Friday, 30 October 2015

Big Boss Isn't a Very Good Boss At All

What follows is a frank and honest discussion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It includes intimate details of its woeful and misguided ending.

Big Boss. The clue is in the name I suppose. The greatest warrior of the 20th century, trained by the previous greatest warrior of the 20th century. Bloke with a mullet and an eye patch. Physical carbon copy of his own clone—thanks entirely to Metal Gear Solid’s protagonist, Solid Snake, being hugely popular and existing in a 3D form long before Big Boss. He’s worked for the US government. He’s been betrayed by the US government. Now he operates for himself, seeking to set up an independent state made up entirely of men who fight wars, presumably as a way of thumbing his nose at the notion of nuanced geopolitics. He’s a madman, by all accounts. But he’s also the flawed protagonist of a few video games, making his tortuous way to becoming the antagonist of a few other video games. He’s sort of a big deal ‘round here.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

No Wonder the Cool Kids Didn’t Like Me: Teenage Years, Societal Fears and Brewed Under License Beers

I went through a curious transition from being a child to a teenager, the same one that, in our own unique ways, I suppose we all must endure to a varying extent. Mine, it must be said, was on the more benign end of the scale. I loved LEGO growing up (buy your kids a massive box of bricks and you'll save a small fortune on toy purchases throughout their lifetime), and I found it really difficult giving it up as I grew older, so I just didn’t. This led to strange juxtapositions like my fifteenth birthday party, which saw a group of similarly aged adolescents in my room all drinking Skol lager (just like at Dave’s party a few months previously) and watching The Evil Dead, surrounded by LEGO models and the echoing sounds of ‘don’t touch them please, they’re fragile.’ They touched them, of course, because LEGO is universally fascinating and they were probably a tiny bit jealous of me having the wherewithal to still have it proudly displayed in my boudoir. Or maybe they just wanted to laugh at me. Regardless, I was enraptured by those bricks long after my peers had passed them by.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Games of Future Past - or - We’re Skating on Thin Ice Here, Why Would Anyone Want to Play a 'New Classic Point & Click Adventure Game'?


There’s a very real danger involved in mulling over our own yesteryears. Care about a particular era too much and you become the type for whom, for example, constantly talking about the ‘good times we had at school’ is completely acceptable. They were indeed enjoyable, those days when we worked weekends up the shopping village for four quid an hour, spending all our pay on nights out in the ex-mill towns of West Yorkshire. But they were also full of horrible stuff like puberty, a lack of personal autonomy and terrible, gel-based hairstyles. Dismiss the merits of your past too forcefully, however, and you end up in a perpetual cycle of snorting ketamine and hunting out craft brewery taprooms, attempting in vain to prove to yourself that ‘I am undeniably an adult: butterscotch shots and dancing to Pantera are for the kids.’

Friday, 31 July 2015

Shopping On A Hangover: Sorry, I Can’t Carry All These Swords


“If everything is fun, is anything truly fun -- how do we know?” - Geralt of Rivia

Context is inescapable when it comes to most things. Take, for instance, a beer being enjoyed at three in the morning with your live-in beloved. It's a frosty Corona, fitted with a generous slice of lime. It comes as standard with a helping of 90s dance music, something like, I dunno, Dr. Alban. Now, in isolation this is one of the most wonderful of situations I could ever hope to find myself in. I'm dancing in my living room. I'm maybe having a small snack in between sips of beer. I'm jumping up and down, as if I’m really back in the throes of clubland delight. I'm reminded of why, for me, a good, well maintained, mutually respectful and -- of course -- loving long-term relationship is preferable in every way to actually being in a club --  in the 90s or any other period of time -- and trying to find that special someone. I already have. And I'm drinking a beer and dancing with her in my living room at three in the morning.