I've been toying with this for a while, because I've been wanting to write more regular, more personal, blog posts - and possibly doing vlogs - that didn't fit elsewhere. and I didn't feel entirely comfortable doing it when they'd be accessible to those who might've just signed up on a whim, or out of curiosity. It's going to be the sort of longer-form stuff I'd have once put on Digi, but perhaps sharing a bit more personal insight, talk about my day job... whatever random stuff that wouldn't have fitted easily on this site.
Also, we've got more Patrons than ever now - which is lovely, thank you - but the actual monthly amount they bring in has gone down quite a bit. So, it makes sense.
Given changes (read the FAQ if you haven't already) that are happening, and given I want to get a lot more serious about growing all things Digi and YouTube this year, and I'm most likely not doing a new Kickstarter anytime soon, we need to find a way to give extra incentive for people who might be able to pay a little bit more.
I don't really like hiding anything behind a paywall - or asking for money at all - but hopefully the nature of the posts I'll be making - starting with part one of my 10 Commandments! - will make it worthwhile.
And if it works, and more people sign up and pay that little bit extra, then you'll hopefully start seeing it reflected in the content I put out for general consumption. I'm considering other ideas for extra Patreon content, and possibly more tiers. But one thing at a time.
If you want 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 have been thinking - a first, I will admit - that during the festive period I have been brushing down on reminding myself about the all the computers I had as a small bairn.
One of which was a ZX81 brought second hand from a local baker. Though this got me thinking whether Sir Clive Sinclair had plans to make the world's first micro pie with chips. Having ridden a Sinclair C5, I can confirm that the gristle was like one of its tyres. Lovely with a bit of gravy!
But I can vouch from my cousin, Robert Scarborough Ferris, never to eat them on the seafront with extra white sauce as opposed some mushy peas.
Yours tucking in,
Bob Angry Anderson (Mildly Miffed of Mayfair at the Weekends and Gobbler of Double Gloucester)
I wanted to briefly note upon a few topics related to new (well, okay, "new") technologies discussed on this blog a few months back.
First of all, how interested are you in Half-Life: Alyx? I know you are a pretty big fan of Half-Life 2, and this game appears to keep with that style, but updated for VR.
On the other hand, it is a PC VR only game (for now, at least) and that does mean a substantial investment (even considering that an Oculus Quest can be connected to a PC for use as a "dumb" headset, albeit with a [resonably long] wire).
Doing a quick and dirty part list for a PC meeting the min spec, (and keep in mind I'm American and don't know if the prices are 100% accurate with shipping and whatever) comes in at around £500, which isn't a small investment to run the game with resonable graphics settings.
Comfort is also a concern, considering you seem to have "VR Legs" that are closer to amputated stubs with prosthetics, and Boneworks (a seeming influence on Half-Life: Alyx) being a vomit comet for those without "legs" I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this, considering you are a big fan of VR.
Second of all, I'm optimistic regarding Stadia like you, and hopefully by the free version's public release the service will be in a better state, feature-wise (like PC 4K streaming, better screenshot and video support, etc). Also, I might know why you didn't mind Stadia's image quality; with the current software it seems that its 4K quality isn't as good as a PS4 Pro or Xbone X, but it's definitely better than a base PS4 upscaled, and the same goes at 1080p (minus the upscaling of course, and the compression artifacts, which shouldn't be bothersome if you aren't up fairly close).
With regards to latency, everyone has their own levels of tolerance, and what would be fine for some would be very noticable for others. So, what's the conclusion? Stadia seems to be very workable, as long as you aren't playing twitch games (like fighters).
Here's to a good new year!
Stadia remains better-than-expected for me, technology-wise, but they seriously need to get some more games on there. If Doom Eternal doesn't arrive for it at the same time as it does on other formats, then the thing deserves to fail, and I'll be applauding its collapse.
As for me overlooking the alleged less-than-4k image quality... here's a thing; I finally got a 4k TV, out of necessity, before Christmas. What was really galling is that two days after getting it I dropped a tripod on it while setting up for some Digi filming and broke the screen. And then had to get a replacement,
I can obviously see a difference from 1080p, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it really makes to my enjoyment of watching or playing something. It's like going to see a 3D film; you forget about it being in 3D after the first couple of minutes. 4K, UHD... all that. It's still all a bit Emperor's New Clothes really.
Happy Belated Festivus and New Year and all that sort of thing! I hope you all had a good one. Every day is a year since the last one, so I don't know why 'roided up lads that can't handle their ale decided to lose it and break the noses of certain people. Oh, I wasn't the one handing out the friendly fists - I was just there to (somewhat painfully) witness a couple.
What did I do over the last couple of weeks? I built some solar powered fairy lights, that charge during the day via an old Samsung battery, that come on automatically when it gets dark. I don't know why I did that, because the fairy lights soon ended up back in my Cupboard Of Fun And Wires. I might give them to someone next year as a gift.
As for gifts? I didn't receive a thing, mainly because I told the few people I know not to bother. With hindsight I really wouldn't have actually minded receiving some socks though; I'm sick of having to improvise with old tea towels and string, mainly because I can't get my shoes on, and when I (rarely) go out it makes people think I've got Elephant Man feet or something... I should imagine. My dead granddad said look after your shoes and they'll look after your feet. My mum said women always look at a man's feet first. It seems I'm in a bit of a losing battle here.
I did make five new videos over Christmas though! I don't know why I even bother because no-one watches my stuff. If only people could realise the pain, the misery, the blood, the sweat, the tears and the fury that I do not even think about when I make a video then perhaps they'll understand?
Speaking of such (and if anyone has made it this far through my letter) I'd like to plug my channel if I may? Where is it? HERE:
...there are hundreds of videos on there and my Imaginary Wife actually introduced me to my own channel without knowing it was me behind it all. True story that!
Well, I have to go now because I've just set my smoke alarm off somehow.
I am still unfit but strong and that is all.
Also, I got some socks for Christmas. Nice thick ones. Though one of the pairs was too small for me, because my wife hadn't realised that socks-for-men weren't all one size. Apparently, according to her, all women's socks are one-size-fits-all. I'm not sure I believe that, but the main thing to take away from this is that I have large feet.
And you know what they say about men with large feet? Large shoes etc. etc. etc.
So having been suitably bored over Christmas and the New Year. Here are some things that should happen. Some of them may be double negatives, or something. I don't know anymore. Or care.
1) Live band ice-cream vans. Up and coming bands play sets from atop and ice-cream van as it tours a town. Shredding "My Father is a Wanderer" and resting between sets with a herbal cigarette and/or liquor each time the van comes to a halt.
2) True interactive TV. Where you get to beat James Cordon to within an inch of his life, whenever his stupid face appears on the box. I mean, really go to town on him, with your belt and everything. It's not jealousy... it's just bemusement that he has been selected to achieve so much... but then you remember that the lowest common denominator is a thing, and pleasing that is more financially rewarding than critically satisfying.
3) Work meetings where everyone agrees that it's all a crock, and goes down the pub instead. "Why have we tied ourselves in knots with this policy we made up? Anyone fancy a Spicy Rum and coke?"
4) A button that allows you to drive pins under the finger nails of all creators of stupid social media posts. "What's that, an ill informed comment about a geo-political situation, that defaults to an idealistic and overly simplistic solution!... Where's the button!" (howling shrieks in the wind). Although the entirety of humanity would then probably exist in a state of perpetual agony like a weird horror fan fiction fetish novella.
5) Online tutorials that tell you how to 'do some linux' or 'add something to your Kodi box' actually include every step, and don't assume that the average person knows every command without having to go down a rabbit hole of opening 14+ browser pages to work out why "the sudo command" doesn't apply in this instance.
6) Fridge magnets shouldn't fall off every time the door opens. That's not a magnet, that's a piece of metal. My saliva has more adhesive properties than these modern Chinesium magnets.
7) Altoids should be a suppository, not a mint.
Your Christmas cracker jokes allowed me to suss out the anti-joke lovers among my Christmas guests. These are the people worth bothering with, the rest... they probably like James Cordon.
Here's some gaming news that is excellent news to hear and shows how heroes come from all walks of life.
You see so many negative stories from the press about gamers so here is a recent positive one. Dia Lathora, from Texas who was playing online with a friend in the UK, Aidan Jackson from Cheshire, did a heroic act and called the emergency services in the UK from the US and got Aidan the medical attention he needed. The news article can be read here along with a video clip of the emergency call and news story.
Teen having seizure saved by online gamer in Texas
Parents of 17-year-old Aidan Jackson were watching TV when police cars arrived outside their house.
I'm sure that a lot of people here will agree with me that this gamer deserves applause for this and this is one example as to how good can come from gaming regardless of the negative press it gets.
Dia, you have my respect for doing that.
gamertag (gaz be rotten)
I am probably not the first person to send you this, but just in case......
I just pre-ordered theFact Hunt book and one of the suggested items was a breakfast/Beanus mask. When clicking on that, the suggested items are quite interesting (see photo). Amazon is either assuming that we all want to dress like Beanus or many other customers have.
Have you watched Press Gang? It's bloody excellent. Also, I hope you're all well and having a nice time.
I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed.
What game or games are you looking forward to in 2020? Also, here’s a pic of Beanus 3.0!
May be a work in progress.
For the record, Beanus 3.0 won't ever become an official look for Beanus. He's staying with the original mask for now at least. However, Baby Beanus is coming. Try copying that, MOFOs!!!!
I don't know about you but I'm sick of looking at this Xmas tree! I should probably take it down or something.
Dear Mr Bisto,
My tiddle is tingling, and has been for over a week now. Is this normal?
Lots of love,
The Pink Oboe
PS. That Silverman chap is a very hairy man.
Well Mr B, I finally watched your magnum opus over the New Year period. I speak of course of Pudsey The Dog The Movie. I have nothing else to say about this, but it is a thing that happened. Don't suppose there's any chance you'll ever release the original screenplay?
Sedric and Charlie
At this time of year, when jokes are needed more than ever, I have been doing detailed research into various plants to find out which are the funniest.
First of all, the plant known as Kennicantancorus gives off a distinct odour when approached. Smelling of sweat and regret, it has buds which are like red noses and emits a green sticky substance when threatened though. It can be stimulated by tickling it with the tongue.
RALPH MCTELL! Sorry I had a cough there...
Secondly, the Bobbdegrant of which is a hardly annual. That displays a bloom only found in the North Wales every five point seven three nine days, which consists of a yellow bell and purple clanger. This is not to be confused with the Spiky Varnee, which is to be found at the base of cashpoints.
Finally the funniest plant has to be the Grumbyweede, it can impersonate any number of plants but which has gone out of fashion nowadays as their numbers are dwindling rapidly. Though a rare siting can be seen on Barron Nights, usually Twice Knightly as it does a countdown before reveals itself.
Hopefully this guide is of use in some way otherwise please send a 19p Postal Order and a self addressed flat-fish to Peter Seabrook at Pebble Mill One, Brummingham.
(Director of The Woodpecker Institute, Peckham Rye Spy.)
Now that Alien: Isolation is out on the Switch, and currently available on Xbox Game Pass too, please can I put in a bid for a critical re-evaluation?
Survival horror usually gives me the willies, or tests my patience with waiting for perfect gaps in patrol routes. So the prospect of hiding in cupboards for hours then dying anyway was not appealing, but with enough positive noises about A:I five years on I took a chance anyway. Novice mode, obviously.
Now, I love Deus Ex, but it eventually becomes apparent that doggedly chucking bins down a secluded alley is enough to gradually reduce any elite cyborg death squad to an unconscious pile. There are still fun tricks to work out, such as how repositioned vending machines can help to put the "fun" in "funicular", but there's no real sense of danger.
Alien: Isolation is never safe. Except when it is, because in the absence of telltale clomping, clunking, or hissing, then Dribbles is letting the mood pieces, outwalkable robots, and/or outsmartable humans do their part. It's a shame to turn the music off, but now I always see my own demise approaching from the front.
Cupboards are rubbish. It's not intuitive that line-of-sight is rigged slightly in the player's favour, that being crouched with a little view over a desk or box is like being in a cupboard, except with visibility and escape routes. So now you know, and once danger has passed, move. Ideally, towards the next objective, and on the rare occasions that there is no alternative route, it's time for a distraction.
Novice mode is not safe. You will still need to listen, scan, then move forward without looking back, watching for cover to grab in case of that telltale vent-exit thump. I'm now playing through again on Medium, and it's a far smaller step than unlearning how to look for the perfect, repeatable approach. Information is critical, maps being worth more than any loot, but success often hinges on brief moments of improvisation when the plan wobbles off track.
Sportingly, the game seems rigged to allow a few seconds of safety after each especially close encounter. This is usually enough time to break free for the next save point, which are rarely more than five minutes apart anyway if you're not stopping in cupboards.
I still need to take a big breather after certain save points, but the game design also allows time to explore the lovely atmosphere, bonk into wobbly dynamic light fittings, and when it almost becomes comfortable, there are soon fresh "seriously?" situations to overcome. It's also pleasantly non-gratuitous with violence, if that makes sense, assuming that the music which I turned off does not go silly at every corpse.
There are remarkably few rubbish moments, and the "hardness" (there is absolutely no shame in choosing Novice mode) seems to come mostly from it being a game with few direct points of comparison.
Admittedly, there is probably a bit of the developers not quite communicating their rules and systems clearly - itself a knotty thematic problem, when Ripley didn't get much of a briefing in the source movie.
But when Alien: Isolation works, once over that hump of hiding all the time? It's more thrilling than knock down ginger - without the guilt!
I've been tempted to give Alien: Isolation another go, because it's one of those games I felt I should've liked more than I did. I pretty much enjoyed all of it until the bit with all the androids.
I soldiered on, but became more and more frustrated with it as I progressed. And then gave up altogether when I hit a section I just couldn't get past. I dunno. But I'll let you know how I get on.
Hallo. I've not done a letter for ages, as I'd nowt to say. Don't now really, but you know: content.
The new Star Wars then eh? Not for me. I shan't go into the myriad reasons why, but I am glad you enjoyed it though. And that those that did, did. Because Star Wars is Star Wars, and even ones I don't like at least make money, so we can get more.
I'm just hoping it'll be more along the lines of The Mandalorian, which "an American friend" of mine finished watching this evening. Oh boy, was this what I needed. What he needed, I mean. "He" tells me it's like a fun 80's TV throwback, with an awesome soundtrack and characters that it's fun to spend time with.
And whilst the ongoing storyline is great, what was nice was having each episode (for the most part) be it's own little mini adventure. Sort of like The A-Team with Stormtroopers in it. I am - he is - down for multiple seasons of that. So long as we get more Taika-bot. So between that and Jedi: Fallen Order (which is ace), I am still fully team Star Wars. Beep boop, etc.
In none Star Wars waffle, still loving the Digi-minis. Who couldn't enjoy you retching at rancid fish? Keep up the good work sir. You continue to make Patreonage more than worthwhile.
If anything, I felt there wasn't enough fan service in TROS - being the final episode in the series, I wanted more cameos from past actors, old monsters and droids and planets. If ever there was an opportunity to bring back everything... this was the time. In the end I thought they were pretty restrained, whereas every episode of The Mandalorian had me going "Oooh! It's an Imperial Troop Transport! Oooh! Did you see that pole in the alleyway? That's the same one they used in the trash compactor! That's the same booth Han Solo was sitting in!"
So, my theory is that people didn't like it for other, more nebulous, reasons, and blamed the fan service. For me, it was the most Star Wars-y feeling Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi.
People are idiots.
And talking of idiots, this weekend on Digitiser, my wife and I attempt to eat Icelandic food. It's absolutely disgusting.