Alas, Psygnosis

So, obviously I’ve heard of the closure of Psygnosis. Not that it has been called that in many years, in the same way that Rockstar North isn’t quite DMA Design. I don’t have many memories of that publisher down on the Liverpudlian waterfront, but DMA visited there regularly and I went along for a couple of those trips.

We weren’t always on the best of terms, but the partnership which started with Menace on the Psyclapse label lasted long enough to bring Lemmings to the world as well as Hired Guns and others.

I got my break in the games industry by converting graphics from Psygnosis’ games Ballistix and Shadow of the Beast. They created the hires shiny images for the Amiga and I crammed those same images into a Commodore 64 character set. Mike Dailly did the coding for C64 Ballistix and together we ported it.

Although the standing joke was that Psygnosis did the flashy graphics and DMA did the gameplay, Dave Jones was always a little envious of their ability to turn around high quality images quickly, once bemoaning the fact that we never seemed able to do that. Indeed, once the decision was made to add some story tweentros and endings to the PC Engine version of Shadow of the Beast it seemed only weeks until they were delivered.

This was another project I was involved with, along with Mike, and we were most disappointed when they decided to remove all the hidden messages we’d placed in the levels.

And while I couldn’t claim to have any great influence, I couldn’t help noticing that they created their own parody newsletter, Shagg, after seeing my Not the DMA News.

At the time it was more money than I’d ever seen before in my life. So while I will always be fond of my time at DMA, none of it would have been possible without the existence of Psygnosis. And although my visits to the HQ itself were rare, they formed some of the nicest memories from that time; the best pizza I’ve ever had, staying at hotel where an admin error meant I had a penthouse suite to myself, and being crammed in the back of Ian Hetherington’s Porche 911 as a bunch of us went for a meal.

It’s a sad day.