Pimania

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The ZX81 intro screen.

Pimania is a text-and-graphics adventure game written by Mel Croucher and released by Automata UK in 1982 for the BBC Micro, ZX Spectrum, Dragon 32, and ZX81 computers. It is the first real life video game treasure hunt released in the UK. The player negotiates a surreal landscape with the aid of the mysterious Pi-Man, Automata's mascot. The B side of the game cassette features a bizarre Pimania song played on a VL-Tone and vocals. The Pi-Man also stars in his own long-running, surreal, comic-strip, soap opera in the company's adverts on the back page of Popular Computing Weekly magazine and appears in several subsequent games of different kinds. The catch-phrase for the game's adverts was the pun, "There's no blood in our games, it's Automata sauce".

Automata gave a prize of a golden sundial worth £6,000 for the first person to solve the various cryptic clues to its location that were hidden within Pimania. The sundial was eventually won in 1985 by Sue Cooper and Lizi Newman, who correctly worked out that it could only be found on July 22 (because Pi is sometimes rounded to 22/7) at the chalk horse at Hindover Hill near Litlington, East Sussex.

In 2010 Feeding Tube Records, a small label in the United States, released "Pimania: The Music of Mel Croucher & Automata U.K., Ltd.", a deluxe vinyl LP album of the musical B-Sides to the Pimania games, as well as tracks from other Automata releases. The album came with extensive liner notes by Croucher and Caroline Bren, as well as a large poster featuring selections from the original Automata print campaigns and was issued in a one time edition of 500 copies.


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