P471Digitext470HOLD

DIGITISER

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Join Mr Biffo and friends in the digitiser section

Charts 474

Violet Berlin 475

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KNIGHTMARE

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Play the Knightmare game

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FULL TELETEXT CONTENTS 101

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Key:
To be implemented
Available

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HELP

To advance (quickly) through the pages, press right square bracket key (located near the enter key), otherwise the pages will move forward every minute

To pause a page press "h" and then again to unpause

To move to another page (like 470) just type it in

NIGHT NETWORK

From 12am till 6am the site will play easy listening music to simulate the closedown of TV from the early eighties. This was initially started by Ceefax (the BBC teletext service) but did get picked up by Teletext.

FASTTEXT

Fasttext now added. This helped to jump to pages quickly without the need to key in the numbers. Bamboozle used this to great effect - to see this key in 452.

REVEAL

To be implemented.

ABOUT

I originally wanted to write a Windows 95 simulator as a follow-on homage to LGR's DOS portion of website - http://www.lazygamereviews.com/prompt/. I figured it should work quite well with the advancement in javascript over the years and it meant that I could utilise more JS programming skills as I don't do much of that currently.

I didn't want to use jQuery as I would only be using a small portion of that code and I wanted to try and keep the site as tightly written as possible, without excessive code. I have seen another website that does use jQuery and interestingly that is based more on Ceefax rather than mine which is Teletext based. You can find the site here: http://worldofpaul.com/teletext/.

SO WHY DIGITISER?

Around 2017, Mr Biffo (Paul Rose) of Digitiser fame, surfaced back into the "limelight" and was attending retro gaming events talking about the old Digitiser days. I thought it'd be pretty cool to make an online teletext simulator using nothing but HTML, CSS and Javascript. This would be a cut down challenge from the Windows based one and so here we are.

You stand before Knightmare Castle. With you is Treguard, Master of the Quest.

"Welcome, Adventurer! Your quest will take you to the Great Northern Ice Field, a frozen realm inhabited by ferocious Polar Bears! You travel to rescue a captive maiden. I will aid you when I can: you will hear my voice at time of need. Hold to the adventurer's code:

Answer truthfully, choose wisely, use force only in direst need. And remember

Cheats never prosper!

Treguard indicates the northern trail. Pulling your cloak tightly about you, you stride into the freezing wind. Ahead you see a tall figure: it is Hordriss the Confuser, magician extraordinary.

"Imprecations! Is this the best Treguard could find? One doubts if you are wise enough for such a Quest: one will test you. Tell me, puny adventurer those who dwell in this land are known to outsiders as Eskimos. How are they more properly called?"

Hordriss shakes his head sadly.

"One's worst fears are confirmed. One must go and find another to undertake this task. Farewell, ignorant adventurer."

He turns and leaves you standing alone in the freezing wind as the snows fall more heavily around you.

You wander through the snow as it falls ever harder and harder. All paths vanish in the white torrent that swirls about you. You tire rapidly as the warmth drains from your body. After long, confused wandering you feel yourself losing consciousness and falling into the deep, soft snow.....

You have been found wanting. This time, your Quest may not succeed. But take courage. You have journeyed far and attempted that of which many only dream

Next time you set foot beyond the walls of Castle Knightmare, who knows whence your path may lead?

"Ah," says Hordriss, " an enlightened Adventurer. Remarkable! Listen then: one's foolish daughter Sidriss has been captured by Aesandre the Ice Sorceress. Her palace lies far to the North. She awaits my rescue mission and has set magic traps for me. She will not expect YOU. There is a slight chance you might get through...

"One gifts you with a spell: HEAT. You may use it only once. Good fortune!"

You set out across the ice sheet along the path Hordriss indicates. Soon he is lost behind and you can see nothing but ice and snow in every direction. The chill enters your bones and you shiver in every limb.

Then ahead you spot a small white dome: An igloo!

Do you:

The valley path is filled with snowdrifts and as you push forward you find the snow reaches your knees. The fur coat is weighed down by heavy ice. You step boldly forward onto a slab of ice. It gives way beneath you and frozen snow closes over your head...

"Oh dear," says Treguard. "Frosted Adventurer! And not a microwave in sight!"

Inside the igloo it is slightly warmer. You find a collection of objects left behind by the owner.

A sack. Opening it you find it to be full of greasy, smelly lumps of something unpleasant.

A pair of snowshoes.

A white fur coat.

Which do you take?

Wrapping the coat around you and feeling warm and snug, you step out into the snow again. Heading ever northwards, you come to a divide in the path. You may travel down the valley or along a high rocky ledge.

Which route do you take now?

You climb up above the snowy valley, across bare rock jutting through the ice. At the top of the rise you pause to look down...

And turn at a snarling sound behind you

A large polar bear is growling and forcing you back towards the edge of the ledge.

"Very tactless to go around wearing one of his relatives," whispers Treguard as you fall from the rock-face. Oh dear

Strapping the huge snowshoes onto your feet, step out into the snow again. Heading ever northwards you come to a divide in the path. You may travel down a valley or along a high rocky ledge.

Which route do you take now?

Slinging the weight of the of the sack over one shoulder, you step out into the snow again. Moving north again you come to a divide in the path. You may travel down a valley or along a high rocky ledge.

Which route do you take now?

You climb up above the snowy valley, across the rocks jutting out of the ice. At the top of the rise you pause to look down...

A hideous snarling sounds behind you.

A large polar bear is growling and forcing you back towards the edge of the ledge.

"Decide quickly," says Tregaurd. "He looks hungry."

The valley path is filled with snowdrifts and as you push forward you find the snow spilling over your snowshoes. Once or twice you feel the ice below shifting as you step onto solid-looking surfaces but moving carefully with your snowshoes you manage to make your way to the easier path beyond the valley.

You climb up above the snowy valley, across bare rock jutting through the ice. At the top of the rise you pause..

A hideous snarling sounds behind you.

A large polar bear is growling, forcing you back towards the edge of the ledge. It leaps towards you...

...and rips the sack from your back. As you hurry away Treguard whispers: "You may not like the smell - but some regard two-week old whale blubber as quite a delicacy!"

The valley path is filled with ever deeper snowdrifts and as you push forward you find the snow reaches to your knees. The heavy sack makes you sink deeper in.

As you step boldly forward onto a frozen slab it gives way beneath you and the freezing snows close over your head.....

"Oh dear," says Treguard. "Now you know how a frozen beefburger feels!"

You trip over the heavy snowshoes you are wearing as the bear pounces on you. You have a last impression of its mighty jaws, gaping wide....

"Oh dear," mutters Treguard. "Still never mind: think of it as doing your bit to preserve an endangered species."

You are temporarily refreshed, but the icy wind blows you harder from the north. Your fingers and toes go numb and your vision blurs. The icy cold extends its reach into your very lungs. It seems that you can go no further.

What do you do?

Summoning your last reserves, you push forward and suddenly the blizzard falters. Ahead of you is, miraculously revealed, the ice palace of the sorceress! Its crystal walls, carved from ice tower hundreds of feet into the air. Within, lie the captive - and the enemy!

A desperate final effort propels you to the entrance.

The spell conjures a glowing ball of red light. You step through it and an invigorating rush of warmth floods your limbs and seems to cause the blizzard to falter for a moment. Ahead of you is suddenly revealed the ice palace of the sorceress! Its walls, carved from ice, tower hundreds of feet into the air. Within, lie the captive - and the enemy

You make for the entrance.

Inside the palace, a great hall of ice stretches out before you. At the far end Aesandre stands on a high platform beneath a glittering ice-chandelier. Beside her, frozen in a block of ice is Sidriss.

"So," cries Aesandre, "That old fool Hordriss thinks he can outwit me by sending a young fool in his place. Absurd!"

She raises her hands above her head: she is casting a spell! Do you:

Tregaurd whispers in your ear: "You used your only spell outside. Do you think you can cheat the Quest?"

A bolt of magic force strikes you as you stand there dithering and blackness falls around you.

"And thus fail all who try to cheat their fate." Tregaurd adds. "Be off with you!"

Inside the palace, a great hall of ice stretches out before you. At the far end Aesandre stands on a high platform beneath a glittering ice-chandelier. Beside her, frozen in a block of ice is Sidriss.

"So," cries Aesandre, "that old fool thinks he can outwit me by sending a young fool in his place. Absurd!"

And she raises her hands above her head to cast a spell at you. What do you do?

But before you can manage a single step a bolt of mystic energy flies from Aesandre's fingertips and strikes you full upon the chest. You feel a strange tingling spread through your body...

In this arctic wasteland you cannot survive long without food. Sheltering in a frozen ice-cave you come across a ragged hermit.

"I have food - but share it only with the wise," he says. "You may eat of my bread but only if you can answer me this: The North people believe in a hammer-god.

Which day is his?"

Invoking the spell conjures a ball of red light to form in your right hand. It pulses with warmth as you look up and try to identify a target upon which to use it.

Do you aim for the:

The red sphere flies straight and true towards the evil figure of your enemy.. She deftly bats it aside, causing it to crash out through the ice wall. With a malicious grin she unleashes her own spell which strikes you full in the chest. You feel a strange tingling spread through your body...

You look down at yourself. You seem to be wearing an ill-fitting dinner jacket and baggy trousers. Then you notice that your nose seems to have got longer your arms shorter and the floor closer.

Yes, you have been turned into a PENGUIN!

"Oh dear," says Treguard. "I hope you like fish dinners...."

Your heat spell flies off above the sorceress' head but misses the chandelier. It strikes the ceiling and for a moment there is silence. Then the great sheets of ice above your head shiver and crack. You hurry for the door but before you can reach safety...

CRRRRRRRASSSSSHHHHHHH!!!!!

"Well," says Treguard, "that certainly brought the house down!"

The Sorceress blinks with surprise as the ball of HEAT flashes past her. She turns with alarm as the block the ice containing Sidriss shatters, exploding under pressure from within. The heat ball turns upon Aesandre and she abandons her attack on you to raise a hasty defence.

For a few moments you watch anxiously as the fight rages at the far end of the hall. But then the floor there melts, and with a hideous curse Aesandre sinks from view.

Sidriss conjures the ice to reform and runs towards you.

"At last one of my spells has worked! Now we must hurry from here. I doubt my magic will hold her long. Spellcasting: H.O.M.E........."

In the merest instant you are returned to Castle Knightmare. Hordriss is reunited with his daughter.

"Foolish one to risk the perils of the Ice Palace," he chides her.

"Well Done, brave traveller," says Treguard. "You have proven worthy and have achieved your Quest. You may now count yourself among the Knights of Knightmare Castle."

Written by Mike Cule. "Knightmare" is a Broadsword Production for Anglia TV

Digitext would like to thank castleteletext.com for permission in allowing this on here

Credits

Story written by Mike Cule

Original Teletext artwork by Mr Biffo

Thanks to Al for archiving the original Teletext pages. ROBOTFUZZ

Thanks to Mark from ‘Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks)’ for mapping it out FFAOGB

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Bamber Boozler poses another 12 questions. Answer using fasttext at the bottom. One wrong and you must try again.

Can you answer all 12 in one attempt?

Press RED to begin

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This month is Clancy Brown's birthday. Which character did he play in Highlander?

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Red:Ramírez


Green:Connor MacLeod


Yellow:The Kurgan


Cyan:Angus Macleod


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This month is the 100th anniversary of the birth of which science fiction author?

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Red:Margaret Atwood


Green:Jerome Bixby


Yellow:Philip K. Dick


Cyan:Isaac Asimov


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Which sea is the extension of the Indian Ocean?

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Red:Somali Sea


Green:Levantine Sea


Yellow:Red Sea


Cyan:Mediterranean Sea


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What is Venice known as?

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Red:The City of Canals


Green:Sewer City


Yellow:Waterlogged Paradise


Cyan:The City of Water


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What is the value of X in Scrabble?

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Red:6


Green:5


Yellow:10


Cyan:8

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Bad luck!

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YOU'VE BEEN BAMBOOZLED


Do you wish to play again? If so, press red below

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Which 1960's show had a witch twitching her nose for magic practice?

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Red:Bewitched


Green:Sabrina The Teenage Witch


Yellow:Charmed


Cyan:Tabitha


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What TV series are the Cylons from?

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Red:Buck Rogers


Green:Battlestar Galactica


Yellow:Star Trek


Cyan:Blakes 7


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What does Atari mean?

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Red:To Be On Target


Green:Games


Yellow:A Guess


Cyan:Success


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Complete the game series: ______ Kong. ______ Kong Jr

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Red:Big


Green:King


Yellow:Donkey


Cyan:Mule


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What is the study of plants called?

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Red:Botany


Green:Foraging


Yellow:Plantology


Cyan:Green finger-ism


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How many strings does a violin have?

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Red:6


Green:4


Yellow:5


Cyan:3


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What is the atomic symbol of Iron?

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Red:Ir


Green:I


Yellow:Pb


Cyan:Fe


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Well done! How many did you get right first time? Check your rating below

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This week we have a new Eagle Quest game to play. A new adventure will appear here on Wednesday afternoon 29 December. Bamboozle will return in January. Press red to enter the mysterious world of Castle Knightmare...


This is an adventure game using the fast text colour buttons on certain televisions. Once you begin your adventure, you will undertake a fantastic journey. Mistakes may force you to retrace your steps - only perseverance, wit and courage will take you to the end of the Knightmare trail.

YET ANOTHER GALLERY OF TERRIBLE VIDEO GAME COVER ART ----- 471

THE MAN'S DADDY'S NEW COMEDY JOKES ----- 472

THE DIGITISER FRIDAY LETTERS PAGE ----- 473

This Month in...charts ----- 474

Violet Berlin ----- 475

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Somehow, it seems like we're never going to run out of bad game artwork. Such as the troubling cover of Mole Hunter, above - replete with what is presumable a phallic-looking mole, a dead snake, and a hammer-wielding, pin-headed, mole hunter. ​Here are another ten.
In an era when games were going 3D, cover artists felt that their artwork should go adopt a similar pioneering spirit of technological progress.Unfortunately, what this meant in the early days was a lot of garish colours, ugly figure work, and awkward poses - as typified on the cover of Virgin Ineractive's Agent Armstrong. It's not irredeemable per se, but the pose of the character begs you to look between his legs, where it's clear that early CG technology wasn't quite up to the task of rendering genitals.Perhaps that explains why he seems so blasé about the imminent blasting of his groin area.
505 Games churned out countless sappy Wii games aimed at girls, and every single one of them was notable for its poorly-Photoshopped photographic cover. Such as here on the cover of My Ballet Studio, which - to its credit - does at least manage to convey the unnatural contortions required of ballerinas, which later lead inevitably to arthritis and other physical ailments. 
It's rare for a game to include their glitches on the actual cover, but that's the only way to explain the face of the "Alien Terminator"; a title which somehow fails to live up to two sci-fi movie franchises simultaneously.
For a game which sells itself on sex, you'd have thought they'd try to find a cover artist who had a loose idea of what might be considered conventionally attractive. Then again, each to their own. Maybe some people like that lipstick-or-stubble-slapped-on-a-melted-mannequin look.
Get ready to read with BJ Bear? I... I'd rather not...Also: get off my kite, you Winnie the Pooh-esque deviant.
Another CGI monstrosity. What's with that sky? It completely overwhelms the image. Which at least takes your attention away from the bloke's face. He looks like he's smelling a rotten salmon.
Perhaps the least terrifying, least threatening, depiction of Dracula ever. He doesn't look like he's about to suck your blood so much as he's just heard that they've cancelled the last night bus home."Whaaaaaa....?"
"Er, what you doing back there, John?""Nothing. Hold still. Just sniffing between your shoulder blades... Man, that's good."
So many CGI breasts, and not a single pair is troubled by gravity, or resembles anything you might find in nature.
"Long or short hair? Does he wear an earring? What is his name? Tell me more, tell me more!Like, does he have a car?"His name? Why, it's Pantraseon, and yes he does have a car. It's a Ford Sierra.

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Hello. I'm a popular comedian called The Man's Daddy. We're already halfway through January, and already I've had an eventful year. I've spent most of this month on my latest comedy tour. It was a good tour, but also a bad tour, because at one of my shows the audience died. It was so sad. They all boiled to death in the lobby!Anyway, I'm ready now to share with you some of the hilarious comedy jokes I've been telling on tour. I can't be certain, but I think these might be my best jokes yet. Or my worst. Who can say?​Either way, I hope you like them. Well, I'd better go. I've got a lot of washing to do. I only got back last night. Well, bye then. Bye. Hope you like these jokes. Yeah, bye. See you soon, yeah? Okay, yeah. Bye. Bye then. Enjoy my jokes. Bye. See you soon, I hope. Bye.

QUESTION:

What's long and scaly and made of wood and is full of tools and your dad?ANSWER: The "shed" skin of a snake!QUESTION: What sort of mound is very woolly and silent?ANSWER: A ssssh-heap! (sheep)QUESTION: What's worse than biting into an apple and finding a worm?ANSWER: A worm biting into your Adam's apple!

QUESTION:

Why did James Bond wrap the bad man Blofeld in a thin sheet of aluminium?ANSWER: He wanted to "foil" his plot!!!QUESTION: Why is James Bond's boss called M?ANSWER: It's short for "Martin"!QUESTION: What's the best way to wind up a clock?ANSWER: Keep calling it a watch.QUESTION: What is Batman's full name?ANSWER: Bathilda Mannington.QUESTION: What is Superman's full name?ANSWER: Jessuper Assman.QUESTION: What is Spongebob Squarepants' full name?ANSWER: Spongerobert Squarepants.QUESTION: What was King Henry 8th know as after 1971?ANSWER: King Henry 0.125. 

QUESTION:

Can you complete this Olympic medal sequence: Gold, Silver, Bronze...?ANSWER: ...Rice Krispies, Tallow and Ghee.QUESTION: Where does Slenderman live?ANSWER: On a narrowboat in "Lankyshire" (Lancashire)!QUESTION: What do you call a chicken you're not related to by blood?ANSWER: Step-hen (Stephen)!QUESTION: Which pop group was made up of people who were related to one another via their parents' marriage?ANSWER: Steps!QUESTION: Which other other pop group was made up of people who were related to one another via their parents' marriage?ANSWER: Steps-Club 7 (S-Club 7)!

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I've given the Digi/Biffo Patreon a bit of an overhaul, adding an extra tier for anybody who is paying $5 or more a month.I've been toying with this for a while, because I've been wanting to write more regular, more personal, blog posts - and possibly doing vlogs - that didn't fit elsewhere. and I didn't feel entirely comfortable doing it when they'd be accessible to those who might've just signed up on a whim, or out of curiosity. It's going to be the sort of longer-form stuff I'd have once put on Digi, but perhaps sharing a bit more personal insight, talk about my day job... whatever random stuff that wouldn't have fitted easily on this site.Also, we've got more Patrons than ever now - which is lovely, thank you - but the actual monthly amount they bring in has gone down quite a bit. So, it makes sense.Given changes (read the FAQ if you haven't already) that are happening, and given I want to get a lot more serious about growing all things Digi and YouTube this year, and I'm most likely not doing a new Kickstarter anytime soon, we need to find a way to give extra incentive for people who might be able to pay a little bit more.I don't really like hiding anything behind a paywall - or asking for money at all - but hopefully the nature of the posts I'll be making - starting with part one of my 10 Commandments! - will make it worthwhile.And if it works, and more people sign up and pay that little bit extra, then you'll hopefully start seeing it reflected in the content I put out for general consumption. I'm considering other ideas for extra Patreon content, and possibly more tiers. But one thing at a time.Now? Letters!

If you want 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 to this place here: digitiser2000@gmail.com

PIE MAN

Whatto, Biffo!I have been thinking - a first, I will admit - that during the festive period I have been brushing down on reminding myself about the all the computers I had as a small bairn.One of which was a ZX81 brought second hand from a local baker. Though this got me thinking whether Sir Clive Sinclair had plans to make the world's first micro pie with chips. Having ridden a Sinclair C5, I can confirm that the gristle was like one of its tyres. Lovely with a bit of gravy!But I can vouch from my cousin, Robert Scarborough Ferris, never to eat them on the seafront with extra white sauce as opposed some mushy peas.Yours tucking in,Bob Angry Anderson (Mildly Miffed of Mayfair at the Weekends and Gobbler of Double Gloucester)

I don't really know how to reply to this, Bob. I mean, well done for trying and everything, but it's hard to argue that it has added anything to the collective entirety of human experience or knowledge.

HALF-A-SIXPENCE

I wanted to briefly note upon a few topics related to new (well, okay, "new") technologies discussed on this blog a few months back. First of all, how interested are you in Half-Life: Alyx? I know you are a pretty big fan of Half-Life 2, and this game appears to keep with that style, but updated for VR.On the other hand, it is a PC VR only game (for now, at least) and that does mean a substantial investment (even considering that an Oculus Quest can be connected to a PC for use as a "dumb" headset, albeit with a [resonably long] wire).Doing a quick and dirty part list for a PC meeting the min spec, (and keep in mind I'm American and don't know if the prices are 100% accurate with shipping and whatever) comes in at around £500, which isn't a small investment to run the game with resonable graphics settings.Comfort is also a concern, considering you seem to have "VR Legs" that are closer to amputated stubs with prosthetics, and Boneworks (a seeming influence on Half-Life: Alyx) being a vomit comet for those without "legs" I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this, considering you are a big fan of VR.Second of all, I'm optimistic regarding Stadia like you, and hopefully by the free version's public release the service will be in a better state, feature-wise (like PC 4K streaming, better screenshot and video support, etc). Also, I might know why you didn't mind Stadia's image quality; with the current software it seems that its 4K quality isn't as good as a PS4 Pro or Xbone X, but it's definitely better than a base PS4 upscaled, and the same goes at 1080p (minus the upscaling of course, and the compression artifacts, which shouldn't be bothersome  if you aren't up fairly close).​With regards to latency, everyone has their own levels of tolerance, and what would be fine for some would be very noticable for others. So, what's the conclusion? Stadia seems to be very workable, as long as you aren't playing twitch games (like fighters).Here's to a good new year!A Lurker

I'm intrigued by Half-Life: Alyx, but I'm only going to be invested if it lands on a format I'm able to play it on. In all honesty, I wish they'd have done Half-Life 3, but then... I'm hardly alone in that regard.  Stadia remains better-than-expected for me, technology-wise, but they seriously need to get some more games on there. If Doom Eternal doesn't arrive for it at the same time as it does on other formats, then the thing deserves to fail, and I'll be applauding its collapse.As for me overlooking the alleged less-than-4k image quality... here's a thing; I finally got a 4k TV, out of necessity, before Christmas. What was really galling is that two days after getting it I dropped a tripod on it while setting up for some Digi filming and broke the screen. And then had to get a replacement, ​Anyway...I can obviously see a difference from 1080p, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it really makes to my enjoyment of watching or playing something. It's like going to see a 3D film; you forget about it being in 3D after the first couple of minutes. 4K, UHD... all that. It's still all a bit Emperor's New Clothes really.

GAMING MILL'S LETTER

Happy Belated Festivus and New Year and all that sort of thing! I hope you all had a good one. Every day is a year since the last one, so I don't know why 'roided up lads that can't handle their ale decided to lose it and break the noses of certain people. Oh, I wasn't the one handing out the friendly fists - I was just there to (somewhat painfully) witness a couple.What did I do over the last couple of weeks? I built some solar powered fairy lights, that charge during the day via an old Samsung battery, that come on automatically when it gets dark. I don't know why I did that, because the fairy lights soon ended up back in my Cupboard Of Fun And Wires. I might give them to someone next year as a gift.As for gifts? I didn't receive a thing, mainly because I told the few people I know not to bother. With hindsight I really wouldn't have actually minded receiving some socks though; I'm sick of having to improvise with old tea towels and string, mainly because I can't get my shoes on, and when I (rarely) go out it makes people think I've got Elephant Man feet or something... I should imagine. My dead granddad said look after your shoes and they'll look after your feet. My mum said women always look at a man's feet first. It seems I'm in a bit of a losing battle here.I did make five new videos over Christmas though! I don't know why I even bother because no-one watches my stuff. If only people could realise the pain, the misery, the blood, the sweat, the tears and the fury that I do not even think about when I make a video then perhaps they'll understand?Speaking of such (and if anyone has made it this far through my letter) I'd like to plug my channel if I may? Where is it? HERE:https://www.youtube.com/user/GamingMill/videos...there are hundreds of videos on there and my Imaginary Wife actually introduced me to my own channel without knowing it was me behind it all. True story that!Well, I have to go now because I've just set my smoke alarm off somehow.I am still unfit but strong and that is all.Gaming Mill

Well, I do sometimes watch your stuff, Gaming Mill. I watched the one of you singing a song about Rutger Hauer and William Shatner. ​Also, I got some socks for Christmas. Nice thick ones. Though one of the pairs was too small for me, because my wife hadn't realised that socks-for-men weren't all one size. Apparently, according to her, all women's socks are one-size-fits-all. I'm not sure I believe that, but the main thing to take away from this is that I have large feet.And you know what they say about men with large feet? Large shoes etc. etc. etc.

ONLY BORING PEOPLE GET BORED

So having been suitably bored over Christmas and the New Year. Here are some things that should happen. Some of them may be double negatives, or something. I don't know anymore. Or care.1) Live band ice-cream vans. Up and coming bands play sets from atop and ice-cream van as it tours a town. Shredding "My Father is a Wanderer" and resting between sets with a herbal cigarette and/or liquor each time the van comes to a halt. 2) True interactive TV. Where you get to beat James Cordon to within an inch of his life, whenever his stupid face appears on the box. I mean, really go to town on him, with your belt and everything. It's not jealousy... it's just bemusement that he has been selected to achieve so much... but then you remember that the lowest common denominator is a thing, and pleasing that is more financially rewarding than critically satisfying.3) Work meetings where everyone agrees that it's all a crock, and goes down the pub instead. "Why have we tied ourselves in knots with this policy we made up? Anyone fancy a Spicy Rum and coke?"4) A button that allows you to drive pins under the finger nails of all creators of stupid social media posts. "What's that, an ill informed comment about a geo-political situation, that defaults to an idealistic and overly simplistic solution!... Where's the button!"  (howling shrieks in the wind). Although the entirety of humanity would then probably exist in a state of perpetual agony like a weird horror fan fiction fetish novella.5) Online tutorials that tell you how to 'do some linux' or 'add something to your Kodi box' actually include every step, and don't assume that the average person knows every command without having to go down a rabbit hole of opening 14+ browser pages to work out why "the sudo command" doesn't apply in this instance.6) Fridge magnets shouldn't fall off every time the door opens. That's not a magnet, that's a piece of metal. My saliva has more adhesive properties than these modern Chinesium magnets.7) Altoids should be a suppository, not a mint.Your Christmas cracker jokes allowed me to suss out the anti-joke lovers among my Christmas guests. These are the people worth bothering with, the rest... they probably like James Cordon.Dave G

Yeah, you were really bored weren't you...?

HAIL SEIZURE!

Here's some gaming news that is excellent news to hear and shows how heroes come from all walks of life.You see so many negative stories from the press about gamers so here is a recent positive one. Dia Lathora, from Texas who was playing online with a friend in the UK, Aidan Jackson from Cheshire, did a heroic act and called the emergency services in the UK from the US and got Aidan the medical attention he needed. The news article can be read here along with a video clip of the emergency call and news story.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-51063009?ns_campaign=bbcnews&ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR3PvFoMDuXr59k_JkC54GKO-SncKz9pmJ9SdiItAss9P5VtBqcuuCMoqRATeen having seizure saved by online gamer in TexasParents of 17-year-old Aidan Jackson were watching TV when police cars arrived outside their house.I'm sure that a lot of people here will agree with me that this gamer deserves applause for this and this is one example as to how good can come from gaming regardless of the negative press it gets.Dia, you have my respect for doing that.gamertag (gaz be rotten)

Yeah, I read that story too. It reminded me of that VR Chat video where somebody had an actual fit, surrounded by Ugandan Knuckleses. If you ignore the fact that it's a real human being having a seizure, it's actually pretty funny.

BEANS ARE HIS MAIN THING
I am probably not the first person to send you this, but just in case......I just pre-ordered theFact Hunt book and one of the suggested items was a breakfast/Beanus mask. When clicking on that, the suggested items are quite interesting (see photo). Amazon is either assuming that we all want to dress like Beanus or many other customers have.

John Whyte

You're right that you're not the first, John. Seems like everyone who's ordering Larry's book has been offered the "Beanus Combo", and has made me aware. Fortunately, it amuses me no end. 

PRESS ON

Hello!Have you watched Press Gang? It's bloody excellent. Also, I hope you're all well and having a nice time.I declare this meeting of the Midnight Society closed.Chai

When Press Gang came out I had a full-time job, so I only ever saw it a few times. Seemed alright. I think I watched one where somebody was trapped under some rubble. Was that Press Gang? Or was it that Nic Cage movie about 9/11...?

FORWARDS AND ORWARDS

What game or games are you looking forward to in 2020? Also, here’s a pic of Beanus 3.0!May be a work in progress.Luke Adams

I'm looking forward to Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk, The Last of Us 2, and Marvel's Avengers. Also curious about the System Shock remake.For the record, Beanus 3.0 won't ever become an official look for Beanus. He's staying with the original mask for now at least. However, Baby Beanus is coming. Try copying that, MOFOs!!!! 

TREE SURGEON

I don't know about you but I'm sick of looking at this Xmas tree! I should probably take it down or something.Lee McCormick

Just set fire to it. 

TIDDLE FIDDLER

Dear Mr Bisto,My tiddle is tingling, and has been for over a week now.  Is this normal?Lots of love,The Pink OboePS. That Silverman chap is a very hairy man.

I sometimes wonder about the thought processes that go into somebody sitting down to write, and then send, a letter like this. I think the only time I sent a letter to a publication was to the BBC's Focus Magazine. I asked if it would be possible, if you had enough worms, to make a leather jacket out of their skin. They never published it. Just sayin'.

MAGNUM PI

Well Mr B, I finally watched your magnum opus over the New Year period. I speak of course of Pudsey The Dog The Movie. I have nothing else to say about this, but it is a thing that happened. Don't suppose there's any chance you'll ever release the original screenplay?Yours,Sedric and Charlie

Not sure why you'd watch it, other than out of morbid curiosity. I might share the screenplay - one of the drafts anyway - for the $5 Patrons, mind. That's a good bonus.

JOKES NEEDED

Biffingtons! At this time of year, when jokes are needed more than ever, I have been doing detailed research into various plants to find out which are the funniest. First of all, the plant known as Kennicantancorus gives off a distinct odour when approached. Smelling of sweat and regret, it has buds which are like red noses and emits a green sticky substance when threatened though. It can be stimulated by tickling it with the tongue.RALPH MCTELL! Sorry I had a cough there...Secondly, the Bobbdegrant of which is a hardly annual. That displays a bloom only found in the North Wales every five point seven three nine days, which consists of a yellow bell and purple clanger. This is not to be confused with the Spiky Varnee, which is to be found at the base of cashpoints.Finally the funniest plant has to be the Grumbyweede, it can impersonate any number of plants but which has gone out of fashion nowadays as their numbers are dwindling rapidly. Though a rare siting can be seen on Barron Nights, usually Twice Knightly as it does a countdown before reveals itself.Hopefully this guide is of use in some way otherwise please send a 19p Postal Order and a self addressed flat-fish to Peter Seabrook at Pebble Mill One, Brummingham. Thank You,Percy Edwards-Peter-Woods(Director of The Woodpecker Institute, Peckham Rye Spy.)

What's with all the made-up whimsy this week? I never quite know how to react to letters like this. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?

ISOLATED INCIDENT

Now that Alien: Isolation is out on the Switch, and currently available on Xbox Game Pass too, please can I put in a bid for a critical re-evaluation?Survival horror usually gives me the willies, or tests my patience with waiting for perfect gaps in patrol routes. So the prospect of hiding in cupboards for hours then dying anyway was not appealing, but with enough positive noises about A:I five years on I took a chance anyway. Novice mode, obviously.Now, I love Deus Ex, but it eventually becomes apparent that doggedly chucking bins down a secluded alley is enough to gradually reduce any elite cyborg death squad to an unconscious pile. There are still fun tricks to work out, such as how repositioned vending machines can help to put the "fun" in "funicular", but there's no real sense of danger.Alien: Isolation is never safe. Except when it is, because in the absence of telltale clomping, clunking, or hissing, then Dribbles is letting the mood pieces, outwalkable robots, and/or outsmartable humans do their part. It's a shame to turn the music off, but now I always see my own demise approaching from the front.Cupboards are rubbish. It's not intuitive that line-of-sight is rigged slightly in the player's favour, that being crouched with a little view over a desk or box is like being in a cupboard, except with visibility and escape routes. So now you know, and once danger has passed, move. Ideally, towards the next objective, and on the rare occasions that there is no alternative route, it's time for a distraction.Novice mode is not safe. You will still need to listen, scan, then move forward without looking back, watching for cover to grab in case of that telltale vent-exit thump. I'm now playing through again on Medium, and it's a far smaller step than unlearning how to look for the perfect, repeatable approach. Information is critical, maps being worth more than any loot, but success often hinges on brief moments of improvisation when the plan wobbles off track.Sportingly, the game seems rigged to allow a few seconds of safety after each especially close encounter. This is usually enough time to break free for the next save point, which are rarely more than five minutes apart anyway if you're not stopping in cupboards.I still need to take a big breather after certain save points, but the game design also allows time to explore the lovely atmosphere, bonk into wobbly dynamic light fittings, and when it almost becomes comfortable, there are soon fresh "seriously?" situations to overcome. It's also pleasantly non-gratuitous with violence, if that makes sense, assuming that the music which I turned off does not go silly at every corpse.There are remarkably few rubbish moments, and the "hardness" (there is absolutely no shame in choosing Novice mode) seems to come mostly from it being a game with few direct points of comparison.Admittedly, there is probably a bit of the developers not quite communicating their rules and systems clearly - itself a knotty thematic problem, when Ripley didn't get much of a briefing in the source movie.But when Alien: Isolation works, once over that hump of hiding all the time? It's more thrilling than knock down ginger - without the guilt!David W

My nephew got given some Switch credit for Christmas, but because it's for the UK store, and he lives in Amsterdam, he couldn't use it, so he's given it to me. Result.​I've been tempted to give Alien: Isolation another go, because it's one of those games I felt I should've liked more than I did. I pretty much enjoyed all of it until the bit with all the androids.I soldiered on, but became more and more frustrated with it as I progressed. And then gave up altogether when I hit a section I just couldn't get past. I dunno. But I'll let you know how I get on. 

DEAF STAR

​Hallo. I've not done a letter for ages, as I'd nowt to say. Don't now really, but you know: content. The new Star Wars then eh? Not for me. I shan't go into the myriad reasons why, but I am glad you enjoyed it though. And that those that did, did. Because Star Wars is Star Wars, and even ones I don't like at least make money, so we can get more. I'm just hoping it'll be more along the lines of The Mandalorian, which "an American friend" of mine finished watching this evening. Oh boy, was this what I needed. What he needed, I  mean. "He" tells me it's like a fun 80's TV throwback, with an awesome soundtrack and characters that it's fun to spend time with.And whilst the ongoing storyline is great, what was nice was having each episode (for the most part) be it's own little mini adventure. Sort of like The A-Team with Stormtroopers in it. I am - he is - down for multiple seasons of that. So long as we get more Taika-bot. So between that and Jedi: Fallen Order (which is ace), I am still fully team Star Wars. Beep boop, etc. In none Star Wars waffle, still loving the Digi-minis. Who couldn't enjoy you retching at rancid fish? Keep up the good work sir. You continue to make Patreonage more than worthwhile. Dan

Answer me this: one of the biggest criticisms of The Rise of Skywalker was all the "fan service", but I felt The Mandalorian was far more blatant when it came to fan service. So why did TROS get so much grief for it?If anything, I felt there wasn't enough fan service in TROS - being the final episode in the series, I wanted more cameos from past actors, old monsters and droids and planets. If ever there was an opportunity to bring back everything... this was the time. In the end I thought they were pretty restrained, whereas every episode of The Mandalorian had me going "Oooh! It's an Imperial Troop Transport! Oooh! Did you see that pole in the alleyway? That's the same one they used in the trash compactor! That's the same booth Han Solo was sitting in!"So, my theory is that people didn't like it for other, more nebulous, reasons, and blamed the fan service. For me, it was the most Star Wars-y feeling Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi.People are idiots.And talking of idiots, this weekend on Digitiser, my wife and I attempt to eat Icelandic food. It's absolutely disgusting.

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This Month in....1984 (ZX Spectrum)



ZX Spectrum Charts taken from Crash

Others will be added when available

This Month in....1989 (ZX Spectrum)


1 Last Ninja 2

2 Bomb Jack

3 Joe Blade 2

4 Advanced Pinball Simulator

5 International Rugby Simulator

6 Footballer of the Year

7 Football Manager 2

8 Pro Skateboard Simulator

9 Commando

10 Supreme Challenge


All Charts taken from C&VG

This Month in....1994 (SNES)



Sega Charts taken from C&VG

Nintendo Charts taken from C&VG

Amiga Charts taken from Amiga Format or C&VG

This Month in....1996 (Saturn)



Sega Saturn Charts from Sega Saturn Magazine, with thanks to @SegaMags

This Month in....1999 (PC)


1 South Park Desktops

2 Carmageddon 2

3 Grim Fandango

4 Sin

5 FA Premier League Manager 99

6 Klingon: Honor Guard

7 Star Wars: Behind the Magic

8 Age of Empires: Rise of Rome

9 Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines

10 Caesar 3


N64 & PlayStation Charts taken from C&VG

PC Charts taken from PC Zone

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Tue Jan 14 14:43:29 +0000 2020

@nostalnerd @RealityGlitch2 @gamingmuso @ashens I’m def coming, when is it not cold there?

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Liked: 3
Wed Jan 01 17:10:39 +0000 2020

@NWeatherson Love this! We’re watching your other stuff now. Brilliant.

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Liked: 1
Wed Jan 01 17:08:18 +0000 2020

RT @NWeatherson: https://t.co/O5tJzqJPFI Happy New Year, xx 🥂🎉 #slade #deafawareness #bsl #lipspeaking #feelhear

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Mon Dec 23 14:36:12 +0000 2019

@giagia A few years ago I woke up and couldn’t actually move ... must’ve done it in my sleep!

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Mon Dec 23 14:34:59 +0000 2019

@giagia I did that this summer, threw me off my stride in more ways than one ...

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Sat Dec 21 15:46:30 +0000 2019

RT @electoralreform: It is no surprise that people feel let down by the democratic contest on offer: 80% of people BMG Research asked feel…

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Thu Dec 19 19:50:49 +0000 2019

I co-host quite a quiz for the Xmas podcast for #OnSpeed -- the team win one car per question. Note: car values are roughly their launch values. https://t.co/CGk75T5C1J

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Sat Dec 14 11:35:32 +0000 2019

@Notagoth Hip hip ...

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Sat Dec 07 13:15:38 +0000 2019

As well as making me roar with laugher, and tear up at the end, this left me with a longing that one day @frankieboyle would write for #DrWho https://t.co/GMF60QXD3v

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Fri Dec 06 22:12:22 +0000 2019

RT @GarethJonesTV: Gareth Jones On Speed at Number 4 in the top ten of all time bestsellers in the automotive section of iTunes podcasts, y…

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Tue Dec 03 22:23:55 +0000 2019

@mrbiffo @TheFerretLives I do agree ... still there's the fear that it will it keep unwinding and never resolve. Like Twin Peaks or X-Files.

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Tue Dec 03 14:22:17 +0000 2019

@benmoor I was good. I got it. I have also been loving The Good Place. See I read it too :)

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Sat Nov 30 21:57:23 +0000 2019

@PeteWilliamsMus @halesowencycle A brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrilliant evening #petewilliams - thank you!!!

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Thu Nov 21 10:23:35 +0000 2019

@rEtRo_sPexX @RetroLaird @russty_russ Agree. Although Lynx was dreadful on batteries, none of the early backlit handhelds had good enough life to let you stray far from the plug socket anyway.

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Thu Nov 21 10:19:31 +0000 2019

@RetroLaird @rEtRo_sPexX @russty_russ ☺️

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Guide Digitiser Guide Guide