June '91

"Dizzy hits the panic stations as the hydraulic crushers get closer and closer, belching steam - the machines going into termination sequence and it’s down to you to stop it."

What the press said

Bizarrely this game came from a dream! Andrew and I had got our Nintendo GameBoys, as did every gamer back in 1990, and it came with Tetris which was the ideal game for the system. It was extremely addictive and we found that fascinating since it’s graphics were so crude and the gameplay so simplistic. Obviously that got us thinking that perhaps we could do a Dizzy puzzle game, on paper that made logical sense. Dizzy was extremely popular and it wouldn’t compete against any of the other Dizzy games. The problem was thinking of a puzzle game and how to include Dizzy.

The solution came in a dream, yes really! I, Philip, had been mulling this over so much that one night I imagined playing a game running Dizzy back and forth dropping shapes down chutes. I woke up and went to write it up. Sadly as I was writing and drawing it up, it seemed the idea was badly flawed, that’s the problem with dreams! Why was Dizzy dropping shapes, where were they coming from, where were they going? I figured these falling shapes needed sorting and came up with the idea of a conveyor belt, but obviously that meant the player had to control this, which meant there was no need for him to be running back and forth at the top of the screen.

I modified the design and showed it to Paul Ranson, owner of Big Red Software, the studio writing some of the Dizzy adventure games since we’d now moved over to the NES. He liked the idea and could see it was easy to code, create graphics for and would likely sell well.

Paul decided to write it himself and did a great job, but once it was playable it was quickly evident that it lacked that addictive magic required for a great puzzle game. We tinkered with the rules and speeds but decided there wasn't much more we could do. It played quite well, it was very nicely presented so we decided we should ship it.

The game got some decent reviews and sold quite well, but we thought about it a lot afterwards trying to work out how to add that element of addictiveness to make a great puzzle game and would later try again with Panic! Dizzy on the NES.

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