Music Features

The Culture Bunker #3

While most youths spend their time underneath lampposts drinking White Lightning and hurling abuse at elderly passer-bys, Peter Mattinson had a more innocent way of passing puberty. He spent it playing computer games and contributing further to the collapse of his wrist muscles. He's got his excuses and here they are...


I always feel like some kind of cultural freak when I hear people talking about the film that shaped their early life. About how seeing Star Wars aged seven made them want to do this or that. I suppose this is mainly because I've always engaged in a hate/hate relationship with popular cinema.

It began at whatever age I was when Goldeneye came out, around 13 I believe. Being a huge fan of the Connery/Moore era Bond, this would be the first 007 adventure to be released at an age where I could go the pictures without parents in tow. And it was terrible, total crap.

So for the next six years I didn't visit any cinema, ever. In six years not one film appealed to me enough to make me want to pay money to go and sit in a cramped seat in a dark room. Even now, you can count the number of times I've been in a cinema in the last three years on two hands. There's just no appeal.

This apathy towards the very 20th Century thing called Cinema seeped into me aged six, when for Christmas I found myself in possession on a Sinclair ZX 128 +2. My first computer, and with it my first computer games. I can read them out now: Street Hawk, Knight Rider, Rambo, Highlander, Miami Vice, Green Beret, Frankie Goes To Hollywood?

(No, really, this is true. The briefly huge Scouse pop group had their own computer game. By the time I got hold of it, they were yesterday's news of course, but I still I had no idea who they were or what the game was about. Homo-erotic disco tends to go over the head of a six year old)

...Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and last but most honourable, Daley Thompson's Supertest.

Instantly, the mention of that last game at least should bring an indefinable sense of youth to certain males aged 19-25. I'm certain there are probably females as well, just I never knew any of you, sorry. But for all the memories of TV programmes and footballers, it's remembering how to break the record at Ski Jump or Tug 'o' War just to ensure a place on the high score table that brings that rush of nostalgia. C64 owners may wish change the analogy and use Track & Field, but they can all fuck off anyways. Either way, I hope your keyboard, joysticks and finger joints have since recovered.

Perhaps it is just me, but I track the first 15 years on my life by the computer games I was playing. And when I say 'I', you can also add in my younger brother. For all our extremely vicious fighting and rivalry, nothing bonded us closer then a blast on some football manager simulator.

In any case, here's a true story: The very roots of No Ripcord were born some nine years ago when David Coleman and myself knocked together a four page number called (ahem) Amiga Magic. The exact contents remain hazy in my memory besides a review of Alien Breed, yet the very thought brings on a fuzzy warmth of early teenage bliss. Just before your hormones made you fancy the opposite sex, but your spots ensured the feeling would never be mutual.

Copies of the above historic document are said to be currently fetching five figure bids at Christie's as we speak.