While all the cool kids had Commodore 64’s and Spectrums, my first computer was a BBC 32k, which meant my software options were somewhat limited.
Elite was the big game for the BBC, a sprawling space-trading epic that was generations ahead of its time. But I never mastered the ability to dock my spaceship in the rotating galactic stations, so never left the first galaxy.
Stripped of the ability to swap the latest gaming hits with my friends my lifelong video game obsession could have died there and then if it hadn’t been for the wonderful, if probably awful, Commonwealth Games.
As a child I never questioned why it was called Commonwealth Games rather than Olympic Games or even World Championships. Presumably the marketing rights were cheaper or the standards were lower.
All I remember was it was rock hard and I kept drowning in the swimming event. But I kept at it until I was good enough to be beat my sisters at every single event.
An internet search reveals nothing about this lost gem. But without it I wouldn’t have developed my fierce sense of competition when it comes to gaming. Commonwealth Games, I salute you.
MILKSHAKE DUCK is a term on the internet for when someone on social media becomes extremely popular but soon turns out to have deep character flaws.
The fictional duck that spawned the phrase (runner up in 2017’s Oxford Dictionaries word of the year to youthquake) was cute because he liked milkshakes…but later turned out to be racist.
It’s a concept we see a lot in modern society, with social media raising its champions to the top of the popularity charts in a heartbeat before deeper digging makes people reverse their opinions.
Roy Larner, the Lion of London Bridge, became a darling of the internet after fighting three terrorists with his bare hands while shouting “f*** you, I’m Millwall” in June 2017.
But it wasn’t long before video footage emerged of him being racially abusive and spitting in the face of a black man.
We regret to inform you that the Lion of London Bridge is racist, to paraphrase the Milkshake Duck meme.
Now people are trying to decide if Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is a Milkshake Duck or not.
The other week I wrote about how he had teamed up with Canadian rapper Drake to play Fornite, breaking Twitch records for concurrent viewers in the process (628,000).
Ninja, a former professional Halo player, was the darling of the moment. The media swooped over the story, revealing how he was earning around $500,000 every month through YouTube subscribers and Twitch.
Compared to the troubling behaviour displayed by YouTube superstar Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, who has flirted with outright racism as his desire to graduate from teeny-bopper to edgy adult, Ninja was seen as a clean-cut and likeable alternative.
But the extra scrutiny created by all the media attention proved to be a double-edged sword.
While attempting to rap along to Logic’s 44 More while streaming a game of Fortnite’s Battle Royale, the 26-year-old dropped the n-word. A fact made doubly worse by the fact the lyrics don’t contain the n-word or even any words that sound remotely like it.
Ninja swiftly released a full apology to his legion of fans, claiming to have got “tongue-tied” and vowing not to make the same mistake.
Based on his previous clean record, most people seem to have given him the benefit of the doubt this time. Hopefully he doesn’t turn out to be another Milkshake Duck.
SPLATOON, the crazy, colourful shooter from Nintendo, holds regular events called Splatfests where gamers side with one of two factions.
During the event, people earn points for their side and an eventual winner is announced. Previous events have been cats v dogs, fit v rich and eating v sleeping. The latter caused me to abstain because I simply couldn’t choose.
The event currently running is salted popcorn v sweet popcorn If anyone chose the latter, consider yourself my mortal enemy.