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Updated Every Weekday!

26/1/2003: Title You Gave Me Was A Bit Too Big To Fit Here, SM

[Wotcha. Seems that I was wrong yesterday, 'cos Space Monkey has hijacked a second weekend in a row for some reason. I think it's because he's trying to take his revenge on society. Don't worry, Chris fans, as Chris has promised to take the next two weeks by way of apology. May God have mercy on my soul.


I think SM has a hero complex.

So I got this boxed set of Lucasarts games: The Dig, Grim Fandango, Sam & Max and Full Throttle. I realised something about these games. They really kick ass. And that's why I think I should do something about it.

Why it would be kick arse to be a Lucasarts point-and-click adventure game character.
(And yes, I know Yahtz did Threepy!)

1. Not responsible for your own actions

Think about this. Whatever you do, you can blame it on some ineffable being who controls your life (albeit for only short spells). Hell, nine times out of ten when a character says that people believe it. Simple. From Manny Calavera to Ben the biker guy to Guybrush, you've got your best excuse ever for mindless violence right there (has anyone else played Sam and Max and wished you could do that stuff really?).

2. "Perks"

There's various perks to these jobs. The ever present bottomless pockets, motorbike fights (Full Throttle), the death costume (Grim Fandango), time travel (Day of the Tentacle), saying "Arrr!" a lot, rhyming everything, a five game contract (Monkey Island). And did I mention the MINDLESS VIO - oh, wait, I did.

3. Saving the day

Let's face it. Everyone likes to be a hero, everyone has a little of a smug sense of satisfaction when they complete one of these games. Imagine what it would feel like if YOU were the one who finished the quests. Sure, there might be a lawsuit, but then there's the rest like money and the sex (Elaine, Maureen, to some lesser extent Laverne, and for realism's sake, Maggie from The Dig).

4. Never a dull moment

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like it when I'm bored. Huh.

Why it wouldn't kick arse to be a Lucasarts point-and-click adventure game character.

1. All those annoying quests for pointless items.

Banana pickers, engine parts, planks, Bigfoot fur and mange, a faster car, even money to name but a few. For god's sake, just sell blood or an organ and BUY THE STUFF!

2. George

Don't get me wrong; I'm sure he's a nice guy. He's just a complete moron. What? No, not Bush, Lucas. His films are starting to suck as much ass as Spielberg's. For god's sake, Indiana Jones does not a permanent mindset make. (Actually, those films rule!)

24/1/2003: Star Wreck

In a dramatic break from tradition, I reviewed Star Trek: Nemesis this week. For all those people whose lives are too busy and hectic to allow time to read it, here's a summary: Explosions, androids, clones, shit.

It's Chris's turn for an update tomorrow, I believe, which may prove awkward as he hasn't sent me one yet.

23/1/2003: The Art of Conversation

The following is a conversation I took part in some time ago, and have been holding onto as a backup update ever since. I have changed the names of the protagonists to avoid embarrassment.

BATMAN: I've got a joke. What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car?

ROBIN: I don't know what a skoda car is.

BATMAN: Well ... what's the really crappy car that everyone makes jokes about that you know?

ROBIN: I don't know! I don't know anything about cars!

BATMAN: Alright. For the purposes of this joke a skoda car is a really crappy car that everyone makes jokes about. What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car?

ROBIN: One of them's a car and the other one's a horse?

BATMAN: No, a FUNNY difference. (pause) A Jehovah's Witness is not a horse.

ROBIN: Sorry, I've just got horses on the brain at the moment.

BATMAN: Okay. What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car?

ROBIN: Tell me.

BATMAN: No, you have to say it right.

ROBIN: What?

BATMAN: You have to say 'I don't know, what IS the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car?', otherwise it doesn't work.


BATMAN: What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car?

ROBIN: I don't really care anymore.


ROBIN: (silence)


ROBIN: (more silence)

BATMAN: Say it or I'll do things you won't like much.

ROBIN: Oh, please don't.

BATMAN: What'sthedifferencebetweenajehovah'switnessandaskodacar?

ROBIN: (sigh)

BATMAN: Whasdifencebeenjovaswnessanskodcar?

ROBIN: (silence)

BATMAN: Say it or I'll have to say it myself!

ROBIN: Oh, woe.

BATMAN: What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car? (pause) I don't know, what IS the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a skoda car? (clears throat) You can shut the door on a Jehovah's Witness!


ROBIN: A Jehovah's Witness doesn't have doors.

BATMAN: You don't get it, do you.


BATMAN: The phrase 'shut the door on something' has a dual meaning, like most jokes.

ROBIN: Does it?

BATMAN: Yes, it can mean the subject actually has doors which can be shut, or to shut a separate door in the subject's face.

ROBIN: Right...

BATMAN: So you can shut the door in the face of a Jehovah's Witness, but in the context of the skoda car you can shut the actual door on the car, except you can't, and that's the joke, so laugh.

ROBIN: (silence)

BATMAN: You know, I think I will write this conversation down and get an update out of it.

ROBIN: (rolls eyes)

BATMAN: I hate it when you roll your eyes at me.

22/1/2003: Correspondence Coarse

Dear Sir/Madam,

Here's hoping I've got the right address for this. I am writing to complain about the really lame introductions to movies in the Cineworld cinema near my home (Rugby). I think you know what I'm talking about; the thing with the slightly mannish scantily-clad CGI woman bringing violence down upon other CG people who would dare violate the laws of the cinema.

I have no idea if you use this introduction for all your cinemas. Maybe you think you can just fob off us country yokels with such cringeworthy dross. 'Ooh!' we're supposed to think. 'Pretty computer graphic effects! Oo arr! Oi bain't seen nothing like that since that Tomorrer's World Special!'

Well, all I can say is, give us some credit.

On the other hand, maybe you do use it for all your cinemas and simply have no idea how terrible it is. Perhaps you thought appealing to the lowest common denominator would be clever. Boobies + violence = fun! Well, I'm writing this, as a representative of the great British public, to let you know that such underhand tactics do not appeal. Didn't you hear? The Lara Croft bubble burst. No-one cares about unrealistically endowed women flashing off their thighs anymore.

I'm just going to make some suggestions here. This is just off the top of my head. I understand the points of the little sequence you want to get across to the audience are the following: No smoking, no mobile phones, visit the refreshments counter, and no talking. Well then, let's see what we can do here.

OK, start with the company logo, then pull away to reveal it's being shown on a cinema screen. Maybe you can do some of this in CGI if you're that fond of it. Then, we rotate right and reveal another cinema screen, showing some famous scene from a black and white movie, someone like Audrey Hepburn smoking with a cigarette holder. Maybe a thought bubble could appear, reading "Mmm! I do so love smoking! I can feel the tar in my lungs doing me the world of good!" Then a big red cross could appear over her, accompanied by that noise they use in Family Fortunes when someone gives a wrong answer. An unseen hand would write the words 'NO SMOKING' across her with a light pen.

Next we see a scene from the Matrix where Keanu Reeves gets a mobile phone in the mail. When he puts it to his ear, a speech bubble appears. "Hello? No, I'm in an office. AN OFFICE. No, it isn't very nicely decorated." Then the little light pen could write 'TURN OFF YOUR DAMN MOBILE PHONE', then add glasses and a moustache to Keanu. Maybe an arrow through his head.

You see? That's just a spur-of-the-moment idea from an everyday cinemagoing punter, and even I can come up with something better than your entire marketing department.

I found your address in one of the free magazines you give away with all the reviews and adverts, so I do apologise if I'm shrieking at entirely the wrong people. Maybe you guys just deal with the magazine. In that case, I have a bone to pick with you as well. The reviews are rubbish. Alright, I know the point of the magazine is advertising alone. Alright alright, I know I don't actually pay anything for it. But I'd have thought with the monstrous prices you guys charge for popcorn, you could hire a half-decent writer. Let me quote from your review of Spider-Man, here.

"At last, one of the films that fans have been waiting for for a long time is here. 'Spider-Man' has arrived. After the success of Fox's 'X-Men' recently, it was to be the start of a whole spate of comic adaptations hitting the big screen, and this is one of them."

Jesus. Go help your grammar, she's fallen down the stairs. I was going to rewrite this paragraph to something a little better, but that second sentence is just beyond surgery, guys. Now, I notice you rarely give negative reviews in your mag. You want people to see the film so you can pocket their hard-earned cash, right? In that case, you could probably boil down the review to something like this:

"See this film. It rocks. It has explosions."

Glad to be of service!

Yours (but only in spirit),

Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Professional Smartarse

21/1/2003: Sweets for the Sweet

Ah, sweeties. Staple of childhood, rotter of teeth, fattener of undersexed housewives. Where would we be without them? Why, our childhoods would be boring, our teeth wouldn't fall out and our wives would stay beautiful. Who the hell wants that?

But sometimes, sweets have a sting in their tail. Some sweets are evil. Some sweets make undersexed housewives fat, not out of fine motives, but purely out of malice towards the human race. These are the anti-sweeties, the sweeties all must avoid. Here they are.

1. Pear drops

There's a Monty Python sketch which involves sweets that contain little metal mechanisms that shoot steel bolts through your cheeks, lacerating your face. In the real world, the equivalent of these sweets is the pear drop. Pear drops might look vaguely nice with their variety of colours and funny shape, but don't be fooled. They truly taste like something your doctor would give you, like those herbal lozenges you can buy in the sweet shop, but pear drops don't have the excuse of being vaguely healthy. Also, once you have sucked them only a little, they start to develop sharp edges which can slice in half the tongues of the unwary, turning them into some gross lizard creature. It's probably the only sweetie in the world with a defense mechanism.

2. Those weird licorice allsorts

You'll know what I mean when I describe them. They come in either blue or pink. They're composed of this weird colourless jelly stuff covered in little sugar balls. It's not licorice, so I don't know what business it has in the licorice allsorts packet. There is nothing in the world that tastes quite like the weird jelly stuff these sweeties are made of. If there is, it's probably something no-one's ever eaten before and never intends to, like bat poo or chemical fertiliser. Tell yourself this - maybe it'd be an adventure eating something that doesn't taste like anything else in the world, but broken glass also has it's own distinctive taste and you don't see people stuffing their faces with that, outside of halfway houses and the Jerry Springer Show.

Eat this instead and cut out the middleman.

3. Quality Street Peanut Cracknells

You know the situation. You're sitting around at Christmas, going through all the chocolates everyone with little imagination sent you for presents, and you're going through one of your many boxes of Quality Street. You rummage around inside and produce a rectangular choccy in a light blue wrapper. "Mm!" you think. "I wonder what this could be! Fudge? Coconut?" Without pausing to check the inlay, you pop the innocent-looking thing into your mouth. In seconds, you find yourself biting down upon something that is about as soft and inviting as 'The Pit' from Mortal Kombat. Something shatters, and for a few terrified moments you aren't sure if it's the sweetie or your teeth. Razor-sharp vaguely peanut-flavoured shrapnel ricochets around your mouth for an agonizing minute before you think your saliva has dissolved the sharp corners enough to make swallowing it safe. You turn out to be wrong. This is just the start of the ordeal, however. Next you have to try shitting it out.

Actually it seems Quality Street has discontinued the Peanut Cracknells, perhaps because keeping it in meant they'd have to change their name to something like Horrible Street or face prosecution.

4. American Hard Gums

Funny. These sweets are quite clearly labelled as 'hard', when in actuality they are rather soft little things. All-in-all, an astonishing analogy for the nation that spawned them. Once again, these are deceptive sweeties. Stealth sweeties, if you will. They look appetising. They feel appetising. Hell, they actually are kind of appetising. But if you ever try to bite down on one, you will have American Hard Gum anchored to your tooth for the rest of your natural life. You have to do this weird sort of ballet with your teeth and tongue, where you bite into it gently with only your front teeth and squash it against the roof of your mouth. And frankly, I can do without sweeties that actually require expertise to eat safely. It's the confectionery equivalent of wing-walking.

5. Coffee cremes

I actually kind of like these. I just include them because nobody else in the world does. When we're sharing out the boxes of choccies, you can keep your damn hard toffees and hazelnuts in caramel. I'm going to sit in the corner and have my coffee cremes.

Oh, before I forget: I added profiles for my weekend updaters Chris and Space to the 'About' page. They wrote the profiles themselves, but I edited the crap bits out, so they're not that bad.

20/1/2003: Muse, muse

A good question you can ask someone if you want to know if it would be a good idea to lend them money is this: "If you could steal someone's body for a day, who would it be and what would you do?"

Now, boring people will usually treat this question as "Who is your favourite person in the world?" and will proceed by telling you why they admire this person at length until you wish you hadn't asked the stupid question in the first place.

People who believe themselves to be amusing (on the internet, everyone) will usually name the currently popular sex symbol, and announce they will spend the day gyrating in front of a mirror while sprinkling water on themselves. They will then follow this up by laughing at how entertainingly cheeky they are, and expect you to do the same.

As for me? I would swap bodies with whoever has the job of putting jokes in Christmas crackers and replace them with my favourite dirty equivalents. But if he's not available, if I actually have to give a name or something, I would probably go for the Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Or as we like to call him down in the ghetto, 'Primary Target'.
The man himself.

In the morning, I would wake up with my lovely fragrant wife. I will wait until she wakes too, and then look at her theatrically, run to the bathroom, and pantomime vomiting heartily. Then I would have a lengthy shower while I scrub myself and chant Biblical verses, making sure she could hear the whole thing. Throughout the day I would hold a crucifix whenever she is near and address her as 'the cloven-hoofed one'. All the children are, by that token, 'spawn of the cloven-hoofed one'.

After breakfast, which I would eat in a cupboard to get away from my family, I would phone my closest advisor and tell him he's fired. When he asks why, I will say I am dissatisfied with what I find when I rummage around in his rubbish bins, then start speaking in tongues. After he's done with, I would call the biggest press conference the country has ever seen, getting hold of all the press I could find by telling them I have the most important announcement the world will ever hear and it is urgent that the newspapers tell the people of Britain.

When all the press are lined up outside No. 10, I will burst out wearing nothing but hiking boots and a jaunty pimp hat, then proceed to do a series of up-tempo dance numbers with a specially-hired musical troupe. When I'm finished, and the press are all staring agog, I will announce that I intend to ditch the church of England and make Raelian the national religion, and that I will put all the budget into a new space programme so we can put the Royal Family in a big spaceship and leave them there for alien races/future generations to discover. I would then insist that everyone call me 'Pinky No-Pants, Despoiler of Womanhood' and tell everyone the new names I had given my wife and children.

Most of the afternoon would be spent on the phone with the office door locked.

"Hello, is that the President? Tony here. I just wanted to say that I'm pulling all our troops out of Iraq because we're planning a big birthday party for a friend of mine and I want them all to jump out of cakes. Also, this war is just you sucking your own dick, so you can count us out from now on. Say hello to your wife for me. She was waaaay hot in bed, Georgie boy."

"Hello, is that the Queen? Yes, it's the Prime Minister here. I'm afraid your entire family has been killed in a horrific shooting accident, and, well, not much point in having a monarchy without a whole bunch of heirs, so we'd like you to come down to your nearest convenient hospital for voluntary euthanasia. Don't worry, it'll be completely painless. Just like how we do it with the horses. Gunshot to the back of the head, won't feel a thing. Also, you smell like pickled onions."

"Hello, is that the leader of the Conservative Party? THRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPP."

After that, it'll be time for Prime Minister's Question Time in the Houses of Parliament. I will turn up dressed as Hitler and holding a riding crop, address everyone as "the honourable Schweinhund", and say "with my dick" at the end of each sentence. Whenever someone asks me a question I can't answer, I will stand stock still and make high-pitched braying noises while a spreading patch of urine appears on the front of my trousers. Afterwards, I will burst into tears and stand in a corner for the rest of the session, occasionally flagellating myself.

At the end of the day, just to make sure no amount of spin can help the man now, I will firebomb the nearest foreign embassy in full public view and gun down everyone who comes out.

The following day, when I am safely back in my own body, I will spend the morning cutting out newspaper headlines and making a little scrapbook.

Updates Archive

All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved and other legal bollock language