Unexpectedly, a Twitter person called The Industrious Ant has unearthed the very first edition of Digitiser, from January 1st 1993 - back before we were even born. If that doesn't get your 2015 off to a tolerable start, then it's likely nothing will...
Hello. I'm a popular comedian called The Man's Daddy. At this time of year there's little I like more than thinking of jokes for my award-winning comedy routine.
However, the joke is on you - as this is what I like little more than thinking of at ALL times of the year, not just at this time of the year. And now the joke is on you a second time - as I don't really like thinking of jokes at all. And now a third time, as my comedy routine has never won any awards.
And now, the joke is upon you a fourth time, as I do like little more than thinking of jokes, AND my comedy routine has won an award: The Worst Comedy Routine Award. This was awarded to me by my uncle - Xzibit, the rapper.
Appropriately, here is a bumper crops of my excellent jokes right now, and due to the time of year at which we have arrived, many of these jokes are reflecting on the nature of time and bears and talc. I will award a Surprise Gift to anyone who films themselves telling their favourite joke of mine at a New Year's Eve party. Honestly: I will literally do that. Goodbye.
QUESTION: What sort of time-keeping instrument was invented in Poland?
ANSWER: A Krakow clock (cuckoo clock).
QUESTION: What sort of time-keeping instrument has an adulterous wife?
ANSWER: A cuckold clock (cuckoo clock).
QUESTION: What is the best way to tell the time?
QUESTION: Who is Father Christmas better known as?
QUESTION: Who is Father Christmas's brother better known as?
QUESTION: What did Odin say when he dropped his phone?
QUESTION: What does Odin call origami?
ANSWER: "Fodin'" (folding).
QUESTION: Where do bears come from?
QUESTION: What is a bear’s favourite pop group?
ANSWER: The Bearing Straits (Dire Straits).
QUESTION: What does a temporally aware ursine lumberjack shout?
ANSWER: "Time-bear!" (timber)
QUESTION: What is the most hesitant household item, sold globally for use in personal hygiene and cosmetics that has raised some suspicions about the possibility that its use promotes certain types of diseases, mainly cancers of the ovaries and lungs (although this is not widely recognised as an established link), in the world?
ANSWER: Talc… um… powder.
QUESTION: What did the founder of the Organisation of Afro-American Unity use to dust his body?
ANSWER: Malcolm (X) powder (talcum powder).
QUESTION: Who are the rudest soldiers in the world?
QUESTION: Who are the rudest cooks in the world?
ANSWER: Chuffs (chefs).
QUESTION: What do you call a cat wearing a false beard that's covered in "moth dust"?
ANSWER: A handsome young fellow.
QUESTION: What are moths so dusty anyway?
ANSWER: They're really old butterflies.
QUESTION: Why won't you pick up your phone to me?
ANSWER: You hate me
QUESTION: Why won't I answer my phone to you?
ANSWER: I don't even have a phone.
QUESTION: I know I've already asked this, but why didn't you answer the phone to me?
ANSWER: Because I never even called you. I said already - I don't have a phone.
QUESTION: What sort of literature do eskimos prefer to read?
ANSWER: 'Bergs (books).
QUESTION: What sort of literature do idiots prefer to read?
ANSWER: Berks (books).
QUESTION: Why don't you know what's going on?
ANSWER: You're really confused.
QUESTION: Why don't I know what's going?
In the words of Jay "The Beatles" Leno: So that were Christmas, and what did you done? Another year over - and a new one just about to begun. Begin. Whatever. Respect. Peace out. SSSSH!
In sheer headline-generating terms, 2014 was a banner year for video games - and the banner looked as if had frequently been used as replacement lavatory paper at a well-attended harvest festival.
Gaming has always been a divided hobby - typically through an allegiance to a hardware system. This year, that divide appeared uglier and more unpleasant than ever before - like a tectonic faultline that a load of pigs had fallen into, before vomiting from fear and dying.
More sprawling, more diverse, and more important than ever, it feels as if gaming is an industry in transition, and that transition isn't proving easy. The old rules no longer apply, and beneath the mainstream, a war is being fought for its very soul. And yes - that statement is overly melodramatic in a bid to make it sound as if we care more than we actually do.
Here now, as we simultaneously shave our handsome legs, we take a quick, hungover trawl through some of the more notable gaming events of the past 12 months - with searing commentary from our very own Insincere Dave...
This year, Microsoft’s Xbox One somehow managed to turn around the fortunes of its public perception, if not its sales… yet. Ditching the Kinect and dropping the price, the Xbox One finally looks like a competitor.
Meanwhile, the Wii U had a sparkling year, creatively speaking at least. The likes of Smash Bros, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8 reminded us that games are supposed to be fun and inclusive (unless you're gay, and wanted to get married in Tomodachi Life). Generally, the PS4 continues to have the brand advantage, but the gap appears to be narrowing – not helped by a paucity of engorged exclusives.
Overall – as we’ve already harped on about – we’re finding the Sony and Microsoft machines to be virtually interchangeable at this point. For us, the next generation has yet to justify its existence, but there are signs that it might be about to happen.
Assassin's Creed Unity may have drifted across our lips in the manner of a slack gusset, but it promises that - like a demented magician secreting a small knife about his person - current-gen hardware has surprises up its sleeve. In 2015, Uncharted 4, No Man's Sky and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter could yet convince us it was worth upgrading.
"You bet, guys! I'm sure everything is going to be much better in 2015!!!! Best wishes and good luck to all the console companies!!!! And let's not forget the PC people - and all other people too!!!!! There's definitely enough love to go around in the games industry right now!!!!
"I can't think of a single reason not to be excited for gaming consoles, handhelds, PCs, and mobile platforms in the year 2015!!!!!?!!!? It's gonna be epic!!!!!?! My thighs are sweating just thinking about it?!!!!!??"
Whichever side of the Gamergate debate you’re on, only a true masochist could enjoy everything that has unfolded over the past six months or so.
Whether you adhere to the mistaken belief that it’s a righteous crusade to promote ethics in games journalism, or believe it's a misogynistic grass roots movement to abuse women working in the industry, or you just want to punish "liars" and subconsciously protect your hobby from what you perceive as threats to it from horrible outsiders, there are extreme views, ill behavior, and depressing examples of entrenched opinion on all sides.
It’s difficult to see an end point at this stage – given the fractured anonymity of Gamergaters and the arguably justifiable anger of those opposed to it. It seems like everyone is dug in for the long haul.
As we've previously, perhaps foolishly, attempted to state - we just wish people would stop acting like knobs, and treat others with something approaching respect and empathy.
"Whoo! Go, Gamergaters!!!!! I know your hearts are in the right place, even if you sometimes accidentally come across as evil!!!!??! I know you don't mean to, and we can all respect someone with principles, right?!?
"And a big thumbs-up to everyone in the Social Justice Warrior community too!!!! Your endless devotion to your cause does you, and all other human beings, proud!!!!?!? Surely, social Justice is the greatest form of justice - along with all other forms of justice!?!!!?"
Truth is, there wasn't really a real stand-out title on any console this year – not helped by the amount of games which straddled the generations, and a number of next-gen polishes for last-gen games.
We appreciate that it has its supporters, but we’re of the opinion that Destiny is a hollow disappointment (yeah, bully for you – having lots of friends to play online with: all our friends hate us), Assassin’s Creed Unity was gorgeous but boring (and, allegedy, bugged to buggery), Alien Isolation needlessly difficult, Sunset Overdrive felt like an early last-gen title, Watchdogs an anemic GTA, and Titanfall was solid, but has become forgotten. Even by us. Titanwhat? Admittedly, Shadows of Mordor was a pleasant surprise, but an utter lack of challenge made it the anti-Dark Souls.
And while we’re at it, we’re really, really sick of long install times, day one patches, and gaming’s increasing move online. Weren't consoles supposed to have done away with all this? It's only the fact that PC gaming is even more of a faff that's stopping us complaining more.
Only Nintendo can hold its head aloft this year – it released games that were designed to be fun, rather than a chore. And, perhaps most important of all, its games feel finished, solid, and ready to be released.
It also says a lot that some of our most played games this year were on mobile devices: step forwards the sublime 80 Days, Monument Valley and Crossy Road for making public transport and pooing so much more bearable.
"It doesn't matter, you guys!!! Even disappointing games are better than having no games!!! And let's never forget that games are way better than they used to be!!!!?! Although... even retro games are cool and amazing too!!!!!?
"Here's an idea: why not forget you ever played your favourite game of all time, and play it all over again!!!!? Without your memories, it'll be just like playing it for the first time ever!!!!!!?!!!"
If ever there were an argument against an always-online games system, the Christmas Day hack of Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network would seem to be it.
Launched by an apparently bored bunch of not-in-any-way-dysfunctional attention-seekers calling themselves ‘Lizard Squad’, the hack took down both services, leaving hundreds of privileged, First World brats mewling into their wrapping paper.
While it’s hard to support such a willfully pointless and deliberately malicious attack, it’s difficult to empathise with its victims too. Especially, when they bleat to the Daily Mail about having Christmas ruined, because Little Tommy had to wait an extra 24 hours to play CoD Advanced Warfare with his mates.
Much as it pained us, we struggled to disagree with Lizard Squad’s utterly un-ironically-named ‘Member Two’, who asked of BBC Radio 5Live: “Is Christmas really about children playing with their new consoles, or playing with their new toys, or is it about them spending time with their families and celebrating Christmas?".
Although, we do have to say that it does seem a tiny bit hypocritical coming from someone who'd just hacked a ton of confidential data and credit card information on Christmas Day. We hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Member Two and Lizard Squad!
"Don't worry, you guys!!!! You'll have forgotten all about this in about ten to fifteen years, and stuff!!! And that Number Two Member is right - Christmas is about family!!!!! Even for people who don't have families, and are just single parents, or don't even have parents!!!!! Get over yourselves already, and just enjoy yourself can't you!!!!?
"And hey - if you can't enjoy yourself, that's ok too!!! Being depressed and having a terrible life is a valid hobby these days!!?!!!! Especially if you use that as incentive to make life miserable for others!!!!!?!!!!!"
And thus, the second part of our 2015 gaming preview is born. Obviously, these aren't all the games that are coming out in 2015 - just the ones we're intending to anoint with musk, and stuff down the back of our shirts.
Please note: this article features selected comments from video gamer rights campaigner, and obvious parody of misogynistic gaming stereotypes, Computerwoman. Find Part One of our feature - with comments from Computerman - here.
Batman Arkham Knight (Various)
It’s not the promise of the Batmobile that has us looking forward to Arkham Knight - exciting as it sounds to drive aroun' Gotham City, and employ the iconic emowagon as back-up during combat encounters.
No - what we're really anticipating is a return to the values which made this series great, before the disappointing Arkham Origins did an improper squat 'pon its previously flawless record. Confidence is high, dear. Confidence is high.
COMPUTERWOMAN SAYS: "Don't they think we can see what this is? Bats are basically the male form of birds, and men are the male form of women, so this game is literally 'Manman: Arkham Origins'. And if you rearrange some of the letters in 'Arkham Origins', and add some more letters, and take some away, you get the word 'Onanism Hampoke', making this game essentially 'Manman: Onanism Hampoke'.
"How stupid do they think we are exactly!?? Let's face it - Batman is nothing but a leather-clad Nazi, S&M substitute, with sharp, stabbing penises for ears. It's lazy, male-skewed erotica for neo-con, 14 year-old, pubescent gun fetishists.
"And while we're talking about Nazis, is it a coincidence that a Nazi salute is given at the exact same angle as an erect penis, and Hitler had a face like a vadge? I don't think so. Do you?
"While I have you - please support the Kickstarter campaign for my new game, Menstruation Voyage - a depressing adventure about living with the burden of having to frickin' bleed all over the place once a month, for pity's sake, when you can only afford to buy your sanny rags from Lidl."
Star Wars: Battlefront (Various)
Not much is known about this overdue instalment in the mostly impressive Battlefront franchise.
We're aware that we'll "be" shooting it up in locations drawn from across the classic trilogy - including Hoth and the moon of Endor - as well as brand new elements from the forthcoming The Force Awakens. Maybe that funny spherical robot guy (R2D2's son, "Yancy") will be in it.
As the first post-Disney Star Wars title, and the first game to appear since Lucasfilm announced that all Star Wars products would be part of the official canon from now on, we're looking forward to a painfully authentic experience.
COMPUTERWOMAN SAYS: "Star Wars? Star? Wars? Do they think we're so dumb that we can't see the obvious subliminal message here - that they're literally telling us to 'Stare (at) Whores'?
"How much more objectification are women as a species meant to take before we say 'No more'? And don't get me started on light sabres. Phallic, much? And Princess Leia? In the first Star Wars film they made her wear two (presumably) male turds either side of her head. What kind of message are they sending to young girls? I think we all know; for the rest of your life men are going to take a dump on you, kid. Deal with it.
"While I have you - please support the Kickstarter campaign for my new game, Breast Adventure - a depressing adventure about living with the burden of having to wear push-up bras, but only being able to afford to buy them from Primark. Thanks for forcing me to support sweat shops, pigs."
Mario Maker (Wii U)
Mario Maker was originally conceived as an internal development tool - but now you too can become sweet-natured gaming lothario Shigeru Miyamoto, and show the world just how 2D platform games should be done.
On the one hand, this feels like a bit of a weird throwback to the days of Mario Paint and the like.
On the other hand, the team responsible has pedigree, and the thought of designing our own Super Mario World levels has us dribbling with joy.
COMPUTERWOMAN SAYS: "Oh sure - let's all design a new game where yet another helpless female has to be rescued by a swarthy Italian plumber with a moustache.
"What is this - a 1970s XXX adult movie or something?! Oh, and you're gonna have him jumping into 'pipes', collecting 'coins' - could the symbolism be any more apparent? Sure, why not shove your metaphor down our throats like everything else, you oppressive hog?
"Please support the Kickstarter campaign for my new game, Hairy Time - a depressing adventure about feeling the pressure of having to shave your legs and armpits and bum in a male-dominated society. Don't they know what a chore that is when I can only afford disposable razors from Aldi?! I got such a rash it looks like a goddamn pomander down there."
Tom Clancy’s The Division (Various)
The market is fast becoming saturated with Ubisoft's open-world third-person action adventures, but we're sufficiently intrigued by The Division to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Set in a post-apocalyptic New York (stay with us here...), it's as much RPG as anything else, with Ubisoft promising "endless gameplay". So, on paper at least, this is a lot like about a hundred other games. Many of them published by UbiSoft.
Nonetheless, we're suckers for a vacation at the end of the world, and are hoping that the freedom Ubisoft is promising will be enough to avoid any sense of deja-vu or apocalypse fatigue.
COMPUTERWOMAN SAYS: "Sure, the end of the world - the end of our bellicose, male-dominated society. Bring it on, baby. Maybe when our Y Chromosome overlords finally stop staring at their crotches, and look up at the mess they've made of this planet, we'll finally get a level playing field. Yeah, right. Dream on.
"Please support the Kickstarter campaign for my new game, Proboscis Monkey Thing - a depressing adventure about feeling oppressed after seeing proboscis monkeys on nature documentaries and realising how similar their noses look to testicles."
As our recent look back at 2014 will attest, we've not so much been blown away by the games of the past 12 months as tickled by a light gust.
There have been plenty of solid titles, but nothing that really got us excited, nothing which sent shockwaves through gaming, or persuaded us to remove our underwear. Fortunately, 2015 - or "A quarter past eight AD", if you have yet to go decimal - is looking more promising.
Here be part one of our look at the games we're most looking forward to, supported by selected comments from passionate video game ethics campaigner, and parodic stereotype, Computerman.
COMPUTERMAN SAYS: "You just wait - they'll all be whinging the second this comes out that the main character is sexist because he isn't some tattooed, pierced, pink-haired, denim-clad tart, poncing around in a glade, talking endlessly about having periods and tampons, like that's the most normal thing in the world.
"Well, what about the games for men? We have rights too - and if we want to play a game in which we can control a muscular, handsome, sweaty adventurer - which, I really must stress, has no deeper meaning or subtext whatsoever - then we should be allowed to do that.
"And just for the record - talk about your period and tampons all you like, love, but don't get your knickers in a twist if I bark out a couple of big farts in McDonald's, or blow up a rubber johnny like a balloon and let it go in your face at a party. That's not demeaning. It's just for the LOLs. Lighten up, you uptight and annoyingly attractive gamerhags."
Uncharted 4: Thief’s End (PS4)
Naughty Dog do story like no other games company, perfectly balancing action, dialogue and narrative, like a bunch of whimsical, variety show balancing guys.
Indeed, Nathan Drake and Sully were possibly the first two games characters we ever properly cared about – and we’re brimming over to see what Naughty Dog is capable of in the wake of the peerless The Last of Us.
What's more, with this being the company's first proper next-gen title, we're anticipating some really lush foliage. That's right: foliage. We actually went there.
Mirror’s Edge 2 (Various)
There’s no guarantee that this is even going to be out in 2015, but the original remains one of our favourite games of all time. Yes – of all time.
For our money, it’s possibly the most underrated game ever, a near-perfect blend of originality in both gameplay and visuals.
As you might imagine, our brain is swimming with the possibilities of this as-yet-closely-guarded sequel.
COMPUTERMAN SAYS: "No doubt feminists are already preparing their complaints that the protagonist in this title was developed by too many men, or has pendulous breasts, or grunts in a sexy way, or doesn't get paid as much as men, or doesn't have a beard or an Adam's apple, or whatever.
"Isn't it enough that they get a game with a woman as the main character? They already have the vote and something called International Woman's Day and they get to have babies - and now they're getting yet another game with one of them in it too.
"What more do they want? If they don't like it they can sod off to Saudi Arabia, or somewhere like that. I dunno. I've not really thought this through. I'm just always really angry about something."
No Man’s Sky (PS4/PC)
An open, sprawling, universe that you explore in your way, on your own terms?
We’ve wanted an experience like No Man’s Sky ever since we first played a video game.
We’ve no idea whether Hello Games’ ambitious title can live up to the weight of expectation, but the signs are looking promising. If they pull it off, this is gaming without the boundaries - the way it has always promised to be.
COMPUTERMAN SAYS: "No Man's Sky? No MAN'S Sky? This is what I'm talking about - they're trying to push us out! How can they demand equality from US when THEY don't practice the same in return?! Don't you see what they're doing?!?
"If I released a game called 'No Women Allowed', or 'All Women Are Fat Ugly Bints And Just Look At Their Boobie-Boobs', there'd be outcry. They'd be cutting off my penis and mounting it on a spike, before holding a party in the street, shoving quinoa down their painted, dainty throats, and burning their kitchens.
"But no! They can release a game like this which explicitly bans men, and everyone is slapping them on their smooth, disgusting, creamy, bra-wearing, duplicitous, attractive backs. And they wonder why so many people hate them?"
The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)
Precious little is known about Nintendo's next-gen Zelda title, beyond what was revealed at the recent E3 show.
A huge, gorgeous, go-where-you-like world is promised, with players apparently able to play the game in whichever way that they want, and an emphasis on exploration. And, so we are led to believe, pony-trekking.
Applying that sort of freedom to the reliably traditional Zelda gameplay could - dare we say it - result in a classic. It's always a bit of a moment when Nintendo returns to one of their core franchises for a proper, triple-A release, but confidence is high that this is going to be something special.
COMPUTERMAN SAYS: "So, Nintendo is releasing another game in which you play some little elfin guy (NOTE TO SELF: poss. homosexual?), rescuing some poor, defenceless, pink-clad Princess, like all the other Zelda games, probably.
"You can already hear the boring feminazis whinging and whining from here; 'Oh, that's painting women in a negative, weak light that is - like doing a portrait below a really low wattage bulb. We don't need to be saved. We don't need men; we've got sperm banks. And women shouldn't wear pink neither, because that's meant to subconsciously represent a cat's vulva, or something'.
"Well let me tell you this, love - next time you're in trouble - like, let's say you're trapped under a boulder, or you've been cornered by a wolf, or you've run out of sperm - I'll happily uphold your right not to be saved by a man.
"In fact, I'll just stand by laughing, uploading photos of your misfortune to Instagram, shall I? LOL LOL LOL. Because - oh yeah - apparently, you don't need a man to help you. You can do it all yourself.
"Well, excuse me if some of us are old fashioned, and just want to help women and make repeated love to them, but if that makes me a sexist, then guilty as charged. In another era I'd have been hailed a gentleman. Or locked up. I dunno. I can't think straight these days. I'm just really, really angry about some stuff. #realitycheck."
TO BE CONTINUED (featuring comments from Computerwoman) here...
We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen the videos of warped character models, and NPCs riding around on invisible Mario Karts. Apparently, Unity is the most glitchy big budget release of all time, somehow even more bug-infested than a North London kebab shop.
So let’s get this shocker out of the way now: we didn’t have any major issues with it. Maybe we got lucky, maybe everyone else has exaggerated in the way that Everyone Else seems to do. Maybe the truth waggles and pulses somewhere in the middle, like the dangling haustellum of some giant crustacean.
We had our main character's leg twist strangely behind his back. We had a bit of brief freezing a few times, and some issues with floating props. But that was about it.
So… what are we supposed to do? Join in the rent-a-mob whinging, based upon the rabid testimony of others? Or take the game as we found it? Being level-headed and unexpectedly sober for once, we have opted for the latter. This is the last you will hear from us of Unity's bugs.
As you probably know by now, Unity takes the Assassin’s Creed franchise to revolutionary Paris (and, on and off, to the Paris of the late-1800s, to appease those wondering where the Eiffel Tower had gone).
You play Arno Poncelord, a sort of Parisian playboy (except… in the usual AC “twist” – you don’t really), who, when he’s not fannying around in an ongoing love story, is trying to avenge his father’s murder. He does this by becoming an assassin; doing murders, going on endless treasure hunts, and running around rooftops, shrieking like a toddler (in our heads). Refreshingly, it barely touches upon the broader AC Abstergo narrative that has been holding back the franchise for ages now, and revels more in the historical meat and potatoes.
Practically speaking, it follows the usual UbiSoft pattern – a huge open world, full of collectibles, story missions, and a ton of side missions – boasting a wealth of historical detail. If you ever wanted to steal severed heads for Madame Tussaud (and who hasn’t?) – now’s your chance.
It should be stated that this is one of the most beautiful games of all time. As a justification for the newest generation of hardware it couldn’t come soon enough. Paris is stunning; sublimely-lit streets, full of raving mobs, falling leaves, and ominous puddles.
It feels real – from the slums to the palaces and cathedrals, the city is alive. Finally, a game which throws scores of NPCs on screen at one time, and it doesn’t seem to be gratuitous showing off, like a couple of nudes in the freezer aisle of Lidle, making a song and dance about "accidentally" forgetting their clothes. That said, judging from the accents, UbiSoft seemingly couldn't make up its mind whether 18th Century Paris was populated with French people or Cockneys.
For a good while, exploring Paris is enough; it’s that gorgeous. And if you’re a history fart like what we are, you’ll enjoy the depth of the authenticity. But, sadly, that only gets the game so far.
Beneath the gloss of the setting, beneath the new multiplayer features – including copious, but hardly essential, co-op missions, which feature sprawling and challenging heists – the franchise is starting to show its age. And that’s all kinds of wrong when you consider that 2013’s Black Flag had given it a much needed knuckle to the buttocks.
Unity's parkour prancing is every bit as frustrating as it has always been – you still only end up where you want to go about 60% of the time, forever gripping onto bits of scenery you’d intended to avoid, or jumping through windows you hadn’t meant to jump through, or plummeting to a real bad death.
Similarly, combat isn’t as fluid as we've always wished it was in this series. Maybe they were aiming for realism, but it feels unresponsive. And these are issues that have been there since the very first Assassin's Creed, and should've been addressed by now. If only to please us.
When you combine that with a sense of having done all this before, we found ourselves getting bored – which seems perverse in a game which has so much going on, and does so much right.
Sadly, it was a feeling we also had playing UbiSoft's Far Cry 4 – and it had been years since Far Cry 3. When you figure that there’s yet another Assassin’s Creed – Victory – due next Christmas, that's a big problem, guy. You've got to wonder whether even the series' hardcore fan base will begin to lose patience...
SUMMARY: Simultaneously a stunning achievement, and depressingly complacent.
It's never too late to send a Christmas card. Unless it's Boxing Day, in which case it is too late to send a Christmas card. Or far, far too early. Nonetheless, what could be a better belated (or be-earlied) gift for a friend, loved-one, casual acquaintance, or nemesis than one of these luxurious Digitiser2000 e-cards?
Pretty much anything - that's what. Knock yerself out. Merry Christmas.
The fine gentlemen at Retrocollect were kind enough to invite Digitiser 2000's Mr Biffo onto their latest podcast, for an exhausting nude chat about all things Digitiser.
Among the topics they discussed: the secret origin of Mr T's bins, which games magazines Biffo still reads, and what Teletext believed Digitiser would have done in the event of a royal family member dying in a skiing accident...
If you have a spare 16 hours... you can listen to the whole thing here, or subscribe on iTunes.
One of the problems with writing a blog is that once stuff has been up, it then gets shunted away, to be mostly forgotten and ignored by new visitors to the site (even if that is a step up from the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Digi of old).
That's a shame, because - at the risk of par-ping on our personal bugle - we think there's some real nice stuff in our archive (even though it sometimes seems hard to believe anyone else enjoying some of the stubbornly unfathomable drivel we write).
Digitiser2000 may not have been around all that long, but here's a quick listicle (ugh) of what we regard to be our more betterer stuff thus far.
Violence is Good For Me – by Mr Biffo
Biffo takes a look at whether violent video games are a bad thing, and whether that's a bad thing for him personally.
Kinect 2.0 – Requiem for a Dream
Bidding farewell to Microsoft's failed "all-seeing eye" experiment.
The Next Generation Game
Expressing our rancid disappointment with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
GTAV – Who Are We Kidding?
Equally popular and controversial, we took a look at GTAV's apparent sexism.
Assassin’s Ass More Like
A general whinge about the state of the Assassin's Creed franchise.
We wave goodbye to the legendary CVG. Goodbye, CVG! Goodbye!
Fat Sow – Art Attack
Our furious pig aims her snout at video game box art.
Both Sides Of The Fence – by Mr Biffo
Biffo discusses how it feels to be the idiot who wrote Pudsey The Dog: The Movie.
The Flaccid Tramp's Top 5 Christmas Games
One of our newest characters, The Flaccid Tramp looks back at Christmas games.
Gaming Gadgets with The Living Bum
Another new addition, who seems to be popular enough to warrant a return appearance one day.
Chips & Teats with Mr Nude
An old Digi favourite gives you a tour of his Nude Village.
Recyclopedia – With Sir Philip Green
Nobody liked this apart from us.
The Walking Dead: Zombie Dave Edition
Frrrrrrrrg rrrrrrrrf, Crrrrrrrl.
The Man's Diary
Never as popular as you'd think.
The Man's Daddy's Jokes
Far more popular than such stupid jokes have any right to be.
Mr T's Problem Page
Always inexplicably popular. Stay AWAY from HIS bins.
It's a bit long and wordy, but this is the piece that was directly responsible for Digitiser2000, so probably needs to be in this list...
I bring to you festive salutations, regardless of the country of your origin (contrary to a recent report in The Lancet, I am not a racist) - for I am K-Max, The Spirit of Christmas.
As is tradition, this December 24th children the globe over will be tucked up in their beds, shivering and revolving in terrified anticipation of my annual appearance at their windows - hammering on the glass as I scream and convulse in agony.
In order to get this Christmas ball rolling (in its grave?), I bring to you an initial gift for your Christmas coffer: the cheery, seasonal tale of a lovely young lad called David Belt, and his harrowing brush with a real big plant.
And just to say: sorry about the smell - that always seems to happen around this time of day (in case you need it spelled out... the smell is coming from my bottom).
SCENE 1 – DAVID BELT’S HOUSE
David Belt’s Mother is frantically rubbing her hips, knees slightly bent, as David Belt rides into the room, excruciatingly slowly, on a small cow. Eventually, this happens:
BELT: Look, mother – my mother. I am riding our cow as an illustration of how much I love it, and how I hope it will never leave us. It's a real good cow, and I have never felt so empowered or scared.
BELT’S MOTHER: I’m really happy to see what’s going on with you over there, but I have terrible news for you, my son - David Belt. We are so terribly poor that we can't even afford no stuff.
BELT: So what? That doesn't matter.
BELT'S MOTHER: Get a load of this: In lieu of sausages we must have crayons for supper, and I have had to sell our toilet and replace it with an old Segway that I found. It doesn't even have a bowl, so you can probably imagine the mess I've already made in there.
Grinning madly, David Belt starts drooling and prancing around in step with some internal beat.
BELT: Totally random, dudes!!!!
BELT'S MOTHER: Furthermore, we cannot even afford power. See how I am generating all of our energy through the means of static electricity? I have generated just enough to make my hands bleed.
BELT: Here. Let me lick them better.
David Belt drops to his haunches, and frantically licks his mother’s hands all over.
BELT’S MOTHER: Mm. That’s really nice. It makes me feel loved. Unfortunately, it has done little to distract from the issue at hand: we must sell the cow for funds.
BELT: For fun? Ok.
BELT’S MOTHER: For funds.
BELT: I have a better idea! You could pay me to lick your hands again! The taste reminds me of my birth.
BELT’S MOTHER: A lot of what you just did reminded me of your birth, but the fact remains: the cow must go.
Suddenly, Belt's Mother begins scuttling back and forth like a crab, eyes rolled up towards the ceiling.
SCENE 2 – THE MARKET
David Belt leads the cow through the marketplace, looking hither and tither.
BELT: This is real depressing. I don't want to sell the cow, and yet here I am: about to sell the cow. It's the greatest irony of all time!
A Trader drops abruptly from a tree branch on a bungee cord. He speaks in a shrill, undulating lilt.
TRADER: Why don't you swap it instead?
BELT: What the...?! Where did you come from?!
BELT: Urgh. What's that massive stench?
TRADER: My ghee. I dropped it in a urinal. But never mind that right now. I read about your troubles on Mumsnet, and came all this way to suggest you swap the cow for this: a magic bulb.
The Trader produces a bulb, and starts eating ghee from his hand.
BELT: That's the worst bulb I've ever seen - it's all brown and covered in mud. That'll never fit in a light socket.
TRADER: That's because this is the other type of bulb. The type of bulb you'd buy in a garden centre.
BELT: I don't know what that is.
David Belt looks around: the trader has gone and so has his cow. All that remains is his bulb, and a little puff of smoke, hanging in the air like a buzzard.
SCENE 3 – DAVID BELT’S HOUSE
David Belt hangs his head in shame, as his mother repeatedly wags her finger at him.
BELT'S MOTHER: A bulb? A bulb? A bulb? A bulbulbulbulbulbbulbulbulb -
Belt's mother starts spinning out of control, a white milky fluid erupting from her mouth. David Belt knocks her head off using a spatula, revealing a mass of bio-organic wiring inside. He gasps.
BELT: She was an android all along! That explains her metal skin, and the fact I had to plug her into the wall at night, and the fact that she looked like a robot, and the fact that everyone kept referring to her as a robot, and the fact that all evidence pointed towards her being a robot, including the fact that her eyes were little LEDs. And now? And now I wonder aloud what's going to happen next...
TO BE CONTINUED...
Christmas can be a time of anxiety and concern for many of us. At this time of year, we can find ourselves worrying about everything from choosing the perfect present, to the possibility of some kids hanging around our bins.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be like that, if you plan correctly. As my old A Team partner, Hamble Lecter, use to say - "I love it when a plan draws to a successful conclusion!".
Let me take the festive stress out of your yuletide - with my stress-free guide to having the happiest of holidays.
Get a head start on the Christmas retail rush by starting your Christmas shopping in January. Not only will you save a small fortune by buying in the January sales, but you'll be able to spread your spending throughout the year.
Buying one or two gifts a month will make barely a dent on your wallet, and not leave you impoverished come December.
However, if you DO decide to buy A GIFT for me for SOME reason, I should inform YOU now that I DON'T enjoy or appreciate NOVELTY GIFTS. If you buy ME a FUNNY SWEATER I will not WEAR it. If you buy me a PAIR of comedic READING GLASSES I will SNAP THEM. If you GIVE me a HUMOROUS pair of joke reindeer ANTLERS I will prepare a SMALL fire and BURN THEM in front OF you and OTHERS of your ilk. If you WRAP me a FAKE dog DIRT I will make you EAT a real DOG dirt and the dirt OF a young child. There will BE no RESTRAINT or surrender.
Christmas dinner can dominate Christmas day if you're not sufficiently organised. From preparing the food, to cooking it, to clearing up afterwards, it can take up time you'd rather be spending with your family.
My advice is to cook all of your food 24 hours or more in advance. If you freeze it or refrigerate it, you can then just pop it in the oven or microwave to defrost and heat.
Although, I should warn you THAT if you are EVER invited to MY HOUSE for CHRISTMAS dinner, and you START complaining ABOUT THE WAY that I cook sprouts, because I put LEMON and DRIPPING on them I won't HESITATE to destroy the REST of the food with MY fists, feet and LIMBS.
I will punch APART the turkey. I will KICK the bacon ROLL-UPS against the wall. I will STOMP on the roasts and PARSNIPS and bend all THE cutlery until IT is UNUSABLE. I will TIP over the TABLE and destroy it with A METAL chain.
The average family will generate more rubbish over Christmas than at any other time of year. Fortunately, almost everything about Christmas can be recycled - from leftover food, to wrapping paper, to the tree itself. If you own a bottle of Tippex, you can even recycle your Christmas cards for next year.
Inevitably, though, some items will need to be placed in your refuse bins, so be sure to keep an eye on the bin collection times as outlined by your local authority. These can often be erratic and unpredictable at this time of year, adding to the festive anxiety.
IF like ME you find yourself WITH an OVERFLOWING bin come BOXING DAY be sure to be EXTRA vigilant. This YEAR I will be TRAINING a video camera with AN infra-red SENSOR on my bins during the entirety OF CHRISTMAS Day. If anyone ATTEMPTS to tamper with the contents of MY BINS I will be alerted to the fact. I will GO INTO the airing cupboard AND retrieve my TRIDENT and NET.
I will RUSH from my house and THREATEN THEM. I will CHASE THEM from my BINS and I will terrorise them FOR the next THREE to FOUR days. On the FIFTH day I will retreat. On the subsequent DAY I will return AND engage in a GUERILLA-STYLE assault on the bins of THEIR LOVED ones. I will FILL the bins with CONCRETE.
I will leave them with NO doubt THAT messing with BINS is NOT to be TOLERATED at CHRISTMAS or any OTHER time of year. I repeat ONCE more: STAY away from MY bins.
Welcome back to Digitiser's Christmas Pant-Oh. As we previously established, I am K-Max, the Spirit of Christmas, the most festive guy that you, and all other people, ever did see.
If you recall, the first instalment of this exciting adventure ended with David Belt discovering that his mother was in fact an android... AKA: The ultimate twist!!!!!
Incidentally, I have berries for eyes, a bottle of Baileys for a sternum, and a couple of Quality Street for boobs.
SCENE 4 - DAVID BELT'S HOUSE
David Belt is having a real good time: he has pulled everything out of the cupboards, and he's laying face down on the floor, giggling to himself.
BELT: Whoo! Yeah! Whoo! Now that my android mother is dead I'm having the ultimate experience for boys.
Suddenly, a giant beanstalk erupts through the floor and up through the ceiling of the house.
BELT: Cool! A mighty frond!
GIANT'S VOICE: Fi-Fo-Fo-Gnnnnnn... I smell blood and gnnnnnnn-gnnnn-gnn!
BELT: That sounded like a giant. I'm gonna go up there and punish him in a big way for shouting and causing a ruckus. I'm feeling so brave now. So brave I could cry.
David Belt grabs a hammer, and starts smashing it against the wall, while singing a jaunty, festive tune.
BELT (sings): Big Dong merrily on high, I'm coming to att-ack you! Big Dong merrily on high, My hammer it will crack you!
David Belt begins ascending the beanstalk.
SCENE 5 - HONEYHUGSLAND: THE GIANT'S KINGDOM
David Belt reaches the top of the beanstalk, emerging from the clouds. He starts swinging the hammer around, lashing out at the misty pother.
BELT: Mmmf! Mmmf! This is no fun. These clouds won't break or bleed. I need to smash my hammer on something big and alive! I've lost my mind!
Belt notices a castle in the distance.
BELT: That castle! I bet there's something alive in there that can satisfy my bloodlust - probably a giant, or something. I'm gonna go find out. This is gonna be well wicked, man!
Belt heads off towards the castle.
SCENE 6 - THE GIANT'S CASTLE
Belt enters the luxurious castle.
BELT: Giant! Come out, Giant! I am David Belt and I'm going to smash my hammer into your face and shoulders! I'm crazed out of my tiny mind!
A door creaks open, and Harry Style out of One Direction emerges, laying on his stomach, and pushing himself along with his feet while stroking his luscious hair.
BELT: Harry Style... but... but... I don't understand... Or do I? No. No I do not.
HARRY STYLE: That's right - I'm Rockin' Harry Style, the "singer". I am indeed a giant!
BELT: But you're so diminutive.
HARRY STYLE: Yes, but you see - I'm another sort of giant. A giant of the entertainment industry. Do you understand me, David Belt? DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!
BELT: Not really.
HARRY STYLE: This castle is where we giants of the entertainment industry go when we're not on TV or websites. This is our retreat, where we can look down and vomit on you all. The rumours are true: we hate normal people, David Belt. We hate them so much, because... WE WERE ONCE NORMAL PEOPLE TOO!!!! We are YOU, David Belt. WE ARE YOU!!!
BELT: I don't know what's going on.
HARRY STYLE: Here's what I'm saying: we're all giants here, David Belt - why, just look who else is in residence...
Another door opens, and a mongrel dog emerges, sort of dancing-ish on his hind legs a bit.
BELT: Pudsey the Dog!!!
PUDSEY: That's right - in some respects, this adventure you're on is a sequel to my movie, Pudsey The Dog: The Movie.
Pudsey shivers and dies.
BELT: Ha ha!
Using a broom, Harry Style pushes Pudsey's corpse under a rug, but it gets all bunched up and stuff.
HARRY STYLE: Oh well. Hey, listen - why don't you and me sing a song together, David Belt? We could form our own band - Two Direction.
BELT: With my terrible singing, it'd be more like Turd Direction!
HARRY STYLE: Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
BELT: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
HARRY STYLE: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. "Turd Erection". Let's sing our song.
Christmas chickens and Christmas hens,
Christmas pigs in Christmas pens,
Chop them up and cook them well,
If you don't you'll go to Hell.
Eating meat is the Christmas way,
Consuming flesh will make your day,
Eating veg is henceforth banned,
Break the rule and yule be damned.
These are the rules that you must heed,
Eat no things that do not bleed,
Meaty treats and gutty bits,
Slide some liver between your lips.
Sadly, this Friday the 19th of December, in the year of our Lord Brownaround - 2014 - will see the final full Digitiser2000 update until after the tradition of Chrustmess has spent its wick.
Sorry, all, but we don't get paid for this nonsense, and we'd quite like to spend the next week getting drunk in a shed.
We're penning our traditional Pant-Oh script right now - but as an extra Christmas gift to you we will also run one feature as chosen by YOU the readers. Or one reader, anyway.
Send us your sugggestions - through our contact form, Facebook, Twitter or the comments - and we will choose our favourite one to turn into an "article", which will appear here at some point tomorrow (you will even receive a credit)
It could be a Digitiser2000 favourite, such as more Man's Daddy or Man's Diary, or a seasonal return for an older Digitiser character. Or maybe something completely new. We honestly don't care that much - we'll do any old rubbish.
Begin generating your suggestion... NOW.
So, Valve came in for a bit of flack this week over its removal of a Steam Greenlight game called Hatred.
Upon taking the game down, Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi hissed: "Based upon what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam".
Cue the usual gnarly types decrying the move as knee-jerk censorship and a further infringement on their civil liberties – particularly in light of GTAV getting pulled from certain Australian supermarkets.
In much the same way as the National Rifle Association gets up in arms whenever there’s a debate about tighter gun controls in the wake of a school shooting, certain gamers are becoming ever more vocal about their right to play whatever games they want to play, regardless of content.
Remember Postal? Hatred is a similar senseless murder spree sim – with a lead character on a “genocide crusade” - but with better, more realistic graphics. As a company, with a shopfront, Valve has every right to sell only what it wants to sell, and remove it if it makes them feel uncomfortable. Nobody had erased the game from existence; there would've just been one less place to buy it.
WHAT COMES DOWN...
However, once Valve took it down, the outcry was such that Hatred became the most voted game on Steam - and it was swiftly reinstated.
The game's developer Destructive Creations (says it all) posted an email on its website, purporting to be from Valve boss Gabe Newell:
“Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn’t up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn’t a good decision, and we’ll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.”
Frankly – from the perspective of being a bit of a liberal sop - it appears difficult to justify the existence of any game which seemingly revels in wanton, senseless murder without taking any sort of objective moral overview. Living, as we unfortunately do, in a world where wanton, senseless murder is all too frequent, it appears at the very least to be a little insensitive.
However, the sheer fact it ever existed in the first place suggests it was something that people wanted to play. The question is: why? Why are so many games built on a foundation of conflict and violence? What is it about them that so many of us enjoy?
Violence has always been a part of video games, right back to the very origins of the hobby with Computer Space and Spacewar! (the clue is in the name)
Admittedly, there’s a gulf between Space Invaders’ bloodless, pixelated alien battles, and electrocuting and pouring petrol over someone in Grand Theft Auto V, but that was the limitation of the technology rather than a product of a more innocent time. We had to make our own entertainment back in those days - standing around the family piano, blasting away at it with shotguns.
The biggest selling games of this year are all violent to some extent or another; obviously, GTAV is excessively violent. Likewise Far Cry 4, Call of Duty, Battlefield etc. etc.. Dark Souls 2, Dragon Age Inquisition, Shadow of Mordor – you can dress your game up in airy-faery fantasy clothing, but it’s still about slicing people and monsters with sharp objects. It's a rush.
Even Nintendo isn’t immune. His adventures may be bloodless and cartoony, but lest we forget that Mario literally jumps on the backs of turtles, ejecting them out of their shells. That’s the sort of thing that would get you ejected from Seaworld (trust me on this).
Like sex, violence sells, and violence is part of our culture, and part of being human. Simulated violence offers a safe adrenaline hit – that’s the high you get when you finish off a particularly challenging level boss. It is also - at least, according to a 2012 Ohio State University study - likely to make you more aggressive and hostile.
"Playing video games could be compared to smoking cigarettes," honked Professor Brad Bushman, who conducted the study (possibly from inside a bush).
"A single cigarette won’t cause lung cancer, but smoking over weeks or months or years greatly increases the risk. In the same way, repeated exposure to violent video games may have a cumulative effect on aggression.”
If you ask us, though, it's hardly conclusive - and none of the other studies carried out into the effects of violent media have ever reached a concrete conclusion, and that's why it's a topic which continues to be so hotly debated.
Like many of you, I've played a lot of violent video games over the years, and I've yet to go on a single killing spree (I have come terrifyingly close a few times, mind...).
I don't recognise myself in that study - I can lay on the sofa and spend 8 hours killing people and animals in Far Cry 4 (as I regrettably did the first day I got it) - and not feel it's affecting my behaviour one iota.
In fact, if anything, I probably kill fewer animals and people after playing games. The only effect that session seemed to have on me was making me feel guilty for being a horrible slob. But then - contrary to reports - I'm probably not mental.
Something you might not know, but during the 7 or so years that I wasn't being Mr Biffo, I spent several years training as a psychotherapist. It was something that I ultimately fell out of love with (that's another story), but part of the training was learning to meditate. Yes, that's right: meditate, like some dirty, stinking hippy.
It was something I struggled with - I couldn't ever quite reach that zen place, my mind would wander, or I'd get the giggles (on one occasion, following a discussion on suicide statistics among health workers, I had a near fit trying to repress my mirth because my mind kept repeatedly replaying the old joke "Why are so many dentists depressed? Because they're always looking down in the mouth").
The only way I really ever found my escape, my zen place, was to play games at home. Rather than filling my mind with images, it emptied it. Games were, are - and always have been - my meditation.
But that's just me. I dunno, but how many of these game studies have been carried out on people with a tendency towards violence? You might get a dozen students who play violent video games, but it only takes one of them to pick up a gun and wipe out the rest.
That's not any sort of moral judgement on violent games - that's just the reality. We all share common ground, but as a species of individuals, all of us are different, all of us respond to stimuli in different ways.
But it's that damaged, impenetrable minority which cause the real problems. In a study of 70 random people, it's all too likely that you won't have that one bag of damaged goods that you need to really study the potential effects of violent games.
Does that mean violent games should be banned - because there potentially are nuts out there who might be inspired by them to take up arms, or explode a bear? Probably not. But it also doesn't mean that Valve, Target - and whomever - don't also have a right to remove those games from sale if they feel uncomfortable about them.
Please don't kill me.
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