Hilariously, I'll be on stage with the 90s gaming icon-turned-ace-tatooist that is Dave "The Bandana One" Perry. Plus, as we'll be getting close to the premiere of Found Footage, I shall probably be showing some of that.
Dave's gonna love it, yeah?! Come on, Dave. You're gonna love my show. Why won't you watch my show, Dave?! Come on. Just watch my show.
As if this wasn't an enticing enough prospect, there'll also be a Rare Panel featuring Kevin Bayliss, Shawn Pile, Chris Seavor and Chris Marlow, a Gremlin Graphics panel with Mark Hardisty, Mike Lister and Rich Stevenson, and a panel discussing the Spectrum Next with Henrique Olifiers and Jim Bagley.
And that's not all! Also this:
- Over 50 classic FREE PLAY arcade machines.
- Around 20 FREE PLAY pinball machines.
- A great selection of the best retro collectible traders, headed up by Vintage Gamer.
- A new larger presentation zone, with special guest talks and Q+A's hosted by Retro Asylum.
- Over 250 consoles, computers and retro gaming attractions from popular to rare.
Day tickets are just £12, and you can find out more here. Do come and say hello to me, as I've really no idea what business I have being there.
Lastly, it's monthly begging time! If you don't already support me on Patreon or via Paypal, and you enjoy my work and want to see it continue, and you can afford to spare a few quid a month, please consider doing so. It really helps me justify the time it takes to write Digi, plus... it's helping hugely with the funding of my absurdly ambitious Kickstarter series, which has gone wildly over its Kickstarter budget. Fake bums aren't free you know.
And now? On with those letters! 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 - please send your emails for next week to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Biffles! This is just a random (slightly drunk) message: I adore what you do, and you bring a lot of pleasure into many a small guy's life. If you need to shoot in Berlin, DE, lemme know. Can always put you guys up.
Lots of love,
P.S. Confessions of a Chat Room Freak: my go to book when I needs me a pick me up.
I've probably mentioned before that I once told the writer Paul Cornell that I'd loved one of his Doctor Who novels, and he went a bit funny. I got the sense that he wasn't used to hearing it from a random like me, but I think he appreciated it.
So... if you like somebody's work... never assume they think they're great. Please do let them know. It might encourage them to do more of what you enjoy. It's a small kindness that costs nothing, but goes a long way.
Also, when you invited me to come and "shoot" in Berlin, you mean "do filming" right? I hope you're not trying to recruit me into an extremist cause...!!!!! #HaHa
Due to hanging around Soviet-era train stations on a recent trip to Prague, I've developed chilblains on my hands. As I'm not fond of my knuckles spontaneously bleeding, I'm now required to coat my "fleshy gentlemen" in an oily cream until they get their respective acts together.
Do you have any tips to help me avoid the inevitable transfer of manual grease to the grips of my still-sort-of-new Nintendo Switch?
Sorry if you find it weird that I enjoy having a soft and dry groin/crack. It's just one of my things.
I thought I'd let you know about my recent experience in a branch of Game. Specifically, the one in Colchester. I've not been there since last November, and it has changed. So much so that when I left I was visibly shaking my head.
The first clue was the shop's signage. Not the pink and magenta that they are known for, but a more austere black on white. Other shops have taken this route - Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.
So, I thought, are Game taking the same path set by other struggling high street brands? Inside, I find that the answer is no. The first thing to strike is is that the retail space has been halved in size. Where there used to be a good run of PS4, XBox and Nintendo... is now dark. Almost "this part of the shop is closed due to being refurbished" dark.
But it was full - crammed with PCs being used for real games. This zone had a name - but I've forgotten what it is (and can't find a mention of it on Game's web site).
There were kids sitting staring at scenes - playing some kind of shoot-em-up. Not sure which, but their faces lit by the eery glow of the screens. Heads encased in headphones. The only sound was the clicking of mice, the tapping of keyboards.
It was dark and quiet. It made me think of my imaginings of monastic scriptoria - where those who had taken holy orders were dutifully copying scripture onto parchment by the light of tallow candles. There was a religious silence to the whole place.
Clearly those playing games were getting noise thrown at them through the headphones, and no doubt the dialogue being thrown around by the in-game characters was anything but holy - I expect military grade levels of swearing was in abundance. To the onlooker, though... silence. There was a "bouncer" of sorts - presumably to stop people bursting in, turning on the lights, and telling the youths that they had homework to do.
This shocked me slightly. To me, the notion of playing games amongst friends involved heading to an arcade and seeing who could get the high score in Space Invaders, or how far along you could get in Zaxxon, or indeed any other similar scroller. Or just sitting round a telly passing the game controller around. Those not playing would be cheering on, encouraging (nudging to maybe to put the player off? Nah!). It was a social experience - the kind that Biffo tells us the Switch gives you.
This place didn't seem to offer that same feeling. Any faces seen were all in game characters, grizzled, contorted as they die in some rendering of uncanny valley. It seemed quite, well, empty to me.
I think I get what the Switch is about now. I get why it could be more important than polygon counts and GPU speeds. It about playing face to face with friends, isn't it? Bringing that aspect back to the fore of gaming. Yes. That's what it is.
Please send me one.
Again, if you're not making life better for the people around you, what's the point of being here?
I can't help but notice that at some point, I believe it was around 19/21 years ago, we all stopped wearing our rucksacks on a single strap. Now I don't have a problem with it, I just don't understand why we all stopped at exactly the same time.
I wouldn't have been seen dead in my school years rocking a 'Double Harris'. Or even anything less than a single strap, adjusted to its maximum setting. But you very rarely see it these days, and when you do it looks so very wrong. Why is this please?
I'm aware you may not be the best person to ask, but I don't have Brian Cox's email address, nor am I on Twitter.
Nowadays, my "work bag" is one of those messenger bags where the strap crosses the body. I used to have a Dunlop one, but was given a new Boba Fett one at Christmas. For some reason, it stinks of fish inside. I'd hoped that the smell would lessen, but it seems to be getting worse.
This is my life. In short: my bag stinks.
Further to the thinly veiled slanderous accusations hurled at me last week, I wish to set the record straight. Firstly I never stole any microphones. Although I did see it for sale later on in the local Cash Convertor. Secondly, there are less of us in Squillion Vermillion and so we can charge less. Plus we are better.
If "Maxamillion" wants to start a beef we will see him down the precinct outside the chippy for a dance-off to settle this once and for all. Puffy jackets optional.
1. I agreed wholeheartedly with your article about the Spectrum, specifically about a loss of British character in games, in part due to aiming for mass-market appeal. This struck me as being particularly true in the case of Bully/Canis Canem Edit. It would have worked so much better at a British Boarding or Grammar school.
2. What's your favourite example of computer game voice acting?
3. Is there any stage in any game more associated with a series and/or more iconic than Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog?
2. Uhhh... I do like what Nolan North does. Especially in the Uncharted games. Which, actually, have strong voice acting throughout. It always feels naturalistic and "acted" rather than "read" - which it is more often than not in games. Especially in RPGs.
3. Um... probably not many, but I'd say the opening level in Doom is pretty iconic. Maybe World 1-2 in Super Mario Bros? Also, that first stage in Donkey Kong.
Today is Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday.
Remember Happy Days? Monday, Tuesday Happy Days! Wednesday Septembo Happy Days! Novemer Feptebo Happy Days! Etc...
No, I don't remember it either - it was shite. Why did that Font fella have those magical skills with a click of his fingers? He wasn't cool - he was some sort of wizard and I never saw him fight (but I've only ever seen a couple of episodes).
Ralph Malph. Now THAT is a cool person, just because of his name and he was ginger, just like my cat, Baby Duke.
I'd like to see The Font fight with the Ultimate Warrior. Sadly, Warrior is dead. Warrior would win though. He sent me an email a few years ago (true story). 'Always believe' he ended his email with. I'm an atheist and skeptic so I don't believe in anything - especially The Font. The Font is worse than dead Paul Daniels. He was shite too...but at least he admitted he was a wizard.
There's a pulse in a new-born sun I believe. But do cats have souls? Nah - no such thing as cats.
I am fit and strong (but awaiting surgery on my foot) and that is all.
Well I was pretty upset this week at the launch of the Kickstarter to the much awaited ZX Spectrum Next, clearly the best rebooted spectrum since ever!
Comprising of all the original stuff you could want and 7Mhz or power and an upgraded AY chip - not to mention that lovely new sexy shiny case! I have wanted one since I first saw the renders for it - I didn't really care!
Unfortunately, finding myself between full time jobs, I couldn't afford it. However! After a crowd-fund campaign (that was purely fictitious) a friend has lent me the money so I have kicked it!
I am in, I am not a coder (nor have I ever been). I am a graphics guy - but I really want to write some new stuff for this (Updated Trashman maybe?). I am thinking of learning machine code, but I fear my old and crusty brains won't be able. But I will definitely be doing some graphics for it - and might even start a You Tubes channel doing more Speccy-related stuff.
Are you getting one? I know a lot of snobby oldskool retro types (you know who you are) get sniffy because it's not a proper Speccy, but for me it encompasses everything about the Spectrum I love AND not only that.. the Old speccy programmers appear to be waking up. Also, a whole swathe of users from back in the day making new stuff for the Next is getting me really excited.
It's been funded and heading quickly towards some intriguing stretch goals. I've not been this excited for new hardware in YEARS!