Way back in 1977, Mel Croucher’s Automata entertained early computer enthusiasts with surreal games that gained a cult following. After a string of best sellers, Croucher released his magnum opus in 1984, the first true interactive movie, DEUS EX MACHINA. Then, inexplicably, he turned his back on the industry he helped create, and quit. Now, after what must be the longest gap in the history of video game sequels, he’s reformed Automata and is back with DEUS EX MACHINA 2.
The darkly comic game is a cradle-to-grave roller-coaster of an entire life, with unflinching graphics from the moment sperm meets egg to the agonising indignities of senile dementia, by way of child abuse, embarrassing zits, and war crimes.
Christopher Lee’s narration ranges from chilling to deeply moving as he takes over the role played by “Doctor Who” Jon Pertwee in the original version. And the late lamented Ian Dury has been remastered for a “live” reprise of his original role, including his kick in the teeth duet against video games that encourage greed and violence.
DEUS EX MACHINA 2 has been translated into 19 languages, the soundtrack album has been released, and the book of the game includes the no-holds-barred inside story of how the computer games industry started and where it’s heading. But before the reborn version of his classic game is let loose, Mel Croucher is determined to get as many players involved as possible to have their say on how it looks and plays.
“All I had to do was stay alive for another thirty years and wait for the technology to catch up,” Croucher says. “That and wait for the wonder of crowd-funding to be born.” He declares, “Back in the day, we never sold out to banks, advertisers or parasites, we only ever dealt direct with our players. Now we can reward them in advance thanks to mechanisms like Kickstarter.”
Automata Source is based at the seaside on the South Coast of England, and brings together leading figures from the world of video games, online marketing, and music. Their mission is to provoke and entertain, and have fun while doing so.