The Show has found its feet, and is beginning to find its audience now. We're sorting the wheat from the chuffs and all that.
I think they'll be rewarded by this Sunday's episode, which is my favourite yet. Watch to the very end (there's another post-credits sequence). It's the episode where we had a genuine medical emergency on set, whereas next week's episode might be the one which gives YOU a medical emergency... Chaos ensues.
Once again, your support is appreciated. Please do what you can to spread the word to people you think might enjoy what we've made. If they're not a fan after this week they'll never be a fan, but at least we'll be among our own...
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
When I was about 11, I wrote into Digitiser on the telly and it was never printed. This has haunted me ever since! Please end my torment by printing this letter and blowing me a kiss and I will pin it up on my wall in your honor. Also, I might leave you a space on the pod I have designed to escape the coming apocalypse.
For goodness sake,
It was nothing personal that we never printed your letter, but I've made up for it now. I'm all out of kisses, but I can blow you something else. Press reveal to see it.
I figured I'd drop you another one of these!
What I loved:
EVERYTHING. You absolutely nailed this one. Seriously funny stuff! Tinman innuendo was even funnier than Mr T. Sex Frog was great. The Vs bit was excellent. Mockety-moc was really, funny particularly your whispering to the camera, Ashen's answers and your censoring TopHat with "The NHS". Nice to see Sam making a guest appearance too!
What confused the hell out of me:
I hope you're feeling a bit better after bursting into tears with episode 3. I'm really looking forward to it!
Dear Mr Bisto,
I was not aware of Digitiser before the YouTube series, as in the 90s I was single digits in age. Whereas now it would be entirely acceptable for us to have a relationship.
Coming to this late, I'm lacking some context. What happened to Digitiser 1 through 1999?
Meesta Wheeskas (26)
I’d get in from school with a Chomp and a packet of Space Raiders and devour Digitiser and I’m extremely happy it’s back.
Somewhere along the line we lost the ability to laugh at games. That humour of the microcomputer days is what Digi offered in spades.
I’ve worked in games production for nearly 15 years and I’ve ran into plenty of snooty elite gamer types in that time. Fuck them!
Vive le Digitiser.
Do you remember when Voiceover Pete inconsistently pronounced goujon? Well, now even automatic subtitling cannot correctly decipher that word. Or can it?
Witness this progression of near-misses on Goujon John's original pitch:
"as you John"
"is you John"
Yet, the very same software accurately identifies almost every other word, mumbled or not. Therefore, I must conclude that it is deeply aware of the code word which must not be broadcast. You know, like handwriting recognition that ignores obvious swears.
I was going to end with the boring suggestion that maybe this software was simply not au fait with French cuisine, but then noticed that it had suggested "jus". Le pompt-de-dompt-de-rogue AI!
I've watched your new show and it was utter shite. I jest, of course; it is superb and I thank you all for making such a remarkable piece of artistry... and it made me smile!
On a side note, I wish I had a washing line. In my old place I had one in the back yard but now I'm resorted to using my tumble dryer (expensive) or my makeshift line that I've put over my bath - I don't mind that so much but the humidity seems to make the slumbering ladybirds temporarily come out of hibernation.
I don't know how they actually got into my bathroom but they all seem to huddle in the same corner of the window.
I think I might need to actually put some glass in that window.
I am still unwell but still strong,
Please get a dog, then make a show called Dogotiser.
That is all.
(a bit shit, but it's content, innit)
So much so that the neighbours on one side put spikes on their fence. Yeah, nice try - but maybe try blocking up the holes in the fence if you don't want them shitting in your noisy child's sandpit. Also, the spikes do nothing for that loud retching noise we have to listen to every morning.
What is that even about?!
Hello. I did a haiku about Half-Life 2. Here it is:
Isn't called Half-Life Poo
Because of Street Farter
Do you like it? I sure do. Where's my Nobel Prize? Ta.
Haiku's are shit
I don't even know or care what the format of them is meant to be
Yeah, they're really shit, but thanks for writing one anyway
My 7th or so letter about Half-Life: the one everyone has been waiting for, I’m sure, precipitated by your article about why HL2 is brill.
I agree, absolutely, that 2 is the best game ever (even better than Ocarina of Time, another epic). It doubled down on everything Half-Life did and more. It took an established world, and elaborated on and played with the ideas.
If you’d told me on finishing Half-Life that the sequel was going to be about alien conquerers tunnelling in from another Universe and taking over the Earth I don’t think I could have wrapped my head around it.
I actually disagree a bit with your views on the gameplay, which I think is the weakest part. The game is quite easy (although I suppose that isn’t necessarily a bad thing). The physics puzzles aren’t particularly novel: usually just put a heavy thing on another thing.
They stretch segments of the game repeatedly with a requirement to defend a point from wave after wave of enemies. It’s easy to get lost in some of the driving sections, for me anyway. Alyx’s (or Dog’s) AI doesn’t amount to anything: from a gameplay perspective they’re just abstract keys. The last boss is a bit guff, as you said. The same issues apply broadly to the episodes (although train ride away from the Citadel is awesome).
None of that matters. The setting, the characters, the story: they are perfect. I’ve only played the game a couple of times through, yet every character is instantly familiar. Alyx is as strong a female lead as I can think of.
Her father - with the jury rigged prosthetic leg and all - is just about real. Dr Breen is the villain we know would sell us all out to aliens. I think the most fun I had was poking around in Dr Kleiner’s laboratory. The newspaper cuttings, the photos, all that. As above: it took Half-Life’s loose ends (What actually is a resonance cascade? Who’s running Black Mesa? Who is the G-man? etc.) and spun them out into the most gripping yarn in videogames ever, and didn’t bring closure on half of it.
I haven’t replayed it much because I don’t need the gameplay: I’ve lived the story, in first person, and I don’t have to do it again. I want the next part!
I don’t think Valve need to worry about the next gameplay evolution. About VR, or sign language, or any of the stuff that’s been rumbled about. They need to continue one of the best videogame plots ever, and bring the loosest of loose ends together. That makes me sad: I don’t think they can, or ever will.
That's why I don't get on with Dark Souls - I can't enjoy the environment, because I'm repeatedly trudging through it, having to remember how to defeat enemies who've already defeated me 10 times. It's like watching a film with somebody who keeps rewinding bits to show you them again because they're "cool".
That said, yeah... there is some padding in HL2, but I'd love to think that a sequel would've fixed that. Take the Portal games - especially Portal 2. Absolutely no fat on those whatsoever.
Dear Mr Biffo. Having re-found you as an adult after reading some of your work as a small child growing up (and understanding very little of the humour thanks to youth and innocence), I rediscovered you back shortly after the release of Found Footage. While I’m enjoying your work immensely, I am finding a persistent problem which I feel needs addressing.
As an avid reader of Digitiser 2000 and a viewer of Digitiser The Show, it’s important that you understand how this is effecting my daily life. It started back when I read “why Amiga owners are the worst” for a piece of research for an article I was writing. See... as well as being a princess, gamer and habitual swearer; I am also a mother.
What the male or non-child bearing women (and all genders in between in case I get sued) may not understand is that having a baby “DOES” things to you. Apart from making you permanently tired, poor and wanting to drink... it does make the person who physically gave birth to the child erm... well, as the fine Flasheart of the 20 minuiters put it...“SlackBladder”-ed.
My point is that I have a reputation for getting the giggles and not being able to stop. And then I leak tears from my eyes and YOU SEE WHERE IM GOING WITH THIS?
Anyway with Digitiser The Show adding to these moist moments (and I don’t mean sexually... unless... no. NO, SHUT UP, PRINCESS) I really am now out of pocket. I would like to inform you that I will be sending you a monthly invoice for what I will refer to as “Tena Troubles” and hope you understand. Unless you would like the invoice reference to instead be Pad Problems or Tiddle Tax?
Thank you for your understanding in this delicate lady problem.
All the very best
Anyway, long story short... I said something funny and made her pee herself, and when we went back the following year she refused to sit next to me.
I’m not into using the social media thingy majiggy, as it goes against my ethos of not being social, but I thought I’d give it a go after watching your excellent Digitiser show.
I was appalled to read a supposedly grown woman saying she wet herself, in 2018 and everything. It’s not like we’re in the 50’s anymore or live in Runcorn or Birkenhead and need to pee ourselves to keep warm.
I’m not sure what caused this outpouring from your fans, be it your hilarious jokes at the start of episode two, or the shooting of Mr Gammon on episode 1, or just the face of the aforementioned Gammon. But maybe you should consider putting your face or brand on some incontinance pads to send to people that have this issue.
I. P. Freely
P.S. Do you rent out the duck? I need a new target to practice on before the hunting season starts.
243) Many old games are not as good as we remember them, when revisited; what game(s) have you enjoyed more years later than at the time of their release?
244) Which hardware generation transition e.g. 8-bit to 16-bit, do you feel had the biggest improvement in (a) graphics and (b) gameplay?
245) Personally I'd argue the the most iconic computer game music is the Green Hill Zone Theme from Sonic the Hedgehog. Despite this I feel that the music that best suits any game is Magical Sound Shower from Outrun - what would you choose?
246) What was your opinion on the original Deus Ex? When I first played Half Life, I thought it was the best FPS up to that point but Deus Ex had a huge impact on me and I've never quite enjoyed another one as much, apart from the story. I cannot say it is better than Half Life 2 or some more modern games but it was ahead of its time. Did you play it much?
247) While the biggest-selling games tend to be annualised, established franchises, it seems to me that bad games generally don't sell well and games are almost unique in the only good examples of the medium tend to make money. Of course many good examples don't make money but do you think that this sets games apart from films/books/music, to an extent anyway?
244) The obvious one was 16-bit to 32-bit, because that's when everything went all 3D. But I remember being most impressed with my Xbox 360 - being in HD and that. It's a terrible game, but I spent ages playing King Kong on that, just admiring the scenery.
245) The music from the opening level of James Pond II.
246) I loved Deus Ex, which is why I was disappointed, relatively speaking, with the recent one. I've not played the original since it came out, but I recall that feeling like it was a big open world, whereas the new one felt small and claustrophobic by comparison. See also: System Shock.
247) I dunno. There are plenty of great films/books/albums which don't sell well. Subjective quality doesn't always equate to success. I mean, look at the recent Venom movie - terrible film, but it has been a massive hit. It's all about marketing, word of mouth, people's perceptions etc. Take it from someone who has struggled to get the word out about his BRILLIANT new retro gaming YouTube show.
In 2014 I bought Bayonetta 1&2 for the Wii U. I played the first game and didn’t enjoy any aspect of it. Such was my distain it took me until 2018 to muster the will to play Bayonetta 2. I didn’t like the second game either; it was the same as the first but with less chance of knowing what was going on.
Unfortunately I live by a self imposed rule of always finishing a game I’ve started, so to get the awful Bayonetta 2 over with as quick as possible I started skipping the cinematic scenes. About two thirds through the game I realised I was enjoying it, I’d got the hang of the combat, because I could practice it without being constantly interrupted by story, and I even went back to replay some of the earlier levels that I’d slogged through.
You praised Half Life 2 for its in game storytelling which should arguably be the default for an interactive medium. What’s your stance on the ever increasing number of cutscenes in games, especially since video game story telling is still fairly poor on the whole?
What’s the best game whose cutscenes just get in the way?
Some games are better at them than others, but I think most games would be improved wholesale by putting the storytelling in some sort of interactive setting.
I don't know if it's the worst example, but the cut-scenes in the new God of War and the most recent Tomb Raider really jarred with me. Both are so achingly self-important, and lay on the portent and gravitas so thick, that I nearly choked. I didn't care for the main characters in either, whereas - SPOILERS - when Sean was killed in Red Dead Redemption 2 I was genuinely shocked and a bit upset.
And he was a horrible Irish outlaw.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about making a television version of Digitiser is capturing its spirit. The teletext days were, to me, an indescribable blend of humour, information, subversion and iconoclasm. Digitiser 2000 wouldn't have worked as a simple revival, and its expanded format allows us to enjoy the world of games but also your, in my opinion, highly-underrated 'serious' articles.
In short, Digitiser was and is special because it was never dry, but nor was it simply the crew amusing themselves. Episode 1 managed to embody this spirit better than I could have realistically hoped for, and thus I watched episode 2 with higher expectations than before.
The opening segment was delivered with greater confidence and fluidity than episode 1. While I do not know the filming order, and as such I might be projecting here, this was a panel more at ease with the format and expressing themselves fully. I felt that the topic of broken games was a good opening and, in particular, I enjoyed Octav1us and Jenny's contributions - I had the same feelings about Oblivion's levelling myself.
The jokes were funny and I laughed at Fat Sow's appearance. The comic timing was superb and the lines were good too. Most importantly she (?) didn't overstay her welcome.
Show and Tell was again excellent. I had not heard of Gameplay Jenny before Digitiser, but I felt that she presented the Barcode Battler with authority and passion.
It would be so easy in these situations to simply mock these consoles that didn't succeed, but she really highlighted how impressive the system could have been. I was happy to see Mr Hairs' involvement, too and I felt that you presented the segment well. Also, you didn't barge in, and gave Jenny plenty of time to show off the system. The highest praise I can give this part of the episode is that I feel that I learned something from it, about the Barcode Battler (not the true meaning of Christmas or anything).
When Street Farter appeared, I will confess that I feared the worst. I place a lot of faith in your abilities as a writer and rarely dislike what you do, but I initially expected this to be terrible.
Overall it worked better than I had expected, especially because the laughs were not provided by gratuitous audio. If I had one minor criticism, it is that the rules were a bit confusing. I think that the 'farts' were obscuring the tunes, but it occasionally seemed that they were playing the tune. It wasn't a serious quiz, I know, but slightly more clarity would be nice.
Big Boy Barry's interview was interesting and enjoyable. I must confess that I do find the Big Boy's presentation style to be slightly annoying, but there is no denying that he has an in-depth knowledge of games, and has plenty of interesting points-of-view. I think that Mr Gannon did a really good job as interviewer - he gave Barry a chance to speak, but also kept the interview moving with a greater purpose than in episode 1.
To me all members of the cast delivered an improved performance from episode 1, but particular praise is due to Mr Gannon's interview. The greater length of this episode allowed the interview to feel natural. It was no more interesting than the Ashens interview, but flowed with the rest of the show better. TL:DR the interviews are one of my favourite elements of the programme - please keep them.
The Found Footage-style inserts will probably prove divisive. Personally, I like them and think that they work perfectly in the context of the programme. It's the sort of thing that could be overdone, but you have the balance right so far.
The 'Top 3' was interesting, enjoyable and made me think of some classic elements of 'old' PC Games. I felt that the positioning of it was perfect - keep them coming.
Bear with me here, but Head to Head is almost like the Digitiser version of 'Dead Cities' by the Future Sound of London, in that I suspect that it might not be what you think is the best part of the show, but it might just be. First of all, Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter is a topic that enables comedy and serious discussion.
The greatest success of Digitiser TV so far is that you have expertly traversed the line between organised chaos and self-indulgence. Head to Head provided plenty of laughs and light-hearted moments, but again the games' actual merits are not ignored and are discussed. On a personal note I wish someone had pointed out that Mortal Kombat 2 was better than both, but I liked Larry Bundy Jr's contribution here.
Mockety-Mock worked really well, better than I'd have expected, and was a genuinely funny way to finish the programme. Obviously you don't want to repeat yourself, but I think that this presents a template of sorts for the future, using different formats, of course. I felt that you performed well as the 'quizmaster' and kept it going at an enjoyable pace.
If you will allow me a few points of constructive criticism, and - I should stress - these are minor compared to the programme's strengths. The broken games section could have been slightly longer - I feel that the episode's length could accommodate it without slowing the pace too much.
The interview with Big Boy Barry could have done with some more discussion of the game being played - again, not double or anything, just a bit more. Also, maybe the game screen could be split-screen with the interview or a picture-within-picture? These in no way spoil my enjoyment of the show, however.
In conclusion I felt that this episode was a level above the first in terms of its professionalism, presentation and cohesion. In terms of content, I'd rate it more or less dead even with episode 1.
This review is long enough, so I will finish by saying that episode 1 was not a fluke - you really have something here and I hope that you continue to balance fun and games as you have. Quite simply, the risks you have taken are paying off.
I think the main issue with Ep 1 for me - technical wobblies aside - is that the opening segment was the first thing we re-shot after day 1. I'm actually torn about whether I should've just put the original version of the intro in, because even though it was the very first thing we filmed... we were all messing around a lot more, and probably seemed more at ease.
It was mad and shambolic, but perhaps that would've been better. I did have a rant about Nazis in the middle of it, though, which didn't go down well with all the hosts.
Ironically, when we re-shot it, we were all trying very hard to behave and be "professional", which might've given it a slightly awkward feeling. We eased up after that, mind. Hope you like this Sunday's ep. I think it's a corker. I look forward to your review.
Dear Mr Biffles. I am a brilliant. I would like to suggest a new segment for your television show: each us have a palm no? The camera shines tight into a palm, and we guess whom's palm is on the telly and at our houses. Then the camera zooms out and we see a famous or a person. One point for famous, nothing for normal. I enjoy this, how you say? Quest show.
Lover and respect,
Loving The Show! I meant to write this ages ago but didn't get round to it, so forgive me if my memory is a little hazy.
A while back I think I remember you comparing the Nintendo Labo kits to virtual reality headsets and considering the big N's take on the tech a more viable option? Or something like that? I thought the same about the Labo.
It's a really interesting concept and exactly the kind of thing you'd expect from Nintendo, usually because you weren't expecting it. I'm unsure if/when I'll be able to try the Labo, but I do own an Oculus. And for one particular type of gaming, I'd say it's almost as important as it's real-life counterpart's headgear. Sim racing.
I'd love to get the "full experience" from my Oculus, but emptying my house's largest room of all its furniture is entirely impractical. Virtual lappery is great with a VR headset, especially if you're limited on space as you'll be sat at your desk anyway.
The sense of speed can seem alarmingly real, especially with the engine and wind noise in your headphones. You feel incredibly rooted in the virtual cockpit too. Other VR games offer you a pair of ghostly gloves, or polygonal peripherals, but here you have a digital version of the wheel in front of it, your hands and arms attached.
Some games render the legs and feet, which animate as you brake and accelerate simply from the game code, so no need for any fancy tracking extras. It all combines to really pull you in, giving a damn fun experience for the price of a few evenings karting down the local indoor track.
And the crashes can be bloody frightening!!
If you're a racing gamer and you already have a wheel and pedals, I'd certainly say invest if you can afford to, especially if you don't already use a 3 screen setup if on PC.
Ps. Shameless self-plug. If any Digi readers are sim racers and fancy a race or three, I run a club for fun, friendly and fair racing. All skill levels welcome. Have a search for Realish Racing.
I really, really want to like VR, but - as I've said many times - the nausea I experience from it is so intense that I'm put off from wanting to build up the resistance necessary to get the most out of it. It might be an age thing, though. I did some theme park rides over the summer, for the first time in close to a decade, and found that they gave me motion sickness, whereas before I suffered no ill-effects.
I had an inner ear infection some years back, and ever since them, whenever I get a cold, I feel like I'm on a boat in rough seas.
That said, I can see VR working better for racing than - say, Resident Evil 7, which had me running into the garden, because I was about to throw-up. And I probably would've done if there'd been a load of dog shit out there.
DO YOU SEE?!?!
Watch this again: