In a post that’s never likely to catch on and you probably really don’t care about I’m going to talk about some food stuff (and then some video game stuff, so skip on if that’s all you’re interested in). Specifically, mashed potato. I really, really, reeeeally like mash potato. Like really. With sausages and gravy. With toad in the hole. Just on it’s own. Buttery. Nom, nom, nom… (etc.)
But the thing is…I really dislike making it from scratch. Peeling and boiling enough potatoes and then mashing them up. Dull…
In my quest for mash without the make work I’ve eaten a lot of mashed potato-like things. The best by far is lovely short shelf life pre-made mash – the kind you find in the instant microwave meal section (we get ours from Tesco’s) and is basically just real mash. And it’s really nice, and takes all of five minutes to cook in the microwave.
When we couldn’t get a hold of this pre-made mash we’ve gotten frozen mash. Which I didn’t really know existed but really should have guessed existed – most things come in frozen format. And this kind too was pretty much real mash, it comes (from Tesco’c again) in a plastic bag, in little tubes of the stuff so you can easily section it out to portions then microwave to cook as well. Now this one…tasted like mashed potato should…but was missing something. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t right – and would probably do if I really wanted mash.
The last option (I suppose it’s a bit of a ‘bottom of the barrel’ option) is real ‘Instant Mash Potato’ – the kind in a cardboard tub that’s just flakes. I have very distant and very unpleasant memories of trying smash when I was young. But I like to re-try things anyway – I might’ve been wrong, it might’ve gotten better. Anything, yeah?
No…really, just no. To appropriate a phrase (from the guide, no less) it tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike mashed potato. It doesn’t even really have the consistency of potato. It looks a bit like potato – then you taste it, and it’s a thick weird, bland paste that might taste faintly of potato if you closed your eyes and imagined it does. No amount of salt, pepper, milk or butter (which the packaging suggests) added makes it nice. Even covering it in gravy doesn’t help.
It wasn’t quite as bad as I remember it – which was horribly lumpy more than anything, but it wasn’t nice. I can imagine unfortunate kids being made to eat this, being told by their parents that it’s fine and having to suffer though it. Ick.
So clearly, the lesson hear is don’t eat instant mash. Eat mash as close to real mash as possible, the kind that expires quickly (’cause it’s real mash!)…or you know, make mash potato yourself if you’re going to as much effort as I am.
Now, to get away from potato and into something even vaguely related to video games – that’s what this website is really supposed to be about anyway, I wanted to talk about Ico & Shadow of the Colossus. They’ve both now been released again…and before you get your hopes up – no, I’m not here to sing their praises.
Sure, I’ve played them both. They were pretty good for what they were. But I’m going to be blunt: they’re over-rated. Now before you throw an angry caps lock shout fit – read that again. I didn’t say they’re bad…I said over-rated.
Ico has now been released three times. When it originally came out in 2001, in 2002 for the release of Shadow of the Colossus and now again in the HD remake (which is something I want to talk about too, but we’ll get there in a minute). Shadow of the Colossus has now been released twice.
Do they really need this many releases? I don’t think so. Looking back on them now is like looking back on a lot of old games – like trying to replay the original American McGee’s Alice (which my copy of Alice: Madness Returns came with). Not only do I not need to play the same game I played quite a while ago now, a lot of these games don’t age well in comparison to more modern games. You can look at this superficially like say – modern games are prettier. And they are – what’s wrong with that? They have more sound and voice acting now. They’re usually bigger and longer. They aren’t as repetitive. (Shadow of the Colossus was repetitive).
Let’s look at another big beloved franchise. Older Mario games can be viewed as quite simple. They are and they aren’t. It’s very easy to play those older games just by running forward. But there is a lot of hidden layers that an older gamer will see and try out. And that is really cool – but what Mario game would I like to play now? Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door or Super Paper Mario. Why? These games have moved on – Mario and co are fully fleshed out characters. There’s a full story to enjoy. I’m really not a fan of this looking back with heart felt nostalgia crap.
It’s the same way (though this is a huge and not worth getting into argument) that I don’t have much sympathy for angry Sonic fans. Sonic games can change and move on. Get over it.
To approach my final thought, now that I’ve made a good effort to insult a whole load of people – I kinda wish they’re just stop with all these HD releases. Sure pop it up on the PSN or XBLA for five to ten pound to enjoy. But I’d really rather enjoy new games, with all the modern conveniences that I like (and you can go whine in the corner if you want about that, I don’t care) – with pretty graphics, voice acting, story, difficulty settings, auto aim! Yes I said auto aim, screw you auto aim haters! It makes me think of that bad dark patch in animated films where a lot of direct to VHS film sequels were made. Would it really have been so bad if the re-release of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were skipped and they just released their new game? Would fans really have felt so bereft? Of course not. Sheesh.