This week's letters mark one week-and-a-bit since my Kickstarter campaign for Mr Biffo's Found Footage went live. As you may be aware, it's already standing at over £11,000, due to the generosity of so many of you.
This means I'll be able to put together a show that is significantly broader in scope than I'd originally planned. And have to dip into my own pocket a lot less than I was probably going to have to. If you think you'd enjoy a full series of Found Footage, please consider contributing to the campaign. Reaching our £13,500 stretch goal will get you a bonus Christmas special!
Head over to Kickstarter now. Alternatively, you can support me and Digitiser2000 in other ways - either by contributing to Patreon or Paypal, or by buying some of our merchandise. Our mugs and calendars are getting close to selling out, and we're very low on certain designs of t-shirts. Thanking you.
If you would like your letter to appear on next week's page, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in Plug Zone - please send your emails for next week to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
C, D, E, N, T - well, you did ask for decent letters...
Try as I might, I couldn't find a copy of Forza Horizon 3 in local supermarkets, loathe as I am to immediately assume online is cheaper.
I could take a trip into town and buy it from Game, but they won't even gratify my stellar CV with an interview for the many finance jobs at their HQ. Why should I give them my very hard earned cash from the temp job I've taken in the meantime? Not least the fact they're charging £49.99 for a copy.
My last supermarket trip yielded something else; rather than settle for another game readily available, I went with one that passed me by on launch, now only £20.
As a result I'm playing Quantum Break with the bloke off of X-Men, and the man of many accents, Petr Bearish off of Game of Thrones. One of the Hobbits showed up too. I'm half expecting more geek fan service before my first hour is up. Naturally, I've one eye on achievements while playing it, but it's fun. I was enjoying it so much that I forgot Westworld was due on.
I just bought a Megadrive off a Facebook selling group too, so I'm set for less than I would've paid for Forza: Yute Edition in Game.
My point is: don't be so eager to play every new game on day one. Why not take a punt with a game that may have passed you by to begin with. Or in the case of the MD, never bothered with, 'cause I was (and still am) happy with the SNES I owned back when it was new.
In your opinion, were the No Man's Sky development team guilty of deliberately misleading customers or were they victims of unrealistic expectations and were simply caught in the headlights of hype?
Also, can you name some games that you thought were almost classics, but weren't, that could be re-imagined as a classic game - even if it was just a good game mechanic that you liked? I would nominate Primal on PS2 - it is so close to being outstanding that I still feel it's worthy of a 2nd look from a modern developer.
I mean, I doubt they deliberately misled customers. More likely they just overreached themselves. It's the same thing that I suspect happened with Peter Molyneux (again and again, admittedly); enthusiasm and excitement getting the better of them, before reality kicked in and they realised that time and resources made their intentions impossible. Frustrating, I'm sure, for both customers and developer, but I very much doubt there was malicious intent.
That said, the silence from Hello Games since the release of No Man's Sky has been a PR disaster. Nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, and certainly that void has been filled with conspiracy theories, paranoia, and suspicion.
Second question: Um... dunno. If they weren't quite classics, but almost classics, I'm not sure how much I care. Oddly, I was thinking recently how much I'd like a version of Jet Set Willy, in a Super Mario 64 style.
You said you wanted DECENT letters sending in, but I've only got indecent ones. Perhaps you could change the rules?
Just for the record, I'm really hoping the Friday letters page isn't endangered. The Digi letters page had been a favourite of mine since the Teletext days. This concern in itself has prompted me to write in myself, to express this concern.
On a different note I think Roaming Thomas is great. He looks so happy and friendly, his discordant clanks would be endearing as he wanders seemingly aimlessly around the house. I showed the kids, but they're a hard sell.
Have you ever eaten a pig's egg?
I have scanned and attached my letter as an attachment.
Damon V. D'Amore
Yeah, thanks for that, Damon. Thanks loads. You see, the problem which occurs when people send in pictures with their letters is that there's no satisfying way of displaying them within the formatting of this site.
Consequently, to prevent there being a ton of ugly blank space, I'm now having to waffle on at length to fill it. This is the world that you, and others of your ilk, hath wrought.
Starchy root vegetable? None of them. I don't like potatoes. Least of all roast potatoes. I will eat mash so long as it's covered in gravy, and has sausages in it. And I'll eat chips and crisps, obviously.
And jacket potatoes at a push. Actually, thinking about it... maybe I like potatoes - just not roast potatoes. Or so-called "new" potatoes. Though I will have those in a potato salad. So. Y'know. Whatever.
My friend Ron is into that Marillion band. He goes to their public performances and pre-orders their music discs and everything. To be honest, he never stops banging on about them. Sometimes he just starts shouting the words "Fugazi" and "Fish" over and over and over and over. Bless.
Do you know him? He is a middle aged man, balding, wears glasses and likes Marillion.
And Marillion fans don't ever stop banging on about them, because that's what happens when your back is against the wall. You try loving a band that everyone hates and makes fun of, despite never actually bothering to listen to them. Oh, but noooo... "We'll all be herded in a certain direction by the established media narrative, like the terrified sheep we are. We're only going to like bands that we've been programmed to think are acceptable, credible and cool."
I ask you what's cooler - doggedly liking the most unfashionable band in the world... or joining the rest of the wannabes in liking all the approved bands?
Even Kieron Gillen - former British games journo, now a comics writer - had a pop at them on Twitter, aimed in my direction, the other day. Which is a bit like if I went up to a sleeping dog and suddenly blew really hard up its arse for no reason. The more you all have a go at Marillion, the more I'll talk about them. Cause and effect, you bunch of media-programmed drones.
Press reveal to see the cover of the latest Marillion album, as imagined by you and your ilk.
I often wondered what happened to the Micro Machines once their heyday had come and gone. Do you know? Do they lurk under a fridge or behind a sofa somewhere, desperately racing each other in the shadows, trying to reclaim the glory of old?
I had no idea what to expect of the Nintendo NX reveal today. Actually I forgot about it for a while and got embroiled in writing jokes about Jessica Fletcher. It was only after the flurry of Twitter traffic that I caught up, and took five minutes to have a cup of coffee and see what Nintendo want us to spend our hard earned coins on next. I passed on the Wii U. A lot of us did. It'd take something pretty innovative to get me on board.
Turns out what it needed was the innovation of Nintendo doing what they've been the best at for a while now.
The video itself got off to a shaky start: I have virtually nothing in common with the beautiful people on screen. I don't go to hipster rooftop BBQs. In fact, I don't even know anyone with a rooftop terrace. I don't sit down next to random strangers in airports and start comparing consoles in what appears to be a bizarre pickup ritual.
I don't shoot B-ball with my pals, and then play the same game afterwards on a console. And the chances of me ending up in some sort of thunderdome-esque gaming arena are similar to the chances of me making it onto the London property ladder. Also: I'm dogless, and my beard will never be as neatly trimmed. But despite that... something resonated, something stuck.
The trailer ended, and I found myself flicking through the picture. Then I realised what the Switch was. It was one of those Android gaming tablets done right. You know: the ones that skirt the edges of legality by encouraging emulation, have HDMI ports and USB ports for additional controllers but never quite reach their intended highs. It's one of those, but - going by the video and the apparent tight integration of dock and controller portrayed - it's one of those done right.
It's got new Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart. If Nintendo are smart it'll have a loaded Virtual Console marketplace. It's got a very healthy level of third party support. More importantly it's got a conventional controller layout, so third party developers don't have to work out how to make their characters respond to hand gestures that more realistically resemble advanced masturbation techniques, or rely on people buying additional 'classic' controllers.
For the first time in a while it feels like Nintendo are actually paying attention. They're realising that they should take the market they've always succeeded in (the handheld), and use that as the foundation, rather than trying to go toe-to-toe in a market that Sony and Microsoft have dominated for the past 10-15 years.
And so I've realised that not only have they gotten me, but I'm rooting for them. I want Nintendo to get this one right, because for the first time in a while... Nintendo feel like Nintendo to me again.
After watching the launch trailer for the Nintendo Switch, I felt massively underwhelmed. There seems a focus on the things it can physically do rather than any attempt to try and sell us on new, innovative games.
Do you think Nintendo is destined for the same fate as SEGA or is this a wise move to clearly distance themselves from the opposition? Are Nintendo going to be churning out the same games until it chokes on it's own vomit in a dingy public lavatory in Scunthorpe?
It was written from the perspective of a Nintendo fanboy - which I am, and have been as long as I can remember. I don't want Nintendo to have to withdraw from the hardware game, and become just another software publisher. I wanted the Switch to look more than just good, because Nintendo needs it to be a game-changer.
Just wanted to give you my views and speculation on the Nintendo Switch. I am one of the Nintendo faithful, so I may have my "Miyamoto Blinders" on, but I can think of a couple of things which could be great about the Nintendo Switch.
The first is that Nintendo have now unified all their games divisions; there's no longer a split between handheld and home consoles anymore. All their studios are now working on one system, so that should mean more games.
Hopefully there won't be that Wii U problem of launch titles, then the wilderness until almost a year later when other major titles started showing up. I think Nintendo recognised this as a major failing with the Wii U that having a hybrid console will address.
I own an Xbox One, and it seems to love updating the OS all the time, or slowly downloading giant game patches and making me install games that I've bought on disc. All the games are uncompressed data behemoths and the mandatory installs are starting to make the 1TB hard drive in the machine look a little small.
I hope the Nintendo Switch can be a traditional games console, and by that I mean a machine that I can turn on and play games on. The Xbox One (to my eyes) is starting to resemble a shit PC. I understand game and system patches are here to stay, but if Nintendo can make a machine that at the very least can use some clever form of compression to limit file download sizes, and plays games off storage media (rather than installing them) I'll be a happier console player.
So, that's my thoughts. I'm now off to drink more of the "Nintendo Kool Aid" and play near Reggie Fils-Aimé's bins.
Also any chance the Rapping Shoe or renowned limerick writer Edward Lear could tell me what they think about the Nintendo Switch?
Here are my odious misgivings, for your lovely page;
Another console? Do you think me rich?
And that your hardware will sell bucketloads, without a hitch?
Or is a female dog not a bitch?
Maybe Shiggsy has the middle name Mitch?
Because change is precisely what fanboys won't do. Switch.
My Smoking Brother is a bloody idiot. He still believes that rabbits are born from pods like peas. I told him once that my computer wasn't working, because it had been invaded by space bats and that a Brillo pad was a fur ball coughed up by my robot cat. I told him these things when he was a child.
He's a father of two now and thinking about the future of my nephews gives me the fear.
I am fit and strong and that is all.
Glad to see the Christmas special is well within sight!
I just read your article on success, and I wanted to write to you with my thoughts on what you had to say.
I find the people that you name checked to be a bit… bland and okay-ish - professional and probably very nice people etc etc. You’re something special, in my opinion, and comparing you to them is like comparing Stewart Lee to Michael McIntrye, or a picture of Manhattan with LEDs stuck in it to a Van Gogh.
I did wonder what happened to you, and always assumed that you were just terribly busy with your career. Well, I’m glad you’re back doing this - and it’s more than a love letter for Teletext fans, Paul. I missed all that, and first discovered you when a friend of mine told me about your website (the one with the hip thrusting Stormtrooper). It’s about your comedy-style, and I think Biffovision is your finest work to date. Though judging by these ads (even the soundtrack is inspired!) I think the best is yet to come.
The ghost of Spock is the work of a surreal comedy genius - laugh long & prosper…. sorry. You will yet be honoured, Mr Rose!
In a change from my usual ill-considered letters, please may I request a Friday plug for Wil Overton's appearance at the 29th October Nottingham Comics Convention?
He'll be there with a tiny print run of "Smart Bomb!!", his independent, awkwardly-punctuated video games comic. I have attached some formatted words with a nice picture to ease the plugging process.
You could also mention the latest Plok! comic book on Friday. It's always funny when you libel the Pickfords.