Apr 09

Tweet from Brian Baglow (@flackboy)

News! Based on @davidkushner’s book! Dan Radcliffe as Sam Houser! Black Mirror director to helm! http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/daniel-radcliffe-talks-star-as-787290 But who’ll play ME?

Mar 27

Check this picture

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CBDl_4_WEAAzdPU.jpg:large
From this tweet:
The things you find…. #Amiga source code to Menace. Has a label under it saying “Draconia source” :mrgreen: #DMADesign pic.twitter.com/vCUYnTWkn7

Update: Brian Watson has identified his handwriting, and the disk is therefore the Atari ST source code for Menace! This makes sense, since “Draconia” was an early working title. Not as early as Coppercon1, which was named for an Amiga graphics chip register.

Mar 12

The GTA Making-of Drama

Just found out about this myself. Unclear at the moment whether it will skip over DMA Design entirely in favour of Rockstar. What I’ve been able to find out so far is that it is a 90 minute drama about the making of GTA which will air after the watershed.

I’ll update this post with the latest when I can. May be rough in places :)

Guy Cocker, who developed it, but didn’t write it has said on Facebook that he can’t yet answer the question of whether or not DMA Design is featured. Interesting.

Update: now that I’ve had a chance to talk with some DMA folk, it seems that this is the first anyone has heard of it. Definitely going to be a Rockstar only gig, I think.

and

Which would suppose that the famously insular Rockstar North is not involved at all.

Facebook contained this exchange:

Gary Penn: “Go, Guy! Is it all the way back to the quaint, humble DMA origins or focussed more on the far sexier Rockstar years?”

Guy Cocker: “Unfortunately I can’t say more at this stage Gary but I’ll hopefully be able to talk about it soon.”

It is part of the BBC’s new initiative to get kids coding, a season of (TV) programming which suggests we might see it around September this year. Reading between the lines, I believe that it has been written already (Guy “developed” it) by a so-far unnamed person, but not yet filmed. Update: filming begins April 20th and it is written by James Wood and directed by Owen Harris.

The BBC has form for this kind of production, having previously dramatised the creation of the ZX Spectrum by Clive Sinclair. It featured a supposed rivalry between the Spectrum and the BBC Micro. I say “supposed” because back in the day everyone knew the rivalry was Spectrum versus Commodore 64!

Update: Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Sam Houser is potentially to be played by Daniel Radcliffe, along with some other creative types who are involved.

More interesting, from my perspective, is the confirmation that it is based on the book Jacked, with the emphasis apparently being on the conflict between the Housers and self-styled anti-GTA nemesis Jack Thomson. This seems to me to be far from the BBC’s initial announcement that it was part of a season geared towards getting kids coding. This removes any doubt that the DMA years might have played a part.

It’s a shame that the story is not about the creation of the game itself, but about the politics surrounding it.

I may be wrong, I would be happy to be wrong, but here is a huge missed opportunity to dramatise what actually goes into making a game. But as ever, controversy sells.

Oct 05

Lemmings Merchandise is Go!

Lemmings Licensing (via @LemmingsPorts). After being around since 1991, Sony is bringing us Lemmings spin-off merchandise:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has embarked on a licensing programme for the popular game, with the appointment of four new licensees.

Back in the early nineties Lemmings was pretty popular. Non-games appearances were rare but not unknown. A cartoon strip was printed in games magazine Max Overload from Dark Horse comics for example. (This inspired me to pitch for a Hired Guns comic, without success.)

One-offs included a motorised radio-controlled Lemming riding a tricycle, which was used for publicity on the opening day of DMA’s games shop, the SoftWarehouse. (As part of the opening celebration, I wrote a story on the fly, in-store, though sadly I no longer have it.)

The only other official products I know of are the posters, stickers and badges created for publicity purposes at the original launch. Though I do have a Lemmings 2 T-Shirt and personalised mug.

Mooted products are bags, keychains, plushies and wallscrolls.

Personally I think a pair of Blockers as bookends would make for the perfect gift. Or a radio-controlled balloon with Lemmings dropping from it at the touch of a button. Or even an ant-farm with Lemmings placed in the tunnels.

Sep 16

Nailing Jelly to Kittens

In anticipation of the release of GTA V tomorrow, The Guardian has produced a video of the making of the very original GTA. This gathers together some of the people involved – including myself – and lets them talk about the trials of bringing the game to reality.

The Making of Grand Theft Auto

Aug 11

Hired Guns Fan Art

Why should GTA and Lemmings get all the love? Over at the English Amiga Board, a thread about Hired Guns has produced the first HG fan art I think I’ve ever seen. User Cherno has kindly allowed me to post some of them here. Not only had he been hard at work creating a boardgame…

Hired Guns Boardgame 3

Hired Guns Boardgame 3

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Status update

Remarkably enough, it is only a couple of months until Hired Guns has the 20th Anniversary of its release. We celebrated Lemmings 20th two years ago. Though any recognition of HG is likely to be low-key, I’d like to do something. Watch this space…

Jul 26

Lemmings Statues Appear in Dundee

A Lemmings Statue

Let’s Go!

The first I knew that something was happening was a number of Lemmings references in my Twitter stream a few days ago. Without any warning it seemed that overnight a handful of Lemmings statues had appeared, climbing over a wall.

It wasn’t until today that I was able to get the time to go and have a look for myself, camera in tow. But my timing was spot on. Not only had the weather cleared after a few days of mist, chance had favoured me.

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Jul 25

The Spielberg of Gaming

A few years ago I, along with the usual suspects Mike, Dave and Russell, were interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland. You can find the interview here, although despite being on YouTube it’s audio only. At the time I wrote a blog post about it, of which I’ve placed an expanded and updated version below the fold. Dave Jones, as you can guess from the title has been called the Spielberg of Gaming, an accolade which goes all the way back to the 90s. At the time I wondered who the Roger Corman of gaming was. I still don’t have an answer for that, other than to note, somewhat slyly, that a Mystery Science Theater 3000 for games would be an astonishingly funny, if technically challenging, thing to do.

The Spielberg of Gaming

It’s always amazed me how persistent DMA Design has been in my life. (Even with my current day job I leave at five and walk past the old DMA offices.) Immediately after the DMA exhibit opened in the MacManus Galleries, I was interviewed by James Christie from BBC Radio Scotland as one of the founders of DMA Design*.

It was to be a half hour documentary, and it has just aired this morning. I’m always nervous when something is broadcast with a contribution from me in it. And yes, I’m still astonished – when I think about it – that I can casually write a sentence like the previous one. This one, however, was especially nerve-wracking for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on. Would I sound OK? Did I make sense? Would my contribution even get used? There are certainly no guarantees on that score. As per my first ever encounter with TV: an interview about games piracy.

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