Added to that, I've been dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome over the last couple of weeks, and trying to rest my typing arm whenever I can, hoping it'll be healed in time for the show. Hence; a slightly quieter week on Digi, and next week will likely be the same, alas. Sorry in advance.
One-arm or not... it's going to be quite the show. Yesterday was spent assembling the video and musical sequences into order - videos for transitions between sections, and two full-on musical numbers (we do hope you all sing along; the words will be up on the screen) - looking for gaps that need to be plugged. My other half was painting props, dealing with tickets, and other bits of organisation. It's quite the undertaking.
And, of course, we learned this week that there are more seats available than we'd been told; which means we've been able to put some extra tickets on sale.
They are selling steadily though, so if you can make it to the Harrow Arts Centre in Hatch End, London, next Saturday, click here now.
If you're worried about attending on your lonesome... rest assured you'll be among your own kind, and I know the Digi community is very welcoming. Plus, y'know, I suspect you'll kick yourself if you miss it. Plus, because I always do, I've spent a small fortune of my own money on stuff for it, and I want people to see what we have in store. The intro alone is guaranteed to drop jaws, and I'VE SPOILED NOTHING THUS FAR.
And don't forget to bring some techy tat for us to look at during the Antique's Roadshow & Tell section. Also, there's a whole afternoon of free, Digi-related activities for earlybirds, lots of special guests from the retro community, and... ohhhh... I'm very excited.
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
Happy Birthday! Your present is an anagram. Did you know that an anagram of PAUL "MR BIFFO" ROSE is BUM "RIFFS" REAL POO? I thought you'd like it.
I miss improvements via improper gameplay. Have you found any good ones recently?
After watching the video of you playing VR I wondered what your thoughts on VR and how it is a part of gaming are.
I recently sent mine back, due to a lack of games backing up to the hardware. It seemed like an expensive Wii to me, which was not my favourite console to be honest.
Love the show.
In short: I think the Oculus Quest is a turning point - for me at least - in that without wires, and without the nausea, I finally get it. There need to be more games for it, but it's early days.
386) Which games had the best real-world setting and which had the best fictional one?
387) Many games feature flying, but which game do you think gives the best sensation of flight, as opposed to simply moving in the sky?
388) At what point do you think that home systems, rather than arcade machines, began to offer the definitive experience of games? Obviously this discounts those games that require arcade-style hardware
389) What is your favourite in-game vehicle?
390) Big data might end up with more personalised game 'experiences,' would you like this or is it unnecessary?
387) Ultrawings, which you can see me attempting in a recent video, does a good job of it, primarily because it's basically Pilotwings in VR. That said, I'm sure there are plenty of decent flight sims out there, but I've not played one in decades.
388) For me it was early as the 16-bit era consoles. Something like Golden Axe on the Mega Drive might not have been arcade perfect, but it was close enough, and over the course of the Mega Drive and SNES's life games became better than their arcade counterparts.
389) I dunno if I have a favourite. I have a least favourite; the Warthog from Halo, which handles like it's a bouncy castle on wheels.
399) It seems unnecessary give we already play games in a way that's personal to us. Also... a bit creepy. I don't like personalised ads as it is.
Is there a pissup after Digi Live?
Lots of weird love,
Excitingly, we visited the venue this week, and discovered that the backstage area has a door leading straight into the bar. I'm going to need that.
What’s the worst critically reviewed game that you love? I have a soft spot for Fester’s Quest on the NES, and I’m pretty sure it’s only nostalgia for a game I was forced to play for 6 months as Nintendo carts were £40 and I was a penniless, pubeless, fresh human, not yet 10 years removed from the womb.
J Is Manchild, Tunbridge Wells
What’s your view on the massive sexualisation of children in some Japanese games?
My stepson scrolls through the listings on the Switch and PS4 and it’s pretty uncomfortable to have to explain to him “no you can’t download that game that looks like a cartoon because it’s... a bit weird”.
I get that the big stereotypical “kill a hundred people” archetype fulfils a power fantasy, so you’ve gotta wonder what kind of fantasy that kinda thing fulfils...
I’ve recently been impressed that my 7 year old PC is still able to keep up with a lot of fun games at 60fps. I've taken to modding Fallout 4 after picking it up for a minimal spend, and after having it on the PS4 Pro was a bit concerned that my PC would clunk a bit, but it’s out-performed it fantastically.
I’ve managed to cram in nudity, deformity, nude giants and made several characters look like hookers who may also be nude and all manner of things the PS4 version disallowed me to do (possibly in the name of good taste).
But what an age! I recall when PC technology shifted so quickly that keeping up was a very expensive hobby, and I was replacing it every few years. Either that or current technology has stagnated to a point where it no longer moves forwards in leaps and bounds but shuffles slowly like an octogenarian octopus.
So the new Digi letters page goes up on my birthday. I'm not saying that it would make my year to be on Digi on my birthday, but... Oh, alright, it would be bloody brilliant!
I just watched the amazing New Coke/Stranger Things Digi video (how's that for pandering?) and I thought it was hilarious. But I especially wanted to share my wife's response.
When you mentioned Pacers, she yelled: "Yes! Pacers! I knew Biffo was a good 'un!"
You're definitely winning her over. Now, I never had the pleasure of Pacers - can you elaborate on the attraction of them for the younger members of your audience? (Full disclosure - young in that I'm nearly forty). Are there any other defunct sweeties that deserve a comeback? Did anyone ever eat licorice? Why?
True story: when we started going out, my wife once said to me "I've not really played any video games, but I'm a bit interested in them. If I bought some, would you play them for me?" There's not really a point to this story, I'm just bragging that my wife is brilliant.
Moving onto a more serious question - do you support a two state solution for Palestine?
Also, I find the pieces you've posted on writing fascinating, especially on writing for a very specific audience (or script editor). Would you ever consider doing more in that vein? Are there certain changes that you made against your better judgement or that you were glad to have the opportunity to fix? Really, any tips or stories about your craft would be fantastic. Asking for a rejected manuscript. Or two.
Anyway, I love Digitiser and have done since practically day one. I'm gutted I can't make it to Digi live, but I hope it's an amazing time. Thank you for all the fun!
James Donaldson (and his wife, Tracey. Hi honey!)
Pacers were like a sort of spearmint version. of Starburst, but softer. A very nice, subtle, minty taste, and there's nothing around like them anymore.
My wife, shortly after I met her, once pointed to a big billboard advertising the latest Call of Duty game, and sighed: "That's the sort of game my brother would like..." At that point she knew nothing of Digitiser, or Mr Biffo, or that I wrote about video games for years. I wanted to impress her, so I said nothing. Hilariously, when she first met me she thought I was some posh, sensible, boy, who was into rugby. How profoundly wrong she was...
Anyway, assuming your question about Palestine is intended to be whimsical... Yeah, I'd possibly consider writing about writing a bit more, though it's probably something I'd be more likely to do as a Patreon blog. I guess I'd potentially find it a bit boring. I've been doing it for years, and the craft of it - such as it is - is second nature now, so I no longer really think about what I'm doing. But possibly. If I feel the urge and have something to say/whinge about.
One change I made against my better judgement was in the Pudsey The Dog The Movie script, where for some reason a producer insisted on one of the dog characters saying "O.M.F.G." - I did point out that the F stood for something that wasn't perhaps appropriate in a film aimed at those aged six and under, but it stayed in there until the final production draft, when I then just quietly took it out. Nobody ever noticed.
There was also a whole subplot with a mad dog in the dog prison sequence who wanted to escape by building a mole machine to tunnel out, which felt much more "me" than most of the film I got asked to remove most of that, which was a shame. It was the only real thing I fought for in the script, but ultimately a battle that I lost. A bit inexplicable when they doubled-down on all the poo jokes instead.
Also: hi, Tracey!
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Any help would be appreciated.
A Very Wet Man
Happy Friday Mr Joy of the Guitar Biff-o!
As a Switch 'user', any thoughts on the Switch Lite - is it a viiable budget version, or does it lose key features that don't justify the saving?
I finished watching Chernobyl this week - it reminded me about the website 'Nukemap' by Alex Wellerstein. You can superimpose a nuclear blast of your choice on any location and see what the blast, fall out etc. would be.
Hours of fun, especially if you live near an air force base or power station!
Voiced By Guides
That nuclear blast map thing is something I've long been obsessed with. I think there was a version of it around since the early days of the internet, but I'm pretty sure I saw something similar in a book or a magazine when I was growing up. I do sometimes wonder what effect the constant threat of nuclear war had on me.
For all the awfulness the world currently faces - climate change being the biggest one, the steady rise of the far-right being the other - they're more a slow burn. Kids today don't live with the feeling that the entire world could go up in flames at the drop of a "pinny".
I've got a few friends that are vegetarians and a few that are vegan. I have no problem with that (obviously, because they're my friends). However, my vegan pals all drive cars. I'm yet to broach them with the subject, but do they realise where their petrol and diesel originates from?
That being said, how can they not like cheese? I'm sure they do, but it is probably something to do with personal morals - but when have you ever seen an unhappy cow? I might be some sort of buffoon or something, but I'm pretty sure cows like providing milk, especially when they're being fed and looked after as part of the whole lactating recompense... especially making sure they're not attacked by wolves and lions.
Now, on to more serious matters. Yorkshire puddings. Why bother when you can buy such sumptuous morsels from the frozen section in Aldi and suchlike? It's the same with eggs - why bother with them chicken things when you can buy them from Aldi and suchlike?
As a meat eating vegan myself it makes far more sense to buy your cheese, eggs and suchlike from a shop. No bother, no death, no harm!
I have terrible hay fever yet again so I'm going to go now to find even more evidence that ghosts are not real.
So! Dr Mario World is really dreary. I assumed it would be good - because it is a Mario game - but it has the usual slow-to-accumulate-turns that you can pay real money to get a few more of.
Throw in random character drops, and you’ve got a real turd of a game. They even ditched the classic gameplay to make it feel more like Candy Crush or something! Utter dog dirt. (Full disclosure: opinion based on 40 levels of single player. I didn’t try the versus mode, which is rumoured to be all right.)
Why am I complaining about this here? Because nobody else will listen to me about this sort of nonsense!
Anyway. Hope the live show goes well! I regret not being there already, but my wife would probably leave me if I ditched the family holiday. Looking forward to whatever glimpse of proceedings us non-attendees might get.
With a week to go I think it's time to launch ChunkyText, the teletext service for Chunky Fringe at Digitiser Live!
ChunkyText can be viewed on your PC or mobile device by visiting
Marvel at pages recovered from VHS tape, and the articles and artwork submitted by the digi/teletext community.
ChunkyText isn't just a blocky one way street either. In a wildly irresponsible move I'm handing you the internet the keys to the pixelated bus, in the form of the 'Block Party teletext editing server'.
Using the editors provided, you can craft your own teletext drawings of worms, slippery barrel reviews, adverts for swan repellent, whatever takes your fancy, and have it go live on the service at the push of a button!
The editing server is at http://blockparty.zxnet.co.uk
Finally there's also a twitter scraper (on page 130) looking out for your tweets mentioning #DigitiserLive, #ChunkyText, or #ChunkyFringe2019.
Have fun and let me know if anything breaks!
Also: go edit his thing.
Imagine all the people.
Sharing all the world.
It bloody isn’t possible though, is it? There’s literally billions of them. I’m struggling to imagine more than five or six and even then I’m duplicating facial hair and shoes. I mean, I’d have a hard time imagining my friends sharing a pizza, so all the people sharing all the world is a pretty big ask.
How the hell does that guy get away with such nonsense?
Here come old flat top
He come groovin’ up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball
He one holy roller…
Dear Mr Biffo,
These are my favourite crisps:
Monster Munch (Pickled Onion/Beef)
Space Raiders (Pickled Onion/Beef)
Salt and Vinegar Chip Sticks
Walkers Worcester Sauce
That said, I'd eat any of them in an emergency.
Only Space Raiders get my seal of approval, even though KP declined to sponsor Mr Biffo's Found Footage when I asked them.
You know what I don't see these days? Tayto Puffs. Do they still do those? I once tried to buy a packet of them at a fun fair, and asked for a bag of crisps, pointing to them, and the woman serving snapped at me and said "They're not crisps - they're puffs".
What did it matter? Silly old cow.
Dear Mizzle Bizzle,
What sites do you use to get your actors from?
What would you recommend putting in a profile on the aforementioned website?
Possibly controversial, but what has happened to Gameplay Jenny/Jennyverse? Paul said there were only 4 of you when you said there were 5 in a recent video suggesting that she was no longer a part of Digitiser.
Stu (36, Birmingham)
I look for somebody who has something a bit quirky about them, though Fiverr isn't what it was a couple of years ago. The people on there are more slick now.
Nothing controversial to say about Jenny - I've mentioned it a few times now. Simply that she didn't want to do Digitiser anymore. That's it.
Dear Mr Biffo
Why does autocorrect want to correct your perfectly reasonable name to Mr Boff?
391) What is your view of emulation? Should old games ideally be played on original hardware, including controllers, or does authenticity not matter greatly?
392) Do you think that Nintendo's cautious approach to creating new IP internally have more to do with them being risk-averse or do their customers not embrace non-Mario and Zelda games enough?
393) Have the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, or at least the idea of a non-cosmetic, mid-generation upgrade been a success in your opinion?
394) It is often reported in articles about diversity/representation in computer games that players are split ~ 50/50 between male and female. If you examine the demographics more closely, it is clear that there is high skewing towards each gender depending on game platform, with 'traditional' console games being far more popular with men and mobile games being dominated by women.
Is this likely to be a significant barrier to improving representation in the console/PC space?
395) As someone whom I believe is a Londoner (it's not always easy to tell what is and isn't London), what games do you think capture the city well? To me, it often seems that portrayals of London slip into caricature.
391) For me, playing on the original hardware is a faff, and emulation offers a ton of benefits; sharper visuals, the option to save, instant loading. I get the appeal of loading something up in the old-fashioned way, but emulation is just so much more convenient.
392) I don't think it's true that Nintendo's customers don't embrace new IPs. Splatoon has been pretty successful for them. Arms less so, perhaps, but they're two examples of very Nintendo-y games which aren't Mario and Zelda inspired.
393) I don't have the sales stats to hand, but I don't really get a sense that most people are even aware that there are different tiers of power for the PS4 and Xbox One. I mean, the benefits offered by the supposed upgrade are so slight as to be unnoticeable to the average punter.
394) Yeah, it's true - according to research - that the split is along console/mobile lines. Ultimately, I think it's going to come down to more women working in the games industry, more female voices and perspectives being put in games. It's why I have such issue with the storytelling in the recent Tomb Raider games. I know the scripts were written by women, but the teams working on those games were primarily male, nd you can see that reflected.
395) I wrote about this recently! I'm not sure many - if any - games capture London as I experience it. I mean, I'm a suburbs boy anyway. I love London, but I only go into the centre of town if I'm forced to. It's full of people. Those guys are the worst!
Still being gay at my boyfriend's house so very little to say, but you asked for letters so HERE WE ARE.
Do you have any funny stories from your time working at Teletext that you haven't shared publicly yet?
When did you last have a poo?
Have a great week,
I have a memory of us going out at lunchtime and visiting a charity shop, and buying one of those robes that Islamic men wear (I've looked it up and they're called "thobes", "thawbs" or "dishdashas" which are all very funny words, and I swear I didn't make that up), and then wearing it. You probably couldn't do that today. I just thought it was a smock!
Actually, maybe I had exhausted my arsenal.
Poo? Yesterday. I'm generally an after-lunch poosmith.
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