Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996)
I spent my college years wandering about in this kind of cynical trance, like Holden Caulfield. Didn’t really have anywhere to go, anyone to meet, so I just sat about writing and listening to music instead. Even if I’d studied or attended lectures, it’d have hardly made a difference anyway. I went to a ‘prestigious’ university, see. And they can’t fail you.
Maybe if you don’t turn up or if you vomit crayon wax all over the exam paper, you’ll score a big fat zero. But write your exam number down, blindly fill in some of the multi-choice questions, regurgitate parts of your earlier assignments that only barely passed anyway, and you’ve pretty much nailed it. See, if they were to fail you, then you’d go down as a negative statistic, harming the college’s reputation that bit more, domestically as well as internationally. And you know what that means? Lowered funding, something more unspeakable to an educational institution than Voldemort and Macbeth combined.
Continue reading “In his first foray into Maths and Stats, Mario graduates with honours”
Star Fox 2 (2017)
Even when the NES Classic was announced, I found a way to be snooty about it. Here was a wonderful, official little gizmo from Nintendo, with a good price point, perfectly replicated aesthetics, and heaps of retro goodness. How could I possibly look down upon it? But you already know that that’s a silly question, because nerds will look down upon anything to suit their own agenda. In this case, I already had a NES plus a lorryload of games that, in any case, were mostly clag, so what was I missing out on?
Continue reading “I used to sleep under a blanket of price-scalped NES Classics”
Secret of Mana (1994)
I had a tough start with Secret of Mana. Things seemed so rosy – the year was 1995 and my mother had gone into town with the promise of bringing us home a new Super Nintendo game. What she brought us was the green wonder that is Secret of Mana, a game that was advertised as being like Zelda! That was all I needed to hear. I probably near took the glorious woman’s hand off and clambered up the stairs to play it immediately.
As I often did as a 4-year-old gamer boy, I pressed my little golfball head as closely to our 1970s television as I could without my hair standing on end. Then I pressed the Power button to load up the game, a chilling roar that must have surely come from the bowels of hell blared right in my face, and I screamed to the high heavens and left Mana alone for several years.
Continue reading “All young men need something to scare them straight”
Contra III: The Alien Wars (1992)
At time of writing, we are at 154 mass shooting incidents in the USA since 2018 started. I make that about one incident every 36 hours, and it is an amazing coincidence that these seem to take place in the United States on a regular basis and are almost alien anywhere else in the world. It is also a tad worrying, for such a God-fearing country, that ‘thoughts and prayers’ don’t ever seem to deter any prospective shooters either.
Even more amazing coincidences are that these incidents all tend to involve overwhelmingly powerful assault weapons; they seem to never result in changes to legislation; the shooters are all mentally ill; there are always apologists and conspiracy theorists lining up to calm things down in case any intelligent or sensible debate breaks out; and eventually, somewhere down the line, the wilfully ignorant blame video games.
Continue reading “USA Shootings could’ve gotten me days off school”
Super Castlevania IV (1992)
Yourself and myself most probably have a rather different idea of what Halloween is all about. You may see it as an opportunity to have fun in fancy dress, maybe admire other people’s costumes, sit inside watching Hocus Pocus and a few more Halloween films besides… You can even score a whole shopping bag of sweets for your child, or more accurately yourself, having hit fifty different houses that night and sometimes twice each (parents, I’m on to you).
For me however, Halloween signifies booze, dodging thrown fireworks and doing one’s very best to avoid getting stuck answering the door to all manner of infernal children. And in between all of this, you may or may not even get the time to work on your own costume.
Continue reading “Halloween is the time of year when the adults run and hide from the kids”
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)
I want you to sit back and see if you can think of your earliest memory. I’m not asking this in the hopes of you giving me your accounts, photos or videos of being breastfed – although if you do, please send them to the usual address. It’s just interesting, isn’t it? You may very well have memories of yourself from back when you were a crying, gibbering, clumsy, self-defecating mess, and I mean from before you turned drinking age. No matter how great you are today, you know that squawking child that caused irritation to every member of the public in a 400-yard radius and prompted mass tutting and unspoken, polite disapproval? That was you that was, and we all hated you.
Continue reading “We may all hate them, but babies have it easy”
Mega Man X (1994)
According to an online exercise, my job has about a 75% chance of being taken over by robots. And I wouldn’t even mind if they were laser-firing killer robots, intimidating enough to send the Terminator running. No, I am apparently in line to be replaced by the same machine that uncoils the metal guards on the vending machines and sets your chocolate bar free.
I’m none too pleased about this, of course; be a bit of a shame if I’d gone to college and kissed besuited backside only to get my nose shoved out of joint by a robot with as much capability as a wind-up music box. Still, if it means I can get my hands on some of that lovely Universal Basic Income, then sign me right up. The eggheads, Germans most of them, cite ‘disincentive to work’ as an argument against basic income. Well, duh, why else would I sign up?
Continue reading “The robots can replace me all they like if it means I get more lie-ins”
Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (1992)
Fitness regimes. How many have I undertaken in my life, on my never-ending quest to look good in underwear? Sometimes I hate to see those pictures of people who have undergone “transformations” from hulking 400lb behemoth to lithe javelin, because it goes against my ignorant presuppositions that people are either fat or skinny or skinnyfat at age 18 and then they’re set that way for life. People shedding 20 stone reminds me of my own vainglorious failure to drop (and keep dropped) far less weight.
Continue reading “I’ll be skin and bone by the time I finish Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts”
Kirby’s Dream Course (1995)
I know you all have me down as a sporting God, given my prowess at football, cricket, hurling, curling and karting. Unfortunately, if we want to get into specifics, I’m actually an expert at football hooliganism, eating sandwiches and having drinks during the cricket breaks, threatening pensioners with hurleys, curling my lip in snobbish arrogance when I put one over the lower classes, and karting dozens of cans of beer around the supermarket before buying them for a pittance.
Continue reading “If Kirby was my caddy, I would have won The Masters”