We weren't the most adept at blagging stuff - and I'm still not, which is why I resort to the occasional passive-aggressive plea for freebies in articles like this (give PC, ploss?). Occasionally, however, something would present itself for which we felt compelled to prostrate ourselves.
Among our victories in this area were a Furby-type thing that I managed to scrounge, because my daughter really wanted one for Christmas, and a visit to London's Alien War experience before it opened to the public.
If you've never heard of Alien War, it was an early foray into immersive theatre, located in the bowels of Piccadilly's Trocadero Centre. Licensed from the Alien movie series, you were taken on a tour of an ill-lit space station research facility, while encountering men dressed up as the iconic xenomorphs.
Though it could've been an embarrassing bunch of faff, it was genuinely terrifying - particularly a sequence set in an elevator, where one alien stuck its face through a hatch, while another dragged off one of our party for purposes unknown. I went back another three or four times following our first visit, taking various friends, nephews and nieces with me. Don't go looking for it now: it shut down following a real bad burst pipe in 1996, and never reopened.
The Trocadero tended to be a bit of a mecca for Digi back in the day, and I was sad to notice recently that it had shut its doors, given the good times we'd shared. We went to the opening of the huge, multi-storey Segaworld arcade they used to have in there - which happened to be one of the few places in the UK to offer virtual reality.
I've possibly mentioned before that as part of our original pitch for Digitiser, myself and Tim "Mr Hairs" Moore intended to review arcade games. Somehow, Teletext's first editor agreed to give us a load of money every month to go and blow it in the Trocadero.
And every month we'd go get our arcade money from petty cash, and leave the building cackling hysterically, before heading into town.
Virtuality, you may remember, launched in the early 90s with games such as Dactyl Nightmare and Grid Busters. It was the first, and as far as I can be bothered to research, only virtual reality arcade system.
Despite this - and the generous stipend provided by our employer - we only ever reviewed the Virtuality games a couple of times.
After a few goes, it was clear that the technology couldn't cope with the demands of the games - it was far more disorientating than it should've been - while watching other people playing in the Virtuality pods was enough to put us off. We didn't much fancy looking like even bigger idiots than we already did, and it was apparent that VR had potential, but that potential was a long way off of being realised.
By the time the final wave of Virtuality games rolled out - Zone Hunter, Pac-Man VR - we'd lost interest altogether, as had the rest of the world.
Nevertheless, that didn't stop us accepting an invitation to the world's first public virtual reality centre. After all, who could refuse an all-expenses paid trip to Nottingham?
Nottingham's Legend Quest was the closest we ever came to properly enjoying virtual reality. The site boasted four linked VR headsets - which players wore while standing in Virtuality pods that resembled tree trunks.
And then this happened:
"Set in the far off land of Khelda Roth, a once beautiful world is now gripped by the wrath of the god Nar-Gadrin; the mission is to help in the quest to banish this force of disorder and chaos to the universe from whence he came.
"This interactive role play adventure experience enables the player to choose from a variety of characters and professions before they enter the underworld of Targ-Athuin.
"Noble Elf, true hearted Human or treasure loving Dwarf, each race has its own part to play in the liberation of Khelda Roth.
'Their chosen profession, of either nimble fingered Thief, courageous Warrior or worldly-wise Wizard, will enable the players to contribute their part in the challenges and tasks that await them in this fantasy world."
What was particularly amusing is that your character's voice was changed depending on its race. We were given a VHS copy of our adventure to take away with us; I remember Tim's elf having a high-pitched squeak, and my dwarf speaking in an electronic baritone.
It wasn't cheap - £5 got you membership to the centre, and a memory card upon which you could save your character's progress for your next visit. £1.50 got you 5 minutes play. Given that this was probably 1994-ish, that could soon add up, but you could hardly blame them given that the centre had cost in excess of £250,000 to set up.
For me, Legend Quest was the closest VR got to being the thing that everyone wanted it to be - at least, as far as the 90s went. As a relatively more sedate and open-ended experience, it allowed the player to take stock of their surroundings.
Still, even then it proved to be more confusing than was ideal.
Trying to grab a swinging rope, or hack at a skeleton, or simply walk up a staircase, was more trial and error than skill. Plus, I could never quite escape the feeling that there were people on the other side of the headset visor, pointing and laughing as I flailed around like I was swatting at a cloud of imaginary wasps.
Virtuality was a novelty rather than a new platform - and, frankly, everybody knew it except the Virtuality Group, which kept plugging away until the company broke up in 1997 following lack of demand for its absurdly expensive technology (about £45,000 a pop - even though early models ran on an Amiga 3000).
It's probably the reason why I've been resistant to the recent resurgence in VR - my prejudices were formed 20 years ago, and breaking them down hasn't been easy. Rest assured, though, the petals of my mind are starting to peel back. I'm open to the possibility that this time, maybe, virtual reality is ready to encounter the world - and it won't merely be remembered as some weird fad that happened decades ago. You know: like the Moon landings, or Global Hypercolor clothing.
THE COMPLETE GAMES OF MY YEARS