Festivities kick off at 2pm on Saturday with the free Chunky Fringe event, which features panels on teletext recovery, Mr Biffo's Found Footage, and classic-era Digi. Special guests will include Ashens and my Digi co-founder Tim "Mr Hairs" Moore, as well as assorted exhibitors. Huge thanks to Chris Bell and David Walford for organising it.
At 6.30pm, doors open to the main hall, and we recommend you be in your seats by 6.50pm to make sure you don't miss anything. The show will run until approximately 9.15pm, and there's a bar in which we'll be milling around afterwards.
If you're a ticket-holder, you should've had an email containing travel information (it's SO easy to get to, with good links from both Euston and Watford Junction meaning you don't even have to travel into London), and explaining that there are no physical tickets; your name will be on a guest list.
Thanks to the venue adding two whole rows of seats, we still have tickets available from this site. It's not too late.
Lastly, a reminder that if you have any old retro tat you want to bring along, we might take a look at it in our Antique's Roadshow And Tell segment. We can't promise we'll get to everything - it's a packed show - but we'll get through as much as we can.
And that's literally the only spoiler you're getting. Much as I've been itching to blab, the surprises will have been worth it.
And that's it, except to say we'll see many of you on Saturday night for a once-in-a-lifetime evening of nonsense. We'll never do it this exact same way again. And you know us: who can say what unplanned chaos will ensue on the night?
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
Will you ever be upgrading the site to use a 33.6k modem? Not sure they're worth the money myself.
Cow Areola, 34
PS. Thanks for the new pen name.
Which Marillion songs would you recommend for the journey to Digitiser Live? And is there any other music we should be listening to in preparation?
What songs do I recommend? How long's your journey? You could try Marbles - that's a double, and probably their best album. And their most recent one, F.E.A.R., is pretty great too.
Also, of course, you should listen to the entire Digi/Found Footage oeuvre...
And so it’s finally time. We’re on the cusp of something amazing, and you’ve made it all happen by sheer force of will and creativity.
To say I’m excited about Digi Live has to be the grandest possible understatement. I’m looking forward to the show so much; I know you’re going all out with it, and you know we appreciate that dedication.
I really am expecting it to be a proper festival atmosphere, warm, good-humoured, and celebratory. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone almost as much as I’m looking forward to the show - if you see me, do come and say hello. Especially if you’d like to do a little vox pop type interview for the documentary podcast I’m making about the day (but you totally don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, and would just prefer a chat instead).
This is going to be the kind of event that we talk about for years to come. The scale you’re describing, well - I’m sure the folks coming from serious distances away will feel absolutely vindicated and rewarded for having done so.
And that makes me think of something. Because I find in life that the things you really love, the things that don’t happen very often - well, you have to grab the opportunity to enjoy them while they’re there. Make the effort. You never know how much you’ll regret not having done so later.
One of my favourite bands, a San Francisco indie outfit named Beulah, once put out a documentary charting their final few months before they split. In the film - A Good Band Is Easy To Kill, paraphrased from one of their song titles - at the end of his tether from working himself into the ground with little progress, singer Miles Kurosky rants to camera about some of the emails the band would get.
“I can’t make it to see you on tour this time, I’ll see you next time - please come back and play my town again.”
He was angry because they were not a big band, every bit of support helped - they all had day jobs. And in the end they couldn’t keep the band going. He was angry that people were missing out when they could have gone. They could have tried. They would have had a brilliant time, and so would the band. And maybe they could have kept going a little while longer.
Because it’s always about the finest of margins with these things. The difference between something incredible being able to go on existing and it not is ludicrously narrow and fragile.
There may not be a “next time”. They may not come to your town again. They may not exist for much longer. Take the opportunity while it’s there.
That’s a cheery little way of saying to anyone that’s considering going to Digi but isn’t convinced - do it! You don’t know if anything like this will ever happen again. COULD ever happen again - least of all in another location nearer to you.
Come and join us. Have fun, and enjoy the occasion while it’s there - because it’s going to be unique and amazing, and you may never get another chance ever again. I promise you you’ll love it. Take the plunge and don’t look back.
Because who knows what the future holds? Well, except for tomorrow that is. We know what tomorrow holds.
Bring. It. On.
PS One last plug for Chunky Fringe: if show-goers - or even just curious passers-by - are around in the afternoon, then do come along to this excellent free event. It’s shaping up to be a veritable hoot (even if I do have a lot of work to do to be ready!) and everyone’s very welcome. We really are going to have a great time.
Sadly, a handful of people tell us they're not coming, or thinking of no longer coming, because of their anxiety, or because London is too scary (we're not really even in London!). It upsets me, because I know they'd be thankful that they went.
I totally understand that life can throw us curveballs, and things do come up at the last minute - certainly, I've had events that I've bought tickets for that not been able to go to. Nonetheless, I've said it before, but if the four of us, with our myriad issues and quirks, can stand up on stage in front of 450 people, and arse around for two-and-a-bit hours... I implore you to try to push yourself out of your comfort zone enough to get on a train and sit in an audience.
An idea is often more scary than the reality.
Also, just off the back of a few emails we've had asking for refunds... if you buy a ticket to something on a whim, and will decide later whether you can make it, you're actually denying others the chance to go. For a while we were sold out, and had a long waiting list. Though we're no longer sold out, some of those people have since made other plans - even if they'd rather be at Digi Live.
And that's a shame.
Plus, there's a reason live events generally don't give refunds if you can't make it; it's because that would potentially leave the organisers out of pocket, given that venues are booked based upon the size of the expected audience.
Anyway. I'll shut up about that now, and let the spirit of joyfulness endure. See you tomorrow, Bellston!
I've just been looking at the Moon. Granted, it was via the internet; I have no windows any more due to some loophole in the law that means my local council can still charge 'window tax' so I filled them all up with a mixture of Plasticine, flour and water, old candle wax and wads of mashed up turf accountant's horse racing papers.
That being said, I was watching Apollo 11 (that my Corrupt Uncle lent me) and it was quite astounding - some of that footage I've not seen since the first broadcast when I was about 90-ish fifty years ago.
Now, I know that sounds a tad far-fetched but why would I lie about such things? I have nothing to gain from lying! (Especially when the Inland Revenue find out about certain discrepancies when it comes to personal finances).
I keep on planning on going outside to look at the Moon but my hay fever and fear of the local feral children stops me - I don't really enjoy the thought of being locked up again in one of these so-called asylums for claiming that the feral children are actually from the Moon and that they have continuously reprogrammed my mind with special magic, potions and lotions... even though I know they have; they've been doing to me for at least 267 years, both man and boy.
I think I need to change my hay fever tablets. Why? Because my nose still hurts and the Moon people are about to arrive and they want me to be 'pure' for their next experiments on myself. How do I know this? They have just told me through, yet again, special magic, potions and lotions. Either that or I really need a good sleep for once.
Anyway, as always, I wish you all the best for the live show. I wanted to be there and even bought tickets but things went a bit wrong then cancelled and I can't get there in time for it now. Ah well, such is life.
Bed now! Good night!
Dear Hungry, Hungry Biffo.
Good work on getting the Digi Live show organised. It looks like it’s going to be great, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing everybody there on Saturday.
Just out of interest... What would you suggest I tell people I’m going to when they ask me why I’m going to London? It’s a three hour drive from where I live so they know it’s for something special.
So far, I’ve told my wife it’s a live get-together for people on a website that I read and leave silly comments on. I’ve told my workmates it’s a gig, and I’ve told my family I’m just going for a day out. All of which sound pretty pathetic considering I’m a 42 year old man who doesn’t easily get embarrassed.
If I told them the truth, that’s it’s a live, one-off, performance of a YouTube show, which is itself a continuation of a 26 year old computer game related teletext page broadcast daily on a Channel 4. I’m sure I’d be divorced/sacked/adopted before the end of the month.
My best mate, who I’m bringing along, told his family what he’s doing. I won’t tell you their response. I’ll leave him to decide whether or not to add it in the comments, but it was pretty funny.
P.S. Butter on the toast before adding the cheese for cheese on toast or not?
I don’t, but I’ve heard that some do.
That said, I dunno why there'd be any shame in telling people that you're doing something you love, but maybe that's because I'm on the inside of this bubble. Also: I'm shameless.
I mean, is it any less ridiculous than the My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast team putting on a show at the Royal Albert Hall? Which they did.
...Royal Albert Hall for Digitiser Live 2020?
I suspect you should butter the toast first, but I'm lazy and therefore generally do not.
When this is published, I'll be on my way to my hotel for Digi Live weekend... I am very, very excited!
Knowing people are travelling from as far afield as Skye and America, has it put more pressure on you to make the show great?
Also: I have a bag of presents for you. It includes a horse's head, Gameboy Advance games, and mushroom crisps. Enjoy.
With much hype for Digi,
Sometimes I think I should leave people wanting more - both Found Footage and Digitiser The Show probably would've benefitted from there being less of both - but I prefer to eat a meal which both tastes great, and leaves me feeling stuffed.
WHY HAVE YOU SPOILED MY GIFT SURPRISE?!?!
Can't chat now, I'm having me tea. It's beans on toast.
I wouldn’t normally complain about the quality of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games but with this list I’m sure people will make an exception.
Some prime examples of these are Wander, Basement Crawl, Fluster Cluck, Umbrella Corps (honestly expected better from a Resident Evil based game, one which managed to offer terrible artificial intelligence and non-existent plot).
Godzilla was another example: outdated graphics and poor level design. All of these sadly didn’t do the PlayStation 4 any justice.
The Xbox One had its misfortune of poor games too: Fighter Within, Crimson Dragon, Toro, The Deer God, Ben Hur... all examples of poor quality of games on the Xbox One that never did it justice or even helped it in anyway, in my view.
I just hope that developers have learned from this and won’t allow this to happen when they release games on the newest Xbox and PlayStation 5 systems as we have had enough bad games to easily last us a few generations at least.
gaz be rotten (gamertag)
Morning Lover's Biff.
As a few readers will no doubt be in the London area over the weekend, can I recommend to anyone who gets the chance to look in at Wesley's Chapel on City Rd, just up from Liverpool Street? Not the chapel itself, but the bogs. A veritable Victorian Cathedral to the art of dumpage. Sadly, they only bothered with the gents though.
Are security arrangements going to be tight for the Live Show? I've genuinely got through customs with less fuss than it took to get into some dingy East London cellar the last time I was down that way for a gig. That said, there may be one Amiga owner whose been waiting their whole life for this opportunity...
See you Saturday!
Voiced By Guides
Hello Mr Biffo,
How are you? Me? I am fine.
Firstly I would like to say how brilliant I find your work. What you guys are doing here is very special and constantly reminds me that games are truly at their best when you aren't taking them so seriously.
So, my question is...
I have spent 11 years working in retail 7 of those years specifically in GAME retail. I have been a lifelong gamer and working in GAME sort of reinforced my belief that a lot of Gamers are very entitled and spoilt.
I left retail and shortly after rode the wave of up and coming YouTubers that began to turn their sites back on the game industry and take it too task on its many MANY shitty practices (in particular for me there was a turning point when Euro gamer published an article by Rob Florence about the blurring of lines between journalists and developers and watching how "industry" people handled that was so disappointing).
I guess ever since then I have felt a bit lost with games. On the one hand most fandoms in general make my blood boil. Also being a diehard Star Wars fan I have seen firsthand the sort of bile that fans can hurl when they feel they are backed into a corner. I even told a friend once that the worst thing about Star Wars is its fans. Games are almost identical in this regards.
On the other hand though in the last few years its clear game companies have little to no morals on how low they will go to meet the margin call. I try to ignore it most the most part but it feels like the genie is out of the bottle now and I find it incredibly hard to not think about it.
As an art form I love games. They inspire me. They make me think and they make me question things. They help me relax but they ask help me forget.
Now though between fan bases that feel death threats are appropriate responses to patch updates and AAA companies that have more in common with Ladbrokes than they do creative media outlets I have to wonder what’s left for me. I can't block it all out.
Do you ever feel like this? I appreciate you won't have a definitive answer for me but please tell me I am not alone in this.
I am not one of these people that believe everything is getting gradually worse because truly I am not cynic. I'm really not. I have gone through too much to get this far and then throw my toys out of the pram.
Things always have the capacity to get better and despite what the likes of the Daily Mail and Piers Morgan would have you believe I believe greats things are always happening.
I just wish I could see it more with games.
My sincere apologies sir I have just realised this isn't even close to a question.
Kind Regards and all the best for the weekend.
Tanks Fridge (AKA - Fridgey)
PS - You mentioned people say you look like Charlie Brooker. I hope you don't find it offensive when I say I think you both look and sound much more like a young Harry H. Corbett (Steptoe Jnr).
I do somehow manage to block out the practices of the big games companies. If I feel I'm being ripped off or something, I'm pretty good at just avoiding said game, or said company. My tastes are becoming increasingly indie anyway, which tends to be a much friendlier environment.
I find it harder to tune out when the fans are up in arms about something, or fighting among themselves, or just being unpleasant, whereas I guess I expect dodgy behaviour from big companies. The irony of this is that I understand when fandom is lashing out. I get why it happens - even with something like Star Wars - even if I don't agree with the way they go about it.
Do you think all Tiger LCD handhelds are terrible, or do you believe a handful could be considered "ok" or even good?
Have you seen my keys at all???
Also can you hear bees??? Anyone, bees, at all???
Jon Clay, Taunton, Somerset
Dear BBC’s Watchdog,
I noticed that the Mega Drive Classics collection was on sale in the Nintendo eShop this week and couldn’t resist the prospect of being able to take 50-odd Mega Drive games with me wherever I go. I fired it up and was immediately struck by the amount of input lag.
It’s only a fraction of a second but it makes fast paced games likes Sonic akin to a game of postal chess. I emailed Nintendo to ask for a refund due to this ruinous flaw, but was informed that “The cancellation right expires if we have begun our supply of digital content”.
So basically, you lose your right to cancel the second you click purchase. I’m sure the licence to play the game is linked to my machine, so it is technically possible for them to withdraw that without the risk of any shenanigans on my part, but they refuse to do so. Have you had any experience of a) laggy retro collections or b) refunds of digital purchases?
Last time I wrote into Digitiser was about 20 years ago, complaining about Nintendo re-releasing Mario games on the Game Boy Advance rather than making new ones. In the printed version of the letter I seem to remember you replaced my repeated use of Mario’s name with something like ’the diminutive, moustachioed one’, which I found to be an amusing insight into the world of magazine editing (yes, teenage me led an exciting life!).
Hope Digi Live goes well on Saturday! I was a Digi The Show backer but can’t make the live show this weekend as Laandan is quite expensive to get to from up north. However I do hope you all have a marvellous time.
I want to second a letter from last week praising the amusing editing of the Digi Minis, particularly the Stranger Things vid. That opening was impressive too. I’m off to Florida in September and I’m hoping I can pick up one of those packs of new coke.
Thanks for the nice words about the editing. It's my favourite part of making the videos. Much as I like filming them, I actually get excited when it comes to editing.
I’m surprised you have time for the letters page, how diligent to your fans you are!
Looking forward to the show tomorrow!
Mr.S and Mr.J (the wife)
See you tomorrow. Are you coming by boat?
In the excitement of preparing for Chunky Fringe, I have neglected to get my game development work into a presentable shape for Saturday. Fortunately, I don't think anyone will notice, because there will be so many excellent exhibitors and panellists to distract them all afternoon.
I will, however, present a devious retro gaming challenge. It's a bit like Dark Souls, but with trains, and absolutely no chance of learning to avoid failure:
If this results in too much swearing, then I'll switch it off while the panels are running.
I have nothing of worth to say really, other than I hope Saturday goes amazing, and everyone has an excellent time.
I'm sure whatever nonsense you've come up with will be hilarious, and I predict only 6 or so people will vomit themselves out of the auditorium. I'm sad I can't attend, but I will keep my eyes peeled for the ultimate bootleg recording of said event.
As ever, to keep it slightly game related, I was recently saddened to find that the N64 controller, which I loved in my youth, is an absolute nightmare to use now. The position you have to have your hands in to use it is ridiculous, and it makes enjoying Goldeneye (which also hasn't aged as well as I'd hoped) a lot more difficult. Or maybe it's just that I now have big old sausage fingers. Who knows.
Also: yes!! At last, somebody agrees with me about the N64 controller. Everyone bangs on about how revolutionary it was, but why do you think Nintendo didn't stick with that design? Reason: it's a monstrosity.
396) Which game has you favourite ending sequence?
397) Despite being a good game, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within threw away much of what made the Sands of Time such a good game (and great update). What other sequels/follow-ups do you think just didn't get what made the preceding game great and ruined it?
398) Are superhero games inherently harder to make due to the structure of most games being that your character becomes progressively more powerful? This often results in contrived (as opposed to super heroes in general....) De-powering situations.
399) In your opinion, do pre-order bonuses have any merit, or are they a bad practice?
400) I was going to save this for Digitiser Live, but realised that I probably wouldn't get a chance to ask it so... Which game do you think has been the best example of its genre for the longest? This might be stretching it a bit, but I think one could still argue that Half Life 2 is the best FPS for example. I suppose there are some genres that nobody makes any more, but you know what I mean.
Good luck for the live show - I'll be there and will be asking questions in spirit.
396) I'm going to say Manic Miner. Clean, simple, funny, and Python-homaging to boot (literally to boot).
397) So many. Earthworm Jim 3D is a good example. Actually, loads of games from that era where 2D franchises suddenly went 3D. You can lump most of the Sonic sequels until Sonic Mania in there too.
398) I think it depends on the super-hero. Spider-Man and the Arkham games get it right, and do a good job of evoking the source material, whereas there has never been a properly good Superman game. I was actually thinking about this recently; how could you possibly even do Superman justice in a game? You couldn't. They should stop trying, the big idiots.
399) I dunno. It's rare I pre-order a game, and I never look at the bonuses you get when I do.
400) I think the original Doom could be credited for this. It's still playable today. Likewise Super Mario World. Even Super Mario 64. So, let's say all of those.
I may be too late!
Good luck on Saturday, gutted I can't be there.
Now you've done it a few times, would you be tempted to do a solo live show? Maybe like Adam Buxton's bug but for gaming? I think that format would work really well.
Stu (Birmingham, 36)
That said, I also like to do things which drag me out of my comfort zone. I think it's important to do that. I'm getting older, and I don't want to be in my dotage thinking of all the things I could've done.
If you look back over the past few years, you'll see me focusing on the kinds of projects I've never tried before. First getting up on stage for Digifest, then Found Footage, then trying to do a short film with Trojan Arse Protocol, then being on camera and trying to make a proper telly-style series in Digitiser The Show, then trying my hand at being a YouTuber... and now a live show. Which I'm in.
Each of those has required me to learn new skills, do stuff I never thought I'd do, and I like that feeling of moving forwards. I love using limited resources to make the best version I can with what I have, understanding the audience, thinking hard about structure.
So yeah, some sort of solo thing would indeed follow the pattern.
And it has been discussed. Not promising, but watch this space.
For now though... Digi Live time!