Posted in Picture

I’m in Classic Rock Magazine!!!

Remember that romantic fridge message that Billy left me using the freebie fridge magnets from Classic Rock Magazine?  Well *ahem*, I may have sent it in to their letters page and they may have published it in this month’s magazine.

No she dih-ih, yeah she dih!!!!

They took out the bit about Austrian basements 😦
Posted in Picture

Shakespeare – This Time it’s Personal

My sister found this in a gift shop in Stratford-upon-Avon.  All I’m saying is, thank God the quill pen and book is removable, otherwise I just wouldn’t be interested.

If my kid asked for this for Christmas, I think I would have to phone social services and get him removed.
Posted in Writing

Why I Heart the Dart

When people ask me what kind of things I’m into, I generally say “What do you mean? Like taking a dump on my boyfriend’s genitals or watching midget porn?” Usually, and disappointingly, they reply “No, I mean like photography or amateur dramatics”.  After the awkward silence I will reel off a list of the things I like.  Near the top of this list is darts, the mention of which usually results in a reaction of greater disgust than when I mentioned excrement-sex.  Why do people have such a problem with darts?  It is the most beautiful sport in the world!  Yes, I called it a sport, put that in your pipe and shove it up your ass.

The main reason for my love of darts is that, in my opinion, I feel it is the last of the working man’s sports.  Even I remember the days back in the 80’s when footballers drank in my dad’s local and were just regular guys, the majority of which had day-jobs.  They were young, normal boys who were a bit better at football than everyone else and as a result got to play it a bit more than everyone else.  Above all, and much more importantly, a lot of them had handle-bar moustaches and a minor drinking problem.  They were all the things that men are supposed to be; untidy, hairy and a bit stinky.  Look at them now, they make me physically sick.  They use fake tan, they wax their chests, they advertise things, their wives are clinically retarded and their wardrobe is more important to them than consensual sex. They earn far too much money for what they do and, sadly, kids can’t get enough of them.

Darts on the other hand is not ashamed to admit that it is not perfect.  Darts doesn’t give a fuck.  It eats pies, drinks beer, swears and scratches its balls whilst simultaneously farting.  Now I agree that this is an equally unhealthy role model for young children but it is by far the more fun of the two.  At least you will develop some sort of banter that will ensure you are an enjoyable person to be around. Dying of a heart attack at 35 is surely a small price to pay for this?  Anyway, have you seen the young Dutch guys in the PDC nowadays? They are extremely fit and they rarely drink.  In fact most darts players are professional sportsmen and it’s about time they were treated that way.  It’s a high pressure sport that few can master and yet they are still viewed as the outcasts of sporting society.

I have been to many a televised darts event and can safely say that they have been the most enjoyable nights I’ve ever had.  I usually begin the evening with a pint and a pie (something I would rarely do in my everyday life so it is a pretty special moment for me).  I will then sit down at my table, half of which will be full of people I don’t know but am soon to become best friends with, and begin my quest to think of a catchy line to put on my card that might get me on TV.  The rest of the night will be spent drinking, laughing, screaming, getting autographs and trying to sneak into the Player’s Lounge.  The vast majority of the players are approachable, normal guys and no one in the room gives a shit what you look like or where you’re from.  There are often arguments but rarely fights and there is always drama between the players.  What more could you possibly want from an evening?

I think when it comes down to it, all the things that dart haters dislike about the sport are the same things that make me love it:  It’s fun and unpretentious.  ‘Fun’, for those of you who have forgotten, was something that people had before the Food Standards Agency and Health & Safety Executive took it away from us and replaced it with that guilty feeling you get after a day-time wank.  Fuck them I say! Find your nearest darts team and go and bloody enjoy yourself. In the words of a poncey, public-school scrote-sack that I was once forced to speak to: “Darts is nothing but 2D, trash TV”……….and long may it continue my friends, long may it continue.

 

A 1988 darts montage just for you.  Back when men were men and moustaches were a way of life……..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgW6jxU1EGU&feature=related

Posted in Picture, Writing

Decision Points – A Memoir by George W Bush

Bought George Bush’s book last week.  Did a shit on it.

My thoughts……

The recently released memoirs of our favourite loveable rogue are sharp and cutting at best but often just grating and irritable.  Whiter than white and with not much in the way of cushiony softness, I would recommend steering clear of this product.

Verdict:  A controversial choice.  Better than the recycled toilet paper favoured by primary schools but nowhere near as good as that Andrex luxury double-quilted one.

My decision point: 1 Fist 

Top Tip:  Moisten with the tears of Iraqi orphans prior to use to get that super-fresh, wipe-clean feel.

He wants it so bad he can hardly sleep at night.
Posted in Link, Writing

Xbox Kinect – In a Word: ‘Schmeh’

Since it is only a matter of days until the release of Kinect, I thought I would attempt to be useful and share my thoughts on the new addition to the wallet-raping, user-friendly Microsoft family. Back in August, as part of my birthday treat, I got to attend the Xbox Kinect trials in London’s Covent Garden with Billy and my mum for 30 minutes of intimate alone time with what could potentially be my new lover.

We were greeted at the door by a campsite, I had no idea Kinect had such a huge gay following. A beautiful man with perfect hair and trousers so tight I could see what he had for breakfast approached us and introduced himself as Jonathan before grabbing my hand and skipping towards a stage.  He was putting on a headset. Oh god, please don’t put on a headset.  I don’t like participating in things that involve headsets. Turns out we were a ‘smidge’ early so “Wouldn’t it be great to kill ten minutes by trying out the Kinect on this here stage?”.  I grudgingly agreed but it wasn’t until I was up there I realized that the fire exit doors onto Covent Garden were wide open and people were, in fact, paying attention to what was going on inside.  Then it happened……..the intro to Poker Face by my nemesis, Lady Gaga, blasted out into the room and I panicked.  I asked Jonathan what the hell was going on and he replied “Oh, it’s our new dance game called ‘Dance Central’ and it’s starting right about now…..and left and right, come on, jump and step….”. I wanted to die a little bit but I’m not gonna lie, by half way through you couldn’t get me off the stage.  Until, that was, he said these words: “Okay, now here comes the freestyle bit, you just do whatever you want, I think it would look great if you did something a bit sexy, show me sexy girlfriend!”.  I just looked at Billy like a rabbit in the headlights. He knows what happens when I try to do sexy. Thankfully right at that moment our private room was ready so I ran away from him. I don’t even think he noticed.

We arrived at our room which was (thankfully) much less eventful, and got stuck into three games:
Kinect Joyride
Kinect Adventures
Kinect Sports

You may notice that the titles of these games sound a bit familiar.  Replace the word ‘Kinect’ with ‘Wii’ and you could be looking at a list of avatar games released by Nintendo. I wish that was where the similarities ended. Like the Wii, you are in control of an avatar but instead of using a wand you use your hand. Joyride is a driving game in which you hold an imaginary steering wheel to drive around. Adventures is a duck and jump type game with rapids and obstacle courses and Sports is……well you can guess; the usual bowling, hurdles etc.  I was so confused!  Surely they knew that we would notice? Could they just not be arsed?

Having only avatar games to choose from at the trials makes it hard for me to form a fair opinion on just how worthwhile a purchase the Kinect will be.  Thankfully though there are other games in the Kinect collection that will be more suited to the controller-free selling point, and I think it will come into its own as a fitness aid.  The ability to participate without having to hold a sweaty wand in your hand will probably ensure that the Kinect will be preferred by weirdo fitness freaks the world over.  There is no need for a board or anything, you just do what the game tells you to and BAM, you’re thin. Unfortunately this also means that there will be a reduction in the amount of articles in The Sun discussing the latest child to get nailed in the face by a flying controller but you’ve got to take the good with the bad I suppose.  

One thing that did surprise me was how well the sensors worked.  I was prepared for frustration when it didn’t do the things I wanted it to, but there was none of that.  The device works well and so allows you to focus entirely on the game instead of worrying about where that fucking Wii hand icon thing has gone. At one point I scratched my nose and my avatar did too! Yes, I am that easily impressed!  

I don’t know how they are going to approach any RPG games that they may release.  They could be great, and I hope they are, but I have a feeling that they probably won’t be.  I really liked Zelda on the Wii so it can be done but I think, at least for the moment, keeping the focus on lifestyle games is probably a clever move.  The Dance Central game was shit-hot and has given me the GREATEST idea. Imagine, everyone buys the Kinect and practices the dance to Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison. You could turn up at a club, get the DJ to stick it on and voilà, the entire club is spontaneously performing the same routine.  It would be like a scene from High School Musical except not shit! Let’s do it!            

Looking back, I did enjoy the day but was disappointed at how little Microsoft had moved away from the Wii with their signature games.  Fitness and dancing games aside, the fact that you don’t have a controller is not an original enough concept to stand on its own.  There are quiet mumblings of 3D graphics being incorporated into the Kinect so I am going to view this as a kind of midway point between the Atari and a full on Holodeck.  Slowly but surely we are getting there, and at the end of the day I am going buy one anyway, Lady Gaga and I have some unfinished business to attend to.  

A respectable but slightly disappointing 3 fists from me: 

For your viewing pleasure.  A very flattering video of Billy and I participating in the Xbox Kinect trials in London:

Jillian & Billy – Xbox Kinect Trials

Posted in Picture, Writing

iPad Apps – Get in About Them

At the time of writing there were 34,936 apps for the iPad.  I have used about 30 of these.  If you are looking for an informative, exhaustive review of the apps currently available for the iPad, this is going to be the biggest disappointment since Raoul Moat’s killing “spree”.  If however you are looking for an uninformative, limited review of my own personal favourite apps…………you’re a fucking weirdo, get off my lawn.

Let’s begin!

VLC – If you don’t have this app, this is what will happen to you:

Whilst trying to transfer a very, very legal download of South Park series 13 onto your iPad, iTunes will basically tell you to go and fist yourself.  You will try for days to bypass iTunes and its all encompassing power to destroy your life.  You will fail.  After admitting defeat you will spend three more days converting your files to a format deemed acceptable by iTunes by means of a ‘free’ software package.  Finally, and with a huge sigh of relief, you will click ‘transfer’.  You will receive the following message: “Thank you for choosing our software to convert your video files.  In order to transfer the files onto your device you will need to upgrade to our full version which will cost £1,000,000.  It’s okay though, we use Paypal so it will be convenient and hassle free!”.  Hours later you will be spotted skipping naked down the high street wearing a sock puppet on one hand and flinging shit at passing old ladies with the other, occasionally stopping to eat your own hair whilst poking yourself in the eye with your toe.

For the love of God, get this app.  No one likes sock puppets.

TV CATCHUP – This app basically turns the iPad into a TV by means of witchcraft.  Very handy if you like a moan at your boyfriend for watching Babestation when Snog, Marry, Avoid is on.  It shows most of the decent channels including Dave (most important) but the picture quality can be pretty poor at times and because it is shown live, you can’t rewind anything if you’ve missed the beginning.  All in all though the good out-weighs the bad and anything that can magically turn something into a TV gets 5 stars from me.  Now if they could only apply this TV magic to the back of my head, Billy would die a happy man.

DISCOVER – This is a Wikipedia app presented in the form of a magazine.  It has a photo of the day, an article of the day and all the encyclopaedia articles you could ever want.  It’s also in HD which makes me feel warm inside.  There isn’t much use for it on a daily basis but I think it would be good to have on a train or the Megabus.  Although, I wouldn’t recommend waving an iPad around on a Megabus, that would be like waving around a quarterpounder with cheese in a Malawian orphanage.

 iPERIOD – This is an app that keeps track of your periods.  I have found to my surprise that this app is more popular with men.  One of my guy friends whipped it out the other day when trying to organise a golfing trip with his brother saying “Well, the wife will be shedding the tears of a disappointed uterus next weekend so it would be nice to get out of the house for a couple of days”.

GAMES – As you can probably guess there are no real epics for the iPad so don’t expect to devote more than a couple of hours of your life in order to complete a game.  There are still a few that are worth a look though, my three favourites are:

SPARKLE HD:  One of those blow-up-a-chain-of-coloured-balls type games favoured the world over by lonely housewives with bingo addictions.  This one is actually very good, the music sounds like it’s from Beetlejuice and the HD graphics are immense.

HARBOUR MASTER HD:  Pretty simple but highly addictive.  You have to move boats about so they don’t crash into each other.  I wish I had more to add but that is literally it.

VIRTUAL VILLAGERS 3:  I am fully aware that this is a shitty sim game but there is something kind of 90’s about it that makes me happy.  You land on a deserted island and have to make sure your villagers survive by building stuff, finding food, making babies, etc.  Completely pointless, but there was a time when all computer games were pointless and, well, sometimes I just miss those days.

While I am on the subject of games, I’m not really a fan of Angry Birds.  Am I the only person in the universe who feels this way?…………….Besides you, Tumbleweed.

PHOTO SLIDESHOW – Not technically an app, just something the iPad can do.  You can use your iPad as a kind of picture frame that changes photo every few seconds via an unfolding origami-type display.  It’s pretty cool to watch and a nice idea I suppose but I can’t help wonder when we are expected to use it.  Can you imagine taking it into your office and setting it up next to your monitor, leaving it to show random photos of your family on their last skiing trip?  Seriously, imagine how much of a dick you would look.  I tried it out in the privacy of my own home and it didn’t really work out.  These are the first four photos that came up:  A photo of a naked doll that I found on the side of a mountain in Skye that looked like a dead baby, a picture of my dog trying to hump another dog’s face, a picture of Hitler with a speech bubble saying “I blame the parents” and a photo of a dead bird in a ziplock bag stuck to a wall by a magnet.  If I worked in an office I would be eating my lunch alone.

So there you go, a few of the apps that have earned a place on my homescreen.  I could honestly keep going, I have another ten apps that I use but for those of you who don’t have an iPad this blog entry is hardly a page-turner so I will spare you the torture of reading about amazing things that you will never have.  I feel like the parent of a high-achieving child; so much to say but no one really gives a fuck.  I think I’m going to start going to coffee mornings with other iPad owners.  Call me.

Posted in Writing

My New iPad – Not Just a Lover but a Best Friend

Two months ago I turned 30.  The night before the big day I went to sleep disliking Sheryl Crow but woke up the next morning thinking she was a truly exciting and valid artist.  It really does happen that fast.  I got up and was relieved to see that there was a substantial amount of presents in the corner of the living room.  This was good, I needed something to distract me from the sudden realisation that I was going to have to start thinking of a valid reason for being unmarried with no kids.  ‘I can’t be arsed’ and ‘I’d rather spend the money on beer’ was now going to make me sound more like an alcoholic lesbian than a care-free youth.

I was genuinely surprised (and slightly teary) to discover that my first present was an iPad.  People have suggested to me that this ‘oversized iphone’ is an unnecessary, almost gimmicky bit of gadgetry.  To them I say: “Fuck you!” and then I say “You need to re-evaluate the shambles that is your life and take responsibility for the fact that you just air-quoted the phrase ‘oversized iphone’, now be gone!” and then I say “Damnit, that would have sounded amazing if I had thought of it before they got in their car and drove away…………three weeks ago”.  Reluctantly, however, I am going to have to agree with these gimps.  No one needs an iPad, not even disabled people, and they need everything. It doesn’t really do anything that other products can’t already do, but if we all thought like that we would never have been blessed with such gems as: The Jesus-shaped toast stencil, the plastic banana protection case, the Slanket, the George Foreman Grill or literally anything sold by JML in all good Poundstretcher shops.

In other words, I am in love with my iPad.  Completely and utterly, head over heels, madly in love with my iPad.  We sleep together, we shower together, we cook together, we drink together, we sing the timeless Foreigner classic ‘Feels Like The First Time’ together………it’s our song.  The main reason I love the iPad is motivated by complete laziness.  It’s not so much what you can do with it, it’s where you can do it.  I can personalize it to the last detail so that it only contains things that I want to read about/watch/listen to and then take it with me to work, on a plane or, more importantly, to the bathroom. No more having to turn on the TV if I want to watch TV, no more having to buy a newspaper if I want to read a newspaper and best of all, no more having to boot up my piece of shit laptop to check my emails.  In comparison my laptop is like a giant, bumbling, club-footed beast, offensive to the point of Lady Gaga’s face.

Despite all this love, it pains me to say that there are two slight flaws with my new possession.  The first one is the bed sores that I have been gradually developing over the past couple of months.  The iPad makes it almost impossible to get out of bed.  This is my morning routine:  Wake up, pick up iPad, open facebook, try to scratch my eyeballs out to stop myself from having to read the immense pile of shit that some people feel the need to share with the world, close facebook, open Twitter, see if it is possible for Kanye West to be any more mental, close Twitter, open BBC News, read about Chilean Miners, close BBC News, open ITV Showbiz News, stare at Cheryl Cole’s amazing face, close ITV Showbiz News, open this blog, see if anyone has left me a comment (that would be a no), close this blog.  By the time I have done all this it’s like 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I have bed sores, but holy shit I am INFORMED!

The second flaw is the necessity to sacrifice one arm in order to carry the iPad around the house with me everywhere.  I’m basically an amputee.  I’m eligible for the 2012 Paralympic shotput event and I’m learning how to play the piano with my feet. If I’m honest it’s not ideal, but do not panic because I have a plan.  I watched this programme last week on Bravo called ‘We Find Your Medical Misfortune Fucking Hilarious’ and it featured this giant fat woman who had misplaced her TV remote.  Turns out it had made its way between two of her fat rolls and had been sitting there for like 18 months.  In that time the skin had engulfed the remote and kind of merged with it so that the remote had actually become part of the fat woman.  I thought this would be a great way to enable me to keep both hands free while still having the iPad at my fingertips.  It’s been a couple of days and so far it hasn’t even latched on but I’ll keep you updated on any progress.

Now that I have covered the pros and inconsequential cons of the iPad I am going to retire, re-group and eventually return to write a completely useless guide to the apps that I think deserve a place on my home screen.  In the meantime I suggest that you sell your children to Somalian pirates and go buy one immediately. Just sit back and let Steve Jobs put that snooker ball in your mouth, I promise it hurts good.

It would have been 5/5 fists but I’m retracting one because iTunes does my tits in: 

Have a listen: Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time

Posted in Writing

The Joys of Co-operative Gaming

The title of this post is somewhat misleading as it implies that co-op gaming with my boyfriend Billy is a predominantly joyful experience. In reality it consists of me trying to play Xbox with one hand, the other one clenched in a fist and lodged between my teeth in order to prevent myself from punching him in the fucking face. For example, our games always begin with Billy ‘testing his equipment’.  This involves him shooting me in the face, I then mistakenly think I’m being attacked by an enemy and shit myself.  Hilarious.  Despite all this, we like to play co-op games quite a lot as it prevents arguments over who’s turn it is to play. It doesn’t, however, prevent arguments over literally everything else: weapons, money, armour, who’s driving the warthog, etc.

In terms of character, Billy will always pick the warrior. He likes to grab a shotgun and go wading in about enemies firing willy-nilly until they are all dead. I am always either a sniper or a Mage, capable of eye-wateringly accurate annihilation (as long as it is really, really far away, eye-wateringly accurate annihilation). This set-up all started with Balder’s Gate when Billy suggested I just “stand over there and help………….yeah further ………… further ……………. a bit further ……… that’s good, stay there”. When I pointed out that I was now in a different village and couldn’t actually see anything he responded with a distracted “Wow, yeah that’s great. Good for you!” and a couple of affectionate pats on the head.

There are times however, when I will be on a bridge/cliff in full view of Billy and his relentless heroism, watching him get a boner over a boss that he has just killed ‘on his own’. In reality I had my sniper at the ready and had launched at least five head shots and countless on-target grenades. I would even go so far as to say that I pretty much killed the boss ‘on my own’. When I try to share this information he usually responds with a distracted “Wow, yeah that’s great. Good for you!” and a couple of affectionate pats on the head.

The problem with being a distance fighter is that once everything that can be killed is dead, it takes a while for me to catch up to Billy. By the time I do he has managed to open every single chest, loot every body in sight and has hit the shops in order to sell all his new found merchandise, leaving me with no rewards. Once in a while he will miss a chest and I get hardcore over-excited. I take my time, open my inventory and have a little think about things. If my inventory is full then it becomes even more of a challenge because I have to drop my least profitable weapons to ensure that my backpack is full to its most valuable capacity. Once I have decided what to do, I come out of my inventory and…………….wait a fucking minute, the guns have gone……….the chest is fucking empty! I slowly turn my character around and there he is, nose to nose, saying something along the lines of “What? Well, you gotta learn Jillian, you snooze you lose” before shooting me in the face and skipping away in a fit of hysterical laughter.  This is pretty much my breaking point and I get my game rage on, refusing to un-pause the game until he gives me something to sell or use.  Usually a shitty revolver.  Who even uses revolvers?  The shopkeepers don’t even want them!

So you see, although co-operative gaming is an integral part of our relationship, it generally consists of me trying to think of ways to bring him down.  And I will.  I will destroy him.  I will destroy him and his weapon thieving, head patting, smug skipping, face shooting, violence inducing ways. Right after I help him with the Nightfall level of Halo Reach.  He’s stuck and he needs a sniper…………and I secretly love the banter.  Go team!

Posted in Writing

My First Nintendo

The year was 1988. The place was Aberdeen. The time was……….CHRISTMAS TIME!

I was 8 years old and after being woken up at 5.30am by my 5 year old sister blasting unsettling religious hymns into my room from her pink plastic Fisher Price radio, I headed downstairs.  Obviously I made her go into the living room first as I was scared that Santa would still be in there having failed to find a way to get out of the house via our 80’s ventless gas fireplace.

My parents didn’t have much money at the time but it’s funny how when you’re 8 you don’t really give a shit about their lame excuses.  I wanted presents, and lots of them.  My mum used to (and still does) put our presents in a black bin liner or ‘Santa’s Sack’ as she liked to call it. Even 8 year olds know that if Santa was going to use bin liners, he would probably use the white ones – much more festive.  Anyway, that particular year there was a larger box which did not fit into the bin liner and it turned out to be my first ever games console: the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES if you wanted to keep your friends). I will admit that I already had a Commodore 64 at the time, but that was hardly a console. I remember playing Platoon and Lemmings on it and genuinely enjoying myself but the joystick didn’t really work for me. Mine actually didn’t work.

The NES changed my life. I stopped getting dressed on Saturdays for one thing, and for another, people in the neighbourhood suddenly wanted to come round my house. I never let them in though, not because I felt hurt that they were only using me for my Nintendo but because the more that other people were playing, the less I was playing.  So my trusted friend Dave and I would sit on the living room floor all afternoon playing Mario and talking about which one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was our favourite (Raphael obvs).

Duck Hunt.  Now that was a game.  A shit game by today’s standards, but at the time an almost mind-blowing technological advancement. We used to call it ‘Fuck Cunt’ which back then was pretty funny but now that I’m in my 30’s I can safely say that it was hilarious. I also have a very vivid memory of playing Zelda for the first time. The cartridge was gold plastic but it may as well have been real gold because I wouldn’t let anyone touch it.  Ever.  To this day beating that game remains the single most proudest gaming moments of my entire life.

As colossal as all these games were, there really was only one winner when it came to the NES and that, my friends, was Mario.  I’m convinced that this beautiful little moustachioed man is to blame for my inexplicable desire to stand next to fat men with facial hair in pubs.  I was completely addicted to the first one despite the fact that it gave me my first proper game rage (which was always my sister’s fault, even though she never played the thing), I even liked Super Mario Brothers 2 just because it looked like it had been guest programmed by Howard Marx.  The third one is probably my favourite though, crossing an Italian plumber with a really violent woodland creature then gifting it the power of flight is all I wanted as an 11 year old.

Other than providing me with hours of entertainment, Mario also achieved something that is considered essential when you are a child with a penchant for gaming:  he got my mum hooked.  If you’re a pre-teen wanting your next gaming fix, there is always going to be one thing in your way:  Money.  You’re never going to have the cash to buy the latest console on your own, but if one of your parents wanted it……..

At the age of 11 we moved to Tunisia, aka the Gamers Wasteland.  You could literally hear the crickets.  I loved Tunisia, but having become bored of my NES, I only had a Gameboy and French re-runs of Saved By the Bell to keep me entertained and, well, they were both pretty gash.  In 1992 I had read in a letter from my old gaming partner, Dave, that a new Nintendo was coming out, the SNES.  I knew there was no point getting excited.  Tunis had only just started stocking the Commodore 64 and, despite being mostly made out of goat’s shit and sawdust, even it was hard to come by.  I decided to forget about it and returned to playing Kid Icarus on the now blatantly sub-standard Gameboy.

That was until one night, two weeks before Christmas in 1992, when my dad and sister were fast asleep in their beds and my mum and I were watching ‘Sauvés par le Gong’ in the living room.  My mum suddenly started having a really unconvincing coughing fit on the couch, but when I asked her what was wrong she just laughed nervously. She did this about three times and I was starting to panic when she finally blurted out:

“Okay, don’t tell your dad I told you but we managed to get someone to fly in a SNES for your Christmas.  I’ve been playing Mario for a week but I’m stuck on this bit.  Do you want to play?” 

I swear to God, I have yet to experience that level of happiness again.  For the next two weeks my mum and I waited until my dad and sister went to bed and stayed up playing Mario for hours. It nearly killed me to erase the memory on Christmas Eve, and my acting skills were pushed to the limit on Christmas Day, but it was totally worth it.

In 1994 I moved to a boarding school in Malta where a school ban on consoles kicked off a 5 year gaming dry-spell.  I was okay about this because I was discovering alcohol and boys and, especially when combined, it turned out they were slightly more fun than computer games.  Thanks to my parents again though, I did get the N64 which I got to play when I came home for the holidays.

Upon my return to the UK in 1999, I was horrified to discover that my beloved Nintendo was facing a crisis of epic proportions.  A crisis that I blame on the fucking Playstation.  I will agree that the Gamecube was a piece of shit but I will forever unreasonably blame the Playstation for stealing all the Nintendo customers in my absence.  If I had been there, none of this would have happened.  I decided to start a war on the Playstation……by buying an Xbox.  I know, but Nintendo was really, really shit in 2001 and Jet Set Radio was fucking amazing!!!!!!!!

So, now that I am settling into what some would argue is the beginning of middle age, I have rediscovered myself as a gamer. I am going to leave the Wii to the newer generation of gaming children and hope that they will get as much out of it as I did the NES back in 1988.  Nowadays my platform of choice is mostly my Xbox – through which I have developed a deep seated addiction to medieval fantasy RPGs and coop-mode Borderlands – but I really hope that one day I can ruin my own kid’s Christmas in order to help me complete a game on their brand new Nintendo 🙂