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Before Grand Theft Auto, DMA Design published the first Lemmings in 1991. Lemmings stemmed from a test, throwaway animation in 1989 of a tiny creature moving endlessly. One studio member, Russell Kay, saw the animated pre-lemming and exclaimed: “There’s a game in that!” And he turned out to be more than right on that count.
The game, which challenged players to keep dozens of the aforementioned sprites alive through a mixture of ingenious planning and handy Lemming powers, captivated players and critics on release.
Amiga Computing called Lemmings “absolutely brilliant”. And reviews like that helped springboard the game to success, with the game selling an enormously impressive 55,000 copies on the very first day.
But the legacy of Lemmings goes beyond sales. It has been credited as one of the first real-time strategy games (RTS) and it was noted as an inspiration for Blizzard’s first Warcraft game by a developer. And if that wasn’t enough, it was even referenced in Terry Pratchett’s novel Interesting Times too.