The Oliver Twins

History contents

1989 continued...

The arrival of the CD player gave an alternative to cassettes for loading games. You could increase the data rate due to the quality of reproduction on a CD. Codemasters' large catalogue of games could all fit on to one CD and load really quickly.

It didn't sell well as it soon became apparent that the kind of people to own CD players at that time had moved on to the Atari ST or Amiga.

One of the programmers at Codemasters had just finished converting Pro Ski Simulator to the Atari ST & Amiga. He was programming a test game to run on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which whilst not popular in Europe was incredibly successful in America with over 20 million sales, compared to the Spectrum which was around one million. With the help of some electronic engineers at Codemasters we developed a simple version of Treasure Island Dizzy on the NES. The development kit was very basic and didn't allow much memory or graphics. However, it was received well by the trade when shown at CES in Las Vegas in 1990.

Codemasters decided to improve the development kits and wanted two games at first. They decided to convert their two best-sellers - Fantasy World Dizzy and Grand Prix Simulator. Obviously both would be dramatically improved and we were not going to be able to do both. So we decided that Andrew should do Grand Prix Simulator while a few others set out to do a BIG Dizzy game - The Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy.

It was time to move into Codemasters to use these new NES development kits. We bought a flat in Leamington Spa and teamed up with some artists and programmers at Codemasters to create Dizzy's best game ever for the Americans. Codemasters were expanding rapidly. They owned a farmhouse in the village of Southam. Some out-buildings had been converted into small offices and they were forever seeking planning permission for extensions and conversions. Unfortunately, the population was out-growing the space and a portacabin village grew up in the back garden! For the next year we were to work from one of these makeshift offices.

The problem with a portacabin is that you are very exposed to the elements. In the winter there were times we thought we'd be swept away like the scene from the Wizard of Oz while in the summer they became unbearable ovens and we'd be working with sweat running down our faces. Work wasn't much fun, it was slow and the working environment was bad, but there was a much better social life. The original Codemasters team had money, could organise themselves and generally we all had a really good time.

While we wanted to write on the new exciting Nintendo console, Codemasters still needed to support its home market, so we worked with some independent development companies to continue the Dizzy series.

Go to 1990

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