The Oliver Twins

History contents


In under two years we had gone from being paid £200 for a game to receiving seemingly endless royalties. We were working the best part of 18 hours a day but were on a high and as our profile rose the "Oliver Twins - Whizz Kids" press stories started to appear.

Codemasters had had great success with BMX Simulator but we thought that the game format could be improved if it were car racing, as that was a more appealing image to most people. So Grand Prix Simulator was born. While we were writing it Atari released Super Sprint into the arcades and sold the computer game rights to Activision. Needless to say, GPS being an overhead racing game looked very similar to Super Sprint and Activision served a legal notice

on Codemasters saying we had copied it and that it must be withdrawn from sale.

However, the Darlings knew it was just BMX Simulator with cars, so they didn't take it off the market. Quite the opposite - they encouraged the press to comment, knowing it would only help sales. It worked, and the game went on to sell over 250,000 copies. Usually No.1 best sellers sold around the 100,000 mark so this was a runaway success.

The next game we created was to be the first in a long line of titles starring our original character Dizzy, based on a cute little character who had to explore a strange magic kingdom solving problems.

We sold this as "The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure". The name came from his main attribute which was rolling, and therefore he would always be dizzy. Why an egg? Because he was easy to draw!

Our graphics package Panda Sprites had the ability to rotate an image through any number of degrees and save it out. In those days that was a cool feature so we thought we'd include a cart-wheeling character in our new game. The only problem was that a character of any detail broke up too much during this process so we decided to keep it simple, and maybe that's part of its charm. Sales were slow at first, but Dizzy did catch on...

Go to 1987 continued...

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