Why India deserved to lose in Perth – explained with reference to a videogame that it turns out wasn’t actually Ikari Warriors after all but was pretty similar

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India picked four seam bowlers and no spinner in Perth and lost. Australia picked Nathan Lyon, who took eight wickets. Crucially, Lyon broke India’s biggest partnership of the match (Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane) and also dismissed their most important batsman (Kohli) in the final innings run-chase.

Now let’s talk about Ikari Warriors. Or rather, let’s start off talking about Ikari Warriors but then segue into talking about a game that we thought was Ikari Warriors but apparently wasn’t.

We first played Ikari Warriors on the Commodore 64. The enemies were (apparently) Neo-Nazis and the aim of the game was to defeat them in online debate.

No it wasn’t. You had to shoot them all.

Arcade games of the time typically involved either moving up the screen and shooting everything or moving sideways along the screen and shooting everything. Ikari Warriors was a walking-up-the-screen game, but it also had a two-player mode where you and your mate could cooperate. This was what was good about it.

Ikari Warriors was also released on the Commodore Amiga and we thought this was the version we’d played more extensively a few years later, but having looked into it just now, we don’t think that was the case.

Jack Beanstalk Video used to sell games for 99p. They weren’t mainstream titles. They were old games and shit games and other stuff that for one reason or another fell through the cracks. The games were branded, but came with minimal packaging and no instructions (which was unusual back then).

We suppose that blatant rip-offs would probably have been another category within the 99p cardboard box and we  suspect that what we remember as Ikari Warriors was actually Vihari Warriors or something like that. Or maybe they just tweaked it and released an Ikari Warriors Special Edition and no-one really noticed because they only ever sold one copy from an obscure shop in the North-West of England called Jack Beanstalk Video.

Whatever it was called, the crucial difference from the original Ikari Warriors was that you had to choose your weapons before you began and your selections had consequences. (This is the real thrust of this piece and why we’ve spent 300 words gabbling on about archaic computer games.)

The obvious temptation on the weapon selection screen was to pick a mini gun, which sprayed a million bullets and also had a long range. This was great for the first few feet of scrolling, but then you’d run out of ammo. No worries – in two-player mode Player Two could choose a less spectacular kind of machine gun and pick up the slack until Player One could find some more.

But then a little further on, you’d come across a tank or a gun emplacement or a turret or something and suddenly realise that you needed grenades. This kind of thing happened again and again until eventually you twigged that there would always come a point where the very obviously destructive and easy-to-use weapons let you down. If you wanted to make real progress, you needed to cover all bases because you never knew what was round the corner (a totally inappropriate term because of course there were no corners).

A smart and successful two-player team would always pick complementary weaponry and try and cover all eventualities. We’re sure you get what we mean by this.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I have speed-read your article and think I have understood exactly what you mean.

    Australian cricketers are very much like Neo-Nazis and the way to defeat them is through a combination of quality debate AND good old-fashioned ultra-violence.

    1. Nice to hear a reference to Anthony Burgess there, Ged. Off to Manchester in Feb to research his time on Malta. . .

      1. Thou art taking some good listening with you for the journey, I hope, Edwardian…

        …The Heaven Seventeen. The Glorious Ninth by Ludwig Van…

  2. Playing cricket without a spinner is like eating biryani without raita/curd/lassi

    this is not kashmiri pulao
    you always need to finish of biryani with curd

    1. The word ‘biryani’ completely escaped us earlier this week. Try as we might, we just could not lay a finger on it. As a consequence of our ‘no googling things you already know’ rule, the situation persisted until one minute ago.

      1. The internet bombards us with way too much information. So I think it’s definitely OK to depend on it for bits of previously gained, relatively obscure/unimportant info!

      2. And yes, we appreciate the irony of it not having saved our memory on this occasion – but if we didn’t at least try, it would definitely be worse.

        Also worth it for those moments when you do (finally) remember.

  3. It’s like playing a D&D game without a rogue, eventually there will be a locked door that you want to get through and your warrior just can’t bash it down and your mage already used his knock spell.

    It’s like going on a week long beach holiday without taking your rain coat. Sure, hopefully you will get to wear your swimwear the whole time, but one day it might just piss it down right when you want to walk to the restaurant.

    It’s like going to the park with your 3 year old without taking a backup set of clothes. He’s old enough to not wet himself and refuses a nappy, but yet it happens anyhow.

    It’s like not taking a pen and paper to that meeting where you were just asked at the last minute to join in “because you might have some useful input”, you are probably going to be tasked with some real important shit and need to write that down before you get in a rage about being given shit to do from a meeting you shouldn’t have been at and then forget what it actually is.

      1. If we had to list female pop stars who might possibly be into D&D, Alanis wouldn’t actually appear tremendously far down.

      2. Below Bjork, above Lady Gaga about on a par with Sinead O’Conner and the dark haired one from The ketchup song?

  4. The 3 times we got our selection right, the team won its away test matches. This doesn’t come from hindsight but from obvious foresight. I cannot believe a professional no. 1 team cannot read conditions or get the right 11 to play across 7/10 test matches.

    Also, bat or coin tosses, the team’s that won the toss has gone on to with the Test 32 times out of 44 this year. Surely, that needs to be looked at!

    1. Apropos giving a toss…

      …some of you might be amused by the coin we have designed to help celebrate the 500th anniversary of Thomas Gresham:


      At least one cricket club, Frittenden CC (home club of Uncail Marcas) has pledged to use the Gresham Coin next season.

      You got mail last night, btw, KC. Unusual not to hear back from you, so/but I’m hoping it arrived in the real folder and not the junk folder that so often swallows my pearls.

      1. I had to look this up in wikipedia:

        “In short, in the absence of legal tender laws, the seller will not accept anything but money of certain value (good money), but the existence of legal tender laws will cause the buyer to offer only money with the lowest commodity value (bad money), as the creditor must accept such money at face value.[19]

        Nobel Prize winner Robert Mundell believes that Gresham’s Law could be more accurately rendered, taking care of the reverse, if it were expressed as “Bad money drives out good if they exchange for the same price.”[20]

        The reverse of Gresham’s Law, that good money drives out bad money whenever the bad money becomes nearly worthless, has been named “Thiers’ law” by economist Peter Bernholz in honor of French politician and historian Adolphe Thiers”

  5. I might just have made it through the rest of my life without hearing that Ketchup Song again – now I can’t get that lousy song out of my head.

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