Mario and his meatballs, they just keep tasting better and better

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)

Look, it’s the 21st century now, so it’s not completely wetty for a man to do the cooking anymore. At least, that’s what my many, many self-help books tell me. Well, I don’t like it, but I’ll have to go along with it. Anything to keep the old tummy from rumbling. And you know, naturally I’d be perfectly happy to subsist off white bread and chicken all day and every day, with a few pints mixed in.

Unfortunately, you come to regret that one healthwise. I don’t mean that these foodstuffs will make my heart seize up or explode; that outcome is inevitable anyway. I’m far more worried about being subjected to that you-really-should-know-better-at-your-age tone from my doctor, which is worse than any other form of social shaming. This unhealthy diet ain’t making me look any better in my tartan-coloured stockings and old-boy suspenders either, which really ought to be addressed.

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Don’t feel sorry for the plumbers, they’re well used to being knee-deep in it

Mario Bros. (1986)

It strikes me suddenly, with no reason and over 35 years later, that for a supposed plumber I’ve never actually seen Mario do anything you’d call plumbing. He’s clambered through a few pipes alright, and he undoubtedly got up to some messy waterworks while on holiday in Super Mario Sunshine. But when have you actually seen him get down on his hands and knees and fix the gunge and rubbish coming out of those nasty pipes?

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The Power Glove is for sex offenders, while Super Mario Bros. 3 is better than sex

Super Mario Bros 3 Proper

Super Mario Bros 3 (1991)

I would have said that Super Mario Bros. 3 needs no introduction, but it’s important to note that the game got a pretty massive, in-your-face one in the guise of an entire motion picture called The Wizard. It came out in 1989 and starred young Fred Savage, and it was a sort of mix of Rainman and Stranger Things, with your typical Stand by Me format of kids venturing across Podunk America and evading the misunderstanding adults.

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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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It’s terrible. Who’d expect underwear cartridge bandits in this day and age?

super mario bros 2

Super Mario Bros. 2 (1989)

Burkey enthusiasts among you may be interested to note that Super Mario Advance is the one and only game I’ve ever lost. That’s not lost as in given away, in a similar vein to when you give a hoody to a girl and you’re much too unassertive and conscious of your social standing to ask for it back, I’m talking about misplacing the game and never, ever finding it. I’d love to know what I did to it, where it could be now. If only there was some sort of tracking device I could have used back in 2001 – if there was, I’d have put it on everything.

After all, what if someone had stolen it from me? And I was able to track down the guy who did it? Wouldn’t that be a plot-twist? I sometimes read about people having their entire collections stolen, or oftentimes stolen and sold on by their older brothers to buy drugs. For God’s sake, we’re talking SNES collections with Chrono Trigger and EarthBound, here. If that happened to me, I think I’d go on a rampage. I’m serious, I couldn’t be held responsible for my actions.

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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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The NES is like heroin, and not in a good way

NES Logo

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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If only they’d dropped Mario cartridges on Pearl Harbour instead

Super Mario Bros Logo

Super Mario Bros. (1987)

I won’t bore you to death on the whole video game crash, blah blah blah, E.T. wrecked the whole thing and all of that other stuff. History was the most boring of school subjects as we know, and anyway, the whole event is pretty much the first thing a prospective gaming YouTuber searches for on Wikipedia, before delivering a webcam filmed lecture about it with jumpy editing. Suffice to say, we had an awful lot of terrible “games” (and I’m talking, less impressive than interactive DVD menus) in the late 70s and early 80s.

I’m not just talking about clag that delivers less than 5 seconds of enjoyment either. Even ‘clag’ is too weak a word for games like Custer’s Revenge, or Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em. It was this kind of rubbish that was being sold, morse code graphics and all, into households at premium rates. Eventually the poor old gaming camel took one too many straws to the back, that straw being E.T., and over it went. Electronic TV games were a fad that had come, stank up the place a bit, and now they were gone.

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Top 5 NES Games

top5nes

Burkey’s Top 5 NES Games (2019)

The NES, the first bastion of retro goodness – its lively 8-bit chiptunes are as homely as tea by the fire and an Easy Sunday roast. The NES has almost become the retro badge of honour, or even the acid test: you may remember playing Streets of Rage or Tekken against friends, and laugh with a trace of embarrassment to others about it years later. But those games simply don’t dig deep enough into the retro enclaves. A question has to be asked to separate the retro-enthusiast wheat from the chaff: are u old skool enuf for NES?

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We’ll sell you the whole tablet but you’re only gonna need the stylus

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Super Mario Maker 2 (2019)

Call me a fanboy, but I always have to admire Nintendo’s testicular fortitude. They’ve sold us bathroom scales, knowing that we’d buy them in our droves. You almost never want to buy a DS, or a 3DS, or even a Switch, because you already know they’re going to throw out a Lite or XL version any day now. But with the Super Mario Maker duology of games, they’ve really done it this time – they’ve sold you a Mario game, except you have to make the levels yourself.

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