Royal Mail’s first special stamp issue of 2020, to be issued on January 21, is devoted to Video Games.

A set of eight counter-sheet stamps look back nostalgically on the best-loved games devised in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, when the industry was in its infancy and some British games were landmark creations.

An accompanying four-stamp miniature sheet focuses on the action-adventure game Tomb Raider, originally devised by British company Core Design in 1996 and later developed by American outfit Crystal Dynamics, illustrating its evolution across the years.

Although Britain once played a significant role in this industry, in recent years it has largely been dominated by American, Japanese and Chinese companies.

Designed by Supple Studio and Bitmap Books, the issue is printed in litho by International Security Printers.

2nd class Elite 1984

This space trading game, developed by David Braben and Ian Bell and originally published by Acornsoft, challenged players to take on missions to gain credits and raise their combat rating.

2nd class Worms 1995

In this two-dimensional tactical artillery game developed by Team 17, players controlled rival teams of worms in a battle for survival.

1st class Sensible Soccer 1992

This football game, developed by Sensible Software, had customisable teams and user-friendly controls. It also stood out from rival products in featuring a zoomed-out bird’s-eye view of the pitch.

1st class Lemmings 1991

In this a puzzle-solving game, developed by DMA Design and published by Psygnosis, players had to guide a group of lemmings with different skillsets through a platformed obstacle course.

£1.55 Wipeout 1995

This racing game, developed and published by Psygnosis, featured a variety of futuristic spacecraft which could pick up and deploy offensive and defensive weapons on their anti-gravity track.

£1.55 Micro Machines 1991

In this racing game, developed by Codemasters, toy cars competed on obtsacle courses in household settings, from kitchen tables to gardens.

£1.60 Dizzy 1987

This adventure game, developed by Andrew and Philip Oliver and published by Codemasters, featured a superhero egg who somersaulted and rolled his way through a platformed landscape, solving puzzles and rescuing friends from an evil wizard.

£1.60 Populous 1989

Developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts, this game was widely regarded as the first ‘god game’, where the player assumed the role of a deity leading his followers against those of a rival deity.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class Tomb Raider 1996

British archaeologist Lara Croft made her debut in this action-adventure game, infiltrating dangerous ruins searching for lost artefacts while solving puzzles, avoiding traps and fighting enemies.

£1.55 Adventures of Lara Croft 1998

The third version of the game saw the heroine embarking on a quest to recover four pieces of meteorite scattered around the world.

£1.55 Tomb Raider Chronicles 2000

A more athletic heroine tackled three quests on a series of levels, narrated by her friends when she was presumed dead.

1st class Tomb Raider 2013

This reboot by a new developer reconstructed the origins of Lara Croft, featuring a less battle-hardened explorer trying to escape from an island dominated by a violent cult.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

Written by Jaz Rignall, a journalist known for his gaming prowess and game reviews, the presentation pack offers a detailed overview of each of the games featured on the stamps, reminiscing about its characters and graphics.

 

PRICES

Set of 8 stamps   £8.92

Miniature sheet   £4.50

Presentation pack   £14.25

Stamp cards   £5.85

First day cover (stamps)   £11.30

First day cover (mini sheet)   £6.00

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   2/5

Although Britain once played a significant role in the market, this set is more about nostalgia than international achievement

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

Crude and ageing graphics do not lend themselves well to stamp art, but may be rescued by the small size of the canvas!

WOW FACTOR   1/5

Whether these stamps make a positive impact almost entirely depends on whether you can recall playing the games