be nice to you anymore. I’m the type of person who gives these grouchy gits concessions – I try to understand them, get a bit of craic going with them, make excuses for their infuriating behaviour. Then they still rebuff me and I’m left feeling like a pilchard.

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Iron Mike’s gonna rip out your heart and feed it to the racists

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Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (1987)

They say sport is the great equaliser, and when it’s as accessible and universal as football, I have to agree. And give sport its dues, it helped break down a lot of race barriers. You’ll still get bananas thrown onto football pitches by knuckle-dragger fans. But as moronic as that is, how does that stack up against Muhammad Ali standing up to the white United States government and telling them he had no quarrel with them Viet Cong?

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The NES is like heroin, and not in a good way

NES Logo

Nintendo Entertainment System (1987)

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, retro, for lack of a better word, is good. Retro is right, retro works. Retro clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the gaming spirit. Retro, in all of its forms; retro for life, for money, for love, for knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind. Retro is what sells, and everybody wants to be retro.

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There are a lot of top first date ideas, but none of them involve hiking

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Ice Climber (1986)

It’s enough to make any man self-conscious. After weeks of pestering and creepy-crawliness, you’ve finally secured a date with that girl and she hasn’t yet deigned to ghost you or cancel right at the last minute with no mention of a reschedule. You’ll now be relying on two things to help make the date go well – firstly, you’ll need to have good patter, otherwise that crucial ‘spark’ will not be there and you’ll be out of pocket forty nicker. Secondly, you need to make sure that you’ve got a good plan as to what you’re both going to do, because you better believe she won’t be making any suggestions. Get this wrong, and you’ll be agonising over it for a very long time once she gives you the bad news a few days later.

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