Politics and video games have never been obvious bedfellows. Generally, when games try to make any sort of political point, it seems to come in the form of a pro-America, neo-Conservative rallying cry (see Call of Duty), a dig at historical colonialism (see Assassin's Creed), or as a tongue-in-cheek swipe at bureaucracy and immigration (see Papers, Please).
Beyond that, political themes have generally been concealed behind obscure sci-fi and fantasy allegories (Bioshock, Mass Effect, Dragon Age Inquisition...), sandbox strategy sims (Civilisation), or conspiracy-fuelled satire that gets undermined by extreme violence and misogyny (Grand Theft Auto V).
However, there was one game, back in the early 90s, which tackled politics head-on - specifically, the divisions, both political and philosophical, of The Cold War. And it was, believe it or not, an arcade game: Kaneko's The Berlin Wall.
Alas, the glory days of amusement arcades ended decades ago.
However, if you're anything like us - you'll no doubt find it impossible to walk past one of these neon-lit establishments without nipping inside to relive your misspent youth, before blowing ten quid in about thirty seconds (unless you've exchanged all your money for 2 pence pieces, in the hope of getting lucky on the penny falls).
Digitiser 2000 continues today's loose theme with this essential checklist of things you are guaranteed to stumble over in every arcade. Listen, David - why not cut it out of your screen, and take it on holiday with you this summer? Go on.
We miss the golden era of arcade gaming. What arcades are left are bolted to the side of bowling alleys, or crumbling on a seafront. We yearn for the days when arcades were an evening out - when the likes of Namco's Ridge Racer Full Scale and Galaxian 3 verged on being theme park rides.
Fortunately, there's still one company producing big arcade machines - China's Guangzhou Huataibaishun Animation Technology Co. Ltd. Described on its corporate website as "Different, unique and reflesh", Huataibaishun's "activities bring sprint and strength", and they claim that "we find it new and excited in the activity".
Their corporate ethos further develops these concepts: "Dear customers: you are the engine of us. We are pushed forward by your wise choice. Dear customers: thanks for your support sincerely!"
Here are five of their more notable products. Thanks for your support sincerely!
BLOODBORNE IS A NUMBER TWO
And so, despite almost universal acclaim - except by us - Bloodborne failed to reach the top of the All Formats Games chart last week, galloping suggestively into the charts some 22,000 units behind the top-selling Battlefield Hardline.
Though some are heralding this as a sign of The Most Terrible Things, it should be remembered that Bloodborne is a PS4 exclusive, whereas Hardline is available on, well, everything. Last week's other new release was Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which hit the charts at number 3. Expect a Digitiser2000 review of that juicy baboon very soon.
You can stretch your eyes across the full Top 10 at GamesIndustry.biz
PRIVATE RYAN SAYS: "If I comment on this can you track me down through my ISP? I'm not being funny, but I'm not comfortable with strangers knowing too much about me. That's why all my security settings on Facebook are set to maximum and my Tweets are protected so that only I can read them.
"It's just because this one time, this guy - Phil at work - found a load of pictures of me online at a fancy dress party where I was dressed as a fang, and he posted them around on the internal mail saying I was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, and I had to go and have a meeting with the head of HR, and even though I hadn't done anything wrong, I was so nervous I kept sliding off the chair and under her desk... which raised even more questions."
A couple of new interviews with Digitiser 2000's sexless overlord Mr Biffo have popped up online, for some reason.
Firstly, here he is on Techradar talking about his favourite "computer" games, as part of the site's PC Gaming Week. And here he is chatting with Harry Yack about Teletext and other things:
Don't forget: if you wish to have The Biffo lulling you to sleep on a regular basis, you can sign up as one of our Paypal or Patreon sponsors. Among other sponsor benefits, Biffo's Ask-Me-Do videos pop up every couple of weeks (new one due this week - send your questions/requests to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
So. Get this: thanks to not being professional games journalists for many years (arguably, we're still not) we're the guys who never played Dark Souls. Or Demon's Souls. Maybe we're ar-souls (do you see?). Or maybe we just read all the reviews, and heard our special friends going on and on and on about how good/punishing they were, and just went "Naaah... Not for us".
It was that famous difficulty level that really put us off; could we really be bothered to play the same moments again and again and again, learning enemy patterns and behaviour through repeated deaths? Ultimately: no. No we could not.
Frankly, life is short. We'd much rather be galloping through the countryside on our prize-winning pony Spirit, who we rescued from a bog and trained and he became our most special friend and won Best In Show at the county fayre but then the evil Mr Hoegestratten tried to burn down the stables for insurance purposes and Spirit nearly died but then he escaped and helped us fetch water from the lake and we saved the stables and everyone was cheering and clapping and shouting "USA! USA! USA!" and Mr Hoegestratten came out to see what was happening and Spirit bit him in the throat and he died.
Another mildly curtailed Digi2000 this week, due to the having quite a lot on with the real job.
That can't be helped, alas, but still we managed to fire a ton of loveliness into your face... Including up-to-the-minute Clarkson nonsense with The Man and The Man's Daddy, plus a review of Battlefield: Hardline, Chart Cat and much, much more.
Remember: if you're enjoying the site, and you want us to stick around, you can always become one of our special sponsors.
Among the rewards on offer, are Digi portraits (like the one above - click through for further examples), a copy of our The Man's Daddy's Book of Popular Comedy Jokes (containing over 500 mostly excellent jokes), and access to special secret videos. Here be the round-up of everything you may have missed this week...
Hello. I'm a popular comedian called The Man's Daddy.
Recently, I read the news that the popular TV presenter "Jeremy" Clarkson had been fired from his job as the host of the popular TV show Top Gear. I was so sad I deliberately broke my own arm by wedging it down the back of a radiator, and jumping out of the window. I couldn't stop crying afterwards. Oh well.
Here are some excellent jokes that have been inspired by this terrible tragedy - perhaps the greatest tragedy to have ever befallen our society. If you start to feel emotional while reading these jokes, please... please punch yourself in and around the thorax.
NEW TOE-JAM AND EARL: HAPPENING
Surprising nobody (except perhaps those of us who thought the 3D/2D graphics in the demo looked a bit ropey) Toe-Jam and Earl: Back In The Groove - a new sequel to the 1991 Mega Drive original - has broken through its Kickstarter goal of $400,000.
The game's pot is now standing at just over $470,000 as we write this - already having met its first two stretch goals. PS4, Xbox One and Wii U versions will be added to the already announced PC edition, if the game reaches $600,000, $700,000 and $800,000 respectively.
Click through for a video, which does - we regret - begin with the words "Yo whassup, y'all".
Sonic The Hedgehog has a lot to answer for. Though the "hedgehog with attitude" was created by Sega as a shameless answer to Mario - emerging from their fuzzy loins as a fully-formed corporate mascot - his success in the early-90s inspired wave after wave of me-too games characters "with attitude".
Sonic isn't what he once was - Sega has failed to keep pace with the times, and the 'hog's star is now more a rusty starfish - but here are just a few of those who wanted a slice of Sonic's anthropomorphic pie, but ended up choking on it. We salute their passing... with a loud, anal rasp.
I recently got a job as the new host of the TV motoring show Top Geer, which I present alongside a pair of chattering ventriloquist's puppets: Vent-pup Small and Vent-pup Tall.
One of the regular features on our show is Tsar On A Reasonably Priced Czar - in which we invite bejewelled tsars (such as Oleg of Novgorod or Konstanti of Rostov) to ride around our test track on the shoulders of a Czar who's wearing clothes from Primark (ie; Peter Alexeevich or Vasily of Kostroma).
We also have our popular Power Laps segment, in which our resident, enigmatic lappist The St. Igg' (a reimagining of the singer Iggy Pop, if he'd been canonised by the Pope) gets down on his hands and knees to see how fast he can drink a bowl of milk using only his tongue.
Are we the only ones who get paranoid when we speak to police people, even if we haven't done a real bad murder and that? It's like there's a little voice at the back of our brain, urging us to confess to every last thing we ever did wrong.
"...And then when we were seven we did a poo in our dad's wardrobe, and blamed it on the dog, and the dog got put down..."
Given that we've all got a relationship with the law - from one side or another - it's weird that there haven't been more video games which cast the player in the role of a cop.
Back in the day, we were big fans of the Police Quest games - but they started out as a regular point-and-click adventure series, before mutating into a slightly worthy (ie; dull) procedural thing.
We don't know why this should be. Perhaps it's because police work must take place within the boundaries of the law, whereas most first-person shooters drop you into the anything-goes chaos of war. Being a policeman encourages the player to make arrests, and not just run around guns blazing at cannon-fodder demons, aliens, or foreigners.
We suppose Blacksmiths were basically the mechanics of their day. The main difference - in our mind - is that, when your horse threw a shoe back in ye olden days, you'd be greeted by a burly, big-bearded, bald-headed alpha male in a leather apron, rather than, y'know, some miserable, patronising oik in a pair of overalls who couldn't be less enthusiastic about changing your tyre.
Not so long ago we showed you a video of a real woman carving a life-sized replica of Majora's mask out of some wood. Now we're going to show you another life-sized replica of Link's iconic Hylian Shield forged by some real blacksmiths. It's genuinely a thing of beauty. Click through for the video.
By Jesse Ross
So. Battlefield Hardline is here, and it is 900p on PS4 and 720p on XB1. I for one am ENRAGED by this news.
If you’re an XB1 owner like me you now have 180 LESS pixels than those dirty, scrubbing, "we have better hardware" PeeS4 owners. Let me break it down for you if you don’t think 180 pixels is that much of a big deal: 180 pixels is like a small amount of sand on your palm.
And if you’ve ever held a tiny pile of sand on your palm like most of us have on holiday after a horrible argument with your girlfriend who is walking into the sea as if she might eventually drown herself, you’ll know it’s quite an unnerving sensation.
To try and explain to you bloody people what the difference 180peas makes to a gaming experience is quite frankly exasperating. Look, imagine your budget flat screen TV that you watch drunkenly from across the room has 20 per cent less pixels than your neighbours TV. How could you EVER enjoy a tv like that? You might think that at an average viewing distance of across a medium sized room it is negligible. You are WRONG.
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