From Sega Retro

Codemasters logo.png
Founded: 1986
T-series code: T-120
Stoneythorpe, Southam, Warwickshire, CV47 2DL, United Kingdom[1]

The Codemasters Software Company Limited, or Codemasters (earlier known as Code Masters and often nicknamed Codies in magazines) is one of the oldest British video game developers. The CEO is Rod Cousens, formerly of Acclaim. The co-founders, Richard and David Darling, were both appointed Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2008 for services to the computer games industry.


Founded in 1986 by Richard and David Darling (who worked previously for Mastertronic), Codemasters quickly established themselves in the growing ZX Spectrum market, mostly with action games that required the player to solve simple puzzles by combining different objects. Among the best examples of these games are the Dizzy series. While Codemasters found their roots in the ZX Spectrum, they did not exclusively write for this one computer - they also released software (including the Dizzy series) for the Commodore 64, Commodore 16, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.

As the 8-bit computer market diminished, Codemasters turned to developing for the 8-bit and 16-bit console markets, as well as moving away from their budget title legacy to more full-price games on the 16-bit computers — 1993 saw the last title in the budget Dizzy series, although they released a full-price Dizzy game, Fantastic Dizzy later. They had major success with the Micro Machines series and Pete Sampras Tennis on the Sega Mega Drive. Both franchises featured the J-Cart, allowing two extra controllers to be attached to the game cart without requiring either Sega Tap or 4 Way Play.

Alongside Electronic Arts and Accolade, Codemasters initially attempted to publish software for the Sega Mega Drive without acquiring a license from Sega[2]. Sega's objections led to the two parties reaching an agreement, with Codemasters becoming a licensed third-party publisher[2], but seemingly free to manufacture and distribute their own cartridges.

Console modifications

Codemasters is notable for making the large majority of games published by the controversial Camerica company, which bypassed Nintendo's lock-out chip by glitching it and produced unlicensed NES games. These NES games were known for being shiny gold and silver cartridges that were slightly different from normal NES cartridges in shape, though they still fit into the cartridge slot. Many Codemasters titles were also featured on Camerica's Aladdin Deck Enhancer.

In 1990 Codemasters developed a device called the Power Pak, later renamed the Game Genie. It was a cheat cartridge for the NES, released in the US by Galoob and in Canada and the UK by Camerica. In an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit, Nintendo sued Galoob in the case Galoob v. Nintendo, claiming that the Game Genie created derivative works in violation of copyright law.


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