Originally a backer-exclusive ep, Octav1us and Gameplay Jenny interview Mr Biffo and Mr Hairs about the earliest days of Digitiser on Teletext. Learn secrets about Bamboozle, our favourite characters, and more!
And lo, did The Mighty Tonnty decree that there shall be the unearthing of another classic edition of Digitiser from more than two decades ago.
It really is something getting to see all this old stuff again - not least for its historical significance, and the warm, creeping, hum it provides in my snood.
This instalment from a weekend, which means you get Violet Berlin's report from Japan, a Hot Topic that's already looking forward to Christmas (plus a feature-length Snakes story), a viewer review, and a feature pondering what's going to happen with Sega's Dreamcast. How very interesting!!!!
Massive big-ups to Wagoo and Chris Bell - "The Dirty Duo" - for providing this edition.
Again now with another edition of Digitiser, from some 19 years ago - an era when the index page was at its most unmemorable. - an era when the index page was at its most unmemorable.
Thanks to @ZXGuesser for the recovery. If it wasn't for these brave heroes and their digital archeology, so much of Digi's history would be lost. Instead, we can all revel once more in Digi's review of Pokemon Yellow, The Man having an existential crisis, and some dull Neo Geo Pocket news.
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of March 17th 1997. What was special about that date? It was the day that this mostly unremarkable edition of Digitiser aired! Well, I say unremarkable. It contains our preview of Killer Instinct Gold on the N64 at least, and evidence of our most legendary competition, Brown Trumpet.
Go now: use your eyes, child. Read the Digitiser. And then go and thank that sweaty oaf @ZXGuesser for digging it up.
At the very start of 2018, Digitiser celebrated its 25th birthday - and what a birthday year it turned out to be, certainly the biggest landmark year of Digitiser2000's existence, and one of the most significant in all of Digi's storied history.
Had you told me when we launched that Digitiser would still be running in some form 25 years later, and would have evolved into its own sort-of-TV-show thing, and that both Mr Hairs and I would be in it, I'd have spluttered my turps into your face.
But to bring 2018 to a close, we grip another classic edition between our thighs - this time from December 18th 1997. Back then, I would have pretty much the entirety of Digitiser's December editions written by the end of November, and - frankly - to my eyes this certainly reads like it. I wouldn't say it's the greatest example of what Digitiser was, but it's nonetheless another gap filled in the Digi canon.
Thanks to teletext archeologist Jason Robertson for digging this out from a tape loaned by John Veness.
March 7th 1993 fell on an important weekend in Digitiser history - and now we have it documented. It was the day Digitiser first got into trouble with our bosses, the day I opened the newspaper (note: while having a poo) to see the headline "Teletext Rapped Over Sick Video Game Joke". I knew immediately that a storm was about to kick off.
For those who aren't aware of all this, we'd received an angry call on the Friday from the British Epilepsy Association over a Street Fighter II review, which had contained the phrase "Now you too can develop epilepsy". Though Mr Hairs had apparently placated the individual, this person felt the need to take his issues to that bastion of journalistic integrity, The Sun (yes, I read The Sun for some reason - I'm not proud).
News International, it should be stated, had a vested interest in taking down Teletext, as it was owned by The Daily Mail.
Sure enough, shortly after calling Hairs to warn him of what was brewing, I heard from Teletext's then-features editor, and spent some time going through the pages with her, justifying every last word. Thus, Digitiser's reputation for causing trouble - up until that point we'd been described as Teletext's one major success story - was cemented.
This newly-recovered edition would seem to be post-editorial trawl, as some elements of it appear to have been added to cover our backsides (such as stating needlessly that The Man's obviously made-up stories are "untrue").
Nevertheless, this very, very early Digitiser features plenty that's historically important, but nevertheless is something of a cringe-inducing read from a personal perspective. We were still finding our feet, hadn't quite established what to do with The Man - who had suddenly seen a surge of interest from the readers - and it all very much reads like a magazine (and young writer) still in the process of finding its voice.
Thanks, as always, to the genius that is Jason Robertson for letting us have this, and to Martin Smith for donating the tape. If you've got old VHS tapes you can share with Jason (he'll give them back), please get in touch.
Jason Robertson - the man who rummages down the backs of YOUR sofas - has provided us with yet another classic edition of Digitiser, not seen for 23 of your English years.
This time we've a bumper weekend instalment, featuring Violet Berlin and the first part of an interview with Argonaut Software mogul Jez Sex (San). Interestingly, it also boasts a made-up letter by one "Danny Boyd", and an Old Game: Here that's also clearly made up, as it has been "sent in" by someone I used to sit next to at school.
Also: see if you can find the hilarious way I used to think "monkeys" was spelled. Given how frequently I'd write about moneys, it would often be the catalyst for some merriment.
Don't forget, if you've got some old VHS tapes - especially if they contain footage of you frolicking - to let Jason know.
Jason Robertson - teletext's apology for Indiana Jones - has once more been ferreting around in the fusty mausoleums of Pixeltopia. This time, he has unearthed another entire edition of classic Digitiser, not seen by human eyes since the 24th May 1994 - a year-and-a-bit into Digi's life.
For more on what Jason does, how he does it - and how to get in touch if you have any old VHS tapes you'd like to loan to his noble cause - bear lewd witness to his website: here.
I've written before about Digitiser's history with the Amiga. Indeed, it's one of the first things that comes up whenever I'm interviewed. In short: Digi didn't cover the Amiga initially. Amiga owners complained in their thousands. We relented and got our bosses to buy us an Amiga, but we continued to grumble bitterly, and then - when the Amiga did go under - we gloated and continued to troll Amiga owners, because it was funny.
Thing is, when we started writing Digi, we had nothing against the Amiga or Amiga owners. I mean, why would we? What sort of lunatic would hate a computer?! How broken would you have to be to launch a vendetta against a computer and its entire user base?!
I mean, to be honest I even regretted that I'd chosen the Atari ST over the Amiga. It had probably been down to some latent loyalty from owning an Atari 2600 years before, but it soon became clear to me which system had the best games catalogue.
Regardless, we didn't see the Amiga as a priority. Anyone could see that the games industry was moving towards a PC/console-centric place, and the Amiga had been knocking around in one form or another since the mid-80s.
Unfortunately, pointing that out didn't stop Amiga owners from hating us, and it didn't stop us trolling them, and that certainly didn't stop Amiga owners telling us we had an obligation to cover the Amiga, and complaining about us to our bosses and television watchdogs, and trying to get us sacked.
I never understood it. If they wanted Amiga reviews there were plenty of magazines they could go to! Were these people also writing complaints to, I dunno, Mean Machines and Super Play?! Why us?!
GUEST POST by PAUL DUNNING
I remember when I was at school that every now and then Smash Hits (and probably other magazines) would give away stickers. I remember one series being small, oval shaped things with “exciting” words and phrases printed on them, such as “Cheap Thrill” and - probably - “Disco Rules”.
Anyway, such stickers ended up pretty much everywhere, much to the annoyance of our form teacher (who probably wished we were all slightly better behaved, and weren’t so keen on sticking things on the walls and furniture). Look: we were competing on stuff. Like chairs, desks, and the blackboard.
Moving on to today, stickers have become digital. You can slap them all over messages to your friends on your phones, to add “emotion” and “character” to your messages. Of course, you can’t put a digital sticker on the back of a classmate, but you can lob them at him (or her) over the electronic ether.
Apple added stickers to their Messages app for iOS last year.
They were not creating a walled garden where only a select few “big brands” and carefully chosen designers could play. Anyone could create sticker packs. That could be YOU.
It's possible that the first ever Digitiser has been widely seen in recent times. Though by "widely" I mean "a couple of thousand people". Still, there's a video of it up on YouTube, if you've missed it.
It's fine for what it is.
Here, though, is second edition of Digi ever - a sacred relic which has not been seen for more than 25 years - once again unearthed by teletext archeologist Jason Robertson.
I'm assuming we had most of the first week or so of Digitiser written before we went to air - though I don't quite remember - but there's a sense here that we're still trying to fill pages.
As before, it's something of a jarring read if you're familiar with the later, more anarchic, tone that we adopted; no Man Diary, no reveal-ohs, silliness kept to a minimum... not even the charts are in place. Furthermore, there are a few wince-inducing moments for myself and Mr Hairs. But anyhow. That's okay. Do your reading of this now. Just start, please.
Huge thanks on behalf of us and Jason to @amylrob1863 for supplying the tape upon which this important historical artefact was splayed.
Blimey. It's astonishing what you forget.
The genius that is Jason Robertson - teletext's answer to Indiana Jones, only spunkier - has been digging through dusty VHS tapes once again, seeking to retrieve old teletext data.
Now cram this down your neck-vent: he has managed to salvage the tenth ever edition of Digitiser, from January 1993. To date, this is the earliest surviving edition of Digitiser to have been retrieved in full. Yes, the very first edition is available as a video on YouTube, but never before has the clean data for a Digi from that era ever been retrieved.
And thus, behold: the first Digitiser index page design in all its glory; I recall our editor asking what the "DIGITISING" text was all about. I couldn't give an adequate answer, other than I thought it was cool.
And note that we were still trailing the "Mind Games" section - featuring Chess and Bridge - which our editor had wanted to make Digitiser a part of. That could've been... interesting. I'm very glad that this was a fight we dug in over, and won.
What's really odd, is that we evidently weren't doing tips at this point, and there were three reviews - including a "Game of the Week", an arcade review, and a PC game review. I have absolutely no recollection of this particular layout for the section, nor that we weren't covering tips from the very beginning. And why we broke up the reviews with the letters page sandwiched between them is anybody's guess.
But anyway. Let's take a look at the rest shall we? You might like to compare and contrast this edition with the brand-new classic-style Digi I put together last week....
Huge thanks on behalf of us and Jason to @amylrob1863 for supplying the tape upon which this important historical artefact was sprawled.
I've been slightly dreading this day; the day when Digitiser2000 went back to normal after a week of classic Digi. When it was met with howls of disappointment, and scores of you heading for the bar.
Most of you probably know I'm a big fan of the much-derided band Marillion. I make no apologies. Your opinion is wrong. I became a fan when I was 13 or 14; they got me at that sweet spot when I was still malleable, and their music became part of me. But then something happened; Fish, the charismatic, towering, lead singer, left the band and was replaced by a tiny heartthrob called Steve Hogarth. Marillion became an entirely different band.
I'd argue that they became a better band.... but it wasn't the same band as the one that had hit me at that formative point.
Gradually, as Hogarth became more established as the lead singer of Marillion - and, frankly, the band wrote better music with him - they played less and less of the old, Fish-era tracks when I saw them live. They didn't need to. Why play, I dunno, the clunky and soporific Chelsea Monday - just because it's old - when you could play something new and better - and more representative of where the band are at as human beings - like, say, White Paper?
And then, a few years ago, those old, Fish-era, tracks started creeping back into the setlist, the band having proven themselves without Fish, having succeeded in maintaining a successful career, and clearly having come to terms with their past. Suffice to say, when they played Market Square Heroes - their debut single - for the first time in years, I was pretty euphoric. It felt special. It was a callback to being a kid again, and besides - much as it pains me to say it - Marillion perform those old songs better than Fish does these days.
Since then, I think I've heard Market Square Heroes at almost all of the Marillion gigs I've been to in the past few years, and, well, the edge has been taken off that euphoria. Just a little.
Doing classic Digitiser last week, I felt like Hogarth must've felt those times he played a Fish-era song in his early days with the band - being met with applause and cheers, knowing it'd be followed by one of his own tracks. Cue polite applause, which you can't be sure isn't just being delivered out of pity because you don't want him to feel bad about how much more you enjoyed the Fish song...
Well, this is it. The final instalment in our week of classic-style Digitiser, to mark its 25th anniversary. Today marks the return of Digi's ever-controversial columnist Stuart Campbell, plus much more.
The celebrations don't stop here, however. We're planning a big party for later in the year - with special guests, panels, and events. Details will follow soon. Plus! There may be further surprises over the next 12 months...
For now... read this thing. Absorb it. Clutch it close to your "bosom".
Why, it's the penultimate day of this special anniversary week of Digitiser. Today, we feature an actual Amiga game review - courtesy of Digi's very own Adam "Mr Cheese" Keeble, who returned from his self-imposed exile in Peans just to pen this review - as well as appearances from a host of your Digitiser favourites! Stuff it into your craw beginning... NOW.
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