How to keep your Babushka happy, on an infinite budget

Mega Man 4 (1992)

So the question is this: where is Mega Man from? In-universe, I’m talking about now. We know he lives in the future, because proper numbers no longer exist and the calendar eventually tells us it’s the year 200X, although I haven’t a notion how you’d pronounce that.

Mega Man does look like a distinctly Japanese creation, with his big wide anime eyes. And yet the American box arts make him look like something out of a Fallout game, if it were set in the 1980s. So is he American or Japanese, or miscellaneous? Do these countries even exist anymore, in Mega Man’s world? What about France, the UK, Russia?

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Beating the lockdown drum until there’s no more air in it

Donkey Konga (2004)

Looking back on a miserable 2020, I have to say it’s pretty impressive that my family and I were in lockdown for several months now and we never ended up killing each other. Now, I didn’t have it as bad as others; there were four of us living in the house and we all generally kept to ourselves anyway, until hostile lunchtimes and dinnertimes of course.

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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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Learning languages ain’t easy, so don’t beat yourself up over it

Final Fantasy 2

Final Fantasy II (1988)

Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Learning to speak and write in foreign languages is a pursuit most noble, you know. It’s a sure-fire way to broaden your pathetic, shallow mind. For language learning purposes, there are all kinds of devices you can make use of that’ll make you a proverbial polyglot.

In the old days you’d have to use books, which is never ideal. That’s what they keep trying to do in schools, and school is the last place you want to try learning a language in. Case in point, I tried learning Irish for 13 years in school, and French for 6 years, and what can I show for it?

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Third time’s just about the charm for the boy in blue

Mega Man 3 (1990)

The third instalment in any series can often be finely poised on the knife-edge of quality, and very rarely will they be middle-of-the-road – they could be sensational pieces of work, like Goldfinger and Rocky III. Or they can turn out properly lacklustre, like The Godfather III and, I’m sorry to say this, Back to the Future 3.

With the NES though, there was plenty of greatness where the number 3 was concerned. Plenty of great trees were pulled up, an Irishman might say. Super Mario Bros. 3 was the crown jewel of the system. Castlevania 3 was strong as well, Ninja Gaiden 3, Dragon Quest 3… we’ll not mention Double Dragon 3 – good things don’t always come in threes.

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The difference between this game and its brothers… it’s like day and night

castlevania2 simons quest

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1990)

So here we are then, back to the shortest day of the year, and that means we’re still only at the midway point of a dark and depressing winter. It’s worse than a month of depressing Sundays, this, especially when you’re a worker drone.

Go to work when it’s dark and blustery, alongside your fellow lemmings. Stare out at the tantalising daylight if you’re lucky enough to have access to a window. Then it’s already dark by the time you leave, even if you bunk off early. Your whole leisure time is dominated by that lurid mixture of black emptiness and orange streetlight.

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If you’re ever wondering why something is so popular, ask yourself how sexy it is

Mega Man (1987)

Why do some abominable people, places and things become so popular? I see for example that Jedward are regaining a bit of popularity on Twitter, by ticking as many progressive boxes as they can and piling onto witch-hunts against other hate figures. The word incredulity was invented for those two boys, born just down the road from me. Well, it’s a metaphorical road.

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Yes, she was Luke’s sister, but that gold bikini…

Super_Return_of_the_Jedi_(USA,Europe)

Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1995)

I’d always felt that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi got a bit of a raw deal. There was no Internet or any other poison like that in 1983, but I still can’t imagine what kind of hype must have been bubbling for this film, a film tasked with bringing the Star Wars series to a boil, after A New Hope stuck the kettle on and The Empire Strikes Back turned up the heat.

You’re trying to wrap up two films that floored viewers when they came out, and you’re tasked with bringing everything to a close. The audience will naturally be disappointed by the film’s presence itself, in that it’s the last one and there’s not gonna be any more Star Wars. So much for all that, eh?

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A sword on the ground, a God in the clouds, a pox on the populace

actraiser

ActRaiser (1993)

I’ve had manys a job in my time, you know. I’ve managed a theme park, briefly. I swear, you bring in thousands of children a week without getting a hint of recogition, but five or six go missing and suddenly the newspapers can’t get enough of it – not for me, thanks. I followed that up with a stint in town planning, but I had to knock that on the head as well.

Those citizens were driving me up the wall, going on about open sewers or something, and they kept opposing my plan for a downtown public incinerator. Once I began emblazoning my face on every billboard, poster and bus-stop I could find, and announced my intention to create a Ministry of Truth, the game was up.

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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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