back to article Lemmings

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? DMA Design Lemmings Multiformat title: to begin with only multiplayer on the Amiga Originally released on the Commodore Amiga, Lemmings was one of the …

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Happy

Memories...

I remember being on a plane going to Dublin with a Mac portable which had Lemmings on it. I was stuck on a level for half of the flight until the chap in the row behind me pointed out the solution!

Happy days, any chance of an Android version?

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Anonymous Coward

Look at yongzh's emulators for various consoles in the SlideME marketplace. A native Android version with touch control would be good though.

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There is a port for Symbian out on the intarweb somewhere :)

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Happy

Touch control android

Really?? Touch control?? As if clicking the right lemming in a crowd of a 100 wasn't hard enough already!

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Happy

We played at lunchtime in ye olde british electronics co.

Some folk would actually get quit cross when the little buggers fell to their death.

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Happy

At least two levels paid homage...

...to other games: 'Beastly' to Altered Beast, and 'Menacing' to Menace, a horizontally-scrolling shoot-em-up. These levels used graphics distinct from the other levels. Both I think were also published by Psygnosis.

It was the first, and for a long time the only, game I had on my first PC. Alas, I didn't have an Ad-Lib or Soundblaster card, and wouldn't until getting a Gravis Ultrasound.

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Headmaster

titular option

That would be the Shadow of the Beast, not to be confused with SEGA's Altered Beast.

IIRC the level even had a parody of the SotB theme playing in the background, I'll have to pull out my A1200 to check.

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Not Altered Beast.

That was a Sega title. Your more likely refer to Shadow of the Beast, a scrolling beat-em-up with notorious difficulty.

In any event, the sound in the PC version was OK but nothing compared to the Amiga version, and it didin't support digitized Sound Blaster sound (last I checked). The eventual Mac port found a way to preserve the sounds as well: probably with something like a MOD playing engine.

And in terms of publishers, you are correct. It was DEVELOPED by DMA Design but PUBLISHED by Psygnosis. Thus the situation Lemmings is in now. Because although Rockstar bought DMA Design, Sony bought Psygnosis, and rights tends to pass by the PUBLISHER rather than the DEVELOPER. IIRC, these days, Sony's Lemmings games are being developed by Team 17 (the developers behind the Worms series).

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Sony

There's a version of Lemmings for the PS3 available for download. It plays like a dog.

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Great Stuff!

Excellent game - I even have a version with the first six or so levels on my Palm M515 - 160x160 resolution!

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Anonymous Coward

I've got it for my original Game Boy

160x144 according to Wiki.

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If we're playing that game

The Atari Lynx port is fantastic and runs in just 160x102.

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Hoorah!

A fine tribute to an excellent game.

No need for car-boot sales, I still have my old A600. Well, somewhere. I'm sure it'd look great on a modern HDTV. And I'm sure I've got a copy of the DOS version kicking around too.

Also I think mention should be made of the music. Amiga 8-bit synth-y versions of various classical or well-known ditties. They would inevitably get stuck in your head after an extended session of lemming-directing.

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Anonymous Coward

Other versions

The SAM Coupe version was rather good as well!

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Anonymous Coward

SAM Coupe

Funnily enough I'm sat opposite the guy who designed the SAM Coupe. Got one of the first 40 processor prototypes about 2 feet away from me.

He was also a fan of that Lemmings version.

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But sadly...

... Lemmings and Prince of Persia almost alone aren't enough to sustain a machine, no matter how cute its little feet.

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Anonymous Coward

I still have the Sega Game Gear version somewhere........

but that only had 20 lemmings per level max, and a screen the size of a matchbox to put them on.

Unless you had the huge magnifier thingy for the front..............

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I was just about to get rid of my A500 and A1200

But,I feel the need to play Lemmings now. If I do that, then I feel the throwing out may never happen!

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Happy days!

I spent many an hour^Hday misdirecting unsuspecting lemmings on my Archimedes. Ran like a dream on the oldest A310 machine. It also had all the music.

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Go

Lemmings History

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

Steve Hammond

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you, sir...

...owe me a childhood.

*taps feet, makes 'pay up!' gesture*

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Happy

Gary Timmons

Wasn't the animator Gary Timmons? If so then fairly sure he doesn't drink! Admittedly he does have long hair though (still). My claim to fame is that during one of the final demos in a Dundee computer store, I beat him on a 2 player level. So he promptly changed the level so I couldn't repeat the method I used to win ;-)

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Go

Gary was indeed the animator, and yes, I've never known him to drink! The computer store wouldn't have been SoftWareHouse by any chance? That was a DMA-owned place whose opening was accompanied by an animatronic radio-controlled Lemming on a tricycle.

Good anecdote! I'll have to remember that when - if - I write the book!

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Happy

As immortalised by Sir Pterry

When Rincewind controls the terracotta army in "Interesting Times" it's clearly intended to be Lemmings.

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Pint

I have some fond memories of Lemmings. I believe it came out when I was about 13, around that time I went on a French exchange trip which was mind-numbingly boring. I spent most of the 10 days I was there reading my copy of ST Format and learning the names to the levels of Lemmings which I remember some of them having some really funny names.

I had Lemmings on the ST, then the Amiga, and eventually the PC and SNES. I tried to run the PC version of Lemmings on the RM Nimbus 186 PCs at school but got caught out because I found an account which didn't have a password which went straight to DOS, but it kept crashing (stupid SetPC application)so we had to reboot the computer and there were a load of un-logged out sessions. In the end I was caught and banned from the school network for 6 weeks (longest 6 weeks of my life probably, or at least at the time).

I recently introduced my 9 year old daughter to Lemmings on UAE, she too now enjoys the game although she's only just getting the hang of it.

Rob

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Pingus

Great game... hundreds of hours wasted. I still have the original box/diskettes. Fortunately, I don't have to drag out my old DOS/Windows3 system to play it any more, even if the diskettes were still readable.

If you were a Lemmings fan you might try Pingus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pingus

There aren't as many levels but there is a level editor to create more. It also includes a number of levels that are "in development" and not easily accessible in the game. I would love to see a project creating more level packs for the game. I haven't wasted near enough time playing this latest version given the lack of levels.

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TS

This level looks EASY!

This level looks EASY. I'll just walk out.... hey, WTH, something just ATE my lemming! Ok, I'll build a bridge over it. Oops, wrong lemming. Build another bridge to climb over the trap... HA! I got you now! Wait, don't turn around there. No, don't walk into the trap! Shoot I used my last bridge! GRRR.... 5 ... 4... 3 ... 2 ... 1...

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My Beloved Ones

Ah, the memories of days (weeks) gone bye.

I'm not much of a player, but there are some 6-8 computergames that I really liked. Two of these really had me enslaved. Lemmings was of course one of them. I installed it on my MSDOS computer in the office, and one week later I noticed I had'nt done anything^Hvery much work-related. I did have an impressive list of codes for Lemmings. Sadly the only one solution was to give the darlings the axe: del lemmings\*.*

The other one was Tetris (the original CGA-resloution). I had to give it the axe also after I started seeing coloured blocks tumbling down in my dreams.

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A classic!

Great to see an old classic dug out again! Especially one that brought me a lot of entertainment over the years.

There's several active Lemmings communities out there (LemmingsForums and LemmingsHeaven to name two) and a variety of clones and remakes: Lemmini (Java based, platform independent), Lemmix, Lix (networked multiplayer), LemmingsSDL, JSLems and more.

If you feel nostalgic then get involved!

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Facepalm

I CHOOSE to enoble a simple forum post!

I hate Lemmings!

:-|

Some 10 years after I had spent many happy hours playing Lemmings in the front room of a girl from uni I realised that I could have been "playing" with her. She being too shy to simply jump on me and me being too enraptured to notice her hints.

I found out when I bumped ino her about 10 years later... oh how we laughed.. she was bloody gorgeous as well.

Grr! ferkin' Lemmings

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Anonymous Coward

car boot?

I repeat, Car boot? You should already have an Amiga at home ready to use. I've got my a1000, a500, a600 and a1200 all ready to go when needed , there are more than 2 dozen classics that have never been bettered on newer platforms. Got my speccy, c64, 8 and 16 bit consoles too for the same reason ...and no, emulators just don't cut it

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I've just got rid of my personal computer museum...

Or should I say I asked my parents to get rid of it for me because I couldn't face doing it myself.

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This one is a real happy memories post for me. Lemmings was the first game I ever played on my very own Amiga 500, just long enough after opening the box to get it plugged into the nearest TV for a quick test run. Didn't even bother setting it up on my desk, that's how eager I was to get playing. Sat on the floor playing it until my legs went numb, if I remember correctly.

"After reading this I know you’re going to spend next Saturday trawling through your nearest car boot sale for a second hand Amiga"

The heck with that, I have my original Lemmings floppy somewhere (came with the A500 Cartoon Classics package back in 1991) and a mostly-working A4000 which I've been meaning to start a restoration project on for a while.

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aha, the reason no one will play a two player game with me even to this day!

Yes many fond memories... level 28 of Mayhem still haunts me to this day. I took weeks of trying to complete that. One lemming to save, and about 9 minutes to do it in.

Two player lemmings is where I earned my reputation as an "utter utter bastard!", to the point that SWMBO (who was my beloved GF at the time of lemmings release) is highly wary of playing any two player (computer!) game with me these days. There they would all be, happily walking safely to the exit, green clad lemmings in one direction, blue the other. Could I resist the temptation to upset the happy balance? It seems not. Quick turn one around with a quick attempt to build by some obstacle, or area of confined headroom, and then "oops", there appears to be a blocker right in the middle of someone's carefully constructed bridge! Or, for devastating effect, (my speciality), dig the ground away from under the opposing exit and watch them frantically try to get a builder to repair the damage. Oh how easy it was to ruin it all with a basher when they finally managed.

I can still hear the exasperated screams of "oh, I am not playing with you any more!" ;-)))

Errata : SWMBO was just read this over my shoulder, and proclaimed "its not just me", "its the reason that nobody will play two player lemmings with you! In fact they are now wary of pretty much any multi-player game, right from Scrabble to Monopoly!"

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animation

I can't believe nobody's mentioned the animations yet. The way the blockers' hair swung like a tiny shampoo commercial, those beautifully-rendered deathtraps, the splash of a lemming falling too far... and all in a few dozen well- crafted pixels. A masterpiece..

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Anonymous Coward

Lemmings for us feeble minded oldsters

The homebrew DS port should be mentioned (at least in these comments) as assigning the pause button to the trigger buttons was a work of genius, allowing you to pause the action whenever you wanted to place that perfect ladder. IIRC it also featured a fast-forward mode, not in the Amiga original, which was useful once you'd placed all the ladders/holes/blockers and a zoom mode, which made working on the tiny DS screens practical. Very much recommended - almost as much as the Amiga original.

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Mushroom

Damn Sony

They Nuked a remake for the iPhone.

http://www.mobile1up.com/lemmings/blog/

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Competition.

Sony didn't want to draw people away from their PlayStation Portable line and especially not the upcoming PlayStation Vita.

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Anonymous Coward

Not forgetting the novelty record put out under the name of SFX.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVO2zbR_q00

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Happy

My first computer game.

I can still hear the music in my head.

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Mike Dailly

Mike the original programmer and designer of this still codes for fun on Commodore +4 / C16 machines and is a poster over on http://plus4world.powweb.com website.

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spectrum version

I remember buying the ZX Spectum port of this game. It was really more than the graphics on a spectrum could handle, the sprites need to be too small. It also crashed....a lot! I ended up taking it back and swapping it for Bart Simpson vs The Space Mutants which was OK but not nearly as good.

Spent many an hour/day/week/month playing Lemmings when I got an A600 not too much later. I can hear the music in my head now.

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Headmaster

Versions

Obviously the Amiga and ST version go without saying.

The Spectrum version was quite remarkable as it would run on a 48k model and was a monochrome version of the 16 bit versions. Even the multi load from tape was painless as levels only took 10 seconds each to load in.

The Amstrad CPC version was also great with some nice graphics and sound. Only downer was the level codes stopped working above about level 16. As a CPC moment it was quite weird to be buying a Psygnosis game for my Amstrad, let alone seeing their logo on my CTM 644 monitor! The level code bug aside, it was a great game that stood out when other companies were just producing shoddy ports of their 16 bit games.

C64 version. Sprite limitations mean that the number of lemmings is considerably less than the other 8 bit versions. Shame really.

I believe the Sam Coupe had a decent version. Never played it, only saw the reviews. Looked promising.

But my favourite was the Atari Lynx version. Fantastic port to the handheld. Annoyingly I binned my copy when my Lynx went bang. Shame really as the Lynx version is supposed to be fairly collectable.

Also versions for the PC, Archie and a number of the 90's consoles. But I've not played any of those.

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C64 version

"C64 version. Sprite limitations mean that the number of lemmings is considerably less than the other 8 bit versions. Shame really."

Not quite true. On the C64 version, they used hardware sprites for the playing field and bitmapped the Lemmings onto the background.

Sprite limitations meant that the visible playing area was only a half-screen wide. The restriction on the number of Lemmings was down to the poor bitmap performance on the C64 (it has an 8x8 tiled layout, not a true cartesian map) and the fact that they had to duplicate the movement onto the sprite-mapped background to drop out pixels.

All the coordinate calculations were computationally intensive.

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Happy

Lemming and Worms - Knock socks off Angry Birds

They really should bring these games to Android and iOS. They're perfect for tablets and I'm pretty sure they will be well received with people willing to pay good money for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Lemmings vs Angry Birds

Disclaimer: I'm part of the web dev team for Angry Birds, we make the Chrome version and various co-branded efforts. I'm also originally from the UK and grew up with Lemmings and other great games on the Archimedes and other Acorn machines. While AB might have more in common with Worms than Lemmings, they're great inspirations (consciously or not) and many of the developers here are of the right age to have played these as youngsters. AB is fairly simple due to its nature and due to the nature of its native platform (predominantly iOS, also Android) and it's not supposed to be compared to Lemmings, which is a much more complex game.

P.S. if you're still reading this thread, Steve Hammond, then thanks from all of us who were (are!) old Lemmings fans!

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