They were the best days of your life, so long as you kept your panties clean

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Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (1997)

So they say school days are the best days of your life, do they? Hmmm, I wonder. It’s a lot less responsibility, that’s for sure. And you were able to get away with a lot more immaturity back then, but that’s a silly argument. Both you and I still find farts funny to this day, right?

And the adult world might seem pretty scary and confusing at times as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean school is a walk in the park, especially if you were a bit of a dumbo. Or a bit ugly or a bit ginger or a bit bespectacled or a bit fat, or in the most hopeless cases all four.

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It’s another trip to Dracula’s castle, where the grass isn’t even slightly greener

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Castlevania: Dracula X (1995)

It’s a desperate situation that we’ve all found ourselves in, perhaps with a beautiful lady to impress as well, which only makes the stakes even higher. The scene is dinner at your local ‘kid-friendly’, ‘family-oriented’ restaurant which, loosely translated, means they’ll let any scum under the sun in.

Oh well, no matter, you’re busy making your heavily rehearsed order, staying well away from potentially embarrassing choices: the steak that you’d end up asking to be cooked well-done, or those very messy chicken wings. Or that fish fingers meal that looks right up your street but is only available on the kid’s menu. Is that ageism or what?

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Writing a thesis in two days takes a Mega effort, Man

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Mega Man 7 (1995)

You don’t get deadlines in the world of school. There might be some form of project that has a due date, but that’s hardly set in stone – even if you don’t get it done, you can always get mammy in to explain things away for you. Mammy trumps all. And there are no deadlines in the working world either – you might have Go Live dates for projects, but they never get met anyway.

If things are looking bad and the client is trying to bust your balls, you can always invent some unforeseen technical issue and buy yourself a couple of weeks. This can’t be done in all industries of course, I hardly think you could do it in a newsroom. I suppose paramedics have to meet strict SLAs as well. But otherwise, nobody in the working world cares enough about so-called “hard deadlines” to go after you, unless their goose is about to be cooked as a result of your indolence.

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Like random encounters, the Swedish girls were coming at us thick and fast

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Tales of Phantasia (1995)

You have me down as an uncultured oik, I know you do, so it’ll probably surprise the hell out of you when I tell you that I’m pretty well-versed in Norse mythology. No, really, I know all about that Thor fella, and he had a hammer that did something with lightning or somesuch. Something that made him overpowered, anyway.

I’m not altogether happy with Thor, Chris Hemsworth or any hammer user, if truth be told, because he ended up inventing Thursdays, and Thursdays are my busiest day in work. A bit arrogant too I find, naming a day after himself. Why don’t we get Supermansday?

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A reading from the book of Quintet, on the creation of heaven and earth

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Terranigma (1996)

I’ve decided to stir up a bit of controversy this time, so I’d like to talk to you about going to church. I’d be lying if I said I have a season ticket to the church these days. After all, just like a football season ticket, it’ll cost you a ruddy fortune – that collection basket gets handed around twice during a mass, sometimes thrice if it’s a particularly juicy service and a load of people died the previous weekend.

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Remember – switching on your Super Nintendo is always faster than loading screens

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Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1992)

Every army needs its mainstay, that ever-present soldier who you can trust your life to, or that ultra-reliable piece of equipment that will never fail on you. You don’t bring undertakers out there on the battlefield – even if it would be a busman’s holiday for them, they’re the type of people who’ll always let you down. And if you had to trust your life to a machine, you’d be absolutely buggered if it was a printer, wouldn’t you?

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I, Burkey, do take you, Goku, to be my lawfully wedded Saiyan

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Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (1992)

It seems I never get invited to weddings – I’ve only been invited to two in my life, and neither time was I of drinking age, which is no good. Wedding rates in Ireland are going down, too. Small wonder: the last thing you want to end up having is that type of marriage where you’ve gone out, found someone you ended up hating and bought them a house. Worse than that, you’ll go on to lose this house in a particularly messy divorce that you’ll be asked about at each and every family gathering you get guilted into attending.

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You’ve had one drink too many, forgotten all your training and it’s Earth’s doomsday tomorrow – welcome to The Fear…

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R-Type III: The Third Lightning (1994)

I ain’t exactly the memory man. I’ve been starting to get mild blackouts when drinking now, or brownouts as I call them, which is pretty worrying. After all, I could be out there battering folks three times my size and taking home their moll girlfriends afterwards, and I wouldn’t even remember any of it. Actually that kind of thing only happens in my wilder dreams, that special kind of feverish dream that you get when you go to bed drunk.

Then you wake up the next morning, and depending on how big that porcupine in your head is, you’ll either forget more and more of the divilment that occurred the previous night, or worse than that, you’ll remember some of the more questionable stuff you’re guilty of. You’re afraid to check your phone and you know that casting your mind back will only incriminate you. You’ve ended up with that terrible feeling that they call The Fear.

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When I find a chav paradise I like, I stick with it

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Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation (1992)

People often talk about what’s in their bucket list, this bucket presumably being the one that we’ll all eventually kick. Top of most peoples’ lists is ‘travelling around the world’, which I find extraordinary. I’m a miserable old sod as you well know, but this travel the world thing was never for me. To be honest, with the exception of Japan, New York and maybe Vegas for a laugh, I’ve done just about all the places I wanted to. Australia, where I have to wrestle with spiders? China, where God knows what’ll happen next? African safari, where I might get eaten by lions, or far more embarrassingly, giraffes? No no, that ain’t for me.

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Lesson one of chatting girls up – don’t lose your bottles

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Super R-Type (1992)

In any of life’s endeavours, you can make bundles of progress and be just about to seal the deal when one little mistake, one tiny spanner in the wrench, causes the whole enterprise to blow up in your face in spectacular fashion and leave you with naught. I know this feeling only too well.

At the risk of alienating myself from my missus and buying myself, oh, about nine years on the sofa, I tried to chat up girls once upon a time. I wasn’t much good at it. I’d only do it when I was near catatonic with drink, and at that stage anything coming out of my mouth more closely resembled a tortured hyena trying to scream bible verses in Afrikaans. But sometimes, it might only happen once or twice in your life, a golden and almost unbelievable opportunity falls into your lap. And in a darkened corner of that night’s den of iniquity, hovering just at the periphery of our round table full of drinks, there she was.

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