Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for I, Robot

The first I, Robot I encountered in my youth was not the Asimov short story, and it would be many years before the Will Smith movie.  Rather, the I, Robot I remember was a quirky early 1980's arcade game I first encountered at the local roller rink.

I, Robot was immediately striking due to its innovative graphics.  It was the first commercial video game with 3-D filled polygon graphics.  In addition to the board mazes and space theme, obstacles such as birds, bombs, sharks and such provided a colorful and odd game display.  The game also had camera control, whereby you could change the angle of the playfield, which could increase your score multiplier for using angles that made it harder to see.

The game scenario was pretty quirky, as mentioned.  You play a robot, and the object of the game is to run over the colored squares in each maze to turn them blue, thereby destroying the shield and eye at the end of the maze, which is constantly watching you.  You are only allowed to jump when the eye is green.  Attempting to jump when the eye is red results in you being destroyed.  In between mazes you travel through space and have to shoot various obstacles in order to reach the next one.

I, Robot also provided a game mode called "Doodle City", where instead of playing the actual I, Robot game, you can use the various items in the game to draw on the screen.  As you can probably imagine, I never understood why anyone would want to pay quarters just to fiddle around with Doodle City, but then I did see some people playing with it.

All told, I, Robot wasn't much of a commercial success, so the machines are pretty rare.  You'll most likely find them in people's private collections or possibly at video game expos like the annual one held at California Extreme.  For all of its weirdness, I find I, Robot to be a pretty fun game to play, and I do make a point to play it when I happen upon one.

What quirky games have you come across that you would recommend playing despite their oddness?


  1. Well, I can only relate to the Will Smith movie. I loved it! *giggles*

    I didn't play the video game, though. *pouts* Maybe it's at California Extreme?

    Sonnia J. Kemmer

    1. It has been for the past couple of years at least.

  2. I Robot was also the name of an Alan Parsons Project album.

    1. Nice, I had forgotten about that reference.

  3. I was never a huge gamer, but I have played this one. It was a lot of fun back in the day.

    Happy A to Z blogging!