Hey, if Santa Claus forced you and your kind to make toys for every boy and girl in the world every year for no dollars an hour, you'd probably try and take a short walk off a snowy cliff too.
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Lemmings is a puzzle-platformer video game originally developed by DMA Design and first published by Psygnosis for the Amiga, Atari ST and PC in 1991. The game was programmed by Mike Dailly and David Jones, and was inspired by a simple animation that Dailly created while experimenting with Deluxe Paint.
The objective of the game is to guide a group of anthropomorphised lemmings through a number of obstacles to a designated exit. To save the required number of lemmings to win, one must determine how to assign a limited number of eight different skills to specific lemmings that allow the selected lemming to alter the landscape, to affect the behaviour of other lemmings, or to clear obstacles to create a safe passage for the rest of the lemmings.
Lemmings was one of the best-received video games of the early 1990s. It was the second highest rated game in the history of Amstrad Action, and was considered the eighth greatest game of all time by Next Generation in 1996. Lemmings is also one of the most widely ported video games, and is estimated to have sold over 15 million copies between its various ports. The popularity of the game also led to the creation of several sequels, remakes and spin-offs, and has also inspired similar games.
Lemmings is divided into a number of levels, grouped into four difficulty categories. Each level begins with a trap door opening from above, releasing a steady line of lemmings who all follow each other. Levels include a variety of obstacles that prevent lemmings from reaching the exit, such as large drops, booby traps and pools of lava.
The goal is to guide at least a certain percentage of the green-haired, blue-robed lemmings from the entrance to the exit by clearing or creating a safe passage through the landscape for the lemmings to use. Unless assigned a special task, each lemming will walk in one direction ignoring any other lemming in its way (except "Blockers"), falling off any edges and turning around if they hit an obstacle they cannot pass.
To successfully complete the level, the player must assign specific skills to certain lemmings. Which skills and how many uses of each are available to the player varies from level to level, and the player must assign the skills carefully to successfully guide the lemmings. There are eight skills that can be assigned: 'Climbers' climb vertically though fall down if they hit an overhang. 'Floaters' use a parachute to fall safely from heights. 'Bombers' explode after a five-second timer, destroying themselves and any destructible landscape in close proximity, though not damaging other Lemmings or traps. 'Blockers' stand still and prevent other Lemmings from passing; Lemmings that hit a Blocker simply reverse direction. 'Builders' build a stairway of 12 steps. 'Bashers', 'Miners' and 'Diggers' dig horizontally, diagonally downwards or directly downwards respectively.
At the time of its first release, Lemmings received several high scores from gaming magazines, with only the level of graphics and sound receiving some small amount of criticism. Amiga Computing stated that "Lemmings is absolutely brilliant. Psygnosis have managed to produce a game that is not only totally original, but also features the kind of addicting gameplay that will keep the player coming back for more time and time again."
Christmas Lemmings, also known as Holiday Lemmings, was also released as a series of short games released between 1991 and 1994. The gameplay remains unchanged from the base game, which is not required. First released as Xmas Lemmings as two four-level demos in 1991 and 1992, there were two later full retail releases on the Amiga and Atari ST in 1993 and 1994, both with an additional 32 levels. The games were well-received; Rob Mead of Amiga Format described it as "funny, frustrating and incredibly addictive", despite being disappointed by the number of levels, and Will Greenwald of PC Magazine ranked it among the best Christmas video games in 2014.
Wikipedia contributors. Lemmings (video game). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. February 14, 2016, 02:52 UTC. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lemmings_(video_game)&oldid=704872009.