If you'd like to imagine yourself as young Marty McFly, this article is your time-travelling hoverboard of optimistic dreaming. Come, squat yourself astride it, and let us shower you with "chronon particles" (damp kidney beans covered in sputum).
If you'd asked us 18 months ago, we'd have predicted that the entire ugly notion of freemium games would have been throttled and kicked under a caravan by now.
Instead, it has merely evolved, with games firms finding new ways to siphon money from the salty depths of your veiny wallet.
Unfortunately, in the past year or so several perfectly excellent games have virtually been ruined by the depressing practice of charging players for extra content.
The mobile incarnation of the classic Dungeon Keeper was unplayable unless you were prepared to fork out a small fortune. Likewise, the sequel to Plants Vs Zombies - spoiling what should've been a triumphant second instalment.
While we’d just about learned to ignore most freemium games on the Apple Store, the practice has now begun infecting full-price console titles; after paying fifty quid for Assassin’s Creed Unity, Ubisoft hawked its extra content in-game, like a pushy carpet salesperson who wouldn't let you leave his dirty shop until you'd bought a rug. So, not really freemium at all then.
And it's not just Ubi that's doing it - these days, pretty much every major game release begs you to invest in season packs or extra content. It feels like gamers have become resigned to it, but we're not completely convinced that it's fair.
Admittedly, you can understand why things are going that way, when mobile games threaten to out-profit full-price console titles, but it’s an ugly business model, which exploits our inherent uselessness as a species. If you're going to continue charging us half a month's wages for the core game, this needs to stop immediately. We're weak, and open to exploitation.
We don't like cutscenes. There - we said it. But we don't. Sorry.
We play games because games are interactive. We want to be active participants in a story or an adventure, not passive spectators. We want our gaming experiences to feel like they belong to us and us alone.
We'll optimistically suggest there are signs that the situation is improving, but there are still too many games which attempt to waterboard us with their laboured fiction.
SPRAWL OR NOTHING
The true masters of video game storytelling are Naughty Dog - their games keep the cutscenes to a minimum, and get character across through action. Plus, GTAV, Advanced Warfare, Alien Isolation, and even the aforementioned Unity all keep their cinematics to a minimum, and try to put as much dialogue as possible into the body of the game. However, a swollen, wobbly part of our disappointment with Far Cry 4 was down to its unstoppable cutscenes, and un-engaging plot.
There are exceptions, of course; Telltale games are trying to do something very specific with their narratives, and titles such as Year Walk and the beautiful Never Alone are specifically about story. And please don't misunderstand: we love a single player experience, and we love games to feel like a journey. And - hey! - if the writing and performance in cut sequences are watchable and entertaining in their own right it can make all the difference.
But - if you ask us - it goes against the entire reason games are games. These aren't books or films or graphic novels. Use the gameplay and the interactivity, as the primary storytelling tool. Do that, and we'll stop posting you all that maggot-infested meat.
It feels like we're giving UbiSoft a right drubbing at the moment, but they've taken the structure established by the GTA series - a big, open world, scattered with story missions, side missions, and endless collectibles - and applied it to most of their ruddy games.
Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 4... there's nothing wrong with doing this per se, and there's no denying it'll extend the life of any game, but when players are also going through the same motions in, say, Shadow of Mordor and GTAV, it starts to lose its appeal.
And half the problem is the fact that so many of the map events feel like extending a game's life artificially - not helped by the fact that you're barely able to distinguish one side mission, or collectible gathering jaunt, from another.
Only GTAV really manages to keep the things feeling fresh from the other things, by making every encounter original, and keeping the game world feeling alive and interactive. UbiSoft (and everybody else) really needs to pluck a leaf from their bush - and by that we don't mean introducing missions in Assassin's Creed Victory in which you have to prevent your pet dog from humping Jack the Ripper's leg...
It all boils down to personal preference of course, but so much game art leaves us cold.
While we can fully appreciate that Bayonetta 2, Dark Souls and their ilk are beautifully designed and visually accomplished, they sort of feel like interactive versions of old Heavy Metal magazine comic strips.
Many modern games almost seem over-designed, and it sometimes seems like the games industry has entered its 'George Lucas Special Edition' phase.
The original Star Wars trilogy had a simple visual language which translated into clean, iconic images, but - as we all know - the second Lucas got his hands on really powerful computer hardware he threw everything at the screen, making it difficult to know what to focus on. It was like watching an animated Jackson Pollock painting, with the occasional Wilhelm scream and lecture about trade taxation.
Too often, that's what it feels like is happening in today's games, but just because you can do something it doesn't mean you should.
What's more, this is happening alongside the glut of militaristic shooters which appear to have been painted in liquid testosterone, scores of tediously identikit driving games, so many Japanese-flecked RPGs, and a curious turn towards photorealistic graphics, in which so much of the visual oomph seems to rely on the graphics' engines ability to render a convincing sunset. Frankly, we're gasping for a game to give our eyeballs a hearty slapping with its clean and original art design.
There are exceptions of course. The Borderlands franchise continues to go its own route, and Sunset Overdrive set itself up as an antidote to a lot of what we're railing against (and often succeeds). Plus, when you see much of Nintendo’s output it’s like opening the curtains on a sunny day, to see an exciting male nude - stood, legs akimbo, outside your window.
But the truth is, we often have to turn to mobile games to see real visual invention these days; we think there's a reason why 8-bit-esque graphics never quite seem to go out of style.
Talking of which...
If you'll allow us to be completely self-serving for one moment, we're feeling pretty optimistic about Digitiser2000. We're not exactly in Jim Stirling territory yet - or even close - but enough of you have offered your support to convince us to at least try and stick around, and see what happens.
When Digitiser2000 first got born a few months back we never intended it to be an ongoing project. It was just a bit of fun, a way to motivate us, and give us a break from the day job - with one eye on maybe, possibly, doing some sort of Kickstarter book thing (which is still in the offing...).
We hadn't banked on people welcoming us back with parted jodhpurs, let alone actually ask us to remain "in situ". But, on the suggestion of many of you, in the next week or so we're going to take the plunge and get a Patreon "tips jar" happening.
We don't want Digi2000 to go away anymore than you do, so - much as we've struggled with the notion of begging - we've finally swallowed the bitter pill of our resistance to the idea. Unless some other choice presents itself rapidly, we can't really think of another option. But that's okay.
We won't be asking for a lot, initially - just enough to justify the time this takes, and keep the site regularly updated in the way we've been doing thus far. Ultimately it'll be about whether we can cover costs, and pay the bills from Digi rather than other work (selling drugs to tramps).
We intend to offer some nice rewards for supporters - though the actual meat and gravy content (ie; more reviews, stupid stuff and articles like this one - albeit without this self-serving bit at the end) will be available to all. We won't hide anything behind a paywall.
However, if we somehow reach - or exceed - our goals, we've got big plans to turn the site into a fully-fledged, sauced-up, Digitiser for the space year 2015AD. We're even thinking about doing a regular podcast. A funny good one.
We appreciate that we're all broke in January, but if you like the site, and want to keep reading it, we'd love your support (money). If you can't afford to, or don't want to for some reason (you hate us), that's fine too, and we'll only be slightly offended.
Frankly, we're crapping ourselves... not through fear - but fun! We'll keep you all posted.