Along with the one and only Ashens, myself, Larry Bundy Jr and Paul Gannon will be competing against one another at a variety of video game challenges at Steve McNeil's brilliant and highly-recommended Video Game Game Show Show on June 18th. You'll get to see first-hand just how terrible I am games!
Tickets are available here...
In the meantime... gorge yourself on this week's 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 dank emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cuphead, then. I've avoided it for the same reasons you give, it looks lovely, I WANT to play it, but I know, with cold certainty, that I'd not ever reach the end of the first level and would rapidly lose patience with the whole experience. It's been great to read I'm not alone in this. I was beginning to wonder if it was a really specific form of personal disability.
Which brings me neatly to my past weekend's endeavour. I've a retro-doohicky, and I can customise the games thereon. I stumbled over a pre-prepared set-up offering arcade games.
"Ooooh," I thought, "I only occasionally had access to arcades, this is A Good Thing for me. I can experience Arcadery in the comfort of my middle-aged home, it'll be great."
And it is, kinda.
Several things occured to me, though...
1) Arcade games are hard. Properly hard. But you could always continue if you had enough coin. Younger me never really did have enough coin, but that didn't seem to matter, it was enough just to play a game for a bit. Older me, with decades of home-console gaming, he just sees screens of needlessly hard frustration.
b) Not having to "invest" actual coins in the games makes for a hollow experience to say the least. Pushing a button to add a credit feels like purest cheatery, having mostly played home versions with, typically, limited continues.
III) Home versions are, I think, fully more rewarding experiences. I suppose you'd already made your investment, you'd spent the cash, there was no way to elicit more, and no point in doing so with crazy difficulty.
Δ) I desperately want to love shoot 'em ups. Really I do. But I'm shit at them, and no longer have the time or the patience to "learn" attack patterns. Likewise with fighting games.
So, in the space of maybe 4 days, I've learned that gaming nostalgia only really works when it's relevant to your own experiences, that I'm shit at the staples of the semi-modern arcade, AND that horses will often snuffle around in a pile of their own poo before adding to said pile.
It's been a rewarding week already.
Yours with barely concealed adulation,
Their simplicity, and their steadily increasing difficulty, is something that doesn't get enough credit in this era of massive, open-world, experiences. I still love the purity of games with a concept that could be summed up in a single sentence.
Firstly following on from your assumptions about boat life, we do have a shit gas grill that couldn’t even curdle milk let alone toast a hand, and Mr J. (the wife), will not allow me a dog, let alone one with a jaunty scarf - but I can always have a go at dressing him up in one (and nothing else) and walking him on a lead one day and see if it fools anyone, you know a bit about talking dogs don’t you?
Secondly, and more based in normality, what’s your take on the deluge of these ‘reaction’ videos on the internet?
I have to say, I really loathe trying to find footage or news about some upcoming titles, and having to wade through way so many images of idiots with overly staged looks on their hideous faces ‘reacting’ to the video I’m actually searching for - I really don’t give a shit for fake crying with joy because Thomas the Tank Engine made it into Smash Bros, for example.
Sadly, YouTube does not include an option to filter this shite out from search results.
However, I could imagine a ‘Biffo reacts’ video to ‘reactions’ would probably be quite sarcastic, aloof and probably offensive, and thusly entertaining. Maybe pitch that one to Fat Sow, I’d love to see her get so angry that her swollen teats glower with rage.
PS. is the Mans Daddy going to be performing at Digi Live? I need to know whether I need to take spare pants.
The Man's Daddy? At Digi Live? Well, that would be quite a thing wouldn't it...?
Also: what do you do with your poos and wee-wee on the boat? I'm very keen to know. Also, press reveal to see what your boat looks like:
RE: 'A Tale of Two Games'
The point of view in this article is (without hyperbole) disgusting. You don't know how to derive satisfaction from something, so you assume others that do are just pretending to do so, in order to project a higher idea of themselves? It can't be that other people can appreciate something you can't, can it? That would be unthinkable. Your appreciation of culture is obviously the apex.
If your stance here isn't snobbery, I don't know what is. It's not easy to appear desperately insecure and yet blithely arrogant in one fell swoop, but you managed it.
1) Would you have physical surgery to play a video game? I remember there was a film in the 90s where you had to have a socket to play this game made from frog spawn... Bit extreme, but so is the idea of sticking screens to our faces?
2) What is the best N64 game in your opinion and why?
3) Do you think there has ever been a good video game based on a UK tv show? I still have nightmares about the Little Britain game.
4) After your recent Fat Sow misadventures, I have to ask - is that scripted at all? The insults are just insane!
5) Whatever happened to the 'reveal' button on the Digitiser youtube show? Did I miss that?
5 1/2 ) In a similar vein, What is your favourite 'reveal' image?
But then, I don't even need to do that when so many people take precious time out of their day to tell me how old and fat I am!!!!
2) That's hard to say, because I don't think N64 games have aged particularly well. Certainly, the one I got the most enjoyment out of at the time was Goldeneye. Though I retain a soft spot for Wave Race 64. Those water effects still give me the thirst.
3) Man... I've no idea. I just think it's criminal that there has never been a decent Doctor Who game.
4) You've seen those videos. There's no way that level of utter chaos could be scripted. Fat Sow is back this weekend, incidentally.
5) The hatch in the desk was our reveal. We only ever used it for Fat Sow and The Beautiful Boy, because it turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.
5 1/2) Press reveal to see it:
Greetings Clyry Biffo.
Appreciating the steady flow of stuff when you have series 2 and the live show on your plate.
What games would you like to see reimaginalised in a different time period? I'd definitely consider a weekend rental from the video shop for Wipeout 1897, Fifa 1619 or a Cadfael-esque Goldeneye reboot.
Enjoy your 'weak end'.
Voiced by Guides
I'm glad to hear that the ticket sales have gone well for the Digitiser Live show. I'd love to be there but alas it's my birthday on the 13th so I'm having a little getaway and won't be back until the day after the
show. I hope it all goes well and everyone has fun though, I look forward to seeing the video of all the shenanigans!
A few questions:
1) Your wife must know you're a bit of a mad 'un (I mean that in the best possible way), but what was her reaction to the things you were doing on Digitiser The Show and especially Mr Biffo's Found Footage?
Did she know about Digitiser from back in the day, or did she just think it was some little web blog you did in more recent years?
Have you told her the many stories of Digitiser? Do you often lay on the couch remembering the good ol' days, but then she asks you something simple like replacing the toilet roll only for you to bellow, 'I used to have over a million views a day!' etc.It'd be even better if Mrs Biffo herself responded to this question as I think she could provide a unique insight into the man behind the legend.
2) Which of the Digitiser characters from over the years do you think would make the best horror movie villain? Or would you envision a group of the characters working together, like the 1966 Batman movie when Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Catwoman joined forces?
I think The Man's Daddy would be utterly terrifying. Fat Sow would make a good wise-cracking villain, like Freddy Krueger or Chucky came to be in their later movies. Chart Cat is arguably the creepiest though... *shudders*
3) Reading your views on Cuphead (with which I agree wholeheartedly) got me thinking about arcade games. Did you ever complete an arcade game or get a high score?
It seems to me that the earlier games like Asteroids, Space Invaders and Pac-Man etc. were fair, but after a while the companies obviously realised how much money could be made so they ramped up the difficulty to impossible levels to keeps kids chucking money in the slot.
The absolute worst offenders were the shoot 'em up games when you'd get to a boss battle and then they'd suddenly spread about a million projectiles across the screen and there was zero chance you could dodge them all.
She says she now expects "weird" from me, though she never quite knows what form that weird will take, but she trusts that if I voice an idea - Found Footage, Digitiser The Show, my ridiculous plans for Digi Live et al - then she trusts that I've usually got some notion of how to make it a reality.
To be brutally honest, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have brought Digi back. She loved the side of me that is Mr Biffo, and encouraged it, which had very much been pushed down and suppressed for far too long. So, you've got her to thank/blame.
2) Everyone seems to find The Man's Daddy really creepy, but Insincere Dave is surely some sort of serial killer?
3) Noo... I never got a high score on anything. The most I ever played a single arcade game was Galaga. When I was little, my best friend's family moved up to Scotland to open a fish and chip shop, and they got a Galaga machine put in, which we could open up to give ourselves unlimited credits.
I was always amazed that the way to do this was by flicking a flimsy metal arm, which basically got flicked every time a coin passed over it. I'd always imagined it'd be a system of prisms and lasers.
With the news about the next gen PlayStation and Xbox and whatnot being just on the horizon, anybody else becoming a bit disillusioned with gaming?
Maybe it's because of getting old and not being able to commit time and money to one of my favourite pastimes.
But I have yet to play some of the games I want to play, and am still waiting for games to appear this generation - I'm looking at YOU Final Fantasy VII remake - and I am just not excited about the next generation.
Jim Leighton (Future World Darts Champion) x
The following letter was composed by SpiceBot3000, a chatbot on the Nikki and Bunty Discord channel. SB3K learns by scanning the chat and applying different phrases to certain "commands".
This is what it had to say when your name was mentioned:
"Have you had a fright in the audience and thought “oh no” and then his misgivings were well founded because mrpsb threw a poo at mr biffo said "oh no i have made him into dave poo-ry!" and everybody laughed and had a turd still live after the xmas tree to attempt to attack it, 2nd flush, oh my, it still did not go away, ive never had a good boy" and the retro games show who asked if because mr biffo was sitting watching his television one day and rubbing his tummy while singing his favourite song which goes "i am mr biffo said "oh no i have made him into dave poo-ry!" and everybody laughed and had recently gone as long as you're a card."
Martin @ The Broom Cupboard Club
We’ve all done this. Your friend’s parked a car somewhere and you see one like it drive past and say “hey, that’s your car being nicked” and there’s this moment of horror until they realise that you’re joking.
I did this to someone at University. He had a bright red motorbike. I think it was a special edition or something (we were both mature students, so had some things bought with previously earned money). Anyway, we were on a coach heading off in an academic trip to the Tate in London.
As we were heading away from the building where we were based, I saw a motorbike just like his. “Hey, someone’s pinching your bike”. He looked, said “nah” and probably called me a bastard for winding him up.
Get this: when we returned, he found that his bike HAD been nicked. His locks had been bypassed and the bike was gone. Maybe we had seen it being taken in the morning, maybe it was a similar one we had seen, but what an end of the day he had.
I think he got it back - but I remember he was dealing with insurance for a while after.
So with Sega releasing a Mega Drive Mini other games that I would like to see come to the Mega Drive mini are as follows:
Home Alone (which is arguably one of its best shoot'm up platformers); mini open world exploration games; Road Rash 2 (as this is the one bike racing game that brought us bikes like the wild thing).
The next games are most certainly Golden Axe 2 and Desert Strike, as well as Street Fighter 2. The World Warriors, Dynamite Heady, Fantastic Dizzy, Rystar are 4 others that I would love to see make the list in future versions of the Mega Drive mini if ever created. General Chaos is another along with Street Racer, Gain Ground and perhaps Mortal Kombat 3.
There are also a lot more games I'd like to see make it to a future Mega Drive mini list but these are my choices and I am sure others will have their preferred choices as well.
Although I will admit if Sega do release another Mega Drive Mini model, and include an added wireless adapter, built in storage so people can download Mega Drive classics off their own store, it will ensure that a wide choice of games can be given and that Sega could make some more money out of this.
Gamertag ( gaz be rotten)
5) Why is it that when I see people talking about the diabolical conditions for employees in the games industry (such as in the past few weeks), that I can pretty much guarantee there will be some complete arse in the comments/replying with some Olympic-level mental gymnastics along the lines of: "They were treated bad, so their opinion of their being treated bad cannot be trusted because … erm … something something something disgruntled, something something something sour grapes"?
Do these people just think games grow on trees, and/or that the people making them are not entitled to be treated like human beings?
Quite frankly, I believe being treated as human being, would be and should be the default for all in a perfect world.
Alas, we do not live in that perfect world, and I see things getting worse for people (inside and outside the games industry) in that respect in the coming years … Wow, I was not expecting that to start on such a low note. Moving on ...
6) Have you ever had a situation where a game you have already purchased is announced to be getting released on a different format/platform a few months later, and you have been annoyed by that due to having purchased it on the earlier format/platform and having preferred to have purchased it on the latter if knowing at the time of original purchase it would getting released on there?
I almost found myself in that situation with Starlink: Battle for Atlas, having purchased it for the Switch last year, but it being announced this week that it would be finally coming to PC.
I would have preferred to have played it on PC if I were playing it as a single-player game, but the Switch has become my local co-op multiplayer format of choice, because the PC still lags behind in that department (but in my opinion is catching up, slowly).
7) What is your favourite local co-op multiplayer game?
8) What is your least favourite local co-op multiplayer game?
9) Do you find yourself making notes of ideas that pop into your head for your writing work when out and about in case you forget them, or do you tend to compartmentalise the writing stuff to "work time" when sat in front of the computer and ready to type away?
I have to say, the long hours in the games industry do sound horrible, but in my experience it isn't just the games industry. TV and film similarly have horribly long hours, and there's no real regulation there. I'm pretty militant about it nowadays. When I first started writing in TV, I used to work weekends and late into the night, but now I refuse to work outside of regular office hours. If I get emails or phone calls on weekends, or after 5.40pm, I ignore them.
I know I'm able to do that, because I work from home and I've been doing it long enough that I can get away with it, but it does seem endemic in creative industries. That hasn't even answered your question!!!
6) Nah, that doesn't really bother me. Not least in your situation, because I'd almost always prefer to play something on the Switch anyway.
7) I'm honestly not sure I have one. It's so rare for me to play any games in local co-op, and the last time I can remember doing it to any great degree was Goldeneye. I prefer it if local multiplayer games aren't split-screen. Stuff like 1-2-Switch, or whatever.
8) I'm going to say Snipperclips, if only because of the terrible argument it caused between my wife and I.
9) I do occasionally make notes, but not that often. It has taken me a long time to think of the basic structure of what we're going to be doing at Digitiser Live, and it has taken up my every waking thought. Now I'm into the little details of each of those segments.
I even had an idea pop into my head during a meeting the other day, and I had to write it down.
336) After listening, by chance, to 'Afrikan Man' by Happy and Kongo Band a few years ago, I ended up listening to a large number of songs that I would never otherwise have listened to. What is an equivalent 'gateway' game for you?
337) Does Nintendo have a point over its aggressive IP protection e.g. the C64 Super Mario build, or is it behaving unreasonably?
338) What presently-common game feature or mechanic will most confuse future players?
339) With the advent of games-as-a-service and the dominance, in revenue terms, of free-to-play games, will retro games soon be defined by their style, rather than their age? I can easily foresee traditional, single-player, offline games being viewed as 'retro.'
340) Which defunct developer would you most like to see return, keeping their previous character/style? I will let you judge it on whatever criteria you want. For example, despite their record not being extremely consistent, I wish that Psygnosis were still operating.
337) I sort of get where they're coming from with it, but sometimes I think they fail to look at the bigger picture. How much money would they realistically lose from that C64 port, compared to how much goodwill they burn? Admittedly, Nintendo is unusual in how it continues to milk its back catalogue, compared to most games companies, but even so... this seems like a fan project, done for fun, and Nintendo just see everything in terms of black and white.
338) Having games on physical media. Yeah, come at me.
339) I think that's already happening, with games like Hollow Knight and its ilk; that pixel-y sort of style is seen as retro, I think, despite it being a modern game. I don't think people will ever stop viewing games in the context of when they were released, though. Everything is the product of its era.
340) It's probably an obvious answer, but I'd say Ultimate Play The Game. Yes, I know Rare is still around, and I'm still yet to play Sea of Thieves - which does at least look to have some of that classic Ultimate feel - but yeah... I do miss that sense of a new Ultimate game being a real event.
"On May 25th we'll be doing a livestream to raise money for Amnesty International. It'll be all EIGHT HOURS of the infamous Mega CD game from Penn and Teller - Desert Bus.
"We've set an initial target of £250, but if we SMASH through it we'll be setting a new target, and if we meet THAT target (which we'll decide on if (when?) we meet the first one), we'll do the return journey on Desert Bus as well. That'll be SIXTEEN HOURS of us slowly being driven to distraction, live on YouTube!
"Along the way we'll be doing live chat, phone-ins in true Saturday Morning telly style, and generally trying to be as entertaining as possible. Will we survive with our sanity intact? The only way to find out is to DONATE DONATE DONATE at https://bit.ly/nabdesertbus
"Please please please help us fight for human rights around the world by raising money for Amnesty. Every bit of promotion, every promo, every tweet - it all helps."