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How Dizzy's success sent Codemasters into a spin

On making money

David Darling: "Yes, we've made some. I've just bought a new four wheel drive Porsche which is one of the nice things you can do with it. We're turning over about £3.5 million at the moment, but I really think we could be a much, much bigger company in a few years' time. We've only just had our fifth birthday, remember – we've got a long way to go yet."

On the importance of Amiga game sales

David Darling: "They're obviously very important – 8-bit won't last forever, and while at the moment our 16-bit stuff accounts for 35% of the company's turnover, the bulk of that is Amiga. I suppose I'm surprised that it isn't more important. It's taken a long time to grow."

On game design

David Darling: "I still have a lot to do with actual game design. Big Nose The Caveman – he's in a console game at the moment, but will filter down to the Amiga no doubt – is one of mine for instance. He came, as most of them do, out of a couple of casual conversations and the idea just stuck.

"The problem is in knowing where to stop with a character – if you make him too jokey the whole product is conceived of as a joke. One idea I'm considering at the moment is whether to have Big Nose's nose grow each time he sniffs a flower until it reaches such a size it becomes a giant bomb he can use to blow everyone off the screen. I'm unsure as to whether this will work or simply look stupid – we're going to try it out, and if it looks funny we'll probably run with it. What we don't want is for it to look disgusting!

"The English and Japanese tend to like toilet humour, but the Americans don't, so we always have to be careful we're not going to turn them off with some of our jokes."

Richard Darling: "Some of the games we've developed for the American NES market will be coming to the Amiga in the first half of next year. We'd be foolish not to bring them over really – as cartridges cost $10-20 just to manufacture it's become that much more important to spend a lot of time and money on the development of the games we put onto them, and because of that we've come up with some of our strongest games recently.

"Micro Machines, our table top car racing game, where all the courses are set around rooms in a house, will be converted certainly. It's based on a popular range of toy cars in the States, but since they're not so well known in this country I think the game will be judged more on its own merits.

"Big Nose The Caveman is another one we'll definitely convert – we haven't started it yet, but the exploration/adventure of it will be ideal for the home computers."

On planning a new character

David Darling: "We hardly do any planning, to be honest. It's amazing how much happens with very little worked out beforehand. What matters is having generally good judgement and being able to make decent, sensible decisions on the spot.

"One thing you've got to recognise is where you're going wrong and put it right. With CJ the elephant, say, one of our more recent characters, the first game packaging depicted him as a fairly normal cartoon elephant, with grey skin, lots of wrinkles and so on.

"The minute that came out I knew it was wrong – he should be a much younger and more innocent character – so for the second game we've had him drawn completely differently, with smooth blue baby-like skin, big wide eyes and so on. Now he's much more Mickey Mouse. The trick is to keep adding elements and improving them to keep the character more interesting each time."

On printing your own quotes on the back of boxes

David Darling: "well, the thing is that if we've got a magazine quote we'd rather use that, but it's always good to get something on the back of the box, so we won't mind doing it ourselves if need be.

"We just used to mix the same words around in a different order to get a quote that sounded good, and yes, sometimes even we thought they were a bit over the top! I remember one that said 'I'm absolutely gob-smacked! It's the best game I've ever played!' or something which was a bit ridiculous."

On the general perception of Code Masters

David Darling: "People take us more seriously than they used to, perhaps because we specialise in original products. The computer whiz kid stories seem to have died down a bit anyway. We've had five years practice after all – we should be getting good at it all now."