We're over the halfway mark now, and the end of the series is in sight. Certainly, I'll miss it... but I'll appreciate having the chance to claw back a bit of my life again. By the time the series has come to a close, I'll have spent over three months editing the episodes - and I need to start earning money again!
However, this won't be the end. Digitiser the Show will continue in one form or another - there'll be more full eps next year - and I've plans for how we bridge the gap until then, and keep momentum going. More details on that soon.
For now? On with another bumper harvest of 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, 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
Whilst this is a belated message, I really did enjoy the first episode of Digitiser The Show. I took the entire length in one go and was desperate for more.
I think of myself as a binge viewer of a different kind. I don't like to watch entire television series in one go, but give me an hour of Gaming Mill and I can easily slip into his back catalogue.
The former seems to make people impatient in the way the latter doesn't - having a brilliant, original show in a quite traditional format feels like the ideal pairing. It gets you excited for another installment.
I was thinking about the concept that Digitiser The Show is "the show with Biffo and some YouTubers" when I wondered... is Biffo himself a YouTuber now?! I definitely didn't consider you to be one during Found Footage, but now you're onscreen and addressing the camera directly, I'm beginning to think you are.
What do you think, Paul? Do you consider yourself to be one, or ever describe yourself as one? I know it's just a label, but still, I find it interesting.
I didn't even put ads on Digitiser The Show, because to me it's just a hobby. That said, I've certainly wound up my kids by telling them their dad's a cool YouTuber now.
I guess, if I can manage to keep putting out regular videos then I might feel more like a YouTuber. So, ask me again in six months!
Biffofarms grows ever so cold in your absence, I long for your touch and to hold you again. Oh, when will this war of northern aggression end!? Father says you’ll return to us soon.
A, Sent from Jurassic park.
I heard games have limited life expectancy due to disk and bit rot! Apart from keeping games out of sunlight what can we do to help preserve them so future generations can play them in their original state?
Also can you say hello to my dog Wilson!
Late Night Reviews
I’m so chuffed you and Paul have pretended to make up after pretending to fall out. Digitiser the telly show has become as much a part of my Sunday as raking leaves and riding the lifts in Bexleyheath.
I’d take the fact that it “fooled” quite a few as a compliment. My mate’s Mum sat through an entire episode of The Day Today without realising it was a spoof. It would be a shame to have to stick a smiley on the jokey stuff so the context is crystal clear, like adding a laugh track to The Day Today.
And I like it that everyone still looks a bit red. Puts me in mind of watching Soylent Green. Only red.
While I'm on the subject of YouTube... I've had several people recently suggest that me highlighting rancid comments about Digitiser - say, through the use of the whimsical Bingo Card that I made - has put them off from watching it. Now, enough people have mentioned it for me to take this seriously.
This is a genuine question that I'd like feedback on (yeah, unusual I know - normally, I want you to keep your bloody advice to yourselves): why is it considered bad form for creators of things to take the piss out of the people who are laying into them? Don't get me wrong: if somebody has a genuine dislike of the show, fair enough. I've absolutely no problem with that. It doesn't bother me, and good for them knowing what they like and don't like.
I'm talking about the trolls and the ones who just hate out of principle, and vent and lash out.
Why can't you highlight and take the piss out of that? Why is that seen as "off-putting"?! Is it because it's not sufficiently aloof and cool? I mean, what can I say? I'm not a classy guy!
I honestly don't get why we're not allowed to respond by making fun of them. I've even been told that some of the piss-taking is "mean-spirited", which just spins my head around, given that it's piss-taking of people who have said the most horribly mean-spirited things about those who are featured on the show.
On YouTube I started responding to the comments calling us "dicks" and "shit" by linking the commenter to stupid pictures on Google, and asking if that was them. And then one of them turned around and told me to "stop attacking people"...! And called me a "fucking asshole" into the bargain.
Isn't that weird though? That when they do it, it isn't seen as an attack, despite using aggressive language, but when I do something daft in response... it is seen as an attack?
Is it because the piss-taking is taken at face value, rather than the tongue-in-cheek way it's intended? Is it because - as somebody with a (slightly) larger public profile than the average social media commentator - when I do it it's seen as bullying?
Is it because they're not getting the expected response, which is, I dunno, us lashing out in exactly the same sort of way, or curling up into a foetal position, so their impotent rage has nowhere to go? Are content creators seen as convenient punch-bags, and it's not liked when the punch-bag punches back?
Or is it because it's just not the done thing? Or do people just want to find fault in anything? Or does it simply display a massive lack of empathy and self-awareness, that they don't realise there's a bunch of human beings who might have an opinion about being called names, and it jars when they say that they do?
This is a genuine question.
As somebody who really wants to understand the weird ways people work - hell-oh, three years of training to be a psychotherapist! - I'm genuinely curious to try and understand it. I tend to deal with most things through humour, and this is no exception, and I want to know why - in this instance - it is A Bad Thing. The other alternatives are engaging with it in kind - thus creating loads of needless drama - or just ignoring it. But I don't see why we should, when we can alternatively highlight the sheer stupidity and needless nastiness of some of it.
What am I missing here?
I've been a bit 'out of it' lately; a combination of tramadol and other such prescribed drugs being my excuse. That being said, I was the same when I was thirteen and that was only earlier this month.
However, I digress. I do sincerely believe that Chuckie Egg is the best platformer ever made. I bought the 'remake' of it via Steam a few weeks ago and it was dire.
I'd write more but the drugs (only prescribed) are kicking in. Again.
Fancy an essay on why I love Chuckie Egg so much, Mr Biffo? I sent Digi an essay a few years ago on why I thought Elite needed to be rebooted and you graced our screens via teletext with the four pages you granted it. It was was like being famous or something... but I got no sex action from it. My old uni friends thought it was amazing though.
I stuck to playing lead guitar for the sex action.
On the occasions when I do feature other writers, it tends to be Super Bad Advice, whose work rarely needs any sub-editing, and whose style completely fits with the site, or - in recent weeks - Larry Bundy Jr, because of his association with Digitiser The Show.
So, no offence meant to anybody who wants to write for Digi... but this site is chiefly a personal blog, even if it does sometimes pretend otherwise.
Also: get better!
I love the revamped Digitiser. I was born in November 1999, so I was a bit young for the original, but The Worst Witch, My Parents Are Aliens and Dani's House were very much my cup of tea. All that said - thank you very much for what you do, you make this lazy, game-playing, YouTube-watching, shit-having man very happy.
Dear Mr Bisto-Claus,
I am a spooky goth. Halloween is every day, but the holidays are chasing the macabre away!
I am in need of microcomputer spookiness to make the Xmas ornaments into gore-naments.
I've got the usuals (Project Firestart, Soft & Cuddly, Werewolves of London, Elvira and Waxworks, etc), but what do you have that would both appeal to my dark heart and love of games no one has heard of?
And please, if Paul Gannon insists on dressing like a Ghostbuster, can he at least entrap the Christmas Spirit so that I don't have to put my Jack O'Lanterns away?
James Id (32)
Heard you doing snarks at Dungeons and Dragons yeah; you may not have been aware but it is now incredibly en-vogue ACTUALLY. Vin Diesel, the human zeitgeist, does it.
I like D&D because you get to leave the screen for a while and extract value-for-money from your kitchen table, but it's still a bit like Xbox so you don't feel very bored and sad.
There's a new set of "rules" for anyone thinking about pretending to be a wizard for a bit:
Keep up the sterling japes etc.
Dear so-called “Digitiser the Show”,
I am frankly appalled after watching the most recent “episode” of your “show” on “YouTube”. When I backed the Kickstarter, I expected it to be a whimsical look back at the golden age of Teletext & gaming.
I thought you might have nice interviews with “people” such as Dave Gibbons and that lovely Stuart Hardy. I was also of the understanding that there would be a regular “section” each week looking at why the Amiga was the “best” of the generation and how it did the graphics for “Babylon” 5.
Instead, I am presented with PURE FILTH of the worst kind. The original Mr Digitiser must be “rolling” over in “his” grave after the mockery that you have made of his work.
This “week’s” episode featuring what I must assume is some sort of fetish costume created purely to draw attention to a Mr Paul Gammon’s “nipples” and “special lumps” while a man who is clearly “deranged” fiddles with poor Mr Gannom’s “battery pack” was just a step too far.
Yes, the section was highly arousing and I struggled to sleep that night thinking of Mr Ganondorf’s “nippular region” and I am now rubbing semi-defrosted “prawns” on myself while I think about it. They feel so good, all prawny & cold. Look at them, the little “pink” devils. I bet they love it, the dirty suborder of decapod shrimps.
Yeah, that’s it, scavenge for your opportunistic omnivorous diet... erm, what was I saying? Oh yes, I am appalled with the so-called “transport infrastructure” that the “council” sees fit to “run” in this “city”. What happens to the Council “Tax” that we pay? Is it spent on creating orphans for the homeless & other centrist schemes? I shall be writing to my local “MP” immediately!
Paul Gummon esq. (Mrs)
I saw this car the other day and thought of you. Loving the series,Moc Moc Moc 🏼,
Having been a bit poorly this week I've not been up to playing games much. I have, however, been kept busy by watching others playing on Twitch. I wonder what you think of the massive increase in this form of entertainment?
Hope that makes sense.
248) Who do you feel is the most influential game developer that is active currently; individual and/or studio?
249) Were Sega still to be producing consoles, how different, if at all, do you think their games would be from how they are now?
250) Has the Nintendo Switch peaked already after its first year?
251) I am always amazed that neither FIFA Football nor PES allow the option to be the referee in games with your friends. Do you have any 'why don't they have that?' moments for any game?
249) Modern Sega is a weird beast. There's no real corporate identity to the games they put out these days, so it's very hard to say whether or not a different Sega would've gone the same way. Certainly, one of the strengths of the company back in the day was their arcade conversions. And the main things they have in arcades these days are those ticket-dispensing games. Which would be hard to do on a home system. And pointless.
250) I imagine that depends on who you're talking to. A LOT of people are very excited about the new Smash Bros. That said, Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild are kind of evergreen games - they're not going anywhere. I'm confident that there'll be other Switch games of the same quality and scope.
251) Yeah, any game where there's a locked wooden door that you can't just kick in.
Have I mentioned how awesome your Friday letters page is? It's such a cool little slice of the internet that I look forward to reading it on my lunch brake every Friday, and feel genuinely defeated when I can't think of anything halfway decent to send in.
That's about as deep as I can manage this time. The next letter will be full of philosophy, revelatory gaming knowledge (that I proably looked up on Wikipedia) and Marillion references. I promise.
The world around us may look the same as it did before Sunday night, but for us stout souls who witnessed episode 3 of Digi, we know that’s it’s been irrevocably altered. We are now living in a post-Nivvin’s Pranny world.
Now, I knew to expect something a bit special thanks to the build up. But really - what could possibly prepare anyone for the glorious descent into madness that was the climax to the show?! That it was all completely unplanned just made it even better - I was in absolute bits watching it, and have been grinning at the mere thought of it all week now.
I think this is the moment that the essential Digitiser DNA of the show, that’s been coming through more and more since the first episode, fully burst through like a navvy through a loom, and it all kicked off. The show is glorious, and totally, undeniably Digi. The opening with Kowalski to show us exactly what territory we’re in, Tin Man, Nana Foom, Insincere Dave - right down to the lobster whispering "Kill them!" to Gannon and the out-takes being left in. It’s pure joy.
But that’s not forgetting the gaming content. Some people will of course never be satisfied, but the gaming content is interesting, credible, knowledgeable, and presented in a fun way. You guys all know your stuff, and come across as the experts that you are. That it’s presented with a sense of humour rather than the pomposity that modern gaming coverage so often falls victim to is a clear strength, and something to play up rather than shy away from.
You’ve got the balance right - just the way you promised way back at the beginning of the year.
The best thing is that each episode has been even better than the last, which is giving the sense of ever-increasing momentum building. I can’t wait for episode 4, but I get the feeling that 5 will top it, and be topped in turn by 6. This is the best possible time to be a fan - thank you for putting so much on the line to bring us this unforgettable series.
Now the copious frothing is out of the way, I want to tell you about what is probably the most Biffo-esque incident that has happened or is ever likely to happen to me.
I live on a busy road with a lot of footfall past my house. Consequently, I’m often having to pick crisp packets out of my hedge (not a euphemism), and have been getting increasingly defensive about my bins.
Recently I found myself going full Mr T when, going to bring my wheelie bin back up the drive after collection, I found lying on the top, brazenly - proudly, even - a full length of fresh dog poo. Not in a bag. Not placed inside it. A long turd laid squarely across the lid. I was enraged enough as it was, but I became incandescent when I lifted the lid to find that it was actually half in the bin, half out of it. Like a length of sausages with the twist where the bin lid comes down.
Who does this?! And moreover, HOW? How did they even manage it?!
I was not happy. Evidently, it’s time for me to be measured up for my mohawk and thousand necklaces.
That is all. Obscene amounts of luck to you for the rest of the series.
It has been a long, long journey - which, really, started with my Knife & Wife Channel 4 pilot, continued through Biffovision, and then into Found Footage. All of those projects were attempts to bring Digi to life in video form, and I feel I got slightly closer to understanding how with every misstep.
It was only late last year that I had my eureka moment, realising the way to do it was to have the games stuff in there. Without it, there's nothing for the stupid stuff to be juxtaposed with. And then, earlier this year, it was acknowledging that I needed to find the confidence to just be myself on-screen. I used to tell myself that Mr Biffo was the "character", but I've had to reconcile that he isn't. He's the real me, for better or worse.
I'm very sorry to hear about your bin-poo incident. Recently, I found an open violin case outside my parents' house which had a fresh poo in it.
Alongside the general wonderment and humour of the Digitiser Show, I have to congratulate you on the genius of discovering that Larry is likely to throw up or heave at the slightest smell. Whether it be prawns or Sonic’s ring, watching him retch is hilarious! Is that wrong? Am I going to hell? Either way brilliant stuff. Get him to sniff something else!
The Porridge King
Greetings” Mr. Biffo!!!
Love the show! It’s Brill, Ace and Skill! It’s dead good to look forward to a day cos your favourite programme is on! Just like the olden days eh!?!
Anyways, movies are shite these days aren’t they? It’s all reboots and remakes and all that. Speaking of which, what classic game deserves a remake in these modern times, y’know like what Hollywood does?!?
I think Dizzy would be totally amaaaaazing!! Also, I got some Double Dragon Ale a couple of days ago, it was awesome.
Sonic Booooom!!! Etc
This week I have got nothing done at all. Life has ground to a halt. And I’ll tell you for why.
I have watched in alternation, and on repeat, “Sniff Sonics Rings” and “Digitiser: The Show Episode 3” none stop since Sunday evening. It’s a blessing and a curse. Larry Bundy Jr. is the master of ralphing on camera. Yes ralphing is what it’s called. Looking forward to Episode 4.
Yours in thick saliva,
Oi Biffo! I interviewed you a few weeks back for orangebison.com. I'd geared myself up for the expected anarchic responses, and written an introduction to match.
Instead, you completely threw me off by giving me incredibly well-thought-out answers to some difficult questions. WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO NOT BE WEIRD?!
How DAAAAARE you ruin my work in such a way! You're obviously trying too hard, or not hard enough! I CAN'T TELL WHICH!
PS. MOAR ATTEMPTS ON PAUL GAMMON'S LIFE FOR THE SAKE OF ENTERTAINMENT PLZ!
I guess... ask me a sincere question and you'll get a sincere answer.
The Nobel laureate, Andre Gide, when asked who was France's greatest-ever poet, famously replied "Victor Hugo, alas!"
While Mr Hugo's poetry was never to my taste, I feel that Andre was a little hard on Slick Vic who, after all, managed to produce 4,000 drawings, produced La Legende des Siecles, campaigned against capital punishment, wrote a book that was turned into a somewhat successful musical and was buried at the Pantheon, In Paris i.e. 'The other one.' Most of us, of course, know Victor Hugo for the hunchback of Notre Dame and its tragic hero Quasimodo.
Just as Quasimodo asked Notre Dame's gargoyles "Why too could I not be of stone like thee?" I ask the 'creators' of Youtube "Why can you not mix content and humour like Digitiser?"
I don't want to speak for other backers, but I feel able to say that more than most projects I have supported, I really wanted Digitiser to work.
Episodes 1 & 2 alleviated most of my concerns and showed great promise. Both were good television and I enjoyed them, but neither quite felt like a truly cohesive whole, i.e. Digitiser had not quite yet decided what it was to be. Episode 3 is the first so far that rather than simply showing great potential, delivers as a ready-for-TV episode. To me, this is where the programme really found its voice and is a near-unqualified success.
The 'Kowalski' short was genuinely funny and was well-done. These sorts of segments can cross into self-indulgence or Little Britain-style repetition easily, but I felt that there was some tight editing to prevent this and overall I thought that this was a welcome inclusion.
The introductory panel discussion was again interesting, and your choice of question allowed for plenty of good points to be made.
Digitiser is not meant to educate, I know, but please do not underestimate how much the audience can learn from the knowledge of the panelists; I was prompted by this initial discussion to find out more about some of the games discussed.
This section is important to set the tone for the rest of the programme and is the right way to open the show. Again, for me, it could be slightly longer so that it doesn't feel compressed, but overall, I think that you have this almost perfected. Credit to you (Paul) for not simply turning it into a stand-up routine. You are clearly growing into the role of host more in each episode.
The Pokemon or Gandhi quiz worked really well, I thought - perhaps less opportunities for laughs than last week's Street Farter, but it was certainly easier to follow and I liked the way that the guests were still able to bring in a few Pokemon elements to the game.
Perhaps as a bit of constructive criticism for a future series - maybe keep a score of which team/player wins each of the challenges, this way it will help with continuity of the segment. Even without this element, this is good and as with the intro panel - you seem to have this locked-in.
A general comment, especially based on episodes 2 & 3 is that I feel that around 40 minutes is the right length for an episode. It allows each segment to have a natural length and prevents the slightly uneven pacing of episode 1. It might be psychological, but the extra minutes really improve the show overall.
Show and Tell vies with the 'debate' for the best segment in my opinion. The Lock-On was a great choice because it is something that many of us might have had and enjoyed but didn't know much about. Nostalgia Nerd was a welcome addition to this section and I found his contributions to be informative and detailed.
He really came across as knowing about the product , rather than simply exaggerating the retro aspect. I also feel that you added to the discussion, Paul; you allowed Mr Nerd to speak and did not take over the discussion while keeping the discussion flowing. It was good to see Yuji Naka appear, too.
The Mario vs Zelda debate was my highlight of this episode. Obviously the debate was helped by having two genuinely titanic series to discuss, but nevertheless this was really good, and, to be honest, was probably the first true debate of the series. I and many others know plenty about these series but I really like that you begin both sides with a basic introduction - it really helps accessibility and stops the show feeling too much like your club.
A great performance all-round here highlights the consistent improvement in almost every aspect of the programme episode-by-episode.
This continues with the interview, which, quite simply was the best of the series so far. The Ashens one was interesting but felt long because of the shorter episode, Big Boy Barry was also good but rode close to him and Paul G amusing themselves more than the audience (they did stay on the right side though).
This interview was the apotheosis of the form; Paul asked relevant questions, kept the pace going well and showed his versatility as a presenter and Steve spoke really well and gave plenty of interesting details about his work on TV and with games. If I had one criticism it would be that the actual game being played wasn't really discussed/introduced much.
This could be editing and it could be choice, and while my preference would be for maybe 60 seconds on the game itself before the interview proper, if the interviews work as well as this one did then perhaps it isn't necessary.
As you know, I really like the top 3 and Larry's Fact, this week about the Xbox. Not really much to add on this because they are really good. Personally I'd like 1 more of each but obviously that might affect pacing - I trust your judgement on that.
Where to start with the final segment? Others can put it more poetically, but this was really funny. Even before poor Larry's break-down at the end this is when I think that you were absolutely on-target with your desire for it to be similar in feel to e.g. Going Live/Live & Kicking. Credit to miss Kitten (I don't know her real name, sorry) for showing such concern for poor Mr Gannon.
This was, what I think that Digitiser should be about, namely organised chaos. Many will disagree with me, but I think that this was so funny in part because of the relative restraint shown in earlier segments, which made this feel like a natural evolution of madness rather than it being forced.
To conclude, I must agree with you that it was the best episode yet. It feels like an organic, developing yet quality programme.
A couple of minor troughs were that despite my enjoyment of 'Kowalski,' I am not sure if it should have opened the programme. It definitely fits the Digitiser outlook and I think that it MUST be included to maintain Digitiser's authenticity, but it might confuse first-time viewers and turn them away.
Related to this, the content is superb currently, but the first time I watched the programme, it felt back-heavy so perhaps the order of segments is sub-optimal right now? This could just be me, though. Also, it might simply be editing/schedules, but I'd like to see a bit more of Gameplay Jenny - she seems slightly under-used at this stage.
Despite these minor issues, the show is brilliant, and is fulfilling the promise of the Kickstarter. The production values are incredible for your (assumed) budget and I think that the editing is of a higher standard than episode 1. I feel that all of the cast work well together, and your role as host should not be underestimated.
Digitiser is highly-enjoyable as it is, but has the potential to improve further and I cannot think of higher praise than that.
More lovely still, I reckon Sunday's ep addresses all of your (minor) constructive criticisms. The Commodore 64 vs ZX Spectrum section is a proper debate, the interview with Imran Yusuf is really passionate (man, does he LOVE Killer Instinct), there's a good intro section... I dunno... Of all of the ones so far, Ep 4 feels to me like it really nails what the show can be. And, of course, descends into the usual utter chaos at the end...
Totally hear you on some of the hosts feeling a little under-used. That was my fault, really, because I wasn't to know how confident they'd ALL be on camera, and I wanted everyone to feel comfortable before throwing them in at the deep end.
I knew I had to be front-and-centre, and I knew Gannon could be relied upon, but if we do a second series, and if they all came back, I'd make certain to use everyone much more. They're a great bunch.