Format: Playstation Genre: Turn-Based Tatics Released: 2000 Developer: Infogrames Studios
If anyone has listened to our podcasts (anyone?) then you’ll know there are lots and lots of games that I haven’t played. So it seems fitting that in one of my rare posts I talk about a game I have never played before and have very little idea what it’s about – Hogs of War.
Here’s what I imagine Hogs of War to be – something like Worms, but with pigs. I had absolutely no interest in playing it when it came out and have even less interest now. I’ll be honest with you, if you want to read an overview of the greatness (or rubbish…ness) of Hogs of War I’m afraid this is not the place…
Several years ago I found the North Star. The North Star is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest pubs on planet Earth. There’s nothing flashy about it. It has no gimmicks, it doesn’t need them. It’s a friendly local. ‘Local’ in the very best sense of the word. It has its regulars but it’s friendly to new comers as well. Patrons range from people who have lived in the area for years, to trendy young things who have probably just moved to London, to a big group of middle-aged lesbians. The bar staff know what I drink there and I know most of them by name. The juke box has excellent tunes and, as an extra-large cherry on top, they have a dart board. The only thing missing is the piano. Sadly they had to get rid of it for some reason last year.
Every Monday I head down the North Star, play darts with friends Andy and Paul (plus the occasional special guest) and drink one too many bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale (it’s always one too many). We talk about everything under the sun – previous subjects have included the feasibility of building a replica Spitfire, whether or not the gunpowder plot was a protestant conspiracy and the greatness of Alan Whicker. It helps me get over Monday blues, gives the week a kick-start and always helps put things in perspective. It’s rare to leave the North Star without feeling that little bit better about the world and life in general.
Of course, drinking Newcastle Brown Ale means I have to occasionally use the facilities. It’s a small pub, so said facilities are not huge: three urinals and one cubicle. Above the urinals there are two advertisements. One for Reebok Classic trainers the other…
Hogs of War. I could sit down and come up with a relatively accurate estimation of how long I have spent staring at that Hogs of War poster over the years. But I can’t be bothered. So lets say I’ve spent the equivalent of 3 weeks, 5 days, 2 hours and 41 seconds reading the, ah, hilarious innuendo of the advert. Hahahaha, who’s got the biggest weapon? Hahahaha. Do you see? Do you understand? It has two meanings? One a bit rude. Hahahahaha.
So how exactly has a mere advert for a game I have never played before made my life slightly better? Well it symbolises for me how this pub doesn’t really change. And I like that. In my life, and I’m sure in your lives, things constantly change and adapt. We get new jobs, move house, meet new people, get married, have children, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, usually change is good, and life is all about moving forward and facing new challenges, but… It is nice to have something that doesn’t change, something that stays constant, if only for a little while.
That Hogs of War poster represents the little oasis of calm that is the North Star. That no matter what happens in my life I’ll be down the ‘Star on a Monday talking about it. Last year the pub was redecorated yet they kept the Hogs of War advert. Somehow they knew…
One day they will take down the Hogs of War advertisement. I hope to try to get it off them when they do and keep it. No doubt there will come a time when I can’t go to the pub every Monday to play darts with Andy and Paul: after all, nothing lasts forever. But if I have that poster (above my toilet, it’s definitely the perfect place for it) then at least I’ll be able to have one thing that doesn’t change.
“My favourite public house, the Moon Under Water, is only two minutes from a bus stop, but it is on a side street, and drunks and rowdies never seem to find their way there, even on Saturday nights. Its clientele, though fairly large, consists mostly of “regulars” who occupy the same chair every evening and go there for conversation as much as for the beer.”
That’s how George Orwell described his perfect imaginary pub and it’s the perfect description of the North Star.