No, it isn't available for Android, because Android is a bit of a faff, and I hate Android phone owners (not really - ha ha: PSYCHE!!!!). We'll see if we can sort it out. Don't hold your breath though; it's Christmas.
And speaking of Christmas... here we are at the penultimate Friday Letters Page before Santa empties the contents of his sack all over your living room floor.
That's a joke I made on Digitiser back in the day, but now that I've written it here, it doesn't seem as funny anymore, given that so many other icons from our youth have been revealed to be pervy predators. Let's face it; Santa is a big, rotund, powerful man, with a wacky dress sense. Chances are he's been making the elves feel uncomfortable for decades.
Yeah, it's grim, but... well... it is what it is...
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: email@example.com
With all the recent Digi-themed merchandise you've been creating, do you have any plans to produce some more mugs with Digi related goodness on?
I love my Tea Prancer mug but everyone in the office keeps pinching it and I'm afraid that one day it will get broken, leaving me with nothing but this: Jute.
P.S. Loved Found Footage! Keep at it!
Please click on this sentence to do so - but do it fast. Christmas looms...
When is your hip hop debut album, Di-santa-liser, featuring Santa coming out? I remember The Man mentioned it in one of his diaries that I read while I was unconscious after slipping on a pile of assorted hams. It sounded really good and I'd like to hear it.
It's Lists Of The Year time again, so here are my top 5 games that weren't made this year so should be in 2018:
5: Civilisation II 2: They've all been crap since Civ II. So Civ II 2 would be great.
4: Star Wars Galaxies - The Exactly the Same As Before NGE Edition. As it was. Please.
3: Call of Duty: Korean War 2. Fat person twitter simulator.
2: No Man's Sky for the Atari Jaguar. Still angry about that one.
1: Elite - Dangerous (Playable with a Wife, Two Kids and a Full Time Job that doesn't Involve Playing Elite Full Time Edition)
1b: No More Pissing FIFA
I am so happy to see you're not done with Xenoxxx yet, the little video this week brought back the thrill of the Sunday night episodes. I miss them!
Here's one that I've been meaning to ask: there are quite a few characters named John (or variant of) in Found Footage, was this significant? A 'we are all Goujon John' thing maybe?
Hope you're staying warm.
I'm happy that you miss Found Footage. My fear was I'd done too much, and people would be so sick of it that they'd never want any more ever again. I'm sure I'll do more when the time is right... I know I kind of ruled out doing a second series, but... well... wait and see.
Dear Mr Bi Fold,
This Christmas Eve, as has been my tradition for a number of years, I shall be settling down to watch Lethal Weapon (or possibly Lethal Weapon 2, depending on my mood). Just wondering if you've cultivated any slightly pointless Yuletide traditions?
Have yourself a sexy little Christmas,
My family has a thing where we hold back a present each for Boxing Day, and give them all out then, and we call these "Christmas tree presents". Also, we're the only people I know who refer to pigs-in-blankets as "bacon roll-ups".
Beyond that, there's nothing hugely remarkable. Get up. Open presents. Cook/eat the turkey. Watch TV. Visit family on Boxing Day etc.
No... wait. I do have a funny little tradition; on Christmas Eve, after everyone else has gone to bed, and the presents are all put out for the kids, I go and look out the front door, and listen to how quiet it is, and I think "When all my neighbours wake up it's going to be Christmas morning..."
Yeah, I know. Bit weird.
I managed to pick up COD Infinite Warfare Legacy edition for £10 in Tesco the other day. I got it to re-live the multiplayer on the old Modern Warfare, but I have to say I've been unexpectedly hooked on Infinite's campaign!
If I remember correctly the game had a rough time when released - but I've found the story hackneyed, but really engaging. The gameplay is exciting (and most importantly) easy enough for my age riddled, kak handed control. The space battles are particularly good - again with great, simplistic controls that make even me feel like a young Skywalker!
In fact - if the ships were re-skinned I reckon it would be a perfect format for a Star Wars game! Of course, my views may be coloured by the fact it only cost me a tenner!
Hey there MBiff,
Love the site, obviously.
I’m doing my PhD research on the link between play, games and education, but rather than just look at which games teach ‘stuff’, I’m more interested in how games encourage players/students to play ‘outside the game’ as games start to enter the real world. I’m thinking hand drawn maps, notebooks to solve puzzles, or even seeing the game in activities you’re doing after you’ve switched off.
So my question for you, Mr Expert, is which games spring to mind as good ‘reality-blurrers’? When have you taken a game with you after you’ve stopped playing it? And was this the goal of the designer or more about your own interpretation of it?
Star Wars, eh? Who’d have thought that a film with an asthmatic villain and a kid from a blue milk farm would cause so much excitement? Yes I was there in the Odeon, Watford, with my dad (who insisted on calling Darth Vader “Dr Death” because it annoyed me) watching it. It was Star Wars. Not “Episode IV” or “A New Hope”. Just Star Wars. The kids in Code Club don’t believe me when I present them with this simple truth. Ho hum.
The cinema I mention is long gone. My dad’s still around though, so I guess that’s a win really (Watford has yet to sport an in-town cinema - though one is being built). However, I mention Watford because it has a place in Star Wars history. And, no, not my friend’s neighbour who was in this film as grounds crew at the rebel base, as well as being an Ewok in Return of the Jedi.
No, none of that. I mention Watford because it was where The Phantom Meanace was filmed. On the outskirts of Watford was a airport AND a Rolls Royce factory. They made jet engines there, and every so often they had an open day. You could go an look round, watch jet engines being tested, see flying displays. That was the only time I have seen a helicopter fly upside down. It can be done, but I think it’s frowned on.
Anyway, Leavesden airport closed. Rolls Royce left, and the site became a temporary film location. At this time, I was travelling daily from my home in the middle of Watford to St Albans. To get there, I’d cross the A41 on a bridge, which took me past the airport, and, importantly, you got a bloody good view of it. I’d done this journey many years - I studied in St Albans and Hatfield, so that was part of my daily commute for four years. Work was also in the St Albans area, so in total, I did that journey for about eight or more years.
I saw a lot of change. Planes, then nothing, then film sets started going up. One of the early films to be made there was Goldeneye - the James Bond film. In fact, the building was used for long shots - but the airstrips and grassy areas made for excellent locaitons. There were flats of snowy mountains, Russian fighter jets there. That town square where Bond rams a tank into a statue? All that was built in the runway.
The big news, though, was that the site was being taken over for a new Star Wars film. The first in a trilogy. The local newspapers were full of it. Stories of R2 units running around insude the old hangars and factory buldings. It was all very, very exciting.
As I mentioned before, the Leavesden site was very, very grassy. Apparently, the largest outdoors area of grass attached to a studio. As you may recall, Naboo was very grassy in plces. That was Leavesen (sans the road bridge that gave you a good view of what was going on - that was removed in post). There were some interesting props (mostly artillery and the like) sitting around.
Towards the end of the film, the company I was working on won a contract for a website that sold giftware and other kinds of merchandise. Under pain of death/torture and a NDA, we took delivery of samples of every product they would sell. There was a lot of Star Wars: The Phantom Meanace stuff. Mugs, keyrings, stauettes, badges, all the tat that you’d likely find in a Hallmark store were there. Armed with a digital camera, I photographed everything, and processed the images for use on the site. It was all very exciting, and I couldn’t tell a sul outide of the building.
I was opening boxes of Star Wars merchandise weeks possibly a month or so before anyone would see them on the shelves. Actually, the site did pretty well out of (so I am told), and at Christmas we were given a box of stuff from the store as a “thank you”. I got Jar Jar Binks and and Darth Maul mugs. Not ones with a picture printed on it, but a shaped, character mug. There was also a Darth Maul statuette that had lightsabre blades that lit up.
Leavesden didn’t get the next two Star Wars films, but it was now well on the filming map. The TV series Band of Brothers was filmed in part there, as well as locatons aroiund Hatfield). There was a whole French village on the runway for that (other locations around Hatfield were also used, including the sole surviving Art Deco building in the BAE complex in Hatfield).
And then, Harry Potter moved in. Leavesden was never the same again. Outdoors, they built Privet Drive, and inside a lot of a sets that remained standing for the duration of the filming of the series. As that prgressed, so the site itself shrank - sold to developers. New houses and roads appeared - you’ll see some of those in the background of later Potter films. The site became a Warner Brothers complex, complete with the Harry Potter studios tour.
It was intesting to see the site change from what it was - an out of town small airport and a factory, to a place where films and television programems were made, to a place that seems to have found a place as a theme park. I’ve never been to Harry Potter thing there. From what I have seen, they do at least allow cameras. When it was a workshop full of lathes, milling machines and otjer stuff used to make jet engines, photograophy was strictly forbidden.
Living up the road from Leavesden, I've drove over there while they were making The Phantom Menace, but couldn't see anything. I did, of course, get a part as an extra in the film - thanks to a notice posted in my local comic shop. Also, as I'm sure I've whined previously, did not appear in the film, due to a horrible sequence of events which meant I missed the costume fitting by five minutes.
Personally, I'm happy it was shit.
Anyway, I saw The Last Jedi yesterday. I really enjoyed it, but all the reviews were going on about what a radical reinvention it was. Off the back of those, I'd gone in there expecting, I dunno, Rey to turn her lightsaber into a laser whip, or for her to spend the entire film walking around on stilts, or something.
Apart from some of the jokes being a little broader than expected, it just felt like a Star Wars film to me; like a mash-up of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. With an underlying message that we're all going to get old, and decrepit, and then die.
Excited for the retro gaming podcast, Mr B. Any more news you can drop on that front?
Will you take game suggestions? I for one recommend Edd the Duck on the Spectrum: it was shit, but I won a copy by writing in to the Buster, and still feel a faint debt of gratitude.
I've suggested we'll tackle a different retro topic each week - piracy, format wars, Ultimate. Open to suggestions though!
Matt Alexander is a man who writes jokes. He's written a book containing these jokes, called "OK Jokes" - meaning that he's sufficiently confident that you will find his jokes, at the very least, okay. Joke topics include "dogs, mayonnaise, ventriloquism, mime artists and chocolate submersion".
You can pick up a copy from Amazon for a mere £4,99.