Today in Gaming History: 10/10/2013


1988: DMA Design (later Rockstar North) established
Twenty-five years ago, under the shadow of the vast, expanding video games industry of the late 1990s, a small studio called DMA Design was created in Scotland. With a couple praised though not well-known games, Menace and Blood Money, of its belt, the company dove off the development cliff with its 1991 hit Lemmings. (Get it? Cliff, lemmings?…cause they…oh forget it.) This popular puzzler sold millions and made DMA a household name. And Lemmings spawned numerous sequels that were created by DMA, and some one-offs that weren’t.

In the 1990s, DMA entered into what would become a rocky relationship with Nintendo. DMA was asked by Nintendo to join its fabled list of Nintendo 64 developers, which it did. The company developed a single game for the console, Body Harvest, which, due to design and development conflicts between the two companies, never made it to market under the Nintendo brand. Instead, the game was picked up by Gremlin Graphics and Midway and became a nominal success. In 1997, DMA reached a certain level of fame and infamy with a little game called Grand Theft Auto. That same year, DMA was bought by Gremlin Interactive, a British game developer, which marked the beginnnings of it transformation into Rockstar North (which occurred several years later in 2002).

So Lemmings…love it or hate it? We’d love to hear from you or from anyone who had a chance to play some of DMA’s games!


  1. Vitosal says:

    Holy shit! I had no idea Rockstar was DMA! I remember playing the original lemmings, man it was awesome. Geez, they sure have come quite far, from Lemmings to GTA V. Wow, now that’s a success story. All we need in the gaming world is innovation from Rockstar and Naughty Dog and the rest will follow suite.


    1. cary says:

      Yeah, those two companies have given us some of the best games around. (Bioware could stand to evolve a little as well, but it also has its share of solid titles, without a doubt.)

      I never played Lemmings, but I remember its TV commercials. Ancient history, haha! I, too, was surprised to read of Rockstar’s humble beginnings. This is one of the best things about doing these posts — I never know what information might be unearthed!


      1. Vitosal says:

        I’m still simply in shock and awe. I cannot believe it’s the same group. From cute and cuddly to utter destruction…such a leap…


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