Ten Years of Trusty Water Blog

As of today, I’ve been writing this blog for ten years of my life. A crazy thought, because when I first started it, I had a feeling I’d end up abandoning it after a few weeks or months. While I may not update every single day like I used to, I still write at least one thing pretty much every week and, at this point in time, I imagine I always will. Looking back, it’s been a fun ten years.

2011

So, Dalfino made me start a blog. Or, at least, that’s what I titled the first blog post. Dalfino himself says that he merely suggested that I start a blog and didn’t actually make me do anything. I named it Trusty Water Blog, after my Trusty Water Bottle, which was a point of interest for some people. I was in Sixth Form at the time and working as an MDSA, which was a very dangerous job. One time on the way home, I narrowly avoided a wasp. Soon afterwards, I found myself starting an exciting new chapter in life at university and though I did miss my old friends, I was forming strong bonds with the new people I’d met.

2012

The first full year of Trusty Water Blogging. This was the year in which I read my least favourite book – but that aside, it was a nice year. My first year of university came to an end and I did well enough that I wanted to celebrate my results. I even gave advice on how others could celebrate in the same way. Someone commented to me that the homeless people of Bath were dangerous drug addicts, so I took steps to prove them wrong. I had a very nice time seeing Anthony Nanson and Davie Metcalfe perform at the Rondo Theatre in Bath. I bought some finger puppets at a local toy shop and then made a little comic strip using them to cheer up a friend when she was sad. In a significant milestone in my life, I got a yo-yo. What a beautiful day that was – a loving gift from a loving friend.

2013

This year started off very strong, with lots of wacky hijinks and fun memories. Like the time my friend Tulin and I accidentally started a fire when making brownies, or when we got off the bus at the wrong stop and had to walk along the grassy verge of a dual carriageway in the dark and the snow. Sadly, later that year, the two of us had a falling out and I was very sad about it. Back then it seemed really important, but looking back, it lasted only a few months and it’s funny now that it once seemed so important. Later that year, I was asked on a date for the first time – I was quite baffled by the offer and politely declined. During this year I made a new friend, I made no note of it on the blog, but at our first meeting, I did ask if she’d be interested in writing a guest post and so added her on Facebook. Perhaps it was a good thing that I did, because we now live together!

2014

As my time at Bath Spa University came to a close, I found myself growing more wistful and reflective – thinking both of the past and the future. I buried a digital time capsule for my future self. Freshly made up, Tulin and I were back to having good times together again. I came full circle and became an MDSA again after university, just like I was before. It was only a short-term thing, but I had some fun times with the children. Sadly, my next job involved me being tricked into distributing Conservative propaganda. By the end of the year, with many university friends having moved away, I started to feel a bit sad. I had to rely on my own company and yearned for happier times.

2015

I started the year feeling the same as I’d done at the end of 2014. I reflected that my Trusty Water Bottle was my only constant companion and funnily enough, writing about it got me my first proper full-time writing job! Or it helped, anyway, with the interviewer saying they’d read and loved that blog post. During this year, I had an unpleasant interaction with a homeless woman. In quite a milestone for this blog in particular, my friend Liam bought me the domain for www.trustywaterblog.co.uk, which was a very nice gift indeed. I was in a better place at the end of the year than I was at the start.

2016

A new year, a new job and new friends. Working alongside somebody named Sarah, she soon won me over and we became the best of friends – an experience involving chocolates in particular was one catalyst for our friendship. It’s a good thing we made friends, since she later saved my life! During this year, I stopped to reflect on all the benefits keeping a blog had given me, and there was quite a list! Sadly, the job I had at that time was a really rubbish one (only due to the boss I had) so I wrote a blog post about my frustrations, waiting a year before publishing it so that I could avoid getting in trouble. Overall, it was a good year in my life, but a bit of a rubbish one on the world stage, but I tried to stay optimistic.

2017

For the most part, 2017 was a pretty good year. I accidentally went on a date with someone, which was probably pretty awkward for them, but not for me, it was good blog material. This was also the year I got to meet some cast members from The Waltons – that’s pretty darn amazing. I hope I get to meet them again. That was thrilling. This year, I ended up with a fairly boring call centre job. I came up with ways for it to be more fun and also found little things which made it quite rewarding. This was also the year I met a close real world approximation of one of my fiction characters. I was also given serious cause to reconsider my stance on tomatoes. Plus, I wrote a blog post about my local MP, which essentially got me blocked from her Facebook page. It’s probably been my most popular blog post.

2018

I started the year by reflecting on the Top 10 Vegetables of 2017. It’s one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve ever written. Speaking of food, this was the year that I went to Nando’s by myself and had quite a profound experience there. I was gifted a smiley face ball in a job, which created a nice parallel to a similar experience two years previously. I almost missed a bus, but successfully outran it to the next stop. I also took a moment to reflect on all the unusual people I’d met and blogged about and asked myself the question, where are they now? In many ways, it was a bit of a disjointed year.

2019

How recent 2019 feels. This was the year which contained the biggest gap between blog posts in the history of Trusty Water Blog – and why? Because I finally achieved my dream of moving to Bath. Me and my house friend have a wonderful living arrangement and one night we had a fun time going out and playing good cop, bad cop with a local hoodlum. In this year, I made a collage for International Friendship Day – I’m still very proud of it. It was during this year that I started to find it a bit harder to update my blog three days a week, so I abandoned my regular schedule and just started writing in it whenever I felt like it. It was the right choice.

2020

A year which started off normal, but then a global pandemic happened. I had to stay at home, which was fine, because me and my house friend get on beautifully – not like a house on fire, but a house well built which lasts until the end of the earth. During this time, I witnessed something deeply beautiful, which was nice. Despite not being able to see friends, I still had a very good time hosting a global quiz with a big portion of them over the internet. During this year, I became more unwell than I’d ever been before, I had to go to hospital in a life-threatening condition. In the end I was fine though, so I had a pizza to celebrate. Thanks for saving my life, Sarah and the NHS. (Did you like the foreshadowing in the 2016 section?)

2021 (and beyond)

And now here we are, ten years later. I won’t bother to write a summary of the blog posts from the last five months, but the year is off to a good start. I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to keep writing this blog for a whole decade. It’s a fun and therapeutic experience for me, kind of like keeping a diary, but one which I’m happy to share with the world. I’m glad that I’ve been able to make people laugh, to help people to better understand how I see the world and to share my love and appreciation for the people in my life. Going over my old blog posts to make this has been a very nostalgic experience and I hope I’m still writing here in ten years time.

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Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome Amiibo

Three years after Animal Crossing: New Leaf originally came out, Nintendo released a new version of the game with Welcome Amiibo added to the title. This updated version adds tonnes of extra content and, very nicely, Nintendo let owners of the original version gain access to all of it via a free update! They may have done many greedy things, but this, at least, was pretty good of them. Here are a few of the added features:

  • The town gets a new area, a campsite run by a dog named Harvey. People come to visit this campsite inside camper vans, giving you a chance to meet special characters and buy furniture.
  • Something called a CAT Machine was added to the town, this gives you MEOW coupons (which can be spent on exclusive furniture that Harvey sells) in exchange for you completing certain tasks.
  • You can scan Amiibo in order to have new villagers visit. Using Animal Crossing Amiibo cards, you can get any existing villager, on top of that, you can also get several new villagers.
  • Tonnes of content from the Legend of Zelda series was added to the game, including the option to have Wolf Link, Ganon, Epona and various other characters as villagers. There’s even an outfit from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the game, added as a kind of preview.
  • There’s some good Splatoon content as well, where Amiibo can get you villagers who are huge fans of the series, as well as various pieces of clothing and furniture which come from the game.
  • Furniture and gameplay features from Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer were added.
  • The game Desert Island Escape from Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is now unlockable.
  • A new version of the game Puzzle League is also playable (and very fun too).

Overall, I love everything that was added to the game, particularly the new Zelda stuff. Nintendo could have very easily just released it as a new, updated version as they do with various other things and charged full price, but instead it was free. For me, the addition of this updated prompted me to revisit the game and I’m very glad I did. Now it’s even better than it was originally.

Rating: 9.6/10

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Medical Trauma

I recently had to undergo a highly invasive and painful medical procedure and I was completely conscious the whole time. The process is called a flexible cystoscopy and I’ll save the details for those who are faint of heart, but please do look it up if you’re curious. In my humble opinion, most online accounts (from official medical resources) tend to significantly downplay how painful it is.

“Oh my,” I said, as it started. “I suppose that was unpleasant, but I imagined it being a lot worse because-” I stopped to wince, because the pain had suddenly reached a significantly.

“Yeah,” said the doctor who was working on me, “it’s a very unnatural thing to have done to you.”

“That’s okay,” I said, holding back the pain, “Every new experience is a valuable experience.”

The doctor reached a particularly painful part in the procedure. “I’m really, really sorry.”

“No need to apologise,” I said, “I should be thanking you for conducting a difficult procedure in the name of improving my health. Funnily enough, the last time I had something similar done, that other doctor was very apologetic too.”

“We’re only human,” she said.

“Yes, true, but, after all, you’re doing my a kindness, really. A painful kindness, I’ll admit, but a kindness all the same.”

“I’m glad you can see it that way,” she said. “Now, if you look to the screen to your right, you’ll be able to see the inside of your bladder.”

I turned my head to see the computer screen beside me. “Oh, very nice,” I said, “I always wondered what it looked like. It looks good to me, but how does it look to you? I obviously have no point of reference for bladder interiors.”

She explained that everything looked healthy and then gave me a little educational tour of my insides. Despite the pain, it was definitely interesting stuff. Sadly, the time then came to move onto the final part of the procedure which on the bright side meant the end was near, but that I’d be in a lot more pain.

“What do you do for a living, anyway?” said the nurse beside me, offering a distraction from a particularly painful moment.

“Funnily enough, I write about medical matters. So really, this is a valuable first hand research experience for me. Perhaps I’ll get to write about it one day.”

They laughed at that and said “We’re glad we could give you some writing material.”

“Right,” said the doctor, “all done now. You did remarkably well. We don’t often get people who are so friendly and chatty throughout the whole thing. Well done you.”

All in all, it took about fifty minutes. They spoke about my health for a little while afterwards (telling me everything was fine) before sending me on my way. There was a general feeling of stress and unease about me for about two days afterwards. I didn’t feel right at all and it just made me feel very sad – the longer it went on, the funnier it seemed to me that the doctor and the nurse had commented that I seemed to have ‘done well’ because the emotional and psychological impact on me was enormous. I’m fine now, thank goodness, but it goes to show how easily a person can be mistaken for taking something well, when they’re really not doing well at all. Keep in mind, should you ever find yourself experiencing something similar, that you’ll start to feel normal again eventually! Speaking to a friend of mine, it seems that this kind of response to medical trauma is actually very common, but I’d never heard of anything like it, so I thought it was important to write about my feelings in a blog post.

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Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

After the events of the first book, The Lord Ruler is dead and Elend Venture is now king. A lot of stories end with an evil empire being toppled and then leave it at that, as if this is a sufficient ending, but what The Well of Ascension explores is what actually happens after you topple an empire and it’s not an instantaneous happy ending.

Kelsier, the leader of the team who helped topple the previous regime, is dead and the crew who are left behind are now somewhat directionless. Elend sits on the throne and is a man of good ideals, but somebody without self-confidence or practical experience. While he tries to be the new ruler, the vacuum left by the Lord Ruler is one he doesn’t seem to be able to fill and others are forming armies to try and claim his position of power. Meanwhile, as he and his comrades try to stop a war from breaking out, the average person actually ends up with worse living conditions than they had under the Lord Ruler

I really liked the nuance to this book – there are several different factions vying for power and as you read, you have to question whether our protagonists are really the best people for the job. Everything is falling apart and, unlike the first book, where there was a clear good vs evil dynamic with the Lord Ruler against a group of noble thieves, here you have a situation where the best choice for a leader really isn’t clear. It’s an interesting story of fantasy politics and one which I found much more interesting than the first book (which I did also enjoy).

This book also introduces us to the Koloss, a race of large, brutish creatures which are used as grunts. I found them very interesting, but also felt somewhat bad for them, considering how they were seen as completely inferior to everybody else. We’re also properly introduced to the Kandra, a particularly intriguing species who consume the bodies of dead people so that they can then become a replacement for that person – we’d seen them in passing in the last novel, but what they are and how they operate is really fleshed out here and I was fascinated by them.

Meanwhile, the main characters continued to be fantastic – particularly Vin and Sazed, who are easily my two favourites. It was interesting to see Vin’s doubts and hesitations as she becomes an almost unstoppable Mistborn and we get a glimpse at more Terris people beyond Sazed as we meet a character named Tinwyl, a woman who is much less mild mannered than Sazed. Their adjustments to the changing world were interesting to see and while I was never all that fond of Elend, I think that works well and is exactly what we’re supposed to feel, as there’s a lot of intentional uncertainty over whether or not he is fit to rule.

I mean no disrespect to the first book, which was a great and enjoyable read in its own right, but The Well of Ascension does everything you want a sequel to do: it expands on the story, characters and setting and does a better job of it than the original. This is a brilliant novel of conflicting fantasy politics – just my kind of thing. If you liked the first book, I strongly recommend reading this too.

Rating: 9.3/10

Buy it here.

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Cohabitation during Lockdown

I’ve been living with a good friend of mine for almost two years and, of course, a large portion of that time has been spent in lockdown due to the ongoing global pandemic. A lot of people have had difficulty maintaining relationships with the people they live with during lockdowns, I’ve heard married couples are getting divorced and housemates are having to spend time apart because they are sick of seeing one another. So, of course, the question is: how has the ongoing global catastrophe affected my relationship with my house friend?

Well, I’d be lying if I suggested that there had been any kind of tension whatsoever, because, if anything, the two of us have just become even more happy and relaxed around one another. It’s a shame that this hasn’t quite been the case with everybody, but then I suppose it does give me cause to be proud of my relationship with my house friend. Since our dynamic doesn’t seem to be standard, I thought I’d make a blog post about why I think our relationship is as healthy as it is.

Not taking things personally

Sometimes my house friend comes home, says hello, then goes straight to her bedroom and I don’t see her again other than, perhaps, to say goodnight. Maybe someone in that situation might think to themselves “Oh no, why do they not want to be around me?” but I know in this situation that it’s not that she doesn’t want to spend to me, it’s that she does want to spend time on her own – a need we all have. How could I possibly be offended at that? Space is important to everybody.

Never being entitled

Good friends give each other emotional support and I have sat and listened to things that upset or annoy my house friend many times – just as she has sat and listened to things that upset or annoy me. However, it would be wrong of either of us to think that we can count on the other to provide emotional support 100% of the time – everybody has their limits and it’s not always possible to take on negative energy. So if we ever need to talk to the other about something, we always say “is it okay to talk about something negative?” Neither of us are entitled to the emotional support from the other – we both provide it often, but we both know that we can say no.

Communicating clearly

If either of us think that we have annoyed the other one, or if either of us just think that the other seems a bit grumpy or unhappy, we just ask “Are you okay? Have I done anything to upset you?” and then we express what the issue is or, much more likely, reassure the other that there is no issue. To be honest, because we are so open with one another and neither of us are ever afraid to raise anything, I’d never interpret something as passive aggressive, or thing that she was ever holding something against me. We both trust each other to be up front about about potential issues and therefore live with much greater peace of mind.

Doing nice things together (when we want to)

It’s easy to think “I live with this person and see them every day, therefore I don’t need to make special plans with them” but it’s important to continue to have fun positive experiences with the people you live with. Both of us are always coming up with nice things that we can do together, while at the same time understanding that we won’t always have the energy to do such things and that it’s okay to change plans at the last minute if the other isn’t feeling up to it.

Respecting boundaries

Many of the things I’ve already mentioned are boundaries, but they deserve their own point. My house friend dislikes physical contact or people being too close to her, so I avoid physical contact whenever possible and make sure I don’t stand too close. Perfectly reasonable – again it ties into not taking things personally. Someone might say “why would you be uncomfortable with me being so close? We’ve lived together happily for two years now, this is ridiculous!” but that’s not the right away to see things. The fact is that everybody has unique needs and boundaries and it’s important not to try and bend them to meet your own needs or expectations.

Bonus Point: Sense of humour

A good portion of every day is spent talking absolute nonsense. My house friend and I have almost developed characters that we slip into, or sometimes we pretend to be really nasty and toxic towards each other, which makes us both laugh. We have a similar sense of humour and are good at making each other laugh, so it is fun for us to spend time together. I guess this isn’t really something you can control, since it’s more a matter of chemistry. Although, by making fun of toxic behaviour (particularly toxic behaviour that both of us have previously encountered in others), we are inherently condemning it and passively reassuring the other that we won’t display those same toxic traits ourselves.

There’s probably a lot more to it beyond these few points, because human relationships are complex, many faceted things, but I wanted to write an overview because these are the same principals I try to apply to every relationship in my life. Essentially, I think it comes down to empathy and respect – with these at the heart of a relationship, it’s sure to be a good one.

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

As I start this review, I have to say once again: I love how Yacht Club Games added so much free DLC to Shovel Knight. I once read that if they had charged a single penny for each new campaign, they could have made millions off the downloads, but instead they opted to add them for free – in an industry as greedy as the video game industry, I have a lot of respect for that.

Anyway, Spectre of Torment is the third Shovel Knight campaign and the second one they added to the base game – which can also be viewed as an independent game in its own right. In this story, you play as the Grim Reaper-esque Specter Knight, who I thought was one of the toughest bosses in the original game. While Plague of Shadows was different enough, I did think that Specter of Torment did more to distinguish itself from the original game. The story is not set at the same time as the base game and is actually a prequel, with Specter Knight working for the Enchantress at the Tower of Fate in order to help her grow her forces.

Just as Shovel Knight and Plague Knight both control very differently, Specter Knight also has a completely different playstyle. You have to jump through the air and lock onto things to attack with your scythe – you can also run up walls. Every level feels completely different and you ultimately have to get used to a whole new way of playing… and it’s really fun. There was a lot more technique to it, but once you master it, Specter Knight begins to feel very powerful.

One of the big upsides, for me, was the fact that the tone of this game was much darker. We learn that Specter Knight was once a regular human called Donovan and as you progress through the story, you get to play as Donovan in occasional flashbacks, all of which lead up to him eventually becoming Specter Knight. It’s as beautiful as it is tragic. Both of the previous two games had been moving, but nothing quite to the extent to what you get this time. It’s nice to have so much emotion in a 2D platformer as I know its a genre which can sometimes skrimp on the story side of things.

You’re also allowed to play through the game in whatever order you like, with all the levels accessible from the start. The benefit of this, I suppose, is that you don’t risk getting stuck on one specific level for ages, because you can just play the other levels until you’re good enough to come back to the one you struggled with. Since you can buy weapon and armour upgrades, Specter Knight may well be powerful enough to win those levels by the time you next return to them. In some ways, that makes it even more like Mega Man.

Other than that, all I can say is that this game is just delightful. It captures all the charm of the NES era of gaming and takes it further with modern technology. It has a beautiful 8-bit aesthetic and a suitable atmospheric soundtrack – I’ve already said this in my other Shovel Knight reviews, but it surpasses the games it drew inspiration from. Specter of Torment is, potentially, my favourite Shovel Knight campaign, as the character is particularly endearing and the gameplay is amazing. Definitely worth playing, though I would recommend at least playing regular Shovel Knight first.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Pregnancy April Fools Jokes

Whenever April Fools’ Day gets closer, I see several social media posts which say something along the lines of “Pregnancy is not a joke – there are people who want so desperately to become pregnant, but will never be able to, don’t make a pregnancy announcement as an April Fools’ joke this year.” For the longest time I never understood this – the people who make jokes like that aren’t making light of people who are unable to have children, they’re just making a dumb joke. I would never have thought that it was a particularly funny joke to make, but also it seems harmless.

Of course, I thought all that as somebody who has not been through the experience of finding out they can’t get pregnant. I wasn’t saying that people were wrong to say or think that, I just didn’t understand. I thought to myself “By the same logic, any pregnancy announcement is just as bad, right?” and then I thought about it for a while and I realises that that was the point. If you can’t get pregnant it probably does make you feel a little bit sad whenever you see that one of your friends has successfully done so and so, that’s a sadness you have to go through a lot anyway, so you may as well not have to go through it for the sake of somebody making a pointless joke.

I suppose I could have simply asked someone why they found posts like that so offensive, but as it’s obviously a very sensitive subject, it didn’t feel appropriate to bring it up. The other day I was just walking along and thinking about the subject, when all the pieces fell into place and it suddenly made sense.

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Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred

If I had to choose a favourite companion from the classic era of Doctor Who, there’s a good chance that I would choose Ace. Sophie Aldred did a brilliant job of bringing to life a wonderfully nuanced character, and tonnes of other writers have also done a great job of developing Ace further through various Doctor Who novels over the years. With this book, Sophie Aldred took her own crack at writing Ace in a novel – and the results were fantastic.

Here was get to see Ace as CEO of the charity, A Charitable Earth (an ultimate fate for her which had been alluded to in several other stories). She struggles with horrible nightmares and is intrigued when she hears about someone else who has been having the exact same nightmares. Suspecting some kind of external influence, she heads out to investigate. It soon becomes clear that there’s some kind of alien activity going on and in the process of her investigation, she also crosses paths with the Thirteenth Doctor and her companions Yaz, Graham and Ryan.

One of my favourite things about this book was getting to see the interactions between Ace and the Thirteenth Doctor. Of course, Ace had known the Seventh Doctor who, in my opinion, is almost the opposite of the Thirteenth, at least in terms of the variations between the Doctors. There’s tension, but there’s also fondness. We do also get flashbacks to the Seventh Doctor, which provides a nice contrast between the two Doctors’ personalities. Really, I think the Seventh Doctor comes off quite badly, with his manipulative ways having long reaching problems which, not only cause problems for the older Ace, but his own later incarnation and her companions.

It was also great to see Ace meeting Yaz, Graham and Ryan. She seems to warm to Ryan and Graham quite quickly, but there’s a tension and even a jealousy from Yaz and it’s really interesting to see how that plays out. Every single one of the characters was captured perfectly and felt very true to how they had previously been portrayed on the screen (or in other media).

Speaking of other media, one thing which concerned me, as a massive fan, was how this version of Ace would reconcile with the character’s appearances within the expanded universe. Though it would only have been a small thing, it would have been a shame if the comics, audio dramas and other novels were ignored – but as it happens, every single one of them was acknowledged in a way I found quite satisfying. Plus, the whole book was littered with nice little references which are sure to make any fan smile.

It’s one of those books which won’t appeal to people who aren’t so familiar with the history of Doctor Who, but if you know the Thirteenth Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz and you know the Seventh Doctor and Ace, then you could get a lot out of this book. Behind all the character drama, there’s also an exciting sci-fi adventure, but what was most appealing to me was finding out more about Ace’s life as a CEO and the character drama which stemmed from the relationships between everyone.

I only hope that Sophie Aldred will write more novels in future!

Rating: 8.9/10

Buy it here.

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Excitement

Lately, as spring beings and the days get a little bit longer, I’ve found that I’ve had the chance to take my evening walks during daylight hours. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but I realised that I was going out in the sunlight for the first time in months and I found it a very uplifting experience. The darkness of winter hadn’t made me depressed like it does some people, but walking in the sun really energised me and put me in a good mood. And, most of all, it made me excited.

I have very little faith in our government and feel that they have responded appallingly to the ongoing pandemic – BUT, it’s beginning to feel as though the end is in sight. I walk along the streets with the sun shining down and think, maybe it won’t be too long before I can go to Nando’s again. Maybe it won’t be too long before I can arrange some big group meals. Maybe I’ll get to go around to a friend’s house again. Sit in a dessert parlour and eat an ice cream sundae. Nurse a diet coke on a summer’s evening at a pub with outdoor seating.

I don’t know – maybe it’s just because the vaccinations are rolling out, or maybe it’s just the sun skewing me towards optimism, but it certainly feels closer to the end than it does to the start. Last year, I felt there was no end in sight, but now… things aren’t better yet and it may still be several months, but I can imagine getting back into things before too long and that’s a pleasant thought.

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Mega Man 2

For years I’d heard about how the Mega Man games were shining jewels in the crown of the NES, but unfortunately my experience of the first game wasn’t particularly great. I did have fun with it, but primarily because it was obnoxiously hard and I found that funny. It was the kind of experience I wasn’t really keen to have again any time soon, so I never really invested in the broader Mega Man series. However, after having a really good time with Shovel Knight, which I knew was partially influenced by the Mega Man, I decided to give it another go.

As is often the case when I haven’t enjoyed the first game in a series, I’m really glad I came back for the sequel because it was fantastic. On the surface, it’s very similar to the first game – visually it’s almost identical and you start the game with a choice of Robot Masters to face: Bubble Man, Air Man, Quick Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Metal Man, Flash Man and Crash Man. Each one has a level related to their power (like a forest for Wood Man, an underwater level for Bubble Man) and when you go through the level and then beat the Robot Master in a boss battle, you unlock their power which is helpful for the other stages.

The biggest difference is that this game balances its difficulty. It’s not ridiculously hard from the get go and, in fact, only gets really hard towards the very end of the game. The rest of the time, there was just the right level of challenge, which allowed me to truly appreciate the vibrant and colourful world that I was traversing. On top of all that, the game has a fantastic soundtrack (just like its predecessor) and I was able to enjoy it as a really well made 2D platformer.

I now see why the Mega Man series is among the most highly regarded on the NES. Without a doubt, this is one of the best games on the console. If you enjoy NES games or retro gaming in general, I strongly recommend this game, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Rating: 8.4/10

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