A lot of you have asked about supporting the show, even though the campaign ended. It's something I intend to set up, but please just bear with me. There's a lot going on, and we are not a huge organisation. You can, of course, still donate to my Patreon fund - the money all goes into the same pot, and you get exclusive, slightly more personal, blog posts from me.
Anyhow - letters? Letters.
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, please send your filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I present ....
Bonnie, The Bonnie Dog
Your Fat Sow model for Digi on the tele is certainly a thing, and I, ugh, sorry to be that guy but... OG Fat Sow has an astonishing overbite in profile which accentuates her rageful cussingtons.
Whereas new clay Fat Sow has a pronounced underbite which makes her look more kinda like a gormless simpleton, rather than apoplectic with spittle-flecked fury. Please - please! - can you reassure me, possibly with a guest response to this email from la porc madame herself, that everything will be okay in the final edit?
Firstly, the design of Fat Sow on Digi was never consistent; I changed her whenever I got bored. Sometimes overbite. Sometimes not. Also, as I hope you'll appreciate... when things are reinterpreted from flat teletext pixels and words on a screen to, y'know, real life... there have to be certain allowances made so that they work (such as, y'know, to make them function as a puppet). There are many characters who I want to get into the show, but I've absolutely no idea how to do them.
The Man's Daddy is the best example; I honestly have no clue what he sounds like, and as to how we render him flesh - short of spending yet another grand on prosthetics or a mask - is beyond me.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Biffo, and I hope all went well for you both on ‘The Big Day’. I decided to write the rest of this week's letter as a series of haiku poems, because... ... ... ... ...that's what I did.
Wii U sits mocking
Vast RPGs left to play
How I long for Switch
PC sits bloated
Steam library overflows
Damn Humble Bundles
Simple days of youth
Buy new system, play new games
First world problems, eh?
Thanks for reading,
I hope you had a lovely wedding day?
A couple of questions:
1) How did Grendel go down? If you didn't play Grendel what other Marillion was on your play list for the big day? (If it is none of my business feel free to say so).
2) Do you have any idea how many times you have seen Marillion play live? I saw them for the first time ever in April and it was great.
3) Were you aware that Psychopaths Season 2 has now started?
Anyway that's all for now, na night
I kept Marillion out of the playlist generally (though we signed the wedding certificate to Made Again) - but it got more Marillion-y as the night wore on, because I knew my hardcore Marillion mates would still be there. And they were! So, a couple peppered throughout earlier in the evening - inbetween the crowd-pleasers - then a bunch at the end. Lavender, Freaks, Fantastic Place, Garden Party, Living In F.E.A.R., and One Tonight, I believe.
2) No idea! But a lot. Just booked next year's Marillion Weekend. Teletext graphics legend Horsenburger has been convinced to come with us...
3) I never even saw Psycopaths season one. What even is that? Wait... you mean the one starring LeeIsCool1 and Triple-S!? IL PAPA!
Having read many Digitiser2000 articles, I've started to notice things in everyday life that really disturb me. In particular, anything Sonic the Hedgehog-related.
Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the spinning blue hedgehog's games (well the Mega Drive ones anyway) but the other day I was looking for some local tyre suppliers on Facebook marketplace and this popped up *see attached*. Now I'm starting to wonder if all tyre fitters have a secret fetish like this?
God of War? God of Bor (ing scripting!!!) more like (!!!!)! The combat was stupendous, and the spectacles beguilling, but I definitely cannot be arsed to just walk around and listen to those guys talk to each other. Guys, you are boring.
And devs, if you have already peppered your visual landscape with endless obtrusive visual clues, do you really need to put obnoxious button prompts everywhere? Kind of negates the point of doing away with a UI, no? Bits of the game were so good, but I could never be bothered to put it on.
So I sold it and got the Dark Souls remaster. It's pretty thin as far as 'remasters' go, but boy is it ever a complete joy being back in Lordran. So much better than Dark Souls 2 and 3, it's like a different series. As with playing any Miyazaki game, I spent all last weekend utterly engrossed in a blissful state of gaming nirvana not known since childhood. It must surely be one of the best games ever made.
Do you think you will ever have time to properly give it a go? Maybe with the upcoming Switch release? Is it the kind of thing that interests you, or as with myself, does interminable breathless sycophancy put you off?
You may (or more likely may not) know that I help run a Code Club at my wife’s school. Every Friday, I’m teaching year 6 kids HTML and other related jollities.
The other week, due to various outing and illness, there was just one kid. He, like most of the others that go to the school, comes from a wealthy and privileged background. He was telling me how good his “gaming PC” was and that we was getting a better one.
He showed me pictures. There were, I told him, far too many funky lights and things in it, and he would be better off buying a plain cased machine and spending the money saved on upgrading the innards with really high performance kit.
I then decided to show him the kind of computers we played games on the the 1980s. I showed him some pictures of a tools old rubber key Spectrum.
He could not believe it. He wanted to know how big they were, what the graphics were like.
I showed him.
His response was of deep pity: “You poor people! You POOR people!”. He was genuinely shocked at what things were like. He found one of those Spectrum +2 models - the one with a tape player. “At least you could play your music on that one” he said.
I explained how we loaded and saved programs. “You poor people...”.
Funny how kids react. A couple of years ago, the reaction to my rubbery keyed Spectrum from other children was one of fascination and wonder. They lived it. One said “this was the iPad of the day” - his reasoning was that it was the must thing to have, the peak of computing.
All the best,
Horses eh? They're fucking massive when you get close to them. Even little ones like Shetland ponies are pretty solid. I mean, you wouldn't want one standing on your foot.
I was just wondering if you have a favourite horse-based game? I used to play a lot of Mount and Blade in which you rode around on a horse being a sort of knight. It was a great horse game although admittedly it was mostly about stabbing and smashing people's heads in.
One time a Viking type killed my horse with an axe and I went flying. I was a bit sad about the horse, but luckily it wasn't real and I got over quite quickly. I never forgot it though. So yeah, horse games!
From Paul in sunny Manchester
Hello! Like a ruddy big idiot, I have broken my arm - my ‘doing’ arm at that. So I ask you (and by extension the miasma that is the Digi readership) the following: what are your favourite super-simple games controls-wise?
We’re probably talking mobile, but you never know - I’m certainly much appreciative of Mario Kart’s auto-accelerate feature just now. That, and tramadol.
Super Bad Advice
I'm sure you'll have seen the recent Fallout anouncement, even with your current levels of busy. When I heard the name Fallout 76 I confess my mind first went to the possibility of some bonkers sort of Fallout/Interstate 76 mashup (which, frankly, sounds a damned sight more interesting than the rumours of it being an online survival game).
This set me to a-thinkin: What might the addled brain of young Biffmonster pair together in a gaming mashup?
Congratulations on your recent nuptuals by the by. Was the real reason you didn't take Sanya's name so that you didn't have to fill out an arseload of forms for all your accounts and shizzle?
With greatest affection
Gaming mash-ups? Oddly, this is something I have thought about. I always wanted a game where a 1980s-type platform game character ends up in versions of modern games - and then they made the Wreck-It Ralph film, which is basically that. I think I sort of pitched this as the idea for Future Tactics, which I wrote the script for many aeons ago.
Talking of Wreck-It Ralph... have you seen the trailer for the new one? I found it a bit unpleasant. Seeing all those corporate logos for Amazon and Facebook and Twitter in a kids film seemed deeply wrong to me. Also: that bit where they go to some sort of corporate Disney portal - with Star Wars and Marvel logos and Disney princesses - was very meta, but seemed more like a big advert rather than something that needed to be in there. I left a sour taste in my mouth.
Do you think that Han Solo might have had Chewie neutered to stop him spraying all over the Millenium Falcon?
I was pondering to myself whether you, as an esteemed reviewer of video games, have ever gone all these years without playing an important game or series of games that everyone would've expected you to? Y'know, like say if a film reviewer had never seen any of the greatest films of all time™ such as Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Weekend at Bernies.
Al Kellett aka YouCanCallMeAl
Just thought you'd like to know, I'm okay for screwdrivers this week.
Also, hope the whole wedding thing went well. Even with you choosing the music.
I got myself a RetroPi thing last year. It's been very excellent, it sits under the telly, looking decidedly unassuming, and tiny.
And, since I got it, it's had a LOT of use. My intention was to play through all the RPGs I never had time for in the 16-bit era, but it turns out that as a full paid-up adult I still have barely enough time to play through the RPGs. Well, not properly. I'll play for a bit, get distracted by real-world concerns, and go back to them after a month or so and have zero recollection of where I'm at or what's to be done. Yeah, you can cast around, talking to npcs and getting "hints", but...
ANYWAY, that's not what I'm here to talk about. What has struck me MOST is that the (non-RPG) games are so utterly accessible. A D-Pad and a a couple of buttons to learn and Robert is the brother of your mother.
Now, fair enough, non/lapsed-gamers can pick up the games and compete quite easily, that much is obvious... but what's been MOST telling is that the younglings, steeped as they are in modern online gaming, are CHOOSING to fire up the retro-games when they've got friends 'round... they're not doing it for the nostalgia... the simple joy of competing with someone in the same room, on the same screen is what they're looking for... and it's a joy to see it unfold.
So, um, there.
Also, something keeps biting my ankles. I'd like to think it is a tiny, invisible penguin.
Going right back to the beginning, something like Pong still holds up as a game. In fact, it's most of the early arcade games which have truly aged well; Pac-Man, Frogger, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Defender, Asteroids, Q*Bert et al. It's when games got into the mid-80s, and developers started experimenting, that they entered a bit of an iffy period.
When I was a wee lad, I remember really looking forward to Renegade III The Final Chapter on the Amstrad.
When I finally got it, imagine my dismay when, upon loading it up, realised it was a massive pile of jobbees. Ten quid doesn't come often to a 9 year old, and pissed off barely covers how I felt. Those bastards Ocean totally mugged me off!
Anyway, what game where you most disappointed with? Mine was Renegade III the final chapter (see above).
Also, on a similar note, did Digi review Rise of the Robots? And can you remember the score?
We took it back to the shop, but they refused to give us a refund - and would only replace it with another game. My dad for some reason took massive umbrage to this, and ended up having a furious argument with the shopkeep, which ended with him uttering a racist epithet and storming out.
I felt terrible.
I should state that my father is not a racist, and that this was the only time I ever heard him use such language. Indeed, he's not a bigot of any sort. He has a number of gay grandchildren, and one that's transgender, and he's accepting of all of them. Or, at least, too confused by it all to say anything.
I know this is probably too late for today (is a Tuesday?) but I thought I'd send you a Friday Letter nevertheless.
So here it goes. Are you ready? You might not be but am I? YOU BET YOU! Okay, here goes...
I loved Digi's article on the BBC computer (Model B, of course) on games that I cherished. even though my family never owned one. I'm of an undetermined vintage; a bit like that maximum irritating red-headed one from the Spice Museum 'pop' 'band' from beyond yore, or whatever they're called.
The Digi article took me back like a time machine, and I've since fired a few of your mentions in the article via emulation - because I've done that for years and been called a 'Philistine', 'un-pure' and, best of all, a 'c@nt'. Some people are so pleasant though.
On the downside, I was part and parcel during those years with killing a few brace of mallards and not through my own choosing. They did taste delicious though once cooked but I was still a bit sad when the old farmer told me it wasn't some sort of train for the scrap yard.
I've never really been a fan of trains, but to watch one in a scrap yard being picked up by one of those giant magnets, only to witness one of the uneducated ne'er-do-wells in charge of such power made me want to see a real-life 80s platformer but with only without the death caused by buffoons with some sort of chip one their shoulder.
I'm still (and it seems like it might be forever) unfit but strong and that is all.