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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I don’t mind alien invaders, as long as they’re good racers

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F-Zero X (1998)

In the event of an alien invasion, one can only imagine that mankind would be pretty well buggered. After all, if some sort of species or collective entity out there has the ability to travel here in great numbers, they pretty much have the whole thing wrapped up. What are we gonna do to defend ourselves, nuke our own planet?

We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know what they want, they have far superior firepower and technology and anyway our own world society is so badly fragmented and our world leaders don’t really measure up at the moment. And if it should happen that we get overrun by those frightful pod creatures from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you can definitely forget all about it.

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The Wii U is everything the Volkswagen Golf isn’t

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Wii U (2012)

It’s more trouble in paradise for me, readers – the old motor vehicle is giving me some issues again. Listen, you can tell just by looking at my car that I don’t ask for much out of a vehicle. In particular, pay attention to the moss growing on the windows and the pet mouse colony I have living in there. My old Polo is going to be entering its 19th year now that we’ve stumbled into 2018 – but now some cracks are beginning to show in the hardware. 

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It’s all fun and games until there’s a Blue Shell inbound

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)

Yes, it’s another remastered/redux/rehashed game this week. I know, I know, it’s rather stale isn’t it? But nothing could be considered stale about the Wii U’s Mario Kart 8, or its newer, more refined little brother, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the delightful Switch. Ah, the Switch. What a machine, eh? When I saw its revealed specs, I had it down as a dud in waiting. You know, 32GB storage space, seemingly poor battery life, still underpowered in comparison to the Sony and MicroSoft juggernauts – all of the same pitfalls that made the Wii U the most unimpressive doorstop you ever saw.

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I always said “I can’t draw”, but I had no issues drawing the dole

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Snipperclips Plus (2017)

When I was out shopping with my girlfriend recently, I thought my life had passed me by – that’s how long she spends in the shops. But as a reward for my nine hours of patience, she decided to treat me to a new Nintendo Switch game – only for her to hold up Snipperclips Plus. I was apoplectic with rage. Are you mad, woman?! Didn’t you see DOOM out there on the shelves? How about Breath of the Wild? I already have the Wii U version of the game, and I did neglect you completely for 150 hours plus to play it, but still. There was even a Pokémon Tekken game back there for heaven’s sake.

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Budget is my least favourite word in the dictionary

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Yooka-Laylee (2017)

You don’t need to know me particularly well to gather that I’m almost allergic to spending money. The way I see it, every little penny that I’ve tricked people into giving me is a hard-earned penny indeed. I’ll squeeze dosh from any man’s coffers – government, ignorant employers, family, the lot. I’ve even eyed up beggars’ cups on occasion – that’s how far I’ll go for a few quid.

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