🇬🇧 Royal Mail’s first stamp issue of 2020 will be released on 21 January in the form of a colourful set depicting British video games of the 1980s and 1990s. The issue is made up of 8 stamps, 1 miniature sheet containing 4 different stamps, a Collectors Sheet containing 10 stamps with attached labels and a counter booklet containing 4 x 1st Machin Head definitives and 2 of the stamps from the miniature sheet. It is a lightweight set but rather interesting at the same time showing as it does the rather primitive graphics of the early video games. The miniature sheet is devoted to the depiction of the Tomb Raider games and the character of Lara Croft. The issue was designed by Supple Studio and Bitmap Books and lithographed by International Security Printers and perforated 14. Rating:- ***.
The news that Royal Mail’s first stamp issue of the year will be on the subject of ‘video games’ should not really come as such a great surprise as this medium of entertainment is an important feature of modern British culture especially among the young. Indeed the UK game industry contributed $3.9 billion in GVA (gross value added which measures the contribution made to an economy by one individual producer, industry, sector or region) to the British economy in 2016. In 2018 games accounted for more than half of the entire UK entertainment market (51.3%) outselling video and music combined for the first time.
In 2016 when collectors were waiting to have revealed to them what exactly was to be featured on a set of stamps which preannouncement were codenamed Project Atlas I suggested that the issue would be on the subject of computer games (Blog 771) only to be proven miserably wrong when the set was revealed to be on the subject of, of all things, the Mr Men (with the choice of codename remaining unexplained). It seems perfectly reasonable for Royal Mail to commemorate this burgeoning British industry though I can’t see the issue appealing to young people (who generally don’t collect stamps) or older people (who generally don’t play video games) or, frankly, anyone in between.