This means you won't be getting a new Digi video today (that's Friday, future folk), but you'll at least be able to enjoy Paul Gannon's Cheapshow without distraction. You all love him in Digi, you all love Fat Sow, so please go and subscribe to his foul-mouthed comedy economy podcast to get him off my back, for pity's sake.
This Sunday's video is a bumper backer Q&A special, as many of you have been asking for longer videos. So, I thought we should give one a "whirl".
Talking of Gannon, we are now just three weeks away from the event known as Digitiser Live, which will feature the entire Digi gang; me, him, Larry and Octav1us. We'll also be joined on stage by a bunch of special guests, including Ashens, Sooz Kempner, Kim Justice, DJ Slope - and more!
By now, you should all have received an email regarding details of how it's going to work. If you didn't receive that, or you have tickets you no longer need for some stupid reason - like, you've only just realised how far away London is from where you live, or you're now planning to have diarrhoea that night - please email us asap.
But right now? Why... right now it is letters time!
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
That Molyneux song of yours is the best thing I've heard for the last couple of months. Do you suppose Peter Molyneux is the Boris Johnson of video games?
Moc-Moc A Moc
Also... if you're coming to the live show, without giving away too much, I recommend you learn the lyrics to the Molyneux song...
Here's my guess at why you have a relatively high proportion of "patrons" among your readers/viewers:
There are plenty of people who enjoyed reading your Teletext columns and used to subscribe to monthly video games magazines. Print magazines are very much in decline, but we are happy to pay a similar amount again to keep reading your content.
In contrast, people aren't accustomed to paying to watch TV shows (other than through the TV Licence), and that may be the audience that YouTube is capturing.
Keep up the good work.
I'd noticed that, despite being a relatively tiny fish in the gaming pond, Digi has a very passionate, very supportive audience - willing to fund things like Found Footage, Digitiser The Show, and help us sell out live shows. We have more Patrons than other, much bigger, creators, and I found that curious.
We must be doing something right, but gawd knows what.
Mr Biffo, your Digitiser channel seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?
I'm not that bothered really. As per the answer above, so long as the people who are watching and reading love what we're doing, then numbers don't matter... but I do wish I was better at SEO, and clickbait, and all that. It does feel that more people could be enjoying the stuff we're putting out, if only they knew of it.
I admit, I already struggle a bit with the demands of an audience the size of the one we have - in terms of keeping on top of messages, and feeling like I'm engaging - so at the same time I do worry about it becoming too popular.
Conversely, a bigger audience would mean we could, potentially, fund bigger and better projects. So... from that point of view, it is important to me that Digi continues to grow. The website was very much in decline before the channel properly started up, and it's given me a degree of hope that one day I'll be able to afford to dedicate more time to all things Digi.
Hello! I am currently at my boyfriend's house. Today (27/06/19) is his 19th birthday. He is very good.
Also: do you like FMV games like Double Switch and The Bunker? If so, which ones do you like best? If not, why not?
With Harry Potter: Wizards Unite now out, and spellcasting largely consisting of drawing magic magic "e" on troll's crotches, I was going to ask what's the best implementation of magic in a game.
However, as the the answer is clearly Lucasfilm Games' Loom, I'd rather know what's your favourite word that gets transformed by magic magic "e"?
You can't have 'shit becomes shite' with me.
Press reveal to see a scene from Harry Potter:
What with "Glastonbury fever" sweeping the nation I found myself dreaming last night that I was playing a videogame set on site at "Pilton" where a zombie outbreak started off in the Healing Fields which you and the MMO masses had to contend with. And the bands played on regardless...
This has prompted me to ask, what is your favourite ever music-based game? Mine's "Just Shapes & Beats" on Switch - stunning.
Second place, "Wham! The Music Box" on Spectrum - I still find this version [https://youtu.be/oNDVJLma-W4] of Careless Whisper freewheeling round my mind sometime.
This being Digitiser, the thought of Glastonbury toilets should also prompt me to tell you about my experience this week when problems with a workplace soil pipe caused me to experience a sit-down toilet "in reverse" when an impromptu fountain of waste water attempted to colonically irrigate me. However I'm much too polite to share such a thing (poolite).
Hello. Has Mr. Biffo ever been mistaken for former Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo? At the very least he's clearly stolen your hairdo. That's copyright infringement, that is.
A jealous balding man in his 30s
In 5 words or less, how would you fix the global climate disaster that’s currently happening?
You're stuck on a desert island with eight song choices to keep you company. (I got this idea from some radio show somewhere)
HOWEVER! Each song is an 8-bit version of the original.
What eight songs would you go for?
Dear Mr Buffalo,
I wholeheartedly agree with your post about how Britain is depicted in games.
Despite punching above our weight internationally in games development (seriously, Rockstar, Rare, Codemasters, Bullfrog… why isn’t Silicon valley here!? Take a look at this list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_game_companies_in_the_United_Kingdom), we don’t tend to see games that are truly British these days.
As such, I wanted to pitch an idea to you. If you like the idea, perhaps you’d like to write the script, learn to code, design the game, do all the art, test it, then publish the game entirely by yourself.
The game is called Bin Day. It’s a bit like Paperboy. You’d go down the street in your lorry, avoiding hazards such as urban foxes, drunks and dog poo, and collect everyone’s bins before noon. You’d have to make sure you pick up the right colour bins on the correct days, or else someone will grass you up to the council.
Occasionally, someone will come running after you because they forgot it was bin day, and you’ll get extra points for going back for their bins if you’ve got time. On each level there’s at least one bin that a crazy lady has put a cat in, so you’d have to avoid that one or else you’ll get docked 10,000 points.
I hope you like the idea and I will look forward to its release soon.
PS. Your idea about a Parent’s Evening game is also a good one. Make it one of those interactive novel things but you have to raise two kids, making parental decisions through a series of dialogue choices.
If you focus too much on one child, the other child starts smoking. The titular parent’s evening is like a summary of your progress throughout the year. “Yes, Timmy is doing very well in Maths, but he drew several anatomically accurate anuses in his history book. Perhaps it’s time for ‘the talk’”.
But yeah - a parents evening game... I would play that, so long as it accurately depicts the utter tedium of parents evening; the overrunning timetable, because certain teachers talk in far too much depth about each child, and drone on and on and on, and have no concept of sticking to a schedule...
Worse still are "information evenings" - about college, and A-levels, and school trips. Just give us the info in a letter. Don't make me leave the house. Don't pretend you want to be there any more than I do.
Just wondering,how do you folks feel about the original Intellivision game console? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Sonic runs at the speed of light so he should be able to run off the edge of the earth.
If the earth is “round” as people suggest he would have reached high enough speeds to fuck off from this miserable planet and that’s why he’s gay.
It's hot isn't it? As hot as the Mako reactor at Mt. Nibel! Ho Ho!
Final Fantasy VII reference, yay!
Also I find that Sony are pretty much a bunch of knobheads. I am now down to 3 games on my PS4 because games are so huge and the hard drive being shite. I refuse to buy an external hard drive, because.
Jim Leighton (Future World Darts Champion) x
Dear Mr Beef-oh.
I'm sorry to make this your problem, but I really don't know where else to turn.
For about six months now, I have had an absolute nightmare with eggs. I'm talking extremely fragile shells, watery albumen and a yolk membrane with almost no integrity whatsoever.
It doesn't seem to matter where I buy my eggs from, they all have the same problem. The result? I haven't managed to fry a decent egg for my breakfast in months. If, and its a big if, the yolk doesn't break when dropping into the pan, the white is so inconsistent it spreads over half the pan, making it almost impossible to flip without tearing and then... yes you guessed it... the yolk splits.
All I want is a runny fried egg. Too often I leave the kitchen distressed and dejected, occasionally so disoriented by grief that I leave through the wrong door. The one that goes to the utility room and, ultimately, the hard porcelain reality of the bathroom, and not the one that leads to the living room and the comforting, delusional embrace of the sofa.
What is going on? I swear that less than a year ago I had no such problems. Has there been some subtle environmental change that has caused a wholesale weakening of the chicken's discharge? Have economic pressures on the poultry industry increased so much that farmers have en-masse switched to lower quality feeds containing less omega 3? I asked an old man and he seemed to feel that successive governments' failure to engage with his concerns over immigration was somehow key to the issue - I politely disagreed and wondered aloud if it might more likely be result of increased antibiotic use or growth hormones?
Why must the world we live in be quite so terrifying? Is the current global political instability a symptom or a cause? Am I asleep? Am I dreaming? Why do I feel like I'm being watched when I'm in the woods, even though I'm heavily camouflaged and can whisper-walk like a Native American?
In all honesty, I don't expect you to have the answers. You're just one man. So far as I know.
I've typed this with my tongue.
Love and sputum,
P.S. Old computer games are great, aren't they?
Hello Mr Biffalo man.
Has there ever been a series you've been a fan of and been majorly let down or disappointed by? Whether TV, game, movies, books or even crisps if ya want.
I've tried watching Discovery, but found the first series interminably dull, so skipped ahead to the second series, because everyone told me it was better. I lasted three episodes.
Also, yeah... the Sonic The Hedgehog games which, between Sonic 2 and Sonic Mania were all disappointing to one degree or another.
Press reveal to see a scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation...
This question's more directed to Mr. Biffo himself.
I'm very interested in learning how your sense of humour developed? For lack of a better word, it's very unique - eclectic, whilst not being completely random.
More than anything, I want to know why you buy so much bad taxidermy - don't you find that stuff especially unsettling?
Hope you all the best, and see you next month!
I don't know about my sense of humour developing, more that I'd come across stuff that chimed with it, which I'd always feel as if it had been made just for me. Like, the first time I watched Monty Python, or The Young Ones, or Vic and Bob, or read Viz.
As for the bad taxidemery... I dunno. I've just always been fascinated with it. Oddly, I was talking with my mum the other day about a holiday we had in the summer of 1976. We stayed in a tall, thin, house in Scarborough, and my mother befriended - as she inevitably does - the woman who lived next door. Her house was like some gothic, colonial, nightmare - all massive plants, and creepy statues... and stuffed animals. And that's always stayed with me.
It's not for me to say whether there's a correlation between this also being the holiday where I got my head stuck in some railings, and had to be rescued by a passer-by.
Incidentally, I never actually bought any stuffed animals until we needed set dressing for Digitiser The Show. We have a couple of them in our living room, but my wife - generally - refuses to have them in the house. Specifically, the new Big One...
I recently had to play a lot of Fortnite with my little cousin (he's 11). It's like crack to him as it's popular, has dancing and building, but at a faster more chaotic rate then Minecraft.
I hate this game. I rarely play shooters these days. I don't have the reaction times for it!
I don't know a single friend my age who actually plays it and the only ones that still play shooters are playing stuff like Splatoon or Halo (which we've been playing for many years).
Whenever a new hot shooter comes out I just don't care, but young me was blown away as a kid when a new Doom, Unreal or Medal of Honor game came out.
Are there any popular games or genres that you've mostly just lost interest in, but the kids are all about still?
Dear Pink Biffoboe,
I play a fair amount of old games, ones which I didn’t play when they were new and now I’m catching up on them. A thing I like to do is to play them for a bit and form an opinion then look online to read a review from the time of its release –mainly from IGN because it’s been around forever.
Here are the results of my investigation:
1. Older reviews have a lot more of the writers personality in them, they’re a bit amateurish but it feels like something your friend (hypothetical) has written… also your friend thinks they’re funny but they aren’t.
2. Marquee games get gushing reviews. The cynic in me wants to blame payola but it’s possible that they’re just really enthusiastic about games.
3. Any “mature” title will do well because the reviewer is REALLY GROWN-UP and they’ll make a comment like: “Mario might be good enough for your little sister”.
4. Games are broken down into component parts: Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, Longevity. These days we expect all the parts to work together making categories defunct but it does provide a certain clarity as to what the reviewer though was good in a game.
5. Speaking of longevity, games are rewarded for having loads of stuff in them no matter what it is and are chastised for not having multiplayer no matter how inappropriate it would be. This is why every Rare platformer on the N64 has loads of mini games nobody ever played.
In summary, reviews were previously written by young people who liked games and were aimed at children who couldn’t afford to buy everything that was released.
Modern reviews are written by people with degrees in journalism who want to show off how clever they are but you often have no clue if they even played a game, never mind what they thought of it - the reviews are also aimed at boring old folks with no free time not rad kidz.
Now answer my questions about reviews!
1. What is the least amount of time you’ve played a game before doing a review?
2. What’s the best review you’ve ever written?
3. Do you still think Sonic 3 is a 72%?
2. I've literally no idea. Reviews are actually really boring to write, which is why I'm prone to going off at tangents. I've said it before, but I still bear the scars of an enormous lead review I had to write for PC Gamer (plus box-outs!) for some motorcycle game. I remember it being something like 6,000-words long. No review needs to be that long.
3. Yes. The first two are way better.
Dear Big B,
I'm wondering if you could answer a question which probably Google or Twitter could, but as you have requested letters I've decided to do it via you.
You are most welcome.
1. I used to read a Nintendo magazine that seemed to revolve around two writers, both of which were in cartoon form littered throughout the magazine. I remember the Terminator 2 issue had them on the cover (I think) driving the truck over the bridge. Any ideas?
2. What do you think of the 90s fad of every gaming magazine having cartoon versions of the writers?
3. I used to read Games-X. Be interesting to see how a weekly games magazine would cope nowadays?
4. What does Paul Gannon smell like? Is it Wotsits and ectoplasm?
5. Is this a suitable question with suitable follow up questions?
6. Was that a suitable question to end on?
Love Stu (36, Birmingham)
2. It used to annoy me, and then Retro Gamer offered to do my face as a cartoon, and it was the best day of my life. I'm a massive hypocrite!
3. Man... I also used to read Games-X. Did you know that Leslie Bunder - who came very close to being handed the reins of Digitiser at one point, because our editors hated Mr Hairs and I - wrote for it?
4. Cigarettes and poo.
Due to popular demand, by which I mean an optimistic interpretation of one Twitter survey, Chunky Fringe has been expanded to claim the whole of the Hatch End Suite. This means more gathering space, more seating for the panels, and more chance of disrupting Bronk's Memorial Service, again.
Unfortunately, we're still smaller than the main hall, so if the entire live show audience decides to turn up at once, we will have to turn some people away. However, a little excess demand will present the perfect opportunity for those you have dragged along to selflessly go to the bar instead, and there is a small section of reserved seating available: http://arbitraryfiles.com/events/cf19/index.html
It should be fine, though. I'm far more concerned that, after the cafe closes for the evening, there will only be four toilet cubicles and three urinals between five hundred bladders.
We have room for more exhibitors, but if you can't make it in person, then why not become a "Virtual Eric" on Chunkytext? Send Alistair (@zxguesser) your Teletext pages, pictures, or plain text, and he will turn them into something a little like this: https://tinyurl.com/y65cuvrq
I say again: if you can't make Digi Live, please contact us as there may be people who would like your ticket. Well, there are people who would like your ticket. We know that for a fact.
If you all message me on the actual day saying you've suddenly realised you can't make it, like so many did with Digifest and the Found Footage premiere, it won't be possible to contain my fury.
Pokemon Masters has had its first trailer released (yay). What is next for Nintendo's mobile Mafia?
Yes I'm asking you, I'm too lazy to answer my own questions, I might just be painted by someone who'll prove the painting is in "real time" by showing me lying in bed all day.
The BV Reviewer
P.S. R.I.P Etika, noone will ever be as great to watch react to Directs now, which is sad.
After many years of renewals I've finally let my Xbox Live Gold lapse. The writing had been on the wall a while, as I'd not bought a year's sub for a good while, instead preferring to do it three months at a time.
I soon realised that Games With Gold was the only anchor keeping me renewing, but to be honest the quality of freebies offered has plummeted anyway.
Annoyingly I missed the boat with regards PS+ offerings on Vita, and there isn't exactly a glut of quality content available each month otherwise. Is it even worth bothering with another online service? It's not like I play online multiplayer anyway.
That's without taking the borderline irrelevant Switch online service into account. Tetris seems to be the main draw there, the virtual console thing being a sop to those after the Virtual Console. Talking of Switch, I grabbed Crypt of the Necrodancer the other day, and I feel really bloody old playing it.
What's the point exactly?
PS. Anyone want a palm portable keyboard for the Tungsten t3? I bought the wrong one for my venerable Palm III.
Dear Mr Biffo.
1. Why does your Retro Gamer Avatar look like Charlie Brooker?
2. Which generation of Bungle from Rainbow is least terrifying?
3. How many billiard balls do you think it's possible to fit in an average sized sock?
A concerned fan.
2. The second version. The original was an abomination.
3. Five, tops.
Hello! Short time reader first time emailer. I have emailed other people in the past though this concept isn't entirely new to me.
I am a retro streamer and due to overwhelming choice I am stumped as what to play next. I'm thinking something mid 90s on any platform, any thoughts?
Do your worst.
Play Bishi-Bashi Special.
Hey, Mr Biffo. My 7 year old son, Leo, has 'made' himself an Xbox One controller and TV screen so he can 'play' his two favourite games whenever he isn't able to play on the actual console.
His drawings are ace, I'm sure you'll agree. Just wondered if you, or anyone else for that matter, fancy having a guess at what the games he's drawn are?
381) A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI recently showed that 70% of people who play computer games are not interested in streaming services for games. I find it hard to believe that this is a dislike of streaming in general as they probably like e.g. Netflix, Spotify etc. Is this mostly fear of change or is there something different about games being streamed?
382) Which company will stop manufacturing games consoles first and why: Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo?
383) Is now the best time to play computer games that there has ever been, in terms of choice hardware, range of games, price (or any of your own criteria)? If not, when do you feel was?
384) Which FPS series have you enjoyed more, Dishonoured, Deus Ex or Prey?
385) Which game had the best map and what made it so special?
I guess asking someone if they want a streaming service is a bit too abstract without there being specifics about what that service will look like. It's like when I asked on Twitter the other week whether people wanted a new series of Digitiser The Show or something different, along the lines of Found Footage, and they all voted for the wrong, safer, option.
382) It's just a punt, but I'm going to say Microsoft. I think they seem more bullish about streaming, and the Xbox is behind the other two, so there's less to lose.
383) Yeah, I honestly think it is.
384) Probably Deus Ex, just based upon how much I enjoyed the first one.
385) When you say map, I think immediately of the hand-drawn ones you used to get in games magazines. Therefore, I choose the Alien 8 map from Crash, because look at it: