Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Test post. Employ me or at least buy me a pint.

Dark Souls 2 is out soon. Rejoice. Rejoice in the fact that just like Nicolas Cage's box office results in the last 10 years, you're going to die over and over again. To celebrate, or rather worry about the lost time and broken controllers that are going to be stocking up once the game is out, here's a short list of some of my most difficult moments in gaming.

Super Mario World – Tubular.

There's a secret world in Super Mario World. A world of pain, countless deaths, and a wildly inappropriate use of 80s slang. It's the second level – Tubular – that still manages to give me weird, 2D nightmares. It's a level that's mostly a wide, gaping pit, beckoning Mario to his doom, over and over again. Pirahna plants jump out of awkwardly placed pipes, Chargin' Chucks occupy the few platforms there are to land on, and innocent-looking plants spit out fire to make your life just that little bit more difficult and chargrilled. Oh, and you're supposed to gracefully float through the level as Balloon Mario. As a child I must've unwittingly revealed to my parents just how many swear words I knew as I cursed every failed attempt to get my portly plumber pal across the barren, surreal land of the dead. Think you can just fly through the level? Not unless you have Rain Man-like control over Mario. Instead you're just going to be divebombing the poor thing into the abyss forever, as the lives tick down, and the Chargin' Chucks chuckle as you get closer and closer to chuckin' your SNES (or Wii, or GBA, or Wii U) through the window.

Football Manager 2014 – Anything as Aston Villa.

Here's a picture of a cat, because it's impossible to take an interesting FM picture.

I've been playing Championship and now Football Manager for donkeys years. At least 3 donkeys worth of years. The very first game I played, at a friend's house, was a revelation. You mean I can control my beloved Aston Villa and charge to the top of the Premier League? I hopped into my friend's computer cupboard (it was basically a cupboard with a chair, a desk and a badly ventilated PC) and took charge for a friendly against Brighton. I was smashed 6-0. Tommy Johnson ignored my instructions. Mark Bosnich flapped like a wounded dove, and Dwight Yorke might as well have been Dwight York, imprisoned leader of the Nuwaubian movement (you remember him, surely?). I fell in love with the game at this point. Just like in real life, Villa would be terrible, but they'd be my kind of terrible. We'd have highs (beating Man City 4-3 at home, Benteke scoring a last minute penalty) and lows (one of the many match engine quirks leading to a player scoring a hat trick of own goals). There's something about this year's installment that just seems harder. Tactics have been simplified, but also somehow more complicated. Players do odd things on and off the pitch. FFP is biting me in the arse. I'm just about keeping my head above the relegation zone at the moment, but it would be unrealistic to expect my boys to do any better. 

Gitaroo Man – Born to be Bone.

Before Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Ukelele Master, there was Gitaroo Man. The cult PS2 title, developed by iNiS (you may remember from such titles as Elite Beat Agents and, um, The Black Eyed Peas Experience), was noted for its mental, hallucinatory imagery (a young boy turns into an intergalactic rock god, battling skeletons, space sharks, aliens and funky disco bees, all the while accompanied by a talking, transforming dog) and wonderful range of songs, from the bouncy J-pop of Flyin' to Your Heart and the unexpected, acoustic warmth of The Legendary Theme. It was also hard as nails. Button prompts flying from all sides of the screen, the deceptively simple-looking lines that you have to trace when playing the space guitar get increasingly complicated and unwieldy. Born to be Bone, on the blisteringly-hard Master mode is where the musical shit hits the fan. There was something about this level that just slayed me. The prompts were too quick, the lines too squiggly, the skeletons too dead and mocking. I went through two controllers until I finally completed it, but I can still remember the sweaty blur that was my hands as I tried to keep up with all the insanity that level throws at you. I can still hum the song, although hearing it now just reminds me of pain and endless failure. It's the song they'd play to me in Room 101.

Kid Icarus – That aubergine chucking guy.

I'd heard tales of Kid Icarus. The missus had enjoyed it on her Game Boy, my best friend raved about it, but it wasn't until it popped up on the Wii's Virtual Console that I decided to finally drop some Wii points on this apparent classic. I want to like it. I love the idea of Nintendo tackling Greek mythology, and Pit is a delight to control, but man, about 20 minutes in, these guys show up, chucking aubergines around, which turns Pit into an aubergine, and I just cannot avoid it and yes, this is now the 500th attempt at trying to avoid them and get this doohickey that I need to get to the place that I'm not sure where I am and oh god, what is going on? It's like a maze I don't know I'm in, a riddle I don't know the end of, a jigsaw with random pieces taken away. And a bloody guy who keeps turning me into aubergines. I am not built for Nintendo-hard games. I crave map markers and quest logs, shotguns and Super Bells. To this day, I can't see an aubergine without thinking of poor Pit and his misshapen, vegetable head.

Superman 64 – Everything.

1999. The day before my birthday, and my aunt delivers a wrapped box that I instantly deduce is probably an N64 game. That, or a tie and blazer combination pack. Either way – Christmas has come early. I wait until the next day to tear the wrapping away, only to be met with the face of Superman. Okay. That's cool. I didn't have the internet back then, and didn't know what eldritch horrors lay within the ghastly silicon in its plastic prison. It's Superman. He's not too bad. He's a bit of a wimp, and he's no Batman (he's not even a Deadpool or Thor), but it's a new N64 game, which was about as rare as rocking horse shit. Everything that can be said about Superman has been said. You only have to read one of the countless reviews, or see James Rolfe's video to see how insanely, fascinatingly bad this game is. Superman isn't graceful in flight, it's like trying to control a plane with controls made out of jelly. A plane that isn't actually a plane, but a duck with mental problems. A duck that is actually just a badly rendered, low-poly bundle of soiled bandages. The now legendary ring stages, which punish you for failing to master the idiotic and just plain wrong controls, are like being smashed in the face – smashed in the face with the receipt for your £49.99 game that is barely a game. It's a hate crime of 1s and 0s. It's a developer with a kink for inflicting pain. It's just a bloody awful game.

Still better than the new Dungeon Keeper, though.

Order a 15 Pound Nintendo eShop Voucher to see just how insanely hard Tubular is in Super Mario World or to get your aubergine on in Kid Icarus. Football Manager 2014 is available for £23.99, a massive £11 saving on the current Steam price. Don't buy Superman 64. Don't even take it if it's offered for free – that's just someone trying to pass along the curse.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Ignore this, it's for a writing project, I'm not actually going mad

It's been three nights since I went to the House and I haven't slept a wink sinc. I cant really keep going without slep. I keep seeing It. It has... shapes that aren't shapes. you know when you're tired and you wake up but you can't move and everything is... a bit wobbly? I have that. but I see It. I have the itch. I have to scratch.

you want to visit the house? i could give you the address. it's at [REMOVED] just follow the [REMOVED]. you probably don't wanna go aone though. there's nothing there that you casn hurt. it's inside you.'s light. LIGHT.

christ this is so crazy schizo cliche, but i can tell you, i ate the light. i ingested it and it ingested me. sometimes i can feel it pulsing under my arm asnd i wndwant to cut it out and share with you all. it'd blind you and take your face off but it'd be worth it

theres not so long now. not long for the itch.

i scratch and i scratch. and

you'll scratch too.
one day.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

To the dust we shall return.

I don't believe in anything to do with the paranormal. Here's a brief list of things I don't believe in: ghosts, UFOs, psychics, nuns, etc. I'm not religious, I think Most Haunted is ridiculous and the closest I've come to an encounter with the undead was escorting Doug Ellis around my school once. However, something odd happened to me as a child. I was sitting in the living room on the phone to a friend, when suddenly a penny feel seemingly from out of nowhere and landed on the worn, red carpet. Completely baffled, I calmly (okay, so loudly and obnoxiously) tried to tell said friend about the fortean event I'd just experienced, but it was mostly me screeching 'A FUCKING PENNY JUST FROM AIR HIT FLOOR WHAT? YOU.. PENNY'. He didn't believe me, as he's sane.

I don't believe it emanated via a vortex from a parallel universe, I don't think it was a ghost playing tricks on me, but I don't know what the shit it was. There's a very good chance it's just my memory playing tricks on me and it actually fell from a shelf, but I vividly recall it just dropping out of nowhere, man. The only rational explanation is that someone glued it to the ceiling, but frankly, that's more insane than ghosts and ghoulies.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Ever had something happen that, even though you know it has to have a sensible explanation, you just can't come up with one? Tell me. Share your stories. Let me feast on your tales of ectoplasm and bumps in the night.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


So I found a thing that lets you cut up text William Burroughs-style. The results don't quite work, but with a bit of editing (mostly the removing of the odd word, the addition of the occasional comma, full stop or conjunction) it can come out mildly interesting. Obviously, you're only going to get out what you put in, but I thought it was amusing enough to put up here.

Harder than a bus to the face. You, you might actually enjoy yourself. No bug? Then that's fine too. I'm not in your war, I see your death face, that fleshy vessel that is simply exhalation, just as you've squeezed paradise. I can't tell you how much there is you, I love the red meat. I was going to help, they're going to findfuck you, eat you. Try it, I dare you. another human being's flesh, in for the long haul. And if I ever get the voice of god? The last words before you: chase you, hunt you, kill you. I always had boundaries, you know? Now fun. I have pretending. I'm here for greed. I'll be someone else's kill. There's nothing, there's only the exquisite taste. It's like hearing the panic, panic has hit these streets, never thought I'd enjoy tearing. Never a good person, I wasn't meant to be. Will run and hide, but nothing's you. Going to have a ball.

I'll ravage anything, I do it for the penultimate drop of life; out of thrill. I don't do it for the women, gasp. There's that. Finally, for this earth, but before the plague.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Man in a Basement. #2

You're in a room and you don't know how you got here. You don't remember getting here, you just remember being in the park one second, on the swing... then there was darkness. How long have you been here? Do you even know? Do you even remember? Okay, just think this through now.

Or, okay, do that, freak out, scream and thrash for 67 seconds. And that accomplished what, exactly? Okay, now you're hyperventilating. You fucking drama queen, this is only a bit of random imprisonment.


That'll do it. He's convinced now, he'll have to let you go, you GREETED him. Your politeness has made him think, actually, no, I'm not going to chain you up, periodically bugger you and feed you rat, no, I'm going to release you, it's cool, it's fine, my bad, my fucking bad, terribly sorry old chap. You are fucking pathetic. Oh, here come the waterworks. Thank fuck it is pitch black in here, so I can't see your fucking face. Get up.


Sorry, forgot, you're chained down. Hah. There, see, you laughed. You can do it. You're fine. Let's assess the situation. You were outside. Now you're inside. You're not entirely sure where inside is. You're on a wooden floor, it's damp and smells like... you don't know what it smells like. It smells like wood, sawdust, blood, piss, sweat, screaming, pain, hate, lust, fucking, mud, gunpowder, blood, wet, bone.

What the fuck does bone smell like?

Stop it. Wait. Was that you?


Shut up. There was a noise. LISTEN... no, this is not the time for you freaking out and stop breathing. Breathe, but quietly. Okay, no. There's no one-


What was that? Where are you? Okay, look, just chill out. Calm down.

Oh no. You didn't.

You pissed yourself.

Man in a Basement. #1

You're in a room and you don't know how you got here. You don't remember getting here, you just remember being in the park one second, on the swing... then there was darkness. It's dark in here now, it stinks too, it smells like musk and rotting vegetables, sweat and sex, it's a hateful smell. You're sitting down and you hurt, your ankles are sore and you need to pee. You try to get up. You idiot, you're chained to the ground. What the fuck is going on? You can't.. why are you here?


There's nothing. You're stuck here, completely pitch black, with that fucking smell. God, it's thick in your nose, you have to puke. No, you must not puke. You can't move, where the fuck are you going to puke? Just sit down, calm down and wait. Wait.


Shut up. You idiot. There's no one here. Where is here, anyway? Why are you chained down? What the fuck did you do to get here? You need to puke.


I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

Well, at least you still have your sense of humour. God, you're sweating, you're absolutely soaked. God, you hope that's sweat. And you're feeling sore again. You're stuck. Think. Think. Think. Think. Think. Think. Okay, so... who did this?


Yeah, that'll work. You cunt. Think harder. Oh no. It's coming. You need to puke. NO. Just wait it out. Swallow. Swallow. Swallowed? Good. Chill the fuck out. Someone will save you. This isn't what happens to men. You're going to be fine. You're going to be okay. You're going to be...

You puked. You idiot.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


This is so clearly a bloke's house. A famous television character once said that men living alone are basically 'bears with furniture'. That's always stuck with me, because that's essentially what my house is like. There's an easy way to illustrate this, really -- my goddamn floor. The landlord didn't install any carpet, presumably because it's easier and cheaper to clean up blood and spunk with a squeegee. You should see the fucking thing. It's like a history of every single meal and incident that's ever occurred in our place. Get on your knees (bitch) and check out the grime that litters our once pristine floor. Toast crumbs, bits of hair and dust, miscellaneous pieces of plastic and glass, rubber bands and, inexplicably, a collection of socks underneath the sofa -- socks that don't belong to any of us. The once, probably tasteful hardwood, is now stained by our filth.

Jesus, we should fucking tidy this place.