COMING UP FAST: Philip and Andrew Oliver - Blitz Games

COMING UP FAST: Philip and Andrew Oliver - Blitz Games - Imagine spending your teens working 18-hour shifts, seven days a week - for no pay. Most Kevins and Perrys would walk. But it allowed Philip and Andrew Oliver to fulfil a passion. Hooked on computer

by REBECCA HOAR
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Imagine spending your teens working 18-hour shifts, seven days a week - for no pay. Most Kevins and Perrys would walk. But it allowed Philip and Andrew Oliver to fulfil a passion. Hooked on computer games since their elder brother bought a computer in 1981, the twins - now 33 - were programming games at 14.

Acorn published their first game, paying the 15-year-olds pounds 50, and they went on to design games for other publishers. 'We were paid pounds 200 per game, which barely covered our costs,' recalls Philip. 'So we wrote a business plan and looked for more publishers.' In 1985, they met Codemasters and were offered pounds 10,000 for one game. They produced more for Codemasters over the next six years, hiring staff and finding offices in Leamington Spa. They also converted games for a little-known US platform, Nintendo.

Since then, they've devised games for Nintendo, Disney and Sony's Playstation.

They have 100 employees, and turnover last year was pounds 3.5 million. Says Philip: 'We always knew games would become a massive industry, even when people said we were wrong.'

The twins are working on a game to coincide with the film The Mummy Returns and with Microsoft on the X-box launch title.

'I enjoy making people happy,' says Philip, 'whether it's the consumer, the client who commissioned the game, or our employees.' His only regret is that he no longer has time to play the games.

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