So, no preamble this week. Let's just do those sweeeeet letters...
No, wait. While I have you... I know she's been busy having a birthday this week (who hasn't?!?!) and buying more rats, but everyone go and pester Octav1us to retweet the Digi videos she's in. Be nice about it, though.
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
An idea. This just woke me up at 2.30am and had to be shared.
Mr Dirty's Bum Sniffers:
Smell through your brown nose. Lovely sniff. Much smell. Feel good time.
Popular sniffs include:
- Attic Explosion
- Curious Wayside
- Don’t hold it NOW
- Last Summer's Fear
- Porridge of the future
Available at all good smells shops.
Instructions. Open bum sniffer SAFETY BOX. Expose whiffs filter. Sniff with brown nose. Enjoy.
WARNING. NOT FOR YOUR BOWEN NOSE (the “bully”). MUST FOR THE BROWN NOSE. DO NOT WILLY SLURP. BUM SNIFF ONLY.
Remember always wipe your brown nose.
The Mighty Algorithm just recommended that I watch your review of Barcode Battler from last year again. It reminded me that I own (or, at least, used to own) one.
What's the worst piece of gaming tat you ever bought thinking it would be the Next Big Thing?
Cow Areola, 34
Lately I got inspired, possibly to keep meself busy, by thinking I'd like to put on a cheap game show at my student union, similar to Digi Live.
Now I'd say there's a 70% chance of this not happening. If I do, I have some game ideas but want to keep them simple enough so most of the props are from charity shops and cardboard (I wanna do a Rampage For Real-type round with cities and all).
So I guess I wondered what ya think of that, and if I do some how to do it what advice do you have?
I know I'm gonna need a lot of effort, time, a bit of money, and assistance... and I'm probably an idiot to try it, but I still wanna.
I did previously host a pub quiz at the student union, for which I semi nicked some games from Digi, Barshens and Cheapshow.
Rounds like Musicians or Murderers - after video game pioneers, Guess The Funko Pop, the novelty songs featured on Cheapshow for the music round (that one was torture), and the one original game was 'Match the Bristol Stool Stage to the Correct Poo' during the break. So I wondered if me nicking those games is alright? If it helps, I didn't get paid. Bastards wouldn't even give me a free drink.
Peace and love,
Never sent a Friday letter in before, or even any letter at that, but I'd ideally like to keep my eyes, so here we go. No eyeballs from me this week, angry Digi-Raven.
I think that I would like to say thanks. The last couple of months have been pretty harsh on little ol’ Asho, but just sitting watching you and Gannon bickering about various things alongside Octavius and Larry and friends has helped substantially.
You’re also very kind over on Twitter, and I think you’ve been the main inspiration for me to actually keep doing what it is that I do - that and the fact that you’re just very fun to draw.
But yes, questions, I guess. Questions? Have… Questions. Courtesy of our lord and saviour, -insert cheeky ad here.
Question number eins: If you could bring back any game --- no, I’m joking.
Legitimate question number eins: If this world were to suddenly be inhabited by Pokémon, which beasts would you most like to encounter and befriend? What do you think the others on Digi would choose?
Legitimate second and final question: Back during the Nintendo love tester mini-sode thing, why were comments folks so riled up about Barshens? Have I just missed something again? I dunno. Gosh-darn brain cells.
Anyway, thank you Biffo! I have my first appointment with my new therapist-psychologist-psychiatry person (???? BRAIN???!) on Friday, which is why I'm sending this now, so wish me luck! :’)
Good luck with existence. And whatever you do, don't stop Digitiser. Also, the raven is at the door.
Asho / Ash (@catastroasho)
Eins: I would choose Diglett, Octav1us would got for Raticate, Larry would have Klefki, and Gannon would have Lickitung. I'll let you work out why...
Zwei: I can't remember the comments on the love tester ep. But Barshens changed its format at the end of last year, and Paul used to be part of the gang before it went back to being a Barry/Stuart podcast.
There has been a little bit of Digitiser vs Barshens sentiment in some of the comments, that I have seen, and it's awkward for us. Clearly we're mates with Stuart and Barry, we're all part of the same YouTube community, and Stuart especially is very much part of the extended Digi family in our eyes, and will continue to be.
Good luck with your brain-person, Ash! Hope things get better for you soon.
Hi Biff, I know I know what he’s become.
BUT isn’t the Queen is Dead an amazing album?
You are a rakishly well turned-out middle aged gentleman; what is you skin and hair care routine?
How would you describe your perfect day?
3rd Smash-Hits style banal question. Readers choice.
My perfect day... would very much depend on a lot of things. I've had a few that I'd consider perfect days, though most of them are only really with hindsight. I've actually had a couple of perfect days at Disney theme parks, Digi Live came close (though, again, only with hindsight)...
The combination for me seems to be good company, good food, and something that stimulates my imagination or creativity. But I also need to be well-rested enough to appreciate it.
Lastly... no, my mother doesn't play golf.
My favourite cakes:
Chocolate Fudge Cake
Orange marble cake
Rice crispie cake
Thank you for indulging my cakes list.
I used to read Amiga Power and Gamemaster back in the 90s, so I'm sure this happened either in one of those magazines or both.
There were always letters from Loughborough, to the point where it seemed to have become some kind of in-joke.
Every now and then I try to find out about this particular phenomenon by searching for various combinations of the words 'loughborough', 'gamesmaster', 'amiga power' and 'letters page' but to no avail.
I thought if anyone would know, you would. Do you know anything about this thing?
Thanks for the stuff,
OY, BIFFO, YOU NONSENSE.
You know how things were really brilliant and much better in the olden days when old buggers like us were kids?
Think how great modern games could be with a retro makeover. Imagine Metal Gear Solid but with the Pi Man from Pimania.
Or GTA V with the entire cast of Lords of Midnight.
You can invest as much as you like. Usual address.
Let me know, yeah?
Your humble servant,
Been a while. Hope you're well, Teletext Dad. More been keeping afar because I don't really pay much attention to much of the internet dramas like I used to, and subsequently life's better.
I was tempted to email the Ooblets devs, because when that game was originally announced two year ago, I contemplated it for my nephews. Suffice to say, from their incendiary behaviour I won't.
When SuperGiant decided to announce their exclusivity deal with Hades, they pretty much said that they were doing it for the budget. I can understand and sympathise with that.
I personally found that whole "Care more about global warming and your fellow man" shtick incredibly immature, especially when Epic CEO Tim Sweeney decided to tweet the "IT WAS AMAZING" thing. If he said instead "IT WAS EPIC" it could've been half-funny.
Like them cancelling Unreal Tournament to focus on Fortnite. That's why I don't have anything Epic Game Store related on my system. GoG and Valve never teased my favourite video game in a public alpha and then just pulled the plug.
If I was cynical, I'd have considered a plot with some cliques so we could see some game journos trot out another hackneyed "Devs so stunning and brave against toxic gamers" spiel when the reality is it has fallen off my radar and I don't care anymore and quite frankly the drama stokers aren't worth an iota of my time.
Hell, I bet they don't even own a Reversible Sedgewick between any of them.
Apart from that bud, I wish you Happy Birthday for next week. My partner in crime is AWOL and I'm too poor right now to send anything else your way this year too. I swear he's got a bottle of gin lying around somewhere with your name on it.
Yours Eternally (fnar fnar),
416) I have to go to Saudi Arabia, for work, next Friday. Apart from really looking forward to enduring 50C daytime temperatures, some of their laws are extraordinary.
Obviously it's their country and thus it's up to them what laws they enforce regardless of how much I might disagree with them but apart from the theocratic side of it, it's extremely impractical. What does this have to do with games? What is the strangest in-game law/rule that changes the game play for no obvious reason (positively or negatively)?
417) Can you think of a more unlikely yet so perfectly suitable fan of a computer game as Lady Gaga and Bayonetta? I feel I should also point out that it is still one of the three best games ever for me.
418) The decision by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to (apparently jointly) require the disclosure of loot box 'drop rates' seems to be a rare example of collaboration between publishers leading to a positive outcome for customers. What other areas could they work together in, other than a hypothetical single format?
419) It will probably never happen and in related areas, like headphones, the industry seems to be moving in the opposite direction, but should console controllers be compatible with all consoles, where technically possible?
420) Licensed music, in particular and other game components are causing games to be altered years later due to licence expiry e.g. music being removed from GTA San Andreas. One could argue that this means you know longer have what you paid for. Do you think that in the forthcoming all-digital future, games might be bought as time-limited licences, after which you would have to pay again?
417) Is Lady Gaga a Bayonetta fan? I had no idea. There's something sort of perfect about Robin Williams liking the Zelda games, though I can't say exactly how. And that photo of Spielberg with a Donkey Kong Machine in his office is a kind of perfect confluence of 80s-ish-ness.
418) You know what'd be good? If you buy a game on one system, you can download it for free on another (a bit like Microsoft does with the Xbox One/PC, I think). I appreciate that this would be impractical for myriad reasons, but it's like when downloads and streaming first started kicking the butt of CDs and DVDs, and they began offering you a digital version for free alongside a physical one.
419) I don't know. Probably not... but that's only a gut thing. These days, consoles themselves are so bland that the controllers are the one aspect of the hardware that is physically distinctive.
420) I don't see that happening, due to the massive uproar there'd be, but it's not far off the idea of "renting" a film on iTunes or Amazon.
I'm so worried about the Baggage Retrieval System at Heathrow.
What worries you???
Jon Clay, Taunton, Somerset
What do I worry about? Hmm. These days, my parents not being around forever.
Heavy answer, I know.
I managed to give myself an eye abrasion earlier this week which needed a trip to A&E, so thought it might be best if I sent you another letter to prevent the Digitiser Raven from inflicting any more damage to it.
Do you have a favourite game that uses a pun for its title? I've always liked that Grievous Bodily 'ARM for the Acorn Archimedes not only made a reference to the act of inflicting physical injury on someone, but it ALSO references the ARM processor inside the machine itself - a ridiculously British turn of phrase in a way.
The game itself was notoriously crap though, but level three is set in an office & has you up against secretaries throwing typewriters alongside manic tea ladies complete with mugs rattling on a trolley - both of which don't feature in enough games these days if you ask me.
Here's a video of said level in action for your... enjoyment? https://youtu.be/JHPMKng7u7U?t=3m42s
Andy Thomas (@antom)
It was released in Japan as Dead Dance, yet despite the absurd title change, it kept the same backstory for its release outside of Japan: "The four great champions have arrived at the Colosseum, one of the few buildings left standing after the Great War of 2151 ... when warlords took up arms against each other in a violent power struggle. Whole cities were reduced to rubble. After the dust settled, one warlord rose up to control the people with his evil powers. He was called Jade, the Fighting King."
Yes: Jade, the Fighting King. Not Tuffty E. Nuffty.
Dear Mr Biffo,
As you know, this week I launched a 'Turner the Worm Being Sick' plush (with your very kind blessing). I found myself compelled to email you about a number of incidents that have happened in the last 48 hours off the back of this...
1) My webstore automatically forwards products to social media. I don't really understand any of it... I merely pressed the buttons and hoped it would work (story of my life). It popped up on Twitter which is dandy as there's a lovely Digi community there who I knew would enjoy the image if not the product itself.
What I hadn't considered is Facebook. Now I don't use Facebook that much beyond running/moderating a few pages and my church noticeboard and contacts.
This is where the "oh fuckedy fuck" suddenly dawned on me. Yes...Turner the Worm and all his vomit-y glory was bold and bright across my Facebook feed. Apparently 57 people saw it before I decided to put it in to a different feed.
Not sure what the topic of conversation will be on my next Sunday visit, but I am really hoping they think it was a very poorly creature who had burped up its milk, rather than a giant, smiling spoffing cock.
2) My mother walked in to see me surrounded by said love juice dribbling worms just this morning. I explained it was a Digitiser IP and people had actually paid for them. She asked if they were deranged (the worms and the customers). I sang the David Braben song at her and she went away.
3) My 5 year old son then joined in the David Braben song (he is very fond of it). He also apparently wants me to make him one of my 'giant pink dribbly snakes' to cuddle at night. According to him, the snake must be a baby if he is that dribbly. There is a very inappropriate pun in there that I couldn't bring myself to put into words but rest assured I had to pretend to do some laundry so I could hide in the kitchen and die of mirth.
The next product launch will need a whole other set of planning lol!
With very best spoffy wishes,
Retro Princess/Sew 8-Bit
Also: everyone go buy RP's lovely stuff: http://sew8bit.com
And then buy our lovely stuff: https://www.redbubble.com/people/digitiser
Your readers may find the occasional boat-related content we send you a little strange considering the site is based around retro gaming, but who cares, really?
Within the recent Q&A vids you spoke of questions you are frequently asked and were seemingly bored with. It’s the same for us, here’s one!
‘"Is it cold in winter?"
Yes, it’s fucking cold, this is why we burn things and stink of coal.
BTW my scariest 70’s children getting killed/life changing injury video is the one where the child gets its welly stuck in the side of an escalator... Mr.J (the wife) wasn’t around for them as he was still an egg at the time, but - after seeing some on YouTube - loves the one where the child gets blown up at a substation, he couldn’t stop laughing!
But that aside, there’s a disturbing and potentially dangerous cult based around two toys possessed by what we suspect are canal imps. We often see effigies of this demonic pair leering out of boat windows as we pass by, and having witnessed their antics in many arcane fly on the wall documentaries, we find it astonishing that boaters would invite these demonic entities into their floating homes. But then again, boat people (other than us) are a strange bunch anyway.
Here’s a Man’s Daddy inspired joke about a popular narrowboat Youtuber who probably doesn’t read this page:
Question: What did popular narrowboat YouTuber Robbie Cumming get called at school?
Answer: Robbie Going (coming)!
Biffo, Biffare, Biffui, Bifftum,
How was your birthday? I hope you had a most excellent day, and are no doubt overflowing with gifts - I picture you surrounded by loads of your lovely new merch. Mmmm!
I don’t blame you for being so happy with how it all turned out - it’s a superb range, and I’ve gone and added a bunch of items to my wishlist for my own birthday in a few weeks. A very fan-pleasing move, so thanks for that.
Lately I’ve been wondering about certain motifs on your character designs. Specifically - why do so many of them have capital letters emblazoned on their faces or elsewhere?
You can see it in Found Footage, the lonely little ghost dude in Biffovision’s Scranton-K cartoon, and of course all manner of old Teletext Digi characters. Chart Cat had a big old ‘G’ on his head at one point, and there have been various others, too.
Does this have some kind of deeper meaning? What do they signify? Is it a message, or does it in fact not mean anything at all?
I’m fully prepared for the reasoning to be lost in the mists of time - that they now only appear out of some tradition, the origins of which are no longer known.
It’s worth asking though, innit?
Whatever the case, they’ve always struck me as being a quintessential defining aspect of Digi’s visual language. Whatever that means.
Anyway, hope you’re fully on the road to recovery post-Digi Live. Good luck getting the DVDs and all the other backer rewards sorted, I’m sure you’re eager to put this project to bed now.
You can definitely put me down for an album of songs from your repertoire, were you to be so inclined, though...
Things like the letters on a lot of Digi characters... I've no idea where that came from. I think I just found it funny. It's like... Captain America isn't funny, but if he had a big "K" on his head instead of an "A", then he would be funny. So, it's that, I think. Probably Captain America-inspired. I mean, it's stupid... why a big "A" anyway? Why not "C.A." or "USA"?
The Friday after Digitser Live, your letters page was a fountain of joy as attendees sprayed you with congratulations. The following Friday's correspondence continued to be sodden with praise for what was an epic collision of retrogaming, comedy and idiocy.
I didn't want to contribute my tribute until I had it ready, and well, it's a video of that epoch in Harrow, for my newly-launched channel, Reheated Pixels. I'll set it live this evening, but for now, your readers can see a montage of non-spoiler highlights here: https://youtu.be/4mnRyfKx5AE
I've thrown in a lot of stuff from before the show. I never thought I'd say this, but drinking in a car park was genuinely a great part of the day. Truly, this is the most 'you had to be there' thing I've ever said, but it makes sense when you watch the video.
Also, there's a fair bit of stuff from Chunky Fringe, the best ever warm-up anyone could have asked for.
And me, being me, I've prefaced it with five minutes of explanation as to what Digitiser and teletext is, I've kept it as brief as possible and stuck to layman's terms, but still not convinced it makes much sense outside of the UK.
Hopefully, this satiates some of the hunger that Digitiser fans have for seeing the full show while you and Mrs Biffo take a break.
Everyone else can relive Digi Live... RIGHT NOW (also, how knackered do I look in that thumbnail?):