Do come along if you can. As well as more old games than you can wave a frond at, and many other special guests, TV's Dave Perry will be filming his brand new Games Animal show.
Tickets where? Tickets here!
Apologies again for the somewhat quieter week on Digi. Turns out that even I have limits to how much I can realistically achieve, and over the past couple of weeks those limits were tested.
We should be back to a more regular schedule next week. But hey - you can at least hear me talking old games on a filthy two-part Cheap Show special right here. I very much enjoyed being a part of it, and will hopefully be going back for more very soon. Be warned; features mummified creatures and "dirty talk".
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
As a violet not of the Berlin variety, but instead more of the shrinking kind, imagine my surprise to see that my last week’s letter inspired a mini flurry of “engagement” in last Friday’s comments. I am very grateful for the kind words and insight from everybody. I return with the difficult second album, if you’ll suffer me.
I don’t really do much social media-ing, although I do have it, and I’m sorry that you’re having an ongoing rough and tumble with various terrible internet factions.
My question as a SM ('social media', not the other thing) novice dear Biffo, is at what point does knowingly publishing something that will be incendiary for certain groups of people, who are already enraged with you, become an act of willing self-harm?
At some point is it better to walk away and disengage? Or is this where the analogy of “if a person shouts at you on the street do you then never leave your home” becomes relevant? I don’t understand much of adult life, especially when experienced digitally, hence my honest question.
Take care of yourself!
And sometimes I do write something - this week's Gervais article, say - which I suspect is probably going to be controversial... but I rarely censor myself, because I think it's more important to be honest and true when it comes to things I feel passionate about.
I've never written anything that's controversial for the sake of it, or to get hits. I just go with my gut, and sometimes something is bothering me enough for me to write a big, serious piece, and on other days I just want to talk about games, and sometimes I want to write silly stuff.
Ultimately, I'm lucky that shitty comments - or, at least, the ones I've received - don't usually affect me. The people commenting might get personal and call me names, but they're not really aimed at me; they're aiming at an opinion I might have. I'm more than just an opinion about Ricky Gervais, and I'm pretty confident about who I am, for better or worse, so getting abuse online sort of washes over me. It's a cliche, but it really does say more about the person that's writing it than it does about who I am.
I might bang on about something after the event - for shits and giggles - but it's usually because I'm gobsmacked about the ludicrousness of online discourse, and the extreme levels of vitriol some people display.
I don't tend to engage with it directly, unless somebody is disagreeing in a polite way, because I'm not going to reward aggressive or rude behaviour. Plus, I will listen to an opinion given in a respectful way, because I'm open to the possibility that I might be wrong.
That said... when I post those sort of articles, I do sometimes feel a bit vulnerable and anxious, in a way that I don't quite understand. It's when I see the hits on the site, and know a lot of people are reading my words in that moment, that I'll have a flicker of self-doubt. I don't really know what it's about, but it's easily solved by closing down the tab displaying the site's live analytics.
So, what I would say is know your limits, know who you are, and know when it's right for you to walk away. Though it's also worth noting that your fear can be worse than the reality; unless you face the thing you're scared of you'll never discover whether it's not as bad as you feel it might be.
Have you got your ZX Vega+ yet? Is it awesome?
Wait. Hang on. Is the Vega the shit one or the good one?
First of all, congratulations for getting Digitiser: The Show funded and I'm looking forward to attending the live show.
I recently replayed Fallout 3 and I decided that I would play through the game as a complete git, because I always take the 'Good Karma' route and I realised that this meant I had missed out on all the 'Bad Karma' plot threads. So, I get to the point near the beginning where I can nuke a small town, to immediately get my karma level down low enough for it to make a difference, and... I couldn't do it.
I knew all the characters were just a bunch of pixels that were spouting off the same lines that I had heard a dozen times before, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't stop myself from being nice as I went through the main storyline quests, so I tried to reduce my karma level only enough to recruit one of the 'Neutral Karma' companions.
I thought the easiest way to do that would be to steal random tat from people's houses, but even that was a struggle for me and I ended up just playing through the game the same way that I always do.
In contrast to that, I became bored of Skyrim after about 50 hours and ended up... well, eating the people I was meant to take quests from, yet now I keep meaning to go back and properly play through all the quests that I missed. However, I don't know if I can really be bothered to slog through the first half of the game to get to them.
So, has there ever been a time when your own "moral compass" (...or lack thereof...) caused you to miss out on some content from a game? Or, are you able to disconnect yourself from what's going on in order to see everything and get your money's worth?
Which is weird when I think about it. Like, did you see JK Rowling posted an analysis of Trump's signature, which described him as "an arrogant person, conceited, haughty, who needs to exhibit compliments and recognitions, tyrant tendencies, exhibitionist and phony personality that may become megalomaniac with lack of a critical sense"?
It made me think about my signature, which is sloppy, half-arsed, and rushed, and would be a fair reflection.
(P.S. In terms of the part of your letter you asked us not to publish... don't worry. We're already on it.)
Dear Captain Biffo,
Well, that was quite the week, wasn’t it? Hope you’re feeling better after your bout of lurgy, and that the Gervaisian hordes are no longer screaming at the gates.
For what it’s worth, I thought it was a brave and thoughtfully written piece, with a lot more subtlety to its points than the furore would suggest. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing - considering their political leanings, these are exactly the kind of people you’d want to be on the opposing side of.
It’s been an eventful week for me as well, though mercifully in a much more positive way. As you know, I published the feature I’d been writing on the Digi / Mean Machines feud for Super Page 58 that you and others kindly contributed to, and I’ve quite honestly been bowled over by the response.
Profuse thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to message me or retweet it; it was a huge effort to pull together, and the feedback I’ve had since has made it all worthwhile.
I knew from the moment I relaunched the site that it was a topic I wanted to cover properly. As a longtime reader of both Digi and MMS when the feud happened, it felt like a defining moment in Digi’s history.
When MMS started badmouthing you there was a singular moment where what they were saying not only struck me as unfair, but just didn’t ring true either. So I stopped buying MMS literally as a result of their side of things, and became much more ardent a Digi fan in response.
It was all a long time ago, but I think it was an important, galvanising moment for Digi fandom. I remember at uni, not long before I started the site, we had to do presentations on a topic of our choice so we could learn how to use PowerPoint. I spoke about the feud and told the class that you shouldn’t trust official mags, and that Digi were the most reliable source of games journalism going. I felt proud to be a fan, and still am, as stuff like your writing this week has emphasised.
Anyway, it feels great to be adding new content to the site, and there’ll be more when I’m back from my hols in a couple of weeks.
Here’s to a quieter few days for us both!
Also, I've said it before... but the history of Digitiser would be very different had it not been for Super Page 58 - a fan site that's almost as old as Digitiser itself. I think it, more than anything else, convinced us that what we were doing had worth, and demonstrated to us that people loved it.
Without it, Digitiser wouldn't have meant as much as it does to me, and I might not be here today trying to make a Digitiser YouTube series...
So, It's been interesting to read your preference for retro games at the moment. I've been in that spot myself for some time now, with a bunch of kids work etc I just have no motivation or time to play sprawling modern games much preferring short blasts on older games.
I still keep buying new games though, it's like some kind of frivolous muscle memory, recently picked up Nier Automata played it for a bit (couple of hours), seems good, that's gone in the draw now, can't imagine I'll play it again. The same thing can be said for Zelda BOTOW and countless other games. I've resisted buying God of War as I know it will just have the same fate.
Another thing which stops me playing for more than an hour or two, I feel this deep seated sense of guilt. You know, I've only got so much time on this earth I should really be spending my time more productively.
Anyway I digress. Retro games. I've been playing Castlevania on the Famicon recently, ten minutes here and there, it's a lot of fun also got one of those portable PC Engines, it's amazing. If i'd had one when I was younger It would of blown my mind, Tatsujin on the toilet, magic.
Which leads me on to another thing, the retro thing can become a bit of an obsession. I've been doing it for a while now, I've amassed a lot of crap and I've totally run out of space, and yet I still keep getting more crap. Case in point, I recently bought an obscure Japanese computer (FM Towns) from Japan, the delivery cost is eye watering. It's a computer! Where the hell am I going to put it?
Anyway good luck with all the show stuff, I shall be at that revival show again so I look forward to your talk!
And after that I'll have to stop or we won't be able to afford cameras or sound.
Played any Fortnite or PUBG, Mr B? I tried Fortnite this week, as a sort of knee-jerk to the critical mass of stuff I’ve been reading about these Battle Royale games.
I ponced about a bit and then got ventilated by someone dressed as a pink bear, after they built a big pile of shit in front of me in the blink of an eye. That was enough for me. I think my ageing nervous system / PC hardware mean I will never again git gud.
1. What was, in your opinion, the best piece of gaming hardware that flopped commercially?
2. Have you ever genuinely believed a game to be a classic at them time bit later found it hard to remember why you enjoyed it at all (not due to the age of the game)?
3. As (I think) my question last week wasn't especially clear, do you think re-casting the actors playing games characters is not treated as seriously as re-casting a TV/Film actor would be? If so, is this I'm part because games are not respected as much as an art form or is it more the lack of a visual link to the actor/actress?
Even though I'm hardly the first person to say it, and it's an old game now, but The Witcher 3 has probably my favourite voice acting of any game. There are some fantastic British accents in there that are very rarely heard in media.
2. Yes! Pretty much any ZX Spectrum game. They're so bloody broken and hard. All of them. Every single one.
3. I think it's the visual link really. You're basically recasting a voice actor. I'm sure they'd argue otherwise, but they're much more interchangeable. Also, it's rare in gaming to get a Nolan North/Nathan Drake situation where a character and a performer are synonymous.