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Digitiser: The Game: Development

Part 8 - 29th November 2018

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Mr. Biffo has now received, and acknowledged, the script. Being preoccupied with something rather more important, it sits towards the bottom of his pile. The pressure above will hopefully form my coal-like lump of words into a rough diamond, though not literally, otherwise it would probably get cashed in for his post-burnout escape to Disneyland.

If the script should emerge with the Official Digitiser Seal of Quality, then the game is on. Otherwise, it goes back to pre-production, assuming that there's anything worth salvaging. Either way, expect a hefty update once judgement has been passed.

Which makes this a woefully anaemic entry for the regular readers of this ongoing experiment in variations of “it's still not finished”. Regular readers with excellent taste, obviously, who will love this month's diversion. It is about a curious little game, but more importantly, an astonishing comic about weird old sci-fi that used to be the television norm.

Clicky Click's Dungeon of Hand Drawn Computer Graphics

So here's a curious little game about a frustrated dolphin, early computer graphics, and a dungeon coffee shop. It's occasionally annoying, in the manner of old text adventures, but worth persevering for asides about marble textures and unstamped loyalty cards. The lo-fi sheen fails to conceal solid graphical construction, to the effect of Knightmare via David Rowe's cyan and magenta period.

What makes it stand out from most charming-but-brief illustrated adventure jobbies is the ZX Spectrum conversion, and a rather good one at that. It's a touch more responsive, and easier to read. The style is different enough to make it a complimentary experience, while adding another layer to the idea that computer graphics used to be foremost about clever technology; banal or strange subject matter chosen almost as an afterthought.

Giant Space Owl

If you liked Clicky Click, then its brevity may put you in a donations dilemma. Spare change seems fair enough encouragement for more of the same, but two hefty documents of legalese block the hapless busker's hat. If only they had made something bigger, like a comic, that would justify navigating such privacy-hassles to drop a more considered amount.

Giant Space Owl is still a work-in-progress, but I would gladly buy several copies at small press prices, especially if printed on rough paper. The spares would mysteriously appear in hospital waiting rooms, mostly those which haven't been refurbished since the 1980s.

It's a homage to strange British sci-fi bygones, and secure enough to tease out the plain stupid from the ethereal. The childlike sense of free association gently builds to internal coherence, and dramatic cliches are subverted with pointed jokes. Equally welcoming are the deceptively simple illustrations, so you might also take a while to register that some panels could be Alone in the Dark, except with pastel colours and a teapot hybrid.

So please, take a few moments to dip into Giant Space Owl, and discover if something so unashamedly esoteric is exactly what you never knew you were looking for. Then, between watching episodes of the Digitiser show, you could consider directing your surplus opinions to its creator, rather than adding more pressure to Mr. Biffo's piles.

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