You think you know pressure? Try being the linchpin

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Octopath Traveler (2018)

It’s a privilege sought by many but achieved by few. To be conferred such a status suggests to all lookers that you are the highest value male in your social group. That brings with it female adoration, several cries of you being a legend, and more than a few free drinks. It does of course saddle you with a large burden of expectation, too much for many men, and one bad performance could see you stripped of your title and rendered just another contender, making up the numbers. I’m talking, of course, about being the linchpin of a night out.

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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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There are a lot of top first date ideas, but none of them involve hiking

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Ice Climber (1986)

It’s enough to make any man self-conscious. After weeks of pestering and creepy-crawliness, you’ve finally secured a date with that girl and she hasn’t yet deigned to ghost you or cancel right at the last minute with no mention of a reschedule. You’ll now be relying on two things to help make the date go well – firstly, you’ll need to have good patter, otherwise that crucial ‘spark’ will not be there and you’ll be out of pocket forty nicker. Secondly, you need to make sure that you’ve got a good plan as to what you’re both going to do, because you better believe she won’t be making any suggestions. Get this wrong, and you’ll be agonising over it for a very long time once she gives you the bad news a few days later.

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If you’re going to start watching anime, you should know that there’s no coming back

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Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (2017)

At some stage in a young nerd’s life, they’ll have to decide just how far down the geek wormhole they are willing to go. Think of it as the iconic red pill vs. blue pill scene from The Matrix, except here there’s a whole host of wee capsules in Laurence Fishburne’s hands. In one of his hands you’ve got mild nerd pills like mobile games, The Sims and being into wrestling. But then in the other, it’s the social-suicide pills – Warhammer, trainspotting and My Little Pony. And striking some sort of indeterminable sweet spot in between these two extremes is anime.

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If you don’t lap up 3 NES games a month, Nintendo will vaporise you and your savefiles

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Splatoon 2 (2017)

When I paid full whack for Splatoon 2, I already knew that I was being a bit of a fool to myself. After all, it was Nintendo’s attempt at an online shooter, neither of which they can do very well. We all should have known that Nintendo’s approach to online play was going to be a stinker right from the very start. After all, you’ve never even been able to play so much as a DVD on any of their consoles, their last few consoles have been notably lacking in horsepower, and then there was the Virtual Boy. They’re not exactly forward thinking or tech-savvy, you might say.

So when the plans and features of their upcoming Nintendo Switch functionality were revealed, and gamers were expected to pony up cash for the first time, it was yet another don’t-know-whether-to-laugh-or-cry moment that Nintendo are famous for.

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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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Gambling’s for mugs, and I’ll tell you more after the 3:30 at Kempton

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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (2017)

People sometimes ask me why I don’t gamble, or why I love launching into unwanted explanations as to why gambling companies are the devices of Satan. In theory, I should love Paddy Power. They’re sort of Irish, like me. And better than that, they spend their days making mega bucks and they absolutely adore exploiting and robbing the poor. It’s sort of like my dream business model, so why do I want them to fail so badly?

Could it be their zany advertising, where sporting memes, contrived personalities and tap-in humour are made out to be more important and relevant than what’s actually happening out there on the pitch? Could it be that, in a moment of weakness, I find myself feeling sorry for the numbskulls they exploit? Or could it be that they, like all bookmakers, do everything they can to avoid paying out to winners, up to and including shutting down the accounts of people that win too much?

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I don’t mind alien invaders, as long as they’re good racers

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F-Zero X (1998)

In the event of an alien invasion, one can only imagine that mankind would be pretty well buggered. After all, if some sort of species or collective entity out there has the ability to travel here in great numbers, they pretty much have the whole thing wrapped up. What are we gonna do to defend ourselves, nuke our own planet?

We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know what they want, they have far superior firepower and technology and anyway our own world society is so badly fragmented and our world leaders don’t really measure up at the moment. And if it should happen that we get overrun by those frightful pod creatures from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you can definitely forget all about it.

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The Wii U is everything the Volkswagen Golf isn’t

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Wii U (2012)

It’s more trouble in paradise for me, readers – the old motor vehicle is giving me some issues again. Listen, you can tell just by looking at my car that I don’t ask for much out of a vehicle. In particular, pay attention to the moss growing on the windows and the pet mouse colony I have living in there. My old Polo is going to be entering its 19th year now that we’ve stumbled into 2018 – but now some cracks are beginning to show in the hardware. 

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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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