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boyo

The story of the Oliver Twins Kickstarter

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Backed. Looks like the target has already been hit.

I'm not actually that big of a fan of the Oliver Twins but I've enjoyed your previous books so wanted to support this one.

Also, if I support this one, it might bring us all a step closer to an Ultimate Play the Game book.

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Mine arrived yesterday. It's packed full of great behind-the-scenes art, screenshots and plenty on the Dizzy games, as well as titles I didn't realise the Twins were involved with, so I look forward to getting stuck into it properly over Xmas. Overall feedback is positive.

 

As forumites will know I'm a very critical person and though the quality is high and the content is bountiful, there are things I look at and wish were done differently with this KS and the presentation of the book.

 

Firstly, the graphic design harks back to the 80's game mags, which is fitting given the subject matter, but this is an Edge forum so aesthetics are important. These are issues of personal preference, but it frustrates me the text isn't Justified. Photos and art are integrating throughout rather than organised. I wish the cover was more artistically-minded and less functional, perhaps with some Dizzy pixel art.

 

Secondly, it's frustrating when a KS project is overruning to see the organiser starting up multiple Kickstarter projects simultaneously. I read some folks getting inpatient in the comments section and gather there were lots of issues with the carts, and finalising the text, but the NES Visual compendium KS has gone from campaign to print in less than half the time this book has taken. 

 

Finally, I upped my pledge for the A3 signed Fantasy World Dizzy prints, I haven't heard these mentioned in any updates and mine didn't arrive with the book. So hopefully this will be arriving separately in good time.

 

That sounds like a lot of negatives but I do appreciate the work that has gone into the book and from a quick flick through it looks like a comprehensive history. 

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10 hours ago, boyo said:

Appreciate the kind words Keith - I know we have not spoken for some time so it was really nice to hear your review etc :)

 

No problem, it's a good book! The Olivers often talk about various bits of their history across various Youtube videos but it's good to see it all together in lots more detail.

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@Sir Shrew

 

Thanks for the feedback. There is over 80,000 words in the book and as you say it is a comprehensive history that Philip and Andrew have been 100% involved with. They have signed off each page of the book - and the Q/A process went through multiple iterations with them. Thus the time delay. To be fair, the Visual Compendium book is just that - Visual. The Twins book is a reading book - one you don't just flick through, but read which means it needs to be written, edited, proofed etc.

 

The cart issue was out of my control - I was promised NTSC/PAL compatible carts and when I got them they were only NTSC. I have now found someone who can produce PAL versions of the PCB and all those backers who had the cart PERK will get one for free.

 

The graphic design and layout was done by Roger Kean - Roger was part owner of Newsfield (Crash/Zzap/Amtix) etc and editor of Zzap. We chose that design on purpose and the design is evident in all the other books we have done. The cover was done by Steven Day - a prolific C64 artist back in the day - this is the cover the Twins wanted - again it went through a number of iterations with them until this is what we arrived at.

 

Over 50 A3 prints have gone out - only a few to go. Yours must be in the few :) I will sort over the next number of days.

 

The book has taken 12 months to do from start to finish.

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@boyo

 

Appreciate the response and why the decisions were made as they were. I own the Ocean book you did too. It's just personal preference for ease of reading. The ReadOnlyMemory Sensi book did a good job in balancing this, though they go  too far the other way in segregating text and screenshots. And with regards the cover I appreciate the twins maybe wanted to showcase their games beyond Dizzy. Thanks for taking the time to address those points and I look forward to exploring the book in full.  :)

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I really enjoyed the book. I work for the Olivers at radiant worlds these days (and previously worked for codemasters) and they gave the whole company copies.

 

Top work.

 

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Just wanted to pop back and say I really enjoyed reading this over xmas. There's a great amount of detail and some great insights from the Twins. Particularly the early days when they were starting out. They came across really well.

 

The book is very much a career biography and whilst it does touch upon some development issues with the various games, it isn't a comprehensive behind-the-scenes on the development of the Dizzy games and art, perhaps that may still be the subject of another book. I did enjoy the anecdote about Treasure Island Dizzy's lives system. And the

sections on Super Robin Hood and Ghostbusters 2.

 

Like many British software devs in the 80's, the latter half (as with the Sensible Software book I mentioned earlier) documents the fall from popularity. The book focused a lot on the Twins feeling as though they'd been screwed over, which was a bit downbeat tbh. It seems like the games industry in the late 80's was full of knobheads. (Spotted the photo of Everiss... )

 

For that reason I definitely prefered the first half. Once they started farming out development of the Dizzy games it was evidently less a creative labour of love (though Magicland was great, Spellbound and Crystal Kingdom less so) and more of a business, which is why the new Kickstarter failed imo. 

 

There was a repeated quote that Dizzy was bigger than Sonic and Mario... I think this was partially true amongst computer owners at the time, but I'm not sure Dizzy stood a chance against the incoming marketing onslaught of Sonic and Mario. 

 

No sign of the print yet but I imagine that could take a couple of weeks. Fantasy World was the first game I ever completed. :)

 

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1 hour ago, sir shrew said:

There was a repeated quote that Dizzy was bigger than Sonic and Mario... I think this was partially true amongst computer owners at the time, but I'm not sure Dizzy stood a chance against the incoming marketing onslaught of Sonic and Mario.

It kind of makes some sense in that Dizzy games were typically cheap and affordable be all, so there's a chance that more kids were aware of him (I certainly was) but there's no way Dizzy was ever bigger than Sonic and Mario from a sales point of view.

 

Even the oliver twins have gone on record in RG several times to say they first went to CES feeling really pleased beause dizzy would typically sell 100,000, only to realise that games like mario were selling in their millions.

 

It sounds more like the bubble effect. I'll go through the book again so I can understand the context better. It's a great read and it pleases me that I'm probably still going to be able to squeeze a making of Grand Prix Simulator out of them at some point :)

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On 24/12/2016 at 12:59, RFT said:

I really enjoyed the book. I work for the Olivers at radiant worlds these days (and previously worked for codemasters) and they gave the whole company copies.

 

Top work.

 

I'd love to work for the Oliver twins, in all my years of writing about videogames I've never heard a bad thing said against them.

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They do seem to be genuinely nice people, still with huge enthusiasm for the industry, and treat their staff very well.

 

I worked for codies for a long time (1998-2014), and had early on wondered where the twins had ended up and what they were doing, but there was never, really, much of a willingness to talk about the 8-bit era. I think it was all seen as a bit embarrassing by the people who had been around at the time (The Darlings, Gav Raeburn, Rich Eddy) because they really wanted to be going toe-to-toe with EA and Eidos and there was a bit of a "year zero" policy. Apart from occasional acknowledgements on certain anniversaries. There weren't posters up of any of the 8-bit stuff anywhere, apart from one corridor, deep in the bowels of the building, where there was the MiG-29 cover art.

 

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Going a touch OT here, but I'm sad to hear Codies didn't feel their 8-bit legacy was someting to be openly proud of. For a lot of people, myself included, those games were a massive part of their childhoods or early gaming experiences, and whilst not every game was a classic the general level of quality and presentation, in games and branding, was a cut above and set the standard, paving the way for their future sucess. It's understandable the likes of the Darlings and Gavin Raeburn wanted to be taken more seriously, but it's important to know where you came from. It's something the Oliver Twins understand implicitly. 

 

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5 hours ago, RFT said:

They do seem to be genuinely nice people, still with huge enthusiasm for the industry, and treat their staff very well.

 

I worked for codies for a long time (1998-2014), and had early on wondered where the twins had ended up and what they were doing, but there was never, really, much of a willingness to talk about the 8-bit era. I think it was all seen as a bit embarrassing by the people who had been around at the time (The Darlings, Gav Raeburn, Rich Eddy) because they really wanted to be going toe-to-toe with EA and Eidos and there was a bit of a "year zero" policy. Apart from occasional acknowledgements on certain anniversaries. There weren't posters up of any of the 8-bit stuff anywhere, apart from one corridor, deep in the bowels of the building, where there was the MiG-29 cover art.

 

 

There was loads in Jim Darlings office including prizes for dizzy etc. :P

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I only ever went in to Jim Darling's office the once, to drop off some photocopies of the Autosport circuit guide as he was going historic car racing that weekend (would have been summer 1999).

 

All I remember of it now is a very plush leather chair and a very big desk. He wasn't in there at the time.

 

 

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Chris announced that he had a few hard back copies over, so I ordered one just before Christmas. Still hasn't arrived and I'm back in Belgium now, so it may be a while until I get to see it. Looks great though.

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The Oliver Twins continue to avoid those tricky questions about Dizzy. What type of egg is he? Was he born-live or egg-laid? Will he ever hatch? (if he's a dragon egg, does that make Little Puff in Monsterland a Dizzy sequel)? What happened to his parents? And how does he tie his shoes when wearing boxing gloves? They've got some eggsplaining to do.

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