Fortunately, I had my dad's prophecies of doom to motivate me: I was determined not to allow freelance life to become the gateway to destitution that he was predicting. There's nothing quite like the disappointment of a parent to provide a kick up the boulevard.
Indeed, I started drinking coffee in enormous quantities, having never drunk it before. In fact, I'm drinking a cup as I write this, and it's still disgusting. Without the commute to wake me up, it took me longer to get started in the mornings. That caffeine punt became vital.
Generally, my days entailed an hour of Digi, followed by the remainder of the day writing scripts.
Tim was hard at work on his book, and so I was flying solo for the first time - and not just on Digitiser. I was writing sitcom scripts, and sending them out, at an absurd rate. I was getting knock-back after knock-back, but gradually the knock-backs became tap-backs; the script readers started finding positive things to say about my writing.
This isn't a story about how I changed careers, but it's significant in that - from the point when I started working from home - Digitiser was a means to an end.
It paid the mortgage, and provided a financial safety net, so that I could focus on what I really wanted to be doing. Though the coming section of the story will cover the final six years of Digitiser's life - a much longer period of time than Tim and I spent working together - I remember less of it.
Well, no. That's not strictly true. I wasn't at Teletext every day, so I didn't get to witness the office politics first-hand. Plus, Digi took up a smaller portion of my time. What I remember is everything else that was going on in my life, and Digitiser simply became less important. There's actually less of it to remember.
I was still hugely proud of Digi, but I was no longer having the fun with it that I once was. However, my assistant Sean was about to leave, and was soon to get a helper who became my new "Voice of the audience" - someone who could encourage me to misbehave, simply from being amused by my misbehaviour.
His name was Gavin Lambert, and he was a friend of Adam's. Some of you might know him better as Mr Udders. Over time, Gavlar became responsible for Lovejoy the Tramp, Wired Child, and Dennis: Man on Zinc.
Though based at the Teletext's offices - where he'd write the Chips & Tips, prepare the charts pages, select which letters were to air, and do all the admin and chasing of PR people that I didn't want to do, Gavin drove me mental at first.
I can't even remember what it was all about now, but I remember complaining to Adam about him: who was this utter shambles he'd forced upon me?! Adam assured me that Gavlar was merely finding his feet, and asked me to give him a chance. Gritting my teeth, I did so, and was rewarded with someone who was to remain the other member of the Digitiser team until the bitter end.
Although, I've never quite gotten over him telling me off because I swore too much on the internal mail, and that he was raised to not to use foul language.
And even now - and we've been friends a very long time; we've even been on holiday together several times - he has a habit of sending me into apoplexies of rage about the most trivial things. Such as claiming he'd seen the trailer for Jurassic World, when I knew full well they hadn't released a trailer for Jurassic World, and wouldn't do so for another nine months.
I also blame him partially for me having to sleep rough on the streets of Rome on the night of my 40th birthday: if we hadn't spent three hours arguing about whether a certain sexual act was demeaning to women - and he'd just accepted that I'm always right - we wouldn't have been locked out of our hotel.
This is pretty much how it was with us from the off.
Perhaps inevitably, it's Gavin's fault that Digitiser ended when it did. But we'll get to that.
With Digi as my foundations, I was spreading into new territory; I started the website Bubblegun, with my friend Steve.
It was very popular, a sort of proto-Buzzfeed-type thing, but just as it looked as if we might actually get some proper investment, the Internet bubble burst.
However, off the back of it, I started writing for the Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on XFM. Christian was a fan of our Top 10 lists and a particularly unpleasant joke I'd written about Fred and Rose West (What is Fred West's favourite drink? Fosters).
Elements of Digitiser crossed over to Bubblegun - which was, to all intents, meant to be Digitiser in all but name, albeit with a remit broader than just video games. Zombie Dave and The Snakes both put in appearances.
Curiously, Bubblegun was instrumental in helping to get my TV writing career off the ground. A producer at Granada Kids, who was a fan of The Snakes, asked me in to pitch for a show created by the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Although that never happened, I'm still working with the same producer today, on 4 O'Clock Club for CBBC.
The Snakes also got transformed into puppets, for their own Fox Kids pilot, voiced by the brilliant Phil Cornwell, and directed by the man responsible for the first few Gorillaz videos. We went on to create the series Brush Lee and Jackie Chain together.
Though the animation was great, and we had a jaw-dropping cast - Monty Python's Terry Jones, Kevin Eldon, Paul Putner, Jessica Hynes, George out of George and Mildred - my writing wasn't up to snuff.
I don't know why I changed the characters so dramatically from the comic strip version - I suspect I lost confidence in myself, and was overthinking everything - but it's probably the most disappointed I've ever been in something I've written. There was quite the degree of expectation from Bubblegun and Digitiser readers, but I should've kept quiet about it; it was a case of me discovering how to write for TV, in a depressingly public forum.
On the plus side, I learned, valuably, the wrong way to put Digitiser-style humour on telly.
Around the same time, I also got a gig - thanks to Robert Popper - writing on Sooty. As absurd as it might sound, I learned more from Sooty than anything else I've done. The 12 minute episodes had to have an A and a B plot, there needed to be a moral, and you had a couple of lead characters who either couldn't speak, or could only speak in a squeak.
Everything I've done since has led from that job.
THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH
On the domestic front, things started going south a while after I started working from home.
My relationship began a slow decaying orbit that was going to take years to burn up completely. 1998 was a particularly grim year - I spent most of it in trapped beneath a shroud of my own misery and hurt. Digitiser was about the only thing I had the strength for, and even then there were days I was too low to pick myself up off the floor.
By the following year I'd just about pieced myself back together again, albeit only really on the outside. I felt like a fragile porcelain shell, inside of which was a lot of bottled-up pain and resentment, threatening to boil over at any second. Unfortunately - all of that was beginning to spill out in other ways, and I'd started to become bitter.
I still somehow found the strength to upset Teletext, however. If anything, the sense I got was that the pages were under closer scrutiny than every before. The peculiar goodwill that was floating around before I left had departed as the management team changed. New brooms were coming in, and they were sweeping huge swathes of Digitiser away with it.
I ran an introduction to Gossi the Dog, which was along the lines of "My master is coming, and unless Gossi gives you important gaming gossip, he will be removing his belt, and... and... No, master, please!". This was reported to the ITC, who upheld the complaint, as it encouraged animal cruelty, apparently.
Not long afterwards, I received a written warning for "Grossly offensive comments about security guards", who I had alluded to as being "too fat and stupid to get in the army".
The end was very much in sight.
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART EIGHT by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART SEVEN by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART SIX by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART FIVE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART FOUR by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART THREE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: 16-BIT - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: 16-BIT - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ARCADES - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ARCADES - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: SEGA MASTER SYSTEM - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: SEGA MASTER SYSTEM - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: ATARI - PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: ATARI - PART TWO by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ZX SPECTRUM PART ONE by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: THE ZX SPECTRUM PART TWO by Mr Biffo