I'm incredibly proud of it. It has been a lot of work for me personally, but I've had an enormous amount of help from people who - for the most part - have given their time and expertise free of charge. I couldn't have done it without them. Well, I probably could've, but it would've been rubbish.
Extra special thanks go to Sanya, Steve, Sam, Louise and Jake, AJ Jeffries, Chris Jerden-Cooke, Violet, Yiannis, Tom Webster, Chris Coltrane, Paul Gannon, Stuart Ashen, Larry Bundy Jr, Asperger's Are Us, Dave Culley, Jesse Ross, Matt Casey, Karl, Chris Bullock, Mandala Studios, Andy Wear, Harrison Majithia, Gaia, Steve and Tori Baker, John Bugg, Isaac, Jason at the Centre For Computing History, Iain Lee, Anthony, Tom and Emily, David Walford, Dean Boni for his patience, Nick Jackson for giving us "mate's rates" on the studio hire, plus Sid at Drakelow Tunnels, Chris Hood, Ash, Mark Paling, Gameplay Jenny and else everyone who came to the Finale filming - especially Joe and Oliver - for displaying incredible spirit over a couple of exhausting days in difficult conditions... and my parents for letting us do unspeakable things in their back garden.
And, of course, massive, massive thanks to everyone who backed it with their money - in some cases a lot of money - or other offers of help. I feel enormously blessed. I've tried to make myself happy with it, but it's because of your encouragement, support and faith that I've gone all-out to give you the best thing I could make on the time and budget. I hope you love it.
Anyhow. See you here next Friday for a special Found Footage letters page maybe? I'd love to know what you think of episode one. Just wait until you get a load of the rest of the series, though... And the finale might just blow your minds.
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
All the best for your premier Saturday. Sad I can't be there - but promised to take the kids to see Steps instead (?!). Which, in it's own way, will be just as distressing as your premier. H must be about 60 years old now.
Still. I'm now an associate producer. And nobody can take that away from me. Even if I'm not very associated.
It's been a lot of fun watching this thing progress from a cheekily surreal event in Cambridge to the bright lights of Harrow. I hope you've enjoyed it too. I've no doubt this will be the next step to something amazing. Or wretchedly disturbing. Probably both. All the best !
Scarily, it isn't done yet. There are still a fair few eps left to finish, but the premiere will mark the conclusion of something at least. Originally we wanted to do an all-singing/all-dancing immersive affair, but - lest I die from the stress of organising that too - it'll be quite straightforward. Two regular eps and the finale, with a couple of panels from me and some of the cast, hosted by the beautiful Paul Gannon. Then drinks in the bar afterwards!
Sorry you won't be there, but I'm looking forward to meeting many of you on Saturday night. The rest of you can see the first proper episode of the series on Sunday night, around 9pm. Make sure you subscribe now! We do have a couple of empty seats left to fill if anybody would like them, and can be in NW London on Saturday evening. Email email@example.com - first-come first-served!
Also: why are you taking your kids to see Steps? How old are they - 30?!?
Can we discuss 'games reviewers' please?
I'm just over a minute into this video of a guy who's been reviewing games for supposedly 20 years and he's stuck on the fucking tutorial. I understand that most game reviewers aren't godlike at games but holy fucking shit, this guy is unreal and clearly doesn't understand concepts that have been in games for <x> amount of years.
It's kinda like why taxi drivers are the worst drivers on the roads by far I guess?
Having watched Rogue One again recently (enjoying it even more the second time), I was curious what else Felicity Jones has been in and discovered that she starred in the Worst Witch on CITV.
Your own Wikipedia page indicates that you worked on this programme. I was going to write and ask what you'd put into your writing to prepare the young F. Jones for global fame and fortune in Star Wars... But I suspect you actually wrote for a later iteration of the Worst Witch? This rather spoils my question.
So, yeah, is Wikipedia shit or not?
I am a sad person. This is fine! I try to ensure that I seem like a non-sad person, and I am becoming less sad all the time. Perhaps some day I will be able to fully trick myself, and I'll no longer think of myself as "sad ".
One of the most pernicious things about being sad is that I constantly judge my thoughts and actions against the imagined response of some non-existent person. This person is able to decide whether the things I do are "cool" or "ridiculous".
Even though I know that this is silly, I'm still sometimes embarrassed about my hobbies to the extent that I find it difficult to talk about them. This is even the case with people who have known me for years, and who share the same hobbies! Video games and painting space marines aren't serious adult pursuits, you see.
I'd meant to write a letter to you last week, after your Twitter appeal that you had had a dearth of correspondence. Despite wanting to address a topic similar to the subject of this letter, my imaginary avatar of cool told me that my thoughts were silly and that letting someone see them would be embarrassing.
The next day, however, in the intro to Friday's letters page, I saw something that articulated what I've been trying to tell myself for years.
Plugging Found Footage, you said "Please tell your friends and family to watch it, even if you believe they'll hate it, and will think you're weird for recommending it. I mean, what's the worst that'll happen? So what if they distance themselves from you? If they won't accept you for who they are then find some friends and family members who will." It might seem absurd to say this, but at that time, on that day, this is exactly what I needed to read.
Thank you for being a slightly off-kilter, slightly inexplicable purveyor of ideas. It means a lot to see someone so clearly doing something for the love of doing it, as opposed to doing it for profit or prestige. And!
To be honest, Found Footage wouldn't be happening without me not caring what people think about it. Well, obviously I hope that all the people who backed it love it, but if everyone else is bewildered or hates it... oh well.
But... I've realised that a barrier to Found Footage getting shared is the fear that people might be judged for doing so. If you are judged - for anything you do (providing you're not doing a bad thing) - then it says more about the people doing the judging, and it's a consequence of their own head-mess. It makes me a bit sad for people who are too scared to let others know they enjoy Found Footage in case they're criticised.
It sounds obvious, but so few of us actually put our real self out there. Most of us just wear these false or watered-down personas - often without realising - which we believe are going to make us more acceptable, or more lovable.
Realising that you're okay as you are, and going easy on yourself, loving yourself, is step one to finding the courage to remove that mask. I mean, I've got such enormous respect for anybody who finds the strength to come out as trans or gay. I can't imagine the mountain some people must have to climb in order to do that. Admitting you like weird funnies is small potatoes next to that.
It's a positive feedback loop; once you realise that the real you is accepted you'll accept yourself all the more. And the irony is that all of us can smell fakery; the more authentic you can be - even if you do like things that people tell you are weird - the more you will be accepted. And the less sad you'll feel. It works. Trust me.
Sorry. That's all a bit serious for Digi Letters. But... well... never mind! SHARE FOUND FOOTAGE, YOU COWARDS!
I have been using Digi catchphrases and characters as my work login password for over 2 years now and I'm running out of variations of "1cu55youbad", "Mrtsb1ns" and "Ph0ningh0ney". Would you be good enough to supply me with some bespoke passwords for my future use? If you can't be arsed I'm sure one of those feckless snakes will.
Keep up the rotten work, lots of love
First time, long time. As I’m due to attend your Found Foutage Party thing on Saturday, can you suggest a good way to describe it to anyone who asks what I’m doing on the weekend?
Could the explaination include Charlie Brooker’s name, as people have heard of him and I want to sound ‘trendy’
So, was it all a dream? Or only Part 18? Lots of fans are 'up in arms' about that ending, especially after how wonderful Part 17 was. Then 18 came and confused things. I think it's all over now, maybe The Final Dossier will clear things up.
It was great seeing the show back on TV after all these years, and it was even better seeing a Network giving an artist all that dosh and allowing him to do whatever the hell he wanted to. I'm happy with the ending, or as happy as a heartbroken person could be. I'd love another movie, but that's not going to happen. Another season seems unlikely.
PS. The Dark Tower was a mess too. I wish they'd done it right, like TWD or LOTR.
1. Which good game was the biggest disappointment that you have played and why were you disappointed with it?
2. Some genres dominate generations but fade as technology improves, be it platformers in the 16-bit era, RTS in the 32-bit era and so on. Do you see any currently popular game style going out of fashion?
3. What was your opinion of Alien: Isolation? I liked the art design and the setting but it felt like a technology demonstration and I didn't find it very enjoyable at all. Lots of people loved it so I'm probably wrong although I also wonder if it was a case of the Emperor's New Clothes to an extent?
It wasn't so much the difficulty of it, although I did find it to be excessively hard, rather that it all seemed so random and out of your control. Maybe that was the point but I just don't enjoy games like that.
2. Hm. I dunno. The current era has been dominated by the Ubisoft open-world map-mopper-type game, and Destiny-style online grind 'em ups, but I do think there's a degree of diminishing returns with both. I sense some weariness settling in, but it's hard to know what'll replace it. Basically, it needs a big technological leap - which doesn't look like it'll happen - or someone to come out with a classic that everyone copies.
3. I loved the authenticity of it, but - yeah - I struggled with the difficulty. It felt unfair, rather than challenging. And that was very much down to the randomness. I'm with you.
What you really really want.
Mate, seeing as how you're always begging for letters of a Friday on twitter, and today is Thursdays, I thought I'd send you one.
When I was a lad I used to fucking love Digitiser. We didn't have a teletext TV so I had to read it at my nan's house, which was probably for the best as I didn't otherwise care for visiting my nan. Also this thing was huuuge at the time, like 24 inches or something. Absolutely bloody massive.
It was set on a huge fire surround, come hearth come, half the fucking room made of rough hewn stone. I was a bit cautious of this thing as I'd managed to crack my head on it on more than one occasion whilst being youthfully exuberant. She also had blown vinyl wallpaper that I'd picked massive holes in and been suitably bollocked.
So anyroad... me and my younger brother would lay on the carpet and gawp at this monster of a TV whilst reading Digi at the snails pace permitted by teletext.
We were sure to read all of it, even though we only had a Megadrive and an Amiga, which one of the pair of you were rather unkind to as a general rule. It shares the same place in my nostalgic gamer haze as Amiga Power, and as I've since gone back and read a fair bit of Miggy Power and judged it to have withstood the test of time, I can only concluded that Digitizer was also exactly as good as I remember it.
I also remember once my brother got his fingers stuck in the VCR and I removed them rather violently, but that's another story.
I once won a VCR in a raffle at a work Christmas party, and about a week later my daughter put some toast in it and broke it. Also at that work do were The Barron Knights, if any of you are old enough to recall the "comedy" musical act.
And I was sat next to Statto from Fantasy Football, who back then was just known as Angus, who did the Ladbrokes in-store broadcasting, and he fell off his chair when I pulled a Christmas cracker with him. You know: for a joke, but he pretended to be hurt for so long that everyone started wondering if it wasn't actually a joke. And then he asked me if he could borrow a pound, then ran out and didn't come back for ages.
And I drank too much of the free wine and vomited in the taxi on the way home, and the cab driver threw me out in the middle of nowhere and I had to hail another cab which I was also sick in, and for some reason I was staying at my sister's house - because she was away and I was house-sitting - and then I was sick all over her bathroom.
I was in the dank basement of a Forbidden Planet store the other day, and I noticed that they've got new editions of the Fighting Fantasy books on the shelves. I was tempted to buy City of Thieves, but I'm not that convinced about the new cover artwork. It's like Fighting Fantasy: Deviant Art edition.
The dancing shape changing lizard man from the Forest of Doom is pretty funny though.
Robert Lindsay here. My son, Stuart, is very, very sorry for the mockery he made of your site's title last Friday Letters, and has been locked away in his room ever since, refusing to come out.
So instead, I'll provide the letter this week from the Lindsay household. I recently had a friend over, who brought a packet of Bourbon biscuits - a biscuit I haven't eaten for eons. Without thinking I automatically ate them the way I used to when I was wee: pull off the top layer of the biscuit, to expose the delicious chocolate middle layer, which I would scrape off with my bottom teeth, before eating the bottom biscuit layer, which seemed a slightly anticlimactic ending to the whole experience, if I'm honest.
My question is: did or do you still have a similar ritual when eating particular food?
True story: when I briefly worked on the writing team of My Family, I went for a drink with the cast and crew following the taping of an episode. Robert Lindsay - who I'd worshipped as a child, when he was Citizen Smith - came up to me, put his face about an inch from mine, and hissed "You're one of the new writers are you? Have they all told you what I bastard I am?"
To which I said nothing, as I was too distracted by his expensive silk shirt, which he'd unbuttoned to about halfway down his overly-tanned chest.
What was the question again?
I didn't even think there was going to be one of these this week, so that's why I posted the story up earlier on, but apparently you suddenly have all this free time on your hands to be doing a letters page, so here it is again:
MR BIFFO AND THE FOUND FOOTAGE
Once upon a time there were two very good boys called Mr and Mrs Biffo who loved each other very much so they had a very good boy for a child called Mr Biffo so actually, Mr Biffo is Mr Biffo’s son, not Mr Biffo. Anyway.
One day Mr Biffo was playing around in the toilet, as he often did, hoping to reserve it for a time when he would feel the urge to feed its gaping ceramic maw his tummyfruits, like a baby bird being fed by its parents but more splashy. Mr Biffo noticed a foot that he did not recognise, having taken both of his into account several times over by the magic of mathematics. He said “Oh, I have found this foot” and proceeded to take it downstairs, his precautionary toilet reservation forgotten for the moment due to the intriguing pedal puzzle he had just been presented with. As any good boy might, Mr Biffo tried to cram the foot into the family video recorder, but found it would not fit.
“This is a quandry for sure”, he told himself, and then the magical video fairy appeared. Mr Biffo’s previous experience of magical fairies had been confined to the scatological variety, so this was indeed a surprise.
“Hello there, Mr Biffo (but not the adult Mr Biffo, the other one), would you like to swap your foot for a magical videotape that will change your life forever?”
Mr Biffo considered how useful a foot that wouldn’t even fit inside a video recorder was, and how much better a video tape that would fit inside a video recorder was, and promptly agreed that it was a Very Good Deal indeed. The magical fairy handed over the tape and then let out a cackle.
“Oh dear” said Mr Biffo “I have been had before by one of your kind, when will I ever learn. Go on then, what is it?”
“You may not show the contents of the magical video tape to anybody until September the 10th 2017.” The fairy decreed.
“Normally I’d say that as you’re a fairy, you’ve been around for much longer than the calendar devised by humanity and adhering to it is somewhat suspect, but as you’re also a magical video fairy which didn’t exist until the 70s or something I’ll allow it.
“Also after showing it to people, they will all look at you a bit funny”, the fairy added.
“Because of what is on the tape?”
“No, because they will all have pooed themselves. Goodbye!”
“Well,” said Mr Biffo, “at least there are no downsides to showing people the video.”
Then he woke up because it had all been a dream, except he spent the next year creating a video that looked like someone had traded it to a magical fairy for a foot and made everyone that watched it poo themselves with confusion.