?Technology. It’s always there, waiting to kill us. The most likely scenario is the robot holocaust, where the machines we ourselves have created rise up and start killing us in highly synthesized voices, or high-pitched beeps, or audio from YouTube memes.
If there’s going to be one thing that saves humanity, though, it’s videogames. Even 30 years ago, they were making arcade games to help prepare for this metal eventuality, and training young humans to kill a variety of robots in a variety of ways, making them prepared for every robot uprising possibility. Topless Robot is happy to help plan for this dark future (despite our obvious pro-robot bias) with this list of classic arcade games for you to seek out as “training exercises.” Perhaps you might learn a little something about our inescapable, terrifying future filled with violence, death and clanking.
Now in this case of gaming from 1988, we have robots playing football for humans. So, admittedly, not really something to do with fighting the robots. Yet, notable that this is a future where only the robots can play football because they’ve either dissolved all the human player’s unions, or dissolved the human players in acid. It could be a future in which the robots loved football so much they decided that only they could play it. Not only play it, but make humans watch. Oh, and put in a lot of quarters. A lot. Also, by playing with an explosive ball, this shows the humans that the robots mean business.
Zaxxon was of the first games to utilize both an isometric perspective and shadows, even though ti was made in the ancient days of 1982. Zaxxon takes you into the controls of space shuttle with a paint scheme that belongs under a black light on velvet. Your dangerous mission has you flying to avoid guns, missiles and (especially walls, because you apparently you can’t just fly around everything) in an effort all to destroy a giant robot. The giant robot looks like a giant reel-to-reel tape storage device with rocket launchers strapped to it, like something Timothy Leary built in his spare time with a government grant.. This game teaches us that only way to stop a giant robot will be flying through space fortresses and shooting them repeatedly in the guided missile port, which is a good lesson to learn? PERHAPS!
8) I, Robot
In this one, you actually play the robot, fighting an oppressive dictator. One of the first games to actually used filled polygons; this has you in the role of “Unhappy Interface Robot #1984” (or more appropriately “OBVIOUS REFERENCE TO GEORGE ORWELL’S 1984”) who fights against a larger presence known as “Big Brother.” His goal is to paint all the lines on the board a certain color, to bring down “Big Brother’s” shield and then shoot him to death. Big Brother has a rule, though – if you jump when he sees you, he kills you. Which makes me wonder why he doesn’t just kill you instantly when you get up close to shoot him. I think this teaches us an important less on – dictatorships, with their arbitrary rules and poorly thought out defenses lead to easy defeat by the robots.
7) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
Okay, yes, clearly this is a game that focuses on mutant ninjas…that happen to be turtles. Yet, what do they fight? That’s right, robots. Almost nothing but robots the entire time. You have robot Mousers with jaws, robot flying things, robots with electrified whips, and ninja robots. It also teaches important lessons on how to fight an army of robots:
? If you smack them against a wall, they die.
? If a robot flings a manhole cover at you, you can knock it back at them by hitting it with a sword.
? Pizza restores health.
Unfortunately you have to hope to be mutated by the atomic weapons the robots will surely use against us humans as these lessons are only applicable if you are in, fact, a teenage mutant ninja turtle.
Some may say that Sinistar is not actually a robot but some sort of force of nature, like a digital Cthulhu. This 1982 game has you spending a lot of time shooting rocks for “Sinibombs” (which sound delicious by the way) the only things that will hurt Sinistar, and paradoxically make him live. Who can deny the grating electronic voice that torments you when Sinistar comes to life does not teach a person the proper healthy response to living robots? With a frightening metal face, it tells you to “RUN, RUN RUN” and will scream at you like Tom Waits yelling through a McDonald’s drive through speaker after getting hot grease on his balls. If you heard some metal creature on the street sounding like this, you best be running.
The footage included is of just Sinistar talking, because, really… who cares about the gameplay? It’s shooting rocks most of the time.
5) Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters
Even if you knew nothing else about this game, the title alone should tell you. This Atari game from 1989 is a shooter game where you fight in an isometric perspective – trying to rescue the Dr. Sara Bellum (yes, that’s her name) and many other scantily-clad ladies from the Planet X, where there are robot monsters. One has give this game plaudits for its 1950s B-movie art design, but the game design makes this almost completely unplayable as you can’t move or shoot accurately. It’s kinda like you’re fighting armies of robots as a drunk Rip Torn, except without his shouts of “Come closer so I can ring your metal necks!”
You can work with a friend as the heroes “Major Rock Hardy” and “Captain Ace Gunn” (who may share a condo together) to stop the evil Xybots. The robots only respond to one thing — being blown up by your guns. It’s about the best over-the-shoulder 3-D shooter that 1987 could have made with the technology available. Unfortunately, while it has you shooting many many many robots, it also has you running through and endless amount of corridors, which can be very confusing, even with the map. However, there are coins! Robots drop coins which can be picked up and used to improve your chances on killing more robots. So, we have a pretty decent preparatory tool for the robot holocaust, as in the future, many robot battles will likely take place in an office building.
3) Robotron 2084
Going back to 1982, this game pits you as a superhuman with a furious gun and no bubblegum whatsoever. Your job is to protect the last human family (who are delightfully 8-bit Norman Rockwellesqe) from the “Robotrons” who have wiped out everyone else on the planet. You’ve got large, indestructible robots named Hulks going lumbering straight for the killing of family members. You’ve got floating robots that shoot back at you. You also have Brain robots that will turn family members into horrible monstrosities that will try to kill you. Sadly, like an actual holocaust, the only victory is surviving as long as possible. Oh, and this game is likely to cause a seizure.
2) T2: The Arcade Game
Ah yes, perhaps one of the better robot-holocaust preparing options, since it has a tie in to the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This presents the very fun option of two people controlling rapid-fire light guns with grenade launchers. The goal is to shoot up Skynet’s army of gleaming metal, supplemented by the urgings of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The only downside to this game was that the robot attacks were often so fast and furious you would have to dump at least twenty dollars in quarters into the game in order to finish it, where just like in the movie, (spoiler, if for some ungodly reason you haven’t seen this two-decades-old movie) you knock the T-1000 into a vat of molten metal and then become a failed Governor of California.
Run through an electrified maze. Forever, trying to escape from robots. You can shoot them, yes, but you never really get to escape until you die. As you go through the mazes, the robots get smarter and shoot faster. You can never wait to take a break either – if you wait around too long and a bouncing happy face known as Evil Otto (apparently these are German robots) comes after you. Otto is invincible, will pass through walls, and speeds up if you kill more robots. Plus, the robots talk , saying things like “The humanoid must not escape!” and “Chicken, fight like a robot!” Impressive for 1980, this is almost a perfect recreation of what happens when the robots take over. First, they will try to kill you. Then, they will make the walls electrified because robots love electrified everything. Next, as you fight the machines they will adapt and kill you. Lastly, smiley-face robots.