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A game like Robotron ... that separates the men from the boys.


Robotron: 2084]] (often called simply Robotron) is an arcade game created in 1982 by the company Vid Kidz (Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar) for Williams Electronics. It was unique at the time in that the controls were two 8-way joysticks (one for running, one for shooting) rather than the more typical single joystick and fire button.

Each level, or "wave"\x9D, of Robotron consists of a small humanoid mutant ("the last hope of mankind"), representing the player, in the center of a swarm of enemy robots. The player uses the two joysticks to simultaneously move away from the enemies and dodge their shots with one, while firing back at them in the direction of the other. Once all the destructible enemies are eliminated, the player progresses to the next wave, facing increasingly faster and more numerous enemies. Like Tempest, it mixes brutal, high-speed gameplay and psychedelic graphics.

Scattered around the playfield are slow-moving "humanoids" to rescue, clones of the last human family consisting of Mommy, Daddy and Mikey. Touching each of these clones before they are killed by Hulks or Brains earns the player 1000 to 5000 points, progressively in steps of 1000, which resets to 1000 points if the player dies or the "wave"\x9D changes. The game is not winnable so death is an eventual certainty, but an extra life is earned every 25000 points, making rescuing humanoids an important objective. This is especially true in levels featuring a certain enemy, which can grab onto the humanoids and mutate them into super-fast death machines.

The inspiration for the dual-joystick control (left to move, right to fire) came from an injury Jarvis sustained to his right hand in a car accident. The game "Berzerk" also played a role, for Jarvis envisioned being able to move and shoot without having to stop (Berzerk uses a single joystick, the player has to stop moving to aim and fire).

This has a Spiritual Successor in Smash TV, not to mention being the precursor to the move/aim controls in First Person Shooters.

Tropes used in Robotron: 2084 include:

Inspired by his never ending quest for progress, in 2084 Man perfects the Robotrons: a robot species so advanced that Man is inferior to his own creation.
Guided by their infallible logic, the Robotrons conclude:
The human race is inefficient, and therefore must be destroyed.