“And it’s lights out, and they’re at a standstill since 2019…”

F1 2019 Proper

F1 2019 (2019)

You’d have thought I left this one a little too late, but as it turns out, the 2019 F1 season is the last selection of top-class racing we’re gonna see for quite some time. Mind you, I wouldn’t have been all that gutted about it, if the second half of the 2019 season had mirrored the first half. Five Mercedes one-twos, an unprecedented run. And I’m telling you, it was getting as tiresome as the bad old days of 19 other lads turning up on the weekend to follow Michael Schumacher around – the only times I’d ever turn a Grand Prix off.

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“Now Lara, take aim, and fire this vaccination arrow through the heart of coronavirus…”

tomb raider

Tomb Raider (2013)

Well, quite a start to the decade we’ve had, eh? Hindsight on 2020 isn’t going to be very fun. Right from the start of the year there was trouble. Sure, some of it was a holdover from 2019, but I’m waiting for some positive news for 2020 here and I just ain’t getting any. First, the Australian forest fires really started to reach, well, I better not say boiling point. But even the poor old koalas, not normally given to movement if they can avoid it, started to run for cover perhaps as a form of lazy protest.

Then there was more silly buggers between the United States and Iran, with the Land of the Free killing a top Iranian general by drone. To add a nice bit of further unrest to your already depressing January, a commercial plane was shot down in Iran the week after, but nobody seems to want to talk about that anymore.

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Confusing memories of load times, dangerous polygons, demo discs and Croc

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PlayStation 1 (1996)

For almost the entire duration of the Nintendo 64’s lifespan in Europe, from the not-so-lengthy 1997 to 2001, I was all over the weekly Nintendo magazines. I had made the conscious decision to get a Nintendo 64 over a PlayStation 1, see. And it was entirely my decision, because I was 6 years old and bratty, so my older brother had to do as I said and ask for the correct console from Santa for Christmas. Never mind that every single one of his friends was getting the much-vaunted PS1, little Burkey wanted the N64 for its Nintendo franchises and he was about ready to befoul his pants if Father Christmas didn’t do the biz.

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Alpha males are born, not manufactured in robotic laboratories

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Mega Man X4 (1997)

It’s a competitive time to be a man, and you might be well aware that there’s nothing more fragile than the male ego. As a man, you may have had occasions in your life where you found yourself at risk of looking small or weak, and you had to fight back – like those impassioned little terrier dogs you see causing a ruckus, or when Napoleon started running amuck in Europe. And as a woman, you may have borne witness to your boyfriend making a right show of himself, after some well-hung hunk tried to chat you up. A man lives in fear that the bigger fish, the more dominant alpha male, will be along very shortly to prey on him. And when it happens, you just have to take your licks.

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For tedious desert jaunts, Lawrence of Arabia’s got nothing on Mad Max

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Mad Max (2015)

A few years ago, I happened to see the new Tom Hardy flick, Mad Max: Fury Road in cinemas. It seemed to have drummed up a fairly substantial amount of hype, so on we plodded to see it. It had all kinds of rave reviews, looked destined for quite a few Oscar nominations, the lot.

Four hours later, having watched a man and a few hangers-on exchange dialogue that didn’t make any kind of sense, drive across a vast desert and keep teasing a big action sequence without ever delivering, the credits finally rolled. Myself and my pals were pretty much left speechless, wondering was this just a fake-out before the film actually began, before one flat Dublin accent behind me opined, “All that for a bit of water?!?”

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It’s like downing a bottle of whiskey, but a hundred times as tedious

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Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018)

I was half-watching this Western film on the telly the other day – apologies, I never got the name of it – and in it the well-hung main cowboy strolls on in to the saloon, orders a full bottle of whiskey and downs the whole thing in one, right there and then. And they say films these days are too unrealistic. He grabs plenty of attention with this stunt of course, and the net result of it all is the usual step outside, guns drawn, bury me with my money type of affair. And I’m thinking, God, how cheap was life back then?

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I tried to date pigeons so you wouldn’t have to

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Hatoful Boyfriend (2015)

Every now and then a game comes along so deviant that your conscience urges you not to play it. It is something that your super-ego won’t ever forgive you for. If you put Cho Aniki or Senran Kagura into your console and load it up, right then and there you are voluntarily flagging yourself for the FBI, the NSA, the MIB, and all sorts. It won’t be too much longer until the Facebook rabble catch wind of your transgressions against societal morality, and then it’s trial by social media for you. And of course, such trials are unwinnable. You are finished, your reputation left completely destroyed, you will be egged anywhere you go, children will scream at the sight of you, and even your mother will stop inviting you round for tea.

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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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On the seventh day, God rested. While He wasn’t looking, Codemasters nipped in

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Micro Machines: World Series (2017)

In the beginning, Sega created Outrun, Rareware created RC Pro AM and Square created Rad Racer, and God said, Let there be racing: and there was racing. And these games were renowned for their time but were fraught with limitation, and the video game players of the Earth did cry out for a new racing game that could be played in multiplayer and that was madcap and accessible to all.

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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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