Oliver Twins

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

They began to professionally develop 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. At one point during the 1980s it was reported that 7% of all UK games sales were attributable to the Oliver Twins.[1]

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.

History[edit]

Philip and Andrew Oliver first began programming computer games while at school (Clarendon School in Trowbridge[3] ), having their first game published as written code in Computer and Video Games magazine in 1983.[4] Their first very successful game, Super Robin Hood for the Amstrad CPC, was published in 1985 by Codemasters.

Codemasters[edit]

The Codemasters publishing relationship led to the origin of the Dizzy series and the Simulator series. Whilst with Codemasters, they were responsible for over 10 UK number one best sellers and over 3 million sales.[1] In 1986, it was reported that an estimated 7% of all UK games sales were attributable to the Oliver Twins.[1]

Interactive Studios (Blitz Games Studios)[edit]

In 1990, at the age of 22, they started Interactive Studios, later called Blitz Games Studios.[5] 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.[6]

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 is 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).[7]

Dizzy revival[edit]

In 2015 the Oliver Twins released Wonderland Dizzy, which they had written 22 years earlier but had forgot about.[8][9] The game was originally made for the NES, but released online and free to play.[10] In 2016, they released a second lost Dizzy game, Mystery World Dizzy, which was originally scheduled for release on the Nintendo in 1993.[11] In May 2017 the twins announced they would be working on a new Dizzy game, their first for over 20 years.[12]. 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[13].

Leadership[edit]

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.[14] He was also a director on the board for e-skills UK for several years.[15]

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,[5] and were honoured as Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts in 2010.[16]

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 [17] 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) [18]

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 [19] published December 2016 through Fusion Retro Books.

A video shot at the launch of the book entitled Videogame Legends – Computerphile [20] prompted Markus Persson ‘Notch’, 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.” [21]

In September 2018 the Guinness World Records awarded the Oliver Twins "Most Prolific 8-bit videogame developers", adding "Philip and Andrew Oliver (aka The Oliver Twins) developed 26 commercially released games for 8-bit computers and consoles from 1984-1992, and they designed 35 overall. Taking into account the many different platforms at that time - notably the Dragon 32, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, Commodore 64, NES, Master System and Game Gear - they actively wrote 49 released 8 bit games, they they also produced titles that never saw the light of day. During that times they had 14 number one games for the Amstrad CPC series of computers and 12 number ones on the Spectrum. They also produced Dizzy, one of the most iconic characters on 8-bit computers. They are still active in the UK games Industry. Their first game was Road Runner, which was published as a type-in in C&VG in 1983."[22]

Games published[edit]

  • Road Runner - (C&VG Magazine) December 1983 - Dragon 32 (Type-in listing)
  • Gambit (initially called Strategy) - (Acornsoft) April 1984 - BBC Micro Model B
  • Tellscope - (Acorn User) November 1984 - BBC Micro Model B
  • Easy Art - (Interceptor) - Amstrad CPC
  • Cavey - (Players) - BBC Micro Model B
  • Panda Sprites - (Interceptor) - Amstrad CPC
  • Rescue Mission - (Beebug) - - BBC Micro Model B
  • Magic Maths - (Players) - Amstrad CPC
  • Magic Clock - (Players) - Amstrad CPC
  • Killapede - (Players) - Amstrad CPC
  • Excaliber - half complete & unreleased - Amstrad CPC
  • Super Robin Hood – (Codemasters) November 1985 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, NES
  • Ghost Hunters – (Codemasters) February 1986 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum
  • Grand Prix Simulator – (Codemasters) April 1986 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Dizzy - The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure – (Codemasters) June 1986 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • Professional Ski Simulator – (Codemasters) October 1986 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • 3D Starfighter – (Codemasters) November 1986 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum
  • Fruit Machine Simulator – (Codemasters) February 1987 – Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Treasure Island Dizzy – (Codemasters) August 1987 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, NES, PC DOS
  • Advanced Pinball Simulator – (Codemasters) October 1987 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum C64
  • Pro BMX Simulator – (Codemasters) November 1987 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • Fast Food Dizzy – (Codemasters) December 1987 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC DOS
  • Grand Prix Simulator II – (Codemasters) February 1988 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • The Race Against Time – (Codemasters) May 88 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • Jet Bike Simulator – (Codemasters) September 1988 – Amstrad CPC Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Fantasy World Dizzy – (Codemasters) October 1988 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Ghostbusters II (published by Activision) August 1988 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Incredible Shrinking Sphere – January 1989 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Operation Gunship – (Codemasters) August 1989 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • Kwik Snax – (Codemasters) November 1989 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • The CD Games Pack – (Codemasters) December 1989 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64
  • Magicland Dizzy – (Codemasters) February 1990 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Dizzy Panic! – (Codemasters) May 90 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, Master System, Game Gear
  • Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk – (Codemasters) August 1990 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Bubble Dizzy – (Codemasters) November 1990 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Spellbound Dizzy – (Codemasters) December 1990 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Dizzy Down the Rapids – (Codemasters) April 1991 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga
  • Fantastic Dizzy – (Codemasters) April 1991 – NES, ST, Amiga, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC, Game Boy, Master System, Game Gear.
  • Firehawk – (Codemasters) September 1991 – NES, ST, Amiga
  • Crystal Kingdom Dizzy – (Codemasters) December 1991 – Amstrad CPC, Spectrum, C64, ST, Amiga, PC
  • Robin Hood Legend Quest – (Codemasters) February 1992 – ST, Amiga
  • Aladdin Deck Enhancer – (Codemasters) November 1992 – NES
  • Dizzy The Adventurer – (Codemasters) November 1992 – NES (free with Aladdin)
  • Dreamworld Pogie – (Codemasters) Never Released – NES (on Aladdin)
  • Go! Dizzy Go! – Never Released – (Codemasters) NES (on Aladdin)
  • The Excellent Dizzy Collection – (Codemasters) November 1993 – Master System, Game Gear

Later games[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c with the Oliver Twins from GIGnews.com
  2. ^ a b Develop
  3. ^ Clarendon School in Trowbridge
  4. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ukbased-blitz-games-studios-to-close-after-23-years-8814834.html
  5. ^ a b Lockley, Greg (16 August 2013). "Blitz Games Studios founders honoured by Coventry University". Mcvuk.com. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Creditors owed £2.2m after games firm collapse". 24 October 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "Rebellion buys Radiant Worlds". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  8. ^ Times, Tech (2015-10-27). "Classic NES Game 'Wonderland Dizzy' Thought Lost For 22 Years Released For Free". Tech Times. Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  9. ^ Metro.co.uk, GameCentral for (2015-10-26). "Oliver Twins discover lost Dizzy game they forgot they made". Metro. Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  10. ^ Wonderland Dizzy website
  11. ^ Serrels, Mark. "24 Years Later, You Can Finally Play This Lost NES Game About A Puzzle-Solving Egg". Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  12. ^ "A brand new Dizzy game is coming to the ZX Spectrum Next! | Flickering Myth". Flickering Myth. 2017-05-13. Retrieved 2017-07-07. 
  13. ^ "wonderfuldizzy.com". www.wonderfuldizzy.com. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  14. ^ "News Article". TIGA. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "House of Commons – Education Committee: Written evidence submitted by E-Skills UK". Publications.parliament.uk. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Richardson, Richardson (20 May 2010). "Royal Society of Arts welcomes Blitz studio heads to its ranks". Develop. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "MadeinCreativeUK.com". website. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "News Article". Develop. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Let's go Dizzy: The Story of The Oliver Twins". 
  20. ^ "YouTube video :Videogame Legends – Computerphile". 
  21. ^ "Tweet by Notch 23 Dec 2016". 
  22. ^ "Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2019". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018-09-12. 
  23. ^ Develop Online News Story
  24. ^ LarryZ. (26 December 2007). "SpongeBob SquarePants: Underpants Slam! for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 

External links[edit]