One of the annoying things about friends who owe you money is that they always seem to pay you back precisely when everything you could possibly want to spend it on gets released simultaneously. Cheers Rob.
I have £200 to play with. Let us, for the sake of not holding up this column while I dart around fetching prices, assume that most games cost £30. And that the Star Wars Episode III DVD that Ellie will stab me in the eye if I don't buy is going to eat up £15.
£185 then. Now let us cast our eyes downwards.
I already own Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, obviously. If you're bored of GTA, nothing here's going to make you feel any different - but then if you're bored of GTA you probably think I'm a moron anyway and haven't read this column for months.
Fire Emblem arriving on the GameCube and GBA on the same day is a bit like being told that Kylie Minogue is coming to your house for tea, and then realising she actually wants to stay for sex. Saying no wouldn't just be rude, it would haunt me for as long as they keep the arsenic out of my drink. Fortunately I've already got the GBA Sacred Stones (it's much the same as the first one, but what with a new story, multiplayer, and the fact that I'm never ever going to get bored of its turn-based brilliance, it's a must-have). Having wasted £50 on a Japanese Cube version I can barely play, though, I know full well this is coming home from the shop with me later. New characters, gorgeous cel-shaded cut-scenes, 3d animation - why on earth wouldn't I buy it? Sure, Nintendo could send it to me, but then how would I play it today? Unless they delivered it on some sort of giant turbo-elephant with rockets and Kylie Minogue riding shotgun? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Now, the common perception is I'm not one for strategy that doesn't involve fairies and people called Lady Lyndis. I like jumping, shooting, and pretending to be girls whose fathers are kings and having to prove myself with a sword while making eyes at the guy who looked like a Dragon Ball extra. I also like role-playing Fire Emblem in real life - one time I even prepared speech bubbles to hold up in front of me while I hummed the theme tune. I don't live with Kristan any more. But anyway, strategy, while not something I often write about, is something I like to get into on my days off. Age of Empires III - is this something I should be looking at, readers? I'm thinking I'd probably be better off with Civilization 4, which is a) turn-based and b) as a series, a gaping hole in my sphere of knowledge. It would almost be unprofessional not to own it. I liked Kieron's description of it too: "All we're doing is grabbing something, pointing it at you and saying 'Hey - this bit's neat. There is lots more stuff like that'. So - this bit's neat. There's a lot more stuff like that." Sold.
£125 then, and Kristan's just told me that Resident Evil 4 on PS2 has loads more content than the Cube one, which I never truly had time to play properly - at roughly the same time that I realised I still have a surprisingly vast amount of holiday leave left in 2005. £95...
Oh, and I broke my Singstar microphones recently. Probably deliberately, knowing this day would come. Singstar '80s though - I've got all the others! Should I buy thi-oh it's got Duran Duran on it, so that's a yes. Thankfully it's a bit cheaper than most. £75.
Amazingly, that leaves me with a bit of room to manoeuvre. I've already got the games that make up the Xbox's Grand Theft Auto Triple Pack, and I can't really justify EyeToy: Play 3 to, er, my neighbours. I dragged the dance-mat out last week for a bit of Dancing Stage and about ten minutes later I got a knock on the door. From the people who live in the next building. At least with Singstar I can sing quietly - anything that involves moving around seems to tweak the sensors implanted in my floorboards and linked up to their baby's central nervous system. Pity it doesn't fix my goddamn central heating while it's at it.
I've also got a Game Boy Micro, which rules that out. At least until somebody offers to sell me their Famicom version for about ten pence less than I can get it online. Annoyingly it's not one of the faceplate variants we can get over here today. But if it was, I'd probably buy it. And Donkey Kong Country 3. Hypothetically, Nintendo could've bankrupted me by now.
As it is, there's still room for Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, which is now out in the States. I refuse to believe it can work that well in three dimensions, but, well, we've already established I'm reckless with my money. I did lend it to Rob in the first place.
And that, Mum, is why you're getting a macaroni card for Christmas.
- Age of Empires III (PC)
- Call of Duty 2 (PC)
- Civilization 4 (PC)
- Crash Tag Team Racing (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- Donkey Kong Country 3 (GBA)
- Dragonshard (PC)
- EyeToy: Play 3 (PS2)
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (Cube)
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (GBA)
- Game Boy Micro - four colours
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP)
- Grand Theft Auto Triple Pack (Xbox)
- GT Legends (PC)
- Jak X: Combat Racing (PS2)
- Juka and the Monophonic Menace (GBA)
- LEGO Star Wars (Cube)
- Metal Slug 4 (Xbox)
- Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
- RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild! (PC)
- SingStar '80s (PS2)
- The Sims 2 (PS2, Xbox, Cube, GBA, DS)
- Twisted Metal: Head On (PSP)
- Xenosaga Episode II (PS2)
- Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species (PC)
Key US Releases
- Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (PS2, Xbox, Cube)
- Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (PS2, Xbox)