At the heart of gaming development is the city of Dundee. Once known for the three Js: jam, jute and journalism, it has since added a fourth J - joystick. Institutions including the University of Abertay and the University of Dundee are responsible for producing hundreds of individuals who are constantly pushing the boundries of video game innovation.
The likes of David Jones, founder of DMA, now known as Rockstar North, was a University of Abertay graduate while Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of 4J and key figure in the gaming industry finished off his computing science course at the University of Dundee. But just what level of success did their games achieve?
Originally released in 1991, Lemmings is a puzzle-platformer video game developed by DMA Design and was first published by Psygnosis for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC.
Its immense popularity is reflected in the fact it sold 55,000 copies on the first day of its release and then went on to be one of the best-received video games of the early 1990s. It has since been considered one of the greatest games of all time by various sources and has racked up over 20 million sales. Several sequels followed its release including All New World of Lemmings.
GRAND THEFT AUTO
Even to those with little knowledge of the video gaming industry ‘Grand Theft Auto’ is a familiar phrase. The game was released by the same people behind Lemmings (DMA) but under the newly-formed Rockstar Games, which was then changed to Rockstar North, which it still uses today.
GTA V, another of Rockstar North’s creations, went on to sell 11.21 million units in its first 24 hours and generated a revenue of £511.8 million going to reach £625.45 million ($1 billion) in sales after just three days on September 2013.
The game is now ranked among the best selling games of all time and has achieved six Guinness World Records including ‘Best selling videogame in 24 hours’, ‘Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion’ and ‘highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours’.
Minecraft has been mentioned alongside the likes of Tetris in terms of popularity after taking the worldwide gaming industry by storm.
The game allows users to build their own online world, brick by brick. Since being launched in 2009, the game has become a global gaming phenomenon which was sold to Microsoft for £2.5 billion.
Dundee game development firm 4J Studios, Chris van der Kuyl’s company, was heavily responsible for the evolution of the interactive phenomenon for computer consoles.
So far over 22,000,000 people have bought the game for PC, mobile and Xbox 360.
Third-person shooter game Crackdown was developed by Realtime Worlds - a video game developer based in Dundee founded by David Jones, who also created GTA and Lemmings.
Microsoft Game Studios bundled Crackdown with an access code to the multiplayer test version of Halo 3. Following this, the game sold 1.5 million copies in its first six months of release in 2007.
The game was received extremely well and named the ‘best action and adventure game’ and ‘best use of audio’ at the 2007 BAFTAs.
It’s popularity meant that it was followed up by the release of Crackdown 2 which also sold over one million copies. It’s rumoured that Crackdown 3 will be released in summer 2016.