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DIGITISER

470

Join Mr Biffo and friends in the digitiser section

Charts 474
Violet Berlin 475

KNIGHTMARE

458

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

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

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Red:1985


Green:1986


Yellow:1987


Cyan:1988


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

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Red:Step On


Green:Kinky Afro


Yellow:Sunshine And Love


Cyan:Loose Fit


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What does GIF stand for?

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Red:Giffy


Green:Graphics Internet Form


Yellow:Graphics Interface Format


Cyan:Graphics Interchange Format


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

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Red:Black


Green:Red


Yellow:Orange


Cyan:Yellow


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Gary and Martin Kemp were in what band?

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Red:Spandau Ballet


Green:Radical Posture


Yellow:Human League


Cyan:Duran Duran

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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 soft drink is commonly associated with Scotland?

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Red:Coca-Cola


Green:Cream Soda


Yellow:Dr Pepper


Cyan:Irn-Bru


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How many notes are there in a musical scale?

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Red:7


Green:8


Yellow:6


Cyan:5


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

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Red:Matt Mullins


Green:Richard Norton


Yellow:Scott Adkins


Cyan:Ray Park


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

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Red:Ready Salted


Green:Salt and Vinegar


Yellow:Cheese and Onion


Cyan:Smokey Bacon


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

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Red:2004


Green:2003


Yellow:2002


Cyan:2001


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Which planet has the most moons?

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Red:Jupiter


Green:Saturn


Yellow:Neptune


Cyan:Mars


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

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Red:Clown/Violator


Green:The Devil Malebolgia


Yellow:Spawn


Cyan:Cogliostro


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

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BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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/

BRITISH KNOCKOUT


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: GHOST OF TSUSHIMA (PS4) ----- 471

THE DIGITISER FRIDAY lockdown PAGE ----- 472

THE DIGITISER FRIDAY LETTERS PAGE ----- 473

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

Violet Berlin ----- 475

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Ghost of Tsushima is the PS4's last big honk, its final big platform exclusive, discharging into our laps a month or so after the penultimate big platform exclusive, The Last of Us Part 2.To say I enjoyed TLoU2 would be an understatement. It would also be inaccurate. I mean, it's the most miserable video game ever made. I don't think anybody could actually enjoy that amount of relentless anguish and anxiety. It was like being strapped into a gnarly chair, with your eyes forced open by a couple of uncomfortable metal hooks, while Twitter scrolls in front of you on a big screen. Also: the room is full of hungry rats. And you're not wearing shoes or trousers. It probably didn't help that I binged it in three days, by the end of which I emerged bow-legged from its unrelenting emotional pounding. That isn't a criticism; it just shows you how effective The Last of Us 2 was at making me feel stuff. In my view, there's no doubt it's one of the greatest video games ever made, its lustre dimmed only by the radicalism of bigots.  While I accept it may have driven its development team to near collapse, it doesn't so much raise the bar for the right way to achieve video game storytelling and characterisation as strap it to a rocket it and fire it into the moon. Tsushima, therefore, had a tough act to follow. Regardless, there's no bar-raising here; they keep it firmly on the ground, surrounded by all the predictable comforts we've grown accustomed to. For a game so full of horses, it is perhaps understandable that it did so little to scare them.  Whereas TLoU2 had a story that could never be easily summarised in a single sentence, Tsushima can be encapsulated thus: a samurai man does some things, because the Mongols have invaded the pretty island where he lives. Wait. Two sentences: sometimes he gets a new hat!And you sometimes see his bare bum. Three sentences, then. 

A MAN WHO DOES THINGS

As you'd want from a game in which you play a samurai man doing some things, the combat in Ghost of Tshushima is its strongest element.Though it starts out pretty basic, as you progress your character gains abilities that border the supernatural, acquiring 'stances' that you can switch between mid-battle, and which give you an advantage over certain enemy types. Pretty swiftly, your character reaches a point where he's virtually indestructible. I think I probably died three, maybe four, times throughout the entire game. Who needs challenge when you've got a really big map?Naturally, there are assorted weapon types, which won't raise too many eyebrows; aside from swords and daggers, you get bows, smoke bombs, and grenade-like things. Including one of my personal video game bugbears; sticky bombs. Now, let's get this clear; sticky bombs were a form of demolition ordinance developed during WW2. They didn't exist before that point. Indeed, they weren't even widely distributed during the war, as they were considered unreliable; something which the classic BBC sitcom Dad's Army made a virtue of in that episode where Lance Corporal Jones gets one stuck to a dustbin lid he's holding.I think most of us first heard of the sticky bomb in Saving Private Ryan, when Tom Hanks' character improvises some during the climactic battle scene. Almost immediately, they became as ubiquitous in video games as health packs. In short: they certainly didn't exist in feudal Japan, and they certainly have never been thrown at enemies mid-melee. But... Ghost of Tsushima, for all the reaching it does to provide an experience that somehow transcends video games, can't escape what it is. If video games were a sticky bomb, it's stuck to Ghost of Tsushima's face, and no amount of running around in circles, shrieking out haikus, can shift it. I mean, the inclusion of fast travel isn't exactly breaking the mould.

DIFFERENT STROKES?

While it tries so hard to be different, Ghost of Tsushima's structure is as predictable as modern games get. For all its developers claim that they eschewed the worst tropes of open world design, all they've really done is disguise them slightly. ​The map unfurls gradually, revealing story missions, side missions, and various secondary objectives that allow you to upgrade your character. Some of these upgrades are cosmetic - complete this mission, and you can get some funky red trousers - while others will reward you with new weaponry, or skill points. There are enemy bases to liberate, and a sprinkling of light detective work, but rarely does it stretch beyond the usual go-here/kill-these-people formula that we're all accustomed to.What it tries to do to set it apart from all the other open world map-mopping out there is its wholesale embracing of 13th Century Japan. How much of it is accurate, and how much of it is trying to evoke what we imagine it to have been like, I cannot say. But expect plenty of shrines, healing hot springs, petting of foxes, haikus, and a whole lot of talk about honour. Which swiftly gets dropped once the main character realises that some objectives can only be completed using stealth. Somewhere in there, it's trying to connect your character to nature; instead of a GTA-style GPS, you summon gusts of wind to direct you to your mission waypoint. This, like much in the game, is just window dressing; it's a re-skin of game mechanics we've seen countless times before.  It's a shame, because one of the most interesting elements of Tsushima early on is how it seemed to be going against gaming's tedency towards stealth missions, by having your character stride into enemy bases, and issuing a challenge. This remains an element throughout - providing you've not been seen, you can call out a group of enemies, which results in a sort of one-on-one, face-off mini game, where you need to time the unsheathing of your katana. Unfortunately, some missions demand you do the stealth thing, lest Mongol captors start slaughtering the prisoners you're trying to rescue. More often than not, it's just easier and quicker to burst into an enemy camp and start slaughtering Mongols, rather than faff around distracting them with wind chimes and firecrackers. DISCREPANCYThis discrepancy is what I found most frustrating about Tsushima; how it sort of wants to be something other, embracing a slower pace, but snaps back to predictable gaming tropes before it ever gets a chance to really explore territory that is legitimately different and new. As if they went so far down a certain path, and then bottled it. They even seem to have tried to balance out the measured rhythms elsewhere, by making your character's movements almost superhumanly fast. Unlike, say, Far Cry, when you really feel it when you pick flowers or strip bamboo, or skin a dog, here it happens instantly. There's none of Red Dead's weighty grounding in reality, which allows the player to really embed themselves in that world; your character glides through Tsushima like Pac-Man. It hurries along, until you smash face-first into one of its many cutscenes. This weird discrepancy, this mix of good and bad, extends to the visuals too. Given all the pre-release hype about what a beautiful game it is, I found myself disappointed by the graphics early on. They seemed to be trying too hard to look lush, but often the sparse, clean, scenery felt painfully last-gen, and same-y. Once it gets into the second act, though, things really picked up, and I started to see what everyone was talking about; it is a beautiful game, no question. Plus, its setting gives it a unique atmosphere. Yes, we're back in forests and climbing up mountains, but often those are bamboo forests, and the mountains look like ukiyo-e paintings.What continued to be an issue for me was the animation; once characters are in motion it looks great. Riding across a field of flowers is never less than gorgeous, but the transition from one animation state to another can be jarring and clunky. NPCs all run the same, they turn like robots, and the issue is compounded by the way every character pretty much has the same move cycle.The cut-scenes - of which I'll say more shortly - veered between spot-on Kurosawa pastiches (you can even play the game in black and white, for added authenticity), and bland talking heads. For me, though, where Tsushima almost crumbles entirely, is its narrative. God, it's boring.

ANCIENT JAPAN

The way Ghost of Tsushima tells its story feels very old-fashioned. And not even old-fashioned in a good way, like harkening back to some halcyon period. More like it's harkening back to stuff that we've been growing tired of for some time. It's not so much yearning for Spangles, as sighing because Michael McIntyre's on the telly again. Released in the wake of The Last of Us Part 2, Tsushima's bland, petri dish-deep, characters, stand out as little more than ciphers. Nobody feels real, nobody has the sort of human concerns most of us can relate to. I think - but can't be sure - that they were trying to tell a story about stories, legends... but that's less interesting than exploring the reality behind those legend. Your main character, Jin Sakai, is an empty vessel into whom we can pour our fantasy of becoming a legendary samurai. Or at least, that's the intention, I think. Aren't we all a bit more clued-up these days? We know our heroes, our legends, are as flawed as the rest of us.If we'd been afford the opportunity of playing as the real Jin Sakai, the man behind the myth, rather than the myth itself - somebody trying to live up to his legend - I might've felt it easier to relate and engage with the game's narrative. Regrettably, here's no attempt to humanise this stoic, revenge-driven, man. He has all the layers of a single sheet of A4. I mean, none of this would be a problem were Tsushima able to accept what it is; an action video game. We never needed Q*Bert's inner struggle. We accepted Mario's simplistic goals. But that's because those games knew what they were, and left us to create our own adventures.Unfortunately, in Tsushima, the cut-scenes are piled on thick, and you can't skip them. They force you to watch the story rather than interact with it. Worse still, most of the non-interactive moments are also completely unnecessary.Example: you'll travel to a mission start point to speak to a character. You'll get an interminably dull cut-scene, that lasts a good 20 seconds too long, and then he'll ask you to follow him. Good. Back into the game. Except: you and he walk somewhere 10 feet away, and you get another cut-scene that drags on. Then some more walking. Then another cut-scene. Walking. New character. Cut-scene. Walking. Now go somewhere else; get on horse. Oh, you've bumped into a group of Mongols holding a prisoner. Rescue prisoner by slaughtering Mongols. Talk to prisoner. New cut-scene. Given the sheer number of them, I'd wager that 75% of the cut-scenes in Tsushima are extraneous. They're not even interesting. They don't reveal anything about character; it's usually about the mission. It's just bad writing, and worse storytelling. They slow the pace to a crawl. That'd be fine, but as I said before... they seem to have then overcompensated with Jin's spritely movements. It actually felt more like they're always hurrying you towards the next cut-scene, so they can show off their watery screenwriting skills. 

BE INTERESTING

If games are to force a story upon us, that story needs to engage us. We need characters we care about.Arguably, The Last of Us 2 might go too far in the other direction - piling on backstory upon backstory, heaping misery upon its protagonists (and antagonists) - but at least I cared about all of it. For all its side missions, Tsushima is a far more linear experience, purely for its A-B character journey. There's a bit of a late-stage twist, but it doesn't really feel earned. Despite spending hours exploring a vast, Japanese, island, I didn't feel like I'd been on any sort of journey.​I've always argued that if you're going to tell a story in a video game, make sure it's a story that can only be told in a video game. Some of my favourite moments in The Last of Us 2 are where characters are simply talking, but... in those moments I've often got control over a character. I'm interacting with the world. I'm invested in who they are. I know no moment will be wasted. It treats cut-scenes as story beats, not mission briefings. Characters are motivated by deeper concerns, driven by emotion, not externally-imposed game rules. Because Ghost of Tsushima fails to do any of this, because it can't rationalise its need to be a video game, with its creators' desire to tell a story, it feels achingly out of step. It might be the last big PS4 exclusive of this generation, but it already feels like it belongs in the past.​Still, at least you get to see his bare bum.​SCORE: 1274 out of 2020

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A massive thank you to everyone who has backed me on Patreon in the last couple of days. With everything going on, I hadn't expected that at all, but having received the news that one of the kids' shows I was working on has now shut down... it is really going to help get me through the next few months, and I'll keep the backer exclusives coming.Some of you have asked if I have a Ko-Fi account. I didn't... but I do now!If you want to buy me a coffee or three (though let's face it, the money will probably go on barbed wire, animal skulls and spiked shoulder pads), you can do so here: BUY MR BIFFO A KO-FI THAT HE CAN SPEND ON BULK-BUYING TOILET PAPER.

You might've noticed I've been upping my creative output a bit over the past week on Twitter and our Instagram page (generally run by Sanja). We've an new IGTV series on there which we're calling Mr Biffo's Found Footage, which isolates the cutaways from the Digitiser Deluxe eps. There might even be some extra little bits that don't fit onto YouTube.Please follow and share them if you can. And likewise, please share the stuff from the YouTube channel to anyone who might need a chuckle in this era of isolation. We've plenty more coming your way in the weeks and months to come.Stay safe out there, stay indoors as much as you can, and don't go mental in the supermarket.We'll try to keep up with regular Friday Letters Pages for the duration of this nonsense, so keep sending your emails to this place here: digitiser2000@gmail.com

BEANUS CART

I hope you enjoy this little Beanus cartridge I created.​You might get a bit of a kick out of it... or think it's a total piece of toss! Either way here it is!Thank you for all the laughs and cheering me up whilst depression tries to sausage ram me from behind. Many Thanks! 

Connor

I'm very sorry to hear about the depression sausage. And thank you for the excellent pixel art. Beanus will return to us in this time of dire need very soon... He's been self-isolating in his Beanvault since Christmas.

JC PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?

Hello!I very very much enjoyed the death quiz. Are there plans for more Digi Deluxe filming seshes in future? Are there plans to have Chris JC back on in future? Both are very lovely things :)Hope you've had a lovely week!Chai

I know you sent this a few weeks ago - sorry, Chai, haven't had time to do a letters page - but with world events moving so fast... it's probably unlikely we're going to be able to do any filming outside of home for at least a little while.But...! Yeah, of course - we're definitely going to do more Digi Deluxes as soon as we're able. Even though we get loads of moans about the lighting, and I had some sound issues. It was an experiment really, but we ended up filming more than we'd expected, so it became its own little series.In the short term, we'll hopefully be back in front of The Blue Wall soon, but the types of videos we'll be doing will be influenced by what we learned doing the Deluxe eps. I like them having more structure, because it lets me dick around with it in the edit - hence all the Found Footage-y reveal-o-inserts that are appearing in them. Plus, as some people will have noticed, a few classic Digi-era characters are now popping up (Doctor Derek Doctors this week... another old favourite next week).Also, Sanja and I will, beginning hopefully today or over the weekend, sit down and record some rough-and-ready isolation vlogs for you. Oddly, Marillion put out a message to their fans yesterday, and I found it strangely comforting. So, hoping to kind of be there for the Digi massive through all this,Also, also: thanks for liking the Death Quiz. That's been the least popular of the Digi Deluxe eps, even though it took aaaages to do that animated bit. And I'm sure Chris JC will be back, because we all love him. 

PANEL BEATER

I'm currently assembling the retro gamers developers panel for Chunky Fringe. At the moment, my possible guest list is all guys. Not that it really matters, but I'd hate to exclude anyone from the Digi community who would love to share their experience or relive their trauma.So, would all such persons kindly get in touch soon, via the email address on the Chunky Fringe page. We did consider asking Brenda Romero, but then we would have to explain the whole turts/scalping incident from Block Party 2016.David W

Another letter that has now been overtaken by events - Chunky Fringe, as with Digitiser Live, will be postponed until we can find a new date with the Arts Centre. But if you are a not-a-guy, please drop us or David a line, so he can potentially include you as and when Chunky Fringe happens.But wait - there's another letter from David a bit further down! 

TASTELESS JOKES

Having been involved in comedy writing for many years, have you ever written or performed a joke that went out that you subsequently regretted, either that you'd gone too far, been unjustifiably offensive or felt uneasy afterwards? If so, how did this inform your writing as you progressed in your career. No need to detail the specific example, it's the process I find most interesting.In your time as a writer, what is the best idea for a TV programme/film, that you saw, that wasn't picked up? Is it something that you feel you could have worked with?John Whyte

Yeah, it does happen. It's kind of part and parcel of the free association that comes with looking for the funny. Even in kids TV, the writers rooms can occasionally get quite dark and tasteless...I've got a pretty well-attuned radar for stuff these days, though, because I am a #GoodBoy. Back in Digi's Teletext era, I know there were things we wrote that I'd be uncomfortable putting my name to now. Fortunately, we generally erred on the side of weird, rather than edgy.​I actually got quite embarrassed by something I blurted out when we were filming the Death Quiz episode of Digi Deluxe. It was a combination of two words that very much could've been construed as homophobic - wasn't intended that way at all, and I immediately screeched "NO!", and obviously edited it out of the ep - but I was still embarrassed.Oh, and I gave a disastrous best man's speech years ago, which turned into a nightmare. I'd put together a Powerpoint presentation of photos of my mate in seemingly compromising positions. ​Unfortunately, he'd bigged up my speech to land me in it, and as I got up to deliver it, I leant on my laptop and it started shutting down. It took what felt like a week to reboot, during which time I said something that went down like a lead balloon, and the reaction made me realise that I'd misjudged the entirety of the rest of the speech. I had to hurry through it, editing it on the fly. I woke up at about 2am that night having anxiety-induced flashbacks. It was horrible.  

THE LONE REARRANGER

"Our show isn't happening until the end of July, so for now we're working on the basis that it's going ahead. I know many of you have booked hotels, train, and - in some cases - plane tickets, so we won't reschedule unless we absolutely have to. We all obviously have to remain flexible as the situation evolves, and follow any government guidelines as and when they might arise."That's all fine. We respect your decisions, as a God of Gaming, and kowtow to your demands. Will there be free sandwiches at the event/rearranged event? I feel it should involve sandwiches and/or digestive biscuits in some manner. If not that, then just have a bucket of gin at the entrance we can all scoop our hands into. I used to work at Wetherspoons (in 2008) and know all about health, hygiene, and drunken individuals pelting champagne bottles at me. So this is a sound event strategy. Best regards, Mr. Morris

Free sandwiches!?? FREE?!? No, but as and when it happens I'll be lobbing fistfuls of baked beans into the audience.

FAT SAL

How about having Paul do the voice of Fat Sow but he does an impression of Eli?Cheers,Jordan

That's not actually a bad idea... though whenever he's doing his Eli impression he's basically just being the voice of Fat Sow.

SANDWICH OF DOOM

So with Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, Doom 64, Doom 3, Doom (2016) and now Doom Eternal available my question is this, what are your favourite biscuits?Ginger Nuts

I'm not big into biscuits, and never have been. I've spoken before about my love of the now unavailable Banoffeepops. I also quite like a Garibaldi and a fig roll. Not too many though, unless you wish for loose "stools".

OVERACHIEVER

A few years back I got all the Steam Achievements on Half Life 2 (about 10 years after it came out) and do you think humanity is shutting down now because basically everything's been done?It's a thought.McCow 

They should try turning it off and on again.

THE HOARD

In these uncertain times we could simply scream in despair or perhaps hoard food that will go off in three days, while sitting huddled close to a loving family member in your makeshift bomb shelter.I personally prefer to think positively by reminding myself that I'm not Noel Edmonds. Yours,Lee McCormick

Why are people buying fresh fruit and veg in such quantities?! Are they going to use lettuce leaves as toilet paper, or something? 

WOMBLING NOT FREE BUT IN ISOLATION

Dearest Humans,These are troubling times. I had a dream Orinocho from the Wombles was eating a grapefruit and Emu was eating a kiwi whilst Rod Hull looked on bored.I used to have dreams about the Krankies as well when I was younger, usually being chased by Ian, little Jimmy looking on.I never understood people who thought Dooby Duck was scary. I'd really like to watch some episodes of that right now.I'm worried about the next few days and weeks and I know it is OK to worry. this is something new and new is scary. People should also know that support is out there and I know its tough to access it especially for the first time. But people want to help, talk and connect and I want more people to dream about Emu eating a kiwi fruit.Let's have hope and rely on that one thing. A hatred of Amiga owners.Love and strength,Steph is real tired of this x

Given what we know about the Krankies' private lives - by their own admission - I think your dream scenario might well have played out in real life on more than one occasion. But anyhow... yeah, it's okay to be worried. You can't just switch off your feelings, and if ever there was a time to be anxious... this is kind of it. It's usually best to feel them, acknowledge them, but try to also see them as a kind of outside observer. That's my technique anyway.

TEDDY BOY

I don't know.I wrote a huge long piece all about the magical teddy picker that allocates which souls are to enter newborn babies. Then how a cat, who had finally reached self awareness at age 21, and shortly afterwards died of a broken heart as it realised it couldn't enact anything due to being unable to effectively communicate, lodged a complaint to run the teddy picker since God was species-ist.There was a tribunal where God argued he didn't have to answer to anybody as he had the keys to the teddy picker and wasn't going to change the rules to suit the situation. Since nobody could judge him, life carried on as normal with all its flaws and foibles.It essentially ended up with a simple message from the wide-eyed cat. Live life with love, and don't sh*t in flower beds!There then followed a 1980s He-man-esque hands on hips laughing session, before an arrogant human leans forward and with 3 frames of repeated mouth animation suggests: "You mean leave the planet a better place than when you found it..."The cat shrugged and huffs "My words were better!"BTW, HM government should provide a kitchen door sized lockdown calendar. Like an advent calendar, but each door is made of enough T-paper to achieve a clean sheen. Behind each door is something like hand gel, valium, prophylactic, next month's rent... These are strange times, but stick to good humanity. Help others, be strong, and when we emerge out of the other side, we'll hopefully be in a better place as a species, having had a stark reminder of our biology and our good and bad nature.Hard times forge strong people and all that.Take care Paul and all.Dave Graves

I had to look up what a 'teddy picker' was. It's a claw machine, yes? And that was the edited version of your huge long piece, yes? I think I speak for us all when I say we get the general idea.Anyway. Yeah, thanks, Dave. We'll get through this. Though I'm not sure how reassured I feel about it coming from somebody with the name "Dave Graves"...

ACTION FIGURES

Dear Mr Biffophant,If you could choose six characters from the Digi / Found Footage universe to make in to classic 3.75 inch action figures which would you choose and what accessories would they come with? Love and socially distanced kissy kissy,Treacle Truffle

SIX characters!??! Why so many? The Man's Daddy is the obvious one. Goujon John (with goujon accessories), Fat Sow, Zombie Dave, The Man, and a bum-faced zombie from Trojan Arse Protocol. There you go. Also, buy all six and you get to build a Handsome Crab.

LIVE ALIVE... OH...

Just wanted to write regarding Digitiser Live. I know it’s a frightening time, however for some of us the light at the end of the tunnel will be this show. I know health and safety will always come first, however we are still over 4 months away from it. Please do not cancel it prematurely unless you absolutely have to :(Kind regards,Oliver MorganPS I love the Digitiser Deluxe format!

Unfortunately, as you may have read yesterday, we do have to postpone the show. We were holding out hope, but the Arts Centre got in touch to say they're closing for the foreseeable future. We were offered the opportunity to cancel, but I know how much Digi Live means to people - so we're working with them on finding an alternative date. I really, really hope it'll be this year, but with things as they are we just can't say.​However, I'm considering doing some sort of epic live stream on the date Digi Live was meant to happen - maybe a live episode of Digitiser Deluxe, like a telethon. That might be fun. Watch this space. 

TURNER THE OF-EVENTS

Well, that was an unexpected turn of events. We are still looking for retro game developers to join the Chunky Fringe panel, though with the caveat that the date and location are now subject to Digitiser Live being rescheduled. On which topic, the physical gathering for Block Party is almost certainly going to be postponed, but the art contest, to be announced shortly, will proceed.Keep doing the vids and things. I'm hoping for Biffovision Live, three hours streamed from your house with no particular plans, but will settle for a series of loo roll alternatives being put to the test (use both sides of the paper if necessary).David W

Hah! Here's David again, following up his previous email. Great minds - yeah, I'd love to see if we can do a kind of real-time Saturday Morning kids' TV-type live thing. I might make that my big project, now that we don't know when Digi Live is happening. Also, once again thank you for putting on Chunky Fringe for people. I think we're all going to need a party after this...

DON'T PANIC!

Hello, I hope that you are well. The video you posted on Twitter about panic buying was entertaining. It also made me think that people will be (understandably) be worried about the situation not improving.Obviously you didn't ask, and it's not my business, but just in case any of you or your family were genuinely worried about this, try not to be. My youngest brother works for a major supermarket, and I have spoken to him about this quite a lot. He says that barring truly apocalyptic scenes (we're apparently not even close) there will be no issues feeding the country.​He says that barring a few specific items demand is no higher than at Xmas, it's just unexpected. In fact he promised me that in around just over two weeks, all but items with really long supply chains will be in plentiful supply. The nation will have toilet roll!I hope you'll forgive my presumptuousness in sending you this - I'm not, of course, suggesting that any of you were panicking or even close, but I found it reassuring and in these times, I thought it might help.Best wishes to you all. If I might be cheeky, a review of Doom Eternal would be good :-DKoPaul Vissick

This is reassuring. The panic buying doesn't worry me so much as make me angry. I went to buy frozen veg from Iceland for my parents the other night, and there was none left at all. My mum only has partial vision these days, and - for complicated reasons - needs food that she finds simple to cook (in her words, where she can just put her hand in a bag of frozen food and pull out what she needs). But thanks to the utter selfishness of others, I couldn't get her any.I'm also getting wound up by how many people still don't seem to be taking all this seriously, and aren't engaging with the whole social distancing thing. I see us all being forced into isolation in the not-too-distant, because of them. I've read that it's only really Generation X that's engaging with it en masse, and in my experience that is the case - younger and older generations seem to either think it's a lot of fuss about nothing, or have a "What will be will be" attitude. ​But anyhow. Thank you. And yes: expect a review of Doom Eternal.

READ ALL ABOUT IT... BUT WHEN?!

I'm currently having a standoff with a friend about which edition of the London Evening Standard was the last to be printed on a given day. I say it was the 'Late Prices Extra', while he says it was 'West End Final'.​Can you help?Ta.Steve

I always thought it was West End Final. Also, do they still have those Evening Standard vans with the orange and white stripes? Apologies to everyone outside of London, who must be finding this letter and its reply rather trying. WE'RE NOT ALL COCKNEYS, BTW.

HENNYTHING GOES!

Hi Mr.Biffo,Have a look at these delightful old birds:
These jolly birds have had a lovely life and given us many an egg, and outlived their 3 sisters and are also well past their egg laying days but are enjoying their retirement eating up grain and worms, possibly awaiting younger hens to join them, continuing the cycle as they and sisters were the younglings once, joining the previous old bird:
I’ve never met a bunch of friendlier hens, I hope the next batch are just as delightful!The salient game related point here is that the chickens aren’t viewed as individual birds, but rather a collective that over time loses and gains members, a bit like that Pokemon-Exeggcute (the one that’s a bunch of eggs), except these birds are already hatched and actually lay delcious mini exeggcutes.

Mr. S

My eldest daughter was supposed to be getting married in May, and her husband-to-be grew up on a farm - where the wedding reception was to be held. We went to visit it recently, and it really is a proper farm, with tractors and fields and maggot-infested sheep and that.For some reason, we all got it into our heads that my daughter loved hens, presumably because SHE ALWAYS MENTIONED HOW MUCH SHE LOVED THE HENS ON THE FARM, and so every birthday and Christmas she for years she's been getting hen-themed gifts.​Anyway, one thing we learned up at the farm is that it turns out she is, at best, ambivalent about hens. 

BEST GUESTS

If the person's profile/follower count was irrelevant, who are the three people that you'd most like to have as a guest on Digitiser?John

Man... that's tough. It's got to be people who would fit in. One of the things that I feel we got so right with the eps of Digitiser Deluxe is how well Sooz and Ash sort of just slotted seamlessly into the line-up. Also helps that they're a joy to be around. I'm probably overthinking this. Hmm. I don't want people that will try and take over, who feel the spotlight should be on them. So let's say... Bob Mortimer. He's not only really funny, but seems like a lovely man. Mike Stoklasa from RedLetterMedia, purely on a hunch that we'd all get along.There's an American comic called Meg Stalter, who is really, really funny. Heck, I can't stop at three. There are those who I'd love to get on, because it'd be fun to expose them to the weirdness. Big YouTuber Tom Scott does really interesting and informative videos, and I know he was a Mr Biffo's Found Footage Fan. On a similar note, Peter Sciretta who runs Slash Film, but also does excellent Disney vlogs. Again, just seems like a nice man, and he also really liked The Rise of Skywalker. Like me!I'd love to get the Aunty Donna boys on in some capacity, even if it's for a sketch or a cutaway. Heck, you can chuck Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim into that too, if we're talking really big.Then there are lesser know comics, like Stuart Laws and Sam Campbell who feel like they might be a good match. I dunno. It's hard. Because I also kind of want to bring in unexpected people - somebody like Dave Benson Phillips. ​I dunno. We'll try anyone once. Get in touch, semi-well-known people!

HAIRS TODAY

​Dear Mr. Biffo,Apologies in advance for my mawkish letter. A few years ago I wrote to Digitiser and had meant to follow up your reply to my letter but in the meantime I started a family and never had time.Now I have time because I'm in locked down Italy - terrifyingly housebound - but the thing I wanted to write about now seems frivolous in light of the situation. In fact, very much of what I spent my free time on up till now seems frivolous.For instance, nostalgia for 80s computer games, or at least not for the games themselves, but the feeling I had of enjoying everything to do with them in a secure family home. It makes me sad to think my daughters won't necessarily enjoy the ease of living I enjoyed myself back then, given what's unfolding around us. Their world will be harsher, it pains me to say.But then I thought, I'm glad something like Digitiser is there because it's a link to the past. Whether you're writing about old video games or not, it's still you and that continuity is comforting, which doesn't seem so frivolous after all.Once on here you wrote something about nostalgia like, "You can't go back. You can't". While that was meant light-heartedly, it really hit me hard. Shook me up a little, even, which may sound daft,  because it's such an obvious statement, but wallowing in the past and nostalgia was becoming a bit of an morbid obsession. It helped me to keep it in mind while learning how to let go of the past.So, I'm glad Digitiser is still around, but it's the fact Mr. Biffo is still writing that makes me happy rather than the retro gaming content. OK, I should stop rambling now.So what did I want to write about? Well, I told you years ago that Mr. Hairs featured in an English text book I used to teach with, with a broad Scottish accent in the accompanying audio. In your reply you didn't seem convinced I was telling the truth, so I thought I would send the page he was on as proof. Is it really him?Please don't use my real name this time (my fault, I don't know why I thought you wouldn't). Any pseudonym will do.Stay safe everyone.

Doktor Bum Face

Well, that's all rather nice. Not Hairs featuring in a text book - and yes, that's definitely really him, and I remember him going off to write that piece (which was originally for a newspaper) - but knowing I'M a nostalgia security blanket. I guess not everyone who now knows about Digi remembers me from the olden days. For some people I'm an old man who has just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and belatedly starting doing undignified YouTube videos.

CH-CH-CHECK-OUT (IN)

Dear Paul, Mostly I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi. It sunk in this week that my plans for this year are canceled. I admire your optimism on rescheduling Digi Live. That doesn't sound right. It gives me hope! That you see an end to this.I had already started working on something for Chunky Fringe. There will be more time to make something happen. Shall we look at it like that.It has all knocked the wind out of me. This is version 3 of this letter. a much shorter one.  Letters page is good, Don't want it to have the letter that's in me right now! I am very concerned. Let's leave it at that. I want every thing to be better for everyone. So I'm just saying hello, Hang in there.Simon

Must say I'm very glad I didn't book a summer holiday yet this year. Not that I could afford to go now anyway, but still. This is definitely an end to this, and it won't continue indefinitely. Not knowing when the end will be isn't exactly reassuring, but seeing Japan and China starting to come out the other side does give hope - even if we have to have tighter measures before we can get to the same place.Just remember, you're living through history. This is a global crisis, but the world has been through worse. 

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



ZX Spectrum Charts taken from Crash

Others will be added when available

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



All Charts taken from C&VG

This Month in....1995 (Amiga)



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)



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

This Month in....2000 (PC)



N64 & PlayStation Charts taken from C&VG

PC Charts taken from PC Zone

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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.

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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

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Sun Jul 26 15:46:04 +0000 2020

@AnnaMansiBFI @coaching_ptp 😊 🙏

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Sun Jul 26 15:36:48 +0000 2020

@AnnaMansiBFI Wow where?

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Sun Jul 26 10:05:27 +0000 2020

This was fun https://t.co/4or9xJZGHx

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Sun Jul 26 09:32:04 +0000 2020

RT @EmmaKennedy: Read this. Wear a mask. https://t.co/BGnsg7BOC1

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Sat Jul 25 20:27:18 +0000 2020

This story of deep fakery is a real eye (and ear) opener. https://t.co/rEIc7IJoG1

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Sat Jul 25 08:38:06 +0000 2020

Just putting this here as a personal crib sheet https://t.co/5SQupa4BEA

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Mon Jul 20 15:23:30 +0000 2020

@RFredW Me too. Indi first decided my laptop was the problem and started trying to download things to it 😱 so I moved to a PC instead. I suspect a Godot issue, unfortunately. Will let you know if they manage to fix it.

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Mon Jul 20 08:55:00 +0000 2020

"This Way Down" -- youngest son + mates 1st game jam #godotwildjam Self-taught coding/artwork in lockdown. https://t.co/7RXOfGrS3Y https://t.co/qwhfrLyPEb

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Sun Jul 19 23:01:07 +0000 2020

Youngest son + friends' first game jam having self-taught coding + artwork during lockdown. Orbital mechanics, eerie sound, eye monsters ... https://t.co/7RXOfGrS3Y nice one #godotwildjam https://t.co/YO412uezRY

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Sun Jul 19 18:09:55 +0000 2020

@HPluckrose I use an v.simple timer app which encourages 15 min segments of work - the ‘Pomodoro technique’. It is so simple but effective.

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Sat Jul 11 10:14:57 +0000 2020

@elinoroberts Just brilliant, dungees an all

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Mon Jul 06 07:16:46 +0000 2020

@IxK85 1940fication! Yes! A campaign of pre-nostalgia, where everything is presented with reference to the war years, as if we are pre-reflecting on how people in the future will look back at what’s happening now ...

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Wed Jul 01 22:33:31 +0000 2020

@MobileWarren 🤗

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Guide Digitiser Guide Guide