That ever potential omelette Dizzy is an eggstraordinary little fellow, isn’t he? Created by the now ‘famous’ Oliver Twins he’s won the heart of around a million games players, putting his popularity up among the Robocop stakes. Now the Twins have finished Dizzy’s third epic, Richard Eddy begins to wonder whether the nation isn’t going completely potty!
The Oliver Twins (Philip and Andrew) are renowned for being loud, enthusiastic and quite pleasantly dotty, so there’s no point talking to them unless you’ve psyched yourself up for it. Right. Here goes. ‘Hello? HELLO!’ bawls an Oliver Twin down the CRASH blower, ‘It’s Philip! Hello!! Sorry, it’s only me!! You’ve only got one twin to speak to!! Andrew’s really ill!!’ (a noise of coughing, spluttering and general illness comes from the background).
Right then. Hello Philip. So, tell me, has the nation really gone Dizzy dotty? ‘Oh yes! Completely! Hundreds of thousands of people are playing the Dizzy games. He’s probably the most popular character ever created on computer. He’s better than any licensed character y’know!’ Really? ‘Oh yeah! Y’know we had a game called Fast Food which was released not long after Dizzy II, well that had a ‘guest appearance’ by Dizzy and it really made the game. It sold even more than the original Dizzy did. He’s great!’
Good grief! Is there any way to save the nation’s sanity? ‘Well, it’s a bit late now, isn’t it? But, did you know that Dizzy nearly never happened?’ Gosh! Pray, tell... ‘Before Dizzy we were mainly producing action games, y’know — all the simulator types. And then we did this game called Robin Hood (fun platform jape) which was followed up by Ghost Hunters. They were quite different. The main characters in both games were men, but we were fed up of drawing and animating people, so I tried something else. I drew up this egg-shaped blob with arms and legs and thought: ‘Dizzy’! And that’s how he was born.
‘We implemented Dizzy into Ghost Hunters with all his animation of running and jumping and showing to to Richard and David (Darling) at CodeMasters. But they weren’t too happy with it, thought it wouldn’t work, but said to come up with a game idea and then show them again. So we did, and they put it out as an experiment. And it sold like hot cakes!! It was just sooo popular and was in the charts for ages.
‘It was then that we realised we had given the younger group of games players something ideal — Dizzy was fun, graphically very good, entertaining, cheap and most importantly cute. Both Treasure Island Dizzy and Fast Food were then created with the same objectives in mind and it worked. Hence the new CodeMasters label Cartoon Time, created especially for fun games like Dizzy: it should be very popular!’
How do you go about creating a new Dizzy game? ‘We do think about it! We don’t just wake up one morning and write a new Dizzy. We knock about ideas and then spend a week putting together all our thoughts and research to create a new world; drawing roughs for the graphics, making maps and organising all the puzzle elements.
‘Though saying all that, after deciding on a gameplan it doesn’t take that long to actually program the game. Dizzy III was written in 29 days in September!! We didn’t rush it, but it was enjoyable to do, and I’m very pleased with the end result.’
Do you ever go back and play the previous Dizzy games? ‘No! It makes me feel guilty — playing games is so much fun that I think it isn’t work, so I tend not to. Anyway, after three days play-testing a game non-stop, testing every nook and cranny, there’s not a lot left for me to discover, is there?! I will play arcade machines, as research obviously.’ (Hem, hem).
Now Dizzy’s in his new adventure, Fantasy World, what’s he going to be getting up to next? ‘We don’t want to spoil the excitement at the moment. It’ll probably be another year before Dizzy returns again — he’s in need of a holiday! No, but seriously, bringing out another adventure would dilute the effect of Fantasy World — we want gamers to enjoy that for a while. Though, for the next game, we’re toying with the idea of a Superhero Dizzy: that might be on the cards next. In the meantime you can expect to see Dizzy making a few more guest appearances!’
Phew! This Dizzy milarky could drive you bonkers! Before you know it you’ll probably see Dizzy badges, t-shirts, pillows, mugs and books popping up all over the place!! ‘Erm,’ says Philip, ‘funny you should say that because...’ ARRRGGGGHHH! Haylp! No! I can’t stand it! I’m seeing Dizzys before my eyes! Yibble! Yibble!! Where’s me Dizzy hot water bottle, nurse? Nurse!! Yibble!! (Straight jackets ahoy!! -Ed)