August 11, 2022

The Best Computer Games Of All Time Ranked


Image: Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0)


Gaming has been a passion of mine since my dad bought me a Nintendo 64 way back in 1997 (Yeah, I'm pretty old!). While other kids might have been out splashing in the British rain, I was safely ensconced in a warm house, sitting on my bed, controller in hand, battling my way through the likes of GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart and San Francisco Rush 2049. Yeah. I said it. San Francisco Rush 2049! It's hard to believe that 2049 isn't that far away now!

As time went on, I graduated to the PC. I think I was the first of my friends to actually get one, it was a Gateway 2000 P5-120 desktop with a 17" monitor back in 1999. It had a DVD drive, which was VERY high tech back then as DVDs and DVD players were just starting to be introduced. Back in Britain in those days, there was a lot of fear and anxiousness over the "Millennium Bug" which I believe in the USA it was known as the Y2K Bug. (Spoiler Alert: It was a lot of fuss over nothing! Software was updated and the computer apocalypse that people stocked up on food, water and guns to protect themselves against was averted!)

Back in those apocalyptic days, PC Gaming was some of the best ever and most of these titles that I'm going to rank are PC based and come from a time when graphics and performance were still in their infancy. These games span a few genres and I'm going to rank them from worst to best, so buckle up and let me know in the comments if you agree with my rankings. Because, let's face it, you're all going to have your own.





Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon (N64, 1997)

I was never a big fan of the Goemon series, and the only thing fun about this, the fifth entry, was the title. The story follows Goemon's struggles to prevent the Peach Mountain Shoguns gang from turning Japan into a Westernized fine arts theater.






The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64, 1998)

When Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released, the critics and players raved about it. I just couldn't get into it. It'll get me savaged in the comments but Zelda never appealed to me at all. Maybe I need to sit down and play it again?






Super Mario 64 (N64, 1996)

You're about ready to kill me now, aren't you? I played Super Mario 64 and found it unutterably boring to play. Mario Kart 64 was absolutely better and you all know it!







Age Of Empires II (PC, 1998)

Oh look! It's a PC game! I actually enjoyed a lot of Age Of Empires II when I first played it! Strategy games, I have to be in the mood for but when I am, Age of Empires II hits the spot.





Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time (PC, 1996)

Okay, when I first played this game back on my old Gateway 2000 I thought it was the best game I'd ever. It also made me anxious AF! The plot: You are a British spy in wartime London, who, at the moment of death when a bomb hits your flat, is sent back in time to the RMS Titanic and must complete a mission you failed. If you succeed, you prevent World War I, the Russian Revolution, and World War II. Quite an undertaking, right?? The best thing other than the story is you can explore the ship and solve puzzles and interact with passengers and crew. The only thing you can't do is change the course of the Titanic and REALLY mess with time.






Mario Kart 64 (N64, 1997)

Some of the best racing to ever come out of the N64 was Mario Kart. I was someone who enjoyed leaving a perfectly placed banana peel and watching my competitors spin out and get frustrated. Also, the voice clips were top notch! Especially Wario's laugh, which I say is like Erica's laugh.



GoldenEye 007 (N64, 1997)

Possibly the best game ever produced for the N64 in terms of first person shooter. GoldenEye 007 was a rather faithful adaptation of the 1995 Bond film and the levels were suitably challenging and we all loved driving the tank in 'Streets' mission but what really blew this game up was the multiplayer option! I was BRILLIANT at death match!








Blade Runner (PC, 1997)

This point and click adventure game serves as a companion to the 1982 film of the same name and let me tell you, it is wonderful. You take on the role of Detective Ray McCoy, investigating reports of replicants on earth. Like Titanic: Adventure Out Of Time, it features a multitude of endings considering the paths you take in game. 









Grim Fandango (PC, 1998)

When I first played this, the voice acting drew me in. Originally developed by Lucas Arts in 1997, Grim Fandango tells the tale of Manuel 'Manny' Calavera, a travel agent looking to work off his time in the Land of the Dead helping fellow recently deceased people travel on through to the Ninth Underworld. When he comes across a seemingly virtuous client, Mercedes 'Meche' Colomar, who should qualify for the best travel package but doesn't, things start to unravel for Manny and adventure ensues. The story, the humour, the characters, the soundtrack make this game one of the greatest games of all time. If you haven't checked it out, head on over to Steam and download the remastered version released in 2015. You won't regret it!








Broken Sword: The Shadow Of The Templars (PC, 1996)

Another gem of a game. Another point and click adventure. I'm going to include the entire series in this one as I love them all equally (Maybe 1,2 and 5 more-so though!) and George and Nico are the perfect companions to have on an adventure. Also, the goat is coming along too. Yeah. This game is a classic in the genre and the Director's Cut, released in 2010, makes for an enjoyable experience!








Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, 2021)

Here it is, Number One. The Mass Effect series. I included the Legendary Edition of this because it includes the trilogy. Now, there's plenty who have their favourite entry (It's probably Mass Effect 2 for you, isn't it??) my personal pick is all three. Yes, even 3, which is a heartbreaking coda to a fantastic series! No spoilers here for those who want to play it. We all got very invested in Commander Shepard and his team over the course of the games and if you haven't, then perhaps it's time! After the lacklustre appeal of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Bioware decided to shelve the franchise but the fans wanted more and there is a new Mass Effect, dubbed 'Mass Effect 4' in the works!

So, in conclusion, it's pretty clear that these games are widely considered to be the best out there. I know there's going to be some complaining that I left off Red Dead Redemption 2 or something else, but I'm just giving you my personal picks as of time of writing. Down the line, I could be obsessing over a whole different bunch of games!

Leave your rankings in the comments! Tell me which games I should check out!


August 9, 2022

The Origins Of Iced Tea - Episode 318

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Iced Tea might seem it's been a beverage that's been around since the dawn of time but it's surprisingly recent in its invention. Plenty of historians agree that it was invented in 1904 but that's not true and you can listen to this, the most recent episode of our podcast about the origins of Iced Tea, to find out when exactly the beverage was invented.

Do you like Iced Tea?

August 2, 2022

Rock and Roll Sites in London - Episode 317

John Lennon 1940-1980 - 34 Montagu Square Marylebone London W1H 2LJ
Spudgun67, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Rock and Roll has been synonymous with England since Beatlemania spread across the USA in 1964 and, ever since, plenty of British and American rockers have taken up residence in London. Therefore a lot of Rock and Roll shenanigans went down across the capital and in this new episode of our podcast, we discuss 10 of the best ones from history.

What is your favorite Rock and Roll site in London??

July 28, 2022

Things Brits Are Great At - Episode 316

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There's a lot Britain has contributed to the world. We have already done an episode on British inventions that you can listen to. This episode focuses on what things Brits do that makes them great. Dominic heads up the episode with his list of things that Brits are great at. There's a couple of usual suspects on the list as well as a couple of unusual ones too! With this

What do you think the Brits are great at?

July 19, 2022

Common Texas Bugs Uncommon In Britain - Episode 315


(Public Domain)

 Bugs, Creepy-Crawlies, Insects. They're everywhere and anywhere, right? Well, not so! Some are very uncommon in Britain, some even don't exist at all. I've had plenty of people surprised that my first experience with a firefly was in the USA. They simply don't exist in Britain because its too cold! Though, at the time of writing, the UK is experiencing record high temperatures of 42 degrees celsius but the temperatures will come down soon.

What are some bugs you are surprised are uncommon in Britain?

July 18, 2022

Story Time - Going Commando At An Indian Restaurant


Image: The Adam & Eve Pub in Swansea, Circa 2000s

To preface this story, my father recently passed away and I was thinking of all the laughs we had together over the years. This story keeps coming to the front of my mind, it may be a case of you had to be there but I've decided to share it all with you! For those of a sensitive nature, it's probably best not to read on...

It all began on a chilly December evening in 2004. My father and I caught the train to Swansea and headed down the High Street to a pub called the 'Adam & Eve'. This pub was one of the best ones in Swansea and had live music most nights and this particular evening, we were off to see 'The Tremblin' Knees' which were a great live cover band with Tony 'Plum' Hollis on lead vocals. They were fantastic, as usual, and the drinks flowed, though we didn't get too drunk. We met up with some friends there and during the set, my dad disappeared to go to the toilet and was gone for a couple of songs. When he came back, I asked him if he was alright, he nodded that he was and we carried on boozing and singing.

After the band finished their set, I was starving. I suggested to dad we head next door to the Indian restaurant and have a curry before we got the train home. He agreed and we said goodbye to the band and our friends and went out into the cold night for a couple of steps up the road to the Indian restaurant. I forget the name of it now, but it has been many things over the years since and is currently a Japanese restaurant I believe.

We headed in, the waiter greeted us and told us to sit down in the waiting area while they readied a table. It was a week night and the restaurant wasn't that full so we didn't have long to wait before they showed us back to a booth. I sat, facing the door and my dad busied himself taking off his coat because they had the heating on in this place. I placed my elbows on the table and then my eyes caught something strange; The waiter was heading towards our booth carrying a silver tray with what appeared to be a pair of grey boxer shorts on it. I was about to tell my dad when the waiter, not saying a word, stopped beside our booth and leaned down, as if he was a footman serving food at a nobility dinner in the 1900s. "Here you are, sir." The waiter said to my dad and my dad glanced at the boxer shorts on the tray and said "Oh! Thanks!" and took the underwear, stuffing them in his coat pocket. The waiter nodded and headed off.

Now, I had questions. Questions that weren't being answered by my dad's mutter to me of "That was lucky!" and the other diner's quizzical glances. They were just as much in the dark as me! After a moment, I leaned in and asked "What the hell was that about?! Were those boxers?! Why was the waiter giving you a pair of boxers? Were they yours?" and my dad laughed and, in a hushed tone, clued me in.

It turns out he'd done a wet fart, or a "shart" if you will, in his pants when we were rocking out in the Adam & Eve. He'd decided to go to the toilet, clean up, take off his boxers and shove them in his coat pocket. Why was the waiter now presenting them to him on a silver platter? Well, they obviously fell out of his coat pocket when we sat down to wait for a table and the waiter noticed them and knew exactly what to do. I started to laugh hysterically and pretty soon, my father saw it from my point of view of not knowing that this had happened in the pub and just seeing the waiter randomly serve my dad a pair of boxers and we were both in hysterics all the way through the meal and the train home.

It's a story I told many times to others in front of him and it's one I'll continue to tell now he's no longer with us. 

Taken in the Adam & Eve, 2004.


July 12, 2022

Misconceptions I Had About The UK - Episode 314

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If you are visiting the UK, or Britain, from the USA, or America, then you likely already have some misconceptions about the place. Stereotypes about people and places are rife all over the world so obvious misconceptions can arise. What are some of these misconceptions Erica, a Texas native, had about Britain? Well, listen to the link below to find out!

What are some of your misconceptions about the UK?

July 5, 2022

Summer Words: UK Vs USA - Episode 313


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Summer time is a season full of joy and laughter. People like to head off on their holidays to the seaside... or maybe its vacation to the beach where you are from? Plenty of words get mixed up in between the USA and UK and during the summer, likely even more so! In this episode, we discuss the different words and try to not go off on a tangent. (Spoiler Alert: We go off on a tangent!).

What are your favourite British or American words to use?

June 28, 2022

The Magna Carta - Episode 312


Image: The British Library (CC-BY-SA-4.0)

The Magna Carta is perhaps the single greatest document in British history, possible exceptions to that include the recipe for Yorkshire Pudding. It is cited around the world as inspiration for many great independence movements, especially successful ones such as the United States and India. In this newest episode, we discuss the events surrounding the signing of the Magna Carta and what it means in today's society.

Have you heard of the Magna Carta?

June 21, 2022

Produce In The UK and The USA - Episode 311


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 Produce, you'd think it was the same all over the world until you went around it! What's an Aubergine?! What's a Rutabaga? And what's all this about plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables in British supermarkets? We find out all this and more in the latest podcast episode of Tea and a Butty! Erica and Dominic discuss the differences in produce in Britain and America and the packaging crisis that British supermarkets are dealing with in order to reduce their single-use plastic.

What's your favourite vegetable?

June 14, 2022

American Myths and Legends - Episode 310

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Like our previous British Myths and Legends episode, we now come to talking about some of the myths and legends that make up the United States. Erica guides us through some of the familiar and, indeed, unfamiliar urban legends and myths that have been persistent across American culture and the wider world. For instance, who knew that Paul Bunyan wasn't just a guy with legendary bunions?

What is your favourite American folk tale?

June 7, 2022

The Ultimate Chocolate Bar Winner - Episode 309


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 Chocolate is a serious thing as someone once said and our Ultimate Chocolate Bar competition where we pitted American and British chocolate bars against each other to find an ultimate winner to go head to head in a finale. Also, in this episode, we discuss the events of the Platinum Jubilee and all the juicy gossip surrounding the Royal Family.

What is your favourite chocolate bar?