Obviously, everything I do is offered for free, and there's no obligation to show your support financially. I know myself how terrifying financial commitments can be.
Nevertheless, by donating to either my Patreon or PayPal fund you help enable me to continue writing Digitiser2000, as well as have the time to create stuff like Mr Biffo's Found Footage. I'm also able to be more active on Twitter or the Digi2000 Facebook page an ting. Without the backing of so many generous donations - which can be given as a one-off, or for as little as a quid a month - I honestly couldn't have done both Digi and Found Footage this year.
Having it there as a backup has been a godsend. Found Footage hasn't been cheap to make, and I've ended up dipping quite deeply into my own pocket. Also: if it makes you feel better about all this, it's horribly demeaning asking for money, like some dirty busker.
Anyhow, once I'm done with this current eye watering workload, I might look into restructuring how I ask for crowdfunding - and what I offer in return - to reflect where I want to go next. More on that in the Autumn.
Right. On with the lettuce (letters).
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
I went around my dad's for Father's Day. He sneezed so loud my dog shit herself. My question to you, Mr Biffo is, what's been your favourite of the summer blockbuster movies so far?
Technically sublime, but utterly misconceived, see.
From seeing the Alien running around like a bloody cat, to seeing things from its POV, to discovering the Aliens were created by Michael "I'll do the fingering" Fassbender - in a retcon so wretched it makes Darth Vader creating C3PO seem like the most obvious thing in the world - the last shreds of Alien mystique have been shat on, burnt, and thrown into a ditch.
Ridley Scott? More like Piddly Snott.
This is a bit of a ramble, and a bit (lot) personal, so Digi readers who aren't interested in reading about slightly soppy letter of thanks should skip to the next letter.
Go on, skip ahead, it'll probably be MrPSB's poo story.
I grew up in a very religious family, but not the relatively innocuous type where they go to church every Sunday and perhaps don't pursue certain political careers because they don't like gay people very much.
Instead, it was the type where you're not allowed to have any friends outside of the church (which, because of the size of this church, means it's quite likely that you'll have no friends in school and very few of your own age), and also, you have to refuse certain medical treatment that might mean you have to choose between dying, or going against everything your parents indoctrinated you with and losing every human connection you have in the process.
Yes, if you choose to leave this particular group, or get kicked out because you deliberately disobeyed them, you're shunned by everyone in the group. And because you're only allowed friends inside the group, you end up totally alone.
This is also a group that states you can only accuse others of sins if you have two witnesses to the sin. This means there are thousands of abused children in the church who can't do anything about it because, hell, when are there two witnesses to that?
I had to grow up seeing the fallout of that happening to people in my family. I grew up seeing one of the few friends I had, die because they refused medical treatment.
So, not exactly a happy jolly journey. The first time I ever seriously considered suicide was when I was 8. I mean, I'd been told over and over how I made God sad, and how he was going to destroy the world VERY soon... so what was the point?
Thankfully, I got through it, got out, and now I'm my own fully realised person, with my own shoes and credit cards and drawers full of things that you can't quite open all the way.
Hang on though, what has this got to do with Digi, and/or video games?
There were three things that kept me going through my childhood. Music, comedy, and computers (and their associated games). When Digi started, it became part of my routine - a little part of each day that couldn't be taken away from me, and let me feel a connection to other people who had the same weird sense of humour. It was a connection I sorely needed.
I'm not one to idolise, or put people on pedestals. I saw the danger in that, growing up in a religious cult! And also, I've run out of pedestals. They're expensive. But I do think it's important that I thank you for all the words, and let you know it meant a lot to me, and helped me get through tough times.
I often wished I could have been a writer, but I never had the talent or originality for it. The idea that I could write something that connects with someone and helps them, appealed to me in a big way. Instead, I now work on software that helps people get their writing out there, so I hope I've achieved that by proxy in some way.
So, Biffo, please keep on doing it, I firmly believe that everything done to make people's days brighter has a far bigger effect than can be measured, especially in the era of the internet.
Look how important I am!!!!
Or for putting up photos of myself on Twitter for people to Photoshop, or whatever. I don't want anyone ever thinking I'm better than them, or more important, or different, or whatever...
And see? Now I worry that comes across like false modesty. What a wanker I must think you all think I am.
But... I've been lucky in that I've had Digitiser in my life - and my other work - and that I've had an opportunity to make stuff a little bit better for other people. There have been times when I've felt like all I ever did was make life worse for those around me... so to hear that I might've actually improved it for someone really, really means a lot to me.
What's the most packets of crisps you've ever eaten in one sitting please?
I once 'managed' a 36 variety pack about 20 years ago. But as we both know; multipack packets are significantly smaller than the single, shop bought packets. So this was probably the equivalent of around 21 real packets. But still, it's a decent effort.
I might take another stab at bettering my record, depending on your answer. Thank you so much.
Though when I was at my fattest during my Digi days, I'd always buy a big, big bag of crisps to eat when I got home. And would get a KFC on the way home. And then have another dinner at home before I ate my crisps.
I don't do that anymore. But a sedentary job and middle age makes it look like I do.
I think I've gone right off video games. Up until recently I just didn't have the time to play any games, what with working full time and studying for an open university degree.
But now my studies have finished, I have plenty of spare time and a big pile of games to play, and I just can't be bothered. I tried again with Fallout 4 a few days ago, and got up to the bit where you pick interesting scars for your character, but then I turned the PS4 off and watched the telly instead.
It's a bit like that episode of the Twilight Zone where Buster Merryfield wanted to read some books, but was too busy, but then everybody died so he had the time to read the books, but then his glasses broke so he couldn't read the books after all. Except the glasses are in my mind!
I am looking forward to the new Atari console though, whatever it is.
But...! There's part of me that does wonder if I'm using all that as an excuse for not playing games as much. I mean, I've got a pile of them here to review, some of which are very late now. I dunno. I'm not sure it's that I'm going off games - but I am, potentially, getting more selective when it comes to the ones I choose to spend my time with...
Reading your Friday letters page has become part of my Friday morning routine, though I wasn't surprised to learn that it's one of your less popular features; presumably because of the volume of largely unfunny, poo-centric streams of consciousness.
In order to offer some respite from this week's nonsensical dross here are some, no doubt equally unwelcome, suggestions for future features based on (tenuous) rhyme-based variations of the excellent 'Games of my Years' series you did some time ago:
1. Games of my ears - your favourite or the most memorable in-game music/theme tunes (monkey island/bubble bobble spring to mind);
2. Games of my tears - games that made you weep/shed a single tear;
3. Games of my peers - games made by people you know and whether you actually like them or not (the games not the people);
4. Games of my sneers - games we should look down on and why;
5. Games of my rears - rear of the year but for video games.
And so on...
Finally, I recently saw a car with the registration 81FFO and so my question is this... I've heard that you never wash your hands after doing a poo. Is this true?
Do you see...?
...Do you see?
And no, I don't wash my hands after having a poo. I just cover them in talc.
I saw a car with the registration "MR T" the other day. I nearly took a photo, but couldn't be bothered.
Some time ago I sent you a 'moc' Ian Botham album cover that you seemed to enjoy.
I have since created a new one which was a birthday gift for a friend and I made it into an actual 12" album sleeve for him to own and keep. He hates David Guetta.
My friend liked his present.
I include jpg copies of the front and back covers for you and your readers to enjoy.
Anyway, I know so little about David Guetta, other than being vaguely aware of him, that I didn't even get why this might be funny. Does your friend hate him because David Guetta is French, and your friend is a racist? Press reveal to see what David Guetta has to say about all this.
Vapours (smells) and troskuss (musics) can take you back to a certain place and time in your life.
Some smells whisk you back to halcyon summers or beloved places, some songs tug your heart back down to a heavy place from long ago.
Do you think games can do the same? What games remind you of good times and what ones remind you of "the shades"?
For me, good-me-parps: Sensible Soccer, Skyrim and GTA Vice City.
Baddingtons: L.A. Noire, Portal 2 and Everybody's Golf 2
In scent and memory,
Call of Duty 3 I played a lot during a pretty crappy time. But I actually had a load of fun on it, playing online with mates... so... I dunno. Stuff!
The real feels though always come from playing - or watching videos of - old Spectrum games.
I was in Derby today with my Smoking Brother, helping him with his fledgling business (I basically just went out for a drive - didn't fancy spending another day at home 'working' in this heat). Also, I had to get out because I did a daft thing last night and left too many windows open.
Not because I'm scared of burglars, oh no...my place did get invaded though. BY SPIDERS. They are everywhere. I'm not scared of spiders but they don't half make me jump when they walk onto my white keyboard via my black desk; and god, they can run fast. I jumped so bad earlier that one jumped just as bad as me and ran right up my arm and across my topless chest. Imagine that. Just imagine...
So, Derby was 'fun'. The best bit was seeing a bloke who was about 5'1" walking along the street with a bright orange vest on and acting like he was some sort of muscle man or something, even though he made it look like a pencil has a physique to be admired.
He had a really bad scowl on his face and just kept staring at people as though he was about to start a fight. My window was down and I shouted at him: "WHO'S LOOKING AT ME?!" and I told my Smoking Brother to get a move on.
I forgot we were stuck in traffic. My Smoking Brother instantly hit his door lock, thus locking mine, and told me to wind my window up with the words "What ya say that for you c***?!".
I couldn't stop laughing. Scowling man started running up towards us and reached my passenger window.
"OPEN UP! OPEN UP!", so of course, I wound my window down (by about two inches).
"What's up mate?" I said, still laughing.
"Why were you looking at me?!" he scowled again, rage in his eyes.
"I wasn't mate, I don't know what you're on about - we were just laughing at that egg-free cake shop behind you... I wouldn't look at you! I mean a cake? Without eggs? That's not a cake - that's just cooked dough!" I said, still laughing. My Smoking Brother was fuming.
"Alright. We'll leave it for now but just WATCH OUT!" and he continued on his way into the heart of glorious Derby.
My brother was still pissed off half an hour later, but his mood soon changed when I bought him a double cheeseburger from McDonalds. Alas, I'd forgotten my phone because otherwise I would have have caught all this for my YouTube channel this Friday.
Some people are really odd.
I am still unfit but still strong,
PS. Speaking of this Friday, I'll be in hospital then to see when they're going to chop my wonky foot off or something, so wish me luck.
Am I missing something here?
Why are Sony and Microsoft selling consoles that nobody really wants (yet) at stupid money?
Did the conversation between powers that be and people responsible go like this?;
-"How much money we gonna make on 'em la'?"
-- "Not much.... maybe none..... actually, we're probably gonna lose money innit"
- "So why bother then pal?"
-- "60fps, it's the future, like garlic bread"
-"Brilliant like! We love not making money, have a pay rise, la'!"
-- "S'alright innit"
It's mental, I won't be buying one. Couldn't afford it anyway.
Jim Leighton (Future World Darts Champion) x
P.S. The photo shopped pics of Mr. Biffo on Twitter were absolutely brilliant. Good work people
My Lady has played exactly four video games in the decade and a half we've been together: Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy on the SNES, Tetris, and Angry Birds.
I've always been keen to get her into trying to play games, and reckoning that something fun, friendly and welcoming would be a good bet, I once tried to walk her through playing Psychonauts.
What I hadn't considered was that the Lady had absolutely no prior experience with using a controller to navigate a 3-d platformer environment. After fifteen frustrating minutes of trying to work out how to jump off things, she understandably threw down the controller and has never picked it up since.
Do you and the Digitisables have any thoughts on what sort of games would be a good gateway drug for someone who has never really played games?
I highly enjoy Friday Letters, not just for the lovely letters from lovely people, but also to learn more about Postman's Pat extended family. I mean no respect, but I prefer these antics over the knife wielding envelope fellow who, to be honest, scared the bugger out of me.
Video Game related gubbings, I am quite looking forward to that Mario game where he can possess things with his hat like a frigging poltergeist.
I am also looking forward to A Hat in Time, which isn't too far away from being a Mario Game, but you play as a cute kid (who wears a hat) who goes up against The Mafia, Demons and Murderers. I am not making this up but I am probably missing a few details to give context. Anyway, it looks fun.
As a final note, I have tried my darnest not to decend into insane steams of consciousness for this letter, but a little concerned I come across as a bit boring for not doing so. Ho-Hum.
Greenio El Screenio, Boulevard-Beyond-Thames
Press reveal for something else that the Digi Friday Letters Page is improved by:
I think I can speak for many of us when I say that there’s little in life more wonderful than the arrival of a new console.
I obsess over every last detail, right down to the quality of the power cable. Apple bellwethered pandering to this level of tech fetishisation, and now it seems that every manufacturer goes the extra mile to furnish their wares with delightful little details.
The PS4 slim has X O [ ] ^ s for feet, and the latest Xbox doin's have sweet little messages from Seattle, for examples. Lovely stuff. Lipstick on a pig, if you’re David Cameron. Or just lipstick on a pig?
On a less positive note, I think my least favourite would have to be the Wii U. The Wii design, though clearly completely similar, was at least a bit different at the time.
Of the current Generation I think… dunno… all much of a muchness really.
So, please expand on why you rate the 360’s curves so highly (it’s essentially a beige-ish PC tower couchant (unless you want fucked discs) with a svelte waistline), which other designs get you tugging at your collar and which ones leave you cold?
Can I include a pic of a PC Engine, please?
There’s too much to love about this little bastard. Yes, it’s diddy, yes it has a slot for card-tridges (just made that word up… you’re welcome), YES the logo is unbelievably cool, and, F*CK YES, that is a green power switch with locking functionality. It’s a sex pot, is what it is.
If you’re willing to share, I’d like to know what your opinion on Twitter is and perhaps social media in general.
For example, do you care how many followers you have, have you ever taken an ‘unfollow’ personally or have you considered stepping away from Twitter / social media entirely? Do you feel somehow tied to it because of Digitiser2000 and / or being someone with a public profile?
Social media has a lot going for it and I’ve found out about a lot of entertaining / interesting stuff but I often get exasperated at how much nastiness abounds. I’m not a heavy user of social media but the degree of knobishness (in terms of comments left) in my experience, from worst to best goes like this:
I care about follower numbers in the sense that the more followers I have, the more people will read Digi and watch Found Footage - potentially anyway. That said, I think I play the Twitter game pretty badly. I'm rubbish at following people who don't follow me - and following loads of people is a good way to get followers, apparently. Hence, my follower count crawls upwards at a fairly glacial rate.
Also: it feels like I've hit a glass ceiling now in terms of how popular my work is ever going to be. Patreon has stayed fairly steady for a couple of years - thanks once again to everyone who still contributes - and Digi2000's readership has never really grown. The Found Footage videos to date haven't exactly been huge viral smashes, and our YouTube subscribers are crawling upwards at a slow pace.
But that's okay. Everything I do that's Mr Biffo-related is like a little cottage industry. I'd much rather have a tight core of people who are really passionate about what I do, than loads of people who just sort of, y'know, think it's alright. Also! I'm lucky, because all of you seem genuinely really nice, and the more people who follow my work, the bigger chance there is of twats creeping in. And that gives me the fear.
So, I'm torn between wanting millions of people watching Found Footage when it comes out - because I think it deserves it - and wanting it to be our little secret.
1. It seems fair to say that Mario is the most iconic computer game character, if not necessarily being the most popular. Whom do you you feel is computer games' next biggest icon?
2. Do you have any particular favourite tracks in racing games over the years? Mine are Mount Wario in MK8, Trial Mountain in Gran Turismo and especially Gare d'Europa in Wipeout 2097.
3. Films of computer games have rarely, if ever, been good. One could even say that trying to be too cinematic spoils many games. Which games do you feel would be well-suited to a film adaptation? I'd suggest that the almost-made Bioshock would work and also Fear Effect (if taken seriously).
2. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm-mmm. You can't really go wrong with Mute City in F-Zero, but that's as much to do with the music as anything. Also - and I know this is controversial - but I think the Beginner track in Daytona USA is better than Ridge Racer, aka the "one-track wonder".
3. Ugh. I just don't see the point. I have no desire to see any film based upon a game. I mean... why? Why do you need them when games which lend themselves to being films are already laden with cinematic cutscenes. Utterly pointless. I mean, I love the Uncharted characters, but the thrill of those games comes from getting to BE Nathan Drake.
T'other day, I came home from work to find my 6 year old playing Flower on the ps4. I remembered having played it years before, and so after I sent the kids off to bed, I had a go myself.
I loved it, and I think the reason for this was because it was so simple - and this, I realised, is basically the limit of my capability in playing computer games these days.
Now that I've got to do lots of grown up stuff, like go to work, do parenting, and applying Voltarol liberally on my aching joints, I have precious little time to play games anymore (apart from mobile games when I'm on the loo, but they don't really count).
Most games seem to have either complicated controls, or stories, or require some semblance of dexterity, all of which are now beyond my grasp.
The idea of playing something like Dark Souls terrifies me. So - after that ramble,my question! What games would Digi folk recommend for someone with my gaming competency? Something simple and fun, like bargain hunt, only with some button pressing.
I vaguely recall hearing that there was going to be a Judge Dredd TV series instead of another film but didn't know much about it or the kind of tone they're going for until I stumbled across this link:
So, according to SFX magazine (via Gamesradar), the show will be macabre, insane and light-hearted. I'm trying to think of an appropriate screenwriter who loves Judge Dredd and embodies all those varied qualities. Hmm...
There are some properties I wouldn't touch with a bargepole, because I love them too much, and Dredd is one of those. Doctor Who's another (unless it was a Big Finish audio spin-off - I've approached them twice and never heard back, so if anybody reading this has contacts there...).
EastEnders, believe it or not, WAS one of those, but I haven't watched it since working on it. I'd hate for that to happen to something else I hold close to my heart.
Oddly, not that it's ever going to happen, but I would jump at the chance to write something Star Wars-y. I think that comes from playing with the toys as a kid.
Though can you imagine being a writer for any of those beloved franchises? It's just going to make you a target for abuse.
Just thought I'd share a proud moment,
Upon my announcing that we were to have Goujons for tea, every person in the house (there are eight of us), including, incredibly my girlfriend who treats my reading Digitiser with an amount of resigned disdain, began doing impressions of Goujon John. I have to say it brought a tear to my eye.
Now all I have to do is teach Sexy Christmas by December for festive singalongs on car journeys.
Hope you are well,
Hello there Mr Biffo, it is me, your arch num-num-nummy-sis (note this is a play on Nemesis, I am not claiming to be your sister as that would be peculiar).
This week I have been playing Diablo 3, which seems extraordinarily silly, as I played it for a while when it first came out then got bored and stopped.
Then when the expansion came out that fixed most of the stuff that made the original version of it really not very much fun, I played again for a bit, then got bored and stopped.
But that seems to be the way with this kind of thing - I have games like Elite Dangerous and Diablo 3 that are predictable and comfortable - I know how they work and how to play and in the case of both of them you can just have a quick blast for an hour or so or let that that hour become several. I go off them for a few months then go back to them.
There's never even any real challenge in the way I play. If I'm making progress, it's simply because I'm spending time in the game, not because I'm achieving some impressive feat of skill. In Diablo 3 I usually play on a far easier difficulty level than would be a challenge for my character's gear levels, and just enjoy smashing monsters in the face over and over again and picking up treasure that's of no use.
It's like a meditation of sorts, but I also feel somewhat guilty because really you're just killing time and not being "productive" in any real sense of the word, not like when I become a Content Creator every Saturday night with the train thing.
The real REAL reason I'm writing is of course because I need to share my latest book with the good readers of Digitiser 2000, so here it is in full. I have Kept It Simple and only used one paragraph, but feel free to redistribute it on your pages as you see fit.
MR BIFFO AND THE EXISTENTIAL DREAD
Once upon a time there was a very good boy called Mr Biffo, but he had Doubts, and these Doubts gnawed away at the core of his being as these things do. In such a confusing universe as this, was it even possibly to even be “good”, never mind “very good” as everyone who met him assured him that he was? Did such a concept even exist, and if it did, how could it ever be objectively measured, as it was so clearly subjective and entirely in the realms of Personal Opinion.
While Society seemed to set out some guidelines as to what Good looked like, what if Society itself was misguided, and founded upon the sandiest of sandy, shaky ground? Take something as simple as giving a pound to a homeless man.
The homeless man would certainly benefit from the pound on the face of it, but what if instead of buying a warming beverage or two for a pound of sausage rolls from Pound Bakery, he did something bad with that pound instead. What if the pound was the last pound that he needed to buy some drugs, and those drugs were cut with something poisonous, or not cut with anything at all, and the homeless man took them and died.
Would giving the pound to the homeless man be a Good act? What if by withholding the pound from him, he was unable to eat, and this was his last opportunity to do so before he died of malnutrition? Either action or inaction could lead to either good or harm befalling the man, and if either act had unpredictable consequences, and could lead to the man’s death or salvation, does any act anyone carries out have any net effect at all in the scheme of things?
Whether we act or not might not matter, because Good or Evil would happen anyway, regardless of the path we choose, independent of our actions. Is there any point to human free will at all, when nothing we do ever matters? Is there any point to even existing?
Certainly when weighing a single human life against the billions of others on the planet, the impact one of life among that multitude, even the most significant life, which had effects upon millions becomes insignificant. And even the billions of human lives are but a speck even compared to the planet Earth itself, never mind looking beyond the thin, fragile shell of our own atmosphere to the solar system, the stars, galaxies and universe beyond.
Just What Is The Point Of It All?
Then Mr Biffo did a poo, or didn’t do a poo, who cares? What does it really matter whether he did or he didn’t, in the end we all end up covered in shit, and it’s just our connection to each other that keeps us going. Then Mr Biffo woke up because it had all been a dream except life really was as insignificant as he’d been dreaming about and also he’d done a poo in the bed that smelt like Father Christmas.
That is all I have to say for this week, so now I'm going away, which is probably everyone's favourite part.
It took me on a journey through Freud's "Anal Stage" (upon which you can see The Poo Fighters headlining the Asstonbury Festival this weekend - ha ha), and how you might've got stuck there at a formative age.
From that point, I got sidetracked into the scatological passages in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (one of which was entirely about a fart), and Mozart's obsession with toilet humour, as displayed in this extract from a letter he wrote to his cousin (for whom he is believed to have harboured romantic feelings) in 1777:
"Well, I wish you good night,
But first shit in your bed and make it burst,
Sleep soundly, my love,
Into your mouth your arse you'll shove."
The old charmer wrote another the same year:
"Oui, by the love of my skin,
I shit on your nose,
So it runs down your chin..."
"Oh my ass burns like fire! What on earth is the meaning of this? Maybe muck wants to come out!"
He also wrote several little known songs along a similar theme, such as this one:
“Lick my ass nicely,
Lick it nice and clean,
Nice and clean, lick my ass.
That’s a greasy desire,
Like the licking of roast meat, my daily activity.
Three will lick more than two,
Come on, just try it,
And lick, lick, lick,
Everybody lick their ass for themselves.”
There's a book you might want to get - Fecal Matters in Early Modern Literature - which is described by The 16th Century Journal as "'A much welcomed addition to a rather neglected aspect of cultural studies in the early modern period. It supplements both Bakhtin's theory of the grotesque and Elias's analysis of the "civilizing process" in a creative, imaginative way, reconciling the historical perspective with a carefully formulated post-Freudian assessment of scatological rhetoric as it was used and misused in 16th and 17th-century England, France and Germany."