The Oliver Twins spent Spring lockdown getting back into Designing and Programming. This time on FUZE the education programming language on the Ninetndo Switch.
What started out as a small demo turned into a Full game and the Best version of Dizzy Fast Food ever written, thanks to the wonderful, powerful FUZE.
One of the newest carts is The Oliver Twins Collection. This twelfth cartridge comes with eleven different games — all of which were developed by The Oliver Twins, hence the name of the collection. While this developer duo is not especially well known in North America, they were superstars in Europe. Their egg character Dizzy remains an icon in the region all these years later.
Studios in Leamington Spa have been producing hits since the days of the ZX Spectrum – and now the town is serving as a model for regional investment. With 50,000 residents and pristine regency architecture, Leamington Spa seems like any other scenic countryside settlement. But this Midlands town, once a hotspot for holidaying Victorian aristocrats desperate to bathe in its healing waters, has quietly become one of the UK’s video game industry biggest hubs.
The Oliver Twins sequel to Grand Prix Simulator was their final contribution to the popular Codemasters simulator series. Philip Oliver explains how regrets over their original game inspired it's much-improved sequel.
We speak to the team behind Dizzys newest adventure.
You can't keep a good egg down, and the hero of the Yolkfolk has been very visible in recent times, with plenty of rediscovered NES projects keeping Dizzy in the spotlight.
Now though, something very special is upon us....
You're making me Dizzy, my head is spinning
While The Oliver Twins arguably found the most fame on home computers like the ZX Spectrum and C64, they – via publisher Codemasters – supported Nintendo's 8-bit console with gusto, as this collection attests
How two twins and an egg took on Ninendo's Super Mario
When you think of NES games, a legendary pair of brothers always springs to mind. - Mario & Luigi.
But another fraternal duo, the Oliver twins — Andrew and Philip — should be equally lauded for making the 8-bit gaming system synonymous with addictive side-scrolling platformers. They created the British answer to Super Mario Bros., 1991’s Fantastic Dizzy
Evercade Retro Console gets the
Oliver Twins Collection
Fan Converts the original Dizzy to the Commodore Plus4/C16
Spotted this on Twitter:- Retro Recollections
I wonder if the @TheOliverTwins have seen this fantastic fan made port of Dizzy for the #Commodore #Plus4 and expanded C16 that came out recently? I can finally play #Dizzy on my childhood 8bit micro!
We've seen it now - Amazing!
Preserving the Oliver Twins' gaming Legacy : Wireframe
Coronavirus has had far-reaching effects on society, and its impact will last for many years yet. Lockdown has meant different things to different people. The games industry hasn’t been hit too badly; obviously, there are exceptions, but by and large,......
Squeezing WarGames onto the PlayStation 1 : Wireframe
Dizzy 1 - now on Atari XL/XE
3rd July ‘20
It’s a lovely surprise that Dizzy fans are so dedicated that some make new games whilst others convert our original games. Thank you Irgendwer and Fandal for this new version, it’s lovely to see the results of your hard work and thank you for sharing with the retro community.
Evercade retro console gets
The Oliver Twins Collection
10th June '20
Evercade, the brand new handheld retro gaming console, today announced the next cartridge in its library – ‘The Oliver Twins Collection’, featuring 11 games including: Treasure Island Dizzy, Fantastic Dizzy, Go! Dizzy Go!, Dizzy The Adventurer, Panic Dizzy, Wonderland Dizzy, Mystery World Dizzy and BMX Simulator, FireHawk, DreamWorld Pogie and Super Robin Hood.
How to make a video game Podcast with Auroch Digital
19th May '20
“We had some extra special guests in this bonus podcast episode - The Oliver twins! Mike, Jem, and Matt chat to the creators of Dizzy and games industry legends who are the most Prolific 8-bit videogame developers ever! Tune in to hear behind the scenes development stories and to get advice about starting your own career in gaming.”
Time for a New Website
Our first Website was little more than a Word Doc. saved in HTML back around 2000 after we secured the OliverTwins.com domain.
Around 2008 a website developer at Blitz Games found time to make a prettier version, which has had a good run, but with the advent of Covid-19, we’ve found ourselves with some time on our hands and have produced this all new website using WIX.
Story Behind Jet Bike Simulator
Fusion Retro Magazine : Issue 11
National Videogame Museum Interview
27th April '20
We had great fun being interviewed by Conor Clarke on Twitch for their #LoveVideogames series . We also played a crazy version of Mr & Mrs called Dr. & Dr. to see how much we know each other. I wonder how that played out?
ROYAL MAIL ISSUES RETRO GAMES STAMPS
7th January '20
Royal Mail announces a set of stamps which feature classic British-designed gaming icons - including Lara Croft, Lemmings and Dizzy.
"Dizzy (1985) - was devised by the Oliver Twins and published by Codemasters. It went on to become one of the most successful British game franchises of the era. "
Story Behind Operation Gunship
Fusion Retro Magazine : Issue 9
Creative Mornings : 'Roots' Presentation by The Oliver Twins
31st January '20
Andrew Oliver becomes Visiting Professor at BCU (Birmingham City University)
Following the recommendation of Senior Games Lecturer Carlo Harvey. Andrew was invited to become a Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University. by EPA Rachel Warr on behalf of the Pro Vice Chancellor & Exective Dean Professor Hanifa Shah.
Story Behind Dizzy - The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure
Fusion Retro : 2020 Annual
UKie : 30 Years of Play
3rd July '19
"The Oliver Twins, now founders of Game Dragons, are best known for creating legendary video game character Dizzy. But they have a much more varied and interesting history within the UK interactive entertainment business."
Fantasy World Dizzy FINALLY makes it to Atari Jaguar Console
Double Dragon : Wireframe Article Issue 10
Wireframe article about our new games consultancy business - Game Dragons.
“We catch up with the Oliver Twins to talk Dizzy, Codemasters and their new venture, Game Dragons.”
"With a dizzying array of games behind them, Codemasters veterans Andrew and Philip Oliver now hope to share their wisdom with other British developers."
Story Behind GhostBusters 2
Fusion Retro Magazine : Issue 5
Treasure Island Dizzy FINALLY makes it to Atari Jaguar Console
Panic Dizzy - NES : Kickstarter Launched
8th February ‘19
Back in ‘92, Codemasters suggested they could release our NES games on a Dizzy compilation cartridge. To compliment the adventure games, we decided to add Panic Dizzy, but fully redesigned, from the original 8-bit computer games. We always felt that design didn’t quite work, so with this version we decided to have 5 different puzzle games - hoping that one would find the magic! We feel both Match More and Dizzy Dice worked really well!
Philip Oliver becomes Visiting Professor at Staffordshire University
1st February ‘19
Following the recommendation of Associate Professor Bobbie Fletcher, Philip was invited to become a Visiting Professor at Staffs. Uni. by Professor Liz Barnes, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive.
Staying Alive: Wireframe article about the early turbulent years
Wireframe article about The turbulent history of British game development.
“A new frontier opened up as the British games industry exploded in the 1980s. Careers were born and classic games made, but few companies survived that turbulent decade”
It was fun to be part of that era.
Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records awarded us
"Most Prolific 8-bit videogame developers", adding "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 also produced titles that never saw the light of day. During that time 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."
The History of Codemasters Simulators by Retro Gamer
Mystery World Dizzy - NES : Released
Thanks to Chris Wilkins of Fusion Retro Books (Kickstarter campaign), Lukasz Kur (remastering the code), Piotr ‘PIT’ Gratkiewicz (cover illustration), Andrew Joseph (packaging production) and all the Kickstarter backers! Special thanks also to Codemasters for allowing the production of these Dizzy games.
Limited to just 600 cartridges with all royalties going to SpecialEffect.
Opening Trowbridge Museum’s “Oliver Twins” Exhibit
22nd January ‘18
It was bizarre and fun to visit our home town of Trowbridge (In Wiltshire) to host a special collection of our Retro game memorabilia in the town's museum. We even caught up with a few old friends and teachers at the event.
Wonderful Dizzy Behind the scenes - Crash Annual 2018
Whilst we have put together the full design of Wonderful Dizzy, we have a very talented team helping turn those ideas into a full game for the Spectrum Next. This article reveals a little of the design and introduces the talented developers we are working with.
Read the Article here [coming soon]
DreamWorld Pogie - NES : Released
Mystery World Dizzy - NES : Kickstarter Launched
15 October ‘17
Following the discovery of the source code of both Wonderland Dizzy and Dreamworld Pogie, we also uncovered Mystery World Dizzy - another unreleased NES game written in the early ‘90s and based on Fantasy World Dizzy.
We tend never to throw things away, but the filing has, at times, been poorly organised.
A new Dizzy Game announced
19th May ‘17
After being asked so many times over the years if we’ll make a new Dizzy, we finally give in to help support the Spectrum Next Kickstarter campaign.
This is the funny video we created to reveal the game would be inspired by the classic Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and would be called Wonderful Dizzy.
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy Remake on the Spectrum
To our surprise and delight, a band of Dizzy fans from across Eastern Europe decided to remake and improve the original Crystal Kingdom Dizzy and launched it Easter Day 2017. It’s impressive what they were able to achieve given the limitations of the Spectrum!
Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit features Kwik Snax
31st January ‘17
We had amazing fun as special guests on on the show. They chose to include Kwik Snax and asked Sara Cox and Daniel Sloss to control Dizzy only using food!
Filming took place at - Elstree Studios in London and the final TV show was aired in July.
‘Notch’ of Minecraft makes our day!
23th December '16
A video shot at the launch of our book entitled Videogame Legends by Computerphile 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.”
DreamWorld Pogie - NES : Kickstarter Launched
15th December ‘16
Book Launch – Let’s Go Dizzy!
14th December '16
We were proud to launch our book at the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham. We were also able to show off the final Wonderland Dizzy on NES, complete and ready to go to very limited production. It was great to see and catch up with so many friends from the old days of making those computer games back at Codemasters.
All profits from the book go to Special Effect.
Guest Speakers and Judges at Amstrad Eterno - Portugal
We were delighted to be invited to speak at Amstrad Eterno’s annual event in Portugal. We had no idea that the Amstrad CPC was not only big in Spain and Portugal back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, but that there are very talented developers still making games for it! We were asked to help judge the games and present the awards. It was a fabulous weekend, we really enjoyed it and our hosts were amazing.
Wonderland Dizzy - NES : Released
Kickstarter backers finally got their hands on the unreleased game, and we were happy to sign a bunch. So proud to finally see another of our NES games released over 22 years after we wrote it!
Limited to just 130 cartridges - so VERY rare and collectable. Royalties all went to SpecialEffect.
Retro Gamer : Blitz Games Studios Remembered
Sinclair Spectrum in Pixels
Launch of Kickstarter for Oliver Twins Book
24th October '15
We’d known Chris Wilkins of Fusion Retro Books for a few years when, one day, he suggested creating a Dizzy book. We thought it was an interesting idea, but we suggested he produce a book that covered all our retro games with the ‘behind the scenes’ stories.
He did some market research to see the level of interest and followed it with a Kickstarter campaign, which was launched at The History of Computing Museum – Cambridge.
Wonderland Dizzy- NES : Rediscovered
Whilst at Play Blackpool in May, we showed a map of Wonderland Dizzy on NES - whilst on stage talking, we wondered if the game had ever been released back when it was written in early ‘92. We realised it can’t and searched the loft for the source code. We found it and Dizzy fan Lukasz Kur was able to re-compile, tidy up a couple of bits and create a master build.
Giving a talk at our old school
8th July '15
We visited our old school to give a talk about the games industry and tell them. We even caught up with a couple of our old teachers that were still there, still educating!
Visting Trowbridge College
2nd June '15
Back in 1984 we attended classes in O’level Computer Studies at Trowbridge College, a short walk from Clarendon School. This was a time when making games was frowned upon, so it was fun to revisit Wiltshire College and give a lecture to the students on the popular Video Games Development course!
Talk at Centre for Computing History Cambridge
26th July '14
We were delighted to be invited to give a talk about our careers in the games industry to a packed room in the museum. They were very kind to set up original computers with all our old games running too!
If you have love retro computers and games, and can get across to Cambridge we highly recommend you visit:
Dizzy Returns KickStarter Campaign
Dizzy On Scratch
20 February '12
Andrew has a play around with Scratch, firstly writing a Pac-Man game (just to get up to speed), followed by attempting a scrolling Dizzy mini-game, but finds Scratch was not designed to scroll! Scratch really is a great first programming language and highly recommended for kids. You can reveal the code in these games.
Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk Released on IOS & Android
As smart phones take off, Paul Ranson, once owner of Big Red Software, and a programmer and games designer himself decides to convert and update Dizzy Prince of the Yolkfolk for iPhone and Android smart phones. The original artist, Leigh Christen, updates all the graphics!
Honorary Doctorates from Coventry University
21st November ‘08
Having taken a gap year and never attended University we were thrilled to receive honorary doctorates from Coventry University in recognition of our contribution to the growth of the electronic games industry both regionally and internationally. The ceremony took place in Coventry Catherdal and our citation was read by Ian Marshall, who was responsible for the world’s first undergraduate Computing course with a Computer Games option in 1996 at Abertay University in Dundee. Philip received a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), whilst Andrew received a Doctor of Technology (DTech).
The Oliver Building
9th November '04
It was a massive honour that our old senior school, Clarendon Academy in Trowbridge, dedicated a new building in our name. We hope it will inspire other students to follow their dreams and find success and happiness.