Not satisfied with just creating the Dizzy and Simulator games, we had other ideas too. With our insane working hours and efficient development environment, we were able to also produce 3D Starfighter, The Race Against Time and Operation Gunship.
On the side, we were approached to convert Incredible Shrinking Sphere (ISS) from the Commodore 64 to Amstrad and Spectrum for Activision.
They were delighted with this and offered us Ghost Busters 2. Being massive fans of the original film we couldn’t say no, and produced the Amstrad and Spectrum versions alongside doing all those games for Codemasters.
By the end of the 80’s the sales of 8-bit games declined in favour of 16-bit games on the Atari ST & Commodore Amiga. Other small teams had been converting all our games over to these platforms and we were delighted with this. We felt that creating original games on these platforms would be much slower and more expensive for us to create. We were also concerned at the level of piracy on these computers, meaning it was hard to earn more than the increased development costs.
In January 1990 we visited CES in Las Vegas and our eyes were opened to the potential of consoles, mainly the NES. Here was an 8-bit cartridge-based machine selling where games were selling 10 times the volume we were used to seeing and at very high prices. Looking at the quality of the games, we were sure we could complete with the best games, and produce them quickly.
Over the next couple of years we produced 10 NES games started with the massive Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy which won Game Players Best NES Graphic Adventure Game 1991.
Once NES game production started we moved to Leamington Spa to be closer to Codemasters. They allowed us to use portacabins on their grounds, an old farmhouse, to work from, but as you can imagine this wasn’t very pleasant. After a year of this, we decided to find ourselves an office in town.
During this time we worked with other developers to create new Dizzy games and port our games to other platforms. This worked well, but as the workload increased we decided to start hiring people to join us in our new office and help production.
This additional capacity gave us the ability to start producing other formats of our games’in-house’.
Games like Firehawk and Robin Hood on Amiga, converted from our NES titles. We also started producing Master System, Game Gear, Megadrive and Genesis versions of our games.
THE STORY OF THE OLIVER TWINS
"This is the inside story of two brothers who turned a love of games into a business that inspired millions. It follows the birth of home computers, classic British 8-bit games and the creation of Dizzy, one of the most famous video game characters of the 1980s.
Juggling school work and pioneering game development from their bedrooms, the most prolific authors of Amstrad and Spectrum games number an amazing 26 #1 bestsellers, 34 original games and around five million sales, and at one point representing over 15% of all UK games sales. Let’s Go Dizzy!"