Sonic CD (1993)
I know the environment is on a collision course to apocalypse land and that we’re killing the icecaps, and wringing turtles’ necks with six pack plastic rings. But what do you want me to do about it? Vote for the Green Party?! No chance. You leave it to them, and we’d all be stuck going to work in an ass and cart. They’d make us ration the amount of times we can flush the toilet each day. And fancy a straw or two for your freshly made G&T at the end of a long week? They’ll have you hauled over the non-GM coals and set alight with free-range fire.
Continue reading “It’s nice to look after the environment, but give us back our plastic straws”
Sonic Battle (2003)
The steep decline and near-death experience that the Sonic the Hedgehog series went through occurred at roughly the same time that I went to school. From that period of 2003-2009, the series trajectory went a bit like that one really steep fall in Spring Yard Zone. All in that period, you had Sonic Heroes, where the rot started; Shadow the Hedgehog, which I’ve spoken about and has now become genuinely hilarious; Sonic 06, which is infamously bad and which I really must pick up one of these days; and a glut of rubbish for the Wii after that. Running concurrently with all this was the the 4Kids-poisoned Sonic X series. And somewhere amongst all of this was one of the most affronting spinoffs, Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance.
Continue reading “Don’t listen to your parents – teachers are tedious, and they always lose”
The Revenge of Shinobi (1990)
It was a tearful experience for me when I realised that ninja was not a viable career path. I couldn’t even choose to study it in college. Basket weaving yes. Harry Potter yes. Even sociology, yes. But no modules on shurikens, ninjutsus, swordplay, kais, nunchuks, jet black clothing… they’re all massive gaps in my knowledge to this day. Uncle Monty wistfully made his eventual conclusion that he would never play the Dane. And I too had to come to terms with the sad fact that I would never be a Shinobi.
Continue reading “I graduated at the bottom of ninja class”
Streets of Rage (1991)
When I see tourists around Dublin city I am left dumbfounded. Now, I’m not going to hit you with all the self-loathing and culture cringe that often occurs when someone talks negatively about their country. But what exactly are these tourists doing? If someone asked me for Dublin city recommendations, I could hardly even give them the ideal pub or club to go to, because I don’t know any myself. I do know some great Spars and Subways. A CEX or two. I know some of the bus-stops. I even know where there is a 24 hour library. But what do the Germans and Japanese think to themselves when they come here? Apart from “Das golly-gosh Hilda, this place is sehr expensive.”
Continue reading “You can’t be a tough guy until you’ve walked a steady pace down Dublin’s Talbot Street”
Top 6 Most Stressful Times in Gaming (2014)
I often see gaming being described as a ‘relaxing’ pastime – some sort of carefree pursuit where you can just sit down of a balmy Sunday afternoon and feel all of your troubles wash away as you indulge in a pleasant, non-taxing game. Right? Doesn’t that miss the point somewhat? Just as every story needs its conflict, every game too needs its challenge to keep things interesting. But again and again, you find yourself in these special kind of situations that absolutely nobody enjoys ploughing through.
I’m not simply talking about a dastardly water level, or running out of ammo, not those kinda easily-manageable, ‘shut up and get on with it’ situations. I’m talking about scenarios that sadistic game designers just love to put us in, because they know it ain’t easy for us unwilling gamers to get through – stressful situations, in other words. Here are six of THE most stressful situations you can find yourself in, those truly fubar situations which you’ll recognise at once, because they crop up all the time in all manner of games. Please do enjoy!
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Top 5 Kooky Gaming Accessories (2014)
We’ve already taken a look at some of the greatest controllers that have ever kept a player company on their adventures. They were all pretty varied, some of them looked more suitable for the bedroom than for the gaming room, but what they all had in common was that they worked, and they commanded respect because of it.
But when a console or a handheld grows in popularity, they go on to spawn all kinds of crazy accessories to give you a different way of playing. You know what I’m talking about? The sort of things that, for the most part, only Japan could come up with. I swear, they pump Hello Kitty-flavoured acid into the water over there. If I really dug deep, I could probably come up with accessories that don’t even bear mentioning (I could see myself finding troubling accessories built purely for games like Custer’s Revenge, and becoming scarred by it). Here, in no particular order, we take a look at 5 kooky gaming accessories that you may have seen or at least heard of before, and what makes them so bonkers. Enjoy!
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7 of the Coolest Controllers (2014)
Controllers, controllers. You’ve held them a thousand times, pressed the buttons zillions of times, you’ve probably even broken them a couple of times. But they’re your portals into the wonderful world of gaming – they are your aerials. They’re as arguably as iconic as the games consoles themselves – at least, when the controllers in question are designed properly.
Here, we take a look at seven of the best controllers to grace the sprawling galaxy of gaming. The list may go in ascending order, but make no mistake, all seven of these controllers are out-and-out winners (and that’s not just comforting talk for the losers either). Let us begin!
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16 of the Proest Game Distractions (2013)
Adj. pro: Of the highest or finest quality; exceptionally good of its kind. (pro-er, pro-est)
To be honest, I don’t tend to complete many games. I did back in the day – when I could, because I was surrounded by either shitty games or impossible games, and even my 4-year-old self got tired of that shit. But these days, when have tended to be easier than ever, I’m far more likely to play either 20 minutes of a game and then put something else on while dismissing the first one, or else play the first half of the game, download the soundtrack, look at Wikipedia or a dedicated Wikia for the plot and character details and then YouTube the ending. Isn’t that terrible?
But just because you don’t wind up beating the game, it doesn’t mean your money has been wasted. Far from it! Here, we look at what most normal people would call “mini-games” or “alternate game modes” but what I, being a bit differently-abled, like to call “distractions”. It’s a fine thing for games to have lots of different playing modes and side-games, so long as they don’t get in the way of the overall, you know, game. Indeed, I sort of look upon games that don’t have any such mini-games (sorry, “distractions”) as being like deprived children with no cool Christmas presents to show off to me. What the fuck do I care that you have nice hair or a wonderful voice, dull child, when you didn’t even get a go-kart this year for me to mess around in? Below are 16 of the finest distractions that gaming has to offer, 16 different timesinks that boast enough depth or playability to make up the value of the game’s price alone. As usual, I try to pick only one game from any particular series. But, as is also usual, I tend to end up breaking that one rule. Please do enjoy, and these are in no real order ‘cept the very last one.
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11 Poorest Powerups (2013)
Please be advised that this feature contains strong language.
You get killed an awful lot of times in video games. Sometimes in the customary ways (falling into curiously bottomless pits, being blown away by a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, being crushed by some hulking enemy, falling foul of an evil glitch put in by negligent developers); others in more interesting ways (being beheaded by a chainsaw, being swallowed whole by a massive fish, having a cow land on your head arsefirst). You lose again and again, and the aggravation mounts. What do you need? You need powerups – certain new abilities or items that can swing the game back in your favour. Some hand you such a terrific advantage that they are absolute must-haves, while others give you incremental boosts that all add up to let you topple that tough as nails boss.
But not every powerup is up to scratch. Here, in no particular order, we look at 11 powerups which are at best non-offensive and at worst actively conspire against the player. Note that imitation powerups that do actively harm or impede the player character, like the Poison Mushroom of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, do not count. No, these are powerups which the game purports to be beneficial but, really, the programmers might as well not have bothered. Or worse, these items can be so worthless as to be damaging, if employed in the wrong way. Note that a powerup here can be any and all kinds of things to aid the player, from an item in Zelda to a spell in Final Fantasy. Please enjoy.
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