Anyway. Mr Biffo's Found Footage. Sunday September 10th. Around 8pm. With a new episode every week thereafter until they're done, climaxing in a cinematic epic of a finale which explains everything.
And now, dear? And now for your letters.
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
I feel the need to comment on these. I get the feeling you'll be getting a lot of letters about them, this week. In fact, I see the comments on that post are already building up. But, as I haven't sent in a letter for a while, I'm going to send in this one about those things, and that.
Quake: If we look back on Quake now, it's a dull brown shooter. But it was the first shooter that was dull and brown and in proper 3D, and offered a host of new possibilities, and so, was great and fun because it was space we hadn't explored before. Now it's just a very dull brown shooter; just a first step on the road of what was to come. So, I mostly agree here. But it WAS fun because of how different it was. So there. I guess if you want a real classic that let you do things in 3D in new and exciting ways, there was Descent, which was 90s, brill, and ace.
FF7: A firm "meh" out of "wow." Video games grew up with SNES era JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, where choices had real consequence, and you ended up caring about the characters. But not EarthBound, because that had a character named "Poo", so it can't be grown up.
Ridge Racer: Demo packaged as a game: yes.
W'i'pEo'UT: pretty, horrible to control. More fun to watch someone else play, while you eat a sandwich.
Dark Souls: With it's stupidly high difficulty and it's memorable catchphrase, "You are dead," it had such a profound influence on me that I forgot the difference between "its" and "it's", and I have now gitted gud.
Halo: I played 10 minutes of this and wish I hadn't, because I still remember those 10 minutes.
SFII: Oh come on, now you're just joshing us, surely. Except about the spinning bird kick, that was not worth the time to pull off. Competitive e-sports SFII-type stuff is incredible to watch, though.
The rest: I didn't play, but you're probably right. Except where you're not.
Well, now that's all sorted out, I'd just like to point out I used a semicolon in this letter, and I'm pretty sure I used it correctly, too. All other spelling and grammar mistakes were on purpose with a sense of irony,
All the best, yours sincerely, hope that helps, thanks, 72%,
Haah where do I begin? Well... .argh this is going nowhere, the Bake-Off is on, I'm getting distracted cakes!
I was offended by some words you wrote about some games. I liked some of the games which you offended that also offended me, being offended offends me.
Therefore before you have an offensive opinion on a game, make sure that your offensive opinion is the same as every person that's ever been offended by the games you mention. That way people will not be offended by your offensive comments and rhubarb cake.
Your highly controversial article earlier in the week (Title: "Are Jaffa Cakes Biscuits or Cakes?") got me thinking about Quake and Doom, leading in turn to thoughts of having to shoot John Romero in the face to complete Doom II.
Have you ever appeared in a video game, Mr Biffo? I don't want to shoot you in the face or anything: I'm just curious. Like Violet Berlin in Micro Machines, that kind of thing. If not: what video game would you like to appear in, please?
What have been your favourite examples of emergent gameplay? I liked your previous example of using an in-game star-field as the view from your window. What have been the best games to enrich other play?
When are they gonna make a game where its Google Earth and you strap on a virtua facehugger and then you can dilly-dally around the soily Earth as, e.g., a wasp, or a Tyrant-o-Saurus Rex, or a moss piglet, or Phil Mitchell from the telly, or Medusa?
I want to flap about as any kind of creature, with no real goal or objective, just day to day wasp stuff, but wasp stuff set in the super-slow-to-load, ultra-megamap. Can this be done? Do Google make games yet?
Help. I am scared.
Which game features the best jump? Please answer. Thanks.
Pretty much every time I went to visit my grandparents as a child, I would ask my uncle if I could go and play on his Mega Drive. I didn't have one of my own, so it was a big deal, and I would spend hours on it.
The game I loved the most was Road Rash, and today I picked up a copy of it for my very own. It's at least 20 years since I've played it, but I'm amazed how much of it I remembered! I've had a lovely evening playing it, sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing a daft grin.
Was it even a 'good' game? I have no idea, I just played what I could get at, especially if I could drive bikes through cows, apparently.
Why are mobile phone games so utterly crap?
I remember when I first picked up an telephone and it had the opportunity to play downloadable computer games on it - "excellent!" I thought. No more boring job for me, I can play computer games all day. Real computer games!
Little did I know that the thousands of games available totally stink, reminiscent of those bollocks arcade flash games people used to play in their lunch break because they work on a miserable trading estate and there's nothing else to do other than suck up time after they've had their potted beef sandwiches.
Or you have those games where they get advertised on TV where a load of sub Dreamworks-style CGI people are running about lobbing bombs or whatever. Then it shows a little bit of the actual game and it looks like some rubbish ancient old strategy game played by some Amiga sad-case, except you have to pay actual money to buy pretend coins or whatever.
Then there was all that fuss about being able to play some old Mega Drive games. Finally, the opportunity to play a load of old games but on a tiny screen with completely broken on-screen controls like the worst third-party controller you've ever experienced. I bet you won't even be able to get Sonic around the loop-the-loops.
Have a look at the most popular games on mobile and see if you can find anything at all that doesn't look like a right load of old toilet. Magikarp Jump has a nearly perfect rating. Imagine if they put that out for the 3DS, people would be fighting in the street.
Don't give me any flannel about it being "free to play" either. I'd pay money for something that wasn't terrible. For now I've gone back to playing traditional phone games like phoning 0891 Chatback and making out I'm somebody famous like Thesp off Cyberzone.
Let's have half-decent games on mobile phones for once.
Well - I've followed you for years (not in the stalkery sense), what with my interest in games and my job which has let me watch shows like the 4 O'clockClub (which is bloody great btw - especially the Doc Brown era). I even put a little bit towards The Found Footage Finale. All of which is fine and dandy - but I've realised what you want, what you really, really want, is letters for your letter page.
You actually seemed a little miffed about the lack of letters in your tweet today (thurs) - so I thought I'd better leap into action, despite my heavy workload and PopMaster looming on the radio!
You might have realised by now that I actually have nothing to say, but wtf - it's just a reflection of the internet in general. Lots of words - but no actual meaning. Still it's a thing that can be placed on your fine letters page to fill a gap. (unless you have a sudden surge of interesting letters and topics - in which case, please discard. I shan't be the slightest bit offended)!
Keep it up!
For once this letter isn't about poo. It's about the Nintendo Switch (although depending on your opinion it may still be about poo!!!!!!).
Here, I've finally got one of them, and by golly it's a nice piece of kit. Here's my initial impressions:
- I like the size and way it feels when it's handheld with the joycons attached.
- The joycon buttons are a bit small but not in a way that'll annoy me.
- The pro pad is lovely.
- The docking thing works pretty well, and I'll probably have it docked more often than not because I'm an adult (live alone with nobody else to argue with me) and can do whatever I like.
- I would really like it to have streaming video services for both docked and undocked use. At the same time, it's better they focused on it being for games rather than doing an XBox One and wanking on about TV for hours.
- I bought Sonic Mania on it as well as the bundled Splatoon 2, but the problem is Sonic Mania is a Sonic game and I'm not that great at those.
- The screenshot button is nifty.
That's all First Impressions for now. Also, anyone who gives the tiniest shit about its processing power is missing the point entirely. But that's been the way with Nintendo consoles since the Wii.
I'm glad to see it's doing well even without a huge games library. Maybe this time next year it'll be truly compelling proposition. And failing that as soon as the proper next Pokémon lands on it, it'll do just fine. Unless they do something stupid and release it on 3DS as well.
Also ANIMAL CROSSING, ANNOUNCE NOW PLS.
I bring you great news from the future. You see thanks to the benefits of a second hand Amstrad time travel machine I am now in the year space year 2047. I have the following news:
1 - There will be a new Amiga in 2047. I say Amiga, it's a empty shoebox with an Amiga logo on it but those suckers will buy anything.
2 - The rotting corpse of Atari has changed hands 43 more times and now smells of old socks. They have had no new IP for 50 years now.
3 - Android Alan Sugar is now our Prime Minister. Every schoolkid has an Amstrad Penpad which has also reduced crime as the goey gunk he encased them with has bonded their hands to the units.
4 - ChinnyVision will return from its Summer break on Friday with a review of Rampage on the Speccy, CPC, C64, XL/XE, Master System, Amiga and ST. All on original hardware. Read Digitiser and then scoot over there - https://www.youtube.com/chinnyhill10
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Why do people like Ridge Racer on the Playstation 1 so much?
Also, I'm currently trying to think of some catchy headlines for the attached picture to send to 'click-bait' advertisers, but all I've managed to think of so far is "You won't believe how cute these pictures of pictures of cats are!". Can you help?
When I woke up today I was really bloody small
Had to use a little ladder just to open up my door
To have a drink of water I jumped in a half filled cup
After climbing up the sofa with a shoelace grappling hook
When I finally got to work it was not the best of days
I kept screaming from below but no-one heard what I was saying
In the end they just ignored me because my voice was just too small
So I shrank down even further till I wasn’t there at all
I haven’t faded really but today just hurts a bit
Just one of those weird seasons that’s acclimatised to shit
I keep trying different outlooks on and thinking my way out
But I don’t think there’s a version there’s a person who can fit
When I woke up today I was massive and grotesque
Had to peel off half the roof just so I could stretch my legs
I couldn’t find my family, they were subsumed by all my flesh
Their screams a muffled gurgle beneath all my sick excess
Feeling naked and disgusting I rolled in a fabric shop
And swathed my mammoth folds with every thread they had in stock
But in the end it couldn’t cover me, the growing never stopped
So I lunged into a pylon and ended with a pop
I haven’t blown up really but today just hurts a bit
Just one of those weird seasons that’s acclimatised to shit
I keep trying different outlooks on and thinking my way out
But I don’t think there’s a version there’s a person who can fit
When I woke up today I needed a bit of help
Had to think of those around me to give meaning to myself
And though I’ve chewed on a few marbles and had to gargle bits of shit
I know this isn’t every day, if I really stop to think
The hardest days are longest I can’t see the stars for light
Too many little houses in my head are up all night
The shortest days are better and if you squint you’ll see them there
Stuck somewhere between tomorrow and the first time you got scared
I haven’t given up but sometimes it hurts a bit
We all have those reasons that convince us life is shit
Keep trying different outlooks on there is no quick way out
There’s no such thing as better now when it comes to how you fit
I got my broadband sorted out in the new house yet I still find myself in a state of ennui with regards games.
I'm deriving more excitement from getting requests on BBC 6Music at the moment, I have to admit.
It might be down to the fact my previously satisfactory 21" screen size isn't up to it anymore as I'm so far away from it due to the new room layout.
Or it's possible I could be done with gaming. Maybe a Switch is the solution but the outlay for one of those is more than a secondhand telly. That's even if I could get hold of the system anywhere let alone be able to afford it.
Either way, I think I need to hijack the main living room telly to see if that snaps me out of this funk. That and the superlative Titanfall 2 should see me right in the short term.
CheneyHeadshot (Live) /Allardslovechild (PSN)
I sort of put it down to associating it with going back to school, but in the last ten years or so I tend to associate it with having no work to do, as I've finished all my kids TV jobs for the year and have to stretch the money in my bank until January. But, well, you probably don't need to hear about that.
I'm mainly writing this because I'd be gutted if the Friday letters page was cancelled, it's one of my personal highlights of the week. The letters themselves are often brilliant and I look forward to many of the contributions from the "regulars".
The fact that you reply to pretty much all of them always makes me smile and brings back memories of the Digi Teletext days, then the comments at the bottom often border on genius going off into all sorts of tangents. The world would be less of a place without the Digi letters page.
On a different note, maybe I was overtired but it seemed that your recent article about good games that weren't actually that good seemed to attract a negative vibe in parts, although I've not had much sleep lately and admittedly might have misinterpreted this.
I was just surprised is all, previously to me most of the comments to most articles have seemed either good humoured and light hearted, at times, even quite thought provoking, but almost never negative in an unfriendly way. I'm maybe being overprotective in my sleep deprived state. but for me there's no place for that here, so I'm just saying... "Hey everyone, let's keep the debate flowing but keep it fun too".
Again, sorry if I've gotten the wrong end of the stick here.
Finally, did anyone else see the return (sort of) of the KLF? Hope the Found Footage launch goes great, wish I could get there.
1. While 'commercial' computer games certainly exist, I would argue that to sell in great numbers, games must be of better quality, generally-speaking, than music, films and many forms of entertainment. One might call Assassin's Creed, FIFA and Call of Duty overly commercial but it is hard to argue that they are bad games, if not the best examples of their genres. What is your opinion of this argument?
2. Which game do you think has had the best implementation of weather? It can often be spectacularly represented but often makes little impact on the game. Personally I'd nominate Metal Gear Solid 5 and Driveclub as the best so far but I'd be interested to hear your choice(s).
3. What is your opinion of the modern X-Com games? I find them almost too difficult to enjoy, but I do like them. The time limits in X-Com 2 put me off a lot, though. I do think they are really good, but I do not understand why the 'need' to be so difficult. Do you like them?
4. Seriously, what's your problem with Wipeout and Ridge Racer?
Only joking - I agree with some of your criticisms of them while still thinking that you're being too harsh on the pair. I would however be curious to hear your opinion of Wipeout 2097 as, to me it fixed all of the issues of the first one and is a genuinely great game.
By the way, I do realise how silly it is to be discussing the merits of a 22 year-old game.
2. Oh! I dunno. I actually really like the way the weather changes in GTA V. That might be as much to do with it being set in a familiar world, so it feels more relatable.
3. In all honesty, I don't have an opinion because I've not played them. See, if you want me to review games full-time, you must ALL give generously to my Patreon campaign...
4. Yeah, I suppose 2097 was alright. It was certainly more playable. I'd just got bored of the aesthetic by then, though.
Do you like cups? Do you like heads? Chances are you'll like Cuphead!
I saw a video of some Cuphead gameplay on Wednesday, and it's the first time I've been properly excited for a game in a long time. It's apparently been in development since 2010, so I'm glad to have only just heard about it and only have 29 days to wait. A seven year wait would have been torture!
It's just so beautiful. In a world saturated with dark and shooty (which I don't have a problem with) it's refreshing to see something so bold and bright, and just different. I love 1930s, Ub Iwerks, early Disney cartoons. Gives me a bit of a lady boner, if I'm honest. So just the artwork alone seems like my Cuphead of tea. I was very excited when I saw that video, you could say I got pretty animated about it. Tea minus 29 days until release. I cartoon wait to play it. I wonder how much it will cel for? I promise to stop with the puns spoon. I know some of you don't care for this saucer thing.
Anyway. It looks good, if you like old cartoons and platformers.
Gratuitous poo mention!
I've just played Sonic Mania through for the first time, and I have to say, it's a triumph.
Probably my game of the year. It really is the light at the end of the tunnel that justifies my playing through all the interim, 3D Sonics.
I treated myself to a Saturn about a month ago, and as I saw it sitting in front of my tv whilst playing Mania, it was almost as if I was playing it on that system, like the Sonic Adventures, '06, Boom never happened. But then this got me thinking. It was probably the roundabout way of Sega losing sight of what made Sonic good during the race into 3D that, in turn, made this fan-driven return to his roots possible.
Something similar may happen to Half-Life 2: Episode 3. I'm hopeful, now that we know the intended narrative ending from Marc Laidlaw, story writer of the Half-Life series, fans of the series will produce for themselves the missing title they want to play.
And, similarly to Sonic Mania, it maybe took Valve's abandonment of the series, and this ten year delay to get the narrative conclusion we need, to allow the fans to engage with this desire in a practical sense. Maybe Valve will even support it in some way, enabling it to be distributed/sold on Steam, like what happened with Black Mesa Source and Nova Prospekt. We can but dream.
I've basically got everything else I always wanted from gaming: a return of classic Sonic, Videogaiden and Consolevania returning, and of course, the mighty Digitizer. Getting Half Life 2 Episode 3 would be my final wish come true!
What classic franchise would you like to see return/be rebooted?
I remember when my dad and I used to build flatpack furniture for the house when I was a child, and we had to hammer nails through the mdf backs to the sides of wardrobes, bedside tables, etc.; if one of the nails missed the wood edging, poking through to the visible interior of the thing, we'd call it "a Sonic". True.