Game Watchers

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt... ho-yah!
Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt… ho-yah!

Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.

I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!

I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.

We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.

Amstrad_CPC464

It was a clunky, beautiful beast.

Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.

loading

Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!

I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!

I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.

A Sega Mega Drive?

sega

NO!

A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?

dreamcast

NO!

A Playstation –

playstation

No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!

Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.

My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.

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That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.

Sssss... POW evil tree!
Sssss… POW evil tree!

This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!

We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!

tomb_raider_1_box

When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.

I'm a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!
I’m a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!

Kingdom_Hears_poster

If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.

So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.

That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.

That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.

Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!

mynameisPEWDIEPIE_large

The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.

Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.

My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

Damn it's hot out in the desert...
Damn it’s hot out in the desert…

Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!

I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.

We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂

Tokyo Food Puzzles

What’s in it? What’s in it?”

“That’s the point of the thing, not to know!”

– Nightmare Before Christmas, Kidnap a Sandy Claws

We love trying out the different food while we’re here in Tokyo, especially if it’s something you can’t get anywhere else. So far our time here has been a real lucky mix of flavours. We’ve bought a few things where we haven’t the foggiest idea what flavour it is, or even what it is!

Giant Caplico: Not an ice cream, not really a sweet, this ice cream cone lookalike was hard, sugary and we’re still not certain what it was made from.

Ridley: “That was weird, I feel like I just ate twenty different chemicals. Giant Caplico? Giant chemical mess.”

Ketchup flavoured Pringles

Ridley:  (I love ketchup by the by-so these are not for the faint hearted. Latimer’s face of disgust was hilarious!) “After a while the kick of the ketchup is really sour…I like it, but I’d never give up my sweet and sour…no…what is it, sour onion?” Giant Caplico chemicals addle Ridley’s brain.

Peach pieces in peach jelly

Latimer: Does exactly what it says on the tin! Yums. Fruit in jelly can’t go wrong.

Unknown flavour crisps…

Latimer: “I really wish I knew what flavour they are, I can’t taste anything. I really hope it’s not frog.” (Ridley: I wish it was.)

Green tea flavour

Latimer: “It tastes like soil! Why does it taste like soil???” I promptly placed this in the bin after approximately 3 glups (it didn’t get better with time). However, the next day the maid had removed it from the bin and placed it on the floor by the table (as you do!). She seemed to want me to drink it. (Ridley: Waste not, want not! Soil will help you grow!) I poured it down the sink and back to the bin it went. Thankfully, it was gone the next day.

?????

Ridley: Latimer took this lovely close up of tiny fish in a bowl.  It’s Korean food. This was after I’d eatten two lots and thought it was seaweed, I didn’t see the eyes. (Latimer: Even though they were staring right at you.) Ridley: *silence*….I’ve nothing…no comeback to that…damn you. The tiny eyes!! Eweeee….I was chomping on it as I was telling Latimer, “My brother says I eat with my eyes, if it doesn’t look good, I’ll avoid it.” I obviously was blind this time round….

Toppo-reverse pocky, the chocolate’s on the inside! (Latimer: Reverse pocky, evil pocky!)

Ridley: *crunch crunch* “Hmm…they look like bamboo sticks with black stuff in it…I like it!” 

Banana ‘Yogurt’

Latimer: This wasn’t exactly a yogurt… it was more like a solidified, banana milk jelly. Why is nothing as it seems!?

Peach and apple drink (or so you would think)

Latimer: I bought this thinking ‘yeah, peach and apple sounds good’…. but when I took my first gulp my mouth was flooded with fruit jelly-bits. It wasn’t a nice texture. One gulp from Ridley had her face collapsing in on itself; “I don’t…. I don’t, YUCK, I don’t like it! That’s nasty… nasty…”

Mushroom shaped biscuits

Latimer: Ridley hasn’t noticed this, but around Tokyo at the moment there are these cartoon whistling mushrooms (they’ve been on the telly and in the arcades on these really annoying games that whistle the same tune over and over and over again, adding to the din). Well, these are biscuits based on the whistling mushrooms (Ridley: you think! Latimer: quiet you!). They were tasty: biscuit stalk, chocolate cap. No whistling though (I’m disappointed). (Ridley: no you’re not) 

Kirby chewing gum

Ridley: There were three little brown balls (stop sniggering Latimer) in this box, it was chewing gum, a fruity type! I liked them. It seemed appropriate, considering Kirby was kind of like a giant blown up chewing gum bubble…(Latimer: I loved Kirby’s Dream World. Ridley: Me too!)  

We don’t know what this was, we thought chocolate of some sort

Latimer: I was going under the assumption buying this was a steal at 30 Yen. Actually no, that’s 30 cent (euro speak) and that’s not cheap considering what it was. A square of ‘chocolate’… I spent 30 cent on one square of ‘chocolate’? (Ridley: fool.. wait, so did I!). It was white faux-chocolate with a sliver of yellow jelly (custard like, or something). It was tasteless and not worth 30 cent (hindsight is a great thing) (Ridley: you are harping on about the 30 cent, people are going to think you’re tight. Latimer: I am… 30 cent! Do you know what I could have done with that! Ridley: you’re an idiot. Latimer: Damn you!)

 Pocari Sweat (a God amongst the dehydrated masses)

Ridley: Lemony. Latimer: you haven’t had any this holiday. I bought one bottle and couldn’t finish it. Still, I will say it is a GOD! Ridley: you weren’t dehydrated enough… does everything I say get typed? Latimer: yes. Ridley: Pocari Sweat, a lemony rehydration drink. 

More food mysteries coming soon! (if we haven’t succumbed to gastric malfunctioning in the meantime)