Get your gladrags on and join me on my fashion odyssey…

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Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

You don’t need to take a trip to my long abandoned Instagram account (both of them) to learn that I pretty much dress like a scarecrow, as in yes, I keep the birds away. I’m very much a function over form man, I just see clothes as social necessities. So long as it keeps the wind from tickling my ghoulies and I don’t embroil myself in any tricky-to-explain court cases, I’ll wear it. I think one of the main reasons why I’m such a fashion disaster is that my wardrobe is essentially a basket beside my bed with clothes folded on top of it, two abreast, both dangerously teetering like a block of ghastly flats ready to collapse.

Each morning, I grab some articles of clothing from the top of this pile, and whichever has the least obvious creases wins. That’s my ensemble for the day. See, that’s the teeny-tiny drawback you get with your modern day IT jobs – since you’re no longer required to dress like a filing cabinet, just another shirt and slacks merchant, you’ve now got to put some thought into what you wear.

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You think you know pressure? Try being the linchpin

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Octopath Traveler (2018)

It’s a privilege sought by many but achieved by few. To be conferred such a status suggests to all lookers that you are the highest value male in your social group. That brings with it female adoration, several cries of you being a legend, and more than a few free drinks. It does of course saddle you with a large burden of expectation, too much for many men, and one bad performance could see you stripped of your title and rendered just another contender, making up the numbers. I’m talking, of course, about being the linchpin of a night out.

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How would Bokoblins and Gorons have done in World War I?

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Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (2018)

The other day I was reading about World War 1 casualties in the final days of the conflict, and bloody hellfire. It was the old Hundred Days Offensive, that frightful last rush where the British front decided “Bugger to it all, chaps. Let’s bloody well finish the Gerrys,” to which the French faction gave a hearty “on hohn hohn” laugh and squealed, “Formidable!”

The Germans caught wind of this plan, and for three months they all ran at each other and drove tanks at each other until Germany finally cried for mercy. The net result? Over two million marked casualties. Many were captured, but the majority were killed, and all in the length of a summer’s holiday from school. With numbers like that, you can’t even imagine the face of a typical British or French or German or Austro-Hungarian fighting man, too young to be on a battlefield, but too old not to fight for his country. That nutter Stalin was right, it really is just a statistic.

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We’ll sell you the whole tablet but you’re only gonna need the stylus

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Super Mario Maker 2 (2019)

Call me a fanboy, but I always have to admire Nintendo’s testicular fortitude. They’ve sold us bathroom scales, knowing that we’d buy them in our droves. You almost never want to buy a DS, or a 3DS, or even a Switch, because you already know they’re going to throw out a Lite or XL version any day now. But with the Super Mario Maker duology of games, they’ve really done it this time – they’ve sold you a Mario game, except you have to make the levels yourself.

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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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The Russian World Cup wasn’t such a disgrace after all

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Soccer (1987)

The 2018 World Cup is long over now, and it was really a terrific tournament, despite all of my initial fears and misgivings. Firstly, it was hosted in Russia, which always quickens the old pulse and gets the fear receptors running red-hot, and secondly FIFA decided to roll out the Video Assistant Referee or VAR for a major tournament.

Both the Soviet hosting and the video doo-hickery worked out great even though football is long dead and has had its soul unceremoniously stripped. In the aftermath of this hugely successful competition, in which the limited Ireland team were probably lucky not to feature, I had football withdrawals to deal with. That all changed when I discovered the bluntly titled Soccer for NES.

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If you’re going to start watching anime, you should know that there’s no coming back

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)

At some stage in a young nerd’s life, they’ll have to decide just how far down the geek wormhole they are willing to go. Think of it as the iconic red pill vs. blue pill scene from The Matrix, except here there’s a whole host of wee capsules in Laurence Fishburne’s hands. In one of his hands you’ve got mild nerd pills like mobile games, The Sims and being into wrestling. But then in the other, it’s the social-suicide pills – Warhammer, trainspotting and My Little Pony. And striking some sort of indeterminable sweet spot in between these two extremes is anime.

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If you don’t lap up 3 NES games a month, Nintendo will vaporise you and your savefiles

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Splatoon 2 (2017)

When I paid full whack for Splatoon 2, I already knew that I was being a bit of a fool to myself. After all, it was Nintendo’s attempt at an online shooter, neither of which they can do very well. We all should have known that Nintendo’s approach to online play was going to be a stinker right from the very start. After all, you’ve never even been able to play so much as a DVD on any of their consoles, their last few consoles have been notably lacking in horsepower, and then there was the Virtual Boy. They’re not exactly forward thinking or tech-savvy, you might say.

So when the plans and features of their upcoming Nintendo Switch functionality were revealed, and gamers were expected to pony up cash for the first time, it was yet another don’t-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry moment that Nintendo are famous for.

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Wanna know the quickest way to get beaten up on the bus?

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Puyo Puyo Tetris (2017)

As you lay there in bed at night, not really able to sleep, your thoughts begin to wander. Those idle dreams and ambitions you may have once had, and how they are no longer possible because you’re too old, too slow, and probably too ugly by now. Then you’ll remember some of the great nights out and social occasions you’ve lived, and how they all seemed to dry up at once and nobody was there to warn you about it. Having dented your mood for the night already, you seek just a bit more of that blissful drug called angst.

And, like a low valley drifter wandering his way through a sleepy town before finally, inevitably, hopelessly trudging to the doss house, your mind will eventually settle on reliving the most awfully embarrassing moments to have ever struck your life. Suddenly, you can forget about any sleep. Your teeth begin to itch. Your eyebrows move involuntarily. Your body groans and aches all over and your cheeks begin to redden. What kind of a social disaster are you?!

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Gambling’s for mugs, and I’ll tell you more after the 3:30 at Kempton

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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (2017)

People sometimes ask me why I don’t gamble, or why I love launching into unwanted explanations as to why gambling companies are the devices of Satan. In theory, I should love Paddy Power. They’re sort of Irish, like me. And better than that, they spend their days making mega bucks and they absolutely adore exploiting and robbing the poor. It’s sort of like my dream business model, so why do I want them to fail so badly?

Could it be their zany advertising, where sporting memes, contrived personalities and tap-in humour are made out to be more important and relevant than what’s actually happening out there on the pitch? Could it be that, in a moment of weakness, I find myself feeling sorry for the numbskulls they exploit? Or could it be that they, like all bookmakers, do everything they can to avoid paying out to winners, up to and including shutting down the accounts of people that win too much?

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