In not-entirely-unconnected-news, thanks to all the people who have backed me on Patreon this week. It is much, much appreciated.
Let's do letters, yeah? Yeah - let's.
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You talked about and reviewed the Playstation VR very positively last year. What I want to know is, how much have you gone back to it since then?
Also... it's a faff to set up, and that puts me off. Also... I don't like sitting there with all my senses cut off, while other people go about their business. These are all barriers to me playing. JUST LIKE I SAID THEY WOULD BE.
Basically... everything I predicted before I got one has come to pass. But... it's also very cool.
As I have never bothered your letters page before, can I massively overstretch your boundaries and ask for some advice about a matter that has absolutely nothing to do with games please?
I have stumped up for a photo 'opportunity' with William Shatner on Saturday at the 'For the Love of Sci-Fi' expo in Manchester.
From viewing your fantastic photo with Mark Hamill you posted many years back, you are the only other person that I know who has actually let on they've ever gone in for this sort of thing.
I'm just wondering what to expect? Any words of advice on how to play it? Anything on reflection that you wish you had done differently?
I'm expecting an incredibly brief impersonal remote experience, rather like having a photo taken next to your favourite fish at an aquarium.
Cheers for any advice you can offer.
He was an absolute gentleman - and even though it was over in a few seconds, I don't regret it. I mean, I had a moment with Luke Skywalker! My inner 8 year-old won't ever forget it.
I got to watch him interact with other people before it was my turn. Some of them had slightly grander requests - he climbed on somebody's back - and he was very flirty with the ladies. But he was gracious to everyone, and seemed to try and make every encounter special. My only regret is that I didn't also get a photo with Carrie Fisher.
I hope The Shat is worth it.
Will you be writing a book of that Games of my Years series you did?
I watched your videos and now I have nightmares every night and not only that but my cat died AND I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CAT.
What are your feelings on how Star Wars: Rebels has handled previously EU only characters and ships? Thinking specifically of Thrawn and TIE Defenders. The latter was originally a late Empire development, now it's in use before The Battle of Yavin. Considering we only see standard Ties and Vader's prototype Advanced in ANH it feels a little jarring. I'm personally hoping they explain some sort of setback that means the Defender couldn't be deployed to the Death Star.
As Rebels is ending what would you like to see as the next series?
What, if any, EU elements do you hope they might bring back into canon?
Thinking of Found Footage/VHS style multiple recordings on a tape are there any none Star Wars programmes/adverts that you still associate with the franchise due them being on the same tape?
It bothers me a bit that there are two Jedi in there - which somehow makes Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker less special - but presumably they're going to kill them before the series is done. Not seeing TIE Defenders in the films doesn't bother me really. It's a big Empire.
Not sure what I'd want to see as a follow-up series. For me, the show is at its best when it features characters from the films... I'd say I'd like a Darth Vader series, but I'd rather they filled in some gaps with him in a live action movie.
As for other Expanded Universe stuff... I never really got into the books. I tried, but they always lacked something for me. They never quite nailed what Star Wars is. I've read a couple of the ones they've put out since Disney took over. Some I've liked - Lost Stars were great - others I've struggled with. Though if I was in charge, I'd find a way to make Jaxxon - the big, green, rabbit from the Marvel comics - canon.
I never had Star War recorded off the telly - just the official VHS releases. So, in answer to your final question... no. Well, yes... actually there is a TV show I associate with Star Wars. Unfortunately, I remember the episode of Jim'll Fix It very vividly, where some kid got to go and have a "picnic" with Mark Hammil on the set of The Empire Strikes Back.
This was all very geeky wasn't it?
So - EA's latest pile of steam claims that linear games are on the way out! If so - I must be the last dinosaur standing. Cos I love 'em!
When I was a kid playing ZX81 and then Speccy games I dreamed of games that told a great story, gave great gameplay and lastly but most important, looked bloody gorgeous! (Yeah - years of blocky graphics turned me into a true graphics whore). Years later after many great attempts by some great developers, for me the landmark moment was the Uncharted series. A very linear set of games.
Drake's Fortune showed great potential (story and graphics), but the gameplay lacked finesse. This was immediately rectified with Among Thieves, and from then on Naughty Dog just kept delivering games that seemed made just for me!
I reckon linear games are the best way of delivering a set story in the most dramatic and effective way, and hopefully I'm not the only one who thinks so!
I do enjoy other types of games - just not as much as EA would like, certainly not enough to invest beyond the initial purchase!
Right now, I can't think of a better way to do it. I see the Naughty Dog method as a blank canvas for story-telling, and yeah - I'd absolutely love a linear Star Wars game done that way. I just can't see it working as an open world map-mopper thing, like Assassin's Creed or Far Cry.
Hello. I just thought I'd stop by to offer the following thought: Poo.
P.S. Poo in the morning and I will be in.
(10) in street . Goto postbox(20) Goto house(30)
(20) at postbox. Goto street(10) Goto house(30)
(30) in hallway. Goto street(10) Goto lounge(40) Goto study(50)
(40) in lounge there is a pen. Take pen(60) Goto hallway(30)
(50) in study. Goto hallway(30)
(60) in lounge with pen. Goto hallway(70)
(70) in hallway with pen. Goto lounge(60) Goto study(80)
(80) in study with pen. Write letter(90) Goto hallway(70)
(90) you write letter to Biffo. Goto hallway(100)
(100) in hallway with letter. Goto study(110) Goto lounge(120) Goto street(130)
(110) in study with letter Goto hallway(100)
(120) in lounge with letter Goto hallway(100)
(130) in street with letter. Goto postbox(140) Goto house(100)
(140) at post box with letter. Goto street(130) Post letter(150)
(150) Biffo recieves letter, it reads . Goto (160)
(160) have you ever considered making... Goto (170)
(170) a text adventure? Goto(180)
(180) your end here
I've not written for a while because I've been really quite unwell and it seems to be getting worse day by day. I keep getting sent to the hospital and the doctor but it's a right pain when I can't even drive because it's illegal for me to do so under the the (prescribed) medication I'm on.
I would normally ask my Imaginary Wife to drop me off but seeing as she's back over in the U.S. of States at the moment it seems really rather inconsiderate of me to ask her to fly 8000 miles there and back for an appointment tomorrow... even though I'd offer to pay for it.
With that being said, and after being more or less home-bound for the last three months, I get great amusement watching my neighbour outside my flat window waddling along with her arms swinging with great gusto when she occasionally leaves her own pit to put something in her bins.
Her manifold barefooted children, of whom I can only assume are home educated because they are never at school, often traipse after her. I'm guessing this in the hope that she might accidentally drop scraps of burnt foot or bacon fat or scrapings from the back of a packet of lard which they can then devour with great aplomb.
After the five minutes of compulsory rest that she has, once she has reached her bins, she always turns around before heading off back into her place. I'm not sure if she is actually resting or just contemplating the stopping distance required to make it safely to her front door and to not go crashing through the brick wall into her neighbour's garden and, possibly, right through his car.
Anyway, have you played The Cat Lady? I bought it the other day. I bought my Smoking Brother a copy too. His review? "That old dame you play looks like that doctor you used to shag". Quality review indeed. I, personally, really enjoy it, even though I haven't go a clue what is going on.
I am really quite unwell but still strong,
+++ TARGET ACQUIRED +++
+++ MR BIFFO QUESTIONING PROGRAM INITIATED +++
OK, Biffo - it's like this, see? I miss the colour bleed of Spectrum sprites. Do you think any major game developers have future plans to reintroduce it?
+++ COMMENCING SELF-IMMOLATION ROUTINE +++
*BLEEPLES* *SPNURK* *CLICK-CLACK-SPONGE*
He was, inevitably, a BBC Model B owner. Last I heard he was making lots of money working for a mobile phone company. Of course he was... Of course he was....
After 25 years of wondering what was going on with Miles "Tails" Prower and his (her?) stupid, stupid name, thanks to Digi I've discovered that I'm thick as pigshit.
Are there any other "jokes" from gaming a quarter of a century ago that have passed me by entirely?
I recall my sister having a party when I was a kid. Her then-husband was in the USAF, and thus we often had Americans hanging around, which I thought was incredibly cool; I'd only ever seen them in films before. I wasn't very old, but she said I could be the "DJ" at the party, and so I made a little DJ desk out of a sideboard and a record player, but one of her American friends said I needed a DJ name.
He made a sign for me which read "Paul and the Bearers". I thought this was excellent, even though it took me close to two decades to realise that it was a pun, which somehow spoiled it for me.
Who would win in a fight out of Charles and Eddie? Charles or Eddie?
See, I'm a man of peace, but many years ago my mother befriended a group of boys who I believed were ne'er-do-wells. They were friends of a girl my mother was fostering, but I heard rumours that they were dealing drugs, and had broken into a school to steal computers. For some reason, in her younger years my mother was always inviting random youths into her house to feed, and these were the latest in a long procession of such boys.
We had a crate of Christmas booze stolen out of the porch one day, and I was pretty sure that these boys were responsible. I tried to warn my family, but for some reason my mother and sister wouldn't hear a bad word against them, and would get angry whenever I raised the issue.
And then one day, I got a call from my sister - who lived over the road from my parents - that the street had been sealed off, and there was an armed siege taking place at my parents' house. My pregnant then-wife was visiting them at the time, and - as I later learned - there were a dozen or so policemen pointing guns at my parents' house, because earlier that day these boys had held up a local newsagent's, and taken refuge
They were caught because it was the newagent's where the ringleader's parents got their paper delivered from, and the boy often came in to pay their paper bill, and therefore the owner of the shop had his home address. Worse still, the leader of the boys was dragged out of the house and pinned to the ground while they handcuffed him, and I later found out that several neighbours believed he was me.
Anyway, you'd think that would be the end of it wouldn't you? But no. I saw the boy in a pub a few weeks after my parents had guns pointed at their house, after he'd hidden knife in their home, and after my pregnant then-wife had been bundled into the back of a police van, and he kept nodding and smirking at me.
Wound up by this, and with a couple of pints in me, I followed him into the toilets, and grabbed him by his ridiculous ponytail, and hissed in his ear to leave my family alone. It was all quite dramatic, because I'd yanked his hair back so hard that his head had hit me in the face, so when I came out of the toilets I had blood running from my mouth.
Anyway... he didn't stay away from my family. He went home and called my mum, and told her exactly what I did. Cue phone calls from my mother and my sister telling me they were "ashamed" and "disgusted" by my behaviour, and them writing a glowing character reference for the boy when he ended up in court. Of course, he got with a suspended sentence.
So, I dunno. Eddie's hair lets him down... but maybe if Charles used that to his advantage, his mum would call him up and tell him how ashamed she is of him. You know: for not being a drug-dealing armed robber, who wanted to protect his family, presumably.
I have a confession to make. I never read Digitiser when it was on Teletext, I know bugger all about video games (I could never get past the telephone level on Manic Miner & I've never played Mario Kart), and I didn't back the Found Footage crowdfunding because I didn't know it existed.
I watched Dream Drawings because Stuart Ashen mentioned it on Twitter, and I'm so glad I did. I can honestly say I haven't enjoyed watching a series as much as Found Footage in a long time. You can tell how much time, effort & love went into it, and I loved reading the behind the scenes posts and the discussions on Facebook.
I have also found that everyone connected with FF on Twitter are a lovely, friendly & welcoming bunch.
Anyway, there's not much point to this letter, just wanted to say that I'm looking forward to whatever you do next & happy December!
It's like with me and my favourite band Marillion. I became a fan when Fish was the lead singer in the 80s, and I was a teenager, and those songs mean something quite special to me. And yet... I know they're now a much, much better band... although I'll never have the same connection to their post-Fish music. And it's a shame for their current lead singer, Steve Hogarth, because he seems to be acutely aware that a lot of fans feel this way.
But what can you do, huh? Wutcanyado?! You're competing with nostalgia.
What are the best games to watch someone else play?
We have one decent TV in our house, so I spend a lot of time watching other people play. The PS4 controllers are entirely free of my fingerprints.
To date I've put in hundreds of vicarious hours on Overwatch, Injustice 2 and Mario Odyssey.