Well, I'm ready for Christmas. Are you ready for Christmas? I am ready for Christmas, and I am ready to say goodbye to 2019. In all honesty, I've had a year with a higher than average share of low points, but overall - looking back - it has had plenty of highs too, and most of those were to do with Digitiser.
One of the absolute highlights was Digi Live, and the success of it has convinced me that going forward I'm going to focus more on the things I love doing most. And that will, hopefully, include more live stuff. We're still working out what exactly that'll be, though, but watch this space. One way or another we'll find a way to get everyone together again, and bring some new people along.
Of course, this was also the year that the Digi Minis began - spilling out of Digitiser The Show - and I've loved doing them. I'm kind of in love with doing them, and I think it shows in the episodes. Gannon, Sanya and I have no plans to stop - it feels like we're just getting going - and next year I want us to build on what's already a very solid foundation.
There's so much I do want to do - and at my age, I feel like I'm making up for lost time somewhat - but it has to become a question of being able to take the time to afford to do it all. I'll work it out somehow.
Anyhow, just a reminder that Beanus Likes Christmas Beans is available now on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify. There's no chance of us getting in the Christmas charts, but please buy it if you can, as all proceeds go to Mind. Plus, it's a great song! I'm not bothering with a link. You can work it out. You're not stupid, probably.
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I don't want to do a review discussing the relative merits - or not - of The Rise of Skywalker. I'm not going to spend a thousand words or more getting into whether I think it's a well-made movie.
I mean, what's the point? Maybe you've read the reviews and the gleeful way in which it's being kicked around on Twitter and YouTube like a dead pigeon, and made up your own mind already. Maybe you've seen it and liked it or didn't like it, so nothing I can say is going to change your mind regardless.
I've established I've got a personal connection to Star Wars - albeit not so indoctrinated that I universally, unconditionally, love everything to do with it - and my reasons for why I may or may not have enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker will be different to yours. I know these aren't just films for me. They're something more important now. There's no better evidence of that than how embarrassingly crushed I was by The Last Jedi.
Even so, did I get angry when others liked that film more than I did? No. Did I get angry at the way some were driven to attack members of the cast and drive them offline? Yes. Did I get irritated that the furore around it has failed to die down, that it has continued to be stoked by opposing camps? Absolutely. I wish all that shiz would just go away, and the fandom can hold onto what unites them, rather than what divides.
But these are strange times in which we live. It's a vain hope.
Suffice to say... with my Star Wars space baggage clutched to my chest... I liked The Rise of Skywalker a lot - maybe even loved it. Might that be a result of lowered expectations? Maybe. The reviews have been brutal - I went into the cinema expecting this to be a film that was fundamentally broken, that nobody could enjoy on any level.
But... I don't think it was just that. I liked it because it felt like Star Wars. It was fun and funny and creepy and weird. It did new things. It felt fresh and classic at the same time. I liked it because - controversial - I enjoyed it.
In fact, I think this might be my favourite of the entire sequel trilogy. And I say that as somebody who thought The Force Awakens was great.
Maybe my feelings will change a bit over time, or when I've seen it again, but I tend to stay liking stuff that I like (though I have been known to have things grow on me... specifically: fungus under my moobs).
In fact, this won't be a review so much as it is going to be a rant. Because one thing I did feel in the wake of watching this is anger, unbridled and engorged. It took a couple of minutes for it to surface, but man... soon enough, I was wheezing like a bassoon! There'll be a video at the end where you can see this terrifying rage in full effect.
"But wait, Mr Biffo - I thought you said you liked it?"
Stick around, kid.
It's Christmas - the most magical time of the year! Biffo and Gannon bring you a very special episode, featuring a disastrous Gingerbread House Challenge, plenty of festive surprises, a host of guest appearances, including Eli Silverman (him off of Barshens and Cheapshow), the crew of Did You Know Gaming?, Ashens, Larry Bundy Jr, Nostalgia Nerd, Fat Sow, Beanus - and much, much more!
A very special thank you to all our guests, and especially the genius Chris Jerden-Cooke for writing and performing Beanus Likes Christmas Beans, and David Heslop (https://twitter.com/dtHeslop) for getting Sting on board once again
Beanus Likes Christmas Beans is available at Amazon, Spotify and iTunes (US store only - worldwide release to follow). All proceeds go to Mind, in support of mental health.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beanus-Likes...
There has been a lot of Star Wars on this site in the past few months, and I didn't really want to go there again, but... unnnnhhh... those Rise of Skywalker reviews are not good. They're not good at all. My hope that Disney and JJ Abrams would hit a home run appears not to have happened. I can't not talk about this. I've got anxiety. I need to process it.
I need to go into the cinema tomorrow prepared for the possibility that this may be another bad Star Wars movie, even if I'm hanging onto the fact that I've disagreed with reviews before. Notably for The Last Jedi, which critics raved about almost universally. Before I can face The Rise of Skywalker, I need to be honest finally, and own my emotions surrounding The Last Jedi.
I came out of the cinema after that film feeling... confused, bordering on bereft. More so even than the prequels. There was a weird disconnect for me; it was a well-made Star Wars film - I could see that - so why did it leave me feeling so empty and annoyed?
It's a question I've spent two years trying to answer, when I haven't been trying to make the film click for me. It's time to admit that I've failed. Reading the early reactions to The Rise of Skywalker last night, my wife tried to make me feel better by saying "Maybe you'll just get an average film... it's not like you hated The Last Jedi..."
And then she saw the conflict in my face. It was the first time I'd considered that I might actually, truly, hate The Last Jedi.
I'm not that guy though... am I?
I don't hate on films, because what's the point? I don't want to be one of Those People. I don't attack actors online, I don't spread hate, I don't hide away on Reddit slagging things off. I don't just hate for the sake of hating... I mean, let it go. It doesn't matter. That would be pathetic! I love Star Wars. How can I possibly hate a film anyway? It's just a film... it's just a film...
But... maybe - all those things aside - maybe I do love Star Wars, but hate The Last Jedi...
God, I actually do hate The Last Jedi.
I literally hate The Last Jedi. And - Jesus! - I don't even hate the Prequels.
It's Beeeeanmus! In what is undoubtedly a future Holiday classic, and this year's Christmas Number One single, Beanus presents his first festive record: Beanus Likes Christmas Beans!
Available at Amazon, Spotify and iTunes (US store only - worldwide release to follow). All proceeds go to Mind, in support of mental health.
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beanus-Likes...
Subscribe for regular videos, and support Digitiser on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/digitiser2000
Remember Tomy's Furby, Zoids, Kongman and Screwball Scramble? These are just some of the classic toys and games we're not looking at in this episode!
However, Biffo, Gannon and funny Eli from Barshens and Cheapshow do take a look at Aaaargh!, Wow!, and Pocketeers!
Also, in arguably our most poor taste segment yet, Biffo ponders what is and isn't acceptable to eat.
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Buy official Digitiser merch from our store:
Aaaaaaand... that's democracy, kids. Be miserable if you need to. Celebrate if you want to. But let's not all keep tearing one another apart. Be gracious whether it's in loss or your victory.
And let us all hope for the best.
Moving on... there's a brand new Digi video coming this Sunday, and Eli Silverman will once again be joining Gannon and I, this time to look at a bunch of vintage Tomy games. I think it's a good 'un. Then next week... there won't be a video on Sunday. Instead, you'll be getting our bumper-length Christmas episode early, possibly Wednesday or Thursday, depending on when I get it finished.
Then I'll most likely take a break over Christmas.
Basically, it has been an enormous amount of work to the episode put together - far more than a regular episode, and it has taken far more work than I probably should've invested in it - but I want you all to have the chance to revel in its bounteous Christmassy nonsense before the big day. It has a bit of everything; the Beanus song! Fat Sow! Guest appearances! Found Footage! Retching!
Now, though... it's our penultimate Friday Letters Page before Christmas. Let's make next week's one a true festive jamboree.
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Google Stadia, eh. Remember that? Remember when it came out way back in - oooh, what was it? - November 2019?
Things were different back then. We were different. The past is a foreign country, and so on and so forth.
Hey, remember how loads of people hated on Stadia? And how loads of people hated on me for daring to say it actually worked - for me - which rather undermined their assertion back when it was announced earlier this year that it wouldn't, couldn't, possibly work for anyone?
Remember how those same people sought out those singing Stadia's praises, and then attacked them, accusing them of being paid by Google to say nice things about Stadia, and they even set up social media accounts to spread anti-Stadia sentiment?
You can't blame them; that's just a normal, rational thing to do. They went all red in the face, and steam came out of their ears, making a noise like a boiling kettle. That literally happened. It's quite, quite, normal.
These brave souls, these modern Luddites - doubtless inspired by Ned Ludd's anti-technology rebellion of 1811 to 1916, which saw armies of aggrieved workers destroying lacemaking machines and sending anonymous death threats to magistrates (and which famously cut short the Industrial Revolution before it even got underway, and that is now why we all toil in factories...) - should be seen for what they are; anti-progress heroes, whose sacrifice we should honour and remember forever.
Or maybe they just really hated looking like idiots, so have gone all-out to look like even bigger idiots, so they then stood a chance of winning The Biggest Idiot In The World Award, which is at least some sort of achievement, I suppose.
Fun times. Fun. Times...
It has been a few weeks, and I'm missing the hate, so I thought I'd check back with you all about how my Stadia experience has been going. Does it still work? Do I still, broadly, think this is the future of gaming?
GUEST REVIEW by SUPER BAD ADVICE
Saying Bethesda are struggling a bit of late (at least quality-wise – financially they’re still lolling about nude in filthy great piles of cash) is an understatement on par with saying questionable perspiration-phobe and unlikely Italian chain restaurant fan Prince Andrew has had ‘a recent dip in popularity’.
Their last few games have been, frankly, dire (Bethesda, that is; A. Windsor might be knocking out homebrew indie bangers on Steam on a weekly basis for all I know), and – as shown by the awful ploy to add an outrageously chonky monthly subscription to the already struggling Fallout 76 – even when they do have a userbase, they’re happy to cram them into the contempt-o-tron and set it to ‘rinse the suckers’.
Essentially, Bethesda are real big poltroons. And The Outer Worlds, made by former collaborators Obsidian (who helmed the splendid Fallout: New Vegas) just underlines quite how far they’ve slid face-first into the slops bin. Mainly by it being ruddy fab, and reminding you what it is you liked about the pre-crap act Bethesda of old in the first place.
According to my parents, I first saw Star Wars during a family summer holiday.
Yet, according to my brain, my dad first took me to see Star Wars one night after school, on a warm, early summer, evening, and I distinctly remember being in my school uniform.
Both of these vague dates chime with what I'd believed was Star Wars' release date of June-ish 1977 (it was in fact released in America on May 25th that year, and I'd always thought we'd gotten it a month or so later).
Either way, both sets of memories can't be right; either they've got it wrong, or I've got it wrong. My money had been on them getting it wrong because, frankly, they're old, and Star Wars didn't have the same sort of impact on them as it did me. Plus, I want to believe that what I remember is the truth.
In fact... it isn't. And neither is their version: both are wrong.
Star Wars didn't open in the UK until December 27th 1977 - and even then it was only in two cinemas in central London, and it stayed that way for a month or two. I've learned this troubling, foundation-rattling, truth from a book entitled The Star Wars Phenomenon in Britain, by one Craig Stevens.
It has upended everything I thought I knew about my life with Star Wars, and has confirmed that much of what I remember about Star Wars is merely the American version of its history.
The film didn't really start rolling out in the UK until early 1978. Some areas didn't get it for another ten months, while it had a staggered release from January onwards. Having dug into my local newspaper archives, I've since learned that it opened in what was then my local cinema on February 5th 1978 - which was the earliest I could've possibly seen it.
Now I'm questioning everything.
Special guest Eli Silverman, from Barshens and Cheapshow, joins Biffo and Gannon to ubox their mystery mail, which includes practical jokes, weird snacks from around the world - and even more random items. A series of taste-tests ensues!
Before Nintendo got its act together, the company's NES covers adopted a sort of uniform, pixel art, approach. Though it didn't seem to "prang" the success of the NES too badly, the results were, it needs to be said, mixed.
While third-parties were slathering glorious, fully-painted, artwork on their facades, Nintendo's game covers were rather ugly, and sometimes bore little resemblance to the games they purported to portray. Suffice to say, many of its earliest NES games were subsequently re-released with new, less humiliating, artwork.
Here's a gallery of original NES game covers of said pixel art variety - but wait - the titles have been changed! Using your knowledge, reason, and a very long pole with a hook on the end, can you identify the real titles?!
Don't worry: it's just a bit of fun. Chill out, yeah?
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