Gaming back in the 80’s and early 90’s was a completely different kettle of fish to the multi-billion pound global behemoth that we know and love today. These days we’re all used to almost instant loading times, vast movie style single player campaigns and glorious near photo-realistic worlds of epic proportions filled with all manner of intelligent and incredible characters.
30 years ago though the gaming world was a simpler place.
Back when I was a kid one of the first computers I ever had was a Commodore 64. It was a wonderful 8 bit machine that I had connected up to a 14 inch Ferguson portable in my bedroom. The games came on cassette tapes and the joystick only had the one fire button. Crazy really when you think how many buttons modern controllers have!
My first experience of playing a Dizzy game wasn’t on my trusty C64 however, it was actually on the ZX Spectrum. I can remember spending a lot of time round at a friends house playing Magicland Dizzy on his Speccy to the point where we both became obsessed with trying to complete it. We even started drawing out a map of the entire game world so we knew where things were and what order we needed to do things in. Can you imagine doing such a thing these days?
We completed it in the end of course. Well, kind of. I was lucky enough to get a copy of it for my C64 after a while and we ended up playing it from start to finish using an infinite lives cheat. But at least we saw all that the game had to offer! And most importantly, it got me interested in the rest of the Dizzy games. I had Fantasy World Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy and Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk. All of which I pumped countless hours into. They were simple games compared to what we have today but they were so endearing and hooked you in from the word go with their steady mix of platforming and puzzle solving.
Anyway, fast forward to the present day and little did I know that I now lived in the very same town where the people behind those games grew up.
Phillip and Andrew Oliver, A.K.A The Oliver Twins are the geniuses responsible for the Dizzy series and back in 2018 their work was celebrated with a fantastic eggs-hibition at the local museum in Trowbridge.
I spent a pleasant afternoon there engrossing myself in the history of the Oliver Twins work and even learnt a few things about Dizzy that I didn’t know before. I also got to sit and play a bit of Dizzy on the NES that they’ve got set up down there!