If you see me being active on Twitter, wondering why I've not replied to your DM... that's usually my downtime - responding to messages on there, if they're Digi-related, is work. Often the best way to get a reply is to email email@example.com - my other half tends to keep an eye on that account, and is pretty good at wearing me down until I give a reply.
If you're waiting on a response, it's not laziness or because I hate you, merely the sheer amount of things I have to do. I'm right in the middle of my busy day-job work period, and between that and trying to keep the website and YouTube channel updated and growing, plan the next series of Digitiser, and fulfil the rewards on the first one... and have a life/family/etc... I sort of have to prioritise for the sake of my sanity. Sometimes, non-urgent messages get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.
So, please... with the greatest respect... if you've messaged me, be assured I am aware of it. I'm not ignoring you intentionally, and I'll get back to you eventually. Just try to be patient. Nudging me to respond is annoying, and only going to make it more likely that I will start ignoring you...! And then you'll have reason to take it personally.
Right, with that bit of grumbly housekeeping out of the way... go subscribe to the Digi YouTube Channel if you haven't already. There's a ton of bloody great stuff on there, and - in my humble opinion - it just keeps getting better.
Also, if you feel like all that I do is worth something, you can chuck some pennies in the Patreon hat. You'll get early access to videos, and personal blogs and my gratitude.
Also: just share stuff of mine that you like. It really, really, really helps.
Letters (let us) do the lettuce (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
Hi Biffo, it’s me again, David Davis MP - “Down with Europe!”
He he, I always say that.
Anyway, what’s your favourite Durutti Column album?
Firstly I’m drunk (check the time of sending) but not that drunk to talk total bollocks (check the spelling and grammar), secondly if we hadn’t spent literally all our cash on the boat we now live on that is still a constant drain on all our cash I’d send you some regularly via Patreon as you truly deserve it. I loved Digitiser as a youth and to see it come flying back into my life recently has filled me with a nostalgic joy that I can’t explain or understand!
But seeing your personal ramblings shows us Paul Rose the man (with a genuinity that transcends interwebs), and I genuinely appreciate what you are creating for your us your viewers.
I can’t commit to Patreon as my own money situation is truly (and hopefully not terminally) dire, but I do feel we owe you something for not only the teletext past that brought humour into my stagnant teen years, plus the entertainment you now are giving us.
I know that doesn’t help much but if you can provide me a Paypal link I really want to send you something as a temporary one off until I can sort my income into something regular, it’d only be something that provides you with a box of tea or biscuits or something, but just something to help out.
You totally deserve it and we want to show my appreciation for your efforts, which genuinely make me and the other half (who doesn’t remember the teletext days, but loves what you’ve been doing) look at YouTube hoping there’s something new from you.
We sometimes say we wish we’d not found Digitiser on YouTube, because we could binge watch when we would have eventually stumbled upon it.
Much love and a shit load of thanks for what you and your guys/gals have done, if you ever fancy a trip on a probably dangerous narrow boat let us know.
Mr.S and Mr.J
I'm properly proud of the channel - both Digitiser The Show, and the stuff put out there since. I think it's some of the best retro gaming content around.
So, I've no problem thinking it's great... it's just promoting it that I find difficult, so if you do want to give back - again, please spread the word everywhere you can. Whatever message boards, or Reddits, or social media you frequent, the more people who get the word out there, the more people - potentially - will come aboard to help support what I'm doing. And then you'll get more of it.
I'm not doing it for the views, but I do feel the videos deserve to be more widely seen. Which is fair, I think.
What I'm really looking forward to is putting all that experience towards the next incarnation of Digi, which continues to creak towards happening. I'm happy to have taken my time with it.
Interestingly, we appear to have found our audience now on the YouTube channel. There was a period at the start of the year where I'd put up one of the Mini eps, and - inevitably - we'd lose a load of subscribers. Now it seems people get what I'm doing, and have either stuck with it, or are signing up.
With the imminent release of Google’s Stadia and Apple’s Arcade I’ve been wondering what the future holds for Nintendo.
Traditionally Nintendo always seemed to be one step ahead and to the side of its rivals and just ran its own game without ‘directly’ competing in a d*ck measuring contest due to the uniqueness of its consoles.
What concerns me though now is that consoles are becoming a think of the past and Apple, Google, Microsoft and Sony financially dwarf Nintendo. Although Nintendo are by no means poor, I imagine the aforementioned companies stopping at no cost to gain market dominance.
Microsoft have announced Project xCloud and wonder if we could see old Ninty and Microsoft chumming up in a partnership that sees a joint console, or even Nintendo pulling out of the hardware market completely.
As we all know, Nintendo learned the hard way with Sony all them years back....
Nintendo has always been very hardware-focused - and using the hardware to find new ways to play games - but there's no reason it couldn't offer its own cloud-based service, via their own proprietary hardware interface thing.
If anyone is wondering where on earth the Digitiser game is, well, consider this my public apology.
I am running horrendously late, so if anyone is thinking of pitching their own Digi game ideas to Mr. Biffo, then please don't wait for this one to appear. It may be some time.
Meanwhile, the development diary limps along. A slow-motion mini-Molyneux meltdown, but without the fond memories of Theme Hospital:
Can I have my £2.99 now?
Octavius Kitten brought up the subject of video game music getting stuck in your head on the Twitterz the other day.
The ones that instantly spilled out of my mouth into the dark, dank, lonely cave of my existence were Tetris Attack, Gameboy Tetris, Columns, Puzzle Bobble and Pipe Dreams on the Super Nintendo (that one is the worst for it, but the least well known - listen from 2:45 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tioSWNpsz-c ).
They pour glue on their backs and fling themselves at my grey matter, and they need a bloody good telling off when I’m trying to listen in meetings.
I don’t play many puzzle games, so I found it very strange that they were all of that genre. Do you think the brain is more receptive when your playing these type of high concentration, reaction games or is it that the music is catchy but largely very short and looping?
The only other game with ear worm properties with me is the Battle Mode of the original Mario Kart, and when I think about it, that puts me in a similar frame of mind.
Do you have any of the same ear worms in the same genre or other?
All the best old boy, keep cracking out that content.
J Is Manchild
The only time I ever really remember music getting stuck in my head was indeed the original, iconic, Tetris soundtrack. And sometimes I hear that end-of-level bit from Sonic The Hedgehog (you know: where the screen bleaches white and it goes "diddle-de-DIIINGGGGGG! Duh-dud-ba-shah!").
Been a while since I last sent an email, I hope you're doing fine. :)
There was a recent furore (as there always is) when Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines 2 was announced and people saw there were clear anti-authority messages, among other things.
Hell, there are completely deranged people who claim it's the far-left sneaking 'politics' into their games... despite games always being a political medium! It's honestly maddening to see people claiming it's politics when it's really just stuff they don't agree with.
Did you have to deal with people like these back in the Digitiser days, or is it a relatively new internet phenomenon? I'm curious whether this was always a thing or if reactionaries have made it so.
As always - love the content, and the new stuff going up on the channel especially!
One of next week's videos gets a bit political, so I'm expecting some flack on that.
I think it's a sign of the way the world has become so polarised, since Gamergate especially (which, as we now know, inspired Steve Bannon, who used it to help get Trump elected). I despair, really. The middle ground, or more moderate views, no longer seem to be accepted, debate gets drowned out, and it just feels as if everyone has lost their minds. Look at how gridlocked Parilament is over Brexit. Nobody wants to compromise anymore. Yet without compromise, you simply stay stuck.
Has anyone ever said something to you that has completely changed the way you look at a game?
I was discussing the best arcade games with a friend many years ago, and he said he didn’t like playing overhead games like Pac-Man.
Up until that moment I had never considered that Pac-Man was being viewed from overhead. I’d always assumed he was side-on, not viewed from above. This hugely affected my view of Pac-Man and I gave it more thought that I guess I should have done.
Looking down from above onto Pac-Man, this means the opening that we assumed was his mouth is actually a vertical slot that bites things horizontally. So if we are only seeing the top of his head, what does the front of him actually look like?
Well… I propose this:
Last week you were VERY rude to me about 40 Winks on the N64, and since you still refuse to review it I’ve done it for you.
The N64 has risen like an Amiga from the flames!
With the release of a brand new game the N64 is once again at the summit of the current generation console mountain!! Actually, I was using artistic license there, the game isn’t exactly BRAND NEW - it was fully completed in 1999 and even reviewed in N64 magazines and World Wide Web pages but for some reason never made it into the shops (it did however see a vastly inferior version churned out on Sony’s rubbish PlayStation).
Now 40 Winks is finally out on the best platform (N64) thanks to Piko Interactive who found the rights in original developer Eurocom’s bins or something and then done a big steaming Kickstarter. Backers were supposed to get the game in September 2018 but didn’t due to the usual crowdfunding delays which make you think you’ve been ripped off.
The story in 40 Winks is about a bad guy who wants to ruin sleep for everyone because he has insomnia, this is all set up in an opening cutscene which is so earnestly twee it makes Mario look like he’s Shadow the Hedgehog!!!
As for gameplay, it’s a 3D platformer where you play as either Ruff (a boy) or Tumble (a girl) but I don’t know if there’s any difference between the two other than I reached a door with a message that only girls could enter - sexist.
Your quest is find all 40 Winks (critters that look like Tribals from Jet Force Gemini) in game is chock full of your favourite 3D platform game things: running around, jumping, butt stomping, collecting too many things, pushing buttons, killing enemies and not being able to judge jumps due to the unhelpful camera.
There’s other stuff too: transforming into a jester, a ninja, a caveman, a Buzz Lightyear. Want more? How about races that are like a sub standard Diddy Kong Racing? Actually the best way to describe the whole game it is to imagine a Rare N64 platformer but not as good in any department.
Overall 40 Winks is exactly as middling as you’d expect but still wins my award for best N64 game of the decade!!!! BUY IT NOW.
Ha-ha...let’s hope that this 40 Winks review didn’t put you to sleep.
SCORE: 40 Winks out of 40.
LONG LIVE THE N64!
By and bye
Grembot Le Zealot
Long time reader, first time letter writer. My question is: how would you rank your top games (approximately) by sheer cumulative number of hours played? Say, top 5 to 10 or anything inbetween.
I'd assume it naturally correlates reasonably well with what would be your "normal" top games list (because nobody is likely to play hundreds of hours of games they don't like?) but, still, a bit different.
There's handheld/mobile games that are easy to rack time up on the bus or train, timekillers like Minesweeper if it's a slow office day, games like Championship Manager where people can lose entire chunks of their lives too, or games like Fifa that are safe territory to play with others a lot, without any of them necessarily being the "best" games ever.
My list has Tetris high up on it, which whilst a brilliant game wouldn't be in my top 10 games overall, I just went through an insane Tetris addiction phase <shiver>.
For what it's worth my (rough) top 8 list by total playing time (I've grouped together similar games in a series because...reasons...):
1 - Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix 2/GP3/GP4
2 - Civilisation 2
3 - Geometry Wars Galaxies/Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved
4 - Street Fighter 2
5 - F1/F1 '97
6 - Tetris
7 - Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament
8 - Colin McRae Rally 2.0
Like I say not necessarily my top games of all time but definitely the ones I've ended up sinking most time into over the years.
None of which I'd really rank as my favourite games, not least due to a mixture of annoying in-game ads on the mobile games, and the sheer amount of money I spent on Peggle Nights.
I'd try to put them into a list, but I fear the self-loathing would consume me.
(Please excuse my English for it is my first language.)
Do you believe in ferries?
I had an experience once where I went down into my backyard. I found a shovel in the shed and began digging a whole lot of holes, which coincidentally were together a single big whole. I've found it's really the only way to dig a single hole. I think it was a warm day so I began sweating and decided I'd go back into the house to drink some water. The water was very cool and refreshing.
I think you’re onto something with the Digitiser Minis - I have been enjoying them. Watching them when they come out, and listening again as a sort of podcast in the car. They work well enough without the visuals, and I recommend this course of action to time-strapped fans.
But this leads to my question: are the podcast plans on hold? I ask for entirely unselfish reasons relating to mobile phone data charges and the other gaming podcast I like being on hiatus.
The one I've got going up next Tuesday is a deep, deep dive on that infamous Saddam Hussein-stockpiling-PS2s story. We all know it, but the stuff I found out about the origins of it really took me aback.
The podcast plans aren't on hold as such... but Mr Gannon was editing the pilot, and hasn't had the time to finish it yet. I suggest you all pester him on Twitter, because he'll LOVE THAT.
I was reading your reply to my letter about the Stadia last week, and I have an argument about Google's largeness helping them. Apple tried and failed, so did Phillips, SEGA later failed with the Dreamcast, Amazon aren't really proving themselves with the Fire Stick.
It isn't about how big a company is, it's about how much love the fans treat the Stadia with.
If a console is hard to develop for because of huge restrictions/piracy concerns/popularity, it won't succeed, if it is not focused enough on gaming, it might succeed, but won't be remembered as a gaming console.
Yes, there's the Xbox One, but that was a console that's still playing catchup with the competition. Hopefully now you see the point I'm trying to make, and I also hope that it doesn't get any longer,
The BV Reviewer
Thing is... for me, Stadia is a combination of a huge company combined to an idea that I believe the majority of people are going to love. We, as gamers, often live in a bubble, fretting over things that most normal people don't give a fig about - and when the sheer convenience of Stadia (IF they can get it to work) is understood, people are potentially going to flock to it.
And for the record, I agree that Stadia won't be remembered as a console. It isn't a console. The time of consoles is coming to an end.
Also, I'm sorry... but "it" just got longer!!!!!!!!
Go on then, I'll bite: what would you say is a good entry point for a slice of Marillion then? I've been catching up with some classic prog of late, having finally purchased some King Crimson (some was great, some is tosh), but have never had the pleasure of Sir Fish and chums.
You seem like the one who would be in the know. Top album? Most representative of their oeuvre?
And to keep this game related, what's your favourite videogame soundtrack?
Or perhaps more interestingly: what do you think is the most worthwhile Band-based computer game? I'm a big Rock Band fan, so The Beatles: Rock Band would have to be up there for me, and there's obviously Moonwalker, for Megadrive based dance nonce-sense. Wasn't there a Frankie Goes to Hollywood game too? And some sort of Iron Maiden Doom / Virtua Cop knock off?
I'll stop rambling now.
Be warned: I've never loved a Marillion album on first listen. It's one of the reasons people give up too easily.
More gaming music, eh? We covered favourite game soundtracks on Digitiser The Show! GO AND WATCH IT. You will get your answer.
I can't say I've ever loved a band-based game. Though Radiohead's The Creep was pretty good...
Have to say, I am thoroughly enjoying the moment mini Digitiser shows, really good content. Gannon’s look to camera, Octavius’ disgusted looks, and of course Bundy’s gagging crack me up. However, to the matter in hand what’s your current favourite TV show/series?
The Porridge King
The only ongoing shows I'm watching currently are the new Alan Partridge thing, The Walking Dead (vastly improved over recent series), and This Is Us (a soppy, family, drama thing from America).
326) I was thinking about DMA Design today (Now, of course, Rockstar North) and wondered if you can think of a stranger or more varied trio of games from any developer as theirs of Lemmings 2 - Unirally - Grand Theft Auto (Leaving out the original Lemmings expansion packs)?
327) Also on DMA Design, I might have this wrong but weren't they in/close to an exclusive agreement with Nintendo before they fell out over Body Harvest. In what could be one of computer games' biggest 'What-Ifs?' do you think it is possible that they could have helped to forge, for better or for worse, a Nintendo focused on more 'mature' content, had they remained friends?
328) Which company would you rate as having the best catalogue of arcade games?
329) I cannot help but feel that Google Stadia's legacy, assuming it will have one, is to change the type of games that we play, or their nature. This is why I believe that Sony do not receive enough credit for Playstation Now.
On the surface it appears the same, but they are selling old (style) games in a new(ish) way. Stadia will likely also do this but I suspect it will be the harbinger of games-as-a-service becoming the default. I don't think that this means that single-player games face a structural deficit but rather that they will become a minority.
330) I define acting as pretending to be someone that you are not, with good acting being managing this to the extent that the audience believes that the character presented is a real person and not being acted. If we were to apply this to games, whom do you believe to be the most realistic/convincing character from any game - it doesn't have to be a 'good' character, just convincing.
327) Interesting. I'm not sure whether GTA would've been allowed as a Nintendo product. Or, if it had been, it would've been a very, very different game. Falling out over Body Harvest might've been the best thing to happen to them.
328) I've a soft spot for Konami, but on balance I actually think it has to be Sega. Their arcade legacy is often overlooked, but when you look at the spread of them - from the electro-mechanical games of the 60s and 70s, through to Zaxxon, early laserdisc experiments, Space Harrier et al, Golden Axe, Crazy Taxi, Time Traveler - they really deserve more credit.
329) I agree. This is what people didn't really understand when I wrote about Stadia; it's going to happen whether we like it or not, and we're all going to have to adapt. So we might as well try and see the positives in it.
330) I've said it before, but The Last of Us, no question, simply because those characters - in part through the naturalistic acting - made me feel something (my buttocks).
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"As you'll likely be aware, back in its Teletext days, Digitiser had a spot of bother involving the Commodore Amiga and its users.
"But even as certain folk got terribly cross about something or other, one part of the Amiga community championed Digi with cheery enthusiasm for its funny writing and characters and everything.
"That part was Amiga Power, a Future Publishing magazine that ran from 1991 to 1996, and which was thoroughly excellent. AP and Digitiser had much in common: they shared a splendidly irreverent sense of humour; they shared a writer in the form of Stuart Campbell; and they shared an alarmingly persistent correspondent in the form of Stuart N Hardy of Sheffield, over whom we shall draw a discreet and heavy veil.
"And now, just as Digitiser was reborn last year in a brand new format (Digitiser: The Show) by means of a Kickstarter campaign, Amiga Power is seeking to take on a new form via a Kickstarter of its own.
"Amiga Power: The Album With Attitude is a double-CD collection of brand new Amiga game music remixes, all of them inspired by the mightiest computer games magazine ever conceived by human beings.The first disc will feature tracks based on tunes personally selected by former AP contributors, while the second disc will contain tracks based on games and demos given away on the mag's coverdisks over the years.
"A whole host of star musicians are involved with the project, including Andrew Barnabas, Allister Brimble, Mike Clarke, Fabian Del Priore, Olof Gustafsson, Jogeir Liljedahl, Joi, Jon Hare, Chris Huelsbeck, Barry Leitch, Patrick Nevian, Jason Page, Instant Remedy, Matthias Steinwachs, Jeroen Tel and Tim Wright, and the album will also include a deluxe liner notes booklet containing more than 80 pages of facts, song lyrics, exclusive artwork and written contributions from the AP team.
"If you want to grab a copy for yourself (in physical or digital form), along with some nifty bonus rewards, you can support the Kickstarter campaign here: http://apkickstarter.com
"Ta muchly for reading!"