Dear Nintendo, I’ve got some rather nicer things to say about your product…

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F-Zero GX (2003)

Hate to demoralise you so early in the week, but I’m here to tell you that you might as well not bother making an effort in life. You gotta work things out ahead of time – on a sliding scale of hours spent, versus the probability that your hard work will be recognised and rewarded, where do you stand? And having worked this out, surely the best course of action is to find that sweetspot where you can get the most reward for the least amount of effort. Ever a man to put my theories into practice, and in one of my shrewder moves, I took this approach to writing my disseration in my final year of college.

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The sun? It’s a gamer’s worst nightmare

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Super Mario Sunshine (2002)

Looks like I ain’t going on a sun holiday this year, thanks to that dreaded c-word. No, not cancer, something contagious. And by the looks of it, it’ll take the contagious to go away. Not that my skin’s gonna notice a lack of Greek sun anyway, since I’m usually white as a sheet going over, and I tend to cover myself with this incredible spray sunscreen that keeps the sun off my back, and off my head, shoulders, knees and toes. Net result is that I come home with a few red streaks, at worst. It’s not always rosy for me though – one time, I got sunburned boobies, and then I really knew all about it.

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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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When the Sunday night fear kicks in, you know it’s Pizza Time

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) (1990)

Let me set the scene: it’s Sunday evening, and you may well have had a bittova night last night. You’ve had yourself a decent old lunch to take the edge off a bit, but now it’s the main event and you ain’t cooking, no way. Now sometimes a Chinese will do you, and fair play if so. But tonight, it’s pizza. However, there’s that eternal dilemma with pizza – if you’re alone, then you can have it your way but you’ll always end up getting far too much and eating yourself into the bowels of regret. And trust me, they’re some bowels you don’t wanna eat your way into.

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Some of the games in this series ain’t worth the Paper they’re programmed on

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Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (2004)

I’ve hustled a few quid here and there from writing, but never so much that I might be able to embark on a career vomiting out pages and subjecting gazillions of readers to my creative mind. You have to want to do it, for the love of the craft rather than for the money and all that. They say you need to write over one million words before you get anywhere near good at being a scribe, right? Well, I’ve written in excess of that – mostly about myself or worldly woes in my journal. But I’ve also put myself at the cutting edge of games journalism on this site by revewing games that came out over 30 years ago. Whaddaya mean, no-one cares anymore?

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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

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

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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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