Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Busy Year Ahead...

Oh hey, how's it going chums? :) As some of you may have noticed, it's been a while since I've had a chance to post something here at Red Parsley. Well, you may have noticed I haven't posted anything for a while, at least, and that's because I haven't had a chance to (believe it or not), so I figured I'd take the opportunity to ramble on incoherently while I've got half an hour or so free.

Perhaps surprisingly, the lack of new posts of late isn't down to laziness either. Well, not just down to laziness anyway. As much as I'd love to do it for a living, blogging is strictly a part-time gig for me and has to be fitted around everything else that occupies my insufficient free time. Recent weeks in RKS Land have included a short period of illness, several birthdays, the acquisition (and subsequent use) of a new mountain bike (a rather fancy one too), and other time consuming pursuits, and the remainder of the year doesn't look like affording me a great deal of blogging time either. In just a few weeks my brother-in-law will be visiting my wife and I from Brazil for a month, and at the end of the summer we'll be taking a remarkably spiffing holiday to (muthafukkin) California too. Perhaps most detrimental to my blogging, however, is something that comes along ever year around this time - work.

It's not that I would normally be so audacious as to actually spend work time writing here, of course, but my busy period (usually around April to July) generally means longer hours, and it also often means the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is sitting straight back in front of a computer! Accordingly, I get less done (and a quick perusal of my posting history here will back that up). Since this period is just starting, my distractions of late have not been well timed.

One of these that I have not yet mentioned, though, is one that was actually pretty great. I decided, you see, to hunt down my old gaming magazines. These, as far as I was aware, were bundled in my old bedroom at my parents house but, searching for things there after lord knows how many years can prove a big challenge. As it turned out, they had all been moved up to the attic where I braved spiders, dust bunnies, and much fibreglass to haul them back down... slowly and carefully!

Now, I'm not sure how many of you used to even buy gaming magazines back in their heyday, never mind as many as me, but suffice to say my endeavours were very tiring and required many trips to the car! The upshot of this was that I had the pleasure of looking through them all when I got back home (well, maybe not all of them - that would've taken several days!), and this proved to be a very nostalgic day for me. The bulk of the my stockpile was from the late 80's and early 90's and, in accordance with my allegiances at the time, including many ZX Spectrum and Sega-related mags as well as an even larger number of multi-format publications. Some of my reclaimed goodies included issues of Sinclair User, Computer & Video Games, ACE, Mean Machines, Megatech, Sega Pro, Arcade, Sega Force, and all manner of other stuff. There was even a handful of examples for 'rival' systems like Nintendo Magazine System, Super Play, and several apparently-random Amiga mags. I'm far more impartial these days of course, so those ones were perhaps even more interesting to me now than they were originally.

One more recent example I was very pleased to find again was Total Control. Most of you probably won't even remember this one - it was a multi-format mag from the late 90's which means it focused on PS1, N64, and also covered the emergence of the Dreamcast. Sadly it was a short-lived mag but that means I've got every issue of it, and one that I was particularly pleased to revisit was the one featuring a review of Space Station Silicon Valley. I hadn't previously heard of this N64 release and subsequently heard little about it elsewhere either, and it was TC's favourable review that persuaded me to buy it, and it soon became one of my all-time favourite games, so belated thanks, Total Control!

The content of all the magazines brought back many memories, of course, and I was happy to find lots of old reviews and features I'd forgotten all about, but it was also nice to remember that period of my life in general as well. It's a period about which I am now regretful - I wish I had been pushed to study harder, for example, and been disciplined enough to do it - but it was also arguably the period when I was the most content as well. This wasn't solely down to video games of course, but they were probably my main interest back then, and, in the absence of a regular flow of new games, reading game magazines was one of my most enjoyed past times. As well as flicking through them at home, many also spent time in my school and/or college bag, perhaps spread on my desk with some of my fellow students gathered round to view the lovely images of all the latest releases, and maybe even helping me decide which games to 'hint' to my parents that I'd like for Christmas.

This might all sound a bit pathetic now I guess - maybe I should've been persuading older lads to buy booze and/or drugs for me and my friends and so we could spend our formative years getting wasted, but, the odd foray aside, that kind of thing was never really my style. These years and my humble tomfoolery during them were good years, both personally as well as in terms of the games and resultant magazines that were around at the time. Today is enormously different, on both counts. Problems and struggles are greater, the gaming world is much less interesting to me, and I haven't bought any magazines for as long as I can remember. They say you should look forward, not backwards, and it's good advice, but it's still nice to fill my heart with warm and fuzzy feelings now and then.


  1. Your description of being at school looking at Video Games magazines is exactly the same as my childhood :) My friends and I would rush out to buy Super Play, Mean Machines and NMS as soon as they came out, then it was the excitement of reading the reviews & previews over and over again! I remember how excited I was about the Mean Machines issue that had a Street Fighter 2 special in it. Good Times!! The only magazine I buy now is Retro Gamer but I still have a massive collection of Mean Machines, Super Plays and a few other random such as the first issue of Total Control funnily enough. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face, good ol nostalgia eh!? :)

  2. Hi Richard, thanks for dropping by :) I've had a great time looking through all these mags from so many different systems and generations but even more from remembering our game discussions/arguments at school, many of which were prompted by the mags of course! Mean Machines was always my favourite. I don't even buy Retro Gamer much these days, I don't think I've bought it for at least a year now. Not even sure why. Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  3. Yes. Yes it does. Thanks! I will be posting sporadically over the coming months but I'll still be around :)