Of course, backing us on Indiegogo also gets you access to some sweet, sweet perks. Some of the higher tiers are pretty pricey, admittedly, but in return you'll be rewarded with all sorts of unique items - including signed scripts, props from the set (masks, posters, sci-fi weapons, old computer hardware from the Xenoxxx vaults...), tickets, and proper on-screen credits. It's also the only place you're going to be able to pre-order the Special Edition DVD, which we won't be making available for sale anywhere else.
Even if you can't afford these - whatever you can give us will help massively. It'd be great if we were able to get over £3,500 by Monday.
If you can't support us - that's absolutely fine. Your huge support has already meant the world to me (and my enormous overdraft), and simply helping to spread the word goes a long, long way.
Click this link-y sentence right now to back the show!
And now? Why, it's letters time!
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, which nobody cares about - please send your emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just a few quick points... Firstly, over there (points towards dogs), and over there too (points towards a barn) etc. etc.
I get bored at work and that, man, so apart from sticking on my headset thing and actually playing things through it like podcasts and bin adverts, I try to read Digitiser.
My screen is viewable to all that walk past though, and that big black screen with green ‘Digitiser’ logo that doesn’t go way, ie. Is implanted on the surface (“Did it go in?!”, “Negative, negative, it just implanted on the surface!” yeah?), so here’s what I do: I copy all the page, then I go to my Outlook and open a new email.
Then I paste it in and take out the pictures (unless its one of them picture-based things like ’10 people who play games on an empty stomach’, then I save those for later! MUCH later!!!), align to the left, change colour to grey/black, font to size 10, and finally… you guessed it! Single line spacing, motherfudger! The point? ‘The things I do for you!’
My next point is that I have been playing Doom recently on PS4, which I got because of your review and it was cheap. Its great, so thanks for that, but did you realise how much ‘platforming’ there is in it? And upon said jumps, I genuinely get a little fright/shock type thing if I'm maybe not gonna make it. Little dribble of adrenaline.
So... why not more FPS platformers?! Surely some game can be made that focuses on this aspect. A first-person Mario game! I remember, I think coz you brought it up recently, that rabbit game on Playstation 1... that was a kind of FP platform game, I think. Anyway, FP means you get a bit more involved and I think it’s a good idea. The point? ‘FP platform games are a good idea, hand them over, TODAY!’
Thirdly, just been loving the writings recently (and always, but I seem to remember laughing a lot at the last few… maybe its that thing of reading at work and knowing you shouldn’t laugh). Love your little stories and digressions. You’re a Gaming Salinger! Which is cool, but not as cool as Gaming Mill’s ‘Smoking Brother’. The point? ‘Be careful!’
I got Elite Dangerous for my PS4 last week. Now, I have played it before - on my Macs (yes, yes - I know, PC nerds - heard it all before), but I gave up because Frontier decided that they couldn't support that platform any more. Something to do with calculated shaders and the drivers Apple use being a few iterations out of date.
Actually, I was kind of glad. I don't like playing games on a PC. I mean, I used to - back in the days when I had a BBC Micro and, later, the Archimedes. But when I got a Mega Drive, my gaming moved from a computer to consoles - Mega Drive, Game Cube, PlayStations 1 to 4, to name a few. For me, gaming is a leisure activity, computers are for more serious, and at times engaging, activities.
So right now, Elite Dangerous on a PS4 is great. I don't have to either sit at the desk where I usually work, or use my MacBook Pro, which requires me to find somewhere downstairs to put it, or have it on my lap where it can get very warm.
No, I like my gaming to be comfortable - so nice chair in front of the telly is where it is for me. My wife does tell me that it's the most boring game to watch, though, so I may have to revert to Skyrim to keep the peace every now and then. But it's fun, and does take me back to 1984.
So, when you're not doing your games writer job, where do you prefer to play games when you are doing it for your own fun and amusement? What's your leisure gaming set up?
All the best,
My set up is a mass of wires and games in the wrong boxes and consoles stacked on top of one another, and sometimes they've fallen down behind the back of the TV. Organisation of things is not my strong suit. Given the photos I see of gaming set-ups on Twitter, most of you would be appalled by my chaotic approach to storage.
Having been a video game player since getting an Atari 2600 in about 1980, I reckon that the PSVR is the best thing I've ever owned. Jeff Minter's Polybius is the most fun I've had since Outrun2, Resident Evil 7 is an incredibly intense experience, and Driveclub VR with a decent wheel is outstanding.
The trouble is, its going to totally die on its arse because you need to own it for a couple of days to get your VR legs. Friends come to play it and throw up in my sink. Even those that like it give up after about 15 minutes saying it's too much for them.
Your VR article was funny, but I think it raises a good point - how is a product meant to be successful when the first couple of days of use make you want to vomit?
It's like being in a restaurant that serves the best main course you've ever tasted - provided you eat the starter that's made from sheriff's hair and poo. How are I going to convince you to blow 300 quid on the best gaming experience in years when you, like everyone else, have given it a try and not liked it?
Also, we've all got a different level of sensitivity I suppose. I was surprised it affects me the way it does, because I'm fine with theme park rides, providing they're not too spinny.
My oldest daughter is starting to flirt with the idea of watching CBBC rather than CBeebies (ta ta for now, Mr Tumble!) which means I've seen some of your day job stuff: this is pleasingly circular, as I remember watching My Parent's Are Aliens a long time ago for my own amusement.
Little did I realise the connection to Digitiser: can you recall any especially Digi-like jokes you got on TV back then?
It got me to thinking as well. Has writing for TV for such a long time spoiled your enjoyment of watching TV? Do you see too much behind the 'brown curtain' to enjoy it? Obviously you don't watch children's TV for your own entertainment, but I imagine there are parallels with the rest of the TV world.
Writing for telly hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of it, but I do watch a lot less TV than I used to. Most of what I do watch is American TV, which still seems alien and strange. That might be because I do know the British TV industry a bit too well. There's so much money in US telly that it feels like a proper, slick, operation, whereas British TV always feels more homespun, on a wing and a prayer.
Also: I watch as much weird, esoteric, stuff on YouTube as I do actual proper television. I've said it before, but tailored content by people who are trying, first and foremost, to please themselves, is the way forward. Most stuff is watchable, providing its made by someone who is being true to themselves.
There's one YouTuber I used to watch who I now find intolerable, because now she only makes videos - which are merely coming from a place of trying to be like other YouTubers - when she has sponsorship for them. You can smell the incongruence.
Hi I'm Postman Steve, Postman Pat's love child.
He got me a job at the Post Office because he didn't pay me mum (Mrs Goggins) any child maintenance or even offer to pay for sky so she could watch love island!
I take great pride in my job knowing I deliver a little bit of gloom everyday, because let's face it the only people who send letters are debt collection agencies and basically anyone else who's chasing you for money or telling you you have an STD.
Postman Steve and his ruptured spleen.
Early in the morning, as the day is dawning,
Postman Steve has internal bleeding and can't come into work today.
This catastrophic letter is a litany of mess-ups.
So this weekend I finished Freedom Planet. It's a spiffing game that nicks all the good bits from 16-bit platformers. It also has boss fights, and some of them are quite hard, and the last level has a whole bunch of boss fights in a row.
The final stage of the last level took me over an hour (and 41 deaths), even though the whole game was only about 4 hours long.
I consider myself to be a fairly calm and relaxed individual, but a couple of those boss fights turned me into a sweary ball of rage. The issue here isn't the boss fights, it's the frustration. The sort of frustration that made me want to snap my pad in half and hurl it through the TV.
The game was super fun though, so I gritted my teeth, swore a bit and carried on until I finally won, and the sense of reward / relief just about justified doing so. I'm not entirely sure if I was still having fun, but I guess I'm glad I did it.
We've all played games that frustrate us due to bad controls or level designs, but those games are usually crap, so you can easily move on to something else. The problem is the good games, those addictive sods that get you hooked and then slap you about like an abusive lover that occasionally gives you a cuddle to convince you they love you really.
Are you one of those types that fall into that trap of addiction and frustration, and if so what's the most frustrating gaming experience you've had where you've felt compelled to keep playing?
Given this week's foray in to the realm of virtual reality, what immersive experience do you think Angela "Murder She Committed" Lansbury is enjoying in this picture?
With love and manly handshakes,
1. While I have never been a Final Fantasy obsessive, I have enjoyed several of the games in the series. Final Fantasy 12 was always my favourite of them and the impending remaster shows, I think, that not only was it a great game but was quite influential on western-style RPGs in a manner that no other Japanese RPG has been over the same time period. For me, it is still the best of the series.
2. With the recent (relative) critical and commercial failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the similar experiences last year of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and to a lesser extent, Dishonoured 2, could it be argued that not living up to expectations is almost as bad as being a bad game?
3. If it were possible, what game would you like to play for the first time again?
2. Yes. Nothing feels as bad as disappointment and unmet expectations. There's a term for it, that I learned in my counselling training, which I have now forgotten. It's when your view of the world - say, a world in which you believe the statement that "Mirror's Edge is good" or "I'm a nice person" - is rattled by the reality - ie; Mirror's Edge is now bad, or you've done a nasty thing! It can cause a degree of emotional anguish, and it's why people will hang onto their beliefs, and spin reality to fit those beliefs, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. That's all a bit heavy. But it's how the world works.
3. Half-Life 2. Or Mirror's Edge.
4. I remember now: cognitive dissonance. That's what it's called!
So yeah, I bought a PS4 PRO and a 4K telly to enjoy it with. I, like no doubt your good self and your fine readers, have all heard how even 1080p players can enjoy the benefits of engorged teraflops... but I don't trust those forked tongued bastards at PS HQ an inch. I’ve been burned before, you see.
Dr Joel Kaplan’s extension pump made very similar promises about increasing ‘things’ and left me, not unlike John The Revelator - that’d be naked and ashamed. The PS4 PRO and it’s promises of smoother frame rates, sharper edges and faster loading times laid bare another (but ostensibly the same) home truth about myself - I’m a nincompoop for numbers.
Just going back to Joel’s tool rigger - I’ve heard some horror stories about those things:
1 - A bloke I knew told me how effective they were but that you need to be careful with them. He said that the trick is to not get too carried away and that it’s worth spending a few quid more to get one with a release valve. He explained how he was vacuuming in earnest one evening when, no doubt due to there being more pent up suction in that plastic flask than you’d expect to find in an average black hole, one of his (presumably) bollocks was ingested into the expansion cylinder.
2 - Another chap warned me against leaving the ring on. He related how one evening he did exactly that and then required a visit to his Dr due to experiencing a condition called retrograde ejaculation - essentially this means that once you’re met with your own event horizon, your body retains all the evidence. You dry heave, so to speak.
Fucking awful, right? Should have been enough to stymie even the most hardened of reprobates, yeah? No, and like the inquisitive cat that I am, I found myself in the most curious adult shop ever.
My wife and I were enjoying a weekend away together. It was our 10th wedding anniversary and I’d arranged for us to stay at a nice hotel (with a pool and that) and to go shopping and whatnot at the Birmingham Bullring.
That all went very well, even got to try a Five Guys for the first time (amazing) and had Grape Fanta Zero (very nice) and at the Bullring there was this stand selling hot cookie dough with soft ice-cream on it - Jesus Christ it was so good. She did some shopping, I did some eating and a good time was had by all.
We left Birmingham and made our way to the hotel. And then the weirdest thing happened - okay, so you’re familiar with motorway service stations, yeah? Okay, well this bad boy had a fucking sex shop at the back of it! I drove to the next exit and doubled back; I just had to see this for myself!
Pulling into the carpark, my wife told me there was no way she was going in. She said it was creepy. Admittedly, it did feel as though I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone, but rather than be put off by that, and with Rod Sterling narrating the unfolding events in my mind, I walked through the very private looking door. ***NA-NA-NA-NA _ NA-NA-NA-NA***
Upon entry, I was greeted by a lady who asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I wasn’t, in all honesty, and just said as much.
They had all your usual bits and bobs, nothing really to write home about, but I was hooked by this point and there was no way I was leaving empty handed. I casually made my way to the male enhancement section and was totally spoiled for choice; they even had hydraulic ones!
Anyway, the lady came over to lend some support. The water ones are safer, she said, but they’ll all work equally well. Hmmm…. so I bought the cheapest (non hydraulic) one they had (with an escape valve, you’ll remember) and she threw in some lube samples which she assured me I’d need.
I get back to the car and my wife says, oh for fuck sake, Dean, what have you bought? The package was, somewhat portentously, rather large!
With a cad’s grin on my face, I handed her the bag and invited her to take a peek…
Once we had both finished laughing and doing Austin Powers impressions, we hit the road again, unhindered this time by dirty oases.
I’ll spare you all the details of that evening but suffice to say, it was fun and silly and that’s all she wrote.
Which brings me back to the PS4 PRO. It exploits the vulnerability of graphics whore gamers with feelings of inadequacy. It makes all kinds of promises and delivers, in my admittedly limited experience so far, precious little. My first impression was in being met with a screen on Knack whereby I had to choose between faster FPS or enhanced graphics. WTF! You mean this piece of shit can’t do both? Knack is too fucking much for it? And that was after spending about 30 minutes pissing around with the settings on my TV and the PS4 trying to get HDR enabled.
Turns out that the option to enable HDR is stashed away in the last place you’d (I’d) think of looking; Samsung a different song to what I was expecting!
Does it look better? I guess. A bit. Probably.
The best looking game I’ve played recently is The Unfinished Swan on my old PS4; often sparse but so stylish.
And there be the moral of this immoral travesty - It’s what you do with it that counts.
Just imagine if this was the only letter you got this week. You didn't even get a PSB poo related one. Just imagine.
Good Day to you Biff "oh",
I know that Go8Bit is a fairly regularly appearing topic on the D2kFLP (Digitizser's Twenty Hundred Frying Day Lettuce Phage), but what would you choose as your classic/specialist game that you could beat the world playing?
Also, if we were to kidnap a member of the production crew and blackmail them, are you up for the Mr Biffo/Mr PSB episode of Go8Bit that we've all been waiting for whilst watching a celebrity play a racing game very badly? I could then run a sweepstake on who would get the "Diarrhoea o'Briain" joke in first.
Finally: Radio comedy does surreal really well. Have or would you ever consider writing something for the audio side?
See you in the discotheque,
Jopijedd off of the Twatter
Given the financial pressure this would put me under, it would have to be something that I felt very passionate about, and had creative control over, for it to be worth my time. And - like Found Footage - risk not being to be able to pay my mortgage because of. Ha ha... ha.
The only thing on the audio side that I can think of that I'd want to write is a Doctor Who audio drama for Big Finish, but the two or three times I've tried to contact them I've never heard back. The last time I was told that they approach writers, rather than have writers approach them. Which is a bit gutting and frustrating, but there you go.
Oddly, though, Tom Webster - who designs covers for Big Finish - is one of our main cast members in Found Footage.
Bit of a change of pace, I'd like to find out the names of some old BBC Micro games I played at school.
The first required a concept jeyboard and came with a paper overlay. This had pictures of the character's actions. Gameplay was basically like point and click adventure, collecting objects to solve puzzles etc. The main bit I remember was a giant cartoon spider that was being bullied by little spiders. Offering her a radio got you out safely but you had to give her a clown's red nose to progress.
Second was a Mickey Mouse game, text adventure, only bit I remember was that of the options within your bedroom one of them was "switch off your computer", this actually shut down the machine you were playing it on.
Last was a sort of text adventure as well, but gave you a top down map of a coastal area. You arrive by ship with some colonists and have to choose where to settle and then how to run the colony with a series of choices, some were moral dilemmas.
One that sticks out was that there was settler stealing food, so you got the options of either banishing him to the wilderness or publicly flogging him! I chose to banish him and he repeatedly came back to steal. Eventually more ships turned up in the bay, bringing supplies or more settlers.
Any ideas on any of these?
We've seen a resurgence of Flat Earth information over social media recently (helped by FE patriots such as Tila Tequila and B.o.B) and lots of it appears to be a psyop designed to discredit the movement (assuming all other planets are round yet Earth being the only one that is flat, etc.) - we are not simply a frisbee flying through space.
Truth is, Earth is a closed system and therefore the concept of outer space and how Flat Earth relates to it is incorrect - outer space simply does not exist.
There is no observable curve on the horizon, and even the standard spherical geometry of a drop of 8 inches per mile squared on the globe can be proven demonstrably false with lasers (check out the Bedford Level Experiment for confirmation).
Gravity is nonexistent: objects merely fall to the ground due to being denser than the air around them. Have you ever considered how the Earth's "gravity" is strong enough to hold the Moon in orbit yet weak enough to not instantly crush the petals of a flower?
However do not be fooled by the typical Gleason Projection Flat Earth map associated with the movement (with its ice wall) as that too is a psyop: its easily debunked and discredits FE. What we consider to be Earth likely uses multi-dimensional physics/geometry in it's layout (think how Pac-Man leaves one side of the screen and instantly reappears on the other), which would explain how one person's sunrise is another person's sunset.
Research Flat Earth, and keep an open mind.
I have been enjoying Neill Blomkamp's Oats Studios output on YouTube.
The Cooking With Bill segments are properly dark and have a somewhat 'familiar' look and feel to something else I've seen...
Even the bigger budget sci-if shorts are getting pretty similar to another thing that has been teased and is due to have a finale filmed soon.
Are you worried Neill Blomkamp is just copying you?
I've just realised I typed sci-if instead of sci-fi. Have I inadvertently invented a new genre?
I think a lot of us are all drawing from the same pool of influences/ingredients, and sometimes those influences are going to result in the same flavours/recipes.
I remember years ago, when I was a teenager, I did a cartoon of some animal with a speech bubble reading "Capa Capa!". Then I saw a Vic Reeves cartoon of a bird with almost the exact same caption - as random and unlikely and impossible as that might seem for something that makes zero logical sense. It's actually why "Moc-moc-a-moc" exists; if Vic Reeves hadn't somehow come up with the same random nonsense, the Digi catchphrase would've been "Capa-capa!".
Also, I did a Knife & Wife cartoon when I was at school, where the "punchline" was a completely out-of-nowhere "Mount Everest: 6p". And then Reeves And Mortimer did those weird Victorian sketches that would end abruptly with something like "Broccoli: 12p".
It's just stuff in the ether, even for those of us with this weird sense of humour. I always said that Reeves and Mortimer weren't an influence on me - just that when I first saw them I was blown away that someone on telly had the same sense of humour. Same with Tim and Eric. If I've taken anything from them, it's using editing and transitions in a similar way, because I think it compliments that Digi style of funnies.
Someone I really do like who's playing in the same ballpark, is Eric Andre. Check out his Adult Swim show. The speed of his editing, and the barrage of the utter surrealism, is incredible. Part of me would love to be able to mimic the pace of what he does, but I think my forte is playing around with words, and rapid-fire editing doesn't always allow that to breathe.
The 9th of September is far away, so I thought it would be nice to share some nuggets of happiness before Goujon John returns.
This is more than reformed chicken deserves, if you can brave the eyes and teeth.
The children are rendered in full, rather than cheap photos or cartoons. The horror is magnified accordingly, but rosy cheeks and sun-faded colours evoke mid 1980s optimism, before the bomb fell.
It would sit perfectly in the rubble of Gateway, apart from the certification stamps.
I also like how each shape is identified, with the tiny font suggesting embarrassment that this was necessary.
I came to Teletext late, having only had access to a capable TV in 1995. In fact, I actually edited Teletext pages on my school's computer system before I could really see them. Digi itself I didn't see until 1998. And by then I was 22 and 'on the internet' (as they so quaintly put it back then).
So, how peculiar that I find myself in 2017 doing Teletext pages. I'd done the blogging world for years on various subjects and, after various unpleasantnesses earlier this year, I was looking to do something different. I tried a different kind of blog-thing and while it was mildly diverting, it still wasn't quite different enough.
It was around this time I remembered Digi. I recalled the famous final page (and who wouldn't ), but had no idea what happened afterwards. Google is your friend as always, and I'd soon found Digitiser2000 and assorted 20-year-old screenshots of the glory days of Fat Sow, Mr. T and Insincere Dave. And then it hit me - why not do a Beer News version of Digi? I already had the cast of characters that I'd created for the previous blog. So, I found a reasonably functioning Teletext editor and off I went.
Doing pages now, I know what they went through in the 80s and 90s fighting against the limitations of the format. Ever found out you had to rewrite a whole paragraph because you missed out a letter? I have. Does help disguise my obvious lack of graphics skills, though.
So, thank you Mr. Biffo for helping inspire my latest creative venture by providing me with a style to shamelessly pilfer and rob. "Evilkegtext" is now 50 pages strong and sometimes even gets 100 hits a day from the people I've yet to offend. Good day to you, sir, and I hope the Found Footage Finale goes with reasonable smoothness.
I don't really play video games any more but having loved the original Digitiser, it was lovely to see it hove back into view on these pages. I remember the day when I got home from college to find the Digitiser front page had been replaced with a "normal" video games page and even thumbing the number back in, thinking I'd made a mistake. And that was that.
In the intervening years, I must have searched for "Digitiser writers" on the internet, otherwise I wouldn't have known your name and Tim Moore's. So, when I saw his book about cycling on a youth hostel bookshelf I thought, brilliant, only to find on the front page he damns Teletext.
Why would he do that, I thought? I was upset to think he was damning the mighty Digitiser or that you had fallen out. Only now do I get it, after reading Games of My Years.
Strangely, the man Hairs cropped up again during the Digitiser wilderness years, which leads me to an important query. In an English teaching book I used in Italy about 10 years ago, there was a whole two-page colour spread where he investigates incidents of rudeness in capital cities. In the accompanying audio, he speaks with a strong Scottish accent. Do you confirm or deny this peculiar affectation?
Thank you for all the laughs 'n' funnies all these years.
But no. He certainly doesn't speak with a strong Scottish accent. He's English, and slightly posh, whereas I'm English and slightly common.
Also: you're welcome, Neil.
Sir. It is my view that the in game music to Kirby: The Crystal Shards is the best in game music that has ever been done. You and your readers may disagree.
Well I thought as you were struggling for letters I would write one, and I really had no idea what the hell I was going to talk about - I currently have been in withdrawal from MrPSB poo stories starring Mr Biffo - These scatalogical advertures (especially the second to last one) nearly made me die laughing, and I thought, what could I possibly do that could even to come CLOSE to that?
Truth is, I can't... so there is this...
I gave up my career, such as it was, being a designer - to get a proper job that pays proper money. Going from the insular world of I.T. support to the Nathan Barleyesque world of Sales has been one of the most disconcerting and strange transitions I've ever had.
Clapping at sales, watching people rap in team meetings, it's bizarre... People who actually watch and discuss last night's "Love Island" - well I don't even have the words how jarring and strange it all is. I was told by many people that I should get a job in I.T., because it's "More me" - by more than 5 people this month - made me feel a bit odd. I didn't know how to take it. Is it because I am rubbish at sales?
Out of all the people who started when I did, I am struggling the most, but I am keeping up. Is it because I am not as gregarious and outgoing as those other guys? Maybe... the best thing was that I was told I shouldn't work in I.T. because "I looked too normal". That did wonders for my self esteem!
Anyway - I had a job interview this week for a job in I.T. (again) at the same place - and even though my interview was on Tuesday I have not been told if I have the job. I have to wait till Monday apparently. Now my scumbag brain is telling me this is because someone else has been offered it and they don't know if they will accept it. And if they don't then I am second choice, and I really don't want to be that...
I have continually bugged you to buy the Shadowrun games on Steam and play them, because other than Neverwinter Nights, they are the amongst the greatest of all RPGs of like ALL TIME - I understand with all the Found Footage stuff going on you won't have much time to play them all on your poopy old Mac you definitely should, everyone should back me up on this...
I bought Richard Herring's book of Emergency Questions and I really enjoyed it, so I will ask you a random question from it...
Do you have a favourite plate?