‘Lemmings’ Celebrates Twenty Years at the Top

The pioneers of Scotland’s games industry have reunited in Dundee, to celebrate the anniversary of one of the world’s biggest selling computer games,‘Lemmings’.

The original team members of the Dundee based DMA Design, which went onto develop the legendary Grand Theft Auto, brought out the computer puzzle game Lemmings in 1991, which became one of the most popular games of its time.

Games giant, Dave Jones, will be joined by industry veterans, Gary Timmons, Mike Dailly and Russell Kay, to talk to audiences about the conception of the much loved game, and unveil a plaque at the original DMA office in Dundee, which became the birthplace of Scotland’s games industry, over twenty years ago.

Lemmings is renowned as one of the UK’s first global blockbusters, topping 55,000 copies on its first day, going onto pull in over 15 million sales. The game is also heralded as being the predecessor of the modern real-time strategy (RTS) video game genre, for introducing the‘indirect-control’ concept, an element now common in many RTS games.

The basic objective of the game is to rescue the Lemmings across 120 levels of fast-paced puzzling. These loveable creatures walk blindly through the world in the hope of reaching safety at the end of the level, which unfortunately include steep drops, gaps in the ground, barriers and rivers amongst other hazards.

Published by Psygnosis, Lemmings was originally developed for the Commodore Amiga and due to its huge popularity became available on a staggering 28 systems including Atari Lynx and ST, Nintendo’s NES, Game Boy, PlayStation 2 and 3 and Windows Mobile.

Considered a gaming classic, Lemmings repeatedly makes it into many of the industry’s ‘Best games of all time’ shortlists. 

Dave Jones comments:“Lemmings is one of those few games whose design has stood the test of time, and with versions being released on new generations of hardware, it continues to be enjoyed by players of all ages everywhere.

“Through today's event, the original team are sharing some of their experiences of the creation of Lemmings and passing on insights from the pioneering days of Dundee's local gaming industry.”

Gary Timmons, co-designer and animator of Lemmings, comments:“Initially I just wanted to get the original team together again to mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of Lemmings on 14th February 1991. However, as the game is so significant to the computer games industry in Dundee, the idea snowballed into a wider set of events including talks, exhibition of Lemmings items and a commemorative ceremony to mark the location of DMA Design's first offices in the Nethergate, where it all started.”

“We have received enthusiastic support from Interactive Tayside, the University of Abertay Dundee and McManus Galleries in Dundee. I am grateful for their help and encouragement during this time."

Games fans can still play the PC Windows version of Lemmings as well as the recently released versions for PSP and PS3.

The event comes on the back of this week’s launch of a new report on Scotland's games industry, which gives "compelling arguments for tax relief" after a Labour government proposal for a games industry tax break was cancelled by the coalition government in June 2010.

The report cited the fact that the sector operated in an uneven international playing field, disadvantaged by subsidies from governments overseas, notably France and Canada, and cheaper labour markets elsewhere.

Video games development is currently worth about£30m to the Scottish economy although the market is thought to be worth more than£55bn worldwide. Dundee, which plays a key part in the sector, is home to about 15 design companies.

The plaque unveiling takes place at 134b Nethergate, Dundee, at 4pm Monday 14th February 2011. Talks are in the Main Lecture Theatre, the University of Abertay Dundee, Bell Street, at 5pm, followed by a reception and exhibition at the UK Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education at the University.

Ends                                                                                                                                                                                 14 February 2011

For further information please contact: Stephanie Robertson, Weber Shandwick, T: 0131 556 6649 / M: 07809 665 773 / E: srobertson@webershandwick.com

Notes to Editors:

About Interactive Tayside

Interactive Tayside is a partnership between public, private and academic sectors to develop and promote Tayside's digital media industry. Digital media represents a key part of Tayside's economy and through Interactive Tayside, a local delivery mechanism has been established that aims to build the digital media industry in the area, encourage higher levels of collaboration between businesses and with academia, develop new commercial opportunities and promote the high-quality skills and talents of the area's digital media practitioners to a wide audience.

Historically, Tayside has always been a hot-bed of creative talent, particularly in the publishing, design and music industries and the area has always been renowned as a breeding ground for innovation and skills.

The area's two universities and three further education colleges carry out leading edge research and deliver innovative and high quality teaching across a wide range of digital media related subjects.  Every year, over 900 students, from over 50 different nationalities, graduate in digital media disciplines from the region's higher and further education institutions.

Enterprise is actively encouraged in Tayside by a flexible and dynamic support structure. Everything you need to develop your business or turn ideas into reality is available here from a variety of institutional and commercial sources. As you would expect from a centre with a renowned academic reputation, Research and Development and training and skills are thick on the ground for large and small businesses. With this support, Tayside continues to be a rich source of intellectual capital, media content and commercial opportunity.

The vision for the digital media industry in Tayside is to become ever more renowned for the standard of its creative and technical talents and skills, internationally recognised for the quality of its products and level of innovation, globally networked, and make an ever increasing contribution to the economy of the Tayside area and Scotland as a whole - establishing Tayside further as an international centre of excellence in digital media.

About the University of Abertay Dundee

Abertay University launched the world’s first ever computer games degree in 1997. This postgraduate Masters course was followed by a complementary undergraduate course, and later by specialist courses in production management and game applications development.

Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto creator Dave Jones studied at Abertay, and today co-creators Russell Kay and Mike Dailly run their successful studio YoYo Games from within the university.

http://www.abertay.ac.uk.

_ _ _

Stephanie Robertson

Associate Director

9 York Place

Edinburgh

UK

T 0131 556 6649

M 07809 665 773

F 0131 556 6741

srobertson@webershandwick.com

Edinburgh | Glasgow | Aberdeen | Inverness

Weber Shandwick

Advocacy starts here.

 


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