February 14, 1991
FEW people realised it was the birth of a new industry when a group of friends from an amateur computer club in Dundee released a game.
But Lemmings – created by DMA Design – was the start of Scotland’s multi-million pound games industry.
The game, DMA’s take on arcade platform games coming out of Japan, involved stopping lemmings from walking off cliffs.
Initially released for Amiga computers, it sold 55,000 copies on its first day. Versions followed for other computers and consoles. Lemmings fever went global – sales eventually topped two million.
Creators Dave Jones and Russell Kay were seen as visionaries.
Jones, managing director of DMA Design, went on to release the controversial Grand Theft Auto in 1997. Game play centred on stealing cars and carrying out criminal acts with the aim of rising to the top of the gangster underworld.
Despite a public outcry, the game also sold millions and has become one of the biggest computer games in the world.
DMA Design was renamed Rockstar North in 1999 and employs 400 in its Edinburgh office.
Dundee’s Abertay University is now a world leader in game design training and in 2009 became the UK’s first university recognised as a Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.