You don't need me to point out that this has been a landmark year in Digi's 25-year history. It makes no sense that a thing which began life as a teletext video games page should still be going after so long, but - well - here we are.
I'm now going to take some time off to recharge and ensure my enormous family is well-fed over the festive season, but I'll be back after New Year with new articles, new videos - and new potatoes.
Feels like we're just getting started.
Oh, and if you want to ensure I can afford to do it all - why not become my patron? It doesn't cost much, you'll get more personal sort of blog posts, and you'll improve my chances of not running out of money, like I always do on my various projects. Merry Christmas!
If you'd like to appear here, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone, or you've got a picture of a bin you wish to share, please send your filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are people with a different sense of humour always criticised? Why do we have to hang around with the rest of humanity and follow the well trodden path?! If everyone tried to go their own way for even 20% of their lives, the world would be a much better place. I have daily issues with people just not getting me. Any advice, Biffo?
Hoson 'Biggsy' Biggs
This is very much a question that has haunted me for much of my life.
I think the clue is in the reason given for why the humour was culled from Digi (for a year) back in the day: those who don't get it feel "excluded" - like it's a party they've not been invited to. Or it makes them feel stupid. But the thing many people don't respect is that humour is entirely subjective, and there is room for different approaches to comedy. You can't say something ISN'T funny when people do, demonstrably, find it funny.
Ultimately, we're all just wired differently. I mean, last night I played my daughter and her boyfriend the "Why are you having a go at Russell Howard, mate?" bit from Stewart Lee's most recent stand-up special, and they sat there stoney-faced. At something which, when I saw it live, made me laugh more than anything has ever made me laugh.
I don't even know why. The repetition, the silly voices, the subject matter, the pettiness of it, the braveness of it, the sheer craft, juxtaposing such puerile and stupid behaviour with such intelligent material... I dunno. It just chimed with however it is that my sense of humour is wired.
I appreciate the work which goes into a lot of mainstream comedy - take it from me, it's not easy to write traditional jokes - but I can't say I find a lot of it funny, and most panel shows (hugely popular) make me want to batter my head against a wall. Which, extreme as it is, is fine, because there are plenty of other things which appeal to me.
Anyway... here's the bit which made me laugh until I was almost sick (not quite as good as the live version, mind; the silly voices when I saw him live went on for about another five minutes):
Hello! I write this having still yet to see the final episode, however I already know what I want to say.
I have been blown away by the whole project. It was better than I expected it to be, with a great balance of humour and subject, and there was a nice chemistry between the hosts to top things off. I think given the budget you've done incredibly well. I was a basic backer at £5 and I feel have had a lot of entertainment for that tiny investment.
I hope that you're planning a second series. I for one will back it again but I won't be so tight next time around.
Thanks for doing the backers proud.
Cheers, Den-den. At the minute, I'm not entirely sure whether we're going to do crowd-funding for a second series, beyond Patreon. Being brutally honest, so much of my year was spent dealing with backers, and now I have to fulfil the rewards when all I really want to be doing is just creating stuff, and would rather money went into that.
That said, I don't want to spend another four months editing - and would benefit from hiring an editor - and I'd love it if the hosts and crew could all get paid next time, so from that point of view... it's worth doing. So, we'll see.
I'll make a decision after Christmas. I'm just pleased that so many of you seemed to love it.
Q. What do you call a pig that stood up on its hind legs, like a person?
A. Pork Rose (Paul Rose)
A. Tall Gammon (Paul Gannon)
A. Very Grunty Up-here (Larry Bundy Junior)
Love from Rob
Never write to us again yeah, Rob?
Hello Paul! Thank you so much for Digitiser - the last episode of the series was brilliant in every regard, and I'm indebted to you for such a brilliant series.
For future series, what things do you want to change? Are there any characters you want to use more/less? Any hints for future guests?
Thanks again for making Digitiser - the original, the website and now the show. I've not been around (or even alive!) since the beginning but I'm so incredibly excited to see where things go next. Happy Christmas and a lovely New Year.
All my love,
These are good questions, Chai! Indeed, we've already batted around ideas for series 2. Certainly, I thought we nailed the balance o/f stupid stuff/gaming by the end of the first series, so it'd continue in that vein.
I'd probably more or less drop the Found Footage-y interstitials, or at least integrate them better. I like it when the characters are actually on set with us, and we'll likely make Fat Sow a part of every episode. We also plan to slim down and completely reinvent Head to Head, which seemed to come alive when it focused on subjects that we could get properly passionate about. I think there'll be more use of the other hosts, so it's not just me and Gannon dominating. And there'll be some new segments, I suspect.
Also, we've already potentially lined-up two rather big-name guests...
What can I say, Mr Rose Biffo sir? It was a wild ride and I can't wait to stick around for whatever comes next!
The whole family loves it - my wife, my boyfriend, my dog who joined me for an episode and a half; even my mother, who loves your jackets almost as much as I do. We need more jackets. Get more jackets.
For real, though, thank you and the staff (on and off camera) so very much for making such a fantastic show. It's funny, informative, surreal and oftentimes overwhelming, but in a good way.
It's genuine and I just love it, okay!? What do you want me to say? What CAN I say? Words are hard and out of my field of expertise; and I think you've heard all I've had to say so far! You should be proud of yourself!!
PS: I love the Digitiser Babies art and want to hang it up on my wall. You should definitely hire said artist for any and all future endeavors you have. They deserve all the work and I wish to see them get rich after this. I hope they can buy three yachts so they can sink one of them and buy a bigger one. Fantastic. Make it happen.
I think it's fair to say that Vorratony is always welcome back, especially if we ever animate Digitiser Babies...
As expected, the results were glitchy at best. By some strange twist of fate, however, one quite important page is readable - Mr Cheese's first contribution to Digitiser (see attached)!
The datestamp is 22 February 1993. Looking at some of the other Digi pages recovered, I think I could restore them if you're interested?
This is the most curious timing, Danno, as Mr Cheese visited from America earlier this week, for the first time in years, and we had a kebab (not a euphemism). His qualifications for being part of the Digi team are there for all to see in his little poem. And yes! I'd certainly be interested to see the other pages restored. DO THAT IMMEDIATELY.
Happy end-of-2018 to you and yours, and everyone out there in Digiland. What a year it’s been, eh?
Anyway. Enough schmaltz. I want to talk about your Digitiser arcade cabinet, which I can only assume you have instead of a Christmas tree now...? I want one, and have carefully cordoned off a space in the corner of my office / spare bedroom / child-repellent Christmas present vault. My New Year’s resolution is to fill said space with a DIY cabinet. Any comments about the Digi machine? It looks lovely, at the very least.
I’m sure some of the comments crowd will have more to add. The whole thing is a minefield. I don’t want the frankenpanel look with fight sticks and trackballs and a
I don’t want the Frankenpanel look with f;ight sticks and trackballs and a spinner and all shit sticking out of it, but if you look beyond MAME to emulating more modern stuff you kind of need lots of peripherals. Any input on the matter from the wider community greatly appreciated.
Back to wrapping the presents!!!!!!
PS: thanks to John W for the Star Trek Unity game tip. It put in a few of these long, dark nights.
I have no room to store an arcade cabinet, sadly, so we loaned the machine to the owners of the studio, on the proviso that we can use it as and when we go back for more filming. I'll be honest... it caused us a bit of stress on set, as technology has a tendency to do, but you can browse the excellent range offered by Arcade Europe right here.
Biff-ho-ho-ho! I hope nobody else has thought of that very good joke!
Firstly, I thought Digitiser (The Show) was a magnificent, a triumph, a tour de force. Yes there were some bits which didn’t land for me but I understand that it needs to be your vision not mine, so I’ll not offer any opinion. Although having said that... I think the panellists are sometimes swamped by the desk, so can you get Jenny and Gannon some cushions for series 2?
Secondly, it’s the end of the year so here is my end of year big report.
Total games completed: 57
Current platforms: 24
Old platforms: 16
Old games on current platforms: 7
Old games via mini consoles: 10
57 seems like a massive completion number but this includes “walking simulators”, “things where you mess about in VR that aren’t quite games”, and Super Mario Bros. which has been beaten in under 5 minutes. Still, 57 completions is twice as many as I’ve managed in a calendar year since I started recording this sort of thing back in 2014.
Oh didn’t I say? I’ve been recording this sort of thing since back in 2014. Me and a friend started doing this because as we got older were spending less time playing games; we decided that setting an annual target was the best way to force ourselves into having fun. I recommend everyone keeps a list of games played and completed next year and reports back to me.
Merry Everything to Everyone
P.S Sincere thanks for everything you’ve done this year Mr Biffo, especially correcting this: my grammar.
Grembot, please... why do you record the number of games you complete. Are you a mentalist? This sort of thing gives me neck pains. Also: Gannon asked me the other day if we could do something about the desk, so higher chairs - at the very least - look like a good idea.
Well now that Digitiser the show has finished, may I say congratulations and well done for a superb production. I do like to spot my name in the backers credits!
I think there is definitely a videogame that could be made from this, similar to the Angry Video Game Nerd game - which is quite good. You have characters (Octavius, Larry etc), a bad guy (Gannon), NPCs (Beautiful Boy, Man's Daddy etc), a hero (maybe yourself?), and a good theme, perfect for a platformer!
Question is, what system should it be on? Could the feel and atmosphere transfer to a game?
I bid you a Merry Mocmas and a Happy New Moc !
The Porridge King
Well, David Walford is still beavering away on his ZX Spectrum Digi game, I think. Also: Gannon as the bad guy, and me as the hero? I think you have this around the wrong way!
Good morrow to you, Sir Biffo (as no doubt you will be soon).
First off, let me congratulate you on an amazing series of Digitiser! I loved every week. My wife was mostly confused by it, but we both guffawed at the amazing Henry VIII bits with the delightful Mr Silverman. But I have some enquires to put to you, a kind of question pourpouri:
1) Have you ever spoken about your BBC3 pilot: Biffovision? I watched it on Youtube last week and thought it was fantastic. I would love to see a behind the scene ala your recent digitised offerings.
2) Do games make terrible movies and similarly movies make terrible games? Other than Goldeneye, I struggle to think of a cash-in title that doesn't.
3) Have you ever played any of the Katamari games? What did you make of it?
4) Was there anything on the Digitiser tapings that was so bad/rude that it couldn't be used? Gossip-me-do!
1) You can find some words about Biffovision on this very site here. All I can add, with the benefit of hindsight, is how its DNA is clearly still there in Digitiser The Show. I probably shouldn't be surprised by that, given both were projects where we were more or less allowed free reign to be as bonkers as we wanted, and yet... I still am.
2) It used to be the case that licensed games were all terrible platformers, but at some point that started to change. I mean, the new Spider-Man game is brilliant (admittedly, not strictly based upon a film - but all the costumes are there). There were some great Star Wars games back in the day. There were some quality Disney games. So it's not always the rule. That said, I still struggle to find anything which will convince me that movies based upon games have any reason to exist.
3) Yes! I've played loads of them. Even the PS Vita one. I like them lots.
4) Hmm. Not really. There are a few comments - mostly from Larry, to be honest - which I worried might be construed as too politically incorrect, but you'll never see those. Much of what was cut out was either because it wasn't funny or informative enough, or because it slowed the pace down. Or because it was Day 1 of filming, and everyone was talking over everyone else. Or because one or more of the hosts had issue with something I'd done.
As well you know, I made the decision to leave in most of the mistakes. I think it makes it more Digi.
I remember when I first got a big, 'proper' telly in my bedroom, it meant that, aside from being able to play Jurassic Park on the SNES 'til I finished it (spoiler, I didn't), I could read Digitiser every morning. Actual Teletext in my room - 'citing! I loved all that wacky nonsense and the crazy characters, and combined with videogames too! It was like you'd found a window into my brain-hole.
And now, the Yoo-Toobs has provided yet another version of the same rhubarb. And all is well in the world.
TLDR: All this waffle is my way of saying (again) that I love the show, and feel it (and the presenting team as a whole) really does capture the spirit of Digi. As does the website. And I felt compelled to throw this out there whilst we're still in the anniversary year. Bravo to all involved.
Now some actual content. Sort of.
I'm excited about further shows. And really love the interview bits. Aside from Violet Berlin, who you've already mentioned around these parts, do you have any dream guests you'd want to get?
Ideas for interview guests:
1) Turner the Worm
2) Bamber Boozler or whatever he was called
3) Dominik Diamond
4) The Rapping Shoe
PS. I finally finished Jurassic Park about a year ago after digging my SNES out of storage. I still love the top down bits, but the crappy indoor Doom-clone parts are sooooo sloooooow. Have any games you abandoned only to finally finish years after the fact?
We can rule out Dominik Diamond as a guest. Apart from him living in Canada, he's made it clear he wouldn't want to be involved. Actually, Jim Sterling was on my list of guests I'd like to have on, and this week he said he enjoyed the show and would be happy to feature in some way. Though he does live in Mississippi, so that's still to be worked out.
I think I'd like some more left-field people too next series - those who you might not expect, casting our net a bit further afield beyond the more obvious realms of gaming. We've already had a provisional "Yes" from one genuine living legend. If it happens, the idea of putting him into the mad world of Digi is funny in itself.
I think it'd be fun to feature more people who were perhaps at the height of their fame in the 80s and 90s, which feels like it fits with our remit. Actually, Zammo and Ro-Land from Grange Hill would be pretty awesome. I think those are my favourite sorts of guests; it's hard to say what the criteria is, but ones which fit into the Digiverse, rather than people who I'd just like to meet. I'd like to get Matthew Smith on, mind.
So a mix of slightly kitschy guests and those who are really passionate about games is the ideal.
Not sure about games I've abandoned only to complete later, though I do keep going to play SNES Jurassic Park, but - as you say - the indoor bits put me off. They were quite impressive at the time, mind.
Shameless plug time.
The URL is here : https://adventuron.itch.io/thebeast
This week I released a port of a 30 year old ZX Spectrum text adventure called "The Beast of Torrack Moor", catchily titled, "The Beast of Torrack Moor: 30th Anniversary Edition".
The original version was written by Linda Doughty, back in 1988, and it's been my privilege to bring her work to modern platforms. I'm not really a games developer, but I felt that I had such love for the source material (I owned it back in the day), that I wouldn't trust it in the hands of anyone else.
The game tells the story of a young journalist, tasked to discover the truth behind reports of wild beast sightings on the local moor. Andy Green created over 50 object graphics for the game, as well as new ZX Spectrum intro and ending screens. A full list of credits is at the link and in the game itself.
The game is completely free, and as long as you don't despise text adventures with all your essence, a good time is to be found here.
The game is sitting an an upgraded version of my adventure game engine, and features a proper story, proper graphics, and beeps galore.
If you are a time-poor middle-aged person, you owe it to yourself to try something you may or may not like, giving it a chance for up to 20 seconds, before following another impulse.
Chris, consider yourself plugged. Good luck with it, love!
261) It seems that the Nintendo Labo is a critical rather than commercial success. How do you view it now that some time has passed?
262) How big do you think that eSports can become? I see plenty of potential for growth, but it should not be in the Olympics.
263) Which of the point-and-click adventures of the 1990s do you feel had the best design?
264) In general do you feel that modern computer games have their (default) difficulty level set right, too easy or too difficult?
265) While it might not be an issue that inflames passions, what do you think about save states in games? Should you be able to save anywhere, any time, or do you prefer checkpoints/other systems?
261) I've still not unboxed my two Labo sets, which I bought to review on here. I thought it was just me - because everybody was very excited when they got announced - but maybe the faff of putting together all that cardboard doesn't quite have the appeal we thought it did. Certainly, these sorts of esoteric games-to-life toys might've had their day. I mean, look at Starlink. Flopped like a big 'un.
262) I dunno. eSports holds absolutely no interest for me, and I can't ever really see a time when it becomes accepted in enough of a mainstream way to feature in the Olympics. It's just watching people sitting down playing games, only faster.
263) I had a real soft spot for the Broken Sword games. The soundtrack remains one of my favourites ever, and they had a really nice atmosphere. Met Charles Cecil a few years back. He was posh and nice and that.
264) It depends on the game, I guess. On the whole, I don't like too much of a challenge, because for me a video game is more about exploration and adventure than suffering. It's why I can't get on with Dark Souls, which is the gaming equivalent of having to memorise your times tables before a big test.
265) I'm a strong believer in being able to save anywhere. It's just sheer convenience - should you need to go and do something else, you shouldn't then be forced to retrace your steps and replay entire sections. That's just bad design in my eyes.
Merry Christmas Biffo, Biffo-kin, and to the whole Digi family round these parts and beyond.
This year was alright, wasn’t it? The 25th anniversary year of Digi, no less. You marked it sublimely way back in January with the week of classic Teletext-style Digi, and now you’ve ended it with the gift from above that was Digitiser The Show - bookending the year with true excellence. We are incredibly spoilt, thank you so much for all you’ve done and continue to do. We’re all of us beyond grateful.
I mean, really - who’d have thought all these years later we’d be talking about the stuff that’s been happening? It’s quite ridiculous.
Just as you promised, Episode 6 very much did feel like a classic series finale of an outing, bringing everything from the series together and culminating in one last celebratory hurrah. Moments of lol-ness for me this time out were ‘hairy lips’ and ‘GameCentral The Show’, and I couldn’t help but grin at Mockety-Moc’s theme tune. That was spot on.
I do agree that the characters bleeding into the show works well - I’ve especially loved DJ Trendy Peanut’s appearances - but please don’t lose the interstitials altogether, they’ve been some of my favourite parts of the show. No ‘crabbing you up’? No way!
The show has been a triumph from start to finish, and it’s been a genuine pleasure seeing it develop both on screen and from your regular Kickstarter updates.
It’s felt like the like last couple of years have been building to a critical mass of Digi re-appreciation and resurgence, and I think 2018 saw that very much breaking through. Digi The Show was the perfect way to ride the wave, and the fact that you’re so keen to make series 2 happen makes me very happy indeed.
With all of this going on, I felt like I had to do my bit, and so it seemed like the natural time for me to reboot Super Page 58. Thanks for all the support you’ve given since it came back, it’s definitely spurred me on to keep updating the site and adding new content. With new, unprecedented, Digi history continuing to be made, I’ve come to see it as a civic duty. Hopefully everyone’s enjoyed its return as much as I have (and there’s still more to come).
I think one of the most heartening things to have seen recently has been watching the number of new people joining us. This is a brilliant community filled with friendly and welcoming people, but you always wonder how these things will cope with a sudden influx of new blood. The fact that the new kids have been embraced and fitted right in like they’ve always been with us is testament to what bloody nice people the Digi crowd are, as they keep on proving.
So that’s it then - a year to be incredibly proud of. Same again in 2019? Maybe without working yourself to the point of total collapse. Maybe!!!!!!!???!!!!!!
Finally, what will The Man’s Daddy be doing for Christmas? Are The Man and “Kelly” coming round for turk’ segs and a set of popular comedy jokes? I hope he has a happy Festus, whatever the case - he deserves it after all the mirth he’s brought us this year.
Same goes for you - have a fantastic break, and see you in the New Year for more of that curious mix of whimsy, nostalgia and strangeness that we’re all so keen on for some weird reason.
Thanks, Bellston. I'm sure we'll still have interstitials. For me, when they've worked best, they've been integrated with the main show - such as the Bronk's Funeral bit, or Swan Juice, or when I looked through the telescope. So... we'll see.
But yes - all those new people joining the Digi Family! Not just viewers, but the people involved with the show. It's weird to think now how isolated I always felt writing Digitiser, never really having any contact with the audience, never feeling supported by my employers... and now here we are. I'm proper blessed an ting.
The Man's Daddy will be making another brief appearance in the Digitiser video... which will perhaps give you a small insight into how he intends to spend Christmas (telling hilarious popular jokes).
Also, if you're a backer of Digitiser The Show, you'll soon get to see to see Bellston as part of the backer-only episode, which features Mr Hairs and I being interviewed by Octav1us and Gameplay Jenny.
Dear Mr I Wish It Could Be Biffmas Every Day. Just a short missive to wish you, and the whole wonderful Digitiser community, best wishes for the festive season.
Hope everyone has a happy and peaceful time eating Christmas crisps.
With love and kissy kissy to all.
Oddly enough, I accidentally bought 20 large packets of Tayto turkey, ham and stuffing flavour crisps, which are taking up far too much space here, and I pledged to eat them all by Boxing Day, in order to placate my wife. I've had three bags and I'm already sick of them.
Have a good one, Treac'!
I've not really got anything interesting to say, but just wanted to say thank you for everything you'd done in 2018. The website and the show have made me smile & laugh at times when I really needed it.
The show has managed to capture that inclusive quality that got most of us hooked 25 years ago and we all need more episodes.
Yes I've been drinking
Stay drunk, Jim. You're lovely like this!
Merry Bloody Christmas Mr Biffo!
It’s been a very good year for Digitiser fans and no mistake, the show has been totes rad! So, cheers for that, Sundays will now revert to sucking balls and I’ll probably just get more drunker and watch 80s adverts on YouTube.
Aaaannyway, hope you and yours have a great Xmas etc. I certainly will; I got my JXD7800 gaming tablet pimped up to the nines with load of ROMs and that.
What was the best Xmas present you ever got? Gaming-wise that is. Mine was an Amstrad Cpc 464, good times!
All the best etc.
Best gaming Christmas present was obviously either my ZX Spectrum or Game Boy. Best non-gaming Christmas present would've been my Palitoy cardboard Death Star playset.
As the first series of Digitiser ends, there is much to consider. The sadness of its end is accompanied by joy of the programme's achievements and possibilities.
It is often said that the best time to go home from a holiday is when you feel as if you'd like to stay for a few more days and in a similar mode, the fact that I and many others want more episodes means that this is a good place to pause before the anticipated resumption next year.
One of Digitiser's biggest successes has been the performance and interaction of the presenters and the earliest gaming memory provided a platform to marry lucent gaming anecdotes to information about the presenters themselves. This is difficult to achieve, without it feeling like a confessional or an interview-lite, as the Americans might say, but Digitiser manages, through your stewardship to weave conversational threads together.
Had I been told before the start of the series how often Fat Sow would appear, I would have worried in case her impact was lessened, but so far her inclusion has been brilliant. Really funny and not excessive.
Again, credit to you for not prioritising anyone's memory above the others. In terms of constructive criticism, is Fat Sow going to 'attack' other presenters, or will she be exclusive to Mr Gannon? He's certainly game and plays off Fat Sow and you very well. Despite this, I think there is plenty of comedic potential with the others, assuming that they are comfortable with it, of course.
This episode featured the most professional use of the comedy inserts so far in as much as their placement, timing and content fit the rest of the episode better than any before. The inserts were not better than in previous weeks, owing to the already-high standards set, but their use was genuinely impressive and undoubtedly shows the increasing confidence in all elements of the programme.
The album cover or game Quiz-me-do worked really well. Much like the Prog Rock/Psygnosis Quiz, this is a rich vein to draw from and allowed you and the guests to have a proper Quiz while enabling plenty of laughs, which really is the point of these things.
Of course, nothing is at stake but, despite not agreeing with everything he says, Will Self is quite correct when it comes to panel shows in that (I'm paraphrasing) without the reality element of the quiz, it's just people cracking jokes, like so many others. Octav1us Kitten and Gameplay Jenny were really good here - both are articulate, thoughtful, but have a style that allows their personality to bleed into their answers naturally. Another good segment and it benefits from being one-on-one, rather than two-on-two.
As for Henry the 8th, I like the idea of the 'inserts' featuring in the actual episode, rather than being clearly distinct, although the 'traditional' inserts are a good way to move between sections. Further experimentation would be welcome, and I see high potential for this although I am unsure that making them all like this (not that you would) would be a complete success.
Show & Tell finishes the series as it has been throughout i.e. probably the strongest overall element. Obviously each case has been interesting so far and you have stayed true to the Digitiser spirit with them but this, more than any other part of each episode shows your respective knowledge of games/hardware and, crucially, your passion for them.
Of course, Digitiser is in many ways a TV version of the Teletext page, but I think it is fair to say that to make the programme more successful, that isn't enough .Your writing and humour is Digitiser's USP, marketing cliches aside. Nobody else can provide that, but the foundation of retro games/hardware must be equally strong to provide the base for your writing and the work of your presenters to ascend from. Show & Tell has consistently achieved this.
The Virtual Boy is a great choice because despite its commercial and critical failure - let's be honest, it really wasn't very good in any sense - it really was something that affected the future of arguably the most influential computer games company. If I was being hyper-critical, I would have liked a tiny bit more on the fact that it wasn't actually Nintendo technology, but overall another excellent entry in the series.
The Top 3 and Fact of the Week were excellent. Every week I learn something from these parts, and - even if I am the only one - I look forward to them as much as any other. Special credit to Gameplay Jenny whose style meshed perfectly with the material and segment. Assuming she returns for series 2, she should be a lock for defining this segment forward.
Plenty of other programmes have things similar to Head-to-Head, but Digitiser has one element that most 'competitors' do not - unpredictability of result. Unpredictability should, of course, not be confused with randomness, which Digitiser is sometimes criticised unfairly for. Instead Digitiser excels in giving results that are not part of a show policy, so to speak.
This week's was a case in point. In many other programmes a segment such as this would be an obvious Donkey Kong 'win' on the shows where it is effectively a Nintendo channel that pays lip service to other formats, or in arcade-heavy channels, Pac-man would be an obvious winner. As you know, I have disagreed with a few of the results of Head-to-Head this series, especially the C64 vs Spectrum but never have I found the result to be predictable.
While this might not sound like a big deal, it prevents the segment being an excuse for more jokes or a time-filler. The reason for this? The most likely is that none of the presenters have an agenda or are fishing for views and are simply being genuine with their opinions - a surprisingly rare thing on YouTube now.
Octav1us Kitten performed well as an interviewer. She was eloquent, led the interview with purpose but allowed Mr Robertson to do most of the talking, as any good interviewer should. This is arguably harder when interviewing a friend. Mr Robertson has an interesting career and the interview managed to convey this without it turning into an advert for his work. The goal of any interview is surely to inform and Octav1us managed it here.
The interview highlights that the rest of the presenters are able to conduct the interviews, highlighting your strength in depth. A minor criticism is that, compared to the last 3 weeks, the game itself was barely mentioned, but I don't want to take too much away from a really good interview.
Mr Bundy's and your Top 3s were the perfect palate-cleanser between the interview and Mockety-Moc. As I have mentioned many times, the Top 3s/Fact of the Week are really underrated, and I was happy to see a couple more than normal. The pacing was not affected negatively and the Konix one in particular reinforces Digitiser's ability to focus on targets that would not be obvious to many - it also does no harm at all to remind the audience of how much you all do know about games, too.
Mockety-moc rounded-out the episode well, just as it has previously. The interactions between you and the guests was markedly more fluent and natural this time and I see no reason why this cannot continue n future episodes. The game is a lot of fun and allows a bit of a zoo format as well, which is always welcome.
I am a big fan of the Beautiful Boy so I was happy to see his return. This might sound like a strange thing to say, but I am happy that you finished with a strong 'normal' segment, rather than going all-out for something climactic. At this stage it's much more valuable to establish your high standards as normal rather than relying on stunts.
To conclude, the episode started well and maintained the high standard. It saw Gameplay Jenny and Octav1us Kitten's best contributions so far, and in terms of the comedy there was less reliance on you vs Mr Gannon; make no mistake, your exchanges are funny, but it is wise not to restrict yourself to the same 'victim'. Thank you for reading and publishing these episode reviews.
I apologise for their length but it's only because I genuinely care about the programme and want it to work. I might write an overall series review if you were interested, but if not, no problem at all. Please pass on my congratulations for what you have achieved to all members of the cast and crew.
Do not apologise, John! I've loved reading your reviews, and appreciate the time they must've taken to write. So, thank you, and please do write a series review!
And thanks for mentioning the Fact of the Week and Top 3s. Nobody has so far, and they're integral to the format for me. Huzzah! Somebody likes them!
I know you love a good poo story. Which is a shame, because this is a very bad one.
Back in the summer I was walking dogs, as is my wont when one of them, let's call him Barry, took himself off into the woods.
"Come on Barry!" I called jovially as I continued to walk, happy in my belief that Barry is a Good Boy and would return soon. I smiled when few moments later Barry reappeared, grinning from ear to ear. The cheeky Cairn Terrier raced past me to rejoin his pals, and as he did, my belief in him being a Good Boy dissipated and was replaced with a sense of dread as my nostrils were filled with The Stench.
Those of you with canine pals will probably be familiar with the smell of fox poo. It's pungent, musky, dank. It's awful. This was worse. It smelled like all the above, but also of death and rot. I'm a dog walker and a mother, so I'm used to dealing with bad smells, but this made me gag.
Breathing through my mouth, I called Barry over to me. As he approached I could see his coarse fur was thick with excrement from his face down to his shoulders on both sides.
I led the pack back to my car, and his companions jumped dutifully into the boot. Barry refused. I spent several minutes trying to convince him to jump, but alas I was forced to pick him up. Careful as I was, I got the foul solids on my hands, and scrubbing with several cleaning wipes still couldn't remove The Stench.
I got Barry back to his house, and into the bathroom. I started to shower him off, and I lathered him up with shampoo. I grimaced as the suds turned a deep brown. And then he shook. I was covered from my torso up with shitty suds. I cannot tell you how glad I was at that moment to be a glasses wearer.
Nevertheless, I persisted. I rinsed off the soap. Barry shook again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Barry shook two more times.
I washed my face and arms, and wiped down my clothes. I felt DIRTY. The apple scent of the shampoo did almost nothing to mask The Stench. I just smelled like fruity faeces.
Later in the day I walked Boscoe, a chocolate lab who is so large and heavy I'm convinced he's part bear.
I walked him in the same area I had walked Barry, happy in my belief that Boscoe is a Good Boy and always comes when I call him, so there was no worry about him going off to roll in poo.
My boss called me and I regaled her with my tale of woe. "I don't know what kind of poo it was, but it was so much worse than fox poo. Can you imagine if it had been human shit?!" I joked.
Not a moment later, and we approached the path into the woods that Barry had taken earlier. Boscoe lifted his head, his nostrils flared. I called enthusiastically for him to come on, but alas his instincts were too strong and his legs began to carry him to the source of The Stench.
I followed him, panicking, wondering how the hell I would manage to bathe this beast of a dog. I thanked my lucky stars as, instead of going to roll in the pile of filth, he put his head down to take a bite.
I grabbed his collar and pulled him away, moments before he was able to ingest any of the offensive offering.
And as I looked down at the smeared pile in the secluded clearing, I noticed the pile of tissues crumpled next to it, covered in streaks and smears.
Yes, dear reader. I was covered in human bum poo.
That revolting note feels like as good a time as any to wish you all the very best Christmas, and leave you to ponder the hierarchy of poo revoltingness; surely, bird poo must be near the bottom along with mouse droppings, with cat poo somewhere in the middle, and human poo very near the top?
Thanks for all the support over the past 12 months. Thanks for all the kind words, all the letters, all the feedback and sharing of stuff. Providing we survive Brexit, and aren't too busy driving around the wasteland in cars with spikes on them, hunting for resources, there'll be lots more to come.
See you in 2019. Time for a lay down.