Mel Croucher is a British writer and video games pioneer. Originally an architect, he moved into computers and set up Automata UK in 1977, as the first computer games company in England, making the first broadcasts of computer game software over AM and FM radio. After the release of the Sinclair ZX81, his label published several games for the early home computer market, including three Computer Trade Association award-winners: Pimania (1982), Groucho (1983, aka My Name Is Uncle Groucho, You Win A Fat Cigar), and the groundbreaking "multi-media" title Deus Ex Machina (1984).
He has also written text books, computer manuals and comedy, and worked as a journalist, writing regular columns like Without Prejudice, The Rubber Room, and a sci-fi humorous serial called Tamara Knight for the ZX Spectrum magazine CRASH in the 1980s, as well as columns for various computer magazines since.
In 2010 Feeding Tube Records, a small label in the United States, released "Pimania: The Music of Mel Croucher", a deluxe vinyl LP album of the music 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.
In 2012, Mel Croucher reformed Automata as Automata Source Ltd., with leading figures from the video games, online marketing and music industries.
Mel Croucher produced a reimagination of Deus Ex Machina, starring Sir Christopher Lee, released in 2015 as Deus Ex Machina 2, alongside a 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition of the original game including new graphics and a director's commentary. He collaborated with Christopher Lee on several other games titles, and their game for children is due to be released as Eggbird.
- The Pathfinder Quests (1977-1980)
- Whitbread Quiz Time and the Computer Treasure Hunt (1979)
- The Adventures of Willi Nilli (1981)
- The Portsmouth Tapes (1981)
- In The Best Possible Taste (1981)
- Can Of Worms (1981)
- Love And Death (1982)
- The Bible (1982)
- Pimania (1982)
- Dragon Doodles & Demos (1983)
- Spectrum Spectacular (1983)
- Bunny/ETA (1983) - Croucher wrote the ETA portion of the game.
- Yakzee (1983)
- My Name Is Uncle Groucho, You Win A Fat Cigar (1983)
- Pi-Eyed (1984)
- Olympimania (1984)
- Deus Ex Machina (1984)
- iD (1986)
- Castle Master (1990) story and book of the game
- Deus Ex Machina 2 (2014)
- Deus Ex Machina 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition (2015)
- Eggbird (due for release late 2015)
Books and journalism
- Namesakes, with Jon Pertwee Sphere Books
- Easy AMOS, Europress
- AMOS Professional, Europress
- Email Direct Marketing, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
- European Computer Trade Yearbook (as Editor)
- Deus Ex Machina - The Best Game You Never Played In Your Life, Acorn Books, ISBN 1783336935
- Official site of melcroucher.com
- Official site of Automata Source
- Official site of DeusExMachina2.com
- The Automata Songs World Of Spectrum archive of music by Mel Croucher.
- Interview with Mel Croucher from May 2001, ZX Golden Years.
- Transmedia stories Interview with Mel Croucher and others from January 2011, on Transmedia storytelling
- "Deus Ex Machina (review)". Your Spectrum. Issue 10 (Dennis Publishing). 1984.
- "Tamara Knight Issue 1". CRASH Online. Newsfield. Retrieved 2006-05-23.