Oh well! At least you have the Digitiser2000 Friday Letters page to cheer you up.
If you would like to appear on next week's page, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone, which nobody cares about - please send your emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I was just wondering, how close do you think the Found Footage that we're going to get is to the original idea behind when you first started it (even before the Kickstarter)?
Admittedly I'm terrible at spotting any hidden messages or meaning in things, but initially it felt to me very much like a random 'sketch show' type thing, with the 'found footage' mechanic a clever way to deliver it... However, the development updates seem to point at a much more story driven thing running through it. Did you always have the story, and Found Footage was the method you wanted to tell it?
Many Happy Returns (for whenever it's your birthday).
Bruce 'Bruce Flagpole' Flagpole
I wanted some sort of linking framework which - if this makes sense - justified its existence. Obviously, it's found footage... but then I started wondering where the footage came from. What was the origin of the tapes? Why was the footage on it so weird? I know that was all completely unnecessary, and nobody else would've been asking those questions, but it helped me structure my approach to the writing, so I wasn't just trying to come up with random ideas.
I can't remember what I originally asked for on Kickstarter... was it £2.5k? But anyway... it was only really when it went through the roof that I started thinking a bit more ambitiously about the kind of stuff we might be able to do. That fed into my need to justify the series in a narrative sense.
I wouldn't say there's a story running through it, but there is a backstory. I've actually dialled back on hidden messages a bit, as I felt they were distracting from the funnies, but you'll definitely get hints of backstory dropped in throughout the episodes... and then the final ep reveals what it has all been about.
Of course, it also still works as a random sketch show type thing.
So... tonally, it has remained consistent... and I knew early on roughly what I wanted to do with the final episode... But really, the thing that changed is that more people were kind enough to chip in and help fund it. When that happened, I didn't feel it was enough to just have a load of talking heads from crowdsourcing sites.
Also... I sort of wanted it to be about something...
Hooray! It‘s Pooet’s Corner with T. O. Ilet.
Writer Paul Rose
Planned some television Prose
But other foiled it
By blocking up his toilet.
Hi, seeing as others have been asking you questions, I thought I’d ask you one too. Have you ever bought a book from “under the counter” (this could also mean a book which was in a locked cupboard). It’s a funny experience, I can tell you, especially if you are in the children’s section of Waterstones.
The story is related to the release of the English translation of Tintin in the Congo. Those who know the book will be aware of its depiction of Africans. This was before Hergé’s awakening to such matters. It was the second Tintin story, originally drawn and written at a time when attitudes, and indeed knowledge, of foreign climes was limited and populated by ignorance and prejudice. This is how it was in the 1920s. Everyone was at it.
In my Tintin collection, I already had three versions of the book. Two were collections of the original black and white artwork; one in French, the other in English. I also have a colour version in French which ran to the usual 61 pages. I bought that in Bruges when I was about 14, and it was freely available in the children’s section of a book shop there. No mention of the contents. It was an eye opener. I remember thinking “this isn’t Tintin” - but I had a book that I couldn’t get back home, which appealed.
So, when the colour version was finally translated into English and published, I went to my local Waterstones, and was oddly directed by those on the front desk to the kids’ section. I couldn’t find it (I didn’t expect to), so I asked at the counter. They said they had a copy, gave me a funny look, and went to get it from the locked stock cupboard. I was then given what I could only feel was a rehearsed (or learned) “talk” about the book, its contents, and that it’s not for children.
I did explain that I was a collector of Tintin books and I was only too aware of the nature of the book. I also explained that on the continent, you can get this book without any fuss - I expect those funny EU folk are a little less uptight about their literature.
The book had a paper slip around it that also points out that the contents are controversial and it was for collectors.
It’s funny how we can get this uptight about a book, but we’re quite happy with channels like Cartoon Network and Boomerang showing old Tom and Jerry flicks that offer a similar jaundiced (and at times very racist) view of other cultures and peoples.
At the time, they were certainly running the Daffy Duck vs Speedy Gonzales Loony Tunes cartoons which showed the same kind of attitude towards Mexicans that got Top Gear into trouble (in the USA, they screen a disclaimer before them now when they are on, or they just don”t show them now). You still get the “after an explosion, character looks like a golly-wog” scenes in Tom and Jerry every now and then.
The book I bought is horrific, BTW. Everything that Tintin stands for in later books when it comes to fairness, tolerance etc. is woefully absent, and Hergé has yet to develop his skills of satire and commentary. He also seems to kill most of Africa’s wildlife, including blowing up a rhino, and killing a chimpanzee and wearing its skin.
Which reminds me - my Tintin collection is in need of another read.
So, Biffo, any under the counter experiences you’d like to share?
Your proclivities towards tabletop RPGs are well documented, but what is your view on tabletop gaming in general? Board games and war-games and that.
I've been playing a bit of the X-Wing miniatures game lately, and having this: lots of fun! Would strongly recommend it to any Star Wars fans out there. No painting, accessible rules, and you get to admire nice little models of Star Wars ships sitting on your shelves. Beats Star Wars Monopoly!
As Rebecca Black likes to sing, or at the very least used to like singing, it's Friday, Friday gotta get down on Friday. Not sure what she means by getting down, I do hope it's nothing sinister.
All that aside, I have a burning question that I need answering before I can progress in life. Who is the best character in Dungeon Master to put in my party? All this wandering around the Hall of Champions is doing my head in.
Within minutes of the SNES Mini being announced, pre-orders had been used up by people ordering ten at a time. While no huge surprise after the NES Mini debacle, I really hope that Nintendo flood the market with sufficient stock that speculative buyers are left out of pocket.
Me, I'm waiting for the dust to settle so I can snag one on release through standard retail channels. I can't wait to play it with my young son and introduce him to the joys of my misspent youth without my original hardware and carts being subjected to his delightful grubby three year old hands.
I sat and watched the final episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return on Netflix (which has been excellent by the way) and they were watching "At the Earth's Core" with Doug McClure and Peter Cushing. In it, Peter Cushing's character comments on a prehistoric fern he finds and says that he "would dearly love to take a frond back with me".
Imagine my surprise and delight at the appearance of the word "frond" said in an actual sentence in a film by the head foreman of the Death Star.
I had no idea it was a real word. I thought you had made it up and so didn't bother checking if it was real or not. I now know it's definition. It's at 19:14 in episode 14 for those that wanted to follow along at home.
I have also been enjoying the return of Go 8bit on Dave. Very enjoyable and entertaining for a show about video games.
Interestingly, they have added to it this time with Go 8bit DLC which is the companion show immediately after it. This is more of a conventional video game talky show, but works quite well with it's obviously lower budget and slightly poking fun at itself - particularly with the 'Cheats Section'.
I wondered if Mr Biffo had watched any of the DLC episodes and what you thought of them?
Oh, and in response to your confusion over my name: I answer to and accidentally sign stuff as Seam as that is what my wife calls me (after a text message autocorrect typo over 10 years ago when we first met) and it's also my usual login name or a variation thereof for various online services. Apologies for any confusion caused.
Nostalgia's a fantastic thing. Hollywood is busy recycling all the greatest films ever, adding that modern sheen, and handing them to us as dollops of shiny poo-poo.
That fucking miniSNES is going to be, without a doubt, fantastic for the seventeen folk in the UK that managed to bag one in the pre-order frenzy.
And all my beloved 80s Speccy favourites are being released in unrecognisable form on Android, with shoddy touch-screen controls that are no use for anyone with thumbs like table-tennis bats. But, that said, I'd like to know why "Soft And Cuddly" hasn't been remade?
Lorenzo Del Perdu
Biiiiffo, Bi-ii-ii-fo (daylight come and me wanna go home)
Reading your Sega Forever piece, the comment about how a lot of these games aren't going to be suited to touchscreen got me thinking.
Which was the worst game to be ported over to another bit of hardware and clearly didn't work? Goldeneye was lovely, the Wii version wasn't, mainly because trying to shoot somebody with a wiimote felt odd (god knows why, if anything the "point it like a gun!" thing should have made shoot-em ups a great thing on the console, but they all sucked).
Wasn't initially thinking about "games released on multiple formats where one version is clearly better", but now that I've written it, you may as well have that as a second question. See, I'm dead generous me.
Oh, since writing this, I've got that hairy eedjit from Reef singing "it's your letters, it's your letters.." stuck in my head from TFI Friday. So now I feel a bit stabby.
PS - Content this week has been all sorts of lovely - well done you
Hope this "tribute" works:
Poupon for goujons. It's going to be the next big thing! Surely such an idea could only come from the mind of a genius? Single serving sachets of poupon will be in restaurants everywhere. Fat cats in suits will be fighting to buy the recipe. Let's say they do. And then the secrets are revealed. Poupon's secret ingredient? Smegma.
Hooray! Hooray! It's a letter-letters day! What a world of fun, for everyone! Letter-letters day!
I really don't have much to say this week, so here are my favourite textual approximations of sounds I can make with my mouth:
So.... how are things? Keeping ok? Hey, I pay my Patreon money, you have to put up with this drivel now.
I'm even running out of drivel to type now.
Welp, see you later!
Cynthia N. Lettersday Snr. (Nikki)
So, I figured I should probably write a letter. Mainly because I'm bored as my daughter has confiscated the TV in order to watch what (I hope) is the last ever episode of some dross called Pretty Little Liars and also because I want to say thank you to you.
Why? You made a large part of my childhood tolerable. For reasons that escape me now (nothing sinister, I wasn't a biter or some such) I had to spend my weekends at my Grandparents. Every Saturday morning I'd go there, and that'd be it until Sunday evening. It was briefly pretty cool as I'd go with my Grandad to the bookies(!), or swimming or generally arsing around as 10 year old boys and their Grandads do, but then he died.
It hit me hard, it hit my Gran harder. Weekends weren't quite the same. Me and my Gran got on great, heck in later life I lived with her for a while) but as a boy heading towards his teenage years there was nothing really to do on a weekend any more. Then I made a marvellous discovery. The TV remote had loads of buttons on it that my TV at home didn't. What the hell did they do, as luck would have it the TV was on Channel 4 when I first punched the button marked TEXT and boom, there was some assorted crap and a some colourful words at the bottom, one was "Game-Me-Do" or something similar. Lo and behold, I'd discovered Digitiser, and from there I also discovered Turner the Worm and Bamboozle.
Soon I was actively looking forward to weekends, as it was the only way I could keep up with these things, they helped me deal with what had become 48 hours every weekend reminding me what I'd lost, they brought some colour, enjoyment and (often puzzled) laughter to me.
One Turner the Worm in particular sticks in my minds, as my younger cousin, Alan, became irate that I'd "made the TV be mean to him" thanks to the existence of the Alan Monster in one of the Turner the Worm stories.
So thank you, you made a chunk of my life way better at a time when I needed it most, and you're probably responsible for the slightly warped, overly sarcastic person I've grown up to be.
Dear Biffington-on-Sea, I've finally got round to playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and while I'm really enjoying it I have run in to a slight problem, I'm utterly awful at it, having all the stealth skills of a drunken morris dancer glued to a drum kit. What games have you enjoyed most without actually being any good at?
Love and "special" kisses,
We live in a wonderful age of technology. I even have an app on my phone that predicts what I'll type. This means that instead of having to think of a letter to write, I can just press a few buttons and have it magically write the letter I would have written anyway:
"I think the only way to get to know about the position of my favorite things is to be a good time. The first one to be able to make a decision that you can chill out here is the best. If you have any questions or concerns about the same thing as the other then I will be able to do that for a while."
A truly wonderful world.
Lardon Corpse, Thurrock
"No change there..."
Why I oughtta...!
I bought Wonder Boy - The Dragon's Trap, the remastered version via GOG a few days ago. I loved, loved, loved the Sega Master System version 'back in the day' and this one (for Windows) was sublime.
I've read that they used the original programming and reverse engineered it and that they worked on it to add new, hand-drawn graphics and animations. It looks beautiful as a result, alongside with the new music score but still being faithful. My Smoking Brother, who is eleven years younger than myself and has 'a load of children' said, to me, his big brother - "It looks like shit". He's nice like that.
It's not dated well in terms of gameplay but at least you have the option of changing the difficulty level (I always choose 'HARD', because I always am).
That being said, I wonder what your opinion is of Bonito Mussolini's invasion of Crete?
Yours truly and hospital early August for a bone biopsy,
I was debating, in my head, whether to write this letter but my girlfriend has insisted now that I do because she said I'm too fidgety and I was stopping her getting any sleep.
Anyway, I think I recall you writing an article saying you don't much like end of level bosses, I just wondered, despite this, do you have a favourite? Or for that matter if anyone else does?
My own has always been Big Bertha, the overweight prostitute off Renegade. She showed a surprising turn of speed for such a big girl despite being fairly predictable and as an eleven year old I had a great sense of achievement when I finally beat her with flying kicks.
Thanks for the great articles.
What I much prefer is the Uncharted approach, where they have set pieces rather than "bosses". Like... give us a tank battle, or a car chase or something.
Why does it so often have to be a larger version of a thing we've already seen, with a bunch of glowing bits that have to be shot hundreds of times, while you evade them spewing out rockets, or miniature versions of themselves?!? A lot of the time it just feels like a lazy way to inject some challenge into a game.