The Queen Bigs Up Codies Brothers

The Queen, yesterday
Code masters Richard and David Darling (see what I did there), the founders of UK based publishing house – and digital racing-car champions – Codemasters, have been awarded Officer Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBEs) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. This comes about for “services to the computer games industry”. (And beats Molyneux for Empire Rankings, as James G points out in comments.)

The Darlings were first of the bedroom programmers, having started the company from scratch in the 1980s and built it up to the point where they could afford a farm somewhere in Warwickshire. The brothers left Codemasters last year, having sold their slice of the company, are presumably counting their gold in a tower somewhere.

Next up: Lord British actually made a Lord? Jeff Minter knighted? We can but hope, and petition our MP.


  1. Mooey Poo says:

    What did you do there?

  2. Tom says:

    What did you do there?

    He said, “Code masters.” Not, “CodeMasters.” Thereby creating a minimal pun.

    I don’t get which Codies game the gun comes from, though….

  3. JoeFreakinRussell says:

    @ Mooey Poo

    Well, and you’ll laugh when you get this, he described the brothers as “Code masters”, as in people who have mastered code, while the company they set up was named, coincidentally, Codemasters, allowing Mr. Rossignol to make a rather humorous pun or play on words beteen the company’s name and the skill which the two brothers are in possession of. You see?

    Pure genius if you ask me.

  4. Tom says:

    That’s a better answer than mine, sadly ruined by virtue of its taking longer to type.

  5. James G says:

    According to the BBC article, they were awarded CBEs, which are actually a step up from an OBE. Of course this ends up putting Codemasters ahead of Molyneux, which is slightly amusing for some reason.

    Talking of Jeff Minter, a few years ago in one of those long summers that sits between A-levels and University, I was watching Challenge TV. They had one of those ‘guess my occupation’ programs, which featured Jeff Minter. I managed to recognise him even before he signed his name, thanks to his llama covered jumper. (Which according to his website he brought from a woman in New York) I became slightly disturbed by my knowledge of legendary British game developers. (Meanwhile they contestents were getting slightly confused as they were mislaid on mention of llamas.)

    Edit: And the PDF on the government website agrees, it was a CBE, not an OBE.

  6. Mooey Poo says:

    I still don’t get it.

  7. Mooey Poo says:

    Isn’t referring to one’s self as a “code master” a bit presumptuous?

  8. James G says:

    Well it is a company name, I mean you’re hardly likely to be modest:


  9. John Walker says:

    Tom officially wins for his accurate employment of the gerund.

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    it’s based on the presumption that you are a master of code.

    i think their should be postsuptions as well as presumptions and assumptions, like if I’ve eaten an apple i postsume the apple has been eaten.

  11. Meat Circus says:

    For services to not having done anything good since the early nineties?

  12. Ben Abraham says:

    Is there a tag-cloud for RPS somewhere? I’d love to spend an hour reading all the really small words and puzzle over which articles they go with. ^_^

  13. JoeFreakinRussell says:

    @ The Sombrero Kid

    That doesn’t really work. A better use of a postumption would be seeing somebody with an apple, then later seeing them with an apple core. Then you would ‘postsume’ that it has been eaten, without the knowledge that would render postumptions useless.

    Also, more winners should be decided upon depending on whether a gerund has been employed. Football for one.

  14. Meat Circus says:

    @The Sombrero Kid:

    Um, we already have a word for that. “Assumption”.


  15. Tom says:

    *Holds English GCSE aloft in triumph*

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @ JoeFreakinRussell
    yeah that’s a better example, but kind of steps on the toes of assume whereas i was going for the meaning of postsumption to be modelled on imperfect memory (like the fact you can’t know for sure the apple was eaten it even though you remember it) the way a presumption is modelled on simulation (like you can’t know for sure someone is going to eat an apple even though they’ve raised it to their mouth.

    but your’s is probably better

  17. JoeFreakinRussell says:

    @ The Sombrero Kid

    No, actually, I like your idea. A kind of “How do we know yesterday even existed?” kind of thing, but on a smaller scale. Yeah, I could get on board with that.

    I do, however, realise that barely any of my comments on this story have been relevant. And those that I maintain are relevant are hanging on by the skin of their metaphorical teeth.

    I may revisit this story in a couple of months so that I can reply to Tom with either “*Holds English A Level aloft in triumph*” or “Who needs English? English sucks” depending on how my results come out…

    Anyway, wow, a CBE eh? What a crazy world et cetera.

  18. Nick says:

    “Order of the British Empire? You were ordered OUT of the British Empire.”

    I don’t care if they got CBEs, I wanted to quote Hancock.

    Still, does this give all the games are an artform chaps some validation?

  19. Ravenger says:

    I remember them mostly for their overuse of the word ‘Simulator’ back in the eighties, naming loads of their games Simulators when they weren’t really simulators at all.

    I always thought that one day they’d release a game called ‘Simulator Simulator’.

  20. matte_k says:

    Great picture. Would be even greater if she actually was a hitman on her days off.

  21. James G says:

    For me Codemasters will forever be associated with Dizzy, as a result I will never be able to take them seriously. Even if they made a gritty, realistic and extensive RPG, which was said to have far reaching cultural and political implications, I’d still half expect to see an egg walk onto the screen while I was playing it.

  22. terry says:

    “I got a knighthood! AMAZING!” – David Darling

    “This is the best knighthood I’ve ever seen! FANTASTIC” – Richard Darling

  23. Gap Gen says:

    Jeff Minter needs coins minted in his honour, following the logic-of-puns.

  24. morningoil says:

    terry wins.

    I remember when Codemasters first started – before even Dizzy – buying their £2.99 games from WHSmith in Lion Yard in Cambridge. Ah. They were rubbish, utter trash, and yet here we are: a little more than twenty years later, and someone else remembers those ludicrous splash quotes the Darlings put on the box.

    Now someone dig up Mastertronic and I can go home happy.

  25. RLacey says:

    Well, Mastertronic is now the brand used by the company that owns Sold-Out Software…

  26. JonFitt says:

    Hmm. I’m not sure I’d say they’ve done anything to really shape the games industry into what it has become today, apart from managing to weather it for a several years and form a successful-ish company. Is shovelling mediocre product for a long time sufficient to get a CBE now?

    Is what they’ve done that different from say a pair of brothers who started a successful jam shop chain?

    Aaah, but the games industry is “hip” and “with it”, while jam is not, and the honours list is always trying to prove its relevance.

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