Following it’s release the first Dizzy game – Dizzy: The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure – was so popular that it lead to a full franchise which became one of the most successful European computer game brands of the 1980′s. This is my first article in a series exploring the games that have had the biggest impact on me since I first started gaming over 20 years ago.
In this current console generation it is common to have large development teams working non-stop for two or more years to produce the games that you will then spend your evenings or weekends playing. However it didn’t always used to be this way. In-fact the culture that we are now seeing with some mobile games is how console games were originally being developed.
Just over 25 years ago the Oliver Twins were developing game after game whilst working from a bedroom in their parent’s house. They were often working 18 hour days but their enthusiasm for what they were doing and the continual demand for more games kept them going. In 1986 the twins started developing games for a new company called Codemasters who are now one of the longest surviving British developers.
A year later (1987 – coincidentally the year I was born) the Oliver Twins came up with their idea for Dizzy. The design of the character (an egg) was chosen primarily because they needed a simple character model so that they could rotate it (without distortion) using their graphics package.
For those unfamiliar with the Dizzy games, they were platforming games (excluding the spin-offs), with puzzle solving and plenty of head scratching. Dizzy was one of the first games I played (alongside Postman Pat – I was only a few years old) and it helped kick-start my love for platforming/adventure games.
In games today there are certain features expected such as automatic checkpoints and being able to save your progress manually. However this was not possible in the days of Dizzy. This meant having to play through the games in a single sitting and resulted in deaths much more punishing than they are today.
A standout memory of mine from the Dizzy games is of my sister (who wasn’t much of a gamer) who had managed to get to the end of one of the games only to be told to go back and collect all the cherries. Soon after she met her demise at the hands (or rather wings) of a bat. Suffice to say she didn’t play that game again.
Last year, one of the Dizzy games (Prince of the Yolkfolk) received a facelift which was released on Android and iOS. If this article has piqued your interest then I would heavily recommend getting the game and seeing what you think. The controls can be a little clunky and it definitely runs smoother on tablets rather than phones but it was great being able to play a pretty faithful recreation of the original Prince of the Yolkfolk.
Otherwise there are countless fan tribute games that have been created, so that the original Dizzy’s can still be enjoyed by people today.
The Oliver Twins were incredibly influential in their gaming generation, today’s equivalent of Bleszinki (Gears of War) or Kojima (Metal Gear Solid). Adventure/Puzzle games are starting to make a mini return with the likes of Ron Gilbert and others experimenting with the crowd funding service KickStarter. Let’s hope this is a sign of a resurgence in Adventure gaming.
This is the first of a series of articles where I’ll be exploring the games that had the biggest impact on me since I first started gaming over 20 years ago.
Do you have any fond memories of Dizzy? What were the most influential games that you played? Comment below and let me know!