Join Mr Biffo and friends in the digitiser section

Charts 474
Violet Berlin 475



Play the Knightmare Eagle Quest adventure: To The Ice Palace of Aesandre




To be implemented



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


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 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.


To be implemented.


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/.


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...


"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


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


How Liverpool’s gym owners fought to stay open in lockdown 301

Labour leader says he ‘doesn’t want a civil war’ after Corbyn’s suspension 302

One in 100 people in England infected with Covid last week, ONS figures show 303

Rescuers search for survivors after powerful earthquake hits Turkey and Greece 304


How Liverpool’s gym owners fought to stay open in lockdown

Liverpool was the first city to go into Tier 3 lockdown in England.

As more and more regions are placed under England’s toughest restrictions, gyms are being forced to close.

But on Merseyside, gym owners resisted shutdown, determined to carry on providing a service they believe to be essential to the mental health and well being of their communities.


Labour leader says he ‘doesn’t want a civil war’ after Corbyn’s suspension

Sir Keir Starmer has said he doesn’t want a civil war in the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn was suspended for his response to a damning report into anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn claimed anti-Jewish racism had been “dramatically overstated” for political reasons by his opponents.



One in 100 people in England infected with Covid last week, ONS figures show

The scale of the rise in Covid-19 cases was laid bare today in figures from the Office for National Statistics.

They showed that one in 100 people in England was infected by the virus in the week between 17 and 23 October.

The latest daily government figures show that there were 274 deaths within 24 hours.

There have now been 45,949 officially registered deaths within 28 days of a positive test, and 1,489 patients have been admitted to hospital.


Rescuers search for survivors after powerful earthquake hits Turkey and Greece

Rescue teams are working through the night searching for survivors after a powerful earthquake hit Turkey and Greece, killing at least 14 people.

The tremor brought buildings crashing down and set off tidal waves, which slammed into coastal areas and islands.

The earthquake struck just before 3pm local time, registering a magnitude of up to 7.0 and was centred in the Aegean Sea at a depth of around ten miles.

It was felt along the coastal areas of both Turkey and Greece, with the coastal province of Izmir and the Greek island of Samos hardest hit.


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


Final Fantasy celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. What year was it released?








'You're twisting my melon man' is a line from which Happy Mondays song?


Red:Step On

Green:Kinky Afro

Yellow:Sunshine And Love

Cyan:Loose Fit



What does GIF stand for?



Green:Graphics Internet Form

Yellow:Graphics Interface Format

Cyan:Graphics Interchange Format



What colour is the spot in the middle of the Japanese flag?








Gary and Martin Kemp were in what band?


Red:Spandau Ballet

Green:Radical Posture

Yellow:Human League

Cyan:Duran Duran



Bad luck!



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



Which soft drink is commonly associated with Scotland?



Green:Cream Soda

Yellow:Dr Pepper




How many notes are there in a musical scale?








This month marks the 20th anniversay of X-Men, who played the character called Toad?


Red:Matt Mullins

Green:Richard Norton

Yellow:Scott Adkins

Cyan:Ray Park



What is the most sold flavour of Walker’s crisps?


Red:Ready Salted

Green:Salt and Vinegar

Yellow:Cheese and Onion

Cyan:Smokey Bacon



Its been 20 years since the Concorde crash of Air France flight 4590. What year did all Concorde operations end?








Which planet has the most moons?








John Leguizamo is 56 this month, but who did he play in Spwan?



Green:The Devil Malebolgia





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



White: Howell, David W L
Black: Horton, Andrew P
Date: 12/01/2019

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d6 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3 O-O 7. d3 a5 8. b3 e5 9. e3 Re8 10. Be2 Nbd7 11. Bb2 Qe7 12. O-O Nf8 13. Nd2 Ng6 14. Rae1 Bg4 15. f3 Bd7 16. f4 Bg4 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Nf3 b6 19. h3 Bd7 20. Nd2 Bc6 21. Rf2 Bb7 22. Nf1 Rad8 23. Ng3 Bc8 24. d4 exd4 25. exd4 Qe3 26. d5 Qxc3 27. Bxc3 Ne4 28. Nxe4 Rxe4 29. Bf1 Rxe1 30. Bxe1 Re8 31. Re2 Rxe2 32. Bxe2 Ne5 33. Bg3 f6 34. Kf2 Bf5 35. Ke3 Bc2 36. b4 axb4 37. axb4 Kf7 38. Kd4 Ke7 39. Bxe5 fxe5+ 40. Kxe5 h6 41. h4 Bb1 42. g3 Bc2 43. Bf1 Bg6 44. Kd4 Kd6 45. Bd3 Bf7 46. c5+ bxc5+ 47. bxc5+ Ke7 48. Ke5 Kd7 49. g4 Ke7 50. h5 Kd7 51. Bf5+ Ke7 52. Bd3 Kd7 53. Bf5+ Ke7 54. c6 Bg8 55. Bg6 Kd8 56. Bf5 Ke7 57. Bg6 Kd8 58. d6 Bc4 59. Be4 Bb3 60. Bf3 Bc4 61. Be4 Bb3 62. Bd5 Bd1 63. Be6 Bc2 64. Bd7 Bd3 65. Kd5 Bc2 66. dxc7+ Kxc7 67. Ke6 g6 68. Kf6 gxh5 69. gxh5 Kd8 70. Kg7 Ke7 71. Kxh6 Bd1 72. Kg6 Bf3 73. h6 Kf8 74. c7 Bb7 75. h7 1-0

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: Adams, Michael
Black: Harvey, Marcus R
Date: 12/01/2019

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O f5 9. Nc3 b5 10. Nf3 Qd6 11. Ne5 Nd7 12. f4 Bb7 13. Rg1 Nxe5 14. fxe5 Qb6 15. g4 Rg8 16. Qf2 fxg4 17. Bg2 O-O-O 18. Bxb7+ Kxb7 19. Rxg4 Rxg4 20. Qf3+ Qc6 21. Qxg4 f5 22. exf6 Bxf6 23. Kb1 b4 24. Ne2 e5 25. d5 Rxd5 26. Rxd5 Qxd5 27. Qxb4+ Kc6 28. Qc3+ Kb7 29. Qe1 e4 30. Ng3 Be5 31. Nxe4 1/2-1/2

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: McShane, Luke J
Black: Clarke, Brandon G I
Date: 12/01/2019

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Nd7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 a6 6. Bxd7+ Bxd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. Qd3 Rc8 9. O-O h6 10. Nd2 Qc7 11. Rd1 Bg4 12. Re1 Nf6 13. Nf1 Be7 14. Qg3 g6 15. a4 Be6 16. Ne3 Qc6 17. Qf3 Kf8 18. a5 Kg7 19. Bd2 Qd7 20. Red1 h5 21. Qe2 h4 22. f3 g5 23. Na4 Qc6 24. Nb6 Rcg8 25. c4 Nh5 26. Nbd5 Nf4 27. Qf2 Bf8 28. b3 f6 29. Ng4 Bxg4 30. fxg4 h3 31. g3 Nxd5 32. exd5 Qd7 33. Qf3 Be7 34. Be3 Rc8 35. Ra2 Bd8 36. Qe4 Rf8 37. Rf1 b5 38. axb6 Qb7 39. c5 dxc5 40. Bxg5 Qxb6 41. Raf2 Qd6 42. Rf5 Be7 43. Bh6+ 1-0

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: Pert, Nicholas
Black: Jones, Gawain C B
Date: 12/01/2019

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. Bg5 c5 6. d5 h6 7. Bh4 d6 8. e3 Bf5 9. Nd2 g5 10. Bg3 Nbd7 11. Be2 a6 12. O-O Qb6 13. e4 Bg6 14. Rb1 e6 15. a3 Rfe8 16. b4 cxb4 17. axb4 exd5 18. Nxd5 Nxd5 19. cxd5 Bxe4 20. Nc4 Qd8 21. Bd3 Bxd3 22. Qxd3 Ne5 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Nxe5 Rxe5 25. Qd4 Qe7 26. Rbc1 Re8 27. h3 Qd7 28. f4 Rf5 29. Rf2 Qe7 30. fxg5 Rxf2 31. Qxf2 hxg5 32. Kh1 Qe4 33. Qd2 Re5 34. Rd1 g4 35. Qc3 Rh5 36. Kg1 gxh3 37. Qg3+ Qg6 38. Qxg6+ fxg6 39. gxh3 Rxh3 40. Rc1 Rb3 41. Rc8+ Kf7 42. Rc7+ Kf6 43. Rxb7 Ke5 44. Ra7 Rxb4 45. Rxa6 Rf4 46. Ra5 Rd4 47. Kf2 Rxd5 48. Ra8 Kf4 49. Ra4+ Kf5 50. Ke3 g5 51. Ra8 Re5+ 52. Kf2 Kf4 53. Ra4+ Re4 54. Ra5 Rd4 55. Ke2 g4 56. Ra8 Kg3 57. Rg8 Rf4 58. Rg5 Rf6 59. Rg8 Kh3 0-1

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: Horton, Andrew P
Black: Howell, David W L
Date: 12/01/2019

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 c6 3. g3 Bg4 4. Bg2 e6 5. O-O Nf6 6. b3 Nbd7 7. Bb2 Bd6 8. d4 Qb8 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. Re1 Re8 11. e4 dxe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Rxe4 Bh5 14. Qd2 a5 15. a3 Qc7 16. Rae1 Rad8 17. Qc3 Nf6 18. R4e2 c5 19. dxc5 Bxc5 20. b4 axb4 21. axb4 Bf8 22. h3 Bxf3 23. Bxf3 b6 24. Rc1 Rc8 25. Rec2 Red8 26. c5 bxc5 27. bxc5 Nd5 28. Bxd5 Rxd5 29. c6 h5 30. h4 Rc5 31. Qe3 Rd5 32. Rd2 Qd6 33. Rxd5 Qxd5 34. Qc3 f6 35. Ba3 Rc7 36. Bxf8 Kxf8 37. Qb4+ Kf7 38. Qb6 Qd6 39. Qb5 Kg6 40. Qe2 Qd5 41. Qc2+ Kf7 42. Qc3 Kg6 43. Qc2+ Kf7 44. Qc3 Kg6 1/2-1/2

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: Harvey, Marcus R
Black: Adams, Michael
Date: 12/01/2019

1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 Nf6 3. Bb2 e6 4. e3 Bd6 5. c4 O-O 6. Qc2 c5 7. cxd5 exd5 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Nc6 10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Nd2 c5 12. Bd3 Bb7 13. O-O d4 14. e4 Ng4 15. Nf3 Qc7 16. h3 Nh2 17. Nxh2 Bxh2+ 18. Kh1 Bf4 19. Bc1 Rac8 20. Bxf4 Qxf4 21. Qc1 Qd6 22. f4 f6 23. Qc4+ Kh8 24. Rae1 Rfe8 25. Qf7 Re7 26. Qh5 Qc6 27. Rf2 Ba6 28. Qe2 Bxd3 29. Qxd3 Rce8 30. Rfe2 Qd6 31. Rf2 g6 32. Kh2 a5 33. g3 Qc6 34. Rfe2 Kg7 35. h4 h5 36. Kg1 Re6 37. Kf2 R8e7 38. Qf3 a4 39. e5 Qxf3+ 40. Kxf3 axb3 41. axb3 fxe5 42. fxe5 Rb6 43. Ke4 Rxb3 44. Kd5 Rd7+ 45. Kc6 Rbb7 46. e6 Rbc7+ 47. Kb5 Rd8 48. e7 Rb8+ 49. Kc4 Re8 50. Re4 Kf7 51. Rf1+ Kg7 52. Rfe1 Kf7 1/2-1/2

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/


White: Clarke, Brandon G I
Black: McShane, Luke J
Date: 12/01/2019

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 O-O 6. Bg5 Be7 7. O-O d6 8. Nbd2 Ng4 9. Bxe7 Nxe7 10. d4 Ng6 11. Re1 Qe7 12. Nf1 Nh4 13. Ng3 Nxf3+ 14. Qxf3 Qf6 15. Qxf6 Nxf6 16. Bc4 Re8 17. f3 Be6 18. Bxe6 Rxe6 19. d5 Ree8 20. c4 a5 21. Ne2 Kf8 22. Nc3 Ke7 23. b3 c6 24. Red1 Nd7 25. Kf2 g6 26. Ke3 h5 27. Rd2 c5 28. g3 h4 29. g4 g5 30. Kd3 Ra6 31. Nb5 Rc8 32. a3 Kd8 33. Rda2 Rca8 34. Kc3 Kc8 35. Rb1 Kd8 36. a4 1/2-1/2

Results from: https://www.londonchessclassic.com/

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.


REVIEW: MARVEL'S AVENGERS (PS4 version tested) ----- 472

----- 473

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

Violet Berlin ----- 475



Have you seen these comedy dinner shows they do? Basically, it's a sort of chicken-in-a-basket night, where actors flail around the diners pretending to be characters from classic sitcoms; Fawlty Towers, Only Fools And Horses, 'Allo 'Allo, and - Thor help us - Mrs Brown's Boys.

Familiar costumes and catchphrases appear in lieu of anything approaching actual creativity, the actors looking slightly off, but not so off as to be completely jarring - so long as you squint. It's warm and familiar, and audiences laugh out of recognition, because some people are sufficiently stupid for that to be enough. 

Anyway, that's what Marvel's Avengers kind of reminded me of. It's Marvel's Avengers: The Comedy Dinner Show. 

"Don't mention The Infinity War! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it."


Except here you have to pay extra if you want Iron Man to do that bit where he falls through the bar.


Marvel's Avengers is a game of two halves, and both of them made my fingers stink.

The first half is a single-player campaign, in which neophyte fangirl superhero Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel - possessed of the ability to distend parts of her body revoltingly - becomes a catalyst for the reformation of The Avengers.

Barring a fun little prelude in which Kamala wanders around an Avengers fan convention - a display of  obnoxious commercialism that is presented without even a dab of irony or self-awareness - the bulk of Marvel's Avengers is set five years after a disaster apparently killed Captain America, and reduced the iconic heroes to tramps/fugitives.

Ms Marvel embraces her Avengers fandom, and starts digging into the mystery of what happened - which ultimately leads to the band getting back together, and operating out of a downed SHIELD helicarrier, somewhere in Utah. 

Khan serves as a nice introduction to the world of Marvel's Avengers, as well as being an engaging and sort of adorable character in her own right. Perhaps because hasn't yet appeared on the big screen, and therefore can't be compared to a live-action equivalent, she's one of the more successful choices they've made. Contrary to much of the marketing, this is very much her game.

Plus, hats off to them for not offering up yet another take on the whole Thanos/Infinity Stones storyline. What a shame, though, that the story they have gone for is simply there to prop up a tedious grinder/looter.

In practice, you find yourself travelling the globe, fighting robots - and occasionally a bona-fide supervillain - gradually adding to your roster of characters, and selecting from them before launching into missions.

Those missions? They take a long time to arrive. The first god-knows-how-many hours of Marvel's Avengers are one big tutorial. It takes a long time for the game to really get going. Once it does, it's... well, it's almost okay, sort of. But even though there's a lot of single-player campaign here, it nevertheless feels like a bot-assisted warm-up for the multiplayer Avengers Initiative, an exercise in familiarising you with the relative strengths and weaknesses of the characters. 

The locations and enemies are repetitive - one A.I.M. base doesn't so much look like the others as have exactly the same layout. Your enjoyment will hinge upon your capacity for doing the same thing over and over again, and whether you're able to ignore the nagging feeling that a different sort of game would've better benefitted these particular characters. 

Weirdly, there's no option to play the campaign co-operatively, which means if you want to play with your special friends, the Avengers Initiative is your only recourse. 


The Marvel's Avengers multiplayer attempts to Do A Destiny/Anthem, but with superheroes. What this means is mission after mission after mission of much the same thing, and tolerance for that sort of thing varies from person to person. Sometimes you'll be defending a location or something, but it all pretty much equates to the same ceaseless combat. 

It's a fairly uninspired grinder, and the reward for your patience is loot, which will upgrade your characters - briefly - until the next mission, wherein you pile into another wave of enemies, and find yet another new ribcage for Hulk (no... I've no idea either).

And then, for the umpteenth time, navigate the slightly confusing menu system in order to implement that loot. Daily and Weekly challenges are starting to roll out, and they've promised a ton of free content - including new characters (hello there, PS4-exclusive Spider-Man), but... what might be most alarming to many players are the microtransactions.

Each character starts off looking like a dead-eyed, background actor, version of their movie counterparts, in shop-bought cosplay, and if you want to get them looking more familiar, you will likely need to purchase - with actual money - cosmetic upgrades. In addition to costumes, you can buy whimsical emotes, which is, y'know, fine... but still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. 

Yes: in this age when microtransactions have been deemed worse than spitting at a parson's car, Marvel's Avengers embraces them without any degree of shame. Can you get through the game without them? Well, yeah. You can. Credits can be earned to spend on stuff, and - thankfully - powering up your characters is done through the gameplay grind.

If you have the willpower, you can ignore the microtransactions entirely. What's harder to ignore, is how bland Marvel's Avengers is. How lacking in its own identity. How wrong the level designs feel. How ill-judged its entire structure is.

And, most significantly, how it suffers from game-breaking bugs, and a rubbish camera.


How badly busted is Marvel's Avengers? Get a load of this:

Early on, I had to guard a "node", while J.A.R.V.I.S. hacked into it or something, and waves of enemies teleported in. The first half a dozen or so times I attempted this, I got within a few percentage points of securing the "node" before failing. I couldn't understand why I kept failing - I hadn't died or anything - and then on a subsequent attempt I noticed that the enemies also had a percentage bar... and when theirs reached 100% before mine, I would fail.

Now that I knew this, I assumed I thought I could plan accordingly, except... in practice it meant that my strategy was exactly the same, because in every encounter of Marvel's Avengers you're only ever really expected to do one thing, and that thing is smash wave after wave of enemy robots. Except somehow, now that I'd noticed the enemy percentage bar, on every single subsequent attempt - bar the final one where I somehow succeed (but only after walking away from the game repeatedly, while swearing and kicking things) - the enemy percentage bar would fill up rapidly 

Sometimes it seemed to fill up even before the enemies had teleported in. Was this a bug? Some arbitrary objective I wasn't aware of? I didn't know what was going on, and I still don't know what I did differently on that final attempt.

Marvel's Avengers is full of broken stuff like this. Elements that I'm not sure are an issue of unclear design, or sheer brokenness.

My first go using the world map, I spent 10 minutes scouring the globe for the mission start icon - which was supposedly on some tundra, and marked with an "A", but couldn't find it. I switched off the game (because, of course, I couldn't even quit out of the world map). When I went back, the icon had  magically appeared, and I was able to start the mission.

Frequently, my characters would get stuck in ranged attack mode, which - in the case of Hulk - meant he would just manically rip stuff out of the ground. Not entirely out of character admittedly, but when you're being punched in the stomach by a robot, and your avatar's only response is to lob rocks at the horizon, it's an issue. 

So, whichever way you look at it... it's broken, and that's before you get into the stuff which is, unquestionably an issue of design.


The characters, in isolation, all feel like their movie/comic counterparts. Their abilities, their move sets, even how they get around, are all faithful, though the outcome of their different attacks are largely the same.  

The problems arise when you put them together. Essentially, Black Widow - a character who, in the real world, would be able to kick anyone up the anus - is supposed to be feeble next to The Hulk. However, for the game to feel balanced, they're essentially as powerful as one another. A Hulk smash deals more or less as much damage as a Black Widow slap. Admittedly, the variety of moves between characters is great, but in the midst of battle - and again, the battles are all largely the same - there's not a great deal between them. 

Instead of structuring the single-player game to capitalise on the merits of the characters - say, giving stealth missions to Black Widow, and full-frontal assaults against enemy tanks to The Hulk - the nature of the genre they've gone for means they all need to be balanced out.

Add to this the mission arenas - big, open plan - lacking any focus, barring platformer-ish sections where you're getting from one place to another, and the nature of every mission being, basically, a chaotic brawl, results in so much of its potential becoming muddied.

That's the biggest issue with Marvel's Avengers: for a game featuring some of the most iconic characters ever created, it lacks a character of its own. It borrows from so many other games, without any real attempt to think about how best to serve these characters. Any one of them - especially Kamala Khan - would shine on their own, but by choosing to lump them all together in the way that they have, using this format of game, Marvel's Avengers feels completely wrong-headed.

It exists as a sort of halfway point between the comics and the movies, and on a couple of occasions a cutscene might even manage to capture the spirit of them. Unfortunately, whereas the recent Spider-Man and the Arkham games very much established their own tone and aesthetic, and worked hard to make you really feel like the character you were playing, Marvel's Avengers doesn't do that beyond the most basic efforts. It just wants to remind you of other things. Many other things. All bundled together and stuffed inside a box that used to contain something else.

Which has then been dropped down the stairs. 

​SCORE: 616 out of 1218



This Month in....1985 (ZX Spectrum)

1 Shadowfire

2 Hypersports

3 Spy Hunter

4 Alien 8

5 Dun Darach

6 Match Day

7 Knight Lore

8 Frank Bruno's Boxing

9 Spy Vs Spy

10 Nodes of Yesod

ZX Spectrum Charts taken from Crash

Others will be added when available

This Month in....1990 (Commodore 64)

1 Pro Boxing

2 Paperboy

3 Shadow Warriors

4 Match Day 2

5 Fantasy Dizzy

6 Last Ninja

7 Yogi's Great Escape

8 Quattro Sports

9 Turrican

10 Big Trouble in Little China

All Charts taken from C&VG

This Month in....1995 (Megadrive)

1 PGA Tour Golf 3

2 Theme Park

3 Rugby World Cup

4 Brian Lara

5 FIFA Soccer '95

Sega Charts taken from C&VG

Nintendo Charts taken from C&VG

Amiga Charts taken from Amiga Format or C&VG

This Month in....1997 (Saturn)

1 Sonic Jam

2 King of Fighters '95

3 Tomb Raider

4 Shining the Holy Ark

5 Pandemonium

6 Fighters MegaMix

7 Die Hard Trilogy

8 Virtua Cop 2

9 Die Hard Arcade

10 Independence Day

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

This Month in....2000 (PC)

1 F1 Grand Prix 3

2 Championship Manager: 99/00

3 Diablo II

4 Icewind Dale

5 Shogun: Total War

6 Quake 3: Arena

7 Unreal Tournament

8 Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption

9 Driver

10 Pharaoh

N64 & PlayStation Charts taken from C&VG

PC Charts taken from PC Zone


Wed Oct 28 12:22:38 +0000 2020

RT @GarethJonesTV: I’m back on your telly with @SteffanPowell & @JonesPeri this Saturday. Gwylio Sêr Y Nos. (Watching The Night Stars) A We…

Retweeted: 11
Liked: 0
Fri Oct 23 20:55:03 +0000 2020

Brilliant. Immersive. Social. I wouldn't be your friend if I kept quiet about this (and their other one, Plymouth Point). Do it. https://t.co/AMAOHAJGZJ

Retweeted: 1
Liked: 3
Fri Oct 23 20:49:43 +0000 2020

@NerdPirates @swampmotel I loved this too! Just done the sequel and it's also amazing. Blimey. shockingly good.

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 2
Sat Oct 17 10:01:51 +0000 2020


Retweeted: 0
Liked: 13
Sun Oct 04 14:34:09 +0000 2020

@NerdPirates Right back at yous x2

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 2
Thu Oct 01 18:58:18 +0000 2020

RT @EghamMuseum: You are Flora Seville. The year is 1887 and you are one of the first 28 students to enter the wondrous new institution, @R…

Retweeted: 508
Liked: 0
Fri Sep 18 09:55:34 +0000 2020

The winning photo "...highlights the different materials the Moon is made up" WHAT!? I thought it was only made of ONE type of cheese! https://t.co/brbTLU1Oib

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 1
Fri Sep 18 09:51:14 +0000 2020

Whenever I look up at the full Moon I always seek out the bicycle-spoke shadow of the Tycho crater. So this image took my breath away. #AstroPhoto2020 https://t.co/hrFBPmvOns

Retweeted: 2
Liked: 12
Sun Sep 06 10:34:17 +0000 2020

Hooray for #mudlarking on a Sunday in September. https://t.co/3P2OAuiMAh

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 12
Sun Aug 30 15:47:03 +0000 2020

I was thrilled to be involved with the v.early stages of this choose-your-own true story and am well impressed by how it's turned out. Have a go (it's free) - choose your path, but choose wisely. https://t.co/JPYRQW7g8E

Retweeted: 2
Liked: 10
Thu Aug 27 06:44:36 +0000 2020

RT @ThePitLDN: #PitNews Ahead of what would have been carnival season, London artist @tycho_jones releases fire new record ‘Carni’, embra…

Retweeted: 3
Liked: 0
Mon Aug 17 11:32:05 +0000 2020

Missing Notting Hill Carnival 2020? Revive the spirit, with new music - #Carni by Tycho Jones. "We're going to Carni, it's carnage but we're fine, sip your wine G ..." #bestmusic #musicwriter #igmusic #newmusic #musicindustry #songwriter #Carnival https://t.co/DT3nnuVkut

Retweeted: 1
Liked: 5
Thu Jul 30 08:13:09 +0000 2020

Incidentally I read somewhere once that the @britishlibrary book retrieval system was inspired by the Argos in-store conveyor system. No idea if it's true, but like to think it might be.

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 4
Thu Jul 30 08:10:06 +0000 2020

A bit sad at the passing of the #Argos bible, but happy for the @britishlibrary collection https://t.co/8vHUaYemwn

Retweeted: 1
Liked: 5
Sun Jul 26 15:46:04 +0000 2020

@AnnaMansiBFI @coaching_ptp 😊 🙏

Retweeted: 0
Liked: 1

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