Alex Garland - Digitiser's most famous fan

Digitiser launched when the UK's new commercial Teletext service took over from its predecessor, Oracle, on 1 January 1993. Against all predictions, it was of course a success of lewdly engorged proportions, running for many joyfully subversive, funnee years. During this time, Alex Garland - who would go on to write and direct the likes of '28 Days Later' and 'Ex Machina' - became a fan, winning the competition 'Digitiser = Filth' and naming a chapter in his novel 'The Beach' after a Digi catchphrase, along the way.

As their most high profile supporter, it seemed natural for Mr Biffo to invite him to pen a tribute piece to Digi come the time of its tenth birthday in 2003. The loving words below are echoed by the thousand...


Alex Garland has written two best-selling novels - The Beach and The Tesseract - and the screenplay for the recent hit zombie romp 28 Days Later.

However, perhaps his greatest feat was once winning a Digitiser competition by photographing a friend standing atop an Indonesian temple, whilst holding up a sign reading "DIGITISER = FILTH".

He is, simply, the biggest Digitiser zealot we've ever met. So much so that he kindly paid unique tribute for our 10th anniversary. Here come his words.

Mr Biffo, the primary writer of Digitiser for these past 10 years, has a place in the Video Game Hall Of Fame. He is in the section set aside for mythic and subversive figures.

His space is flanked by memorials to Matthew Smith and Jeff Minter, and his statue stands as tall as theirs.

It should be noted that he is the only person in the Hall Of Fame who is not a programmer, a designer, or a character in a game.

The area of the Video Game Hall Of Fame set aside for mythic and subversive figures is lit dimly, as if by candles. Mr Biffo's statue is positioned in an alcove, and his face is almost obscured in shadow.

Peer hard into the shadow, and you may just make out the recesses of his eyes.

They appear to be red-rimmed - though perhaps the colour is just a trick of the light. The longer you stand with Mr Biffo, the better your sight becomes adjusted to the darkness.

In Mr Biffo's lapel is a single rose. In one of his hands is a bottle of gin, nearly empty.

In the other hand is a control pad, from which a cable winds down to the carcasses of consoles that are scattered around his feet.

In these carcasses, coiled around the disk trays and cartridge slots, are snakes. Kneel down, crouch closer, and you might believe you can hear them cussing each other.

The mythic and subversive don't get as many visitors as others in the Hall of Fame. The queue for Sid Meier's atrium goes round the block, and a visit to the Miyamoto shrine is impossible without a reservation.

Yet there are several names in Biffo's rememberance book. Recently, he has been visited by Hollywood legend Kathleen Turner, and Mafia kingpin Adam Capone.

If you flick through the pages, other names appear. Borg2002, Julia Farmer, Dantendo, and Stuart Hardy who appears to have messed up his signature.

More pages, more names. Stuart Campbell, Mr Hairs. The inky paw print of a dog, blurred with tears, the mark of a trotter, stamped down with such force that the paper is indented.

Some of the signatories have left messages. "Dave" has written that this is, in all sincerity, the very best statue he has ever seen.

Someone else has written a diatribe that extends for several scrawled paragraphs, which explains in passionate terms that Sonic 3 was worth a good deal more than 72%.

You add your own name, your own comment, and close the rememborance book. You turn to go and discover there is someone behind you.

He has been standing quietly, watching you for the last few minutes. In his hands is a reversible sedgewick. A little startled, you confront the man. You ask him who he is.

"Alex Seymour," he replies, then shrugs. "That is all." He comes here every day.


Do you know of any important moments from the annals of Digi history that have been omitted? If so, then mail me ( right now, man. Credit will be duly given for anything that gets put up.