The monsters of depression, anxiety and self-loathing? Believe me, they’re no myths

kid icarus of myths

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (1992)

We’ve had a lowest ebb, all of us, even if we came from a life of refinement and privilege. And unfortunately, not all of us make it out of our funk. There’s someone dying of suicide out there every 40 seconds. And according to the WHO, it’s possible that for every one of those adults taking their lives, there could be more than 20 others attempting it. What we can’t know is how many people are or have ever contemplated doing the irreversible.

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What’s pocket-sized, bundles of fun and never out of a young man’s hands?

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Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal (2001)

I was cleaning out my room the other day, always a thankless task that ends up getting cut short by many a distraction. You’d need a team of top archaeologists to sift through everything in my room, and even if they got past the first few layers of clothes, they’d have to resort to using proper Carbon-14 dating to detail everything else that’s buried in here.

On this occasion, I found my first ever mobile phone: a Mitsubishi Trium Geo flip phone. It’d probably still be working too, if I’d had the charger for it. Actually, I’m surprised it wasn’t still holding on to an inkling of battery. This was a phone from the days when they were designed to last through a nuclear war, if they had to. Well, let’s be fair – their large battery packs didn’t need to power highly complex operating systems, architecture and dozens of applications. Still, WAP was a pretty intense deal, right?

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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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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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6 Pokémon You Wouldn’t Want in Real Life

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6 Pokémon You Wouldn’t Want in Real Life (2019)

Any player of Pokémon has surely had a near nerdgasm at that fantastic idea of Pokémon being real. Even if it were just Pidgeys flying into your garden and eating Caterpies, you’d still lap it up. Even if these things already happen in nature, it’s all a bit mundane for you – why can’t there be 15-foot long blue worms living in the water that turn into humungous orange dragons if you feed them enough candies?

And why can’t there be a bee the size of a small child? Or an enormous squid that can take down buildings? But no – we have to get our Responsible Caps on, every once in a while. It just wouldn’t do if every Pokémon were real. Some of them are just downright dangerous, even in David Attenborough’s hands, never mind a snotty 10-year-old child. Here, we take a look at a full team of six Pokémon that one wouldn’t fancy the hassle of keeping in real life. Keep in mind that all six of these hail from the primitive first Generation of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow. I have to cater for the casuals sometimes, don’t I?

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The moustache saved him four tenths a lap

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Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing (1992 / 1993)

When people ask me who my favourite Formula 1 driver is, to a man (because women never seem interested in asking) they are all amazed when I say Nigel Mansell. By any measure, he is a terrible choice. Why not someone like Nelson Piquet? He was wild, and said what he want. What about Niki Lauda, God rest him, who came back from the dead in 1976? And James Hunt, whose reputation precedes him. Or, from the modern day, big fan favourites like Kimi and Daniel Ricciardo. Stacked up against these characters, Our Nige’s famously boring persona gets magnified and made to look all the more dreary. So why him?

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 11)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 11)

This bumper edition of the now universally famous Pokémon Team piece brings us to the end of the Johto times, before Game Freak ushered in the Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald era with a blaze of trumpets. It is 100% nostalgia talking and it makes me a damn fool, but for me, Generation II of Pokémon brought with them the last truly great games in the series – it’s been, not downhill ever since but it’s been a bit of a lower plateau, and I don’t mean the Indigo one. The villains were still a bit sinister, there was that sense of mystery as the internet wasn’t ubiquitous, and it even bundled Kanto into the bargain. For Generation VIII, Game Freak, you give me a massive Pokémon world with non-linearity, at least 16 badges to earn and maybe even the ability to visit one or two previous regions. Then I just might be interested!

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A scientific calculator is no match for exploding Koopas

SuperMarioLand

Super Mario Land (1990)

When I revisited Super Mario Land not long back, I thought I was playing a calculator, never mind a Game Boy. We had to buy scientific calculators in school in order to keep up with some of the ridiculous maths stuff that was coming our way – things likes xs, ys, and many other letters. I ask, what was wrong with numbers? Then there was sins, tans and coses… we were getting hit by these daily, and even our shiny new calculators couldn’t deal with whatever on earth an asymptote was. But I used to be seething with envy at our school colleagues in the US, who had access to Texas Instruments calculators, machines which I’m led to believe are the Rolls-Royces of computation and arithmetic. We really were deprived schoolchildren. 

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 10)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 10)

It turns out that Pokémon Sword, Shield and Battering Ram won’t have all 1,000 or so Pokémon available to catch, and the nerds don’t like it one bit. I don’t like it either, because it means my favourite Pokémon, Chatot, is almost certainly for the chop. My decision to buy the game may very well rest on whether a wise-cracking 3D parrot makes it into the game. If he doesn’t, then unfortunately Game Freak have lost themselves a customer this time round – and you can picture me as Homer Simpson, shouting that to Moe at the height of the Flaming Moe craze. The real question is, how many of the forgotten Johto boys, girls and Shuckles will make it over?

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

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Building the Best Pokémon Team (Part 8)

As we make more headway through the Gold and Silver part of our irreverent Pokémon review, we finish off some babies, which sadly isn’t as violent as I’ve made it sound; we take a nature-themed turn and see how a cotton plant, a sunflower and a fake tree hold up in battle; and finally, Pokémon gets an honest-to-God green frog as part of its lineup. Which is great and all, but when’s the quokka Pokémon due?

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