Remember Bad Influence!? Remember Games Master? Remember Digitiser...?!?
They don’t make video game TV like they used to. In fact, they barely make video game TV at all anymore. These days it’s all shrieking millennials and Let’s Play clips, or two blokes in a pretend bedroom surrounded by anime figurines, or celebrities pretending to remember what a Barcode Battler is.
It’s time we got the sort of gaming show we’ve always wanted, but which broadcasters are too scared to make - and that YouTube isn't offering.
Digitiser: The Show will be a magazine format gaming show that puts the emphasis on never-getting-too-serious, while still taking the time to explore the topics we think need addressing...
Who was better - Sega or Nintendo? What went so badly wrong with the Atari Jaguar? Is Mario sexist or sexy? Who would win in a fight between Solid Snake and Lara Croft? Why does Sonic wear gloves? Why was the Commodore 64 so brown? Which games character must have the worst case of PTSD? Are Hungry Horace and Q*Bert the same species?
This won’t be the sort of cheap-and-cheerful fare you typically find on YouTube channels; Digitiser: The Show aims to be a full-blooded gaming series, utilising professionals with decades of broadcasting experience to bring you something that will stand out as high quality – while being utterly unique, utterly bonkers, and utterly compelling.
We’ll have ridiculous interviews with celebrity gamers, absurd challenges and on-location features (recreating Pac-Man, Pilotwings and Metal Gear Solid in real life, playing Way Of The Exploding Fist while strapped to some electrodes, trying to make a replica of Sonic out of a pineapple and some blue paint...), plus a whole heap of retro-gaming silliness, all wrung through the filter of Digitiser's distinct, and unpredictable, style.
Whether you were an Amiga owner, Speccy fan, SNES head or 3DO survivor, we want to make you laugh, tell you things you never knew, and tickle your nostalgia bone, all at the same time.
And what's more - we'll also be in the nude!!!!!!
(PLEASE NOTE: We won't be in the nude)
In short, Digitiser: The Show will be imbued with the same anarchic, surreal spirit as its fondly-remembered teletext namesake, albeit anchored by proper gamers who know their Chop Chop Master Onions. Importantly, it'll always come back to the games you remember.
It'll be colourful, over-the-top and full of character - indeed, characters - hosted by a panel of gaming veterans who believe you're never too old to rub your flanks with a Quickshot Pro.
If you've seen the YouTube series Mr Biffo's Found Footage, rest assured that Digitiser: The Show won't descend into the same sort of challenging narrative nonsense - we want this to have a broad appeal, and be a game show that everyone can watch... Yes, we'll be looking at old stuff - but it will be done in a style that feels new and fresh.
However, the scale and ambition of Found Footage (especially the finale, The Trojan Arse Protocol) should reassure you that Biffo - who has more than 20 years experience working in the TV industry, and has been writing about games for a quarter of a century - knows how to get the most out of a budget, and produce a professional-looking gaming show that's like nothing else.
Let's face it, this is the project he was born to fulfil.
HOW MANY EPISODES ARE YOU DOING?
It'll be a season of at least six regular 20-minute-ish eps, a secret episode for backers, plus a special episode that will be filmed before a live audience.
We see this Kickstarter as a way to get the ball rolling, and hope that we will be able to continue beyond the initial run - but this is where it all starts.
WHO'S MAKING THIS?
It’s being shepherded by Paul Rose – known to a generation of British gamers as Mr Biffo, the twisted mastermind behind the vast majority of Digitiser, the legendary teletext games magazine.
When he’s not writing about video games on his Digitiser2000 blog or in Retro Gamer magazine, Biffo is a successful children’s TV writer – with BAFTA nominations to his name and everything. Furthermore, he's written for tons of magazines, including a long-running column for Edge.
As mentioned above, in 2017 he put together Mr Biffo’s Found Footage – a challenging, surreal and boundary-pushing comedy series for YouTube, which taught him many of the production skills he’ll be needing on Digitiser: The Show. Suffice to say, Biffo will be calling upon the services of many of behind-the-scenes crew who worked with him on the Found Footage finale.
Alongside Biffo will be a team of co-hosts that includes the brilliant Gameplay Jenny, whose Let's Play videos and wry humour are winning her a legion of fans, plus the legendary Larry Bundy Jr - who should need no introduction as one of the biggest icons in retro gaming today - and the ever-amusing Paul Gannon, who you might know from Cheapshow and Barshens, and an appearance on Games Master (where he lost a game of Duck Hunt...).
Lastly, but not leastly, up-and-coming YouTube sensation Octavius Kitten will be on hand to help us out with her encyclopaedic knowledge of gaming... and to stand-in when Mr Biffo's knees and back give out.
The hosts will be joining in on the debates, challenges and the abject madness... alongside a roster of very special guests.
Expect a stellar array of games-loving folk passing through, including (subject to availability) Ashens, DJ Slope, Kim Justice, and Nostalgia Nerd, plus Edinburgh comedy award nominee Imran Yusuf, writer and presenter Danny Wallace, and TV legends Violet Berlin and Big Boy Barry.
WHAT WILL THE SHOW BE LIKE?
In part, that's going to be down to how much we raise, but whatever version we end up with is going to be grounded in our core presenters and guests, lively gaming debate, old game challenges, full-blown features, and ridiculous competitions. It'll be unpredictable, anarchic and unique.
In one segment our presenters might challenge one another to identify esoteric items of gaming hardware, the next they'll drag their celebrity guests into the madness as they strive to secure their place atop our gaming leaderboard with a blindfolded gaming challenge, before doing needlessly dangerous things while attempting to get high scores on weird old games systems, and then asking whether Ultimate Play The Game was better than Rare.
We're being slightly cagey about revealing too much, in part because we don't want to commit to some of our grander ideas before we know we can afford them, but whatever happens... we guarantee you'll be entertained by a show that's defiantly it's own beast.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
Because, simply, it's long overdue, and nobody else can do it like we do.
The Internet is awash with retro gaming channels, but few feel like actual shows. We're of the belief that even with a limited budget - and we sincerely hope that with your generosity it won't be too limited - our ambition, and our tongue-in-cheek style, is going to make this stand-out among the morass. We want every episode to feel like an event.
We might not be able to compete with broadcasters in terms of lobbing money at Digitiser The Show, but we've got tons of experience, tons of contacts, and a massive heap of creativity and enthusiasm.
Furthermore, the reputation and personality of those involved, and the much-loved Digitiser brand, is already going to carry us a lot further than most other online efforts.
Digitiser: The Show will be like nothing else, while simultaneously feeling like the old friend you’d forgotten.
It’s retro gaming TV as it ought to be done. You're going to love it.
WHERE'S YOUR MONEY GOING?
Well. Firstly, we need to pay Kickstarter a share. Then there are the costs associated with fulfilling all the rewards you'll be getting... all those manufacturing costs, plus the cost of sending them out. That's a big chunk swallowed up.
After that, whatever is left over will be up on screen. How much we raise will, obviously, affect what you see. Bare minimum... it'll be the core panel, plus guests, talking games, playing games, and doing daft things in a studio, joined by a cast of slightly strange characters. However, we hope we can go bigger, because - frankly - we all want a proper gaming telly show, and this might be our one and only opportunity to get one.
Making TV shows at a professional level is pricey no matter what. There's the cost of studio and equipment hire, paying a crew to operate all of that equipment - and that's before we get to all of the associated costs with this being a gaming show. There's tech stuff that we need. We also hope to build an iconic and brilliant set - so there's that as well.
We'll also be shooting on location when affordable, and some of the segments we have planned - budget dependent - are big, cinematic, and ambitious. That, again, requires paying for people and equipment. Then there are costs like travel, accommodation, catering, location hire... all things that we learned on Mr Biffo's Found Footage can add up quickly.
However, something we also learned on Found Footage is how to make a relatively small budget go a long way. We'll be budgeting sensibly, and whatever happens, however much we raise, we'll be making something which looks and feels like nothing else.
WHY AREN'T WE DOING THIS ON THE CHEAP?
Well, we might yet be...! However, there are many brilliant creators out there on YouTube, but it feels like we've reached saturation point when it comes to the whole one-person-and-a-camera-talking-over-game-clips thing. We don't feel it's fair to ask you to pay for more of the same, so we're going to be doing something different.
Plus, as mentioned above, isn't it time we got a proper show about games? Without a broadcaster willing to fund it, that's only going to be possible if we do this together.
Yep. We've got stretch goals planned. Big ones. Stupid ones. Big, crazy, stupid ones that you won't want to miss.
We'll be releasing them in stages as we reach funding milestones - and the first one as soon as we hit our initial target.
And here's the first one...
If we're fortunate enough to reach £12,000 we'll be employing Britain’s foremost Mr T impersonator to appear on the show in a regular role, keeping people away from his bins!
We've doubled our original goal! And to say thank you, this weekend Mr Biffo is going to film himself eating an entire bowl of goujons covered in Goujon John's horrible Goujon Poupon, and share it with you while talking about Digitiser The Show.
Yep. That's right. If we manage to raise £20,000 we'll be doing a special episode for Christmas, with tons of Christmas gaming nonsense, and a lovely, festive feel.
Do you remember how, at the end of Bad Influence!, they would feature a load of text which you could only read if you'd recorded the show, and paused it? It was called the Datablast, and for the time was rather revolutionary. If we make it to £23,000 we'll feature our very own Datablast at the end of every episode of Digitiser The Show - full of text containing info, nonsense, and other stuff that we couldn't fit into the episode!
Will this never end?!? £25,000 is going to get you a spooky Halloween Special episode of Digitiser The Show - full of the most terrifying gaming nonsense you could ever imagine!!
Elon Musk has a stupid name, yet he was still able to send a car into space. Surely, with £30,000 in the budget, we should be able to launch a simple chicken goujon - or "tender", if you're American - into space, right? Yes: we're going to try to do it, and film the entire mission. We've got a plan, we've priced it up, and we reckon it's possible. Why is it called Goujons in Space 1? Because, if we raise enough, there's going to be a sequel...
Remember Destruction Derby on the PS1? What would it be like to play that for real, with real cars and real collisions? We want find out! If we can raise £40,000 we're going to host a special Digitiser Destruction Derby - with presenters and special guests taking part in an orgy of vehicular destruction that will appear in one of our episodes!
Sega's Super Monkey Ball was a game in which monkeys rolled around in big, clear, balls. Now imagine the Digitiser team were monkeys. Now imagine them inside big, clear, balls. Now give your imagination a rest - because if we reach £45,000 we'll be making this a reality!!!
How exactly do we intend to recreate - for real - a classic arcade game in which three giant monsters destroyed a city? Help us reach the £50,000 stretch goal and you'll be finding out!
Here's a hint at the other goals - full details if you're a backer!
Risks and challenges
We're confident that we've got a team of professionals who know how to put together something that's going to enthral and delight. We'll use your donation wisely to create a show that fully rewards your faith in us. The more we raise, the more ambitious we can be... And we've got some really ridiculous ambitions.
Availability of the guests, and the presenting team, is of course dependent on external factors, like... life, work, illness, and wasps. So while we're hopeful of getting everyone we want to appear on the show, there's always the chance somebody might have to drop out.
Also, we could get eaten by crocodiles.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)