Oliver Twins

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Oliver Twins
Andrew Nicholas Oliver and Philip Edward Oliver

(1967-10-01) 1 October 1967 (age 56)[1]
Trowbridge, England
Alma materClarendon School, Trowbridge
OccupationGame developers
Known forDeveloper of Dizzy series

Andrew Nicholas Oliver and Philip Edward Oliver, together known as the Oliver Twins, are British twin brothers and video game designers.

They developed computer games while they were still at school, contributing their first type-in game to a magazine in 1983. They worked with publishers Codemasters for a number of years following their first collaboration Super Robin Hood, creating the Dizzy series of games and many of Codemasters' Simulator Series games. In 1990 they founded Interactive Studios which later became Blitz Games Studios. In October 2013 they founded Radiant Worlds,[2] based in Leamington Spa, with long time friend and colleague Richard Smithies.


Philip and Andrew Oliver first began programming computer games while at school (Clarendon School in Trowbridge[3]). They discovered their interest in computing when their brother bought a used ZX 81 when they were 13. They bought a faster Dragon 32 in September 1982, with a bigger memory. They tried to improve the type-in games they found in magazines and eventually created their own game, Road Runner, which was published as written code in Computer and Video Games Magazine in January 1984.[4][5] The same year they won first prize in a national TV competition (The Saturday Show) to design a computer game.


Their first game for Codemasters, Super Robin Hood for the Amstrad CPC, was published in 1986. The Codemasters publishing relationship led to the origin of the Dizzy series and the Simulator series.

Interactive Studios (Blitz Games Studios)[edit]

In 1990, at the age of 22, they started Interactive Studios, later called Blitz Games Studios.[6] Apart from their own games, the Oliver Twins were also responsible for porting a number of other prominent games to the Sega platforms, including Theme Park and Syndicate.

After 23 years, Blitz Games folded in 2013, with the loss of 175 staff, and owing millions to creditors.[7]

Radiant Worlds[edit]

In October 2013 they founded Radiant Worlds,[2] based in Leamington Spa, UK, with long time friend and colleague Richard Smithies to develop SkySaga: Infinite Isles for Korean-based Smilegate. SkySaga was an ambitious online voxel based game based on an original concept by members of the Blitz Games Studios team. In August 2017 Smilegate put SkySaga on hold and the Olivers and Smithies put the company up for sale. In January 2018, Rebellion, a UK games developer and publisher, purchased the company and renamed it to Rebellion (Warwick).[8] The twins remained with Rebellion until February 2019, at which point they left to form a game consultancy business.[9]

Dizzy revival[edit]

In 2015 Philip Oliver found a hand drawn map titled Wonderland Dizzy while preparing for a talk the twins were due to give at that year's Play Blackpool event, after looking around further a disk was found which contained the full uncompiled source code of a game with the same name which they had written 22 years earlier for the NES but had forgotten about. The twins came into contact with Lukasz Kur via a Dizzy fansite, who fixed a few bugs in the game's code and translated it into a few languages before compiling it. The game was released online and free to play on 24 October 2015.[5][10][11][12] In 2016, they released a second lost Dizzy game, Mystery World Dizzy, which was originally scheduled for release on the Nintendo in 1993.[13] In May 2017 the twins announced they would be working on a new Dizzy game, their first for over 20 years.[14] In a fun video for the ZX Spectrum Next Kickstarter campaign they revealed the game would be inspired by the classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by author L. Frank Baum, and would be called Wonderful Dizzy.[15]


Both of the Olivers take an active role in supporting the UK games industry. Philip Oliver is one of the founders of developers' trade body TIGA and has served as an active board member (currently a director) since its inception in 2001.[16] He was also a director on the board for e-skills UK for several years.[17]

The brothers received honorary doctorates in 2008 from Coventry University (in business administration (DBA) and technology (DTech) for Philip and Andrew respectively) in recognition of their contribution to the growth of the electronic games industry both regionally and internationally,[6] and were honoured as Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010.[18]

After Philip attended the launch of the UK Government's Next Gen Report (also known as the Livingstone-Hope Report) in February 2011 about challenges faced by the UK Games industry, he established Made in Creative UK [19] which with Andrew they run as a not for profit campaign to raise awareness of the world class game developers and digital creatives developers based in the UK. The campaign has over 350 supporting companies and many high-profile supporters, including Sajid Javid MP (Culture Secretary & Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills).[20]

The Oliver Twins' early games and story inspired many people to develop video games as a career, and this was captured in Chris Wilkins and Roger Kean's book Let's Go Dizzy: The Story of the Oliver Twins,[21] published December 2016 through Fusion Retro Books.

A video shot at the launch of the book entitled Videogame Legends – Computerphile[22] prompted Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft, to tweet that he was one of those inspired by the Oliver Twins games: "I grew up loving and being inspired by their work."[23]

In December 2017 Guinness World Records awarded the Oliver Twins the record for "Most Prolific 8-bit videogame developers". They developed 26 different commercially released games for 8-bit computers and consoles from 1984-1992 and wrote a total of 49 games overall, taking into account titles released for multiple platforms.[24]

Games developed[edit]

Key to formats...

They are in order of release, the first in the list being the first and main version, from which others were derived.

Bold Designed and written by The Oliver Twins.

Plain Font Converted by other people to these formats.

Bold + Italic Converted to these formats by The Oliver Twins.

Later games (Developed after 1993)[edit]

Games created or published by Complex Software, Interactive Studios, Blitz Games Studios, and Radiant Worlds:

Radiant Worlds


  1. ^ "Philip Oliver at Company Check UK".
  2. ^ a b Develop
  3. ^ Clarendon School in Trowbridge
  4. ^ "UK-based Blitz Games Studios to close after 23 years". 13 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Philip Oliver (Codemasters) - Interview". Arcade Attack. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  6. ^ a b Lockley, Greg (16 August 2013). "Blitz Games Studios founders honoured by Coventry University". Mcvuk.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Creditors owed £2.2m after games firm collapse". 24 October 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Rebellion buys Radiant Worlds". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  9. ^ Taylor, Haydn (24 January 2019). "Oliver Twins leaving Rebellion to start own consultancy firm". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Classic NES Game 'Wonderland Dizzy' Thought Lost For 22 Years Released For Free". Tech Times. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  11. ^ Metro.co.uk, GameCentral for (26 October 2015). "Oliver Twins discover lost Dizzy game they forgot they made". Metro. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  12. ^ Wonderland Dizzy website
  13. ^ Serrels, Mark (9 April 2017). "24 Years Later, You Can Finally Play This Lost NES Game About A Puzzle-Solving Egg". Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  14. ^ "A brand new Dizzy game is coming to the ZX Spectrum Next! | Flickering Myth". Flickering Myth. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  15. ^ "wonderfuldizzy.com". www.wonderfuldizzy.com. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  16. ^ "News Article". TIGA. Archived from the original on 30 August 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  17. ^ "House of Commons – Education Committee: Written evidence submitted by E-Skills UK". Publications.parliament.uk. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  18. ^ Richardson, Richardson (20 May 2010). "Royal Society of Arts welcomes Blitz studio heads to its ranks". Develop. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  19. ^ "MadeinCreativeUK.com". website. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  20. ^ "News Article". MCV. Develop. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Let's go Dizzy: The Story of The Oliver Twins".
  22. ^ "YouTube video :Videogame Legends – Computerphile". Archived from the original on 12 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Tweet by Notch 23 Dec 2016".
  24. ^ "Most prolific 8-bit videogame developers". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  25. ^ LarryZ. (26 December 2007). "SpongeBob SquarePants: Underpants Slam! for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  26. ^ Develop Online News Story

External links[edit]