Royal Mail has created a set of 12 stamps to celebrate the UK’s contribution to video games, featuring classic puzzle game Lemmings, which was developed in Dundee.
The new set traces the roots of the UK’s games industry to the very early 1980s and also includes four stamps that chart the evolution of the iconic Tomb Raider game.
The Tomb Raider franchise has sold more than 74 million copies worldwide. The franchise’s popularity has exploded into a series of blockbuster films based on the original Tomb Raider game and 2013 reboot. Its protagonist, Lara Croft, has been a contemporary global icon for more than two decades.
Along with Lemmings and Tomb Raider, the set is completed by stamps commemorating Elite, Dizzy, Populous, Micro Machines, Sensible Soccer, WipeOut and Worms.
Elite (1984) – was a pioneering space-trading game originally made for BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. Made by Cambridge-based duo, David Braben and Ian Bell, the game is legendary and arguably changed the face of computer gaming. Using a tiny amount of memory, this was the first genuine 3D game where players navigated a spaceship through galaxies. It is regularly listed among the most important video games ever created.
Dizzy (1987) – was devised and created by the Oliver twins and published by Codemasters. It went on to become one of the most successful British game franchises of the era. Originally created for the Amstrad CPC, it quickly converted to ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other computers and consoles. The game’s main character is an adventuring egg that runs and tumbles around a fantasy world solving puzzles by collecting interesting objects.
Populous (1989) – was the first civilisation building game and one of the most successful games for PC ever produced. A real-time strategy game, it has won numerous awards and has been voted among one of the most important games of all time. It was created by Bullfrog Productions.
Lemmings (1991) – was created by Dundee-based DMA (now known as Rockstar North), and was one of the best received games of the 1990s. The objective is to save lemmings, and apply abilities to individuals to aid their escape.
Micro Machines (1991) – a ground-breaking race game developed by Codemasters, where players race miniature toy vehicles. Influential and immensely popular; the game is regarded as a classic.
Sensible Soccer (1992) – is considered by many to be the father of digital football games, and still retains a following. It was listed as one of the 10 most important video games of all time by a committee of US games experts.
WipeOut (1995) – was developed in Liverpool by Sony’s Psygnosis studio. WipeOut was a revolutionary futuristic racing game for the new PlayStation that became a cult hit. It featured original music by Orbital and The Chemical Brothers.
Worms (1995) – was published by Team 17 and featured cartoon-style warfare between worms. The series went on to become an international success story, helping Wakefield-based, Team 17, to become a leading international games publisher.
Philip Parker, Royal Mail said: “The UK has been at the forefront of the video games industry for decades. In the 1980s and 90s young designers grappled with coding on the new microcomputers and set the template for the industry with iconic games. We celebrate some of their landmark creations on stamps.”
Jo Twist, CEO of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment – a non-profit trade association for the video game industry – said: “This collection celebrates a selection of the great British video games that have helped define both the national and global development scene over decades. Video games are a key part of our cultural footprint and we’re pleased to see their contribution recognised in such memorable style.”
The full set of 12 stamps will be available on general sale at 7,000 Post Offices across the UK from the 21st of January 2020, retailing at £14.25.