The Oliver Twins

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The Codemasters Years

Full of enthusiasm and ready to take on the best, we started contacting every leading publisher about our latest game ideas. There was only one way to go and that was up...

We met David & Richard Darling at ECTS in September 1986. They had had great success by writing games for Mastertronics but now they wanted to go it alone. They had a small stand at the show to promote their new company Codemasters. We were impressed that here was a publisher where the directors were programmers and understood what it takes to write a game. They were impressed by our games and wanted to work with us on a game called Super Robin Hood. The amazing thing was that they estimated a sales figure of 100,000

copies and offered us royalties of 10p per copy - that was £10,000!

Although we were both filled with enthusiasm to write the game, we only had one computer between us at this point so it had to be shared. We were still working in a bedroom in our parents' house and our schedule was to do programming for 23 hours per day, with two breaks of half an hour to allow it to cool! We worked in shifts for 18 hours per day, seven days a week, eating while we worked. During the periods when we were both awake one had to prepare their code on paper, whilst the other used the computer. It was all worth the effort though because within a month we'd scored our first number one charting game. Following this success Codemasters wanted us to write more games as soon as possible!

Being big fans of the film Ghostbusters and haunted houses from TV shows like Scooby Doo we wanted to write a game where the idea was to rid a mansion of its ghosts by running around zapping them. We had been very impressed by the animating man sprite in Impossible Mission and wanted to include something similar in our game

Ghost Hunters. By using freeze-frame on a video recorder we worked out how to animate the character frame-by-frame.

On finishing the Amstrad version the Darlings sent us a Spectrum and said "put it on that and we'll pay you another £10,000". At that point the concept of sleep was fading fast and in another couple of weeks we'd mastered the new computer and completed our first Spectrum game! Both versions of Ghost Hunters went to No. 1 in their respective charts.

When the Spectrum turned up with its rubbery keys and infuriating code input rules it was all too much. We wanted to be able to continue writing games on our Amstrad but produce them for the Spectrum as well so we called on a couple of friends, David Jones* & Ivan Link, to create a cable to link the two machines. This enabled us to write Spectrum games on our Amstrad.

Go to 1987

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