I Robot? No. Ahhh! Robot!

Cold, non-blooded, killer.

Ahhh! Robot. Cold and heartless, metal beasts, carrying with them no emotion. I think back to the X-Men cartoons of the 90s and the only scary things from that series, the Sentinels. Sentinels were emotionless metal hunters bent on the apprehension and then termination of all mutants. Compared to the never dying and emotionally fragile mutants who made up the series, Sentinels were the only characters who showed no humor, no care – that’s what made them scary. Sentinels were towering walking buildings with monotone voices. They did not have human bodies with robot parts, enabling the audience to better relate to them. No, Sentinels could not be related to. They were were giant metal aliens to the human world, they were frightening.

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He could fetch and befriend but I was hoping for a Dog antithesis Cat.

Robots of today’s graphical adventures, generated by processors and not pencils, are too relatable. They are at times like the other ‘buddy’ of a buddy cop movie. They are, often, an ally and not a feared steel encased executioner. They are not Arnold…at least in the first Terminator.  Sometimes they are so docile they are even called a dog.

Half-Life 2’s robotic, fetching, four legged friend Dog was a pet. He was a helping hand/paw. His presence was fun but again, his presence was comforting to the player. He made the trying journey of Half Life 2 less daunting. He coddled the player through to the end. Dog wasn’t an oily geared gadget of grotesque.

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Robots have constantly been used as companions. Many of times they have been used as short-in-stature comedians (see R2D2). Borderlands’ claptraps encompass the midget stand up comic role in its entirety. It is not a poor representation of robots in games but it does further distance the fear factor we no longer see with robots in video games. I do give credit to developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K Games for seeing the claptrap as a potential enemy.  The entertaining Borderlands’ DLC, Claptrap’s Robot Revolution, was fun but I never did fear the joke cracking miniature robots with rockets…but that was never their intention in design, but I kind of wish it was.

The glitch bitch himself, ED-E.

There is some hope for the future, a future that involves meat bags being battered to blood pools, in the video game world. With Fallout: New Vegas we saw a glimpse of a robot that was cool, calculated and at times a touch scary. The floating companion ED-E was a robotic companion that, through its miss-wired programing, laser beamed foes to ashes with what could be seen, at surface level, joy.

ED-E is a glimpse into what could be a resurgence of  of the Terminator-esque robots of old. Robots that were feared and had no moral blocker keeping them from their programed need to kill. Robots, lacking human emotion, seemed alien. Robots had character without having to have dialogue. Bring on the video card empowered Sentinels!

Top 10 Cures for Weapon Disassociation

This week I follow up my last post regarding rewarding in-game weapons. Below you will find 10 in-game weapons that effectively present appearance; sound associated with the weapon’s usage; and provide visually accurate/corresponding feedback when fired. This list is not definitive, and limited to FPS games, but all the weapons listed below do meet, and exceed, the prerequisites of a superior in-game weapon.

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Land Shark Gun

10 ) Land Shark Gun / Armed and Dangerous: A gun based off a classic Saturday Night Live skit that makes you laugh almost every time it is fired.

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Spinfusor

9 ) Spinfusor (disk launcher) / Tribes 2: It reminds me of the Aerosmith infused arcade game Revolution X where you fired CDs and LaserDiscs at your enemies. Yes, LaserDiscs were a weapon – at least they were good for something.

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8 ) Gravity Gun / Half Life 2: Most of the fun comes from seeing what you can use as a weapon. Kill someone with the body of someone you already killed? Yes, you can do that.

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7 ) Auto Shotgun / Left 4 Dead: One of the best solutions to someone yelling “Tank!” into your headphones.

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Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

6 ) Lightsaber / Jedi Knight series: “A more elegant weapon from a more civilized age.”


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5 ) Rail Gun / Quake 3 Arena: Also a pretty good nickname to give your penis.

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Grenade Launcher

4 ) Grenade Launcher / Quake 2: Simplicity in design, simplicity in sound and simplicity in effect – a perfect example of form and function.

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Shrink Ray

3 ) Shrink Ray / Duke Nukem Series: What’s better than Pig Cops? Mini Pig Cops that you squish beneath your boots! Come get some!

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2 ) Sniper Rifle / Team Fortress 2: When up against it you are constantly looking for the red dot tell. When behind its scope you hide the dot just enough for it to be missed. One of the most beautiful head shot generators in the gaming world. Mind your head wanker!

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1 ) Super Shotgun / Doom II: Double barrel all da’ way!

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Just missing the cut were the Pipe Bomb from the Left 4 Dead games; the Tracer Dart Gun from Battlefield Bad Company 2; and what would of been the third weapon from the Quake series, the Rocket Launcher from Quake II. Let me know what weapons should of challenged my top ten ways to cure weapon disassociation in the comments.