P471Digitext470HOLD

HOW TO GET YOUR GIRLFRIEND INTO GAMES... ----- 471

E3 VIDEO REPORT! ----- 472

THE DIGITISER FRIDAY LETTERS PAGE ----- 473

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

Violet Berlin ----- 475

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Key:
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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.

FAST TEXT

To be implemented.

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.

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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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Michael J. Fox is 57 this month. Which 80s Werewolf movie is he known for?

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Red:The Howling


Green:Teen Wolf


Yellow:My Mom's A Werewolf


Cyan:Monster Dog


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People. Pat Morita had a recurring role in which 1970s American sitcom?

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Red:Taxi


Green:The Brady Bunch


Yellow:Happy Days


Cyan:Mork & Mindy


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Mobile Technology. Which mobile phone did Nokia release in Septempber 2000?

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Red:5100


Green:3720


Yellow:3310


Cyan:3250


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Games. System Shock 2 is 20 years old this year, but what is the name of the benevolent AI?

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Red:SHODAN


Green:KITT


Yellow:HAL 9000


Cyan:SKYNET


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Born in 1989, which actress starred as Scarlett Witch in Disney's recent Avengers films?

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Red:Mary-Kate Olsen


Green:Elizabath Olsen


Yellow:Brie Larson


Cyan:Ashley Olsen

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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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Films. Jim Carrey played as which Batman villan in Batman Forever?

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Red:Mad Hatter


Green:Two-Face


Yellow:The Joker


Cyan:The Riddler


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People. What is the middle name of Sir Clive Sinclair?

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Red:Marles


Green:Hemmingway


Yellow:Winston


Cyan:Miguel


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Internet. Which YouTube retro show features Trevor the Tortoise?

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Red:Digitiser 2000


Green:Slopes Game Room


Yellow:Retro Man Cave


Cyan:ChinnyVision


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Geography. What is the capital of Switzerland?

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Red:Stockholm


Green:Bern


Yellow:Geneva


Cyan:Munich


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Comics. In which comic publication did Captain Marvel first appear?

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Red:Dark Horse Comics


Green:D.C. Comics


Yellow:Fawcett Comics


Cyan:Marvel Comics


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History. Which space station crash landed back to earth in July 1979?

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Red:Skylab


Green:Mir


Yellow:Salyut


Cyan:Tiangong-1


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Politics. How many ministerial departures has Theresa May endured since 2017?

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Red:100


Green:60


Yellow:40


Cyan:50


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

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"Imagine - no more moans as you clock your fifth hour playing Half-Life instead of doing pointless stuff like going out or talking to people..." And thus begun an  article in the May 1999 issue of PC Zone, entitled How To Get Your Girlfriend Into Games. Written by one David McCandless, who, like a number of PC Zone writers - including a certain Charlie Brooker, a certain Rhianna Pratchett, and some bloke called Paul Rose - would go on to be better known for other things, it was typical of the era's attitude towards women and games.In short: it was seen that girls rarely played video games, and certainly never played PC games. I'd love to say that times have changed, but while you would never seen an article published like this today, you don't need me to tell you that far too many awful men are still trying to ring-fence gaming as an exclusive boys' club. Tellingly, a 2018 US study found that 48% of gamers are women, and it's much the same story globally; in the UK it's 46%, 49% in Finland, 47% in Australia... However, somewhat tellingly, only 6% of women gamers identify as a "gamer", in comparison to 15% of men. Which is a whole bag of worms when it comes to men with a weak sense of identity making  "gamer" their entire sense of self, and feeling threatened by females encroaching on that, and whose dysfunctional sexuality means they get a weird dopamine hit when making aggressive sexual comments while shielded behind a veil of anonymity. ​Anyhow. We know all about that, and I've not got the energy today to deal with a load of loveless limpdicks calling me a soyboy and a cuck. Let's dive into the article.

AND SO IT BEGINS

Oddly, McCandless begins his article by suggesting that games are awful:"You've been playing games for years, but just imagine what they must look like from a non-gamer's point of view. They suck."The graphics are crap. Look out of your window - that's good graphics. These just look shoddy and blocky in comparison. And what's with all the violence? Why do you have to kill everybody? Why can't you just talk to them? And what are these locations? Cathedrals? Dungeons? Catacombs? God, it's all so dark and depressing. And why are there so many blokes in these games? And what the hell am I doing spending hours playing this when I could be out talking to people, reading books, watching films, living life...?"This is how girls think. Girls and games rarely mix."They rarely mix because you - man, boy, bloke, fellow, chap, me lad - you designed them. Unlike most other examples of popular culture, computer games are predominantly designed and programmed by blokes and so inevitably appeal to men and the male tick-list of desirable experiences: being a superhero, being competitive, being murderous, and doing things fast."McCandless is no idiot, though he was perhaps hamstrung by the nature of the brief he was working with. The very fact the article was printed in the first place is problematic, not least because he makes a huge, sweeping, assumption by stating "This is how girls think". Yeah, 'cos in my experience, "girls" really love it when men tell them what they're thinking. Heck, I'm barely a girl, and if anybody says to me something along the lines of "I know what you're like..." I'm liable to administer a sharp jab to the thorax.McCandless at least identifies why "girlfriends" might not be interested in games, with the following: "Why are there so many blokes in these games?" and "Computer games are predominantly designed and programmed by blokes."That has improved in the last 20 years; another 2018 study suggested that 23% of people working in games development in the US now identify as female. That's certainly better than in 1999, when the figure was in single digits, but there's still a long way to go. Besides, any female games developer or journalist who draws attention to themselves seems to become a target for the usual abuse. 

CHOOSE WISELY

PC Zone offered a 12-part plan to get girlfriends into playing games - as written by the man David McCandless. He started by suggesting the sorts of games that girls would like. The following games, according to him, are guaranteed girlfriend-pleasers..."Half-Life: The hazard course is a particularly good starting point. It takes a while to get going but once they're hooked, they'll never stop."Tomb Raider III: Despite what feminists say about her bosoms, girls like playing girls. Especially strong, agile ones."Motocross Madness: Great driving game set 'outside', with hyper-realistic graphics. Exhilarating and amusing."Creatures 2: Yeah, yeah, they 'get to raise babies'. Easy joke."Worms: Because you can name the worms and then blow them up."Quake II: Multiplayer especially. They'll hate it at first but try and try again. They'll get it."Grim Fandango: Interactive, movie-like, funny, with a plethora of locations and mysteries. How much more girly can a game get?"I admit that I'm not sure I entirely understand the rationale behind any of those, which seem to have been chosen entirely at random. Lara Croft may have been marketed as a feminist icon, but she was still designed by men, wore hot pants and a tight top which accentuated her impossible breasts. Certainly, however, she seems to have appealed to female gamers simply by virtue of there being so few female protagonists in games at that point. Last year, eSports presented Elle Osili-Wood told i-D magazine: "I watched my cousin play the first game and I just fell in love with this kickass woman -- all I wanted to do was run around exploring and fighting and being ridiculously cool.”So, in that respect, maybe McCandless was onto something with that one.

MEN ARE PIGS

The plan's first rule was to tidy your room (because all men, apparently, are filthy pigs, and females all want cleanliness). "No-one wants their first introduction to games to happen in the midst of a smeg pit. Clear the mugs away. Wipe all those shavings and toenails off your desk. Clear the cigarette butts, bits of paper, Blu-tack and Coke cans out of the way. Get a nice clean mouse - not one clogged up with three months' worth of dried skin."Clean all those manky half-moons of crap off the keys on your keyboard, too. Use Stanislavski's Circles Of Attention technique to minimise her distraction. Turn off the main light in your room and erect a side light which creates a pool of illumination around your computer. ​"This makes the computer screen the centre of focus and mutes any peripheral distractions. In short, she has nowhere to look if she gets bored."

SELL HER THE GAME

Your girlfriend "Is a proper person who cares about things like emotions and novels," says 1999 McCandless, an emotionless man who has never read a novel. With the revelation that your girlfriend is a proper person rather than, I dunno, a cypher, McCandless reveals that she doesn't understand - or doesn't have any interest - in jargon (which, frankly, makes me question my own gender identity).He recommends the following: "Don't use jargon. Ramp up any 'interactive' elements (talking, speaking, puzzle-solving). Play down hyper-violent aspects (flying globules of gibbage, explosions with true particles, realistic death throes). Once she's over her initial reluctance, she'll be as bloodthirsty as anyone, but you have to get her there first."To get her playing your recommended games, McCandless wants you to downplay anything which might scare her off.For Half-Life, he recommends you avoid saying: "Next-generation first-person shoot 'em up with strong narrative elements" and should try: "Oh, it's an amazing unfolding story with you playing the central character."For Worms Armageddon he suggests that instead of describing it as being like "That tank game you used to play in school where you'd enter the trajectory and balance it against wind speed" and tell her "It's like Tetris."

REASSURE HER

The young David McCandless believed women to be an enormous amount of work, who needed "constant reassurance" while playing games."She says: 'I'm crap.'"You say: 'No, you're not just schooled in the conventions of this medium.'She says: 'Oh, I can't do it.'You say: 'It took me a while to get the hang of it, too.'She says: 'What's the point? I don't get it. I'm not doing it anymore.'You say: 'There's a really brilliant bit coming up. Just stick at it.'She says: 'I'm bored.'You say: 'There's a bit like Tetris coming up in a sec.'She says: 'Where's the bit like Tetris.'You say: 'It's coming in a minute, okay?'Women really like Tetris, apparently. Though, let's face it, if it had been made by the same people as Tomb Raider the blocks would be falling breasts, and it'd be called Titres, and be held up as a stirringl example of Girl Power. 

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

David McCandless wanted PC Zone's readers to train their girlfriends, like dogs."It is a psychological fact that people will do things they don't want to if there's a reward for them at the end. You may have to trade. Say you'll go to see a film with subtitles with her if she spends an hour playing games. Or that you'll cook something other than corned beef curry. Or that you will finally pull out those dirty socks that are stuck like cardboard behind the radiator."There has to be a trade. You don't get something for nothing. "Hopefully, to use an unfortunate comparison, like Pavlov's dog, every time she hears the ping of the SimCity 3000 menu options or the splattery fine red mist of giblets hitting cobblestones in Quake, she'll start salivating."

ACTUAL WOMEN ALLOWED TO HAVE OPINIONS

Several actual women - proper people, remember - were interviewed for PC Zone's feature, in an attempt to convert them into gamers. Among them were Paula and Mandy (real women, potentially).NAME: PaulaAGE: 27 JOB: Make-up artistSTANCE ON COMPUTER GAMES BEFORE: "Boring waste of time. A typically mindless male pursuit"STANCE AFTER: "No different The kind of thing you do in the absence of any other stimulation or activity. When you're trapped in the house and there's no alternative It makes me want to go and read a book."VERDICT: Thoroughly resisted conversion to the Dark Side.​NAME: MandyAGE: 27 JOB: HairdresserSTANCE BEFORE: "I've played puzzley games like Tetris. I get quite addicted, but how blokes can play them for hours or weeks strikes me as strange."STANCE AFTER: "It's tempting once I get started."​VERDICT: Not much change.

DON'T GET TECHNICAL WITH ME

Of course PC Zone's predominantly male readers were also invited to share their own experience of trying to get their girlfriends to play games. Two of them had this to say:"I showed her Quake without the 3Dfx and then with, and she said ttiey were both the same and the 3Dfx card was a waste of money. I caught her playing on my eldest daughter's PC once and guess what she was doing - typing in WingDings and then changing the size and colour." - Stuart Lawrence"My girlfriend detests pretty much all games, though she'll happily play Puzzle Bobble 2 for ages. I showed her Quake II once and she thought it was crap. 'That's really unrealistic - how can you possibly spend hours playing it? What's the attraction?' I tried to explain about it being fun, skilful and pleasurable (short-range shotgun blasts to the head), but she just doesn't get it. I'm in marketing and she's in accountancy. Is this an explanation?" - AnonHowever, probably no doubt surprising PC Zone's editorial team, they also got some responses from female readers:​"I'm a girl. I really enjoy shooting all the idiots with my rocket launcher in Quake IT. I also like Half-Life Carmageddon Grand Theft Auto However, I also Little Big Adventure Tomb Raider Diablo "It does surprise me that more girls don't seem to enjoy killing things with big weapons. When I first entered the PC Zone chatsite, I was asked (insultingly) if the games I liked were Solitaire and Barbie Hall Designer Well, l have news for you blokes - come over here and suck on my BFG," - Pianoforte 98Pianoforte 98 there, demonstrating that not much has changed in the intervening 20 years.

SCIENCE BIT

McCandless - who later carved out a careers as a "data journalist" - used real science to back up his article's assertion that gamers simply don't like computer games as much as men do. And also, why women are worse drivers than men (don't worry, misogynists - science has your back):​"Blokes don't like talking about their emotions and girls can't park. Crass sweeping generalisations or statistically proven sweeping generalisations? A variety of behavioural differences have been reported for men and women, and researchers have zoned in on 'parallel parking' as an example of the differences between male and female thought processes. Men can often 'see' the space, in 3D, in their brains."Women can perceive the gap, but need to talk about it in order to understand its relationship with the length of their car. They ask themselves questions and come to a conclusion, which takes longer than the male approach, which is just to pile in there and use the alarms of the vehicles in front and behind to judge distances. This car-parking phenomenon also has an influence on the way women perceive computer games."For some women, the 3D space and layout of an area in a game like Quake is not immediately obvious to them. Tunnels which lead off from a room, or even the entire architecture of the room itself, may be 'invisible'."This Is not, as your grandfather no doubt maintains, because 'women are stupid' but simply because they have a tendency to perceive 'negative space', the gaps between objects rather than the objects themselves."The widely-held belief that women only like adventure games can be explained by recent studies, which found that women spend 43 minutes a day making personal calls and men only 22. Women speak, on average, 9,000 words a day, while men utter a mere 2,000."Generally speaking, women communicate more and enjoy the act of talking and interacting more than men. Anyway, before you start moaning about crap girl gamers or bad parking arguments, remember this: until six weeks Into your mother's pregnancy, you were a girl. Then your defective X chromosome kicked in. Everything went haywire and for some reason your nipples weren't absorbed. Your clitoris, however, remained and grew and grew into your penis. Just remember that."Not sure what he's trying to say at the end there, given most of the article has gone to lengths to highlight the differences McCandless perceives between males and females, but there you go. ​Science!

IN CONCLUSION

I want to make clear that I'm not singling out David McCandless or PC Zone here; this sort of thing was rife back in the 80s and 90s. I can't think of any specific examples, but I'm sure Digitiser made plenty of references to girls not liking games.Primarily, I suspect, because our readership was very clearly made up of teenage boys and young men, and we were all part of an institutionalised problem, where gaming simply didn't invite girls in. Not because games as an idea didn't appeal to them, but because they were told in problematic articles such as this one that they didn't like games, and were written by men. PC Zone was by no means the only publication to perpetuate the myth - and at least one other British games magazine had a regular feature, where readers were invited to send in photos of their girlfriends. Which should tell you all you need to know.Plus, as McCandless points out in his introduction, the sorts of games that were made back then - and predominantly still are today, let's face it - were the product of men, and from a male perspective.

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In this episode, Gannon reports exclusively from E3 2019 in Los Angeles, plus Biffo and Larry Bundy Jr take a look at the classic Big Trak from MB! Also, Larry smells some crickets!

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Important: if you're a Digitiser Live show ticket holder, or you're a backer who RSVP'd for a ticket, please check your emails. If you don't have one from us... please check your spam. If you still don't have one... send us an email to let us know, as we have important Digitiser Live information for you.If you weren't lucky enough to get a ticket first time around, and would like to come, drop us a line and we'll add you to the standby list. We've had a couple of returns, so you might yet be able to be there. Trust me: you'll be kicking yourself if you miss it.

 If you sadly no longer need your ticket, because you can't make it, also let us know, as we'd like to make it available to others. ​Thanks to everyone who came to see the Digi crew (plus bonus Ashens) at the Video Game Game Show Show. Doubly good that so many of you there said you'll be at Digi Live.​If you'd 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 dank emails to this place here: digitiser2000@gmail.com​​​​​​​​

FIGHT THE FUTURE

I read about something that was due to occur in 2020 but I thought to myself "that doesn't matter, it's years away"... it's bloody NEXT YEAR!How did this happen? 2000 still sounds futuristic to me, but 2020, I mean that's positively sci-fi.What's going on?!I'm so old.John Veness

I know very much what you mean. I sometimes think this, but then I also think about how weird and sci-fi the world has become over my lifetime - with smartphones, and Snapchat filters, and reality TV show hosts becoming presidents, and vlogging - and then I worry more about the next 40-odd years.Anyway. Press reveal to see some cool sci-fi:

REVEAL:

ARMLESS

Areet Biffo Bacon.Have you ever played Arms? I keep going back to it and keep finding it tedious - I think the design makes me think you’d play it like a Mario Kart but really it’s all tactical. I have other problems with it too but there’s no point getting up in arms (do you see?) about it. Is there any first party Nintendo game that you’ve been a particular old grump about despite everyone being all whooped up by it?On a semi related note, I thought the first Splatoon was the best game on the Wii U. What did you think was the best game on the Wii U?Neet petGrembot

I have played Arms! I reviewed it on here. I liked it, but I didn't love it. For me, the springiness of the titular arms never felt as satisfying as punching someone in the face with a regular-length arm. 

Splatoon, again, I like but not love. ​In terms of going against the Nintendo grain, I confess that I don't think I love Mario 64 as much as everyone else does. It was groundbreaking at the time, obviously, but Mario Sunshine nailed Mario in a 3D world much better. The best Wii U game? I struggle to remember any Wii U games. I did actually quite like Zombi U, but Super Mario 3D world is one of the best Mario games hands down.

ON LOCATION

Hello sir!Inspired by something you mentioned on Twitter recently, I was thinking about locations that are significant to the Digi story and its offshoots.If you were creating a map of the places that played a part in the development of Digi and related TV work, which pins would you put where?The Teletext offices in Fulham are a given of course, but what about things like where you were angrily instructed to “watch the sneaks, man” by a puffy jacket, first doodled Knife & Wife, or the building where you drew the penis in the Sega PR man’s notebook.And, you know, places you filmed stuff and that.I don’t know viable a Digitiser open top bus tour would be exactly; I was just wondering in an idle moment.While I’m here - thanks for the support you’ve been giving to Chunky Fringe, David Walford’s rather appetising event the day of Digi Live (at which I am “appearing”). It looks like we’ve got a properly great afternoon planned, with lots going on, and everyone is welcome. Full details are over in this place: http://arbitraryfiles.com/events/cf19/index.htmlTeletext recovery hero Alistair Cree will be running Chunky Text, a teletext server that anyone can create stuff to appear on during the day, or send to him to add to it in advance.To do that: he needs content! So-minded folk can get in touch with him at chunkytext@zxnet.co.uk and look forward to their work appearing before an audience of, oh, at least 10 people I should think. It can be anything you like - and given the Digi crowd (*cough*MrPSB*cough*), I shudder to think what that might involve.And then of course, we have the main event of Digi Live to look forward to in the evening. What a time to be alive, eh? We’ll not see days like these again in a hurry - I can’t bloody wait.Chris Bell

A Digi bus tour you say? Well... the location of Digi Live is a stone's throw from where I grew up. Indeed, it backs onto the playing field where I used to be forced to play rugby and football on freezing cold days, while my old high school - Hatch End - is just around the corner. That was, 32 years ago, the last place I ever put on a "show" (unless you count Digifest), so it's pretty significant.My parents' house, where various bits of Found Footage were filmed is just up the road - we even filmed some Biffovision there. You'll very much be in the heartland of Biffoworld on July 20th.

NITEY NITE

Dear Hugo.I need help with this question, if a kid like me plays Fortnite, what will happen to me?I just want to know so I can warn everyone about it.No you don't have to play it to find out.From the BV Reviewer, who still believes that wasn't a dog​.

I've played Fortnite. Press reveal to see who paid me a visit afterwards.

REVEAL:

TEXT APPEAL

Dear Sir/Madam,Many games genres have fallen out of favour, for me the one I miss most is the textual adventure. With the advent of greater graphical ability they just morphed into something else. One of the best examples was the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy adventure, helped along by it's fine literary source.  So if you had to pick a topic to reboot the genre, what would it be?​Something from TV or Film perhaps?J. Blanchard Esq

Firstly, you should try playing 80 Days - it's a steampunk "interactive fiction" based upon Around The World In 80 Days, which I loved, and was very much in the text adventure vein.​The ones I always enjoyed most, inevitably, were the sci-fi ones. And I actually think that the text adventures from my youth have aged better than most games from the early-mid-80s, due to them not trying to replicate arcade-like gameplay.

EAR WE GO

Hello!I've had The Ballad of Sir Clive Sinclair stuck in my head for several days. It's an absolute bastard of an earworm.Also, thank you to you (and Sanja!! I know you're reading this!! Hopefully no typos for you to fix here!) and everyone else being so lovely at the VGGSS on Tuesday. I was extremely anxious before the show but you were all absolutely lovely and I am very grateful. I'm also far less anxious for Digi Live now!Have a wonderful Friday,Chai (@teacupofchai)​

It was lovely meeting you, young man, and I'm glad we've eased your anxiety a bit. It went both ways, as yours was literally the ONLY laugh I could hear from the stage any time I said something.

Speaking of earworms... Digi Live attendees are advised to familiarise themselves with the following (that's all I'll say...):

WE ARE THE MODS

I know you’re mostly a console gamer nowadays, but I wonder if you’ve ever messed around with modding games or making custom maps? A nice Turner the Worm being sick Warcraft 2 .pud would be great.Bye for now!Richard Morrison

I've never really got into it, unless you count trying to program my own text adventures back in the day. I sort of want to get Mario Maker 2, but I'm worried I won't have the patience for it. What are other people's experience of the first one?

GOOCH

Hello Biffee Biffi Biffo BiffumHaving risked a visit to London for the second time this year a couple of weeks back, my luck ran out and I succumbed to my usual dose of 'London ick', a particularly claggy cold that I nearly always manage to acquire, I suppose due to a mixture of abysmal air quality, kamikaze motorists, too many other people and the tube. ​I'd be delighted not to reacquaint myself with this when down for Digi Live - is Harrow far enough out to mitigate the risk or am I going to need a biohazard mask?I have been entertained during my convalescence by re-reading 'Don't Pass Go' by a certain Mr Tim Moore - it was only on this second run through that I twigged it was Mr Hairs (ironically, a nickname that currently applies to me as I sound as if I've got a permanent furball down my gullet).  I'd heartily recommend it and will be tracking down some more of his stuff.  Looking forward to seeing him before Digi Live too if I can get there in time.On this subject of Biohazard, any thoughts on the Resident Evil 2 reboot?  I'm very tempted to get but a tad outpriced at the moment.Finally, as the cricket world cup is on just a reminder that there was a player called Graham Gooch.  I'm not sure if the phrase 'the bowler's Holding, the batsman's Gooch' was ever uttered on air.Have a good one and we are enjoying the Digi shorts as ever!Voiced By Guides

You'll be alright coming to Digi Live. Hatch End - the bit of Harrow where the Arts Centre is located - is quite nice and leafy, and quiet, and as far away from the heart of London as you can get while still technically being London.

I'm glad you're enjoying Mr Hairs' latest. He remains one of my favourite writers, and I'm even more glad he'll be at Digi Live. It wouldn't feel right if he wasn't there. And yes - we'll be roping him into the main show for many nonsenses too.​Reboots? I dunno. I can take or leave them. I've not played the Resi 2 reboot, so I don't have much in the way of an opinion really. What a cool answer!!!!!!!!!?

VR THE WORLD

I would like to ask you for your opinion on VR. It never really went anywhere in 90's and I couldn't see the Oculus Rift, Vive or PS VR becoming 'big' as it just isn't practical and the novelty wears off fast (the recent Digitiser video was gold, however!).​They were bigger, saleswise, than I expected, but I still don't see the technology lasting for another two years (apart from training use etc.). It will probably be 're-discovered' somewhere in the mid to late 20's with a few 'hot new apps!' before fizzling out again. Your thoughts on VR?Regards (Oh and tell Gannon to take it easy every now and then, maybe he'll listen to you),Ivenne​

I refer the honourable lady to the articles I wrote about the Oculus Quest regarding my recent conversion to the cult of VR. Suffice to say, the Quest appears to have solved most of the issues I had with it.​As for Gannon... I told him to have a rest, and he told me where to go. Though I'm the last person who should be giving advice on that front. I was in bed at 6.30pm last night, for profound exhaustion reasons.

KRAPTON FACTOR

Dear Mr Be, Fi, Ffo, Fum, I Smell The Bum Of An Englishman.If you could have one of Superman's powers for 24 hours what one would you choose and why?Hugs and kisses, ​Treacle Truffle

I've considered this before, strangely enough. I like the idea of being able to fly, but I'd also want the strength, so I can carry people with me. Though truthfully, the one I'd really like is to be able to eat whatever I wanted, and still look good in just my pants.

BASICNESS

I have no questions, but I do a little story which goes something like this: I recently started messing around with Sinclair BASIC to remind myself of the good ol' days, and it didn't take long before 11 year old me popped up and made some classy sprites, which I have attached for your enjoyment!Yours smirkingly,Jim Blimey​
Your lewd Invaders game reminds me of the time my old neighbour, Mr Benson, taught me "how to write music". Basically he'd draw a series of breasts and bottoms, and then I'd have to sing them aloud thus: "Bum-titty-bum-titty-bum-bum-bum".

As far as I recall, he never touched me inappropriately, even though he did work in theatre.

LOOT-NOOT!

Just wondering what your hot take is on EA's rebranding of loot box's as 'surprise mechanics'?I'm personally not one to purchase such things, and the games that generally include them are so far off my radar I'm struggling to actually think of a time when I've encountered them, yet I still feel uncomfortable with term.It got me thinking, are there any other shitty practices that could do with a bit of a re-badging? Pay to win I'm sure you'll agree is more palatable as "Costed triumphs" Oh and when you tattoo the my name on the dog, can I have left hind leg please?Toaster aged 45 3/4​

I was unaware of EA doing this, but it's hardly a surprise. I don't think loot boxes, or paid extras of a similar ilk, are ever going to go away, due to the astronomical costs of game development these days. I don't know what other options they have open in terms of recouping cost - not least when massive games like Anthem flop. Talking of surprise mechanics, did I ever tell the story of when I had a wheel stolen off my car overnight? I drove off the next morning, not realising - because they'd propped it up on bricks - and the axle chewed up the road. I pulled over to check it, worried that it had damaged my car, and then had the notion to call at the mechanic's garage at the top of the road.I knocked on the door, and a guy emerged. I asked if he'd come and take a look at my wheel - which he kindly spent a minute or two doing. When I asked if he'd be able to fix it, he looked at me confused and said: "Did you think I was from the garage? No - I work for the chocolate wholesaler next door to the garage"...​So, not a 'surprise mechanic' so much as a 'surprise chocolate wholesaler'.

GAMING MILL'S LETTER

Quite a few years ago my dad gave one of my sisters a fucked-up record player. I say fucked-up because it would only play one of those record things at 78rpm.One summer I endured for many hours, and quite ironically considering the time of year, the song Summer Loving at the aforementioned speed. It was one of those record players that had that an arm thing that would start playing it again once it reached the end of the single - a bit like you can do with a CD, only shite.Through the paper thin walls (that's a bit of an exaggeration, I didn't live in the world of Shenmue) between my bedroom and hers it actually made me go outside for the first time in years. The nightmare of hearing it at full blast and listening to her and her friend dancing like they were of their heads on meth or something was bloody awful.With that said, I'd love to see a decent remake of Chuckie Egg but with ray tracing... you know, to REALLY show off that 2D beauty. I'm not joking about that.That is all​.Gaming Mill

Gaming Mill's stream-of-consciousness, everyone!

THE CODSBY SHOW

You said you needed letters, so I'm throwing my hat into the ring.Being a lover of old TV shows, I revisited this gaming themed show from 1994 which I vaguely remember: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3hVFow8PC8&t=3s Virtually Impossible, a sci-fi themed show from Broadsword Productions, the makers of Knightmare. In fact, Virtually Impossible started the week after Knightmare finished it's final series, so they had a replacement ready in good time.​It's the same set up as Knightmare, a team of kids guide one of their team, (who has been shrunk into the games), and the team control him, and there were different levels with different games in it too. It was hosted by a crude CGI fish called Codsby, (voiced by comedian Logan Murray), and there were bad guys too and something like that.It only lasted one series, and from what I can remember, I don't think anyone actually "won" in it's entire run, plus it's not as much fun to watch other people playing computer games. It sank without trace, and was axed after one series. Can either you or anyone else remember Virtually Impossible? Codsby looks a bit creepy too, so no wonder it flopped.Take care,Stuart Kenny

I have no memory of this, but based upon Codsby alone I wish I did. Who remembers that massive budget sci-fi game show presented by John "Not A Pervert" Leslie, that was a bit like Crystal Maze, as directed by Ridley Scott?

THE 500 QS OF WHYTE

376) In your opinion, has computer game box art ever been as important to games as album covers are to music? 377) Can a game get better with time and if so, what would be an example of such a game?378) Considering that Fortnite's original form, Save the World, was much-delayed and relatively unpopular, it's incredible to think that a hastily-released Battle Royale mode would become the biggest game in the world, maybe ever and a genuine cultural phenomenon. Can you think of a more unexpected game story than that?379) Depending on how you choose to measure it, Angry Birds is, by far, the biggest game ever. Despite this it is fallen off the cultural map really quickly. What do you think it's legacy is?380) What change/improvement would you most like to be made to game controllers?​John Whyte

376) For me, yes. Which is why I feel it's such a shame that game cover art has become so homogenised and forgettable. 

377) Ohhh... that's a curious question. Generally, I don't think so... but these days, perhaps it can. General consensus suggests that No Man's Sky is finally a great game... but if you replace a broom's handle, and then the head, is it still the same broom?378) I'm always pretty amazed by the twists and turns of the Tetris story. The way it took years for it to explode on the Game Boy, and become a bona-fide cultural phenomena - like it was just waiting for the right technology - is something else. 379) The biggest game ever? Interesting suggestion! I played it in VR recently, and it works pretty well, but it's oddly slow - the birds floating when you fire them, rather than having any real sense of velocity. I think it's main legacy is that it proves small games, like Fortnite, can come out of nowhere to become huge. 380) I'm pretty happy with where we're at controller-wise. I would like some real force-feedback with my VR controllers though; if I hit something with a sword, I want there to be some resistance. Somehow. 

MANA-MAH-NAH

What’s the rarest game you own? Mines probably either my boxed Secret Of Mana on SNES or PSOne Castlevania SOTN. Luke Adams

I don't really collect games, so I wouldn't say any of the ones I own are pretty rare. Obviously, I currently own some very rare pre-Mario Nintendo toys. And they're lovely. I should put them on eBay, but they're difficult to part with.

TOP OF THE POPS

WAAAAAAASSSSSAAAAAP Biffo,(You know, like that Budweiser advert from the olden days).How’s it going? Long time no write, been busy turning 40 and all that shite and playing all dem ROMs innit. I’ve mostly been playing the original Gameboy Tetris;I’d forgotten how bloody good that game actually is. It’s nearly as addictive as the ciggies! And I should know! Arf!Anyway I’ll make this a quick one, I like to do my bit for the Digi, cause by putting the word on the street and telling like minded folk on my favourite forums and sites to look at the channel and website, y’know, because I’m cool like that.On the flip side I’m gonna ‘big up’ something I’m into on this site because, y’know, sharing is caring and all that shite. I recently and totally accidentally got into a cool songwriter from The Canada called B.A. Johnston, you may or may not have heard of, he sings awesome songs about old video games, beer and ninja movies etc. With ace song titles such as ‘I Am a Robocop’ and ‘My Heart is a Blinking Nintendo’ I heartily recommend him to you and other Digi readers.Look for him on the YouTube -  I’d start with the Gremlins 3 record.​Anyway must dash, my hot Nesquik is going cold!Catch you on the flipside!Stay Rad to the MaxJames Walker

Tetris! Yes, see? It's still great. Also: I listened to that man. He's alright. 

THE EPIC

I very much enjoyed and agreed with your take on modern gaming, and a Twitter/comics friend of mine, Gareth, chimed in about Far Cry and the Blood Dragon novelty ending up being his enduring relationship with the series (despite it's many highs).And... I see where he's coming from... and agree with that. I mean, I can't look past FC3 as (basically) the best game of its genre, but he's not wrong about Blood Dragon, especially in this context. Even if though there's so much good work in FC3, one has to always remember it's basically a retread of 1 after the horrific second outing. It was also FC1 which, lest we forget, did amazing things with then hardware, no matter your spec. (it had HDR modes before people knew what HDR was).Three actually did similar, too on the hardware front, but that was the last of their games to be... democratic? Shit, that's the wrong word. Look, it was the right price, it was developed with a very specific control method, and it didn't bounce you for more dosh 6 months later (kind of). I really could go on about how much difference there is between three and four, but ... self control.Why am I saying all this? Because I'm completely with Paul. It took me a year or two (maybe three?) to fire up Far Cry 4 and I've played about an hour of 5. I didn't actually give up, I just... stopped. I ... I didn't think about it. I had Primal installed, and only recently uninstalled it without a single second of play.These are nominally AAA games. But I'm just so *done*.I absolutely won't get started on the over the shoulder third person roam-em-ups which consoles have exacerbated. Seriously, don't, I'm fucking boring.It's not just this genre, either. Driving needs another Metropolis Street Racer or Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Platformers need another, what, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario Bros 2, maybe even a Sonic (update my references in your heads, readers - if I get published!). Hell, I'm even getting a bit tired of some of the 4X strategy and RTS games that I enjoy (which include Stellaris - COUGH... Empire Interactive's STARS).Shouldn't VR be doing something? What about Nintendo, weren't they going to change mobile phone gaming? Where's the NEW to make me want to play? WTH, Whole Games Industry?This all very much could be that it is potentially because there's now just an acceptance that the game that's released is not the final version of any game that exists. Even with great games ... or even console games(?)... I mean, we've all but accepted that Civ VI won't be complete until the 3rd/4th patc... expansion. That every. single. fucking. "free" quake/UT clone (PUBFortwatch) is making gamblers or worse out of unsuspecting players.And so this all just breeds benign acceptance. We just sigh & buy. Or... er... don't take the bait... and... er... wait?Some of these games *will* be excellent (or are), but it's increasingly hard to get to where both the value proposition *and* innovation or fun are at a level pegging ((( name of my sex tape ))), and perhaps that's where the real issue is ... we're fucking getting old, innit.In short: :-(Best,Eliot

I said it the other day, but Indie games are where it's at right now for me. Also, as I've said above, I'm finally an acolyte of VR, thanks to Oculus Quest, which has very much given me that buzz of the new I'd been missing. So, well done them. What a difference it makes not feeling sick while playing games...Right. That's it. The weekend starts.... HERE.

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This Month in....1984 (Commodore 64)


1 Hunchback

2 Space Pilot

3 Manic Miner

4 The Hobbit

5 Aztec Challenge

6 Blagger

7 Jumpin Jack

8 Triad

9 Zodiac

10 Pyramid


ZX Spectrum Charts taken from Crash

Others will be added when available

This Month in....1989 (Commodore 64)


1 Robocop

2 Dragon Ninja

3 Emlyn Hughes Soccer

4 In Crowd

5 World Games

6 WEC Le Mans

7 Microprose Soccer

8 Super Cycle

9 Afterburner

10 Operation Wolf


All Charts taken from C&VG

This Month in....1994 (Megadrive)


1 FIFA International Soccer

2 PGA European Tour

3 NBA Jam

4 Sub-Terrenia

5 Sonic 3

6 Ren & Stimpy

7 Ground Zero Texas (Mega-CD)

8 Skitchin'

9 Castlevania

10 Charles Barclay: Shut Up and Jam


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)


1 XMEN: Children of the Atom

2 Virtua Cop

3 Sega Rally

4 Wipeout

5 Golden Axe: The Duel

6 F-1 Challenge

7 FIFA '96

8 Wing Arms

9 Magic Carpet

10 Victory Boxing


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

This Month in....1999 (PlayStation)



N64 & PlayStation Charts taken from C&VG

PC Charts taken from PC Zone

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Sun Jun 23 08:46:28 +0000 2019

@David_Challen I wish we had neighbours like this when I was small too

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Liked: 3
Wed Jun 19 20:56:45 +0000 2019

RT @OFalafel: The real hero of Street Fighter II was whoever sorted out all their flights and travel visas.

Retweeted: 1544
Liked: 0
Fri Jun 14 22:52:58 +0000 2019

RT @haveigotnews: Sadly, #HIGNFY isn’t on the air during the selection of a new Prime Minister. Fortunately, the dropping of court proceedi…

Retweeted: 13971
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Thu Jun 06 08:53:50 +0000 2019

@moonjam Brno +fireworks+film festival = true love — if u every come here, June is the month

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Thu Jun 06 08:47:26 +0000 2019

And after the show fireworks on Brno Lake. So in short, come to Brno - it’s brilliant here. Who knew!? (Probably lots of people but were keeping it secret) https://t.co/mxGB4miYAj

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Thu Jun 06 08:43:39 +0000 2019

It’s an immersive story, how we named the stars, ‘Arabian Nights:1001 Stars’ produced by the amazing @newangleuk

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Thu Jun 06 08:40:42 +0000 2019

Hoofing it up the hill to see ‘my’ show at Brno Fulldome Festival. Feeling on top of the world! https://t.co/bVnXC3CYu2

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Sat Jun 01 15:45:54 +0000 2019

RT @arstechnica: One of my tweets set off a cross-country electric car record attempt https://t.co/w2r0sYyY3I by @drgitlin

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Fri May 31 09:49:45 +0000 2019

At the #Manga exhibition ⁦@britishmuseum⁩ - discovering that history goes much further back than those early 90s anime on scratchy VHS I so fondly recall https://t.co/bKB1EQ5HTO

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Fri May 24 13:43:48 +0000 2019

@samhoweynunn @thoughtben @AsteAmundsen @alisonkilling what a great theme and lineup but I sadly can't come to this one. Note: on the email you just sent it says Jan not June, you might want to update, although pretty obviously a typo.

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Fri May 17 04:36:45 +0000 2019

RT @geoffwhite247: Find out what happens when you don't play ball with facial recognition tech being trialed by UK police.... https://t.co…

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Wed Apr 24 07:12:18 +0000 2019

@alomshaha The flash card computer/phone apps are good as they can be a shared activity between students. Or - last resort- YOU make them and they learn them.

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Wed Apr 24 07:10:29 +0000 2019

@alomshaha @myorangecrush I know a can’t-study teen who watched YouTube videos on 2x speed to stop attention wandering. Worked. Another can’t-study teen found flash cards help - last minute, panicked, minimal, but prob made a grade difference.

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Sat Apr 13 19:36:25 +0000 2019

RT @ZonePhysics: For those who have never seen a complete Rainbow 🌈 https://t.co/RTp307844y

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Sat Apr 13 17:07:58 +0000 2019

@britishlibrary thx for intensely satisfying #OTPc2 - my highlight of @londongamesfest - amazing speakers and hosts @miss_wisdom, @iRNY - bring on chapter 3

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