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Two UK gaming industry pioneers in Queen's Birthday Honours
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Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:10 am Reply and quote this post
Britain's video games industry received a tribute with the award ofCBEs to David and Richard Darling in the Queen's birthday honours list.The two brothers built Codemasters - responsible for such hits as ColinMcRae Rally and Sensible Soccer - into a global force. Although theysold out last year, their company is one of the reasons Britain's videogames industry is among the strongest in the world, despite most of ithaving being taken over by foreign firms. News of the honours coincidedwith Grand Theft Auto, also developed in the UK, retaining its No 1slot in the US charts for the second month running. This helped the USgames market, including consoles, to a 37% sales increase over a yearago, a potent symbol of resilience. The Darling brothers will begrateful for their CBEs, but would have been even more delighted ifrecognition had taken a tangible form. The UK games sector is facing anexodus of talent to other countries offering tax incentives,particularly Canada. If companies relocating to Quebec can claim taxcredits of up to 30% of payroll costs, small wonder they are migratingin swarms. The industry is lobbying the government to invest in a UKsuccess story to prevent the exodus and secure it for the future. Butsubsidising industry is too "old Labour" for this government. Insteadit is planning to complain to the World Trade Organisation, a procedurethat could take years. By then, if no action is taken, it could lookmore like a case of Grand Theft Industry.

Two of the pioneers of the UK video games industry have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

David and Richard Darling, co-founders of game developers Codemasters,were both made Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
They built up their company from a bedroom enterprise into one of the best known games developers in the world.
The firm is behind well established titles including the Colin McRae Rally series and Sensible Soccer.<!-- E SF -->
More recently the firm has ventured into online games, releasing Lord of the Rings Online.
"For over 20 years David and Richard led Codemasters as itbecame one of the video game industry's great British success stories,"said Rod Cousens, present head of Codemasters.
"Their drive and passion for creating the best in interactiveentertainment will always be part of the industry's heritage and thisrecognition is well deserved."
The brothers sold their stake in the company in 2007 after 21 years at the firm.


The two brothers started their first company - Galactic Software- in 1982, followed by a stint writing for Mastertronic, a publisher oflow-cost computer software.<!-- S IIMA -->               
<!-- E IIMA -->
In 1986 they set up Codemasters, along with their father Jim. Theirfirst title was BMX simulator, released in the company's founding year.
There followed a series of simulator titles including jet ski, flight and even fruit machine games.
Many of these were written for the computer of the moment - the ZXspectrum - although they also produced titles for the BBC Micro, AcornElectron and Amstrad CPC.
The brothers were famous for putting ringing endorsements of their games on the packaging.
"Dizzy's Treasure Island is brilliant - it's like a real cartoon but with amazing gameplay," read one.
These were usually quotes from the creators of the game or the Darlingbrothers themselves. The Treasure Island quote was by David Darling,for example.
Practices like this drew equal measures of mirth and criticism from the games press of the time.
But the company gained even greater notoriety when it developed aseries of unlicensed games for Nintendo's Entertainment System.
The titles, published by controversial company Camerica, bypassed theconsole's so-called "lock-out chip", designed to prevent unofficialproducts being played.
Titles included the Quattro Series, Ultimate Stuntman and the best-selling Micro Machines.
The company has continued to grow and now produces games for all three major consoles, PCs, handheld devices and mobile phones.
In 2005 the company was crowned the world's leading independently owned video games developer by Develop Magazine.
The brothers left two years later to work on other projects.
They were honoured for their "services to the computer games industry".

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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