Automata UK Ltd

Founded By:Mel Croucher, Christian Penfold
Location:27 Highland Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO4 9DA. England
Year Started:1981
Year Wound Up:1985
Titles in Database:36
Rights Now With:Interceptor Group
Automata was established by Mel Croucher and Christian Penfold. The two had previously worked together in radio, producing a show for Independent Radio Authority, which led them to publishing travel guides. In 1981 they began to publish audio guides on cassette tape as Automata Cartography.

Croucher had purchased a Sinclair ZX81 and, whilst the two were on location creating a guide for Sealink to the Channel Islands, began to plan out their first software releases. Automata's first commercial programs were Can of Worms and The Bible. Penfold was initially dismissive of the idea, but eventually became interested in coding. For Pimania (1982), one of Automata's first ZX Spectrum releases, Penfold was highlighted as C&VG's 'Designer of the Month'.

Automata became known for its support of non-violent game concepts, cartoon-strip adverts and appearances at ZX Microfairs. Penfold and Croucher perceived the effects of middlemen, distributors and retailers on the software industry as damaging. Automata itself was largely a mail-order business, and charged wholesalers the same rate as individual customers.

By June 1985, Automata had ceased publishing after Croucher and Penfold split up.

Statistics

Titles per Year

Breakdown by Genre
Breakdown by Platform

Company History


Added: 21 May 2013
Automata was established by Mel Croucher on November 19th 1977, as the first video games company in the UK. In 1979 he was joined by Christian Penfold. The two had previously worked together in radio, producing a show for Independent Radio Authority, which led them to publishing travel guides and produce multimedia entertainments.

Croucher had purchased a ZX-81 and, whilst the two were on location creating a guide for Sealink to the Channel Islands, began to plan out their first mainstream software releases. Automata's first commercial successes were Can of Worms and The Bible. For Pimania (1982), one of Automata's first ZX Spectrum releases, Penfold was highlighted as C&VG's "Designer of the Month".

Automata became known for its support of non-violent game concepts, cartoon-strip adverts and appearances at ZX Microfairs. Penfold and Croucher perceived the effects of middlemen, distributors and retailers on the software industry as damaging. Automata itself was largely a mail-order business, and charged wholesalers the same rate as individual customers.

By June 1985, Automata had ceased publishing after Croucher and Penfold split up.

In November 2012, Croucher reformed Automata as Automata Source, with leading figures from the video games, online marketing and music industries. He has written a history of the company as an insider's story of the foundation of the video games industry, titled Deus Ex Machina: The Best Game You Never Played In Your Life


Softography


Added: 21 May 2013
1982
PIMANIA, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

1983
DRAGON DOODLES & DEMOS, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

SPECTRUM SPECTACULAR, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

BUNNY written and coded by Jas Austin / ETA, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

YAKZEE, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

MY NAME IS UNCLE GROUCHO, YOU WIN A FAT CIGAR, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Christian Penfold

MORRIS MEETS THE BIKERS, written and coded by S. Curtis

GO TO JAIL, written and coded by J.H. Woodhead

GEHEN SIE IN DAS GEFANGNIS, written and coded by J.H. Woodhead

THE PIMAN'S GREATEST HITS
LEADER OF THE PAC, written and performed by Mel Croucher
VIDEO NASTY, written and performed by Mel Croucher
BIT OF A CULT, written and performed by Mel Croucher
COMPUTER ALPHABET, written and performed by Mel Croucher
GROUCHO, written and performed by Mel Croucher
CRUMMY SONG, written and performed by Mel Croucher
POMPEY ROCK, written and performed by Mel Croucher
ANGEL, written and performed by Mel Croucher
PIBALLED BLUES, written and performed by Mel Croucher
COUNTRY MUSAC, written and performed by Mel Croucher
DONKEY HOTAY, written and performed by Mel Croucher
PIMANIA, written and performed by Mel Croucher

1984
DARTZ, written and coded by Guy Brown

CRUSOE, written and coded by Jon Smith

PI-IN'ERE, written and coded by Jas Austin, graphics by Colin Tuck

PI-BALLED, written and coded by Jas Austin, graphics by Colin Tuck

PI-EYED, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Andrew Stagg

OLYMPIMANIA, written by Mel Croucher, Christian Penfold & Andrew Stagg, coded by Andrew Stagg

THE PIMAN'S GREATEST HITS TOO
NEW WHEELS JOHN, written and performed by Mel Croucher
THE PIRACY TANGO, written and performed by Mel Croucher
I GOT BUGS, written and performed by Mel Croucher
THE DEUS EX MACHINA MISTAKES THAT NOBODY WAS SUPPOSED TO HEAR
PI-BALLED, written and performed by Mel Croucher
PUT CAT OUT MOTHER, written and performed by Mel Croucher
BANKRUPT STOCK, written and performed by Mel Croucher
DARTZ, written and performed by Mel Croucher
ALLY PALLY WALLY, written and performed by Mel Croucher
PI-EYED, written and performed by Mel Croucher
EXTREMELY SILLY SONG, written and performed by Mel Croucher
FERTILISER, written and performed by Mel Croucher and Ian Dury
OLYMPIMANIA, written and performed by Mel Croucher
SOME PEOPLE, written and performed by Mel Croucher

DEUS EX MACHINA, written by Mel Croucher, coded by Andrew Stagg for the ZX Spectrum, coded by Colin Jones for the Commodore 64 and MSX

1985
10 PACK VOLUME TWO
PI THERE!, written and coded by C. Edwards and G. Wade XTROTH, written and coded by John Hughes Nth ZONE, written and coded by Stan Cartwright TOILET TROUBLE, written and coded by W. Mitchell PARADISE IN MICRODOT, written and coded by Colin Jones THE EGG, written and coded by C. Edwards and G. Wade CHAMBERS OF DEATH, written and coded by Simon Johnson NUDGEIT, written and coded by Richard Strawson PI IN THE SKY, written and coded by G. Wade THE PIMAN'S COCKTAIL CABINET, written and coded by Kevin Etheridge

10 PACK VOLUME THREE
PI-MEVAL MAN, written and coded by C. Edwards CRAZY CASTLES, written and coded by C. Edwards SWTTIBITZ IN SPACE, written and coded by C. Edwards SPACE WARRIOR, written and coded by Simon Johnson NECKS PLEASE, written and coded by J. Steed and P. Stevens CREEPY DUNGEONS, written and coded by Ian Howlett THE ROYAL ADVENTURE OF A COMMON FROG, written and coded by T. Braverman HERE BE TYGERS, written and coded by Bob Franklin MAD HATTER, written and coded by Simon Johnson DRUNK POLICEMAN, written and coded by J.M.A. Piloto
The Retro Isle team
Added: 27 Oct 2021
Click here to view a list of titles we have in the database here at Retro Isle.


From Then To Now


Added: 21 May 2013
Current website is here: http://www.automatasource.com/


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