How to keep your Gamecube warm...

Teach yourself to never cry again at Pikmin 2

Pikmin may be one of Nintendo's more low key franchises, but in terms of innovation and quality it deserves as much respect as Zelda or Mario.

This is because the horticultural RTS not only tests your skill as a gamer but also your emotional toughness, as it's incredibly difficult not to treat Pikmin as preciously as a newborn. They're so loyal, their little veggie faces full of unconditional love that they become like your children.

Seeing one of your Pikmin fall in battle doesn't so much tug at the heart strings as go at them with a weed whacker. As they fall to the dirt, flailing their roots to the heavens as the strains of Barber's Adagio for Strings fill the air, you start to think: is mindless exploitation of root vegetables truly necessary? Isn't this just as bad as teaching a beagle to smoke or sending a monkey down a diamond mine? Undoubtedly.

So that's your challenge: to exploit the fact that the layout of each dungeon is random and continually play Pikmin till you're emotionally numb- till you can strike your heart as if it was stone.

You might think this is impossible. But we suggest repeat viewings of Day of the Triffids andAttack of the Killer Tomatoes to get used to vegetable slaughter - or even try needlessly pouring cans of V8 down the sink. You can do it, big guy- just think they're not even real... (sniff).

But be aware that, should you accomplish this final task, you're not welcome around here any more. You heartless bastard.