To this end, we'd like to find a way to preserve Digitiser - through the memories of those who read it.
If you have a recollection of something you read on Digitiser, which has stayed with you over the years, we'd love to hear it.
Indeed, so that we may all share in this frothy jamboree, we'll be running a selection of memories over the Christmas period (unless nobody sends any in). Please email us (no more than 500 words) here: email@example.com
To get you all starting to think, here are some memories from Digitiser reader, and occasional Digitiser2000 contributor, Super Bad Advice.
I was at sixth form college and then later University, so I had more free time and more money for gaming (more of someone else’s money to be honest, as I was lucky enough to be in one of the last Uni intakes to get a grant you could just about live on).
Plus – being a skanky student – I had a near-pathological urge to procrastinate.
I’d always been a gamer, starting in earnest aged 8 with the frankly awful Dragon 32 (Welsh computing’s finest, worst, and indeed only, hour).
I also always had a sense of humour that leaned towards the unusual and outright daft. I’d grown up on a diet of Your Sinclair, Absolutely and Vic Reeves Big Night Out. So a games mag for free on your telly brimming with non-jokes and absurdity, where I didn’t even have to get off my buttocks to turn the page? I was sold pretty much from the get go.
Games news aside, I suspect Digi’s strongest appeal to me was much the same as it was for everyone else who made a point of reading daily: the humour.
You either got it or you didn’t, and while a friend I lived with at Uni and I absolutely did, and loved it, one particular housemate we had didn’t get it in the slightest.
In fact, he hated it and made a point of negatively comparing it to his beloved and crushingly po-faced EDGE magazine at any opportunity. Obviously we then went round saying "I cuss you bad" and "moc-moc-a-moc" repeatedly in his presence, to the point he once threatened to hit us with a plate if we didn’t stop "rapping" at him.
Mr Biffo eventually ended up writing for EDGE of course, so while I lost touch with him long before, I like to think my former housemate used to furiously rip the Biffovision pages out of each issue and bludgeon them with any tableware to hand.
Funnies aside, even back when I was a youth-sodden idiot I think I was vaguely aware of a couple of other things that made Digi stand out from the crowd.
The feeling it wasn’t in cahoots with the games firms (or rather, the PR firms the games firms hired) came through, and there was a sense that a Digi review was a genuinely honest one as they had nothing to lose.
Which isn’t to say other mags were dishonest, but as they were sales-driven there were times when you wondered whether that 10/10 review of the big Xmas game appearing a month earlier in one mag than all the others was entirely uncoincidental.
The tone of the ‘printies’ was different as well. Most games mags at the time slotted into 1 of 2 categories – deadly serious (and consequently largely joyless), or with the sort of humour that was summed up by the journos sounding like jack the lads on some sort of gaming-themed Club 18-30s jaunt.
It was banter before the days of banter, and frequently accompanied by painfully contrived and blatantly bogus in-column conversations.
The serious mags didn’t fare much better at times, as back then gaming itself was (and in many ways sadly still is) fairly juvenile. It’s hard to take a straight-faced analysis of this year’s top driving games seriously when all the lewd/gun-strewn ads for games on the facing pages were clearly aimed at teenage boys.
Their reviews often felt overly analytical too, more concerned with who made the game and their motivations rather than whether it was actually any fun.
With Digi reviews the limited word space combined with the irreverent style meant you got much more of a sense of whether the game was a blast or a pile of tat without wading through the naval-gazing guff.
As an aside, I think the peak of this self-importance in some mags was when one (the mists of time have blotted out which) started giving away posters of the programmers of games. Sure, those little guys are vitally important and much appreciated, but you don’t stick an image of the cameraman on the billboard for your new Hollywood blockbuster.
Against this backdrop of unfunny or un-fun, Digi was a breath of fresh air.
Which is probably just as well because to be honest it would have died on it’s arse if it wasn’t.
It obviously didn’t have the ability to show screenshots or give away demos like other mags, and had it tried to ape them (as in copy them – not arrange for a violent gibbon to attack their staff) it would have just highlighted the shortcomings.
Instead, and without wanting to sound like some awful suck-up, it’s to Biffo, Hairs, Udders and Cheese’s collective credit that it never felt like it was missing something but rather the reverse – it had something the others didn’t, and had it in bucketloads*.
Of course at the time us readers had no idea of the in-house turmoil going on at Teletext.
All we knew was, it was a bloody shame when the announcement came up one day that Digi was to end in a couple of weeks.
I have absolutely nothing against the replacement service that (I think) started the week after, but that says it all really – I have no recollection of it whatsoever because it did it by the numbers.
Yet I can still remember Man’s Daddy jokes to this day. Mainly because Biffo stands outside my bathroom window shouting them at me in a high-pitched voice when I’m on the toilet, but I reckon I’d remember them regardless.
As Biffo’s columns have shown, Digi coming together is a great example of a thing happening largely by fluke that probably shouldn’t really have worked at all, but absolutely did and did brilliantly. And that’s why it’s held in such regard not just by anonymous skanks like me, but genuinely relevant people like that bloke who did 28 Days Later.
It was the games magazine equivalent of Brian Blessed on a drunk camel winning the Grand National against a field of thoroughbreds, whatever the hell that means, and many hurrahs for all who sailed in her.
FINAL SCORE: 15.7 reversible sedgewicks out of 10. Can I go now?
By Super Bad Advice
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART ELEVEN by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART TEN by Mr Biffo
GAMES OF MY YEARS: DIGITISER - PART NINE by Mr Biffo
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
GAMES OF MY YEARS: A CHEESY CODA by Adam "Mr Cheese" Keeble