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I'm a 26-year old English writer, formerly known on the CBlogs as Xandaça. I've been an avid gamer since I was a wee lad, gripping a NES controller in my hands and comprehensively failing to get past those infuriating Hammer Bros on Level 8-3 of Super Mario Bros. I've stuck with Nintendo since then (not for any animosity towards the other console makers of course - Nintendo just make games I enjoy and have grown up with), apart from a brief sojourn with a Sony PlayStation, several woeful attempts to play Half-Life 2 using a laptop touchpad and sporadically wrangling a turn on my sister's beloved Sega Saturn.

In addition to burping out the occasional novel, I'm a passionate critic, writing reviews and articles of films, book and games for my school magazine and university newspaper, for which I created and edited its film section. In addition to starting up my own blog, covering television, games and movies, I am also a writer for Destructoid's cine-geek sister Flixist. While primarily a film geek, the evolution of the games industry over the course of its short lifetime has fascinated me and provided vast quantities of content for some incendiary pieces of work - perhaps a few more might spring up on here?

My Favourite Games of All Time (because who doesn't love having a few Of All Time lists?) are GoldenEye 007 (which I still play through at least once a year to remind me of its glories), Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Gunstar Heroes, Super Mario Bros 3 (I don't know who told Shigsy Miyamoto-san that raccoons could fly, but I'll love them forever) and No More Heroes.

I hope you find great enjoyment in my many scribings, and please keep an eye out for upcoming news on my novel(s) and do pay a visit to my blog sometime. And yes, the Dtoid community's 'no copy and paste' rule will be fully respected!

Good gaming, everyone!
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I haven't had time to write a proper article today as not only have I been preparing for Christmas, but it's also my birthday. Hoorah. I am today as old as the Super Mario Bros series. I came across the video below and it reminded me of one of the things I absolutely adore about classic games. Jump to the thirty second mark...

Did you see that? Seriously?! Super Mario Bros 3 is twenty-two years old, I've played through it countless times (even quite recently on Virtual Console) and had absolutely no idea you could do that. And it's clearly a proper feature Nintendo put in, not some random bug that can only be discovered by performing an illogical action. There are few things I find more thrilling that discovering some old favourite still has secrets to reveal. The coolest thing about this particular secret is that Nintendo have taken the Kuribo Shoe and Raccoon suit, two of the series' coolest ever items, combined them and made them both even more cool. Yes, it turns out the Kuribo Shoe was somehow even greater than anyone thought.

Another example would be the community that developed around investigating some of the original GoldenEye 007's little mysteries, like the island on the far side of the Dam, Ouroumov's briefcase in the Silo, the All-Bonds code or the elusive Citadel multiplayer map. Even though the truth was unsurprisingly mundane in the end - they were remnants of features Rare cut from the final game, which you can read more about here if you're interested - having those little unknown elements made every return trip to the game that little bit more exciting, as you never knew what new discovery was waiting for you.

I know it's easy to slip into a "life were better back in t'day" attitude, but I can't think of any modern games that have as many hidden treats as games like Super Mario Bros 3 or GoldenEye 007 that take years to be discovered. While hardly vital to making an engaging experience, such secrets do make games feel that little bit more personal. So in the season of goodwill and giving, what are the favourite little presents you've discovered in a game?

And since I'm not going to be around next week, I'll take this chance to wish my fellow Dtoiders a very merry Christmas, Hannukah or miscellaneous non-denominational seasonal holiday! See you in two weeks!
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Living the dream since March 16, 2006

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