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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 Sinclair ZX81. It is the first real life video game treasure hunt released in the UK. 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 player negotiates a surreal landscape with the aid of the mysterious Pi-Man, Automata's mascot.[1] 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 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.


The BASIC source code listing of the game is available online.[2]

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.[3]

In 2018 all the rights to the Automata UK games were transferred to the company Subvert Ltd[4]


  1. ^ The Conversation: How punk and Thatcherism came together in the surreal ZX Spectrum Pimania craze
  2. ^ Pimania on ZX81stuff.org (2005)
  3. ^ "Pimania: The Music of Mel Croucher & Automata U.K., Ltd." LP on feedingtuberecords.com
  4. ^ "IP Trademarks – Subversive Media". subversive.uk. Retrieved 2018-11-06.

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