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Storia dei Lemmings 09.06.15

Rich Stanton ripercorre la nascita e il successo di uno dei videogiochi più dirompenti di sempre. I Lemmings.

Lemmings simply offers something different. The sprites with flouncy hair soon become friends, their dedication and helplessness an irresistible pull. The size of the lemmings, that first impulse behind their creation, has the neat effect of making minor hills huge and half-screen gaps cavernous, thus ennobling their acts. The animations shine with personality: the sheer exertion in every swing of a basher's hands, captured in that split-second the limb is held aloft before crashing down. And Gary Timmins, the animator and one of the level designers on Lemmings, points out that the builder 'shrugging' when it has finished building wasn't just a neat piece of characterisation -- it also gives the player more time to react. The sprites cease to be an 8×10 grid of pixels, and become lemmings, looking to the player for direction and salvation. This mix of buttons that Lemmingspushes in a player -- caring and bloodthirsty -- still feels fresh. As the release date loomed, DMA and Psygnosis realised that this might be a problem. Lemmings was, in Jones' words, an 'impossible game to describe' and therefore a marketing nightmare. But it wasn't complex -- people just had to play it to understand the appeal. The strategy was to get as many demos out as possible, which in 1990/1991 meant a tonne of magazine covermounts.