An A-Z Of Stuff That You're Not Really Interested In
So, you want to get "into" the Digi community, but feel that you're just too much of an idiot? Then read ahead, man - the throbbing, bulbous guide which follows presents you with essential and not-so-essential fact-o-ramas about the nation's favourite games mag. It's all you'll ever need to know ever to appear Digi-ed-up to the masses! Armed with this knowledge you'll be able to pass yourself off as one of us and will be able to contribute to conversations of a Digi nature. You could also use it to develop a sort of Digi snobbery ("oh I remember when..., didn't you know THAT?..., I was there when...", etc.). Either way, what you need is right here: here -
(Muchly thanks go to Mr. Biffo for pointing out a few inaccuracies which previously lied within, but have now been spanked away with a small length of bamboo)
The official number of readers that Digi get every week according to industry figures. Kind of makes a mockery of the couple'a hundred thousand that their pulp-based "rivals" manage to scrape together, doesn't it? A-ha-ha-ha! Prrrthhffftttthhh!
During the early days of Digi, and especially at the weekends, the Digi staff took much fun in creating full-page spoof adverts, satirising those which Teletext is forced to run in order to "bring home" the "bacon". These would invariably feature lard in some capacity, and were both surreal and silly in the extreme. You could always guaruntee that however stupid they were, there were some people out there that took them seriously. This is what forced Digi in the end to stop "doing" them. A quick browse through Biffo's site would suggest that he was the man responsible for them - see this: "The Kitchen Hitler". He ain't afraid of no ghost! Oh man!
That is what Fat Sow, the furious pig that reviews the week's news is. Very. By the way, for all of you stupids that have written in to Digi about her, a sow is a FEMALE pig: yes.
Digi love practical jokes, as Ring-Sir has shown. So, it's no surprise that the April 1st edition comes complete with many a funneee inside, masquerading as a legitimate news/review Jeremy. Thanks to it falling on a Saturday this year, the killjoys at Teletext refused to allow Biffo to do the fool-o, for some inexplicable reason or other that I can't be bothered to remember.
So in the most recent example of April of last year (1999), not only were there the obligatory news lies and stupid, made-up quotes from people on The Quote Boat, but they once again reviewed a game which could only exist in the fevered minds of Digi. This game was entitled "Super Mario Disco". It was given birth as a by-product of the latest gaming craze to light-up the socks of our slightly mad Japanese cousins - the dance simulator. Taking it's cue from games such as Parrappa The Rapper and Dance Dance Revolution, you took control of Mario, replete with "Mark-out-of-Ironside"-style afro, helping him to shake his money-maker to the game's break beats. This would then hopefully impress the panel of judges that were presiding over the whole sordid affair. They also advertised that the next day's review would be "Yoshi's Ballroom Island", yet this never materialised.
The fun had in 1998 involved Digi spouting some straight-faced rubbish about the next Sonic game being a Tomb Raider-style 3D affair, with Sonic himself resembling a spiky-haired "yoof", doing battle with a ressurected Chairman Mao - oh man! The same edition also included a spoof review of a Radiohead game: "Radiohead: The Creep", which they declared to be excellent, and a great example of a game based on a modern prog-rock band. No doubt they got some idiot writing in asking when it was "out".
The previous year was more worrying. At the height of Digi's relaunch-fever, during which they constantly stated how they regretted giving themselves the name Digitiser, I awoke to discover that the name of the games mag on page 170 was now "Gamma 7". After a brief spell of hyperventilation I noticed the date and was considerably releived. I don't think I could've beared it as Gamma 7: it is a stupid name.
In 1996, a time when the massochistic British public waited for the constantly delayed arrival of the N64 (and when it was becoming clear of the extent of Sega's misery) they concoted a masterstoke of misinformation. On this day the news page ran with a story about Nintendo buying the rights to Sega's dormant mascot, Sonic The Hedgehog. They revealed how the big N planned to produce a game starring their own mascot, Mario, and their newly-acquired hedgehog with "attitude". This game was to be called "Sonic & Mario", and would be introduced in the end sequence of Mario 64, which of course was not officially available on these shores yet, you naughty boy. Needless to say this kicked up quite a stink, with many an idiot messing-up in letters about it to Digi. They seemed quite distressed. Ha ha ha!
Going all the way back to '94/'95 (I don't remeber which), another spoof review sached about on the catwalks of page 172. This game was called... "Mario Fighters". Apparently Nintendo had given birth to a one-on-one beat 'em up much in the style of the Mortal Kombat series, featuring their cholesterol-filled Italian plumber and all of his jolly friends. With whom he would commit grievous bodily harm. Tsk. They sang its praises during the review, but it ended up with an overall score of just 49%. Perhaps this was to prevent the hordes of fools making a nuisance of themselves, wanting to know more about it. Or if they had no irony gland (as many of Digi's correpondents seem to) self-righteously pointing out that Nintendo wouldn't release such a visceral, parent-cussing fist-me-do.
At some point in 1993 it was becoming clear that Digi were disillusioned with the adventures of The Man With A Long Chin. In order to prevent themselves from dying of boredom, they decided to assassinate The Man on the anniverasry of the very same thing happening to JFK. The ramifaications of this act were intereseting to say the least, as a rigged election took place to find his replacement - ultimately deciding on bearded DJ Pat Walker. There followed a great deal of intrigue regarding Walker's identity, with the truth shaking the nation to it's core. Possibly. Go here to find out more about it. It's certainly worth a look, man!
Babylon 5, Babylon 5, Babylom 5, Babylon5. The numbr one piece of ordnance used by those most stubborn of the world's creatures: the Amiga owners, in their tedious assualts on Digi. Whenever one of these pitiful people wrote in, Babylon 5 would be the excuse they gave for the Amiga still being any good. Which it wasn't. Even then the Amiga was stone dead, and no amount of use on a popular sci-fi show could bring it back into the mass market. Live with it, you dolts. Oh yes, and don't forget about Babylon 5!
Over the years a large number of idiots from all factions of the games world have unfoundedly accused Digi of being biased against their machine. This famously started out when several descenting Sega owners had noticed that certain high profile Sega games - not least of all Sonic 3 (more about that under Controversy) - had recieved mediocre reviews, whilst various Nintendo "releases" were deemed to be "good". With this startling piece of evidence the ignorant people wrote in their droves. They were horrified that this could ever happen, accusing Digi of secretly loving-up Nintendo and sitting too closely to its thighs. Yes. That makes sense doesn't it: the most honest and in-corruptable games mag in the UK giving Sega games a bad review just because they like Nintendo(!)
In recent times it seems to have been reveresed, with the diehard Nintendo militia taking exception to the news that Nintendo really does hate them. Look: right back to the delay of the N64's UK release, PAL conversion inconsistencies, cart prices, the number of games available, the whole Dolphin/Cube mess-up, etc. Surely Nintendo wouldn't do this? It must be Digitiser! Yes: they keep saying how good PlayStation games are, and telling these lies about Nintendo. They're biased! And so the fun began anew. The only good things to come out of it were all the great replies and put-downs from Digi to such letters. It almost made it tolerable, really. Almost.
As if that weren't bad enough, at the very same time the PlayStation owners were also writing in feeling hard done by, saying, yes: that Digi were biased against Sony. Sigh... Of course the most significant of installments in the past year or so came with the furore over Digi's unquestionably fair and frank review of Zelda 64, wherein the fact that they stated that it wasn't the best game ever, as had been touted, prompted a whole host of mormons (morons) to pick up the Torch Of Accusation, and hurl it at the Grassy Knoll Of Righteousness. Or something.
Do these people not have anything even remotely resembling a life? Seeing as it still goes on even today (almost every week you're gaurunteed to read such a letter), the answer, of course is a resounding... "No".
On what you would suspect was a slow news day, Digi invented some of their own, revealing two new add-on's for the Megadrive. Both were bird-related. The first was the MD "Tweeter", a birds' nest-shaped device which plugged directly into the Megadrive's cartridge port and would "tweet" bird song at you whilst you played a game. The second, the MD Black Bird was regarded as the big brother of the Tweeter, behaving in a similar manner. The difference was that it was a lot bigger, looked like a black bird, and cost you more money. And it didn't really "tweet", either. Apparently it was more of a "corr".
The name by which Digi refer to the least messing-upper of their regular correspondents, Anthony Skelton, from Hull. A Skelton: do you see?
Since leaving Teletext under "less than amicable circumstances" (- Biffo) in 1997, former Digi writer Mr Hairs has taken to writng the bookstons. His first such pulp-me-do was released in April of '99. It's a quite literally hilarious travelogue called Frost On My Moustache about his travels around Scandinavia. READ IT NOW. The follow-up, Continental Drifter, was released earlier this year, and his latest one has just been unleashed on the world, going by the pithy title of French Revolutions. You see, it's about him cycling along the route of the Tour de France. He prepared for this by riding to Biffo's house in twice the time that it should have taken, and cycling back home drunk-up good. Should be an interesting read, then. According to Biffo "he's the new Bill Bryson". So he's a short, dumpy American with a moustache, then?
At the beginning of '97 Digi came up with what was a pretty good idea at the time: a competition to see who could show their devotion to them in the most publicising way. It started off quite promisingly, with a few entries of stuff like people holding up Digi banners inside shops and the like. Unfortunately it died a death with only four people on the overall leaderboard.
However, this was not the last we saw of the end-beaver (endeavour), as during the summer of '98 Digi had another go at relaunching it. It retained the Brown Trumpet name, but in order not to confuse the easily confusable idiots that tend to make themselves known via the letters page, it took on a new form: the form of a squid! (lie). It basically turned out to be a new version of an old competition that was highly successful (Digitiser = Filth), except that the banners were to Mick Hucknell (simply read) the legend: "Digitiser Destroyed Me". This was easier for the idiots to grasp, and was apparently a great success. Other than the winning Terry Pratchet-naked-from-the-waist-up-in-one-of-his-stupid-hats- on-a-mountain (because they lost it...), the pictures are up on the official Digi site right now...
As any of you that have read the interview with Biffo at Mentski's lovely Digi! site (here) will know, the members of Digi once helpfully informed ex-Radio 1 Dee Jay Bruno Brookes that he was fat. Which, of course, he is. I bet he feels all the better for knowing that.
On the occassion of their first big industry bash at ECTS the Digi fellas had the serendipitous fortune to "bump" into the woman that played Carrie in Grange Hill. You know - the one that used to hang around with that bloke out of London's Burning and the one that was always reading "Just 17" (snigger). Apparently she had chucked in the old acting game, and was now a PR Mrs for a software firm. She had also lost her sense of humour in the process.
As you can see from viewing Morse & Lewis' Character Assasination, Digi are extremely fond of creating bizarre and often surreal cartoon characters to host their pages. They're all great, but the only downside is that those idiots out there tend to refer to them in their letters as if they were real - "I really hate Fat Sow", etc. To which Digi have to inform them that they're getting worked up over something said by a made-up cartoon pig. Idiots.
Those familiar with the often close-to-the-knuckle, innuendo-laden and sometimes offensive (to idiots) MO of Digi, would probably not be surprised to learn that the publication is subjected to a high degree of censorship. This is primarily thanks to the bain of Mr Biffo's Digi life; the "delightful" sub-editors. In the past they have been known to change the punchline to Man's Daddy jokes, doctor humorous editorial copy, and veto the use of certain characters if they have been found to do the naughties.
The "plug" was very nearly "pulled" on Zombie Dave after they eventually realised what they'd been letting Biffo put out for the past few weeks. Thankfully he got a reprieve, but years ago Dr Derek Doctors wasn't so lucky; with Biffo being forced to stop "doing" him after his tip-rants became ever more sinister in tone. It was first thought that Chester Fisho's original disappearance had been due to similar reasons, but Biffo later revealed that he'd just gotten bored of him.
However, it isn't just the shrivelled anus of the Digi sub-editors that has to be battled against. As ever, the idiot British public can also be counted on to "spoil" the fun. An edition of the Man's lonely hearts column was pulled from air midway through the day last year after a viewer (probably some BO-addled spinster in her 50s weighing 18 stone) complained about the entry regarding fat women and ginger haired men having ugly children (in the words of Biffo; "So funneee"). The same "pulling" happened to Gossi back in '98, too, of which you can find the ruling from those fascistic autocrat-fools at the BSC below:
"Gossi the Dog Teletext, 26 October 1998
A viewer complained about animal cruelty being used as a subject for humour.
The Broadcaster's Statement
Teletext said that the Digitiser section prided itself on its irreverent and 'off-the-wall' humour and decisions about what might offend could sometimes be difficult. However, on this occasion, it felt that the borderline had been overstepped and the frame was quickly removed from air.
The BSC's Finding
A Standards Panel noted the Teletext page in question. It agreed that a reference to the beating of a dog, albeit fictional, would have been likely to have caused offence. The complaint was upheld.
Until a couple of years back Sega didn't take Digi particularly seriously. This changed when they exclusively announced that Sega's botched Megadrive add-on, the 32-X, had quite a major design flaw which meant that it kept crashing. 1.5 million people then knew this and proceeded to question the naughty Sega about it. Sega don't like Digi.
In the early days the Digi fellas, along with The Man and his brother, made a number of appearances in long gone games mag Super Control. While The Man had his own cartoon strip; "A Long Chin Of What You Fancy", the Digi staff among other things challenged the Super Control team to ten challenges, in "The 1993 Digitiser/Super Control Lard Challenge". This involved such things as the guys from Digi "doing" a table and visiting a pub and drinking a pint (the pub in question being The Lung & Monkey), whereas the Super Control challengers had to touch a policeman, and tune three televisions in a shop to the Man Diary page of Digi. Thanks to Mr Cheese, I now have a copy of said publication - and you can see the whole sordid affair in all it's filthy glory right down there -
That annoying slit-faced gonk that used to "do" the games "bit" on the tedious Saturday morning kids' show Live & Kicking (sigh). As Digi have said, how can anyone take his reviews seriously when they're coming from the sort of person that they'd normally beat up? It would appear that the entire population of the world wishes to smash his face in with a large brick and paint his stupid face with copydex. He appears to know absolutely nothing about games, which of course makes him enormously qualified to "do" one of those slots, doesn't it BBC? It seems that they subsequently agreed, as local-boy and fellow Albion fan J. Theakston (whom Fat Sow once expressed a desire to oil) took over before he "pulled out". It didn't make any difference - it still treated games and the games industry like a kiddies' forum.
As was briefly mentioned under Bias, Digi caused an absolute uproar when they reviewed the all-cake, no-trousers cop-out that was Sonic 3, daring to give it a paltry 72%. At the time this was considered sacrilege, and Digi were branded as heretics by the magazines sitting intimately in Sega's lap and their small-minded minions. Thus started the almighty hate campaign involving the childish writers of such magazines, with a war raging on the Digi letters page between the brainwashed oafs and the pro-Digi lobby.
The scars of these events are still apparent in the bitter writings of some of those mags' hideous love children (especially those published by EMAP, the main participants in the stoning with words). But you know what? As usual, Digi were right. The final endgame culminated in Digi writing a letter to the editors of Sega Magazine and Mean Machines (which either helpfully or interestingly were one and the same hell-spawn; Richard Leadbetter), explaining their position. And finishing by calling him a Poo-head. And theres a lesson there for us all - don't mince your hairpiece (don't listen to the mouth-turds of corporate piggy-boys).
The summaries at the end of reviews used to have a small cryptic statement below the final score. This was usually a play on the title of the game and would either be used to describe the game itself, or (more than likely) just be there to confuse. Examples of these such as the Endorfun: "End Of Fun" link and Rayman: "Hoffman/Cruise joke" can be found on the quote-o-page: here.
During the Digi Vs Sega Magazine/Mean Machines battle of Armageddon, the filth-soaked pages of said papery mags printed a number of scandalous lies and misleading anti-Digi missives from their acolites. These ranged from "jokes" about Digi from the intelligence-insulting mascot of Mean Machines, "Mean Yob" (dear God (!)), to suitably inarticulate, grammar-starved rants from irate twelve-year-olds, and propaganda in the form of unfunny, badly-drawn cartoon strips.
One such statement regarded the graphical abilities of the Teletext medium, with "Yob" announcing that they had intended to run some Digi-style lo-res screen shots, but couldn't find their crayons. Oh the unbridled mirth (!) Of course as you know, in it's present form Teletext cannot support screen-shot-type images, highlighting their ignorance of the Digi art-form. Comfortingly, Mean Machines is now stone dead, so we pro-Digi crusaders have something to smirk at.
The High Lord Of The Mess-Ups, Dantendo, once sent a formal solicitors' declaration to Digi, showing that he had officially changed his name to Dantendo by deed poll. This guy deserves everything he gets.
On, oh... one... occassion during a review the writers of Digi referred to themselves as "the Digi Fellas", as they all wrote for Digi, and are all, well - fellas. For the record, there is of course Mr Biffo (Paul Rose) - the only surviving founder member, overall boss-man of the set-up, and god-like genius (see the DC-UK interview with him: here); Mr Cheese (Adam Keeble) who used to "do" stuff for Planet Sound and Club 140 but has now emigrated to "Nou Yawk" with a "lady" that he met on the Internet and Mr Hairs (Tim Moore) who's now an author (see "Books"). To bolster the depleted ranks, Digi then took on board one Mr Udders. Also, it has recently come to light that Mr Cheese used to write to Mega-Zine on the old Generator (or "Great-orator" as Digi ironically dubbed it), under the pseudonym of "Savo" after saliva-launching "Yugo" Savo Milosevic, raving on about how great Aston Villa were.
One of the many things that makes Digi Digi; are the psuedo-phrases and language used within. Here's a quick guide:
Mess-up: To commit an offence of gross stupidity in the presence of Digi: "You have messed-up".
Punching: Punching is invoked when a game does the smells.
Smells: Something is a bit bad.
Love You Up: To be lovely.
Lovely: To love you up.
Do you see?: A check that the reader understands what they're saying/implying. Often comes after the use of irony, or references to "pop" culture.
Super x n: Where x is a noun and n a number (usually in double figures). Not some form of futuristic "space-talk", but a description of something or other. Usually employed to describe something in a review, Man Diary or a reply to a letter - it's the phrase that inspired the name of this site, man! "But we still think Sega should have called it Super Toy 47".
x-me-do: Where x is usually an adjective. Possibly inspired by a one-time utterance of one H.Simpson, this versatile phrase is mostly used to describe the goodness (or lack thereof) of something in a review. Like the above entry, it is also often used as an alternative name for an object, tangible or otherwise. "But hold, basket fans: it is also a skank-me-do".
Then, of course there is the use of the ubiqoutous love, man, and dear, which are just referrences to an individual in a conversation-type scenario.
One of the compys run by Digi involved you taking a photo of yourself in some interseting/exotic location holding a sign reading "Digitiser = Filth". Some years after the competition ran we learnt that the winner had been stationed atop a mountain in front of a Buddhist temple in Thailand with his banner. There's no competiton really, is there?
Digi are very fond of consuming beverages that have been derived from fungus-faeces, principally among them; gin. On many occassions the excuses that they've given for something being wrong, or not wanting to bother with a proper reply to a letter have been "we're drunk", "don't ask us, man, we're drunk", "you should never listen to the opinions of drunks", or "spend your money on gin instead". It's widely believed that they spent The Lost Weekend in a drink-induced catatonic state. Some correspondents have noticed this, and you can sometimes read at the end of a letter something along the lines of "or should I save my money and spend it on gin?". That's the spirit.
Amiga owners. Yes, those most pitiful of souls have plagued Digi literally from the off, when they announced at launch that they wouldn't be carrying Amiga-related stuff. Apparently the cries of protest from the blind Amiga lobby forced them to sway, but it certainly would have saved one helluva lot of aggravation if they had just ignored their gnawing pleas. The world would have been a much better place without them. It certainly would have prevented the dull letters, petty squables, protestations about review scores and badly-concieved attempts at insults from these people. They were lying to themselves, really. The Amiga had not been a viable games platform for some years, and even when it was, many of the "big" games were repetitive, below-par crap. The things these people get excited about. We do not care about the ray-traced asteroids in Super Stardust, nor are we ever likely to, now GO AWAY.
Over the years Digi has enjoyed the company of many guests from the popular cockney wrist-slashing soap EastEnders, making little appearances here and there. The most frequent of them being the annoying ginger-whinger Ian Beale, who has turned up in the past to inform us of stuff that he likes, and stuff that he dislikes (his wife being one of them). The first pant-oh to be shown was also set in Albert Square with some of the favourites, and some all-new characters (witness Chaka, Demus and Pliers: sons of Pauline and Arthur Fowler). F. Butcher: "The Ruuuuunnnarrrouuund????!!!!"
A. Fowler: "Christmas club: I... Love it!"
Demus: "Why do you hate me, Daddy?"
If you've read the letters page in the last year or so, you'll be aware that the large number of letters sent over the 'Net, don't credit the full e-mail address. This would be down to the fact that somebody that wrote in lambasting the Amiga owners that had once again been plaguing Digi had recieved The Mother Of All Hate-Spam from the irate idiots. This seemed to happen to anyone that spoke out against the festering remains of the Amiga, forcing Digi to withold the full addresses, lest it happen again. Now now, theres no need to be spiteful. (Thanks to David White for poking my mind with this fact).
Digi is free, ie you do not pay any money in return for reading it. Unless you count having to pay the TV licence, but then naughty people everywhere can get out of that one, Rommel. This no-quid situation gives Digi somewhat of an advantage over it's papery rivals, hence the ability to pull 1.5 million readers. No wonder they can't stand Digi. A-ha-ha-ha.
Not exactly French as anyone would really recognise it, least of all the French. For a while now Digi have imparted the odd phrase from time to time ever since The Man devoted his diary to his exploits in France and with the language. Pompt de la pompt de pomp frite! If you have any extracts, then send 'em on in, guy, or you can go look at what's already out there.
The forerunner to Digi on the old Oracle teletext service (before Teletext Ltd. took over the franchise at the start of '93). It wasn't very good, but without it there would quite possibly be no Digi today. You see, despite the fact that FX was just one single page of about six frames (sub-pages) it was the only thing like it on teletext, so when it's demise was announced it's readers decided to inform Teletext Ltd. that they wanted something similar in their new service.
At the same time Biffo and Cheese were conspiring together to put forward a proposal for a full-blown games section, and lo, Digitiser was born. I can remember fully two letters from people to Digi about FX. The first came through in Digi's first couple of weeks, declaring how rubbish they were, and pining for FX with it's two-frame one review a day (of which Friday was "Sega Day" and Saturday "Nintendo Day"(!)) and single page of tips. So, be thankful that Digitiser is the slick, cutting edge organ it is today - before it we had to put up with a LOT worse.
It was thanks to GamesMaster that we learned the true identity of Mr Biffo. He appeared as a reviewer during series three saying how great the old Megadrive and SNES game, Zombies was. They insisted on printing his real name, and alas the illusion was over. They also printed the name of Digi incorrectly as "Digitizer" which made me very mad at the time, for some reason. Biffo announced his appearance to us on the news page, declaring that he had been severely editted down due to his continual references to Mr David Evil, Satan.
Bizarrely, the next run-in that Digi had with GM was as a sort of live chat forum, wherein during the programme if you brought up Teletext and went to pg. 176 (as it was at that time) you could see people making comments about what was going on. You had to send the message via IRC (I think - don't quote me on that), and the Digi staff would then key it in, coming up on the TV as subtitles. The first time they tried this there were only about four people online, plus Digi themselves who would make the odd comment such as "these are adverts", plus the occasional toilet reference. It was quite funny, but it didn't last long at all due to the very few people that were "doing" "it", and the fact that Digi had to stay at the office until 19:00. They didn't like having to do that, and I'm sure you wouldn't either.
The latest run-in came when GM host Dominik "Double" Diamond announced that he felt Digi humour to be too similar to that of Reeves & Mortimer. Sorry, I don't see the connection?
The infamous Space Gents, led by the tyrannical Wally Bong are trying to take over the Earth for some reason. Only games-related-type people can hope to survive, as he asks the question on the questionnaire to see who is worthy. Any winners (of which there are so far none) will be allowed to sit-out the invasion in Digi's underground Cumbrian bunker. Except they probably won't get in, what with it being stuffed to the guts with Bisto and orange Fruitangs, and stuff.
In the beginning, one of the things that enchanted and perplexed equal numbers of readers was the unorthodox manner in which Digi would pepper their scrawlings with various punctuation marks. The repetition of words, use of full stops, colons, brackets and equals signs at unexpected points in a sentence may not sound like The Funniest Thing Ever, but it set Digi apart from other mags, and caused severe laughter-induced haemorrhaging of the gut in the excellent people that found it funny. Today, the quota of word-related fun-ups has been reduced, with the main example being the Your Game: Here "organ" that used to crawl out at the weekend, and the occasional bit elsewhere.
It could be said that this, along with the other early examples of Digi's intention to fly in the face of conventional games journalism, is what created much of the hostility from other mags that would later boil over in the form of The Great War between Digi and the Sega Magazine/Mean Machines axis. It seemed to prove that it wasn't just a lot of Digi's correspondents that lacked a sense of humour.
A major factor in the origin of the Digi brand of humour. In the Digi! interview (here) Mr. Biffo informs us that he used to read a comic in which there would be a story featuring the main protagonist getting up to all manner of "scrapes", which would be followed by a series of multiple choice questions on what had just been read. One of them was along the lines of "what mode of trasnport did Johnny use? - A: Horse and cart, B: Bicycle, C: A handsome crab". Obviously this was a misprint, but it didn't stop the young Biffo from laughing like an idiot, and has subsequently provided him with the Digi mindset that (most of us) know and love. Happy!
Shortly after Digi first went on air they began to recieve letters from persons purporting to be *ahem* "in" love with The Man. The first of which dubbed herself "The Girl With The Golden Game Boy", and you could be sure of seeing at least one of her letters every week, detailing her feelings for the man and her desire to rub his chin with vaseline. She appeared to be the Man's favourite judging by the spluttering spiel he would emit in reply. The others that followed were "Fruitbat, Miss", and the most notorious of all were the perfume-soaked letters from she that signed her name "Poppy, XXX". Although this was intended as "three kisses" it would become more appropriate later on, when her letters first had to be censored, before becoming completely unbroadcastable due to the nature of their content. Apparently the term "pornographic" wouldn't have been inappropriate. The slapper.
Presumably the centre of all Puffy Jacket activity in the entire Universe. It must be to do with lay-lines or something. This is where Mr Biffo was once told to "watch the sneaks, man" by a puffer in McDonalds, and is also home to the Biffster himself. (Thanks to Mr Biffo for clarifying me-up.)
You would think that having 1.5 million readers would make Digi the first place PR chaps would send review copies. Unfortunately, in the messed-up world of the games biz this isn't neccesarily the case. The fact is that if you weren't working on the same papery mag as the aforementioned PR gimble you're more likely to get the silent treatment when trying to obtain the latest games. Of course it doesn't help if these people a) look down on Digi simply because of it's medium (and by that I don't mean that they employ the services of a faith healer), and b) resent Digi for the frank, fair, and unbiased reviews that they give, even of the most super-hyped games. Alas it seems that there are many of these "Fupping Backsterds" out there. We shall overcome...
As Biffo has said on a number of occasions, when Digi started they took the unusual stance for a games mag of not talking about games very much. Obviously there would be the obligatory news and reviews, except that they were padded out by a large amount of surreal, very funny, yet highly irrelevant and nonsensical material. Things such as the fake adverts, references to lard, and the many excursions permitted the characters all helped both alienate and enchant (the more intelligent) readers. This is one of the reasons for the papery mags being so hostile towards Digi, along with the obvious of course. It didn't help that the sub-neanderthal monkey-men that were reading Digi obviously didn't "get" the joke, and so felt that they absolutely had to complain somewhere.
Although in the intervening years Digi have toned down the irrelevance somewhat, the fact that it was still there acted as a kind of filter - only certain people with a certain excellent sense of humour were able to read Digi, the other less advanced "monkers" all having given up trying. Of course, last year's un-getting of the "10 million people in the world" joke would seem to prove that there are a number of new idiots now reading Digi that need a fresh demonstartion of the Digi modus operandi - those that understand may stay, those that do not can go and read C&VG.
Digi started out being broadcast on ITV Teletext page 470, before being moved to Channel 4 for some inexplicable reason. They've recently had to endure another change of location, moving from 170, to 670 and now again to 480. Nnnngggg!
Digi like this guy, man. It's like he's their favourite maker of sound-o, or something.
Stuart N Hardy, second only in messing-upness to Dantendo, was referred to by Digi as the King Of The Mess-ups, because he quite literally is. Hardy takes great pleasure in continually writing in with the most abhorrent drivel about nothing in particular disguised as a letter. He seems to enter virtually every Hot Topic, but has not once had a reasonable thing to say, and ends up pointing himself out to be completely without sense. I guess he must love being insulted, otherwise he wouldn't subject himslef to it. Apparently he used to do the same to Amiga Power before it folded, with exactly the same results: they couldn't stand him either and told him to go away. Unfortunately he went away to Digi.
In ye olde days there was a known line over which you did not cross: you would never write a letter that was more than 40 words in length. Failure to disregard this rule resulted in many a slap from Digi, but the best thing that came from it was the little messages informing you of what would happen to any letter over this limit. We were coldly notified that "letters over 40 words will be shot", "letters over 40 words will be flogged", "letters over 40 words will be stupid" and "letters over 40 words will be burnt". Of course there were many others but I can't remember them all, although some bloke did once send a "Letter Over 40 Words Will Be..." chart in to Auntie Chapman, which was a nice old read.
During the Digi re-launch no new material appeared over the weekend, prompting people to write regarding this time, or "Lost Weekend" as they put it. No one but Digi know for sure the events that occurred over that fateful weekend, but one thing that you can be certain of; is that it involved a lot of alcohol. Digi were keen to keep the guessing game up, requesting that we write in to them to tell them what we thought they were doing. Okay, so they were obviously very drunk then...
The most (in)famous and respected of Digi's early correspondents and committed console-baiter; Danny Boyd, hailed from Luton. Thus he signed his letters: "Danny Boyd, Luton Area". A lot of people hated Mr. Boyd for the stuff that he said, but I personally agreed with a lot of it and thought he was great. He also became fairly well-known, as he informed us once of being at a party when someone approached him, asking if he was "that bloke that writes to Digitiser". He was quite chuffed.
But hold, sir! It now transpires that Danny Boyd was in fact the one and only corrsepondent that Digi actually made up. In hindsight I suppose it makes sense - his letters always appeared when the postbag's contents weren't exactly great, and "his" views could always be guaranteed to bring up a debate from those that were enraged by them. Plus what he said made sense, so he couldn't have been a genuine Digi corrsepondent!
Just a few weeks before The Man had his fateful dance with a bullet, the most controversial exposë to have appeared on Digi to that point was aired. Broadcast over the weekend, it was dubbed "Man-gate", and took the form of a published transcript of a sordid telephone conversation betwixt The Man and some bint whose identity was never revealed, and is still a mystery to this day. The extract that was shown showcased the hitherto unknown dark recesses at the back of The Man's mind, as the two proceeded to spew forth copious amounts of "exotic" detail about what they would like to "do" to each other. The transcript ended with The Man having to cut the call short, citing the reason as being "Chapman is coming". Of course he's entitled to have a private life, but you can't help but wonder if this was the catalyst for some mentally unhinged obsessive to take extreme measures in demonstrating the apparent shame that this incident had brought. He was shot through the head by an unknown assailant just two weeks later.
The first-ever competition run by Digi was to win a copy of Easy Amos, the game-creating package for the Amiga. To do this it was your task to compose a limerick which had to include the words "amos" and "milk".
One of the most frequent types of idiot-letter, not only recieved by Digi but other mags as well, is the one that declares "my super-fly box-o'stuff is far better than your skanked-up box-o'cack, for various well thought out (lie) reasons". Everyone gets tired of these, but as generation after generation of new format is released, so they spawn these infuriating creatures with them without fail. I can remember it right back as far as Master System Vs NES, and it's still going on today. I'm sure that everyone that has had to endure their banality would wish they would just SHUT UP. But the chances of that happening are hardly great, are they? D'oh!
The excellent phrase emitted by the latest Digi reveal-o's, and in many ways the modern equivalent of "Nubby nubby nubby". It originated when someone made another request for a swan, but what appeared seemed to be a mutant swan on steroids - crying the blood-curdling legend of "Moc-moc-a-moc". Since then people have challenged Digi to "draw" various things, such as happiness and a Secret Lemonade Drinker ("Ich liebe dich, lemonaden!"), amongst other things. All of which blurted out the catchphrase that everyone loves!
Digi seem to be fascinated by our filthy cousins of the ape world, having made many comments as to how "great" or "excellent" they are. See this, fascist: "From a distance, monkeys are excellent: they look like little humans, going about their business doing funny stuff. But when you get up close to the monkeys, they're even more excellent!" Of course you can hardly blame them for this. This is because monkeys are excellent!
Digi partake great fun in calling people that write in names relating to something about their actual ones. For instance, they called Anthony Skelton "Bones" and David O'Connor by the name of "Des", after that good-old-boy of music hall, and ITV steadfast, Des O'Connor. Do you see?
Digi once announced that a search through a number of Amiga newsgroups revealed more instances of the word "Digitiser" than the word "Amiga". They do take things to heart. On a more recent note, there is of course the furore over the setting up of a Digi newsgroup. It was on and off for quite some time, not least of all because the people discussing the legitimacy of it couldn't decide on what to call the thing! Come on, it's not exactly a majorly serious issue, is it? It ended up with one suddenly being created under the name alt.digitiser while no one was watching. Biffo got kicked out of it once - they didn't believe he was who he said he was. Naughty people.
But it is at least resilient, and has somehow managed to survive the threat of being deleted - the moderator didn't feel that enough Digi-speak was going on. Thankfully it never happened, and it's still out there, actually with Digi discussions - not ones just talking about rather obscure gubbins shared between about four people. And Biffo makes the odd appearance, too. Mmmmmm!
Digi have long sung the praises of the old games of the early '80s, declaring their love for the great-gameplay, no-graphics-to-speak-of games of that era. On many occasions have they told of their experiences in run-down seaside arcades, and with the patience-stretching Sinclair Spectrum. I had one of those, too - complete with blood stains on the keys from playing the classic button basher "Daley Thompson's Super Test", and was prone to crashing if it got too hot during the javelin. It was truly "Super Machine 47". That was in the days when 128K was a lot of RAM, PlayStation-boy. Aaaahh, memories. Actually, most of the games were utter tripe - you have to remember that when you start to go all dewy-eyed and looking at those days through rose-tinted spectoids. And I'm sure that Digi would echo that.
Strange phrase emitted by The Man in the early days of Digi, and later by the Digi Fellas themselves. Its meaning was never explained to us, but it was mostly honked at the end of one of The Man's more obscure ramblings or in a reply to one of his disgusting "acolites". Biffo signed the Long Chin Of What You Fancy strips with the moniker "Nub" and can also be seen in the Digi Fellas' portrait "wearing" a T-shirt reading "Nub Club", so presumably it became something of an early trademark of his.
That is what greeted the announcement that Digi were about to drop the Atari ST chart. ST owners were the Amiga-dullards of their day. MESSAGE TO AMIGA OWNERS: Do you remember how annoying the ST whingers were with their protestations that their machine was still a viable format, even though it was clearly dead? Well that's what you were like.
Every year over the chrimbly-period Digi run a pantomime, which is usually a spin on your average well-known fairy tales. Except that they tend to star washed-up actors that were strangely popular in their day, oddly named secondary cast members, as well as the ubiqoutous characters out of EastEnders. It's always something to look forward to.
One year it was actually set in Albert Square:
SCENE 2 - CAMERA PANS ACROSS THE SQUARE TO THE FOWLER'S HOME. CUT TO INSIDE OF FOWLER HOUSEHOLD - ARTHUR FOWLER IS SITTING IN HIS CHAIR WITH SOMETHING RESEMBLING COPYDEX SMEARED AROUND HIS MOUTH -
P. Fowler: "Are you alright, Arthur?"
A. Fowler: "Christmas club: I... love it!"
There have been many occasions when idiots have taken exception to the review scores that Digi have given games (especially Sonic 3). They moan about the fact that something got 93%, when in their opinion it should have got 94%. Surely you can see the mess-up in this - what really is the difference between 93% and 94%, does it matter, and how the hell can you tell a 1% difference anyway? This is why Digi finally dropped percentages at the start of 2000 and reverted back to their favoured marks out of ten; wherein both of these scores would be 9/10. Digi apparently would've liked to have been able to do this sooner, if only to end the constant "you gave this game 95%, but it's below that game which you gave 94% in your best-of chart" whining, but it seems that something was preventing them from doing so. Was it you, mother?
In the week before Digi first when live the Digi fellas had a dry-run, working on a pilot that would never be broadcast. This was probaly for the best judging by the reports of their review of the pretty-but-dull Megadrive platformer "Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude". According to Biffo it contained the most appalling "surf-speak" imaginable. It would probably make even puffy jackets cringe.
The Man used to wear a pink beret atop his head, but mysteriously lost it following his resurrection. That's it - I don't have anything else to say about it. Except that after his lateset relaunch it's back again. Huzzah!
CTW (that's Computer Trade Weekly, love) have on many occassions accused Digi of nicking their news. I don't know how true that is, and I wouldn't like to comment on it, but... no I'm not going to.
Steady on son, there's no need to go getting all in a froth, now. I don't mean like THAT. More the "exposure" that this lovely site has had on Digi. Since Super Page 58 went live in December of 1997 it has had numerous mentions on Digi. At the time of writing my ego has been bolstered on approximately nine lovely occasions, most surreally (for me) when the updating of the site made it into the news round-up trough. I'm excellent!
At the beginning of each year Digi usually make a number of predictions about what's coming our way in the next 12 months. A lot of them have turned out to be surprisingly accurate, while those that have not, have not.
Short for "Puffy Jacket", the weird social misfits that Digi brought to our attention. Find out about their vileness here.
It is unclear exactly how Digi feel about the best band in the world, but the keen-eyed among you may well have spotted referrences to a number of their songs. Most recently the Digi Awards were apparently "sponsored by Michael Stipe and his pop band R.E.M.", as well as album titles appearing atop the letters page. Also, Wired Child once quoted many lines from World Leader Pretend ("This is my world, and I am world leader pretend"), as well as the lyrics to the happy-fest that is Stand appearing atop page 174 ("Stand in the place where you live - now face north, think about direction, wonder why you haven't before"). Incidentally both songs are from their fantastic 6th album from 1988, Green, meaning that Digi are "proper" fans, and know more than just four songs. You people know who you are.
On quite a number of occassions Digi have announced that they were to relaunch, being heralded by a hot topic on the subject of what readers would like to see on it. It didn't really make much difference - all that ever changed were the contents and review summary pages. It was here that the Gamma 7 incident took place (see April Fool). Another potential new name was that of "IRON WRIST", which makes sense if you think about it for about half an hour. Unfortunately, doing so doesn't make the name any more good. Thanks to Stephen Craig for that.
Although there are a good many people in the industry that quite literally hate Digi, there are also a number that respect both what they do, and how they do it. That is to say, they like that they give unbiased opinions and reviews. Yes they do, so shut up.
The use of the reveal has long been a sacred part of the Digi idium, to which they have made their own. Used primarily on the letters page it imparts valuable words to the viewer, and treats them to the marvel of some startling images. It's so renowned that famous people pop up from time to time too, introducing us to Inspector Morse and his extended family, as well as other stars of stage and screen such as Mr. T and the cast of EastEnders! Beeeeeeaaaaaallllllllleeeee!!!!!!!
A long time ago, the powers that be at Teletext Heights granted Digi the use of an extra page, giving them page 177 to do with as they saw fit. This page was then used exclusively to host competitions, one of which was to win famous movie cyber-nark Robocop's very own smashed-up car. Hold me down, daddy, I'm shaking!
In his life outside of Digi, Biffo has a number of projects writing scripts for the various strange things that he thinks up. He wrote a pilot for a cartoon version of The Snakes, in which they go to see the Rapping Shoe in concert, which although very good in my plebelium-like opinion, has been discarded. Biffo has cited one of the reasons as being the introduction of Ali G, the only good thing about the Biffo-plagiarising (a lot of evidence for this), feeble attempt at satire that is Channel 4's The 11 O'Clock Show, the host of which, Iain "I have two 'i's in my first name" Lee, oh-so-wanted to be Chris Morris. Other scripts made known to us include a more adult series, North Of Watford, and the quite literally excellent Knife & Wife, a fantastically surreal and funny version of the cartoon strips of the same name that he's been drawing for years. This has now entered development boasting an all-star cast (Kevin Eldon, Jessica Stevenson, Paul Putner, and - in a real coup - Terry Jones), with a view to it being screened in the autumn as part of Channel 4's Comedy Lab strand. I honestly cannot wait to see what promises to be a new cult clasic of a cartoon!
As you are no doubt aware, Digi used to award a prize of a year's subscription to one Future's magazines to the winner of the Hot Topic. Usually this would go to the "best" letter on the subject, although once it was given to a letter which simply read: "And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't've been for you pesky kids!" - you know - the ending to every episode of Scooby Doo ever. It helped that most of the other entries were less than inspired, but you can see their reasoning - I'd certainly have made that the winner!
On many occassions Digi have described how there is always a corner of the floor at computer trade shows that perpetually smells of sick. This is usually in a place where the floor covering is loose, and was thought to be restricted to Olympia, Lon-don, but was found to have followed the convention when it upped sticks and moved to another venue. Frightening.
One of the other really good compys that Digi did involved you having to write a song, to which the chorus had to be "Ooh-I-Eeh, Ooh-I-Aah, Digitise-Eeh, Digitise-Aah". The results were never shown, which is either the biggest pity ever, or, knowing the "talents" of most Digi correspondents, quite a relief. Still... it would've been worth a look.
In the early days the Digi fellas were what could be termed "trade show virgins". Having never visited one before they were unaware that only the PR gents wear suits - games journos tended to resemble the man on the roundabout that shouts at passing traffic, gin-bottle in hand. They were subsequently ignored by pretty much everyone.
The only time that something other than a game has appeared in the "in our slot this week" crevice at the weekend, was the debut album by groovy Oxford beat-combo Supergrass; "I Should Coco".
There was a time when the image of the swan was as common on Digi as those stupid "Speed King"/"Vault Raider" ads. They were made famous on the letters page as reveal-o's, and would appear in many an interseting situation, or with some great advice. They were universally loved, but alas there has been no sign of any swan for some time. Somebody did write in fairly recently asking to see a swan, to which Digi replied: "we haven't done a swan in ages. Press REVEAL to see one now"! But this was just a cruel joke, as a picture of a carrot appeared instead. Apparently they had all died - what a waste of swans. Moc-moc-a-moc!
Some bloke that used to constantly write to Digi (I can't for the life of me remember who, although Stephen Craig informs that it might've been Alex Seymour) would sign his letters off with "That is all. I read you every day", which became his catchprhase. This prompted others to write in with variants of it designed to poke fun at him, which of course were hilarity incarnate. No, really.
In the bizarre world of Digi, trampkind is adored, with the funny little guys themselves being almost revered as demi-gods. On a number of occasions Digi have informed us of how a) great, or b) fun tramps are. See this, dolt: "It isn't particularly pretty, but neither are tramps, and you can have all sorts of fun with those guys!", "That's the last time we give a tramp love bites." Why, they seem to like them so much, that they even created the ultimate epitaph to the Strongbow-guzzling smellstons: a character in their honour, in Strangelove The Tramp. You can find out about him: here.
A very long time ago now, Digi used to wheel-out the Comics Trolley occassionally at the weekend. Obviously fuelled by Biffo's love of the medium, it was nevertheless strange for a games-mag in that it didn't have anything to do with games. Nope, they simply indulged their love of comics and had a quick flick through some new ones, saying if they were any "good".
When Digi reviewed Batman Returns for the Mega CD they were so perplexed by the startling differences in quality between the platform-jumpy bits, and the car-o-drive sections that they decided to treat it as two different games. Thus it effectively got two seperate reviews, and two seperate scores. The platform bit got 6/10 and the driving bit 8/10. So there you go.
Ah, intrigue! One of the founders of Digi, Mr Hairs, was forcibly "walked out" of the operation at Teletext under "less than amicable circumstances". No idea where he is now, and other than his book-ing exploits (which shed some light on the subject - Teletext Ltd. are described as "Repellent" in Frost On My Moustache), we haven't heard any news on him for the long time. Mr Hairs: are you out there?
The standard reply given to those dull letters from dull people obsessed with telling us about dull hardware specifications, the latest box of wires to "light their load", or Amiga owners harping on about how Quake is available for their system. Digi don't care. I don't care. Nobody cares! WRITE IN = DON'T.
The first Digi review that I can recall was of the Turtles game "Hyperstone Heist" for the Megadrive, back when the marking system was out of 5. It was declared to be okay: "Er, um... we don't like Turtles... but the game is good". What about tortoises?
Back when Digi started out, they would award the occassional prize to letters that they felt were deserving of the honour. This prize was the prize of the photographs of ITV weathermen prize. How they managed to get such a large supply of said images is unclear, and unless they were being handed out by the crate-load, I don't really want to think about how Digi went about getting them. They included all the greats of ITV weather forecasting, including That Welsh Bint, The Guy With The Geled-up Hair, and The Other Ones. Come on, you don't know their names, either do you? It's ITV for Christsakes, and who watches that other than stout-pickled miners with a conviction for battery?
That is what one of their old regular corespondents, Boogie is. He's from the Rhonda Valley, man!
When Digi get some praise from a reader they're not exactly what you would call modest. We're so great is usually the lone reply to such letters, most recently from people agreeing with their hype-ignoring review of Nintendo's epic "girls are rubbish" RPG, Zelda 64. They have, however been known to utter "we love you too, love", and similar variants. Mostly though they just stick with the narcicism which is all a part of the whole Digi experience. I certainly wouldn't change it.
One of Digi's least-insulted corespondents, Patrick Grady, doesn't write in very often anymore. When he did recently, his letter recieved the reply of "why you no write no more, Grady"? Incidentally, he's out there somewhere, and helped out the bloke that run's fellow Digi fan-site, the rather lovely Page 670 with a bit of info. Grady - why you gone way?
The eyed-up amongst you may have noticed that Paul "Mr Biffo" Rose "does" the weekly kids cartoon for Teletext which follows the adventures of Turner The Worm. This was first realised after the GamesMaster incident where they failed to refer to him as Mr. Biffo. I can remember thinking of it fondly, but have hardly looked at the thing for ages since Glug The Slug went to live on another planet. The great thing about it was (is?) that it carries the Mr Biffo humour, with, while not Digi-levels of surreality, some pretty amusing stuff in it's stories nonetheless.
Plus, some of the characters were great, especially those from the parodies of films and TV shows. For example, the EastEnders connection struck again in the tale entitled "The Curse Of Frankenpatcabs". Albert-Square-O-guys out there will of course know that this refers to the cab company run by Pat Butcher, and her husband "Frank" (Rickeeeeeeeeeeeee!). For the record, the best of the film-me-do's was The Worminator, in which a homicidal worm cyborg, constructed by Turner's nemisis Otto Matik, attempted to eradicate the hermaphroditic one, only for him to be saved by "Kylie Leech". You'll have to take my word for it.
Do you know of any important moments from the annals of Digi history that have been omitted? If they're much cop, then mail me with them, man. Credit will be duly given for anything that's not rubbish and gets put up.
Copyright © Chris Bell 1997. All Rights Lovingly Fondled.