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'm pretty surprised that these two intro pages are still up ten days after Digi launched, leaving just one page of news. Also: look at that optimistic line-up. Somehow, we felt certain we'd have enough PC games to be able to review them every single weekend. And note that we'd already caved in on the Amiga, a good three months or so earlier than I thought we had.
That should give you some indication of the tsunami of complaints that we received.
Ultimately, we must've decided that this was stupid, and did our own thing; make the first paragraph of a page green, and the rest cyan.
Though I do quite like the sort of graphic equaliser-style scoring system. Shame we dropped that for the industry-standard percentages; surely the most ridiculous and abused rating method that has ever been conceived.
Still... they gave us twenty quid every two weeks to go down the Trocadero, so we had to justify that somehow.
I mean, we definitely got later letters asking who we were - so much so that we came up with fake names in order to maintain our anonymity - but I'm assuming we must've been sick of receiving nothing but complaints about the lack of bloody Amiga coverage, if the next one is anything to go by.
Also, the slightly cynical "reply" does rather point to a sense that we were already feeling like outsiders, and seems starkly at odds with the "super-fabby" tone of the rest of this edition. I'm guessing we weren't having much luck with games publisher PR departments, and were starting already to resent their cliquey relationship with the perceived importance of magazine journos.
And clearly we'd been worn down, because we'd already agreed to start reviewing Amiga games on the following Monday, far earlier than I thought we had.
No idea who Computermate were, and I have no recollection of ever getting games from them. Again though, this was doubtless borne out of the lack of success we were having with PR people.