Interestingly, something that has arisen for me is the realisation that I need to be challenged. Dunno how I've kept this site going for over four years without getting bored, but if you look at Digifest to Found Footage to Trojan Arse to the Found Footage Premiere to Digitiser The Show... I'm not really one to scrub myself with the same brush twice. It was weird, but I realised yesterday that I thrive on that thrill of the new, that adrenaline rush of doing something that risks falling apart at any minute and that I've never done before.
So, I don't yet know what this means - though I've got a couple of ideas - but what I can tell you is that Series 2 of Digitiser The Show will be radically different to the first. There. I've said it. We're mixing up the format more than I thought I would.
The last thing I'd want is to get tired of doing it - I won't be getting paid... so I at least need the creative reward, which means not leaning into the safety net of the familiar. I need that buzz.
I'll keep you posted - but the good news is that my immediate priority is now the Digitiser Live show, which will no doubt tick a few of those boxes.
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: email@example.com
Letter has 2 parts. First, something to hopefully make you smile and then, second, a genuine game question.
Love the YouTube channel and the site. My best friend and I used to literally (and I use the word carefully) cry with laughter sharing Bubblegun ‘top tens’ during English lessons in secondary school. One I a can still remember now was ‘rejected ideas for Ronald McDonald before settling on a clown’. It was that silly humour that connected me and said friend, and we remain friends now. He was even at my wedding. So, ta.
I also used to like the ‘Teletext games page’, as I knew it, when I was even younger but didn’t understand how it all worked. I caught it randomly on occasion, but would wait for the whole thing to cycle.
THEN, more recently, the aforementioned friend started sending me hilarious pictures from the Memory Assistant twitter page.
The point of this first gush is that I had no idea there was a connection between all of these things until I started reading Digi2000. I’ve enjoyed all of what you’ve created and published over the last 20 years or so, without knowing it was you. It all still makes me laugh now.
I work in healthcare and know that REAL gratitude is difficult to articulate, but that receiving it can genuinely make you feel good and make the really tough bits feel worthwhile - sometimes helping reinforce you’re doing the right thing. So, again, big genuine ‘ta’!
Btw you don’t have to publish that bit, I won’t be offended.
Genuine game question:
I am LOVING RE 2 remake on PS4. The original was the first game I saved and saved and saved for, then got my sister to buy as I wasn’t old enough. I know nostalgia will filter lots of things, but one thing that stands out to me about this game is a genuine tension about ammo conservation and often needing to try and escape or avoid zombies, blobs or tyrants because I have no health item or ammo left.
And the game mechanic of a constantly pursuing ‘tyrant’ that isn’t just a QuickTime mechanism, and will actually stomp you dead, is horroble!
So, what other games might scratch this masochistic itch of mine to be genuinely uncomfortable during a game? The Alien one I remember was good, until about half way through when you got a weapon that scared the thing away, instead of it killing you instantly, removing all difficulty and fear from the game.
Richard (now a proper grown up but still remembering ‘ten things not to do in a shoe shop’)
Genuine game question answer: I confess, there aren't many games which have made me feel tense and scared (though the limited ammo in most Resident Evil games does result in that). I guess I could recommend the Dark Souls series - there's certainly the tension there that you're going to die every 30 seconds.
Oddly, the only time a game has ever made me jump was Resi's inspiration - Alone In The Dark; there's a bit where you walk into a room, and there are a load of floating, mumbling, blobs, and it really startled me. I shrieked!
Dear Mysterious Cities of Biffold,
I've been meandering my way through Red Dead Redemption 2 for the past while and recently reached the point where, after a failed bank robbery and a brief career as a stowaway, I found myself (well Arthur Morgan) on a tropical island.
At this point I got genuinely excited at what new challenges and game play this new and unique location would unlock. Sadly what I got was less of the same, lots of shooting things and blowing things up with not much else.
The whole section felt like a disappointing missed opportunity. So I was wondering if you found yourself enthused by the potential of a level or section of a game only to be disappointed? Go on, name names.
Love and kisses
Thank you for keeping me alive another week.
Hi Mr Biffo. So after a month of wondering and personal debating about this "Well, I don't want to put a value on myself... but I hope I'm worth at least 70p" from the Patreon begging thingy, I've decided you're worth more, and so joined the awesome and friendly patreon lot.
(If you're wondering what swayed it... it was you losing subscribers on the MJ/Sonic 3 vid LOL).
As someone who is old (48), I'm so glad that Digitiser still lives in some form
Please keep up the good work.
Daph Blake x
PS. Please please see if you can get Derek Findas on the show some how this guy is next level brilliant.
Hello, Hello (Hola!)
Last week “Steve” wrote a letter and asked a question that was the opposite of what I thought it was going to be, so I’m going to pretend I’ve come up with this on my own.
1. As a professional screen writer is there any video game that you think could work as a feature film and/or television series?
2. On the same theme, is there any game you cherish which you’d be loathed to see adapted for film/television, and if so would you turn down cold hard cash if asked to write it?
3. Not related at all. Games are getting easier to finish. In the olden days they’d be so hard you’d be thrilled to finish one screen, then came passwords and saves, then the saves became more frequent, now you get infinite lives without using a cheat (even the supposedly tough Dark Souls has infinite lives). Have you ever not enjoyed a game because it’s too easy? What’s the optimal difficulty?
I’m at a place called Vertigo.
Bono (not really: it’s Grembot)
2. Yes: if they ever make a Half-Life film or TV show I will be picketing the studios. And burning them down. I think I've mentioned before that I was approached about writing a Fable TV series - whoops, just broke the NDA again. I would've happily done that, because... money reasons. I love money!!!!
3. I like games to be easy to play, because for me it's about the experience - exploring, doing new things. That's why I struggle with Dark Souls, because it feels like the enemies are stopping me doing that. It's the gaming equivalent of walking round the shops, and being stopped repeatedly by people clipboards.
Which, I know, is the whole point. But that's not for me.
1. I was wearing my Digi hoody at the weekend and someone sang 'Digi-TIS-er!' at me. Y'know, like the theme song.
2. Have you ever played the new Hitman games? The first one was 'free' with online subscriptions on both consoles recently, and it's a real hoot.
3. New Pokemon looks alright doesn't it? 'Ninty' seem set to dominate Xmas this year.
4. That's it
2. I haven't! I meant to, but the fact I had to download them put me off. I dunno if my internet is worse than the average, but downloading on anything other than my Switch seems to take forever.
3. I admit... I know nothing about the new ones other than the titles, but the sheer fact there are going to be proper Pokemon games on the Switch does get me intrigued. And that's the first time a Pokemon game has got me excited in a long time.
I think it’s time to reflect on how great the Digitiser Minis have been. I know you put a lot of time and effort into making them, and it’s very much appreciated, especially as our Kickstarter money only went towards the series.
You can see them developing every time you publish something new, and over the last few weeks they’ve really started to feel like proper Show-worthy content, not just nice bonus material.
The Sir Clive and Michael Jackson Minis were especially excellent, not only because of how informative and funny they were, but because they both proudly gave off the distinct Parfum de Biffo. It’s an olfactory treat - your timing and use of the format is making them something to look forward to every week.
If the show includes the kind of stuff you’ve been doing, well - that will definitely be a positive thing, and add to the already groaning pile of Grade A Content.
Speaking of Series 2, I was sorry to hear that Jenny won’t be rejoining the team as a host for the next run. I thought she really added something to the panel, so it’s a shame - will you be looking for a replacement host?
Keeping the numbers at 5 seems sensible for balance (especially for the desk!), and having the same gender mix would be preferable too - otherwise Octavius starts to look a bit outnumbered! Best of luck with the search anyway, I’m sure you’ve already got plenty of ideas bubbling away.
Finally, I did enjoy your musings on hide and seek in the ‘boring games’ article. Hide and seek games could be great! Just think of the scope for silliness and fun - the format has potential for proper laughs.
My most memorable hide and seek moment came when I was about 10. We had one of those massive chest freezers you used to see in a lot of homes, and during one game I decided to climb inside it and use it as my hiding place (it was off and defrosted at the time).
It only occurred to me how dangerous this was when the lid closed, plunging me into darkness, and I realised that the whole thing had been sealed airtight.
And then I died of asphyxiation.
That’s a lie, actually. I didn’t die - in fact, I won the game! Which probably isn’t the message you should take away from this, but it did happen, so you’ll just have to deal with it.
I’m very thankful I thought to stick some fingers through the seal to let air in. What an idiot I was. Don’t hide in freezers, people! Unless you’re Indiana Jones trying to survive a nuclear explosion.
But yes: hide and seek games please!
As for the host balance in Series 2... it's all up for discussion at the moment. We all got together this week partly to see what it felt like with four of us, and to explore other ways of filming the series (though there will actually be five of us today, he teases...). We want to go into Series 2 prepared, see.
The jury is out at the minute as to whether we'll find someone new to join us in a permanent capacity - I too liked what Jenny brought to the show - but I think it'd be a hard ask of anyone to join four hosts who've now had a lot of experience working together.
Based on past experience, I think we would need somebody who "gets" Digi, who isn't afraid to muck in with the nonsense, and who has a positive attitude. Virtually everyone who was there during the filming of Series 1 remarked about how lovely the atmosphere was, and how we were all pulling in the same direction. I've worked in TV long enough to know how negative energy can infect a set, and there's no point doing it if it isn't fun, or if there's bitchiness or gossip. We have to trust one another, otherwise it doesn't work.
Atop that, we would need somebody who brings something to the desk - be it in experience, comedy or knowledge - but they also have to fit as part of the mix, so it doesn't unbalance it. They need their own, complimentary, energy. Which is a lot to ask of a person, and when you think about it holistically... while there are loads of people who are brilliant in their own right, there aren't as many people out there who'd fulfil that as you might think.
However, we are indeed batting around some ideas, and we'll be discussing that some more today. It's like putting the pieces of an engine together to ensure it runs as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Well, last weekend I decided to get a game for my PSP. I like this handheld, it’s got a nice feel to it. Anyway, CEX had a copy of Space Invaders Extreme, so I plonked down my four pounds, and...
OH GOOD GOD WHAT HAVE THEY DONE????
I mean, yeah, the word Extreme is in the title, so, yeah. Fun, but maddening in equal measures.
All the best,
301) After years of putting it off, I have finally started playing the Metro Series. Even though I am thoroughly sick of post-apocalyptic settings, it does seem to have a depth and humanity that many other examples do not. In some respects, I am reminded of the Witcher. This made me wonder if, in part, this is due to it being based on novels. Do you think, generally, that games based on books have better settings than those that don't?
302) Have you ever reached a point in a game where you disagreed with its morals enough to stop playing it? There have been a couple of occasions when I have disagreed profoundly with a game's narrative.
303) I feel sometimes that because games can now have any style of music within them, that there is no such thing as computer game music any more. In other words, music from games used to be really distinctive and served a purpose within the game structure whereas now they seem more to act like film soundtracks. Do you agree and if so, is this even a problem?
304) Shigeru Miyamoto would be the choice of many people, although not me, as the greatest game maker so far. Despite this he is more of a Spielberg figure within games than the equivalent of an auteur in film. While this is not really a bad thing, who, would you say is a true visionary/Avant Garde game maker? Almost like Jean-Luc Godard.
305) Would you rather have lived in a world without Tomb Raider, or without Command and Conquer?
306) what are your feelings on episodic games? Once they were considered to be the future but they seem to have stalled recently after a promising start.
307) How much would you consider to be a fair price for, let's say, a PlayStation 'Netflix' service which enabled you to play every game released on PlayStation?
302) I did sort of get there with Grand Theft Auto V. After a while, I just felt grubby playing it. I mean, that might've been what Rockstar was going for - holding up a mirror to humanity - but it's so cynical, and depressing, that it wasn't so much its morals I objected to, as its lack of hope.
303) Man, that's so true. Yeah, you're right. There are chiptune musicians out there, though. I've been listening to a lot of synthwave music at the moment - which evokes 80s movie and game soundtracks. Try some of that.
304) That's a good question, and the nature of modern, big-budget, game development means that you don't really get auteurs in mainstream gaming anymore. The indie sector is where you get these more personal games, but obviously... few of them become blockbusters.
305) Brilliant question, and very hard to answer. Seeing as I'm currently craving a new, classic-style, C&C game, and am not bothered about ever playing a Tomb Raider again, I'd say I couldn't live without Command & Conquer.
306) I liked the idea of them in theory, but in practice... not so much. It's sort of to do with frequency really. I don't want more than a month between episodes, but the gaps between - say - the Telltale adventures are much longer.
307) Jeez. Original PlayStation games? I think with any subscription service I'm not really prepared to pay more than a tenner a month, whether it's for films and TV shows or games. Especially if they're really old games.
Hope you’re well and all that. I’ve been playing, like, loadsa them retro games this week, and got to thinking how crazy and numerous the licensed games were back in the day.
You know, if it’d make a few bob stick a license on it, Skips crisps, Yes Prime Minister, Neighbours, Grange Hill. I could literally, go on for bloody ever!
That’s what the modern game industry is missing now, the complete randomness of the licensed games we used to have. Where’s my Great British Bake Off for PS4, or perhaps Loose Women on Nintendo Switch!?
Maybe even a game based on the 4 O’Clock Club? Or Pudsey the Movie? I bet you’d have got them back in the olden days!
Anyway I’ve talked shite for long enough now. I’ll write something better next time, I’ve just had my bedtime Horlicks and I’m a bit tired and emotional y’know. I usually have Ovaltine, or 8 cans of lager.
PS. You should seriously think about having a P.O. Box for real presents and other stuff to be sent in, maybe even show some of them on the channel eh? My kids favourite you tubers do loads of them fan mail vids and I’d bet you’d get sent some proper weird shit. Seeee yaaa!
And yeah, I hear you about dem licensed games. Let's face it though, one based upon Pudsey would've been some dancing game where you could make the dog perform one of his many signature moves, such as standing on his hind legs, or standing on his hind legs.