Courtesy of my good friend Jon, we'll also have a very limited run (like... 7) of highly collectible one-sided vinyl singles going up on eBay next week - with sleeves hand-customised by me. Each will be a one-off. All proceeds go to Cancer Research UK.
Here are the links you need to buy it now:
We'd need around 7,500 - 8,000 sales to get it Top 40. Which is a bit of a stretch, but if you can tell as many people about it as possible... that would be a beautiful thing to behold, and also raise money for a good cause. Spread the word. Spread... SPREAD.
In other news: Digitiser2000 will be entering into something of a Christmas schedule for the next couple of weeks. There'll be slightly fewer updates, but there'll be some end-of-year-type goodness - including the traditional Christmas Pant-Oh, and The Man's Daddy's Christmas Cracker jokes - which you'll be able to print out and sneak into your family crackers. So to speak.
I should probably take some time off, as - courtesy of an absolutely horrible endoscopy the other night - I've just found out that the stress of October's Digifest/Block Party gave me erosive gastritis. The last thing I want for Christmas is a stomach ulcer, probably...!
So, this will be the last Friday Letters Page of 2016 - but it'd be nice to depart this horrible year on something of an optimistic note. Therefore, we'll be having one further letters page before New Year, featuring all the best things that happened to you over the last 12 months.
Send your upbeat memories and messages to here: firstname.lastname@example.org
When you're coming up with comedy sketches and characters, do you ever get a feeling for which ones will catch on and get quoted by everyone? For instance, did you think you'd end up releasing Sexy Christmas as a single and have people waiting to buy it?
Was there ever a sketch, catchphrase, or character that you were *sure* that would happen to, but didn't?
What thing that people latched on to was the biggest surprise for you?
Sorry this hasn't been about video games. Here's a video game related statement to keep you happy: The Amiga CD32 looked like a coffin for R2D2.
Nicola Jelly Bottles
I hadn't expected it. I knew he was good, but my tastes don't always gel with everyone else's. I mean, Swan Paint is probably my favourite thing in the Found Footage Digifest pilot, but nobody else gave a cranston about it. Maybe it's the terrible performance, video quality and sound. I dunno. I thought all those were positives.
Anyhow, there's one sequence in Ep 1 of the Found Footage series - which you'll all see next spring - that I had a feeling would go down well. It's not quite like anything I've done before... and true enough, when I showed rough footage to the show's producer-level backers for feedback, they all picked it out as the highlight. So, I guess I must have some idea after all. At the same time, I was nervous, because it was so different, so perhaps I don't trust my own instincts.
Unfortunately, it isn't as easy to produce those ideas on demand. Doing funnies - or the way I do funnies at least - is sort of instinctive. There's a degree of conscious thinking, but much of it is about switching off and letting it flow. Hope that doesn't sound too wanky.
But no... never thought Mr T, or Zombie Dave, or any of the other big Digi characters would ever catch on.
Not sure this qualifies for the Digitiser2000 letter page. In fact it probably shouldn’t, on pain of NDA.
I really have Digitiser to thank for bringing me back to gaming circa 1999 after drifting away from it as a teenager - and since I ended up making a career of it (working in games, not being a teenager) I’ve always wanted to give a bit of a doff of the cap back.
I spent a lot of years squeezing the German language content into Grand Theft Auto, which didn’t really allow for that sort of thing.
But more recently I ended up doing the text for a spin-off game, with a worrying lack of supervision on what I was doing to their massive global brand. At which point the temptation was too hard to resist, so I sneaked in the tribute in the attached image.
Hopefully that’s neither creepy or copyright-infringementy - but if it is, then the joke’s on me, since the game’s being ripped down from the iPhone and Android app stores on the 15th December, due to various silly corporate reasons. So apologies for not managing to big-up Digi in a game which actually got a worldwide release. Maybe next time, eh?
Cheers, Chris! And good luck with future endeavours.
But wait... I've not finished! You win this weeks STAR PRIZE!!!
Digitiser2000 reader Bunty McSad-Pants has been at her craft table once more, and created a beautiful pair of custom 'Totally Turts & Phants' underwear - which can be yours if you send me your address.
Unfortunately, I can't guarantee she hasn't worn them.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and your other reader a Very Happy Christmas, or something similar.
I hope this video conveys the sincerity of this festive greeting, as well as being symbolic of the kind of Christmas I hope you will all enjoy.
All the best.
When I was a younger man I believe I may have felt feelings more forcefully than I do now. I’m starting to think the strength of those emotions may have been born from them being more singular and less complicated.
Happiness was a joyous scream and not a knowing cynical smirk; laughs almost always out loud. Sadness as a child was an all-encompassing power, making the most trivial of disappointments eclipsing in their grief. And as for the onset of lust during puberty? Heaven knows we could stuff your letters pages from now until forever’s end with the single-mindedness of those stirrings...
And now? Now the strongest of emotions seem conflicted; each happiness is tempered by wariness in knowing we love something more for the calamity of fearing its loss.
Sadness is still an acquaintance, but is often pushed backstage so that we are allowed to maintain our roles and our jobs and our relationships, though it still seeps through the cracks of our performance, stress and depression making us miss expected cues or stumble in front of the audience. And thankfully, for most of us, the searing of lust and of want absolute are balanced by respect and forethought for consequence, without completely quenching desire’s fire.
Is our emotional viscosity diluted through experience? Is our sheerness shortened by our age lengthening? Are the first surges of urges just tools which at first are unwieldy, but that we learn to better handle? A great and impressive narrative the first time around, but we now know what’s coming at the end of every story, every genre?
Or do I now simply lead a less remarkable life?
If you were to make a game what kind of game would it be? Which genre would it sit in, or would it be an amalagamation of different genres? I know that you wrote the storyline for Future Tactics and weren't that happy with how the game eventually turned out.
I think a Turner the Worm point and click adventure game would be something that people would want to play. How about it?
If I could make a game myself... it'd probably have to be an FPS. Or a side-scrolling platformer.
To whom it may concern:
I am an Alaska-based researcher and writer of a book about the cultural history of the polar bear and came across your humorous polar bear card (on your main webpage).
I was wondering if you have a high-resolution scan of this card on file that you could share with me. I am still looking for images for a German edition of this book and would naturally credit you as the image source. Also, do you have a date for this card, and is it from the US?
I'd really appreciate your help with this.
The notion that I'd have a high-resolution scan of anything "on file" is faintly hiliarious.
Try Google Images, which is probably where I stole it from in the first place.
Now press reveal to read a funny joke about your name:
ANSWER: Engelhard Harderdinck.
There have been several articles in the press about the disappointing sales of many sequels this year e.g. Mirror's Edge 2, Watch Dogs 2, Titanfall 2 etc.
While I do not claim to know the reason, I feel that a contributing factor is that most of the year's sales disappointments were sequels to underwhelming games. Watch Dogs in particular was sold as a generation-defining game, but was only 'good.' why do you think this has happened?
Rob Hubbard recently received an honorary doctorate for his career in games music - who do you think is worthy of a similar honour? I'd suggest somebody like Tim Wright, but I am biased because of WipEout.
What do you think is the best Christmas-themed game ever?
Your second question: I honestly don't have much of a clue when it comes to in-game music. Which is a bit sad really, given that there are lots of talented music people out there. Well... probably. I mean, we've already established I don't have a clue.
Best Christmas-themed game ev-ar? James Pond 2: Operation Robocod. Hands down.
I used to live in a village (many years ago) about five miles from Stratford upon Avon. There were wild wallabies there (tiny kangaroos, so to speak). No-one knew how they made it over here, but they were an active, breeding colony and were left to themselves.
One of our cats, a super-giant Siamese tom called Charis, was heard wailing from across a field from our house. Me and my mum recognised his ‘roar’ and went out to see what was going on; he was clamped onto the back of one of the wallabies, and he was determined to bring it down.
The wallaby was considerably larger than he was, and was doing its best to defend itself but Charis wasn’t giving up.
The struggle only ended when my mum ran into the field, shouted at him 'like only a mum does', and he let go, covered in wallaby blood, and - as it turned out - missing two teeth. The wallaby jumped over a ditch and through some hedges. I sort of wanted to see if my feline friend would have succeeded and, if he did, I wondered what he would have done once he killed it. I’m pretty sure he would have won. My mum had him neutered not long after that. Charis was never the same.
That being said, I was going to tell you about my memories of whatever this year is, but seeing as I can only remember things that are only worthy of no-one then I won't begin to try.
Oh, I did go to the dentist in May (it might have been April...or March for that matter) for a check-up. Still not ever had a filling. Poor Charis lost two teeth just pretending to be a tiger.
I am fit and strong and that is all.
Which in turn reminds me of the "Big Cat Weekend" they ran at a zoo in Devon, which they used to co-own. It was two days worth of talks about UK big cat sightings. I took my daughters with me, who got to be zookeepers for a couple of days - and had to deal with the amorous attentions of a gibbon who would press his genitals against the bars of his cage whenever they, or another female, walked past (while turning his back whenever a man came within his eyeline).
Also, I met a man who claimed to have been the "real drummer" on the Bay City Rollers' single Bye Bye Baby. And then we had a talk by somebody who had taken photos of a panther he'd seen walking along the railway tracks behind his house, but had forgotten to bring the photos with him.
I can sympathise with your 'Not a Review' of Rogue One as I must confess I've had reservations about it since it was first announced. When the intended tone was described by the filmmakers and greeted warmly by many internet commenters with reactions along the lines of "long overdue - when the series is called Star WARS, they owe us a gritty war movie" I thought, why?
This unease was compounded by the first trailer, which featured the lead character's crimes being listed, amongst them 'aggravated assault'. A simple expression, but it stuck out like a sore thumb. I couldn't help thinking that that feels less like a line from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and more like one from an episode of The Bill. I'd only seen a couple of minutes of the film and it already felt very wrong to me.
I think the problem is much like the one facing modern comic book movies, where hardcore fans are basically embarrassed and chippy about still caring deeply for something from their childhood, so they demand 'gritty, realistic' adaptations of their favourite funny books so they can more easily justify their passion to detractors ("See? It's serious and mature!").
Pandering to angsty teens and middle-aged fans with some sort of complex is a mistake; anyone who thinks they are owed a gritty, glum and violent Star Wars film has clearly forgotten that this franchise was created for a family audience, that George Lucas wanted to give a new generation of children something optimistic and hopeful to inspire them in the cynical seventies.
There's nothing wrong with still loving something from your youth, so long as the thing you're hanging onto is the childlike sense of wonder it imbues. But that's a quality that the most vocal fans reject, tired of what appears silly or childish to them, and if you disagree you'll be shouted down. Much of what has followed since the original trilogy seems like grandiose fan-fiction to me, and I say this as someone who feels Star Wars changed his life and has shaped his imagination throughout the subsequent years.
I do really need to see it again. I felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer surrealness of seeing all that old school Star Wars stuff.
So I wanted to wish you lots of luck on your life!
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