Have you seen Solo: A Star Wars Story yet? I really want to talk about it, but I'm trying not to spoil it for anyone.
In short: it was sort of exactly what I wanted. I don't think it's a film for everyone - is there even such a thing? - and there's a real Star Wars backlash in full flow, but it was a simple, fun, film which just happened to be set in the Star Wars universe. With some very, very obscure references, and one doozy of a deep continuity cameo that'll likely confuse 75% of the audience that's not up to speed with the expanded universe stuff. But anyway.
It made me happy. Don't take that away from me please, miserable sods. Now? Now let's do some letters.
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Dear Biffo-san. What old music have you been enjoying lately? This week I’ve been listening to the various versions of I Drove All Night – without any irony the ’00s diva-pop Celine Dion version is actually pretty moreish – and while I enjoy the musicality, the song is troubling upon closer scrutiny.
Not the obsessive, home-invasion endorsing lyrics, but more in terms of logistics: if I had driven all night just to make some grand romantic sexy gesture (sexture?) to someone I’m particularly fond of, I’d be quite concerned upon arrival about a) being quite tired from a long drive, and b) travel breath. Not to mention the complications around long-distance toileting and associated cleanliness (although a judicious curb-side wet-wiping could address this, I suppose).
Am I a dead-eyed, cold-hearted unromantic? Also, please take a look at just how many various cover versions of The Doors Light My Fire there are in existence. That song is quite the village bicycle.
I've got the actual ceremony music done at last, but now I'm onto the music for the reception (we're doing it small and low-key - no disco or speeches or anything), and it's a nightmare. So, recently I've been listening to lots of music soundtracks, string quartet versions of popular songs, and trying to work out which Marillion tracks might be suitable for a wedding. I keep changing my mind between crowd-pleasing standards, and stuff that the two of us would like.
My other half, who I have brainwashed into being a fan, requested Marillion's much-derided 18-minute epic Grendel. I don't intend to disappoint her on that score at least. Just because it'll be funny.
I recently decided to research the toilet habits of sloths. I cannot imagine what could have prompted me to do such a thing, but I found it fascinating.
From what I have read, two-toed sloths do their business while safely high up in the canopy, while three-toed sloths make a treacherous journey down to the ground below.
It has been theorised that the faeces deposited by the three-toed sloth serves several purposes. It fertilises the tree that the sloth climbed down from, alerts sloths of the opposite sex to a potential mate, and makes an ideal place for the moths that call the sloth's fur their home to lay their eggs.
These eggs hatch into more moths that fly onto their own, or their parent's, sloth. This relationship between moth and sloth somehow leads to three-toed sloths having more nitrogen-rich, and edible algae-covered, fur than their two-toed counterparts.
Filling my brain with this extremely useful information got me thinking. Would it be better to be a two-toed sloth, living a relatively serene life, but potentially wiping out numerous endangered species on the forest floor with your grotesquely large turds, or a three-toed sloth, regularly risking death to evacuate your bowels, but being safe in the knowledge that you are making the forest a better place?
Personally, I would be willing to risk my life once a week, if it meant that I could have great hair and be a better friend to my moth homies.
But, basically, my sisters had asked me to host a quiz at my dad's 80th birthday party. I didn't really want to do it, because I didn't think any of the guests would want their socialising to be interrupted by me standing up and going "I say... I say now, everyone - all stop what you're doing and pay attention to ME!".
But anyway. They forced me, so I did it all on my own terms. I made every round appear to be themed around things my dad likes - Watford FC, the army, cowboy films - but the questions were actually about weird general knowledge topics. Hence, a question seemingly about John Wayne somehow segueing into being about how frequently sloths poo.
Is there a game that you like but you know deep down you really shouldn't because it's not very good?
Hi Mr Biffo. The site wouldn't let me reply to your Battlefield V article today so I decided to email you with my thoughts.
The outcry in this is just shameful and embarrassing. For a start, its a FPS so you don't even really see who you are playing as. Do these people not play Tomb Raider? Resident Evil games? Horizon Zero Dawn? Do they refuse to play as a female in street fighter or tekken?
If they know so much about the Second World War, why don't know about the valuable role many women played in it?
This outcry has made me so disappointed. Why dis still an issue?
The way I look at it, in any game where I get the opportunity to play a female character, I take that option. Its a game, it isn't real and to me it's about doing things you can't do in real life and being someone you aren't. It makes everything more of a fantasy for me if I'm playing as a woman. I don't know why because I don't want to be one, unjust find it fun to play as one which is good because games are meant to be fun!
Am I missing something?
Like you, I'm also disappointed and sad that it's still an issue. But I'm hoping it's symbolic of some protracted death throes.
So two years running now I've not said hello at Revival, oh well, maybe next year!
I very much enjoyed your talk with Iain Lee, genuinely funny and interesting, Lee seems like a nice bloke.
While myself and my lad enjoyed Revival last year they definitely surpassed it this year. We didn't realise for hours that they had extended in to the other room! That was a pleasant surprise. Last year I felt like one day was enough, but in hindsight I would of happily come along for the entire weekend.
One criticism though, I have to say the bar/room area for the talks was woefully small, I quite fancied seeing John Romero but couldn't squeeze in.
It's a great thing to see all the interest in retro gaming, it seems to grow year on year. Hopefully it's not a passing fad and while I lament the cost of things now days I should imagine the continued exposure and interest can only be a positive thing for the hobby and industry in general and hopefully go some way to aid preservation going forwards.
All the best!
But anyway... I'll be at Play Expo in London on August 12th. Come and see me, peoples! And say hello. Or, at least, wink at me from afar.
I have a question for you, and it is here, coming now, after this punctuation and then a brief preamble:
Recently I returned from overseas lands where teletext had been an alien concept, and was met with a round of blank stares when trying to explain Digi after being asked about my ‘hobbies’ by the locals.
I’d be interested to know if you’ve ever had a similar experience, and been in the position where you’ve tried to describe what Digi is/was to people with absolutely no frame of reference for what you were talking about, and what their general reaction was? Did you ever have to give the gents from Asperger's Are Us a foundation course in teletext and Digi so they could begin to understand the origin of the madness? We do live in the nichiest niche that you ever did niche, after all.
That aside, the only other thing I have to tell you is how happy I am to finally be able to make it to one of your panels at an event. Play London is actually happening at a time and place I can make it to, so I’m really looking forward to going along.
I’ll do my best not to embarrass you (or myself) in front of people.
1. While I admit his games aren't for everyone, why do you think David Cage receives so much criticism from much of the computer game press? It seems to me that he is original, if nothing else and surely that's worth something?
2. By complete coincidence, what is your favourite in-game wedding?
3. What game, from any era, would you say was most ahead of its time? My own choice would probably be Exile - it's incredible what was in that considering when it came out.
4. Congratulations to you both and good luck on your big day!
They're well written, and decent technical showcases, but maaaan... they're so slow. That's the mistake that's often made with narrative games; in a movie you can control the pace through editing and performance. When you're playing a character in a game, the pace is entirely down to how quickly you stumble across a clue, or the next thing that'll unlock a bit of story. And often in Cage's games the characters just mope about the locations going "Hmmm..." a lot.
2. Oh jeez. How many have there been? I bet there are loads in Japanese RPGs.
3. I've recently become a bit fixated on Sega's Time Traveller arcade game, which was a sort of holographic beat 'em up. It had that Dragon's Lair thing of not being very good as a game, but looking so far ahead of its time that you (I) sunk money into it regardless.
4. Cheers, John!