Obviously, if you haven't backed it yet... go here immediately to make this show a grand reality, and get some sweet rewards. It's all very exciting.
But enough about that for the moment: 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 early to this place here: email@example.com
Why do games say they are gonna launch, only to give you another loading screen, or a countdown that once again just takes you to a loading screen of a map?
Far too much of this happens, it's the same with % bars, they make no sense and their timescale is backwards and does not explain a thing.
Chew on that.
I wrote a letter for last Friday, but I was too drunk on gin to actually write it (real story: hospital again). However, I did plan on writing one, and you'll probably get another one from me in a day or two.
I'm looking forward to your upcoming show - its name escapes me right now but I suspect it's called The Super Gaming Show or something. If it is then I must warn you that the word Gaming has been trademarked by me. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
It's nice to hear that Larry is being involved - he's a great fella (yes, I've had communications with him over the years), and is really quite clever and witty. If you need any fill-ins or such like I'm always available (apart from when I'm sectioned / hospital). Gaming Mill is here for you Sir - but YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
I am fit but it pain and that is all.
Inspired by Andy Madin’s Letter I thought I’d share the best thing I’ve ever seen.
I was walking back from the chip shop with a friend in sixth form during the lunch break (mainly because we were at an all boys school and the local all girls school also congregated at said chip shop) when said friend stood in a rather massive dog turd that I’d noticed but failed to point out to him.
He then proceeded to skid a good half metre or more on one foot down the street, his arms circling comically in an attempt to stay upright.
He finally came to a stop - still upright remarkably - utterly baffled as to what had just happened.
So he turns round to see a very long streak of poo (can we say shit on your hallowed forum?) on the path behind him and me crying with laughter.
He was usually a good humoured fellow but on this occasion he failed to see the funny side.
This was, of course, only last week etc.
So, by the time the Friday letters page comes around, the grand Digitiser The Show Kickstarter will have blown its big brown starting horn and we’ll all be pouring our filthy lucre in your general direction. Lap it up good.
I think we all appreciate how big a deal this is for you, for Digi, and for all of us fans. Thanks for taking it on, for having such ambitious plans, and continuing to build the Digi legacy in such an exciting way. Masses amounts of luck to you and the team, I hope you get all the funding you need and then some. Can’t wait to see the results!
On a different note, I was reminded by your answer to the ‘best thing you’ve ever seen’ question last week - specifically your mum and the seesaw - about a couple of incidents that I’d probably rank similarly highly for myself. Both of them involved geometry and gravity in sublime partnership.
The first happened when I was about 13 or 14. A bunch of kids from my year had gone on a school trip to Germany, and upon their return we learned that the trip had been overshadowed by a mysterious wallet thief, who’d made their way ransacking various classmates’ wallets. Eventually they found the culprit, and it turned out to be the nicest, quietest boy, the kind of kid you’d never suspect.
Anyway, about a month after they got back and this gossip had gone round the school enough that his identity was pretty much an open secret, me and my group of friends were sat in a classroom one wet break time, bored and irritable. My friend Graeme kept winding up my friend Mike, who for some reason had his wallet on the desk and kept tossing it from hand to hand. Eventually Graeme got annoyed by this, grabbed the wallet, and lobbed it the full length of the classroom.
Over the other side of the room sat the wallet collector, with his coat on the back of his chair. The wallet streaked through the air in a perfect arc, landing in the thief’s coat pocket with a silky ‘phwish’, like when a snooker ball gets potted and barely touches the sides. It was beautiful - such a smooth action, as if they were meant to be together - the wallet just needed to be in his pocket.
We fell about in uproarious laughter at the perfect accidental satire of the situation, and the ridiculous chances of that even being possible if we’d tried. The wallet thief hadn’t even realised what happened, so when Mike went to go and get it back things got a bit heated. But, oh, that was funny.
The other Best Thing happened a few years later. I was in my late teens and had been kicking a football around in the garden for a while. My mum had been in a bit of a ratty mood with me all day for some reason, can’t remember why, but I was in my teens, so it was probably my fault. Anyway, she saw me with the ball and came storming out of the house, shouting at me to watch the flower beads and not to damage anything.
We argued briefly and she turned to go back inside. She’s just started walking back when, in a fit of frustrated rage, I punted the ball straight up, high into the sky. It hung suspended for what seemed like an age, before rocketing back down, and thumping dead into the middle of Mum’s head, still with her back to me, making her reel off to the side like in a cartoon, and making the most satisfying ‘boing!’ sound.
Without thinking about the consequences I immediately collapsed on the floor in a fit of hysterics. I’d clearly not intended to do it, but if I had wanted to get my own back, that would have been a good way to do it, but the shot could never have been successfully made intentionally. Well, I was laughing at that, and the sight of Mum careering off to the side from the impact. It was just so spectacularly ridiculous to see.
Needless to say she was FURIOUS with me and was convinced I’d done it intentionally - again, could never have done it if I’d tried. I probably got confined to my room for a week or something. Which at that age probably isn’t much punishment.
So what I learned from both of these incidents is that the majesty of gravity never fails to surprise and delight. And that I am a terrible person.
But it was so funny.
One was on a school trip, and we went to a theme park, where my mates and I befriended some German boys. We hung out with them all day, and taught them some important English phrases, including "sheep shagger". As we were heading back to the coach at the end of the day, we passed a mother and her daughter, and one of the German boys ripped the girl's candy floss off its stick, stuffed it into his mouth, and called her a "sheep shagger".
Secondly, Digitiser's Mr Hairs and I went to the Munich Beer Festival some years back where, oddly, we once again befriended some German teenagers, and taught them the phrase "sheep shagger".
They, in turn, taught us some choice German words, and we all sat outside a beer tent shouting at one another in our opposite languages...
Until a German beer-serving lady came and told them to make us stop. I still don't know what we were saying, but from the look on her face it wasn't a pleasant turn of phrase.
Word up, Mr Biffo
Thanks for the info about lighting spacesuit helmets. Although frustrating, it all makes perfect sense and it's good to hear an actual reason, rather than film makers simply wanting their costumes to look rad.
Back to matter in hand, I thought I'd write you a letter while I take a break from watching all 94 episodes of Mahabharat back to back.
I'm not sure the VHS player will take the strain to be honest. There's a faint burning smell and it sounds like a hamster being held a bit too tightly, perhaps because someone loves it too much - somehow gasping and squeaking at the same time. But I really need to get these watched and get them back to the local library. The tapes are taking the entirety of the spare bedroom and some of the utility room, which need to be cleared for next week's delivery of Eastenders. All of it - two vans worth. Can not effing wait.
I hope to get that watched by August, then I'll get stuck into the remastered BBC weather on DVD. I've heard it's good and ends up with a dramatic finale when the Met Office info is replaced by MeteoGroup. Some say it goes downhill with the new graphics because viewers can't tell snow from cloud and that the 'Belfast' label briefly covered the majority of Dumfries and Galloway. I shouldn't really talk about spoilers in case anyone else has this lined up also.
Anyway, I hope you're well and completely and pointlessly up to date with with my viewing habits.
I best get back to Mahabharat.
p.s. I've just seen the trailer for Netfix's 'Lost in Space'. Yep. Interior lights. Obvs.
Mr Grimsdale here. I just wanted to know your opinion on the new Mary Poppins trailer. Do you think there's an actress that can follow Julie Andrews? I'm a bit worried that Emily Blunt has turned Miss Poppins a bit nasty.
On another note, I brought an Xbox one X recently and was a bit underwhelmed by the 4k ness if it all. I have 4k tv and Hdr so I'm sure I should have been more impressed. Anyway after playing cuphead and Pubg for a bit I made the decision to sell it. So if anyone else is in my situation where you wanted to see the most powerful console ever, please lower your expectations.
Thought you would enjoy this.
Can you imagine if I did?
I bet you’ve got a busy morning planned!
I mean, you will have had the usual Friday letters to compile and reply to, which I imagine takes an hour or two at least. There is also a slim chance it is your “bin day” too, so you may have a small section of time set aside to putting your bins out. Who knows what kind of exciting, crazy showbiz world you live in?
But most importantly the 9th March is, what will henceforth be knows as, Digitiser Day. A day when you will be flooded with messages from various social media streams.
It is also a day to celebrate Mr. T and Long Chinned Men. A day when people will hug their Atart STs and spitefully prod other peoples Amigas. And a day when I, for one, will be backing Digitiser : The Show on Kickstarter.
I have no idea what kind of nonsense you have in mind to put onto film, no idea what stretch goals you are setting (ok, I could probably guess maybe one or two of them), and I know of only one of the perks we will be able to pledge towards, but I am still really looking forward to the journey and the end product.
Just wanted to say that I hope it goes well, man! Proper looking forward to whatever you end up creating.
Incidentally, I have learned that it is 15 years to the day that Digitiser ended. Digitiser the Show was clearly written in the stars.
I’ve been enjoying the little promo spots you’ve done for the Digitiser Show. Particularly the little game screenshots with your message skilfully woven into it. Are these purely your magical Photoshop skills or are you using something else to create them?
They’re lovely and it might be nice to see similar ones with other messages in. Not sure what though.
My Kickstarter funds are poised at the ready...
As a life long fan of the Teletext and now website I am tickled pink about the upcoming Kickstarter. I fear my wallet may explode at the speed at which I plunk my pennies down. What can can you suggest to prevent monetary combustion?
Bob the Bashful
I wrote you a mammoth letter about Playstation VR, and how it had reinvigorated my interest in videogames. Since then, I’ve discovered Ultrawings, which is up there in my all time top ten of games that are just plain old fun.
But the fun games seem few and far between now - they just don’t make them like they used to. There are no Crazy Taxis, Jet Set Radios, Outrun 2s etc. these days, and my previous ramble was written in the hope it would persuade you to give VR another go because it’s a return to those days when the focus was on FUN.
Well, forget that. I still love the VR, but I bought a Nintendo Switch, and it’s a total joy. Mario Odyssey has buckets of that pure fun that I love. No lives counter to speak of, no forcing you to try and kill a boss twenty times. It’s fun, and it’s more fun, and really good fun, all at once. I am very happy with my purchase and I recommend it.
But you know the best thing about the Switch? Something that I hadn’t even realised the other consoles can’t do.
You think, “you know what, I fancy a game of Mario.” You pick up the controller and press the power button. 5 seconds later, the game is on your TV and you’re playing it, exactly where you left off. You can play for 5 hours, or 5 minutes, it doesn’t matter.
I can’t begin to explain what a fantastic difference this makes. Now I own the Switch, the other consoles seem to take forever to power on, and then they download update after update.
The games have lengthy tutorials, unskippable cutscenes, hundreds of menu options. Everything feels like it’s trying to be a movie. I’m reminded of when a friend recommended The Last of Us, telling me it’s a bit slow for the first five hours but then it gets really good. Five hours?
Switch takes me back to the days when you could have a quick 5 minute blast on a game. The current gen seems to have forgotten that people might want to do that. I still love my VR, but I see a real gap in the market that Switch fills neatly – a games console that’s simple, and all about fun and entertainment.
Other companies need to up their game, because every time you play the Switch, you are reminded of how no-one else comes close to the magic that Nintendo bring to videogames.
It's just... lovely.
VR as a concept I do like (albeit with the caveat that it's never going to be mass market). But you know when you've had, say, a bad KFC and you get food-poisoning, and even though you like KFC you then don't have it for years? Yeah, well, that's where I'm currently at with my PSVR.
A few years ago, I was given a reel to reel tape deck, and a few boxes of tapes. This was a bit of a surprise, as I was told that there was only one box, but in reality, there were about five. These belonged to my grandfather. He had died in the mid 1980s, and his friend had kept his tape player and tapes. Now he wanted rid of them, and I decided that, yes, I’d take them. I didn’t want them going to a dump before I could review, and possibly digitise them.
After all, how long would it take to do one box? About as long as it would take to play them. Multiply that by five, do you get the idea of the size of the task. That’s two runs through the player for each tape, if the recording is in stereo. Four if the recordings are mono, as the tape deck could do the trick of recording mono on one stereo channel, and then more mono on the other. Turn the tape over for more of this. There are buttons to press to get this to work. Thankfully, each tape is colour coded so you know what the settings are.
The tapes are recordings, mostly from the radio (and mostly from Radio 3, so it’s all classical stuff), of concerts, studio recordings and other associated stuff, dating from the 1960s to the time near his death. Every tape is numbered, labelled and catalogued. In fact, as well as the boxes of tapes, several black ring binders came along too. That’s the index to the whole thing. If you want a piece by a composer, you look it up in the books, and you get the tape number, side, tape speed, whether it’s a mono or stereo recording.
It is nothing but organised, this collection, and the cataloguing is very thorough.
Contained in each tape box, is an index card. That card carries details of the recording. The composer, conductor, any soloists, time and date of broadcast. There’s a lot of other detail there too, all lovingly written in his best doctor’s handwriting. I’d joke that I had to take it to a pharmacist to decipher, but it did seriously cross my mind at one point.
Also contained within these tape boxes are cuttings from newspapers - mostly from the radio listings in The Times or the Radio Times. They give background to the piece in question, and may list more details of those involved in what has been recorded. And this is where Fritz the Cat comes in. That review I sent in last week is on the back of one of those cuttings.
So now you know why I have this small clipping. It’s all down to my grandfather’s meticulous documentation of his recordings, and a happy accident that on one day, the information he wanted to keep matched exactly with a small paragraph review of a dubious cartoon of a cat on the other side of the paper.
I have yet to come across anything that fortunate in the other tape boxes.
All the best,
Morning Rat Fans. I’m going to assume that given you’re a middle-aged man who plays computer games that you might enjoy the Culture novels of Iain “M” Banks. Did you see that they’re going to make it into a telly programme?
As the genius behind your very own TV sci-fi epic, what do you make it of it all? Will there be enough bums? Will there be too many bums? Will there be just the right amount of bums? Or, to pointlessly repeat myself, will there be enough bums?
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
I'm incredibly fussy with books. If they don't grab me in the first 20 pages I'm done, but I can't really say what it is about Artemis that I like. Well, relatable characters, a compelling setting and decent writing helps... I've also stuck with a lot of old rubbish which doesn't have the latter, just because it has, y'know, time travel or something in it.
I think I may have already sent you a Friday Letter already this week - I could check but I have no idea how to use the internet, let alone read or write.
Anyway, I'm pretty sure I didn't send one last week and my most sincerely, gravest apologies for that. I did have a good reason though - I decided to start unpacking some of my stuff from when I moved into this place in January 2017 and I found this little beauty, all the way back from the olden times or something:
The downside is is that I couldn't find my passport during my 'essential' unpacking and I'm not allowed to go abroad without it. That's nearly £4000 down the drain to spend a long weekend within the Arctic Circle to pet some of those big, friendly albino bears. As my ex used to say: "They look so cute! Can we have one?" Apparently it was all-inclusive too.
My real reason for wanting to go there was because I thought the cold might do my knackered ankle forward slash foot some good. I was so convinced that it would that I only packed left shoes and socks in my Tesco Bag For Life, all ready for my stay, so that my busted foot would 'really feel the benefit'.
Ah well, such is life.
I am strong but unwell and that is all,
I said I would write a letter and here it is, even if it IS a last minute low effort one.
I was just wondering with all the talk of being more accessible and less out there whether there was going to be any poo on this Digitiser The Show? I know there will be less, and fully understand why, but I would find it hard to back an enterprise that was completely devoid of voiding.
By the time you type this up, and certainly by the time anyone is reading it I'll have backed it anyway, but I just wanted to find out so I can make a song and dance about cancelling my pledge if there isn't any poo.
I pledge to write one of my special stories once the Kickstarter gets funded. I will write two of my special stories if it does not get funded.
OK BYE ALL THE BEST
In a related note, while I think it'll be more accessible than FF, it'll only be as accessible as Digitiser ever was. Once again, it's still me doing it and I'm incorrigible. I've just had to stress the accessible part, because people keep asking me if it'll be more accessible than FF, and... well... marketing and that. We want people to be excited for it of course, and there were plenty of people for whom Found Footage was too weird.
Though I had some twat on Twitter this morning telling me that hyperbole doesn't work as a marketing tool - right around the point that we smashed our funding goal - so I'm damned whatever I do.