Appropriately, it is a Hot Topic all about this one thing: your memories of Digitiser itself.
Due to the transitory nature of the teletext medium, much of Digitiser has been lost to the silvery wisps of time. We rely upon our memories to preserve it. Thanking to everyone who took the time to send something in. And now? And now click onwards to absorb these memories into your hearts and thighs.
Stacey (Stay – username when posting)
'Where u from?
I hate England its always ranning there
Do you mean raining?
WAREZ RULE!! LIMEYS SUUUUUCK!!!'
"All the chatroom conversations ended the same way - Warez rule!!! It was all such wonderful gibberish. To this day even now I have a wife and family they say 'its ranning out there' cos I say it and I say it cos you printed it as above so I really cuss you bad for that!!!
"I was always amazed that you would do that too - people had clearly taken the time to write in worked up about something or other and you just totally ignored them - who else or where else would dare to ignore their audience like that ? All part of the magic."
"But it was in 1997 when I really got into gaming, as a 13 year old me got my hands on a N64 bundled with Mario 64. It was literally one of the best days of my life. I still maintain that that era of gaming was the best ever, and the way it revolutionised the industry is astonishing.
"It was around this time that I discovered Digi and from then on I would finish school, get home, drop my bags, put the TV on to channel 4 to get my daily dose of Digi without fail. I was a self confessed Nintendo Fanboy and life at school was tough as all my friends were the cool Playstation Crowd. I did have the last laugh though most times by just pointing them to the Digitiser top 10 of the year chart. From memory, Nintendo topped that chart pretty much every year without fail with it's stellar line up of games.
"Like most readers, the one thing I loved about Digi was the sarcasm and innuendos, and just the 'way of writing' - I think this is part the reason why I turned out to be such a witty bastard, good work there guys!
"I got a bollocking one day from my English teacher for writing a discussion essay 'in the spoken and not the written context' I effectively copied the Digi style of writing for that and failed the exam. (Do you see, SO YOU SEE?!) I still wonder to this day if I could have slipped a reversible sedgwick in there somewhere.
"The one ultimate memory I have though was from Christmas Eve 1998. I was sat there as a 14 year old, eager to play Zelda, Ocarina of time for the first time the next day. I had been keeping track of this game for months. Just before I went to bed that night I flicked on Digi and read an article from Violet Berlin. In the article Violet was talking about Zelda, bigging it up in all it's glory. Towards the end she said 'sleep well, and I'll see you tomorrow in Hyrule' At that point I nearly exploded.
"I remember the sad day that came when I read Game Central for the first time. From the opening paragraph I remember one line that read 'The Digitiser donkey is dead' That cut right through me, it was devastating.
"I was 19 at the time, this sort of coincided with me stopping playing computer games as I found girls and beer, became more 'grown up' ending up face down, drunk in kerbside gutters etc.
Now days, well I'm now 31, married and life is a lot more laid back. The crazy 20's have finished and I've been getting more into computer games over past year.
"Yes I have a Nintendo again and I'm currently smashing Xenoblade Chronicles X and this year I stumbled across Digi again. It's almost too perfect. Digi was my childhood, and I'm so happy to see you back."
1. Gasman: 'keep the kids in the cage!', and other such comments (referring to the kids that seemed to be imprisoned in the oil rig).
2. <When Beth from Neighbours sat down to take part in some sort of challenge > 'I wish I was her seat'.
Pretty childish, but they made me laugh heartily at the time. Actually, they still make me laugh now."
"I absolutely loved all the characters. I'd always loved The A-Team, so to have Mr. T as a columnist was excellent. I loved the way he'd give his advice in such a fatherly way, as long as you STAYED. AWAY. FROM. HIS. BINS! The Man With The Long Chin felt like the main man, and rightfully so. I loved his diary.
"I trusted Digitiser's reviews above everyone else's. People like Julian Rignall, Richard Leadbetter and Dave Perry thought they were so important. Their word was the final say and they should be adored. I hated all that.
"I remember reading that we could send in our own charts. I decided to send one in of my favourite Nirvana songs. I didn't expect it to be published, but when I saw it a few days later on TV I was totally amazed - I felt famous!
"Free tickets for (the then unheard of) Gamesmaster were advertised. I applied and got tickets for me and my four mates from school. My teacher was really safe and let us have a day off school. It was in a church somewhere in London. A guest appearance from John Fashunu and free arcade machines when they weren't filming, I wouldn't have heard of this if it hadn't been for Digitiser.
"When it all came to an end I was gutted. There was nothing even remotely like it. Even worse was how Mr Biffo seemed to vanish off the face of the earth. This was obviously before the internet had kicked off properly, so there was no Facebook, Twitter etc to follow. It was a mystery. Seeing the site back up and running is truly magical. It's like finding a really good friend again after many years apart. Myself and so many others are so happy to see Digitiser back again. Long may it continue!"
JohnnyCashMIB (PS4 tag)
"We were sitting up in his room, probably wishing we had some drugs too, when a film came on, and it was Monty Python and the Holy Grail - and I had never seen anything like it before. I thought it was absolutely the funniest thing I had ever seen, but what amazed me most about it was that I didn't understand why it was funny - because it was just nonsense. I'd seen 'funny' things before of course - but I had always got the distinct impression that in order to be funny, something was supposed to make sense in some way, or be clever, or make some sort of witty point.
"But this was a total revelation, I realised things could be just as funny - funnier even, if they didn't make any sense or relate in any way to anything vaguely realistic. In fact, the very lack of any relevance or specific reverence seemed to me to be the essence of what made it so funny. OK - I know you're thinking 'Why is this dickhead sending me Monty Python memories when I asked for Digitiser memories'. But - there's a reason, so be patient, and please don't call me a dickhead.
"I slept fitfully that night - partly because I felt like Monty Python had made by brain explode, but also partly due to something else - I knew that when I woke up in the morning a part of my life would have undergone a dramatic change, and I was anxious about the result. Perhaps unusually for a 13 year old boy I was a huge fan of teletext - and I knew that ITV were launching their new teletext service on New Year's Day, and in particular I was hugely excited to see what the new video game section was going to be like.
"So I ran downstairs and switched the TV on as soon as I was awake and saw Digitiser for the first time, and loved it, but, totally unexpectedly, also found it completely hilarious. And I realised almost straight away that I was finding it funny for pretty much the same reason as I had found Monty Python so funny - for the sheer randomness and chaos.
"As time went on I became totally addicted and I read it every morning as soon as I woke up, and then again when I got home from school. I remember trying to explain the humour to friends, and a lot of them just didn't get it, or told me I was a sad bastard for reading video game reviews on teletext but there were a core of people who did, and we'd often end up repeating stupid catchphrases to each other in the playground.
"So there you go, some stuff about my memories of Digitiser. I felt like I owed it to you after you took the time to write all of that stuff about your gaming history and then the history of digi. May Digi2000 continue for a thousand years and help guide humanity to a better future, free of the constrants of 'making sense' and evil deputy editors.
The Green Spurt
"Similarly, for Digi, I read for games news and reviews, finding the characters a strange but entertaining addon, but as I grew up, and begun to find what I really found funny, memories of Digi kept coming up. The odd characters, the off topic letters, the catchphrases, it had a strange allure which I was desperate to revisit.
"I found bits and pieces online through the fansites and archives that survived, and by God, it just clicked. I felt a strange mix of sadness that I'd missed out on appreciating what I was reading fully, and happiness that I'd got to see it at all, even if through the eyes of a child, so to speak.
"Thus, hearing about Digitiser 2000 was a huge blessing; I got to be involved, I got to be there from (nearly) the start and I appreciated the humour and surrealism this time. I validated the nostalgic hope of my latter teenage years; that what I had spent my afternoons reading on Teletext aged 13, was actually very, very entertaining.
"Plus I used the word zealot a lot at school."
"Morse, ever the dominant bully, had already tired of proceedings and declared that he was hungry. 'Make a noise like a pasty, Lewis'.
"I'm paraphrasing wildly now, but an over-eager Lewis rose to the challenge, gathered his nerve and responded with something like 'Ppppppfpfpfft! Rhuhphpuphphph! Blaa-blaaa-blaaaaaaaaart-thrrrrrp! Gwngnthrunmp'.
"'Oh man,' Morse grumbled. 'Not cheese 'n' onion.'
"Digi's characters had grown alongside us, living and breathing (via Biffo and company) video game culture with a voracity that monthly mags struggled to keep pace with. Yes, Total!, Mean Machines and their ilk might have had fancy screenshots and the occasional developer interview, but they could never respond so flippantly and so swiftly to events in a culture that we clung to like drowning tramps. Fat Sow and Gossi the Dog, in particular, felt like vehicles for things magazines couldn't or wouldn't say, not least because the hobbled boot of PR wrath would stamp down on earnest comments if they'd ever been committed to print.
"The Snakes, the Man and his Daddy provided covering fire, of course. Regular yet surreal columnists, their entries were funny in and of themselves,but equally the extensive cast of characters allowed Digitiser to sneak acerbic remarks past the dreaded sub-editors. What was satire and what was silliness? It could be difficult to know. Despite that, The Readers always felt like we were joining in, whispering amongst ourselves at the back of the class. We spoke in a secret code, smuggled through our televisions every morning. (Providing it wasn't too windy outside, that is.)
"I never tuned into Digitiser for the reviews, because those felt like they'd been scrawled out on the back of a fag packet. They weren't important, not in the way the latest Zombie Dave or Letters pages were. This was a primordial video game community, a digital club that we were attended together while spooning down our breakfast cereal. It felt like mates, ones using technology long before Facebook or Instagram would make that an everyday occurrence.
"Still, though, that pasty joke makes me laugh like a gibbon. An old-fashioned sitcom gag, but one that had earned its wings because Digitiser's characters snuck into my house every morning and were by turn silly, dark, scathing and gut-wrenchingly brave. What else could we become but friends?"
Chris X. Allcock
"I guess I was in my early teens when it started and by the time I went to university I was able to meet like minded people would didn't look at me weird when I looked them in the eye and intoned 'moc moc a moc' at them.
"My absolute favourite Digi moment, one that still makes me giggle uncontrollably when I think about it was the movie script for Jurassic park that you ran, probably around the time The Lost World came out which culminated in the line 'Welcome... to face eating monkey park'. That happened right? I hope I'm not just making that up."
"Anyway I started working for Electronics Boutique in 1994, and it wasn't long before I realised I could, with the help of CTW, blag my way into ECTS each year with anyone I could provide a name and address for. I usually dragged my hetro-life-mate Neil along.
"Forward wind to 1999, the year of The Phantom Menace, high on Star Wars fever and swearing blindly that George's golden goose was still laying decent gold-effect eggs, we strode into the show as two Jedi entering a hive of scum and villainy. As you know there was always cool stuff to be had from these shows in terms of promo trinkets.
"This year we quickly devolved from noble Jedi masters into disgusting Jawas. The decent started when one chap on a recruitment stand spotted my Obi-wan T-shirt and loudly proclaimed 'The Force is strong here....' With a swift spring loaded action he presented me with a 4 pack of Heineken: 'Here have a drink'.
"Now it was a damn hot September day, and since Olympia is basically a giant greenhouse I basically downed the first can in one. This gave me a little Dutch courage and started to try to blag bigger and bigger items from the stands. After finishing all the beers on an empty stomach I honestly didn't care what happened - all that mattered was the blagging. I persuaded the Thrustmaster rep to give me a PC tilt joy pad, I practically mugged the MadCatz rep, making off with a large flight stick / throttle thingy.
"Prima guides has a faux newsagent stand which we started to empty into our CTW sponsored bags (just to find most of them where printed in German) . There was much more than this but I'm buggered if I can remember what else we stole. Well it was all promo stuff so it wasn't really stealing, right?
"Anyway by the time I was on the tube home I wasn't drunk but hungover and very dehydrated. There may have been sick."
Bloggs (you may know me on Twitter as @Bloggospow)
"My favourite Digitiser memory, apart from The Real Turner The Worm Being Sick, or my only Digitiser Memory because I don't care about anything that didn't involve me, is I had a joke about the Amiga being dead put up on the letters page, and in those days email addresses were published in the nude on screen, safe in the knowledge if anything bad happened a stern email to the offender's ISP would get them a smack on the wrist from Daddy. This was the joke:
Amiga who? Hello? Oh no, he's dead, phone an ambulance!
"Someone I knew via the alt.digitiser newsgroup emailed me shortly afterwards to say someone had posted a call to arms on an Amiga mailing list saying they should bombard me with evidence that the Amiga wasn't dead. Alas I don't have either of the two emails that I received stored anywhere, but recall they were both mocking me because as we all know, the Amiga came back and now commands a 99% share of the home computer market. Don't I feel a fool.
"So what I'm trying to say is, I invented Gamergate, but for Amigas."
"My friend Richard got a letter published as 'Ed Gewinner' and duly won a subscription for his trouble, much to his mum's confusion when mailers for this guy Ed arrived at his house..."
"Digi cut through that guff with concise reviews, flavoured with a surrealist sense of humour. I remember being astounded by daily content, using the HOLD function to stop the page from changing before I had read it, the pixelated illustrations that stood out like neon signs against the black of the Teletext background. Digi had this odd duality of being both primitive and cutting edge. Much how the reviews would be a equal parts incisive and ludicrous.
"It was never advertised. My mates at school would discuss it (which when you're 12 is your entire scope for news pre-internet), so it felt like a secret club, that only I knew about, that somehow wasn't supposed to be on the normally mundane Teletext- although reading Mr Biffo's account of his time there, I wasn't far off.
"Years later, I stumbled into the murky puddle of writing (badly) about games. It was only when Biffo was finally released from the secure facility, he'd been kept in to cure him of his worm fixation, and brought Digi back that I realised how much of an inspiration it had been. And I don't just mean getting into petty spats with proper writers and being a pain in the back quarters to PR people. Digi was always the refreshing alternative to mainstream games journalism, and here's to it staying that way."
"Of course I stumbled upon Digitiser because I was a video game fan - but the gaming content became secondary to me (much like it has for Digister2000!) and it was the funnies that warmed my cockles so and ensured I returned daily. I enjoyed dropping by to see what The Man (and his Daddy) were up to, chortling at the comments from the likes of Insincere Dave and Mr T, and I always mega enjoyed Digitiser's supposed "script extracts" from future movies (X-Files, Star Wars and Spiderman spring to mind). I say “supposed”, but maybe they were genuine? I certainly hope so. Oh, and the Christmas pantos were always a hoot. Here’s hoping for a new one imminently!
"I also vividly recall once trying to make a girl I fancied laugh by borrowing a joke from The Man's Daddy. It went like this:
Q - Why do you always think about skinheads when you're in the bath?
A - Because there are skinheads looking in the window.
"She didn't think it was funny, so I repeated it in case she hadn't heard it correctly. Turned out she had. I knew then and there she wasn’t girlfriend material.
"Another semi-interesting Digitiser story I have… When I was about 14 years old I entered some sort of competition thingy to become a contributor on the Club 440 pages (another Teletext brand wildly inferior to Digitiser). My entry made the shortlist and I was called in for an interview of sorts in an office in Fulham where I was probed by a suited guy who I seem to recall looking a little like Patrick Moore. Although, I guess most old people look like Patrick Moore to a 14 year old.
"When he asked me what other pages I read on Teletext, I replied that I was a colossal fan of Digitiser and whoever wrote it were genuinely among the funniest folk in existence. He said dismissively that he would pass my kind words on to them (you) and noticeably wasn’t in the slightest way charmed by enthusiasm for the Digi brand.
"After reading the Games Of My Years: Digitiser tales, the reason for his nonchalance has seemingly become apparent, some 20 years later! I never got a call back. I blame Digitiser. Do you see?"