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Automata UK
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ObjectID: 14102
Description Edit | History

Automata UK was a software house which developed and published ZX Spectrum video games between 1982 and 1985. Significant releases included My Name Is Uncle Groucho, You Win A Fat Cigar (1983) and Deus Ex Machina (1984).

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 begain to publish audio guides on cassette tape as Automata Cartography.

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 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.

Source: Wikipedia, "Automata UK," available under the CC-BY-SA License.

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