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21/6/04: Your Powers Are Weak

Something occurred to me recently while thinking about Star Wars. I was thinking about Princess Leia in a gold bikini and what I was doing while thinking about it is nobody's business but my own, but when I'd finished I started thinking about that other crucial aspect of Star Wars, the light sabre.

The light sabre, it seems, is not something that is mass produced in a light sabre factory by jolly light sabre Oompa Loompas. From what I have seen, every Jedi who uses a light sabre uses a different model. You can have a light sabre that has a green laser bit, or, if you're one of those poser Jedis, a red laser bit. And if you're evil and don't let things like rules upset you, you can even have one with a laser bit on both ends, although I'd be very surprised if you got through life swinging that around without losing a toe or a shoulder blade every now and again.

From there, it was a natural progression of logic to wonder what, were I a super kickass Jedi, my own personal light sabre would be like. 'Kickass' of course goes without saying, but then I wouldn't try to write an update consisting of only the word 'kickass' unless I were talking about a new Bruce Campbell film. So here's a little picture of my light sabre.

1. Skull motif. Pressing the left eye socket makes the laser blade appear, only instead of the usual FWOOOSSHHHAAAA noise, it makes a noise like choirs of angels singing. The laser blade is white, because it's a colour no jedi has yet been cool enough to have, and quite frankly bright neon greens and reds look just a little bit gay. Pressing the right eye socket causes the blade to detach and shoot forward at high speed. It takes a little while to grow a new one, but I'm hoping my opponent will be sufficiently distracted by the gigantic hole that has suddenly been made in his or her torso.

2. What are technically known in the sword trade as "sticky out bits". These are so I can hold it over my head and do the whole Grayskull bit. They also act as an electric tazer in case my laser blade has detached and flown away for whatever reason.

3. Fingerprint readers. If anyone other than me puts their hand around the hilt, it welds itself to their flesh and unleashes venomous spiders.

4. Miniature wizard. He casts evil spells on my opponents, as it is even harder to concentrate on swordplay when festering sores are opening on your face. The miniature wizard is a shy beast, dwelling mainly in tree trunks in the most isolated forests in Scotland, and lives on a diet of sultanas and pencil shavings. The miniature wizard speaks in a high-pitched voice with such a thick Scottish accent that his speech is completely incomprehensible.

5. Naked lady decorations. If you rub your thumbs against their pert buttocks, you become overcome with feelings of arousal and shame.

6. The mark of Zorro, which will hopefully bless my light sabre with the legendary swordsman's fencing prowess.

7. This miraculous globe-like device, which I like to call the Super Globe Miracle Fun Time, absorbs all the blood it will no doubt be soaked in, as well as the sweat from my grubby mitts, and converts it through a complicated nanofactory into something more useful. It has three settings: 'Energy Drink', 'Worcestershire sauce' and 'Drano'.

8. Ambience button. Sophisticated nanosensors detect how intense the current battle is by how much I'm perspiring, and plays appropriate music. It comes with three songs for the three stages of battle intensity - the Blue Danube Waltz, Ride of the Valkyries and Flight of the Bumblebee - but you can insert your own, customised minidiscs if you want. Now you too can lop off heads in time with your favourite Chemical Brothers tracks!

9. Volume control. The usual zuzzung-zuzzunging noise light sabres make can be muted in case your roommate is trying to sleep in the room next to your pitched death battle.

10. Radar. It detects the smell of fresh urine, such as what is produced in the trousers of any enemies in the vicinity who have seen my ultimate lightsabre. With a slight adjustment, the radar can also detect the freshly-moistened vaginas of onlooking females.

11. Since this is all total fantasy, this is me fantasising about meeting Dylan Moran.

Now then, readers, I throw down the gauntlet to you pussies. I challenge you to design a more kickarse light sabre than this and send it in. Then I will put them up on the front page and rate them based on how kickarse they are. Ignore this if you wish, but I would like to point out that, according to a little-known 18th century law, if you've never designed a light sabre, you are not the legal owner of your testicles.

- Yahtzee

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15/6/04: Monster Mash

Dear Hollywood,

I hope you are well. I am. Yesterday I went for a walk. It was drizzling. Pleasantries aside, let's talk about your monster movies of late.

Having recently seen the new Dawn of the Dead film, and knowing the film 28 Days Later by reputation, I think there's an aspect of horror that a lot of you cigar-chomping wannabe-starlet-humping bigshot producers seem to have overlooked. I always thought that the monster formulas were all set down pretty clearly. Vampires suck blood. Werewolves turn into wolves. Paedophiles have crooked teeth and wring their hands with glee. And zombies, those lovable zombies, they shamble around very slowly. So whats with all the Olympic 100 metre sprinter zombies in horror films of late?

I always thought this was the most fundamental zombie symptom. Zombies should never look like they're particularly interested in human brains, they should just amble in the general direction of them until one comes within arm's range. That's part of what makes them so scary. The unsuspecting normo isn't exactly sure what the pale, slow-moving gentleman with no lower jaw is after, but 'devouring brains' will probably be somewhere near the bottom of the list of possibilities. You'd assume he was looking for someone to direct him to a good lower jaw shop.

Once a zombie starts legging it towards you, slavering and moaning and tucking a napkin with a delicately embroidered brain on the front into his collar, all uncertainty goes out the window. Nobody runs towards you with good intentions, unless they're a soldier been away for many years and you're his pining love. Or they're a commuter and you're a moving bus. And while we're on the subject, Van Helsing's Frankenstein's monster was rather athletic for another traditional member of the lurching brigade. I always thought his legs would snap off at the knee if he ever moved at anything faster than walking pace.

Fast zombies just go completely against known zombie science. I'd like to quote now from the scientific paper "My Family And Other Lurching Dead" by Dr. Herman Von Zombie, largely considered the definitive resource on the subject.

1. The zombie cycle begins when intergalactic space dust descends into the atmosphere. The origin of the dust is debatable. It could be the trail of some very bizarre dead-raising comet, or a powdered formula released by mischievous aliens as some sort of prank. Whatever the cause, the result is always the same. Dead people claw their way out of their graves and move to re-acquaint themselves with the brains of their living associates.
2. After reanimation, the zombie begins generating zombie germs - sometimes known as Evil Zom Puppies - inside their teeth, which are transmitted into the bloodstream of the victim through a bite. As soon as a living human is bitten by one of the zombies, the fun begins! Next stop the brain!
3. The human, non-zombie brain, as seen on the left, is divided into four sections, which I like to call Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. Flopsy, in orange, controls the long term memory and higher cognitive ability. Mopsy, in yellow, takes care of the ability to run fast and the vital suppressive reflex termed the "don't eat human flesh" reflex. Cottontail, in red, takes care of all the other boring shit. And Peter, in blue down at the bottom there, is in charge of shambling, moaning and cannibalism. This is usually kept dormant until it becomes absolutely necessary, such as when attending an excruciatingly boring theatrical performance.
4. Evil Zom Puppies travel from the bite up the neck and into the brain. Brains are the tastiest thing in the world to the Evil Zom Puppies, but for some reason they will eat everything except the Peter section. Experts debate this endlessly, but the best theory we have so far is that the puppies just don't like blue very much.

5. A new zombie is created, who also goes shambling off in search of living flesh to sink their puppy-filled teeth into. The process continues until everyone on Earth becomes a zombie, or a plucky hero rises from obscurity to save mankind. Plucky heroes are those bestowed with the Kickass Gene (sometimes known as the Bruce Campbell gene), which mitigates the effect of the zombie bite by releasing Good Lovely Puppies, every single one of whom is armed with miniature nunchucks and cans of mace, to combat the Evil Zom Puppies. Good Lovely Puppies also sing children to sleep and go well with a little vanilla ice cream.

So there you have it; zombies move slowly and I will hear no argument. Please don't think I'm ragging on the new Dawn of the Dead, by the way. It's a pretty good film that we should probably all go and see. It's just that it might as well have been about a horde of marathon runners who all simultaneously become addicted to human leg pie.

- Yahtzee

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10/6/04: When Larry Met Sally

I was flicking through a games magazine the other day in a newsagent, killing time before I had to begin another day of pointless drudgery in this workaday circus we call society, when I happened upon the news that they're actually making another Leisure Suit Larry game.

Now, I read a blatantly contradictory article a few years back that the series was being ended for good, and I was as unsurprised then as I am surprised now. Leisure Suit Larry just isn't a game that pitches well with today's modern sensibilities. No matter how you phrase it, you're going to have to admit to the publishers at some point that it's about a small, ugly twat attempting to coerce a succession of easy sluts into mattress mambo.

Example 1:

"Okay, so I've got this idea for an adventure game. It's about this small, ugly twat attempting to a coerce a succession of easy sluts into mattress mambo, and -"


Example 2:

"Okay, so I've got this idea for an adventure game. It's a dark, philosophical work in which a small, ugly twat, representing the arrogance of Western imperialism, attempts to coerce a succession of easy sluts -"


Example 3:

"Okay, so I've got this idea for an adventure game. It's about an intergalactic space ranger on a mission to an unexplored quadrant of the galaxy, where he must uncover and foil the sinister plot of an evil space emperor. Oh, and if there's time, I'd also like to add elements in which a small, ugly twat attempts to coerce a succession -"


The first Leisure Suit Larry game was made back when video games could be thrown together in an afternoon, and as such an awful lot of games were released which, had more time been spent on them, would probably have been quickly considered a waste of everybody's time. This was a time when games were made about making a trip to Sunday School, or goddamn fucking toothpaste.

LSL was going to be popular, because it had tits in it. There's a basic rule when it comes to marketing - if you want to sell more of your game, add either tits or Jesus. This is why the Passion of the Christ raked in the money and Germany has any sort of games industry at all.

LSL was more than a game. For me, and for many of my fellows, it was a rite of passage. An essential part of puberty. I'm pretty sure it must have been the same for everyone; at the age of twelve, rumours circulate around the playground of some kind of adventure game with sex in it. And because we were all like that at twelve, and anyone who says they weren't is either going to hell for lying or was castrated at birth, it quickly became the ambition of every sweating dance partner of Mrs. Palm to play it.

The privileged few who had witnessed it grew in street cred as they gave first hand accounts of the Mystery Game, but their accounts ranged from exaggerated ("You can fuck a hooker and get AIDs") to downright lies ("You shag this girl and you can see everything and then this dog comes in and you shag the dog") until, finally, your turn arrives. You go round your best friend's house 'cos he managed to get a copy from his older brother's best mate. Then you start up the game, fingers excitedly brushing your nasty little crotch.

Once you've gotten over giggling at references to blow-up dolls and herpes, it soon becomes clear that there is very little in the way of the promised hardcore sex. On the rare occasions when you do slide twixt the sheets with some pouty lass, a big black 'censored' box gets between you and the action. Too late you have discovered that Leisure Suit Larry was the video game equivalent of an 80's spring break movie. You sit through hours of sniggering sophomore jokes to see two brief glimpses of tits, and masturbating to it feels like redecorating your bedroom with puppy entrails; too much like hard work, and leaves you with a feeling of shame.

And if you take away all the pseudo-pornographic elements, the game is probably one of the worst adventure games Sierra ever produced, and that's saying something. Half of it is spent making money in boring gambling subgames. The defining moment, though, was the puzzle right at the end, where you convince the Grand High Slut to have PG-13 sex with you by giving her fruit. And let's not forget the staple of Sierra games - DYING ALL THE FUCKING TIME!

In the first Leisure Suit Larry game, you die if you flush a toilet. No warning, no sign saying 'do not flush this toilet or you'll die', you just die. You die if you try to cross the road. You die if you walk the wrong way from certain rooms. You die if you have sex with a prostitute without using protection, and even if you do remember to WEAR CONDOM, you die if you forget to take it off. God almighty, it's almost as if they're trying to discourage you from soliciting sex from a diseased whore.

The sequel wasn't that much better. It had a better storyline (any storyline would be better than 'me want sex'), but had its fair share of stupid deaths. You could unavoidably die after playing the game all day because you didn't lick a stamp or poke a bunny four hours ago. Plus there was practically no sex. And I can't have been the only person with enough nerve to complain about that, 'cos Leisure Suit Larry 3 had no end of it. But there was always a censored box or a foreground object in the way, or the designers would try to make us believe that you could still have full penetrative intercourse when both partners still have their pants on.

"Yahtzee, how can you denounce classic games just because the groups of coloured pixels aren't humping as explicitly as you'd like?" you ask. Well, let me tell you this: the Larry games, whether consciously or not, were never designed for adults. They were designed for sniggering pubescents who wanted to see tits. And when you're twelve, tits make the world go round. And fists go pump.


Is it hot in here, or is it just you?

What the fuck? A black box? We had to be over 18 to see this?

Ah, now this is the right sort of mood.


This has got to go somewhere. You can almost see half a breast, for god's sake.

Oh. Swell. Fireworks. Maybe if I hold my breath for long enough they'll start to look like Shannon Tweed.

- Yahtzee

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7/6/04: Rhyme and Rhyme Again

What do Billy Joel, James Brown, Britney Spears and Blackpool all have in common? I'll let you stew on that conundrum for a paragraph.

Why is advertising so fucking lame? Is it just coincidence that everyone who works in advertising has the sense of humour of a fifty-year-old Beano comic, or is there some portion of the marketing university course that involves being strapped Clockwork Orange-style into a cinema to be shown so many films of tragedy and horror that one is left with a complete psychological inability to know a joke when it sticks its foot up one's arse?

Anyway, to get back to the question, what DO Billy Joel, James Brown, Britney Spears and Blackpool all have in common? The answer is that they have all sung songs in which the word 'girl' has been rhymed with the word 'world', with the exception of Blackpool, which is a Lancashire coastal town popular with tourists and has no musical credits to my knowledge. Except for once doing backing vocals for the Bee Gees. I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, so I'll just move on to the point.

I have this new theory that 'girl' and 'world' is the most appallingly overused rhyme in the entire history of music, right from when Blondel, the minstrel Richard the Lionheart was suspiciously fond of, started putting words to his lute-strumming. This, I decided, would require some research on my part, so I did what I always do; posted a query on the Underdogs messageboard and wait for some poor sap to do it for me. Thanks by the way to the absurdly-named aagepult for his much appreciated service!

For the record, here are the snippets from the three artists mentioned above.

Billy Joel - Uptown Girl
Uptown girl / Always living in an uptown world

Here old Bill demonstrates the most common usage of the most common rhyme - a girl of a certain quality said to be living in a world of the same quality (see also Material Girl, Barbie Girl). Now, not wishing to diss the Pianoman or anything, what exactly is an uptown world? Is 'uptown' some kind of parallel dimension, or is it some kind of amusement park, like Seaworld? Uptown world! Fun for all the family! Come ride the Move-into-the-city-and-get-a-crap-job-while-you-attempt-to-write-a-screenplay that-will-never-go-anywhere-coaster! Costs five dollars to get in, and seventy-five dollars to get out!

James Brown - It's A Man's World
This is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing
Nothing not one little thing
Without a woman or a girl

Old JB tries to pull a fast one on us, here. He starts with the world thing, so you're expecting the third line to bring in the girl thing, but then he makes monocles worldwide pop out of their sockets by saying 'WOMAN' instead. And then, just when you begin to admire him for his revolutionary tactics, he shamefacedly caves in to the pressure of conformity and sticks that 'or a girl' on the end. I expect better of the Godfather of Soul, unlike -

Britney Spears - Boys
You're a sexy guy, I'm a nice girl
Let's turn this dance floor into our own little nasty world

As much as I despised Britney Spears during her schoolgirlish, virginal, pink tip of the tongue appearing momentarily between the teeth phase, I hate her even more now that all her videos look like they were directed by David Fincher. The whole 'bad girl' thing just doesn't work for me.

FUN POP FACT: Female vocalists tell the press that they're adopting a 'bad girl' image only when their career is freefalling towards the unforgiving concrete at terminal velocity. You generally start getting your tits out during the fourteenth of your fifteen minutes of fame.

And that's just the beginning of a roll call of shame, visiting artists from every genre and sub-genre in the BBC Radio archives. This, my friends, is the root of it all. Why isn't new music as good as old music? Why do record executives spend so much time dallying with bimbo sluts while the real talent moulders in a corner? Why do little orphan children die in the snow? IT'S BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY SONGS THAT RHYME THE WORDS GIRL AND WORLD.

It's not like there aren't enough words that rhyme with girl to go round. I took the liberty of writing a little song to illustrate this. Feel free to make up your own tune.

I knew this lovely girl
Her name was Shirl
Her hair was in curls
And her dad was named Earl

Earl took me aside
and in his Southern drawl
He said to me, "Wurl,
"You do right by mah girl,
"And we won't have no quirl." (quarrel)

So I took Shirl to Blackpurl
And we went on the tilt-a-whirl
But I'd just had a Curly Wurly
So I had to get off and hurl-y
Which rather spoiled the romance of the evening

I went down to the beach with Shirley
And said she looked like Liz Hurley
And gave her a necklace of pearl-y
Anything else would have been churl (ish)
Then she was eaten by the giant space oyster
Who had vowed revenge on me
For pinching her pearls
So I went back to Earl's house
And he was kind of broken up about it for a while
But he recovered
After a few games of Sonic the Hedgehog
And now I've sort of lost the plot

I've lost the plot
I've lost the plot, yeah
I lost my Shirley
And now I've lost the plot

(guitar solo)

Lacking any other way to close this article, I'd just like to point out that Billy Joel looks like the result of a depraved breeding experiment between Ringo Starr and the tall bloke from Everybody Loves Raymond.

- Yahtzee

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6/6/04: Go towards the light

So, er, yeah.

I guess this all deserves an explanation.

Do you know how long this site has had that dowdy grey-on-black motif? Since the September of 2002, that's how long. Two years, and it took until now for someone to make me realise how crap it looked.

This site was well overdue for a redesign, and it's only now that I could be arsed to go back through the archives and change all the pages. So, here it is. The brand new, lovely, sky-blue Fully Ramblomatic.

I've got a proper links page now, rather than just having links down the sidebars, so now I can add links to the site without having to add them to every fucking page. If you have a site that you think I have unfairly overlooked, then make sure your site isn't as lame as a two-legged racehorse and drop me a line.

Okay, well... I'm tired and my fingers are freezing up. I can't really think of anything to be funny about, so I'm just going to leave you to bask in the wonderful glow of the new motif and do something constructive. I guess I'll have a proper update sorted out in the next few days.

- Yahtzee

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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