Lemmings Can You Dig It

Lemmings Can You Dig It? The documentary

The Lemmings have been sacrificing for you for 30 years now and to celebrate it a new documentary, Lemmings Can You Dig It? has been released, that gives a very nice view on one of the best puzzle videogames in the history of the industry.

Lemmings: Can You Dig It Table of Contents

if you don´t know the game, you can Play Lemmings now on iOS and Android: https://bit.ly/PlayLemmings

What is the videogame Lemmings

Lemmings Can You Dig It
Lemmings Can You Dig It – Lemmings Spritesheet

Lemmings is a video game originally developed for the Commodore Amiga, designed by DMA Design (now Rockstar North) and released by Psygnosis in 1991, with versions for different computers and game consoles. At the time of its release, it was one of the most successful games of all time, receiving top scores from professional magazines.

The characters in the game were created based on the popular myth that lemmings commit mass suicide in dangerous situations. The objective of the game is to save a certain number of lemmings in each level. To achieve this, eight different skills are distributed exclusively to each lemming to reach the end of each stage.

Lemmings, one of the most popular video games as well as one of the most different and addictive proposals. It will soon be 30 years old and a documentary will be released that will delight every fan, but do you know the history of Lemmings? If not, stay tuned because there are details that you will surely like to know.

The origin of the Lemmings

History has shown us on more than one occasion that some of the best video games have come out of somewhat strange moments, of coincidences that serve as inspiration to create something that then remembered them for a lifetime.

One such example is Pac-Man. Its creator, Toru Iwatani, was looking to create a video game that would appeal to women in the same way that others with war themes and where you had to kill alien invaders, etc., had succeeded with men. The problem is that it needs a mechanic that appeals to them and it wasn’t anything to do with killing or destroying.

So, while he was eating pizza one day, he clearly saw the figure of the popular Pac-Man when he removed one of the slices. An outing to eat pizza with his companions and a slice that discovered that giant mouth was the detonator of an iconic video game.

Well, Lemmings came about in a somewhat similar way. It was in 1989 that the first animation was created, and it was in the most curious way. In the offices of DMA Design was Mike Dailly along with the rest of those who were then his colleagues. One of them, Scott Johnson, a freelance artist, was drawing little men who were to be used by the main character of Walker (a video game for Amiga) to shoot them.

Johnson’s work resulted in a figure rendered in 16 x 16 pixels. It was at that moment, after seeing it, that Mike Dailly told him that they could be made even smaller, in only 8 x 8 pixels. Something that would give them an advantage because at that time resources were more limited than they are today.

So Dailly got to work and in about an hour he had that first little guy ready. So after he had it ready, he animated them and put them on a screen next to a weight that crushed them. The result? An unexpected reaction from his classmates: laughter.

Seeing those little characters being crushed seemed to make them laugh and they began to add other deadly elements. In the end, everyone saw that what had come out of the blue could have a future as an independent idea in a video game.

The rest of the team began to add other elements such as a mouth that devoured them, a kind of spinning propeller that launched them at full speed, and so on. Everyone was having a blast with it and Russell Kay said there was a game in there and coined the term Lemmings.

The first demo arrived

After a series of events that allowed them to get to work on their next video game, Lemmings, the first demo version was shown to Psygnosis in September 1989. They liked what they saw and it didn’t take much more to decide to bet on it and commercialize the game.

A title that from the moment it appeared on the market did not cease to attract attention. So that first PC release was not the last to be seen over the years. Throughout history there have been versions for all consoles and even mobile devices.

What’s more, just as more complex and demanding games can be played today from a browser, Lemmings can also be enjoyed with just an internet connection and a web browser. So, without being responsible for how you are going to manage your time from now on, to play Lemmings from the browser just click on this link.

Why the green hairs and other curiosities

In this creation story there are details that over time become iconic and in the Lemmings game one of them is the hair color of each of these mini characters.

The Lemmings have green hair, but it was not a premeditated decision nor did it pursue any kind of consensual intention. To tell the truth, the hair color was due to a problem of graphic limitation. At that time the PC EGA color palette that could be used by the graphics cards was very limited. So between the idea of using blue or green hair, the second option seemed to make the character look much better on screen. And it’s normal, green is the color that our eyes distinguish more easily.

However, this is not the only curious detail. Another interesting problem they solved was the dilemma of how to control up to 100 lemmings that could be on screen. The solution was simple, no control over them at all.

What they did was to place a series of elements on the stage itself or give the user the possibility to create them to control the constant flow of walking lemmings. Because these do not stop, they only change direction when they collide with any of the existing details.

Along with this, the game’s level editor, an important element for many, was based on DPaint or Deluxe Paint, a sort of Photoshops of the time for Amiga computers. It served its purpose, so they kept it for a long time as a tool for creating new levels.

Lemmings on your mobile

Among all the platforms on which you can enjoy Lemmings, it is logical that doing so on mobile devices is the preferred option for many users today. For the usual reasons, it is the device that we always carry in our pocket and being able to play a game wherever we are does not seem like a bad idea if we get bored.

The latest game released is Lemmings Puzzle Aventure and although it is free, you should also know that there are in-app purchases as in many other mobile games. But they are not a big problem, so you can enjoy the game, its mechanics and save or not, that’s up to you, these little characters.

Lemmings – Puzzle Adventure
Developer: Exient

Lemmings – Puzzle Adventure
Developer: SAD PUPPY

30 years of Lemmings The documentary

The true story of Lemmings – from the computer rooms in Dundee to the world-changing UK games scene that exists today; through the voices of those who were there at the time and those who grew up playing it.

The first installment of Lemmings was released in 1991 and managed to sell more than 55,000 copies on the first day for the Amiga version. At the end of the same year, around 15 million copies were counted among all the formats that were available. These were impressive figures for the time.

Over the years the title became more and more important, until it became one of the best in history and currently one of the most recognizable by any fan of video games. That’s why they always arouse some interest, even more so now that they are 30 years old and it is known that there will be a new documentary that will delve deeper into its origin and other data that are sure to be very curious to know.

Lemmings: Can You Dig It Documentary Credits

  • Adrian Powell (original Lemmings cover artist),
  • Alyson Conway (sculpture artist),
  • Brian ‘Biscuit’ Watson, (ex-DMA),
  • Chris Scullion (journalist),
  • Chris van der Kuyl (developer & Kingsway Club alumni),
  • Eli Mouawad (streamer),
  • Enrique Hervas (Lead Designer at Exient),
  • Gary Penn (ex-DMA & journalist),
  • Gary Timmons (ex-DMA),
  • Gary Whitta (screen writer & journalist),
  • Ian Hetherington (ex-Psygnosis),
  • Jake Montanarini (Norwich University),
  • James Roadley-Battin (Art Director at Exient),
  • Kish Hirani (BAME In Games, ex-PlayStation),
  • Larry Bundy Jr (TV presenter, YouTuber),
  • Mike Dailly (ex-DMA),
  • Nia Wearn (Deep Silver),
  • Nick Gorse (Coventry University),
  • Paul Farley (ex-DMA),
  • Peter Molyneux (games industry legend),
  • Robin Gray (Gayming Magazine),
  • Russell Kay (ex-DMA),
  • Ryan Locke (Abertay University),
  • Silvio Micalef (Lead Artist at Exient),
  • Steve Hammond (ex-DMA),
  • Tim Wright (ex-DMA),
  • Trista Bytes (superfan, YouTuber)
  • and more.

The backstory for Lemmings

It all started as a bet on whether you could create a “walking doll” in 16×16 pixels or 8×8 pixels.

Using an Amiga computer, and in less than an hour, Mike Dailly created the first 8×8 lemming as a demonstration that it could be done.

The doll would later be improved by Gary Timmons, he added a background and some obstacles and that’s when someone said Hey, here’s a possible game!

The first demo of Lemmings ran on a PC, not an Amiga. It was shown to Psygnosis in September 1989 and then it was decided to market it as a game.
The colors were based on the PC EGA palette of the time, which is why the lemmings have green hair (the other option was blue), and the level editor was based on Deluxe Paint, which was something like Photoshop for Amiga at the time.

The Complete History of Lemmings reviews the history of the popular game from its creators, including images of the various phases of its creation and many anecdotes. The first idea came up in 1989 and among all the curiosities of the game and its development, it is included that…

Lemmings: Can You Dig It? The documentary

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