“What can I do for you today, sir? A Slime afro? Some Dracky dreads?”

Dragon Quest XI

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (2018)

I have been emasculated again. It happens to me quite a lot in life actually, but this one was a real beauty. The scene was the Grafton Barber, a fancy place of mangrooming. Well, I wouldn’t have cared if the red carpet was thrown out for me, because barbershops are never my favourite place to be at the best of times. We’ll get onto the looks of disgust and derision that barbers usually treat me with another time, but I wanted to go on about the Russian (well, former Soviet anyway, it was a big place) lady that was to be my groomer.

You’re offered a drink while you wait, which they say is free but given you’re paying a bit of a premium rate anyway, you’re hardly coming out ahead. Can anything in the high life really be free? Chumps can elect to get sparkling water or a soft drink here; real men like me opt for beer. Though my aspirations of being a real man were summarily shattered when I was called forth to sit in the hot-seat.

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There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a woman in the depths of an Animal Crossing binge.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020)

If you’re sitting out there in a loving relationship, no major tiffs every other day and the two of you are only slightly dysfunctional, then congratulations, I am genuinely happy for you. Singletons, fear not, because there are a lot more unhappy relationships out there than you might realise. And we’re all growing up now, “adulting” as some particularly childminded people might say, so the causes of strain and conflict are more mature now. It’s a bit more than her asking you whose bra this is, or you asking her why your last whazz nearly set the shower curtain on fire.

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Pubmaster Burkey does his best to ensure everyone is here

Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash Bros Ultimate (2018)

It’s quite the event on the social calendar, you know, and I take great pride in organising it every year, or at least on the years when people can be bothered with it. It quickly becomes front-page news, with everyone talking about it, and I’m ashamed to say some lewd scenes and paparazzi photographs have made it to the back pages on occasion.

Everyone is welcome, but if you haven’t got the stamina for it then you’ll find yourself left behind in an instant. Make it to the end though, and you can take great pride in the fact that there are not many who’ve achieved what you just have. I’m talking, of course, about the 12 Pubs of Christmas.

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This is the next generation, Mega, so get your arse in gear

Mega Man 11 (2018)

Never mind your Top Gears or your Fifth Wheels or your Grand Hoors, I’ve got the only bit of car advice you need – make your next car purchase an automatic. You’ll probably want to make it an electric or hybrid motor too, or at least something that doesn’t completely cackle at the polar ice caps like an evil vaudeville villain tying the dainty demure dame down to the train tracks. If your car doesn’t run on tofu then somewhere, somehow, there’ll be a Green Party policy there to thwart you. I’m all for environmental concern, but I’d rather the holes go in the ozone layer than in my pocket, know what I mean?

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Cardboard teams win cardboard trophies, but there’s no prizes for Yoshi this time

Yoshis Crafted World

Yoshi’s Crafted World (2019)

I’ve been trying to cast my mind back to the moment when I realized that I was never going to be a team player. There’ve been many occasions when I’ve shunned everybody (haven’t we all), but I think I’ve found the watershed moment. It was in either Fourth Class or Fifth Class in school, which will mean nothing to you, but then Year 12 and 8th Grade mean nothing to me either, so we’re even on that score. Just know that we would have been about 12 years old.

It was one of those strange whims that teachers get for whatever reason, that comes completely out of nowhere and is nothing to do with books, which takes me right out of the comfort zone. We were all split up into groups, and we each had ten minutes to turn some cardboard strips and boxes into an articulated lorry that could move. Now you should know, that kind of thing, building something that works, with engineering and levers and axles and physics and God knows what else – that sort of thing is just not for me.

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Trust Tetris to leave you in a crumpled, sweaty mess

Tetris99_2019

Tetris 99 (2019)

The rumours are true – I don’t know how to satisfy a woman. But what my detractors don’t realise is that I actually know something they don’t. As it turns out, there’s no way to keep a woman happy, because they’ll always fall victim to at least one side of the female triangle – they are either hungry, tired, cold, or all three. Through hard-work and perseverance, you can close off two sides, but nailing all three? Forget it. Trust me, this is a triangle that’ll leave you in more pain than a Toblerone that’s been in the fridge for days.

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Nintendo blast open-world gaming’s eardrums with a double-necked Flying V

Breath of the Wild.png

Legend of Zelda, The: Breath of the Wild (2017)

Can a man get away with crying? Especially in front of his girlfriend. Men are often being told they should feel able to open up about their emotions, but I wonder. Am I now emasculated for life? Forever to be dismissed as a blubbing wreck with no bottle? Will even the children point and laugh at me? I’ll have to buy a muscle-suit and wear it at all times just to counteract that event, maybe with three smokes in my mouth too.

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Get your gladrags on and join me on my fashion odyssey…

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Super Mario Odyssey (2017)

You don’t need to take a trip to my long abandoned Instagram account (both of them) to learn that I pretty much dress like a scarecrow, as in yes, I keep the birds away. I’m very much a function over form man, I just see clothes as social necessities. So long as it keeps the wind from tickling my ghoulies and I don’t embroil myself in any tricky-to-explain court cases, I’ll wear it. I think one of the main reasons why I’m such a fashion disaster is that my wardrobe is essentially a basket beside my bed with clothes folded on top of it, two abreast, both dangerously teetering like a block of ghastly flats ready to collapse.

Each morning, I grab some articles of clothing from the top of this pile, and whichever has the least obvious creases wins. That’s my ensemble for the day. See, that’s the teeny-tiny drawback you get with your modern day IT jobs – since you’re no longer required to dress like a filing cabinet, just another shirt and slacks merchant, you’ve now got to put some thought into what you wear.

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You think you know pressure? Try being the linchpin

octopath-logo

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

Super_Mario_Maker_2_logo_(Alt)

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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