Antique Code Show Lemmings was developed by DMA who are now known as Rockstar North of Grand Theft Auto fame. Who’d a thought such innocent beginnings would lead to such depraved offspring?
Multiformat title: to begin with only multiplayer on the Amiga
Originally released on the Commodore Amiga, Lemmings was one of the most popular games of the 1990s, and eventually made its way onto many formats including PC and PlayStation. But only the Amiga had two player lemmings – seriously, not to be missed.
Who knew that lemmings possessed so many skills?
The idea of the game is to get all of my lemmings, or as many as humanly possible, from one location to another. They have at their disposal a number of tools in the way of 'skills', such as the ability to dig holes, tunnel through objects, build steps, climb walls, parachute, path blocking and self-explode. These skills are essential for impassable areas and enable me to get the rest of the lemmings to make their way from point A to B.
High velocity vermin
Lemmings requires me to think laterally and with more haste than my ailing brain cells can muster these days. Depending on which level I am on lemmings are released from their hutch at varying rates. If I take too long to decide what action to take, my Lemmings will wander aimlessly off a cliff to their imminent death.
Suicide pacts can emerge at a moment's notice
Not only do I need to think fast, I need to be speedy with my mouse. I click on a skill then on the lemming I want to assign that skill to. This can get confusing at the best of times let alone when my whole extended lemming family is on the brink of suicide.
Next page: On the level
AI in game is terrible
The AI of units in this game is terrible,they just walk right off cliffs and other environmental hazards like they don't even see them.
Disclaimer: I am one of the original DMA Design guys - I'm one of the faces in the Lemmings end screen. I kind of doubt the "drunk old dude" story in Edinburgh was real, none of the guys who developed the game were remotely like that and I'm pretty sure the animator was teatotal. I've even had an experience where some stranger in a pub told *me* that he created Lemmings. Sure.
I remember when the "Satanic" letter came around, purely because the level was built in the shape of "666". Further irony, the level designer on that one - Mike Dailly, who happened to create Lemmings in the first place - is rather more devout than many.
Anyway, Mike's DMA history site is at www.dmadesign.org and my own DMA site (newer and not as much there at the moment) is at www.dmadesign.net
Lemmings is sinfully good fun
I worked in the games industry at the beginning of the nineties, and one of the more amusing things stuck to our office's wall-of-fun was a copy of a letter that was doing the rounds of the games companies, passed on by various guys who know a guy at DMA Design.
The first three-quarters of the letter explained how the writer had bought Lemmings for their two sons, how much they loved it for its "educational possibilities" and how wonderful the whole game was...
...Then it got a bit excitable.
Apparently everything was fine until they got to the Hell-themed levels. Satanic content? Not actually the problem. The real problem was that you were saving the Lemmings from Hell, and only through the acceptance of Our Lord Jesus Christ can you be saved from eternal damnation and by rescuing the Lemmings from their presumably justified fate, DMA Design were assuming the powers of GOD HIMSELF and risking their very own immortal souls. But other than that, it was a splendid game and the writer hoped very much that there would be a sequel, with his comments taken on-board.
It should go without saying that the letter came from a location a wee bit to the west of the UK.
It should also go without saying that DMA Design paid great heed to the fellow's comments and none of their subsequent games have been anything but good old-fashioned uncontroversial family fun.