Pi-Eyed, ZX Spectrum

This infamous ZX Spectrum game was released way back in 1983 by Automata UK (one of the first video games companies ever set up in the UK), and is basically about visiting pubs and going out “on the razz”.

Automata UK were known for creating strange, off-the-wall and creative games, and always said that they wanted to make games that were non-violent and different to the norm. Which was a commendable stance to take in an industry drowning in violent games. But this was 1983 and the righteous were on the prowl, looking to impose their cod religious and conservative (closed) mindsets on everyone else, and were always on the lookout for the next ‘victim’. And Pi-Eyed copped for a lot of criticism, because it featured drinking, vomiting, and generally being drunk and disorderly. What the moral minority didn’t understand, though, was that the game was a relatively innocent satirisation of drinking, and didn’t feature drunken violence, or anti-social behaviour. Let’s face it: many of us have been sick after drinking too much, and – apart from the brainless louts in society – it’s not something we relished, or were in any way proud of. It just happened and we couldn’t stop it, and we certainly didn’t want anyone to see us being sick, or to glorify what happened.

But anyway… It’s not as though Pi-Eyed featured realistic graphics. This was the early days of the Spectrum and everything was stylised as User Defined Graphics. That is: tiny blocks of graphics there were anything but realistic.

Just take a look at the game… The first section is a sort of Frogger parody, where your character – a very pink Pi-Man (Automata‘s mascot and ubiquitous game character) – must dodge cars on a road as he makes his way from one pub to the next. Inside the pubs the view switches to an overhead representation of a bar, with tables and customers, and the aim is to drink up all the pints without bumping into any patrons or dogs. Then leave and make your way to the next bar.

If you’re hit by a car, or touch any people inside the pubs, you lose a Pi-Man, and when all your Pi-Men are gone the game tots-up how many pints you sank as a score.

Pi-Eyed is a very simple game, with simple graphics, and simple gameplay. Considering its age, it’s still quite playable and fun. And is probably best played while drunk…

More: Automata UK on Wikipedia

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