Posted in Picture, Writing

How to Construct a Gaming Nest™

In light of the recent “Gamer Dies of Xbox/DVT” news story, I have had a lot of questions from people (one person) asking me for tips on how to construct a Gaming Nest™ that is both comfortable and architecturally sound. As the creator, inventor, creative inventive director and all round Gaming Nest™ building genius, I have decided to share my knowledge so that you too can create a comfortable environment matched only by the amniotic fluid of your mother’s uterus. By following this guide your nest is sure to make the Beijing National Stadium look like a piece of shit and you’ll never get DVT no matter how long you play for. Guaranteed.

You will need:

1 x Pair of loose fitting trousers/shorts (no jeans)
1 x Loose fitting t-shirt
1 x Blanket
1 x Slanket (buy it here: www.theslanket.com)
All the pillows from your bed
2 x Console controllers
1 x TV Remote Control
1 x Sky Remote Control
1 x iPad (a laptop will do if you’re a peasant and don’t yet own an iPad)
1 x Mobile phone
1 x Landline phone
1 x Pint of juice
A variety of munchies
1 x Dog (preferably one that is a bit tired)

Begin by equipping your nesting outfit. Elasticity is key here – sweatpants, leggings, even Lycra if that’s your thing – for the love of God, just make sure it is flexible. I wore jeans once and after a solid eight hours of gaming I took them off to discover that I looked like a burns victim – and I’m pretty sure denim imprints hurt more than third degree burns so be warned.

Once you are appropriately attired, grab your blanket and slanket and bring them through to the living room. Place the blanket directly on to the couch, this will form the foundation of your nest and provide you with a smooth surface to lie on. It also prevents chafage from the sofa cushions or, if you have a leather sofa, that moment when you have to peel your sweaty ass off the cushions post gaming session. Put the slanket to the side for now, we will return to this later. Next, go to your bedroom and remove all the pillows from your bed. These will function as a kind of scaffolding to keep you upright, so the more the merrier here. Return to the couch and place the cushions in whichever fashion you feel will be comfiest for you. Remember, every nest is as unique and individual as its owner so feel free to experiment with quantities, positioning and fabrics!

You can even keep up to date with the weather that you will never see. According to this guy, it's raining here right now.

Now that we have the soft furnishings in place, it is time for the equipment. I usually begin by placing both console controllers within easy reach of the nest. You will need both just in case one runs out of battery – it is way easier to pick up a pre-charged controller than it is to get out of your nest and rake through the man-drawer trying to find a pair of batteries. Once that is sorted it is time to move on to remote controls. First you will need the TV remote to switch inputs on those rare occasions you need a break (if you’re a pussy, for example) and then you will need your Sky remote to change channels/volume etc. I usually keep them at my side in case something crazy happens, like Amy Winehouse dying, and I want to watch the repetitive, mental-illness inducing coverage on BBC News 24 whilst saying things like “Yeah, I’m shocked………but I’m not really surprised, you know?”

Next on the list is communication. Place all your communication devices in a row, again within reaching distance of the nest. You will need your iPad/laptop within viewing distance and permanently open on the BBC News website or Facebook for maximum gossip exposure. You will also need your mobile in case someone phones you or you want to phone your sister and say “Oh my God, did you hear Amy Winehouse died? Totally fucked up! Yeah, I know…shocked….but not really surprised…..totally…..yeah, inevitable…..such a good voice though…..yeah I agree….wasted talent. No way, we got our periods at the same time AGAIN?? Freaky! Okay, bye!” Next you will need your house phone in case your mum – literally the only person to call your landline since the late nineties – phones and says “Amy Winehouse? Yeah, that bitch could never hold her drugs.” With all these links to friends, family and current events at your fingertips, no one can ever accuse you of ignorance as a result of prolonged gaming.

Probably one of the more important elements of the Gaming Nest™ is the inclusion of sustenance in its design. It is essential that you are kept hydrated and energised when completing the challenging tasks that video games tend to throw at you – defeating dragons, shooting Nazis in the face, blowing up spaceships and having gay sex with Anders from DragonAge II are all physically demanding activities that require both focus and stamina. I recommend you fill a pint glass with your favourite juice (no alcohol, it will only distract you from the task at hand) – I tend to go for some sort of orange cordial because it is high in water and flavour. I would avoid fizzy shit like Coke or Irn Bru because it’s fattening and we don’t want to get fat. We are athletes. We all know that gaming is hungry work though so make sure you have some munchies next to your juice. A good tip would be to choose things that only require one hand to eat – I usually go for popcorn or grapes but you can choose whatever you like, use your imagination!

N.B. At this stage it is essential that you go for a piss. I don’t care if you don’t need one, you must stand in that bathroom until you feel something stirring and don’t come out until you are completely empty.

Finally, it is time. Switch on your console, grab that slanket we put aside earlier and climb into your brand new Gaming Nest™. The slanket comes with sleeves (hence the name) so it is possible to cover yourself right up to your chin whilst still having your hands free to hold that all-important controller. Get hold of your sleepy dog and place him firmly in the space between your knees – not only will he provide you with a permanent heat source but he will also be someone to pet and talk to, a therapeutic friend during those times when that alien-boss just won’t fucking die. 

 So what are we waiting for friends? Let’s get gaming!

Ahhh.....Bisto.
Posted in Video

Skyrim – Bethesda Have Given Us a Shit Video!

In the immortal words of our Lord, Justin Timberlake:
“Jizz. In my pants”.

I know, the entire video consists of looking at a wall whilst listening to a very impressive – and in no way overdramatic voiceover – but I am still jizzing entirely into my pants. Despite the fact that the title sounds a little bit like gay aeroplane cloud sex, I nominate Skyrim as my new best friend. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until November to meet him.

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 🙂