What are you all up to this weekend, mm? Tomorrow I'm collecting a pressure washer so that we can spray the moss off the decking. Then we're off to some immersive escape room thing called The Hollow Hotel. And Sunday I'm recording a couple of episodes of sweary abuse podcast CheapShow with my Digitiser The Show co-host Mr Paul Gannon. So, that's all very exciting.
Let's hear your plans in "da comments".
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
So, I’m doing a lot of flying this year, which means being sat for 4 or 5 hours, trapped by people smells (shit, mainly - the fucker sat next to me yesterday wouldn’t stop farting and he honked!) and dogs; I don’t think I’ve taken a flight out of Orange County for years without having an “emotional support” animal or two sharing the plane with me (one earlier this year took a dump but didn’t smell as bad as the bloke did yesterday).
Anyway, the only benefit to all this flying, apart from shit loads of air miles (108,000 already this year - never paying for a flight again!) is that American Airlines has loads of movies and TV shows and the Star Wars channel.
So, I watched the Last Jedi yesterday - it was ok, I dunno why everybody got so pissed off - followed by Phantom Menace, 'cos I thought I’d start from the beginning and watch them all in sequence.
It was only the second time I’ve seen Phantom Menace and it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being. Yes, too much CGI. Yes the Gungans and Jar Jar Binks annoyed the tits off me and I wished they’d all die. (Why couldn’t Darth Maul kill Jar Jar? Why did Darth Maul hardly get a storyline? Why did Darth Maul, who could’ve been the best baddie ever, get killed off so soon?
But what did come across as messed up was Padme and Anakin. It was kinda creepy watching Padme be all motherly towards Anakin knowing that she’s gonna be jumping his bones in the next film. I’m not a prude but it did sorta want me to ditch The Guardian and go and get The Daily Mail.
Anyway, by the time this message gets on Friday Letters I’ll have watched Padme do the sexxxus with Anakin and Anakin become a real bad dude.
Certainly, I've softened in my attitude to The Phantom Menace in the wake of the newest films. Not that I don't like the new films, but they do go out of their way to be as Star Wars-y and fan pleasing as possible (yeah, even The Last Jedi).
The Pantom Menace is clearly an expression of Lucas just doing whatever the hell he wants, and stuff convention or rules. For better or worse, it's a more authored and pure artistic expression than even A New Hope, because he was steering the ship completely. And, for me, it's not that it's a bad film per se, just a really weird one... but I admire him for doing something so different.
Artistically, I think it's a far more fascinating than almost any other Star Wars film. The backlash clearly got to him by the time Revenge of the Sith came around, and so you get a bit more of a hybrid between his pure style, and giving audiences what he thinks they want.
It's still weird to me hearing your "real" voice on videos. Reading Digitiser back in the day Biffo spoke with a voice like Victor Lewis-Smith, but a bit more baritone. Now this "Paul" bloke is talking, telling me he's Biffo and my brain is screaming that it's not right. Please endeavor to change your voice so it more closely matches the one in my head.
I do get it, though. I mean, it's something I'm having to think about a lot for Digitiser The Show in terms of the characters; what does Fat Sow sound like? Is there a way to make The Man's Daddy's voice work that isn't going to be horribly jarring?
Though I'm not going to shoe-horn the characters in their if I can't make them work. I'm still haunted by those Viz Comic animations. Heck, even the Bananaman cartoon was weird for me, having grown up reading his adventures.
Will there be a place for bootleg games on “Digitiser: The Show”? I wish to see you cast your crazed gaze upon the bootleg NES version of FF7, for instance, or any of the countless other bootleg demakes.
So yeah, The Last Jedi came out on DVD last week: time for a re-appraisal. I think I came into it off the high (for me, anyway) of Rogue One, which I still think is objectively brilliant... although maybe just because it has a load of proper old Star Wars stuff in it (side note: the Star Wars Legion AT-ST model is lovely, and I strongly encourage anyone who needs a scale AT-ST in their life to get one before they all vanish). Anyway:
Loads of The Last Jedi could be cut to make a better movie: the whole green milk sequence would be a good start, most of Chewie (sadly) and the Porgs... I think that’s what I struggled with more than the ‘plot holes’ that everyone hated at release, the hyperspace battering ram and so on... Too much fat.
What do you think, Herr Biffo? Fellow commenters?
And while I get why they did it the way they did, not to have Luke turn up - for real - in the battle at the end is a huge anticlimax. We all held our breath for a massive lightsaber fight to the death... but no. Just Hair-Dye Luke ducking and weaving.
I mean... if you're going to have moments that harken back to the past, let's see Luke lifting his X-Wing out of the water like Yoda did on Dagobah, getting into it, flying into battle and sacrificing his life that way. You'd have had the same emotional outcome, but without the disappointment for the audience.
But anyway. Now look. You've started me off...
Warm greetings Mr Biffo. I come to you with a request, a request so damp and moist that you may feel compelled to recommend a surveyor accredited with all the accreditation needed to aid with rising damp - BUT resist! Resist the urge and read on, as it's not that sort of dampness.
I am begging you, I'm on my knees. Pretty super mega please can you fix it for me to meet Gal Gadot in a very romantic log cabin?
I'm thinking we'll get there and we'll have a little chat, a little bit of laughing to break the ice. I'll do a really funny impression of Julian Clary and she'll touch my arm and proclaim, "Gary, you're so funny, he he he"...
But, an hour will pass and you will have rigged the log cabin (the very romantic one) so all the doors and windows shut and are locked up tight. There is ZERO escape!
You also rig the heating so it's stuck on high...
We get warm, oh so warm...
We have no choice but the strip down...
Umm, I'll stop there but you get the picture! Whatever you can do friend. Much love.
I must know, how many Trekkites have written in to say that Gene Roddenberry didn't want phasers to look like guns? Also have this great joke about guns:
QUESTION: What do you call a gun that shoots bees?
ANSWER: A bee-begone (B. B. gun)
How's it all going here then? Haven't been in touch for a while due to working bloody hard - but have been regularly tuning in! Reallly pleased with your Kickstarter success - wasn't able to commit personally due to "the economy" etc, but glad you have some more affluent fans!
To de-stress from my heavy workload I chose the Shadow of the Colossus re-make to wind down with, and just wanted to express my admiration to the team at Blue Point. Their subtle tweaking of the controls turned what was an extremely frustrating experience first time round on the PS2 into a fully immersive and affecting experience! It still wasn't a piece of cake, but it felt so much fairer if I messed up. And of course it looks gorgeous!
I reckon this is a benchmark in how to handle a remaster or remake - hopefully it was a success and encourages others who take on remasters to take as much care!
Anyway - back to work...
Now then. I was in Blackpool the other day, and I spotted this in a car park. Maybe this is where Sega went wrong - spending all of their time in fancy street art pieces instead of developing consoles and stuff. Anyone know what it's all about? Is there a Commodore one in Brighton?
Is it done yet?
I just wanted to write about how glad I am that linear story games like God of War and the much anticipated Spider-Man, Last of Us 2 games are showing that EA were talking out of their EAss when they said gamers don't want single player linear games anymore.
Maybe they will rethink their strategy and invest in a single player Star Wars game now. Who am I kidding, Microtransactions 2019 is probably more likely.
Hello. This is another story about my weird family. I wasn't present for most of this one, but it was reliably related to me by my uncle. Usually I'd be skeptical about such a story, but I know what my family is like. So I'm not.
Kevin's in his thirties now, and he deals with his Asperger's well. He has a job in a department store, a daughter, and although he finds strong emotions difficult to express in a socially acceptable way, he manages it most of the time.
Most of the time.
Sometimes, Kevin has no filters on his expression and things just get blurted out. Like the time he approached two women in a pub and tried to chat one of them up, and when she rejected him, he told her - stated as a matter of fact and completely without malice - "Oh, I thought you'd be ok with it cos you're the ugly one."
And sometimes it gets a little more serious than that.
Good Morning Britain had discussion pieces where members of the public can text in their incredibly informed opinions and astute observations. Kevin liked to take part, and would text something in or call their hotline about once a week, sometimes more.
On one particular morning, the subject had something to do with football. I can't remember the specific subject because I have zero interest in football, but whatever it was, Kevin felt he had been personally wronged by the opinions expressed. As he left for work, he vented his anger by sending an angry text to the Good Morning Britain hotline. Satisfied, he travelled to work without a further thought about it. However, when he got there, he couldn't help but feel bad.
His manager noticed that Kevin seemed a little preoccupied. Ok, he wasn't standing in the yard twiddling a pencil and saying "skit" over and over, but his manager could see Kevin's mind wasn't fully on the job and asked him what was wrong. "Oh," replied Kevin, "I sent a text I think I shouldn't have. I got angry with breakfast telly and sent them a text that there was a bomb in the studio."
Kevin's manager turned ashen faced. "Do they know it was you? Did you call them and tell them it was a mistake?"
"No, I sent it to the phone number by accident, not the text number, and the phone line is off now."
"I think we need to get the police involved and explain things. But if it's gone to the phone line you should be ok. Better be safe though."
His manager left to call the local police station to let them know what had happened and explain that Kevin's disorder has him act in inappropriate ways, and hope that the whole thing would dissipate before anything serious happened.
Hope can be so cruel.
Years ago, the text would have disappeared into the ether. But BT had just started a text to voice service that read your text in a robotic voice if you sent it to a land line number. So Good Morning Britain got a phone call which sounded like Stephen Hawking was threatening to blow them up.
Within minutes of his manager leaving the shop floor, an armed response unit entered and purposefully strode in Kevin's direction. Kevin saw them and waved, yelling "Alright lads! This about the bomb?"
After a day of "interviews" and searching Kevin's flat, reviewing phone records and other correspondence, the police decided that Kevin was harmless and had no real conception of the chaos he'd caused. However, because of the seriousness of the incident something had to be done, no matter how much the police wanted to drop the whole thing and stop wasting their time.
So his local police department insisted that it had to be handled by the Met, because that's where the bomb threat was received, and the Met insisted that the local police handle it because that's where the threat was made from. That let them bury things and leave poor Kevin alone.
The moral of the story is that sometimes the police can be extraordinarily understanding and nice, and if you're ever going to bomb a TV studio, greet the police with a cheery "Alright lads! This about the bomb?"
Extra points if you're holding malt loaf on a stick.
My other half and I were experimenting with this, sat next to one another on the sofa, but - for some reason - she wasn't getting my messages. I realised, perhaps an hour or so later, that I'd sent a number of bizarre pictures - including one of an ejaculating penis - to the producer on the Disney project.
I realised the next day, and texted her to apologise, saying they weren't meant for her. The reply I received read: "I didn't think they were".
What makes this story worse is that I once recounted it to a group of people in a meeting, and nobody laughed. They just looked at me in horrified silence. Because, y'know, who sends pictures like that to their partner anyway?
1. I like the idea of Sega making more of their legacy properties but I'm not sure if Sega still know how to make them - do you see outsourcing as being viable in larger-scale games than Sonic Legends? The reason I ask is because as good as Legends was, it isn't going to bring new players to the series and Sega should be more than simply nostalgia. Sumo did a brilliant job on Outrun in the 2000s.
2. It occurred to me recently that, probably thanks to DLC, cheats don't seem to be a big thing in games any more. Can you think of any other things that used to be important but no longer are in games?
3. It's fair to say that Microsoft's Xbox360, despite not being the biggest of the 3 main consoles, defined the generation. The Xbox One on the other hand has done well enough, but is the least relevant of the major consoles. What does Microsoft need to do to challenge Sony and Nintendo more seriously again?
2. You are right. You don't really get cheats anymore (well, apart from those people who are cheats in online games and then get banned). I'll turn this one over to the commenters.
3. That's tricky. Microsoft so ballsed up the launch of the Xbox One that it has lost the faith of the market. It's not impossible that it could claw its way back - lest we forget, nobody expected Nintendo to bounce back quite so powerfully after the Wii U - but it's going to be hard.
I mean, the Dreamcast was a brilliant system, but nobody really forgave Sega for the Saturn. I think Microsoft needs to offer something completely different to Nintendo and Sony. The Xbox One is just too similar to the PS4. What that something might be I've no idea - but then I didn't realise I wanted a handheld/TV console hybrid until I got one.