The video game industry is worth billions in this current era, but people from Birmingham, United Kingdom have made a much bigger impression on it than most. There have been numerous programmers and developers from the second city that have helped form many of the most loved games in the industry, according to

Just some of the games that have been played across the world to have featured a Birmingham influence include ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Simon the Sorcerer’ and ‘Dizzy’. One of the most prominent people at Rare is Louis O’Connor, and she takes her inspiration from Lara Croft.

O’Connor idolised Croft as she was growing up and quickly wanted to take up a job within the industry because of that. Nobody could have foreseen how much the gaming world would change due to O’Connor’s fascination with the character, who ironically enough was from the West Midlands herself.

She has been in the industry for 19 years now, and she has had her fingers over some of the most prominent games in the industry. These include ‘Conker’s Bad Fur Day’ and ‘Banjo-Kazooie’.

O’Connor now believes that the second city is the heart of the industry, and with the talent of developers coming through; that is only likely to increase further.

That sentiment was echoed by Dr Alex Wade, who began to delve into the past successes that the second city has had in the gaming world. He added that Codemasters were originally founded in the West Midlands before going on to achieve unparallel success globally.

Without their founding in the West Midlands, we wouldn’t have got possibly one of the greatest games of all time. The team at Codemasters were behind the globally successful GoldenEye 007 and also rendered Donkey Kong Country.

Wade admitted that the latter of those games couldn’t achieve as much success as it did if it weren’t for the team being based in the Midlands. That was because the movement of the monkeys in the game was actually captured at Twycross Zoo. Obviously, the talented team that they have at Rare also played their part, but that is a significant piece of history for the Birmingham gaming scene.

Of course, who could forget about the most prominent gaming character to come from the Midlands- Lara Croft. The character came from Derby and would go on to become a hero for not just O’Connor but every girl around the world that wanted to smash glass ceilings. Her effect of pop culture was nothing short of a phenomenon, and one that is as important today and she has ever been. It wasn’t just in games that she would put the Midlands on the map, but also in films. Angelina Jolie would portray her on numerous occasions on the silver screen. The games featuring Croft have gone on to exceed more than ten million sales, and that alone highlights the significant impact that the second city has had on the gaming industry.

[Written By External Partner]
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