Oh my mighty God.

Ikaruga arrived the other day in my mailbox, after I had to painstakingly scour the Internet for a place from which to purchase the PAL version, after the incredibly stupid GameNation/Atari Australia decided to can the Australian release, on the very day it was going to be released. I could go on about my feelings toward GameNation at the moment but I have released all my fury with them over the last two weeks and I will instead simply say this: Ikaruga is awesome, in all of the ways an arcade game should be awesome. Quite simply it is perhaps the best $90 I have spent in recent memory. You can read some great reviews about the game elsewhere so I will not make any more comments on it other than that. For those of you who have an abnormal fetish for shoot–em–ups as I do, may I recommend Shmups mk2 to you? Thanks.

Ikaruga’s “old school” action has enticed a surge of nostalgia to wash over me — so much so that I have actually pulled out my A1200 from the mausoleum that is my chest of drawers and hooked it up to my amp and television. This venerable beast has to be around seven years old now and when I turned it on, it quickly got to work booting and within seconds a familiar looking Workbench screen appeared and seemed to quip “How’s it goin’ mate?” It is exactly how I left it when I switched it off all of those years ago and even the clock in it has kept the time perfectly. Within another few seconds I had instinctively given “The Chaos Engine” icon a swift clicker-roo and was enjoying a long over due blast with my old two button digital joystick and that exhilarating sound track booming from my new home theatre system. Before I knew it I had completed the first world and was so engrossed that just about everything else I had to do today had vanished in a wisp of vapour that must have escaped through my left ear. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

As I sit here now, typing on this — this thing — this monstrosity that people today call the modern PC, I can’t help but get a little angry and annoyed. I look at the Amiga — how good it was, how good and perfectly functional it still is, and how it absolutely outclassed everything in its day (yes including my beloved Nintendo’s SNES) and then I look at this multimedia behemoth with its hulking, barely manageable operating system and I cringe inside. I am not going to sit here and say, as I once did, that the Amiga is better than the PC. What I will say however is that today’s home computer experience should be a whole lot better than it is.

Do not let anyone tell you that capitalism and the free market produce the best products — it doesn’t, it’s just a popularity contest, and we know how great and exceedingly fair those are.