Bunch Of Fives: Chris and Matt (Button Chops) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Lockdown has given us all more time to kill indoors, with many of us embracing the simulated excitement and escapism of computer games. This inturn has reaffirmed our love for gaming and evoked console-centric nostalgia. 

Two millennial musicians (Chris from The Old Pink House and Matt, formerly of Coquin Migale) have turned this passion and reflection into a weekly podcast called Button Chops, which sees the pair discussing all things gaming as well as just having a laugh.

A new episode comes out every Monday and is available on Spotify, iTunes, Youtube and all good podcast platforms. 

Here, the pair tell us about the five games that made them.

Sonic The Hedgehog – Sega Mega Drive
Chris: This is the first game I ever remember playing and even though I wouldn’t say I love it per se, it has a place in my heart just because it was my gateway to a lifelong passion for video games. My Dad had his old Sega Mega Drive set up in the spare room, and I have faint memories of just sitting in there with him trying in vain to get past the first level, which was the Green Zone. I barely remember anything about it besides that really, but I do distinctly remember the first boss was Dr Robotnik hoying a wrecking ball around like he was Miley Cyrus. 

Monster Hunter – Playstation 2
Matt:  This is the last game I ever remember discovering in an actual shop. At the time I played games almost exclusively with one close friend of mine – we would walk our Nintendogs, complete Final Fantasy games 100%, and trade Pokemon between our Gameboys, but bringing Monster Hunter over to his house was a revelation on a whole different level. Neither of us really had a clue what we were getting ourselves into. The following months were full of the most rewarding heartache we’d ever experienced as we found ourselves delving into one of the most difficult, unforgiving games we’d ever played. I specifically remember us excitedly informing each other across science class that we could chop a dragon’s tail off and turn it into a big sword. This game embodied the pre-internet era of social gaming for me – as  I didn’t even have a method to call my friend I’d have to physically seek him out in school to tell him about Monster Hunter discoveries and we’d run home together to take on our next big monster.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – Playstation 2
Chris: A lot of people make jokes about the general cheesiness and excess of the Metal Gear Solid series now, but there’s no denying it made an indelible mark on the medium. MGS3 was always my favourite – it just totally redefined what I thought a game could be when I first played it. It had these absurdly cartoonish characters existing in creator Hideo Kojima’s warped idea of a serious Cold War thriller, and everything seemed like it had the camp factor dialled up to 11, only to culminate in a genuinely heart wrenching final act. It was like this totally unexpected gut punch after hours of daft jokes about James Bond and eating snakes. It also had this hilariously on-the-nose Bondesque theme song that this day remains the best video game song eve, in my opinion. It’s just an all-round belter of a game. 

Final Fantasy (Series) 
Matt: The Final Fantasy series has introduced me to my favourite fictional characters and it’s given me the chance to adventure through some of the most immersive and well crafted worlds I’ve ever experienced in what’s become my favourite piece of media of all tie: Final Fantasy 7. I play through the classic titles annually and I still find that the old PS1 soundtracks transport me back to childhood days even now. Whenever I play one, I can almost feel the box TV/VHS combo on the floor in my little room and the static white noise it would produce before I switched on my beloved Playstation One. These games have some of the best stories ever produced in gaming, touching into universal themes of loss, power, romance and politics that everyone can appreciate, alongside wonderfully well put together character progression that underpins a turn based battle system that most people would be a lot more familiar with than they’d think! I can’t imagine what I’d be without Final Fantasy.

Metroid Prime – Gamecube
Chris: To this day Metroid Prime pretty much embodies what I look for in a game: exploration in a video game world that feels truly alien, fun and tight gameplay, clever puzzles, a meaningful and interesting power up system and a pulsating sci-fi soundtrack all wrapped up deeply engrossing narrative that could really only be told via the medium of video games. It’s one of those all-encompassing things I love so much that I almost find it difficult to actually articulate why I love it. Everything about it is just so great. Sadly the Gamecube was a flop at the time and as a result I think a lot of people missed out on this one. Hopefully Nintendo will do a re-release for the Switch, but as of now there’s no word from them on it. Stingy gits.

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