Royal Mail has released a set of stamps celebrating pioneering British video games from the 1980s and 1990s.
Video games are a vital part of the UK’s creative industries, contributing nearly £3 billion to the economy according to a 2018 British Film Institute (BFI) report.
DCMS launched the UK Games Fund in 2015, which provides grants up to £25,000 to designers and developers, enabling more games to be made and more talent to break into the industry. DCMS confirmed an extra £1 million for the fund last year, extending it until March 2021.
The games included on the stamps are:
Elite (1984) - The wireframe resource-managing space exploration classic which has inspired popular modern games including EVE Online and No Man's Sky.
- Dizzy (1987) - Featuring the world's most famous video game egg, Dizzy mixed platforming with tricky and cryptic puzzle solving and inventory management, popular enough to spawn more than six sequels across multiple home computers and consoles.
- Populous (1989) - Credited with being the first world-building sim, Populous allowed you to essentially play God and craft living and breathing villages, towns, cities and landscapes.
- Lemmings (1991) - The frantic and confounding puzzle game by Psygnosis, Lemmings challenged players to save multitudes of little creatures all marching towards their demise by giving them limited tools and abilities to enable as many as possible to reach an exit. It became one of the more iconic 90s video games.
- Micro Machines (1991) - Itself based on the popular mini-vehicular toys, this simple but high-octane and original racing game saw players take control of a vehicle of their choice and chase each other around breakfast tables and avoid obstacles like billiard balls. Its Sega Megadrive sequel would pioneer a patented cartridge with extra controller ports exclusive to the game so that up to four people could play at the same time.
- Sensible Soccer (1992) - Once the king of video game football, Sensible Soccer combined simplicity and tactical brilliance with memorable soundbytes into a package that would not be bettered until International Superstar Soccer (the predecessor to Pro Evolution Soccer) and early versions of the annual EA Sports game FIFA.
- Worms (1995) - Almost a reverse Lemmings, Worms turned the concept on its head by giving its little creatures military hardware and have them try to eliminate each other, with an emphasis on strategy rather than firepower, yet often with hilarious sound effects.
- Wipeout (1995) - A futuristic racing game for Sony's then-burgeoning PlayStation console (and possibly inspired by Nintendo's own F-Zero) with streamlined ships that hug looping tracks with the object to get to first place and retain it through speed, razor-sharp cornering and determination. Also featuring a Chemical Brothers soundtrack.
Plus a special four-stamp set featuring a different Tomb Raider game from the multi-million selling franchise which stars the most well-known woman in video games, Lara Croft.
- Tomb Raider (1996)
- Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (1998)
- Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000)
- Tomb Raider (2013)
The stamps were produced by Royal Mail, in collaboration with industry body, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie), and video game experts, Julian Rignall and Sam Dyer.
Philip Parker, Head of Stamp Strategy at Royal Mail, says that the stamp set recognises how the UK has been at the "forefront of video games for decades" and celebrates designers’ "landmark creations".
Dr Joe Twist OBE, CEO at Ukie, says: “Video games are a key part of our cultural footprint and we’re pleased to see their contribution recognised in such memorable style.”