I've got you lot to thank for most of the highs. This year I got to make Mr Biffo's Found Footage - the sort of freewheeling, sci-fi, comedy nonsense that I've always wanted to make, and that was down to the support of you fine people, as well as a whole bunch of incredibly dedicated, talented, creative types who gave up their time to help make it happen, from the cast to the crew.
I can't stress enough what a cathartic project it was, and it has really shown me that - after years of working solely in order to get paid - I value the experience, working with people I admire, and the creative outlet far more than cash.
That said, I owe a massive debt of gratitude to everyone who has backed me on Patreon or via PayPal, or on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You saved my pigs-in-blankets more than once, and without you there would've been no Digitiser2000 or Found Footage. There's also a lovely, warm, friendly, welcoming community that has grown up around it all, and it has been an honour to watch it grow.
Thank you. You've been brilliant.
Lastly, huge, huge public thanks to Steve "Horsenburger" Horsley, and my wife-to-be Sanya for being there through the entirety of Found Footage. They're the real unsung heroes of the show - and Sanya does a lot of meat-and-potatoes work that she doesn't get enough credit for, which frees me up to work on Digi, while also juggling the day job.
Next year, starting January 1st, will be Digi's 25th anniversary. Starting on January 1st we'll have a week of brand new "classic" Digitiser - and if you want to feature on the letters page, please send your (brief - teletext pages have limited space) anniversary/retrogaming-themed emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, yes but is Lethal Weapon a Christmas film?
The recent Santa = Pervert comments seem a bit off. Yes, only funnies about a (sorry readers!) fictional character, but don't you think it's slightly incongruous with your more serious moments about sex offenders?
Obviously, vetting adults with access to children is good. Vetting children too might be wise, given their natural inclination to move in for the kill at a whiff of individuality or unfashionable clothes.
It's no biggie, but was enough to jog my memory about the paedophile scare of the late 90's. The only good thing that came from that was the Brass Eye special. I tried asking your secret friend Mr. Irony if I was missing the point, but he just said my keyboard smelled like hammers.
Yes, it's almost Christmas, and I can't be bothered to work either. So here's an alternative suggestion for lazy humour: classic Digitiser characters reveals in this very letters page! You know, fan favourites like Mr. T's Shoe, The Rapping Snakes, and Phone Man.
Heck, even outside of the world of entertainment, I sort of wonder it about pretty much every bloke I meet.
"Is he a pervert? Would he be a pervert given sufficient power? Has he done stuff that could be construed as harassment? He's a bit weird... is that a symptom of something more?"
And - in terms of me doing funnies - I can't really do what I do in a vacuum, because I never have done. It affects me, it unnerves me, and I find it hard to switch that off. If I'm to continue producing stuff that's sincere and true, and meaningful to me, then I can't really self-censor. Comedy, for better or worse, is sort of what I do.
Plus, something I learned when I did my psychotherapy training is the importance of being able to laugh, as a form of catharsis. I'm a firm believer that comedy can also make important points - it can make you laugh and think - and while I wouldn't put my Santa = Pervert comments up there with, I dunno, Peter Cooke or somebody, I don't feel it was laughing at the very idea of dirty sex pests, or the victims.
It's more about how ludicrous it is that we find ourselves in a world where we're forced to question all those people who we put on a pedestal, because they're famous, or powerful, or our heroes. If that makes you uncomfortable... well, job done. What I wrote was meant to.
Anyway. It's incredibly depressing, not least for the fact that I've had to explain my tongue-in-cheek comments, but I'll take your suggestion. Press reveal to see a classic Digitiser character!
I generally ramble a bit in email, so - as a Christmas treat - I'm not going to.
I'd like to thank you for giving thousands of people something intriguing, interesting, funny and surreal to watch this year. I'd also like to thank you for letting me be involved in a small part of it.
From what you've written since the series finished, you seem to be happy with how it turned out, and that's very important to all of us who supported you.
Have a great Christmas and we all look forward to what's coming in the New Year
AKA Scottish Terrorist Number 1
AKA Associate Producer
I think all Star Wars fans probably have a Star Wars film script in them, and given Disney’s plans for a new film every year for the next 1000 years we all have a shot at getting at least one made. I want a Rogue Squadron film, me. Or maybe a movie about an Imperial occupation, ‘Allo ‘Allo meets Star Wars. An Admiral Ackbar biopic? (Subtext: The Last Jedi was all right, but I think any new Star Wars film will always struggle in balancing reverence to the source material with new ideas.)
Anyway. What’s your dream Star Wars film?
To close: thanks for all the Digitiser and Found Footage this year. Wishing you, yours, and all my fellow correspondents and commenters a happy end to 2017 and a 2018 filled with hope, joy and a Han Solo film.
I hope it’s not shit.
Can't say I'm massively excited at the prospect of the Han Solo film, but we'll see.
I’ve recently played through Uncharted 4 and I prefer it to Odyssey and Breath of the Wild.
Uncharted 4 is one of the best games I’ve ever played - Naughty Dog managed to make the whole pirate thing feel fresh and exciting and most of all - magical! I’ve since bought a load of books about Henry Every and it turns out that he ‘may’ have died near where I used to live… treasure hunt?
But anyway, I liked it so much I was almost ready to buy The Last of Us - but I dunno - it all looks a bit nasty… not really into that.
So yeah, my game of the year would have to be Uncharted 4 - even though it came out last year.
If we’re going to be sticklers for shit then I’d say Odyssey.
How about you? Just the Switch generally…. Battlefront II?
Other than that - thanks again for Found Footage - put a big grin on a fairly crappy year that did, sir! A very merry Christmas to you and family and all the lovely people on this ‘ere site! May 2018 make all your wildest dreams come true!
Oh, and what are you wishing for for Christmas? I’m hoping for a metal detector and a shovel… and a map.
Game of the year? Hmm. I avoided doing one of those lists, because they're a bit predictable. The Switch was definitely the gaming highlight of the year for me. Mario Odyssey, Zelda and the new/old Sonic would all make it into my list, were I to do one. Also, big ups to Assassin's Creed Origins for being the most gorgeous thing ever.
Fires went to ashes
And snow to slick mess
Candles pffd out wickless
Trees went undressed
Maggots fill the mince pies
They sat too long alone
Vinegar instead of wine
And silence where was song
These things did not happen
Everything is great!
I love my friends and family
and even more, on Christmas Day!
Hello Biffo, It will soon be 22 years since we first "met". You were hard to understand, your words distorted by distance. Although our reception of UK TV was generally fine, for some odd reason, Channel 4 was obscured by flecks of snow, its Teletext pages garbled.
I often had to loop Digitiser four or five times to get its full import, but it was always worth the wait (years on, I laugh bitterly at the impatience of today's youth as I review our Facebook insights at work).
I just wanted to say thank you, and also this:
Q: What would Mr. Biffo call his starter if he hosted a cannibals' dinner party?
A: A Digitiser!
Ho ho ho, it's nearly bloody Christmas! I hope everyone is prepped and ready for Santa to explode into their lives.
I notice in your xmas games list you didn't include C64's 'Christmas Arse Basket', a game in which, as Santa, you must drag your wicker wheelybin through the streets and catch all the falling arses dropped from the naughty elves above. In the snow?? If you say so!!! Rather him than me!!!!
As is now quite well documented, the original Sonic the Hedgehog started life here, as the entire game was a bonus reward for catching 5 arses in a row. Wow I really didn't have anything to say did I? Bet you I still hit send. Merry Xmas Biffo, and thanks for all your cultural treats this year.
Christmas, eh? Help me, but I’m not liking it at all this week. I think this is mostly because I’ve just felt ambivalent towards it, but exceptions are that I’ve got to like it. So I’m kind of fighting a losing battle with myself, and the part that really wants to like it is losing.
The allegory of this is my kitten, who we have named Zaphod. He’s 7 months old, and has never seen a Christmas tree before. So he’s climbing it, much to my annoyance, and he’s getting caught up in the lights, batting sparkling balls off the branches, and generally being very keen on “getting to the top”.
The thing is that I don’t really want him IN the tree. I’m fine with him sitting underneath it. Or next to it. Just not in it, in some frenzied ginger tabby ball of excitement. I’ve tried putting him out of the room for a while, but he’s straight back up the tree when he’s let back in. I’ve put orange peel in the tree - cats hate citrus, right? Yeah, until there’s a tree in the house. Then all bets are off. The other cats don’t do this, so I expect this is the impetuous excitement of a kitten.
So I’m losing this one. Badly. And this is how I feel about Christmas. I’m going to just let it happen, and personally, I’m looking forward to the 27th when all the insane lunacy and driving is over (Christmas is always a driving marathon for us - more so recently), and then I can rest for a while. Which is really what I want.
However, in the spirit of the season, Happy Christmas all! Here’s a video I made last year which I hope expresses the kind of Christmas you will all be having this year. It’s fine for what it is, etc..
Dammit - Zaphod’s’ in the tree again…
I would enjoy Christmas a lot more if we didn't have to make Christmas dinner - a meal I don't particularly enjoy anyway, which seems to take up the entire day - first the cooking, then a bit of eating, and then hours and hours of cleaning up. Personally, I'd be happy with a load of pretzel sticks and a tub of Celebrations.
You know that Paul McCaulyMcKulkin (you know, that guy from The Beatles that didn't like his last wife) song that's always played every year? They're the shitest lyrics ever; apart from the middle 8 he doesn't divulge in the lyrics from such a rubbish song.
I think he needs some proper sausages - it might cheer him up a bit... he can probably afford them. They're cheaper than the ones you can still buy using his wife Linda's brand name. Ironic, huh?
On the plus side, I get my new PC tomorrow. Mega powerful with a 28" 4k monitor. My Smoking Brother said "You'll still be playing Bejeweled Blitz on it". Yes. Yes, I will; and upscaled so it doesn't look tiny.
Merry Fetivus to Digi, family and the friends I've met and everyone else,
PS. I'm in so much bloody agony still. Sorry to have to share this but my new PC and some medicine that I have to take via capful doses that help me sleep a bit will make my Fetivus a joy. Bring it on, 4k Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Nothing like forever living the dream.
Two questions and an observation... Sounds like a Brit TV political programme doesn’t it?! Ha Ha! No.
Question 1: What is Doc Brown like as a person? He seems amiable and I find him funny. Loved his work in Life on the Road.
Question 2: Do you watch The Detectorists? You should, as it’s the best British comedy since Spaced (if not before).
Observation: You often write in a passive-aggressive (or positive followed by negative) style. Not a criticism as such but now that I’ve noticed, I cannot stop seeing it.
2. Yes! But only recently. We binged the entire series in about a week after we started. I'm gutted that it's finished. It's very gentle, but very real, and very funny. I loved it.
As for your last point... yeah, I do write in a passive-aggressive style sometimes. That's a bit weird really, because I'm don't think I'm like that in real life - but it's likely a holdover from the Digitiser days really. It's as much the "Digitiser style" as it is my style. Read my Retro Gamer column; I try to be less passive-aggressive in that, you big idiot.
Just a quick letter to say thank you for everything what you have done this year. Found Footage is the first thing I’ve backed that I’ve been genuinely happy with, and the fact I got to help with it and met so many lovely people through it is my own little highlight of the year. And I saw a sea turtle!
What was your personal best bit of the year?
I met - and became friends with - Asperger's Are Us, after watching their documentary on Netflix. They recited a Man's Daddy joke on stage when we saw them in Colchester, which was pretty damn surreal. The Found Footage premiere was a very special night - especially getting to meet so many backers. Filming an exciting speedboat stunt, for Manorak, was especially brilliant fun.
Also, I think - I hope - I made friends with a ton of other people through Found Footage that I otherwise wouldn't have met. Including Paul Gannon and Chris Bullock, to name but two, who I'm aiming to more stuff with in the near future.
There are so many highlights, and it sort of shows you how important Found Footage was to me when I tell you that being nominated for a BAFTA, as best kid's writer, and had a new CBBC show commissioned, don't even make it into my top 20.
Outside of all that, I got to go to a very lovely part of Croatia for a nice holiday, to see my in-laws, and discovered a broad array of Tuc biscuit flavours.
Please let me wish you and all the rest of the Digi community a happy Christmas and a great New Year.
2017 has been particularly trying for me personally, but Digitiser with its articles a mix of both the fun and the thought provoking and the consistently excellent comments sections are, for me, a place to come to relax and enjoy, thank you all for that. I hope that 2018 is all you could hope for.