Thanks to everyone who said something nice about Mr Biffo's Found Footage. Work is already underway on next year's full series. If you can give the Christmas special a plug - please do. The more people we can get to watch it, the more chance there is of futher stuff like this happening in the future.
For the first time ever, Digitiser2000's Friday Letters Page will feature a Star Letter. The winner of the prestigious honour will receive a prize, donated by Digitiser2000 reader Bunty McSad-Pants. She calls it "Monsieur Le Fantôme". This is what it looks like.
I can't recall reading about your history with FPS games at all. If I did I probably forgot it, because on occasion I forget what I'm doing in day to day life. No big deal.
So I picked up Titanfall 2 mostly on your recommendation, and because giant robots are something that the small child in me is very much down with.
Anyway... robots are yay, and having played a bit of multiplayer last night I quite enjoyed it. One thing that I find weird about modern FPS games (T2 included) is cooldown timers on stuff like grenades. My character can magically create grenades from nowhere simply by waiting. Weird.
Playing Halo back in the day, running around desperately trying to stock up on plasma grenades from the corpses of the fallen, to try and get past a later section, is very much set in my mind as a struggle that you endured. Now I get them for free?
One worse is Overwatch, which I played last weekend because it was free. It feels like babby's first FPS for many reasons; a cooldown timer on your abilities and never ending ammo for a start. What changed in FPS games that the developers decided that having all your shit at the start of a match is the way things should be done, and the ability to never run out of ammo nor pick up weapons from the floor is better somehow?
I want to struggle, because then it feels oh so much sweeter to annihilate fools online. In Halo 2, trying to control power weapons, and pursue objectives whilst switching out weapons on the fly, is some of the best gaming of my life. Overwatch gives everything to you and also takes everything away by not giving you options.
Anyway, never-ending grenades would be a pretty great band name but what genre should we play?
That guy that spent far too much time crying with laughter whilst Yakkety Sax played through proximity talk on Halo 2 on CTF
It's the same reason I could never get into Timesplitters back in the day, despite everyone heralding it as totes amazeballs. But that's more about the aesthetic for me, than regenerating grenades. They just feel like a convenience. Or did. Now you've drawn my attention to them, you've ruined games for me completely. Thanks a lot, man.
Has Eddie the Envelope ever met Rare's erstwhile letter page overse'er Mr. Pants?
Now then. Following a lucky find in a charity shop, I've been introducing my kids to one of the best tv shows from my youth, Eerie Indiana. Having watched a few episodes with them, I'm amazed by two things...
1. How good it still is, some 20 years later.
2. That it ever got commissioned in the first place.
So, what's the weirdest kids tv show that you've ever seen, or know of being rejected for being too out there, or that failed to get commissioned following a pilot?
Enjoying the Scripts of my Years pieces muchly, by the way.
I'm generally not privvy to things that have been rejected, other than my own things - and most shows I've pitched have tended to at least not sound too weird, because commissioners like to know what they're getting, and weirdness scares them off. Also: it's rare for kids' TV to do a pilot, due to the lower budgets. They tend to commission series off the back of a script. Or scripts.
Might you ever go on a travel adventure with Tim Moore? And then write a book together? Or perhaps write a book each on the same journey.
Do you think the future of entertainment lies with crowd funding as traditional television grows ever less relevant? Personally I'd love to opt out of the license fee and give that money to creators who actually entertain me.
Thank you for Scripts of my Years, wonderfully written, nostalgic and enlightening. Can't wait for the book.
After Digitiser, we did go away together a few times. Including to a beer festival in Stockholm, and the Munich Beer Festival for two days that felt like a week.
The highlight of this latter trip was the two of us becoming "disorientated" and losing one another in the sea of drunks. We eventually reconnected after spotting each other on opposite sides of a bumper car ride - and inexplicably decided to cross over. The cars started up, and we were simultaneously knocked over, each ending up clinging to the front of two separate bumper cars. They had to stop the ride to eject us.
This sounds like something that would be made up, or written for a Mr Bean movie. Incredibly, it actually happened.
It's not exactly cycling the Iron Curtain.
This week at Hipster Barbers School: Artisanal trepanning.
As befits my ent-like age, I am becoming increasingly irritated at the demise of my gaming powers, especially in the FPS department. I'm looking at you, reflexes & hand-eye coordination. So I've eschewed Battlefield 1's ludicrous charms for the last week (to help me calm down) and gone retro.
Whilst it is fair to say that 80s games were the hardest ever, they mainly had a joystick and a couple of buttons to contend with. The advent of Street Fighter 2 with its dizzying six buttons was a death knell for me. Moreover, the games of my youth could be dipped into for twenty minutes a go, in between your paper round and riding your BMX. A game of Operations on BF1 is an hour long!
Given the likelihood of a return to those halcyon days, I will officially retire from current generation gaming now. Another death in 2016.... shocking. An arcade cabinet will be the only gaming investment I will be making in 2017, thank you.
Slippers on. Check. Back into the bath chair. Check.
Sorry to have troubled you.
Please help. I have written a short script about Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity, in which they save a youth club from demolition through street dance. I have sent a copy to Simon Cowell but he has ignored it, although I know he has seen me because I am looking at him right now through his windows. Do you have any advice or do I have to have a decade experience in writing?
Do you have any hilarious stories of Christmas parties at Teletext HQ? Did anyone show you their willy? Did you show anyone your willy? Yours in Christ,
The only other Teletext Christmas bashes I recall were one where they hired a sort of travelling casino and a terrible up-close magician, and another - after I had left - at Sanctuary Spa in London, which had featured in the "erotic" movie The Stud. Even then: no willies.
This December 1st, I partook of your Found Footage Chrimbo Special, and found it to be ruthlessly entertaining. Over the course of December, I look forward to viewing the remaining 23 daily installments. Great work on this surprise new "Advent Video" style feature!
PS. I can't fail to notice you have not advertised this Advent Video feature very thoroughly. Please correct this oversight.
Last night I watched the Found Footage Christmas Special, and consequently lost a lot of sleep. Not because the Lynchian weirdness gave me nightmares, but because I couldn't get 'Sexy Christmas USA' out of my head, and I kept waking up, giggling like an idiot.
It's a wonderful show, even better than I imagined it would be. I was grinning from ear to ear and crying with laughter through every minute of the first episode, and felt very proud seeing my name in the 'Datablast' credits at the end. Without doubt this will be the best Christmas present I get this year. Thanks Mr Biffo, you lunatic.
A few of you have mentioned that it was better than you'd expected. You gave me £18k on Kickstarter (well, closer to about £8k once Kickstarter and HM Government have taken their cut). You'd lynch me if I turned in something half-arsed.
Besides, I needed to do the Xmas one as a kind of pilot/dry run, to try and teach myself Final Cut Pro, and assorted other techniques.
Thanks for making the Xmas edition of Mr Biffo’s Found Footage that gives us a glimpse of what is to come in the six episodes funded by fans of surreal, often disturbing material.
If anyone other than your good self presented me with this woozy, demented fever dream, I would politely finish the arielator of tea they’d made me and back out of their house while I still could.
It makes me wonder, do you walk around day-to-day with stuff like this floating about in your head?
I’d imagine if Dali was still alive to witness this, he’d say “It’s a bit weird, innit?”, but maybe in Spanish and in quite a croaky voice, cos he’d be about 112 by now.
Anyway, thanks again and keep up the odd work.
Kara Van Park
Often it'll be a name or a word, or an image, that just pops into my head... and I'll build from that. Like the Sexy Christmas USA video; I had the image of someone dressed as an 80s rocker, waving an American flag, and crawling around in the woods. Comedy gold, eh?
Found Footage is meant to feel like a stream-of-consciousness. It's like with the book I did years ago - Confessions of a Chatroom Freak - where the conversation transcripts were about as pure unfiltered thought as it's possible to get.
Found Footage isn't quite that raw, but that's what I want it to feel like, the way thoughts can jump around from one thing to the next. A collage of stuff that shouldn't necessary fit next to one another. Things which kind of look familiar... but aren't once you pay attention to them.
That's probably over-explaining it all.
That said, believe it or not, there is an underlying theme or idea to Found Footage. If you want that. I mean, if you don't... you can just take it for what it is: oddness.
When I was younger I used to spend Saturday mornings at my granddad's shoe shop in Nottingham. He'd sell second-hand shoes and perform repairs. One day he had me standing outside the front of the shop trying to sell shoes to passing customers. You have to bear in mind that I was only about five years old at the time.
Some old woman came by and started looking at the wares. When she asked me the price of a pair (I can't remember what it was now, but it was in the pence) she threw the shoes right at me, splitting my lip. I ran out to the back yard of the shop to rinse the blood from my mouth (there was no working indoor plumbing) only for a moth to fly into my gaping mouth.
This has happened to me twice now with moths; the second time it happened was when I was walking back from university one cold evening enjoying a hot sausage roll. I hate those dusty buggers.
I was going to write to you about how much I've enjoyed your articles about The Scripts Of My Years, but the moth thing still troubles me to this day. Even worse, my granddad thought I'd just been pratting around all morning in the back yard, playing in the dirt and broken bricks. Ah well.
I am fit and strong and that is all.
After using PlayStation VR for the first time, I can say that it is an extraordinary experience. The danger of the technology really hit me as well, though. Once graphics improve, possibly combined with haptic feedback, people won't want to come back to real life.
I think it's possible that one day the long-term unemployed will be given VR sets to numb their existence and to keep them out of trouble. Usually I am not in favour of tight regulation but people should be careful with VR technology applications.
How much, if at all, are you looking forward to The Last Guardian?
Do you have any characters in computer games that everyone else seems to love but that you dislike? For example, HK-47 in KOTOR; I think 'he' is the worst character in it, but people think he's great!
I'm looking forward to The Last Guardian quite a bit. I just hope it's not boring.
Characters that everyone loves that I dislike? I think the new Lara Croft is pretty weak and dull, despite many people holding her up as a beacon of female empowerment. She's just so dour, and I don't have any sense of who she is as a character.
Which is fine - I've no clue who Mario is either - but if you're going to go to the effort of giving her a backstory, I would've appreciated a little more effort to make her engaging as a character. That seems to me the best way to empower her.
I once watched a man who, after stopping to talk to another man, stepped in his own dog's poo. What's the funniest thing you've witnessed taking place in public?
Though you have reminded me of a game I used to play with my friends. We'd fill a plastic bag with sloppy food - like yoghurt and bakes beans and stuff - then wrap it in another bag, and then tie a bunch more bags around it as a sort of tail. Then we'd go out into the street down the side of my parents' house, whirl it around our heads, and throw it at one another.
With all the weight, and the tail, it really flew. Gradually, the bag would split, and one of us would end up covered in the sloppy food.
One time, I flung the bag a bit too hard, and it missed my mate and hit a passer-by - who had his hands in his pockets, which somehow made it all the funnier - in the head. Suffice to say, I ran away immediately, making it look as if my mate had taken it upon himself to throw a bag of food at a complete stranger. Thus ensued an altercation that - from my hidden cranny - became funnier the more angry it became.
Oh - apropos nothing, you win this week's Star Letter prize. Do you actually want it? It's a burger box with some eyes stuck on, or something.
This second volume of Dan's ZX Spectrum history recalls "a ten year journey through the dizzying highs and bewildering lows of 1980s pop culture, the cult TV shows, the forgotten cartoons and the blockbuster movies as captured in the bizarre, brilliant and often just terrible tie-in ZX Spectrum games that defined the first ever digital decade."
But it on Amazon.
Oh yes - and I wote the introduction. I so skilly!