The bit I'm really looking forward to (sarcasm) - which I hadn't even considered until right now (and my entire body groaned WHEN I DID) - is when loads of amateur comedy experts start analysing it and telling me everything that I should've done differently, point out all the wasted opportunities, the predictable bits, the bits that are ripped off from elsewhere, state that it's just randomness for the sake of it, and ignore its relatively minuscule budget and tiny creative team, instead of accepting that it's not for them and moving on.
Basically, if these people stay away, and the rest of us brace for disappointment, it'll be fine.
Hey: foolishly, I'm going to try to go away soon, what with not having had a family holiday for two years or had any real time off since... whenever. Thus, it'd be really lovely if you could get your letters in early for next week's Friday Letters page.
If you would 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 kind and sweaty emails early to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
I think I may of written a letter to you back in the day when you was on the telly box. Then again, that might of not have actually happened. Things are a bit fuzzy now days, getting on and all.
Anyway, I was in that large supermarket last weekend wearing one of your Mr T t-shirts when this rather attractive young lady person came up to me, waking me from my forlorn curmudgeon hole.
Her: "Hi I like your T-shirt! What is it?".
Me: "Er, um Mr T, um Digitiser...::mutter"
Her: "Oh... I thought it was something cool"
Whereupon I schooled her on her mistake and the rich tapestry and history of Digi, she walked away suitably impressed. Ok I may of not done that and she may of just walked away.
Still an attractive girl impressed enough by your Mr T t-shirt to start a conversation (that I deftly shot down) with some grumpy git!
That's it really...um.
What's going on with retro gaming now days? Prices have gone mental. You reckon that bubble will burst? I'd quite like Rondo of blood on the PC Engine. I'm not paying that money, crikey.
Keep up the good work!
I know nothing of retro game prices. But I suppose that the price of old stuff is only going to go up as time wears on. Plus, there's an actual, proper, retro gaming market now. They can afford to price it higher, given the increase in demand. The ruddy scalpers...!
Are games art, and should we refer to the medium that they arrive on as Artridges?
Whoa, whoa, whoa - cool your jets! I’ve got some pseudo intellectual wankery to get through first. If you need the toilet then please go now - we’ve a long road ahead…
First off, who gives a shit? Well, I’ve been playing lots of arty games on my Playstation:
The Unfinished Swan
What Remains of Edith Finch
To name but 5 (Biffo nod).
All of those games sort of have stuff in common, to wit:
They are interactive experiences that take you on a philosophical / spiritual journey. They’re beautiful, often surreal and calling them toys, or even games for that matter, really doesn’t define the experience.
That’s great then!
When I was growing up, my parents regarded my gaming as something to be ashamed of. They didn’t understand. I tried to explain to them that I found watching the telly or reading books very tedious, because my mind would too readily wander off, whereas games could hold my fickle attention. They still didn’t get it.
I’m a parent now and both of my children enjoy playing video games. Obviously I don’t object but what’s interesting is that so many of their friends’ parents really do. They have school night bans… but not on books or Netflix. Interesting isn’t it? That those things would be held in such higher regard?
When I was very young, I was completely blown away by a Dali poster that my brother had. It looked like a dream… it changed the way I looked at art from that point on and blah blah blah…. What if I had watched him play one of those games I’d listed? Something my hyperactive young mind could have been even more wholly submerged in?
Games back then were like cave paintings by todays standards, but some really shone and - like the Dali - affected me deeply. Without them my youth would have been deprived of that, being lost in a different universe feeling that books and movies do for so many. And yet I’m told that my jam is a bit rubbish. Folly for a waster.
I’m a big fan of modern art and I likes Jeff Koons.
Koons is particularly relevant here because there are many who take a dim view of his brightly coloured balloon animals - are they art or not? Off-colour remarks about them just being gaudy trinkets for oligarchs to stuff bundles of cash up, like shat pants into a Zanussi. Again I disagree - art happens in the mind of the viewer - and besides, the balloon animals have a mirror finish and when you view them as was intended, in real life, they’re interactive. I mean, all art is, right?
To my mind, video games continue to plot the upward trajectory that art is on, and I would suggest that the omega point is when we can indulge in Holodeck-like experiences. Super Mario Bros is far closer to that endgame than the Mona Lisa.
Just toys? Yeah, that’s right - just like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is a really nice painting of some flowers.
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts and from anyone who may be interested!
I also made a collage.
Likewise, how playing games or reading stuff online or watching telly is considered worse than staring at a book. How? How is this so? Aren't books just the predecessors to games? Aren't they just a less-interactive fantasy? Another screen, essentially? People have just been brainwashed into thinking that certain types of thing are better for us than other types of thing.
Reading comics, playing video games, and watching as much trashy TV as I did as a kid made me into who I am. Although, admittedly, that's not the greatest endorsement of these activities...
A pigeon pooed all over me last week while I was on my way to work. It wasn't a single splat, either, I was covered in the stuff.
Some 40 miles from home, I had no alternative but to make various detours in an attempt to clean myself up - Superdrug, the train station toilets, then to Next to buy a new shirt.
The shop assistants were very professional and pretended not to notice, although I wish the young woman in Superdrug hadn't taken me through the process of trying to sign me up to the loyalty card scheme and telling me about the various discount fragrances. Perhaps she thought I'd be more likely to make an impulse purchase of the latter, given the circumstances.
I opted to tell my work colleagues the truth as I couldn't be bothered to make up an alternative excuse to account for my tardiness and dishevelled appearance, and I got through the day by keeping my distance from absolutely everyone.
It never occurred to me to publicise this story more widely, but as poo seems to be a topic of interest to Digi2000 readers, I thought I'd share it.
PS. I kept the poo shirt and tried to save it with stain remover, but I don't think it worked.
I'm currently in a caravan in North Wales with the kids and wearing my prized Zombie Dave t-shirt. I keep hoping I'll get a knowing look from another Digi follower. I've yet to see another Digi t-shirt on anyone else but if I do I'll be sure to give them a knowing look myself. Or - if they look approachable - I might even give them a nod. Just throwing it out there.
Found Footage is looking great btw. Can't wait till see it in it's finished glory, even if I suspect I'll feel bewildered for at least some of it.
What do you make of the - slightly out of date - news that Disney are *this moment* building Star Wars themed lands in their US theme parks, one with a fully immersive Star Wars hotel?
I imagine I'm not alone in thinking that, although I very much like the principle of a Star Wars hotel ("100% immersive" and with "secret missions"), I might not be able to suspend belief and/or shame sufficiently to make it worth doing... Or at least until I was out last weekend and some of the 501st Legion were wandering around the park - https://www.501st.com/ - and a Snowtrooper scared the shit out of my 2 year old by waving at her. Maybe it would be fun after all.
Talking of budget: all of this is tempered by the knowledge that I'll have to sell three of my legs in order to afford a visit. I sort of hope they'll bring it to Paris... but even there is eye-wateringly pricey.
Here’s my joke that I adapted from one on the wall of a burger restaurant in Legoland.
Q: What is a pirate’s favourite subject at school?
A: Pirate Studies
Hope your bum (mum) is feeling better.
I wasn't planning on writing in this week, largely because I've been rather busy doing my job, but you appealed on Twitter and I need a break from the relentless torrent of cow poop I call a career.
You know what the worst things in the world are? Architects and bad communicators. Put the two together and you've basically got the workplace equivalent of a Souls game. You never know what's around the corner but you can be certain it'll annoy you and kick you back to where you started.
I could spend the rest of this letter moaning about architects but that'd make for even duller reading than the dross I've written in the past, so I'll go back to games.
I generally don't get on with Souls games, despite trying several times. I recently 'invested' about 20hrs of my life into the PS4 release of DS2 and have concluded that it's as rubbish as all the others. But it was just £8.99 on the PSN, which meant it was reasonably priced and I could buy it at work and play it when I got home. Then I wouldn't have to bother with waiting on a delivery or going into CEX and losing the will to live upon seeing the massive queue of unwashed students.
Digital sales are on one hand great; you can get some good stuff at a good price, and the convenience is very appealing. On the other hand, I do end up buying an awful lot of guff, including dozens of Steam/GOG.com games that I may never play.
When some legendary PC title that even my crappy 6-year-old laptop can run easily is going for £1.50 it's very tempting to buy it for that rainy day that never comes. Do you have the same issue, good sir? What about the good citizens of the Digiverse (Digizens? no, that'll never catch on).
Have a nice day!
You wrote about the Nintendo Switch when it first hit the streets, and you liked it, but there were questions about the software line up, and possibly its longevity (IIRC).
I know that FF has consumed much of your time, but has your opinion on the console changed since then? It's currently being advertised heavily as a way to bring a family barbecue to heel, but for me a games console is still a fairly solitary pass time, so I doubt I'd take a Switch to a party.
Still keeping my eye on this one as a potential purchase.
1. What is your favourite in-game weapon?
2. Do you have any examples of games where you simply haven't 'gotten' the reasons for their popularity? By way of example, I enjoyed Dark Souls well enough, despite thinking that they were too difficult to be enjoyed fully ( I did manage to complete DS & Bloodborne) but if I am being honest I don't understand what makes them so highly-regarded. Do you have any games that fit into the same category?
3. While it is fair to say that most of their classic games do not play very well today (with exceptions), do you think that Atari's contribution to computer games culture and history is not as prominent or well-known as it should be? I feel that Nintendo are almost thought of as the inventors of computer games now due to their arguably unmatched duration of quality games. Obviously Nintendo's contribution is stronger, but I'd argue that no company has been more influential than Atari.
4. What is your opinion of mobile phone games? Are they something that you play often and how do you see them developing in the future?
5. Not every FPS does it, I know, but I am fatigued by too many of them still using the System/Bioshock model if recordings/audio journals to tell the story. I prefer to actually meet the characters and while it does work sometimes, I think that it is rapidly becoming a cliche of the genre.
2. Oh yeah. Destiny and Dark Souls being the big ones. I'm afraid that they rather expose my casual gamer leanings.
3. I think it's inevitable, given the way that Atari went tits-up, that they're not really given credit. Also, most early Atari games haven't exactly aged well.
4. At the moment, I play more mobile games than anything else. And never any of the good ones - just really rubbish ones, like Word Soup.
5. Yeah, I sort of hate journals in RPGs and shooters. It has become a trope/cliche, but - personally - I think it's bad storytelling. The old adage "Show don't tell" tends to get ignored by many game designers, who seem to have a pathological urge to explain all the backstory via reams of text.
I was very excited to hear about the Found Footage Finale, and have written a poem about it. Unfortunately it has come out a bit crap and reads as though I'm taking the mickey, which I'm not. Here it is.
Mr Biffo has a project
It's the toughest he's had yet
It's a science fiction feature film
He's funded on the 'net.
Mr Biffo's written out a script
That's what he does, you know.
Even better than EastEnders
(though that sets the bar quite low)
Mr Biffo has a schedule
He claims that it's quite tight,
He's working very hard though
So it's going to be all right
He'll put it onto Youtube
For all of us to see,
He'll do the very best he can,
So give him some money you cheapskate b******s.
I used to live in a village called Long Marston. It was a small place; one little post office, one local pub. That sort of thing.
When I was 15 I got chatting to a regularly drunk farmer called Michael in the pub, which like most rural pubs in England at the time seemed to actively encourage underage drinking, and he explained that he had to go about 9-ish because of his sheep. It was lambing season and the pregnant sheep out in the field had to be brought into the barn to stop any foxes snatching any newly-born lambs.
I started enquiring about this and actually found it quite interesting, so much so in fact that Michael offered me some work that night:
“You can come along if you want? I can’t pay you any cash but I’ll pay you in scotch. One scotch per lamb!”
I realised that if I had cash it would only go on booze anyway so it sounded like a workable deal to my teenaged mind. Off we walked to the nearby farm.
It was weird, the whole lambing process. I won’t bore you with the details but all the disgusting aspects that I would’ve normally shunned just disappeared once Michael showed me the ropes. It truly was a remarkable and beautiful thing to be involved with so I had no trouble getting my hands stuck in, so to speak. Each lamb that was delivered, whether by Michael or myself, meant going to the washroom, washing our hands with washing powder (“I lost the soap,” Michael explained) and water then downing a couple of fingers of scotch. This was the life.
By sunrise my job was done and I was a master of delivering lambs. Twins? No problem. Breach birth? Piece of cake. Lamb not breathing? Clean its nose with straw and blow up its nose.
“Up for it tomorrow evening? Same deal?” Michael cheerily enquired once we’d finished.
“Sure!” I said. Working AND getting pissed at the same time seemed a fairly blissful state to me at that time.
I met Michael the next day in the Mason’s Arms, had a quick pint of Heineken, then off to the farm. It all carried on just as in the previous night. Lamb… scotch. Lamb… scotch. Lamb… scotch.
Then it happened.
“Fucking hell! Mich…Michael! Look at this!” I said with real fear, pointing at the lamb I’d just help deliver – what I had just seen was like something out of an horror film.
It was a cyclops lamb. Not just a deformed lamb with one eye on the side of its head but an eye dead in the centre of its forehead.
It emitted a pathetic bleat. “Blaaarh,” it said.
“Just kill it” said Michael, without even bothering to look at it again. Obviously his fifty-plus years in the farming game had made him bear witness to similar horrors along the way.
“How?” I said like a coward, feeling that perhaps a bleat from me would’ve been more appropriate.
“With this”, he said, handing me a shovel.
Now, not wanting to look soft or an idiot or what have you, especially not in front of Michael, and especially not now that I was a real farmer, I held the shovel aloft in both hands with the handle almost draping down my back as I steadied myself ready to deliver the fatal blow.
“No! Not like that!” said Michael as he snatched the shovel from me, placed the blade over the poor wretch’s neck and stamped on the blade, decapitating Cyclops Lamb and ending its short and sorry life.
I looked on in horror at the lifeless head for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t like this job any more and told Michael so.
“Fair enough, it’s not for everyone,” he said somewhat understandingly. I walked off for my scotch and last hand wash.
Just before I left I looked back briefly at the lamb; its mother was still trying to clean it.
On the plus side, I've got surgery coming up soon on my knackered ankle so I won't be in so much pain any more... hopefully.
Soon to be fit and strong again (with luck) and that is all.
Remember Adventure on the Atari 2600? There's a guy who's made a multi-player version and needs some help. Any Digi readers interested? Go here: head-to-head-atari-adventure