Which does rather sound like a euphemistic term for flashing half of your bottom to some passers-by. I suppose you're not even allowed to do that anymore...
Unfortunately, this does mean I'm going to miss the Centre for Computing History's Retro Computer Festival, which is taking place all weekend. It's a whole two days of retro computing and gaming sweetness, and you can fill yourself up with tickets here.
And now? 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 filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't have anything of real interest to say, but Digitiser was a cool thing for me growing up and I wanted to say thanks for it. I was an awkward kid at primary school and developed depression at an early age, but found something to look forward to in reading your game-related ramblings on Teletext before breakfast.
I came across Digi by accident putting random page numbers into Teletext and for a few weeks thought it consisted entirely of Chart Cat (we didn't have a fancy remote with the coloured buttons for page skipping so it took a while before I tried putting in any other page numbers). I guess the modern equivalent would be bashing in a load of random keypresses to Google and getting on a GCHQ watchlist.
Anyway I hope your life works out ok, given your previous posts about illness, depression and money problems. Life isn't always good but finding humour makes it more tolerable at least, which is what made me appreciate Digi in the first place!
Not sure about your final paragraph, mind. I don't think I have any more illness, depression and money problems than the average person. Or any depression at all really, for which I am extremely grateful. And my life's pretty great, so now I feel paranoid that I've somehow underplayed it to the extent that I've portrayed myself as some sort of disease-ridden, suicidal, pauper.
To answer your question, "Practice"! A ha ha ha! Poo on the floor.
If you had a Tardis like Dr Who does, and, like, you went back in time to the "Gen 1" Digi era (90’s), how would you describe the future? What would the 90s you make of the future? From a gaming and tech perspective. Know what I mean harry!?! Frank Bruno would probably say.
Edible segs were gorge btw!
I mean, 25 years... it's a long time, and stuff has changed so much. Which is a blandly obvious thing to say, but, yeah, I'd probably think things were pretty cool. And no, we've not got jetpacks, but I don't think any of us predicted having Star Trek-type touchpad, communicator, tricorder things quite so soon. Or drones. Or maybe we did. I dunno. Whatevs.
I think the thing that Young Biffo would be most blown away with is YouTube and crowdfunding, and stuff like that. The fact that anyone, pretty much, can make their own TV shows, or radio shows, and broadcast them to the world. The younger me would've no doubt gleefully embraced how technology can unlock creativity.
And because he was a bit more of a twat than I am, he'd have probably done something awful with it, and ruined his life by now. So, probably for the best.
On the walk to work today I noticed that the old Tower Records store at Piccadilly Circus seems to be either empty or going through a refurb once more (it's been a clothes shop called The Sting for the last few years).
Whenever I see a change to that building it always brings back warm memories of wandering around the aisles there, the HMV nearby in Coventry Street (now Kingdom of Sweets) or the HMV Megastore in Oxford Street (Sports Direct) and I can still clearly picture the layout of each...
Are there any gaming related locations you miss that won't be coming back?
All the best,
I dunno about gaming places, mind. I guess I do miss the big arcades - that sense of them being the gaming equivalent of going to the pictures, and it being a bit of an event. I think there's scope for arcades to still be reinvented - make them a halfway stop between consoles and theme parks. Although they've probably tried to do that and it didn't work.
Actually, forget I ever said anything. Just press reveal.
For those of us who screwed up and didn't get our pledge processed but then bunged you a few quid via the donations button, can you give us a quick update on how the project is going?
I don't expect the special secret rewards you give the proper pledgers but hey just a quickie!
P.S. Mr PSB won't show me his Pacer any more. What to do?
Digitiser... I properly started editing this week. Ep 1 is almost done, though the issue I'm finding - as with Found Footage - is that there's just too much stuff for what were originally intended to be 30-minute episodes. So, not sure whether to cut them down massively, or just make longer episodes (which will impact on the views). Or somehow split the episodes so that there are more of them. I'll let you all know.
Hello Biffles. I quest thee thus: sometimes we hear tales of viewing figures for Teletext. My question - and I appreciate you might need to collaborate on this one - how on earth were these viewing figures determined?
Dear Boffi. The cats are at it again out side. Screaming, knocking over the onions, watching me.
I heard a room or that digi tizer had one of the fursd scammers to scam in each and ever e Paige of the pub lick hay john from the original oil paint 'tings.
Is this the reel deel or was it made up by my Ethel?
Just in case anyone was worried I’d gone against my word; I still haven’t bought Spider-Man. I’m still playing and enjoying The Witcher 3.
My Geralt is now level 7. This week I fought and defeated a ‘water hag’.
Please review my vision of Digitiser: The Mobile Phone Game...
The player character - a weeping, naked homunculus - appears in a dark void, viewed from a 2D perspective.
A giant The Man’s Daddy appears in the distance, and approaches with a Mode 7-esque scaling effect. He introduces himself, and begins to tell jokes, which scroll across the screen. The player must leap from joke to punchline (perhaps several punchlines appear, and landing on the wrong one enrages Daddy?), the quips appearing faster and faster as the game progresses. Should he fall into the void, the game is over.
The Man’s Daddy would occasionally fire lasers from his eyes or something, and there would probably be ads to recharge your lives and an in-game currency. 50,000 Reversible Sedgewicks for £99.99? You could spend them on different tattoos for the homunculus.
I hope that helps. It doesn’t sound anything like as good as David W’s Digitiser: The Game, but it’s for phones, yeah?
Just a quick note this week to let everyone know about a new page I’ve just published on Super Page 58, if they haven’t already seen it.
After three months of meticulous research and a lot of rummaging through the bins of Usenet, I’ve been able to put together a comprehensive timeline of the key moments in Digi’s history - thanks in no small part to your writing on here.
You can find it at the link below. It’s quite long, but then a lot happened, didn’t it?
Thanks to the giants whose shoulders upon which I was able to stand in making this - and to you for the invaluable (in)sanity checking.
I’ll update it as and when new stuff comes to light through recoveries etc, so we can make it the most accurate representation of what happened when as possible. Hope you approve of the end result!
Been a while since I last wrote. I keep on having good ideas at times or places when I can’t jot them down for future transmission to you. Sorry.
Anyway, I do have a question about writing telly for kids. I expect scripts are highly scrutinised for language, tone, content etc.. However, knowing your impish ways, have you ever slipped things in to test the limits, and had let through?
For all appearances to the contrary, I'm a well-behaved and professional boy when it comes to my career. I mean, aside from anything else, I want to continue working, and if I get a reputation for doing stuff like that, then... well... that's my career buggered.
Yeah, I know. I did it on Digitiser back in the day. That was different, as it was aimed at teenagers most of whom, let's face it, think penises are hilarious. And I did it in EastEnders, but - without getting too writerly about it - making Dirty Den say "big constables" was entirely consistent with the character.
I'm very proud to write for children, and if somebody feels they have to sneak adult humour into kid's shows then they probably shouldn't be doing it.
Dean suggested last week than you run a Readers' Bins feature. So, here are mine to get the "binspiration" flowing. The left one is for general waste, but the right one is a cyborg!
Recyclables normally squash down easily, but one week it was unusually full, so the lid cracked instead. Hence the Meccano-type repair job, which I'm sure Lee Majors himself would approve.
206. What is your opinion of Oddworld Inhabitants as a developer? Their output has always been hit-and-miss but they have made many more good games than bad and I think that they have produced many genuinely original moments. Do you think they are an underrated developer?
207. What is your favourite Nintendo game that was not developed by Nintendo?
208. Is the recent Tomb Raider trilogy an example of the 'strong female character' being taken too far? They seem to have sucked all of the attitude out of Lara Croft in order for her to be taken more seriously.
209. The new God of War is, in my opinion, the best game of the year so far and is unlikely to be bettered. In many ways it is outstanding and would probably make my top-20 games ever. But...
I cannot explain it, but as good as it is, all the PS2/3 games in the series had a moment that I genuinely couldn't believe; the Hydra fight, Pandora's Temple, Theseus, Cronus battle etc. The PS4 game just doesn't have any of these.
The style is obviously different and it is a better game than any of them, I know, but the older ones in the series just had something special that the new one, as good as it is, just doesn't.
PS That took me ages to count - might not be totally accurate, but it's close enough so hopefully that'll keep everyone happy.
206. I know I shouldn't be so superficial, but I can't get past the aesthetic of their games, which I really, really, deeply, profoundly, don't like.
207. Goldeneye. Has to be. Though it hasn't aged too well.
208. I've got a lot of issues with the new Tomb Raider games. I think I got irritated that the reboot was being held up as a great example of storytelling, and how they'd rounded out the character and blah blah, but really... her characterisation is paper-thin, she's incredibly dull, and the stories are barely there. And there's something about the way they approached it - making things more "realistic" - which made the violence oddly distasteful. For me.
209. That's not a question, but... I broadly agree. I'm not a massive fan of the new one because it's so sombre, whereas the earlier games were joyous, over-the-top, video games... Games these days too often forget that you're meant to be playing and having fun.
Meant to send this to you last week and then I wanted to sent it earlier this week to give you time to watch it but forgot until I saw your tweet requesting letters.
Anyway it's this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5auJOBC828
Just wondered what your opinion was. Personally I think it's a great video (to be fair Hbomberguy rarely makes a bad video, well besides his nonsense take on Dark Souls 2) and does a really good job of explaining the appeal of speed-running.
In particular the wider speed-running community seems like a cool place with all their charity work and stuff. I know the appeal of watching other people game is lost on many but I find myself watching people play games, especially the highly skilled players such as speed-runners and Kaizo Mario players (I'd love you're opinion on those too. If you think Dark Souls is hard you should check them out) more than I play myself these days,
And on the watching others play front, are you going to be doing any live streams again in the near future? They're always good craic.
Anyway... live streams. Hmm. Maybe. In all honesty, they're quite time-consuming, and a bit of a faff, and sitting there with headphones on for two hours of an evening, when I could be interacting with my family, doesn't necessarily feel like the best use of my life. But! Never say never. I suspect a podcast or mini Digi-show episodes, is something I'm more likely to do.
And that slightly dour note brings us to the end of the Friday letters page. Goodbye, everyone.