Before I leave you to your August, here's one final Digitiser Letters Page. Think of it like a sort of unwanted "going away" present, like a bad perfume, or a dog's spine, or a trowel, or something.
If you'd like to appear here, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone, please send your filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biffo, do you have any records of Digi’s top 10 games by year?
As a self confessed Nintendo Fan Boi back in the day, I have great memories of Nintendo absolutely bossing the charts and taking the number one spot each year in the mid to late 2000’s.
It would be great to see an article by you for each year with a brief overview of each game to relive the nostalgia!
Or I might not. I don't know. I'm not a "seer" you know!!!!!!!!
I was one of those odd people that actually enjoyed No Mans Sky when it was first released. I hadn’t played it in a long while but was eager to check out the changes made in the latest big update.
I was a bit annoyed at first because they’d seemingly made quite an overhaul to the items and inventory so a few upgraded items I had collected were now ‘obsolete technology’ and had to be dismantled for scrap.
However, this had a silver lining in that it actually gave me stuff to do again - collecting the various bits I needed to create the new equivalent of what I’d had before. I was also surprised to see I had previously put in over 90 hours of play into it before I got bored last time. Which is impressive given that it was literally wandering around collecting rocks.
The update has made quite a few big changes but it is still a bit buggy. I’ve had it fully crash on me a couple of times. I am enjoying it again now though and I can only praise Hello Games for powering through all the bad press and delivering an update 2 years down the line, for free, that gives the game a new lease of life.
Are there any games that you have returned to after an extended period to suddenly enjoy again, maybe after an update? (I know Skyrim can be crossed out...)
Hey, listen! I’ve recently started playing The Simpsons Game (Wii version) from what some call the “pile of shame” - but think of more as a “collection”. I quite like the parts where you aren’t playing, and some of the jokes while you are - like the green blood for the Germans. Essentially, I don’t like any of the bits that make it a game.
The game bits started average, which I was happy with, but rapidly became dreadful. Which I wasn’t happy with.
The first Simpsons game I played was Bart vs The Space Mutants on the Atari ST, and while it may have been missing the animated introduction from the Amiga version, at least it didn’t have an impossible jump. I enjoyed it at the time because of the Simpsons branding, but even then I knew it wasn’t very good.
My question is this: 1) Has there been a good Simpson’s game?
My other better questions are about licensed games that make fools of us (just me?)and our insatiable appetite for familiarity.
2) What licenses have produced the best and worst games overall?
3) Is there a license which deserves better than what it got?
4) Conversely is there a licensed game that’s better than it has any right to be?
5) Do licenses fair better if they don’t adhere too strictly to the source material?
6) Are we idiots for thinking a film/cartoon/book/art should somehow be a game at all?
Looking over my collection I don’t have that many games based on an intellectual property, but there is a definite Simpson’s and Hero/Ninja Turtle trend, one which will probably continue because I’m an idiot.
Thank you for your time.
2) Best one ever? Goldeneye on the N64, YES? The Batman: Arkham games are in with a shout too.
3) Hmm. Dunno. I quite liked the original Epic Mickey game, probably more than most.
4) Again, Goldeneye, non?
5) Not necessarily. I mean, I think the whole point of a licensed game has to be a certain degree of authenticity. Part of why I never enjoyed the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games - yes, yes, everyone else likes them - is because it didn't feel like proper Star Wars to me. Whereas, say, Dark Forces did. Also, I don't like that they've messed around with Spider-Man's costume in the new game that's coming out.
6) No! Lots of great games have been licensed.
7) You did not ask me a seventh thing! Why is this even here!??!
'Allo, Mr. Biffo! So, here’s a thing...
A while back, after receiving a bit of bonus pay, I decided I’d blow some of it on some frivolous, completely non-essential items.
Where some folks with an interest in video games would probably throw their spending money at a new game, or a new bit of kit like a controller or something, I’ve never been one to make such considered decisions. Instead, on this occasion, I’d got it into my head that it might be fun to buy a coffee mug. Not just any old coffee mug, mind. I mean, one of those fancy licensed ones with a bit of nicely applied key art on it. Something that says "Hey! I like Mass Effect / Pac Man / Sonic the Hedgehog (delete as applicable) but I also REALLY like coffee!"
(It wouldn't say 'delete as applicable,' mind you. That would be silly.)
So, I ended up on Ebay, scouring listings for overpriced, officially licensed mugs. After a bit of searching, I found a seller offering a deal where you could buy one and get another at a reduction of 30%. “Woohoo!” I thought to myself, before smacking the ‘Buy It Now’ button so hard that my laptop flinched. Surely my every coffee break would be enhanced by this life altering purchase!
Two days later, my mugs arrived. And as nice as they are, I’m reluctant to admit that coffee doesn’t taste any better in them.
They haven’t bestowed super-powers upon me. Or made me attractive to women. Then again, it’d be silly to expect any of that, because they ARE only coffee mugs. But what really stings is that, almost dependably after those shiny ceramic items arrived, I started to see ALL OF THE UNMISSABLE BARGAINS EVER wherever I looked. Except, they were completely missable by necessity, because my spending money had gone on two coffee mugs. Natch.
Ah, well. Live and learn, I guess. I just wondered if you’d ever made a similarly pointless gaming related purchase, or one that makes you look back and ask “why did I buy that?”
HdE. Aged 41 and a half.
I trust this day finds you well.
I’m thinking about finally doing my Masters degree, but can’t find ‘Digitiser Studies’ in the catalogue for Wigan University. I was wondering if you could possibly send me a course information leaflet for Peans Uni?
In return, I enclose a picture of James Romanelli’s Kerguelen bagel review.
Hi Paul. Digi has been super-funny lately. I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s amazing you can still put such great stuff out considering you have so much on!
Sorry you’ve had to cancel your appearance at Play London this weekend. Hope things are ok, and it’s nothing too serious. I’m sure I won’t be the only one expressing their sadness at the Biffo-less nature of the event now, or indeed sending you good wishes. I’ll just have to make sure I’m there when you next make an appearance.
I’ll still be heading up for this one - my first trip to a retrogaming event, so that’ll be fun - and I’ll go show my support for your Digi The Show colleagues on their panel.
I did have a question all lined up ready for your Q&A, so I guess I should ask it here instead:
Given that the generation that grew up reading Digi has now got to an age where they’re able to find mass outlets for their creativity, and we have the kind of platforms that make it easy to distribute, is there anything around that you’re aware of that you’d consider to be influenced by Digi? If not specifically by it, then what about spiritual heirs?
I see elements of humour around the web, and in the media generally, that echoes what you started, though obviously not in quite the same way - and I wonder if the creators were aware of your work.
The best example that comes to mind is Jim’ll Paint It. Sure, his images are all based on delirious fan suggestions, but the way he interprets them seems to be compatible with Digi-style humour.
Do you think you’ve influenced people like this? Has anyone told you as much?
There was something else I wanted to ask you, though I wasn’t going to do it in the Q&A, because, well, it’s very niche.
For a while now I’ve been wondering about your character designs. In particular: what the hell are those straps around the faces of so many of them supposed to be?!
I haven’t really thought anything of it up to this point, just put it down to the Biffo MO, but we see them often enough that it’s been on my mind more and more. Are they ball gags? Or those cheek retractor things dentists use? In a way it would be quite nice if you don’t even know yourself, and they were just that way because they’re funny. Anyway!
Have a good break for the rest of the month, if that’s still the plan. Nobody denies you deserve some down time considering how hard you’ve been working. Well, nobody apart from Robert Mugabe - he’s such a git!!!!!!!!??!!!!!!
Once again, hope you’re well and the cancellation isn’t for anything drastically untoward.
Oh - and if you still require dozens of people dressed as Mario for that THING, then consider me on board.
Would also like to know what others think on all this.
The ball gags I can indeed explain; my mates and I went out a few times (I remember going to a gig and on the pedalos in Hyde Park in this manner) wearing masks that I'd made which covered the bottom half of our faces, and had mouths drawn on them. So: they're not ball gags at all: they're "fake" mouths. Hope that clears that up.
Not enough people responded to the Mario world record attempt request alas, so we probably won't be doing it. Bah. Have fun at Play, Bellston! Don't spit at anyone. You know: like you usually do.
Dearest Biffs, As I write, it is just under twenty-four hours until my journey down to London Play Expo commences. I am QUITE excited. Very much looking forward to meeting friends old and new, as well as enjoying all that the event itself offers.
Of course, disappointed that you'll be absent, because then I could have forgotten to take a selfie with you again, but rest assured that the Digi crowd will be charging around screeching in your honour. Or something.
Recently took the wife and kids for a seaside holiday in a caravan (static). Had a great time but the one thing that slightly depressed me was the state of the arcades these days.
It's all teddy grabbers and stupid ticket machines now, not a mad dog mcree in site!
It did cheer me up when I found a real video game though, right at the back was a sit down Outrun 2. I didn't play it of course! I've got it on my PSP which I taped off the internet. The kids had a great time "playing" the attract mode just like I did when I was their age!
Anyways, I kept the Outrun money and spent it on liquor.
Looking forward to the show. Byeeeeeeeee.
And on that charming note, it is time - time for me to leave you be for a couple of weeks. Have a good August, everyone. I'm SO ruddy knackered.