There's not a lot I can say right now, but rest assured that the team want to bring you the sort of games show they don't make anymore, which will doubtless be painfully out of step with the times in this age of shrieking YouTubers and Let's Play videos. Essentially, we want to make the sort of show we used to get, but imbued with Digi-style anarchy and nonsense.
Obviously, we can't just take text-based Digitiser and make it a show - it needs careful consideration about which elements might work - but we're dead set on maintaining the spirit of it at the very least. But anyway. More details will follow in the weeks to come, and The Kickstarter is going to launch towards the end of next month. We've got big ambitions for it, but we can only realise them with your help.
Anyway. Righty. Let's do some letters, yeah? Yeah.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Years ago Leonard Nimoy wrote an autobiography called “I Am Not Spock”. I’ve not read it but I’m guessing he was a bit fed up with having “SPOCK!” shouted at him in lavatories and Vulcan hand gestures made at him at the airport baggage carousel.
Anyway, some time later he wrote another called “I Am Spock”.
After Digitiser v1 you had a forum called Board of Biffo…. you see where I’m going?
Have you had a similar journey to that of Spock’s?
I have attached a collage that Chris from comments requested. It concerns masterpiece artwork for the Sega Master System.
On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said I didn't regret losing a whole heap of momentum career-wise. Or at least, momentum in this career. My other career did alright during those years.
I used to try and convince myself that Biffo and I were two different people, but all that did was give me license to be rude, and lash-out, because - ha ha - that crazy Mr Biffo!
In those years away, as I've mentioned before, I spent two-and-a-half years training to be a psychotherapist. I felt out of love with the therapy industry in a big way, and found a lot of the touchy-feely-let's-rescue-and-love-everyone-attitude horribly fake and unhelpful, but - ironically - the process of the training, and meeting somebody through it who accepted me and didn't want me to be anybody but me, is why I was able come back.
Except, when I came back I wasn't really "Biffo" anymore - I'm Paul. The name Biffo just gives me the opportunity to do things I love.
That's a bit of a self-indulgent ramble, I know, but I'm passionate about people learning to be themselves, without apology, and being a bit nice and accepting of everyone is going to make them a bit nicer and more accepting too. It's the masks we wear and the armour we put up which leads to so much trouble and conflict.
Whether that mask or armour takes the form of a persona, or you're hiding behind an online pseudonym, or behaviour which is essentially aimed to keep others at arm's length, or because you're scared of something, it never comes from a good place, and you're never going to see the world and others clearly unless you remove it. You're never going to be happy unless you risk removing it. So, yeah, I am Biffo. But, really, he's me.
Anyway. Good to have your collages back, Dean.
Alright Biffo. There have been many amusing game over sequences over the years, but what is your favourite? Show your working.
Pretty much from the off you could create a ridiculous-looking character, endow them with absurd super-powers, and just run around the city lobbing cars about. Or shooting crowds with the "Dub-Step Gun", which never got old.
There's virtually no challenge - your character is absurdly over-powered - but that's the joy of it. For me, it's the definitive sandbox game in that it makes it easy to play with all the toys.
Have you ever considered running the Friday Letters Page through some sort of text to speech thing, and releasing it as a weekly audio podcast? I’d certainly subscribe to that. It wouldn’t stop me visiting your site, but would make a lovely addition to the Digi family, or Digamily as I will now refer to it as.
You could even theme the voices - Professor Stephen Hawkins could read the letters out and Alexia could read out the replies. Not sure how you would to the “reveal” things though.
This idea came to me after my wife set off a train of thought in my brain, which began with her asking me why my Siri sounded like an Australian lady. I had tried all the iphone voices and had decided that was my favourite one. This got me thinking about satnavs and the fact you can download voice packs for some of them.
This, in turn, got me thinking about who I would like to read directions out to me if I were to go on a long trip. Then, as I was driving along, I saw a guy in a tweed suit who made me think about Stephen Hawkins in his younger days. All in all it was quite a trek mentally.
On a different note, I noticed on a previous Letters Page that you mentioned vegetarianism and your unwillingness to give up meat. I’m a proper carnivore and yet last year I went wholly veggie for a month. Even sweets, like Extra Strong Mints, have gelatine in them which I found both surprising and disappointing.
Being veggie doesn’t have to involve eating recognisable vegetables. Give it a go. Don’t fear the Quorn.
Yeah, I would still like to give up meat, but - with my other half being a pescatarian (and a lapsed vegan; she also has a gluten intolerance, so she wasn't getting all the nutrients she needed an ting) - at least I eat more veggie stuff than I once did. Which is better than nothing.
Wanna know what I have been doing during my lunch break for the past two weeks? Going to an arcade. A huge arcade. With an indoor rollercoaster. It’s in a mall just across from our office in Manila. It’s ace! And it’s dirt cheap too.
Other than the arcade, the only other thing I have experienced in Manila, outside of being in work 13 hours a day, is dwarf boxing.
Did you ever play Solar Jetman? It had an amazingly open play field and an oddly dark and lonely tone for a NES game. Ton of levels and ship customisations too. Never really seen anything quite like it before or since.
Dear Mr. Biffo, (or Mr. Bigfoot if predictive text is to be believed, is it?).
As a lifelong Digitiser fan, I have just finished re-re-watching Found Footage. I meant to write in before, but I have been busy trying to keep a new human alive. I don't even know the days of the week any more or what's happening in general.
Anyway, back to Found Footage. I wanted to say how much I enjoyed it and am glad I decided to be a backer, not least due to seeing my name in the speedy scrolling list at the end along with all the other strange minded folk. I remember a little while ago, there was a bit of angst about some of the feedback, I loved it though and found it immensely fun. I could watch hours more if it existed so yah boo sucks to anyone who didn't find it as good as I did. Goujon John forever!!
While I'm singing your praises, I'm also enjoying Nostalgic Things so keep that up. I tend to be awake during most of the early hours these days, the best time for Digi related stuff. Also sometimes it seems like I might be losing my mind with all the infant screaming so it's good to have something to focus on.
I look forward to more of your work.
Weird, really, because what can you do? Nothing, ever, has been universally loved, and with something like Found Footage it's kind of never going to be for everyone. It's not making concessions to be accessible. It's a sketch show, but not in any traditional sense.
I've picked out some of the individual sketches and put them up as standalone pieces, but for me they're never as satisfying as when they're part of the whole picture. The glitchiness, the atmosphere, the sort of nightmarishness, is meant to build the more you watch. That was the overall vision for it, and breaking it up detracts from that. Though, of course, who in their right mind is going to sit through 30 minutes of that?!
Ultimately, I made more or less exactly what I set out to make, and I'm immensely proud of that.
And yet I was sad - definitely not angry, but sad - that not all the backers enjoyed it, and that some chose to point out what I "should" have done differently. I mean, I get enough notes on things I've written in my day job. Having one producer is bad enough.
Nonetheless, I've been very much buoyed by the huge response to people asking for the Found Footage Blu-Ray (we'll be setting up some manner of pre-order campaign for that very soon: if you haven't done so already, email email@example.com if you want to express your interest, and please state whether you're an existing FF backer or not).
But anyway. This Digitiser show we're working on isn't going to be quite as obscure and weird as Found Footage. Not as a reaction to Found Footage, but just because the format is going to be so different. Of course, there'll still be people who don't like it. You know: idiots.
Bit busy this week, but here's a curio I found in Colchester last week:
The Dreamcast is easily Sega’s best console, but didn’t it fail at least in part because of the peripherals? I mean piracy and the hype for the PS2 didn’t do it any favours, but some blame has to be laid at things like Samba de Amigo that looked fun but had a £120 price tag because of the peripheral.
Then again the GameCube did alright with Donkey Konga didn’t it? Honestly I’m too drunk for this conversation daddy-o.
2 things Biffo:
The 1st was circa 1988, driving back from my gran and grandads through Salford, listening the “the queen is dead” on my dads tape and thinking there really is a world out there, beyond the north Manchester football fields.
2nd was switching Digi on in 1993 and thinking “how did they ever get away with this?”
Sorry I can’t remember what my point was. They are connected somehow.
Always a big fan
Actually please don’t print this letter, it’s pointless. Thanks.
Have you seen the newest iteration of The Gadget Show? It’s surprisingly not bad. There might be some things you can take from it (but, weirdly, not from the video game special which was filmed at some games convention or other away from the regular studio).
Also John Bentley is James May but in some ways even better (in some ways not as good). I don’t think he knows much about video games though... he could be your Craig Charles!
Cue a surprising number of people getting in touch to put themselves forward to be this James May. Thing is, we hope we have our "James May" - we're just not ready to announce who it is yet. But, suffice to say, Paul and I had the exact same suggestion at the exact same moment...
For those of you coming to see me at Play Expo in Blackpool in a couple of weeks, I'm hoping I'll be able to announce the show's third host then. Unless it all falls through.
Oh, and before you all expect something with the budget of Top Gear, with us driving around in jet planes, and tanks, and that... bear in mind that we're entirely dependent on your generosity. Either way, it'll be nothing like Top Gear. The Gadget Show - which I've not seen in years, but always used to enjoy - is basically Top Gear for gadgets, isn't it?
It is rather late at night, or early in the morning, but there's a reason for this! My upstairs neighbour's washing machine installation went wrong and when I went to bed at 1am there was all water and that coming through my ceiling, so I had to go and wake him up, and he had a look at it, and it was all very exciting.
I can't hear dripping any more so I think he's fixed it now, or the space between my ceiling and his floor is full to the brim with water and it's just pooling, but I hope it's not. Maybe he's at least turned off the water until tomorrow when someone can come out and fix it.
I've not been playing many games of late, other than live streaming Train Simulator every Saturday night at 8pm, 9pm or not if I can't be bothered, so I don't really have much to write about games-wise. I've not even got an amusing poo story for you. I'm SUPER boring!
Things that have been going well is I've been learning some cooking at a local cooking class, and have generally been Bettering Myself (by not Buttering Myself, aha!) by exercising more, eating less and losing weight. If it continues I may one day drop below the "that's two people not one" barrier. Or not. I've got a driving lesson on Saturday, so we'll see how that goes, eh?
I hope this letter will fill a space on the page, even if it leaves the hearts of everyone who reads it empty and joyless.
Chris" Ainsley- who would "be chuffed to bits" if I did a "humour-laden teletext-themed adventure game, even if it were just two or three locations, and posted the source on Digi2000" - would like you all to be aware of his new online text adventure creation language, Adventuron.
I'll have a play with that when I get five minutes to breathe, Chris.
The URL for Adventuron is http://eeyo.io/adv781
Twitter : @ainslec