Martin O’Gorman of Xfm summed the loss up well when he tweeted, ‘RIP Ceefax. Gone the way of cassettes, 8-track and the ZX Spectrum.’ Amen.
As Ceefax and Teletext take their place in the great technology warehouse in the sky, I can’t help but join in the wave of nostalgia that seems to have gripped the nation.
True, I haven’t actually used either service for years now, but that’s not the point. I still have fond memories of sitting in front of the big, black box of a TV as a child, my mind blown by the mechanics of real-time information.
Thanks to Ceefax and Teletext, it seemed, you could do anything. With a simple click of the remote it was possible to check the weather, read the news, find the lottery numbers or play a game.
As a child, I was constantly glued to the (now rather primitive looking) TV guide, which neatly summarised what was going to happen in each episode of EastEnders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. It was the subtitle function, however, which somehow impressed me the most, and left me in awe of the genius behind these text-based services.
Gone, but not forgotten
Now, of course, we can do all these things and more, thanks to the Internet. We no longer have to endure poor quality graphics (although I’ll admit, I miss the way you could make Teletext transparent and watch the TV through it). Nor do we have to wait impatiently for the page to load, or sit through the whole cycle again if we accidentally miss a bit. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not sad to lose the following:
Bamboozle: Teletext’s Trivia quiz game required players to select multiple choice answers using the four coloured keys on the remote. Fans may be glad to know that it’s now possible to download Bamboozle for iPhone, but somehow, without the remote, the app just isn’t quite the same.
Turner the Worm: He wiggled his way across our screens on a regular basis, encountering far more adventure in a few minutes than your average creepy crawly would in a lifetime. Now immortalised in his very own Turner the Worm GIFs, our pixelated friend lives on. If only it were possible to erase the disturbing memory of the time that Turner the Worm was sick (a pretty controversial ‘Reveal-O’ from Teletext magazine Digitiser).
Page Numbers: Looking back, Ceefax seems like a wonderful Internet-book hybrid. Yes, you could access all sorts of real-time information, but you needed to know the page number first. Think you can remember which numbers led to which information? Take the Dollymix text TV quiz to find out just how much of an expert you are.
What do you think? Will you miss Ceefax and Teletext, or is it time to move on?
Image by Rutlo via Flickr