Eugene Jarvis sure knows how to design intense and playable games. From his plethora of awesome creations, Robotron:2084 (or simply, Robotron) stands out for its sheer mayhem. Yes, I am aware that Mr Larry DeMar was also part of the design duo that brought us this fab game.

I first laid eyes on the Robotron arcade machine in the mid 80′s at the arcade parlor near my school. To say I was mesmerized would be a great understatement. I intently watched others play the game so that I could learn from their mistakes and get more playtime out of my 40 cents. Once I grabbed the two control sticks (no fire buttons here matey!) it was a massive adrenaline rush of evading, attacking and rescuing.


There is a plot to all of this mayhem. As I do not want to bore you with detail, here is the short version: Robots (Grunts, Tanks, Spheroids/Enforcers, Brains, & Hulk) have revolted against the human race (Terminator anyone?) and it is the protagonists job to rescue the last remaining human family before the robots annihilate everyone and take over.


With the plot set, the next thing to get your head around playing this game is the dual-joystick control system. The left-hand joystick provides maneuverability (usual eight directions) to evade the robots and also rescue the humans. The right-hand joystick is used to fire the laser gun (also in eight directions) to disintegrate the robots in each wave (level). Once you get the hang of the control system, you will be blasting Grunts, Tanks, Brains and rescuing the hapless humans in no time.

The play area is set on one screen – there is no scrolling. Each wave contains a number of different robots and humans to rescue. This game is relentless, there is no time to wipe your brow and high five your mates while playing. Once you meet the ‘Hulk’ robot, things get interesting – he (I assume it’s male) is the one robot that can not be killed. Your laser gun can slow him down, but the basic premise is, evade him and get going on rescuing those humans.

I guess I can rave on about this game till the cows come home, but I will leave you with this – if you want intense gaming, then look no further, Robotron:2084 will provide it in truckloads !

GraphicsSimple sprites to depict the robots, obstructions and humans. The screen can get busy, but this makes your heart palpitate (in a good way)


SoundVery meaty sound effects. Your laser gun sounds like it can penetrate anything


PlayabilityThe dual-joystick control system will take some time getting used to, but persist with it – you will be rewarded


LastabilityThe legacy of the mayhem that is Robotron:2084, has survived for 3 decades. I am sure it will last for more


OverallEvade, Shoot, Rescue = perfect ingredients for the ultimate old school arcade shooter



Manufacturer: Williams Electronics. Inc.
Year: 1982
Genre: Shooter
Number of Simultaneous Players: 1
Maximum number of Players: 2 (alternating)
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
– Left Joystick: 8-way [Move];
– Right Joystick  8-way [Fire]
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)



Andy O’Neil: Bluepoint Games

Bluepoint Games logo

Name: Andy O’Neil

Company: Bluepoint Games

Profession: President/Programmer

Favorite Classic Game: Robotron

Quote: Hard to play and harder to master, Robotron is one of the purest shooters ever made. No fluff in the design and relentless action that still holds up today, you can’t beat Robotron for that fast arcade adrenaline fix.

Lisa Carter: TFPSoft

TFP Soft logo

Name:Lisa Carter

Company: TFPSoft, LLC

Profession: Owner / Engine Architect

Favorite Classic Game: Legend of Zelda

Quote: It’s really difficult to pick a favorite classic game because there are so many I remember fondly. Zaxxon, Robotron, Stun Runner… so many great games. If I had to pick just one game, however, it would have to be the original Legend of Zelda. By the standards of the day the game world was huge, which made it lots of fun. But what I really loved were all the secrets. Every nook and cranny held yet another hidden item. I’m still a sucker for a good treasure hunt.

Gamer Profile: Alex Aguila

Alex Aguila

There are those who play video games, those who immerse themselves in the video game culture and then those for who gaming is really a part of them. There are millions of fans, but when you truly have a love for all things gaming it sets us apart from the rest. I was honored to spend a few hours with one such person for whom gaming had touched at an early age and stayed with him throughout his life.

Alex Aguila’s love of all things electronic gaming led him to co-founding Alienware, but his love of gaming began long before.  From a very early age he became fascinated with video games, so much so, that after seeing the Atari 2600 in action he saved up money  From there he began collecting games from Colecovision to the Commodore 64. Even before the success of Alienware, Alex had an impressive gaming collection that has continued to grow over the years.

I was able to personally view his collection and it was awe inspiring. It was much more than the sheer volume, but the care he took in preserving them and the joy he had in talking about them. Many older games were still wrapped in their original plastic. Others though opened were in pristine condition and we talked about how classic games had a collectors feel long before expensive over bloated collectors’ editions of games became the norm.

What made me smile like a child in Electronics Boutique was that I could hear in his voice that he truly cared about the gaming industry. There was excitement in his voice when we talked about the past and how in the 90’s a golden age of gaming began when there was so much choice in gaming in arcades, home console systems and the emerging PC gaming market.

Simply put when you convert a shower into a display case for your collection of console systems you know you have a true gamer before you. Besides the normal Sega Genesis and Nintendo Entertainment System, Alex also had systems I was not aware of like the Vectrex which is an all in one video game system that used vector graphics. Alex then showed me an Atari that was unopened and joked about how he posted on Atari Age that he was considering opening it so he could play. He told me many people offered to send him opened Atari systems just so he would keep his sealed.

In addition to console systems Alex also had an impressive collection of handheld videos games. Long before the Gameboy, these simple but addictive games ruled the market. Then I took a look at his clone’s collection. Clones are systems made by third parties that can play games from systems such as the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Some, like the FC twin allow you to play both Super and classic Nintendo games on the game console. Another cool device was the Retro Mini portable, a device that used the original NES cartridges, but allows you to take it on the go.

Alex is a complete fan of all things electronic gaming meaning that he can enjoy playing the original Atari 2600 using the original cartridge as well as utilizing modern equipment and technology such as emulators. He stressed the importance of those in the community who work to not only preserve classic gaming, but allow new fans to enjoy games of the past. Using programs such as DOSBox allows many gamers to play classic PC games that just won’t run correctly on today’s operating systems.

When I walked into Alex’s arcade room I almost fainted. It was like something out of my childhood dreams except for the large Dallas Cowboys star on the wall. Right away what caught my eye was the M.A.M.E. arcade cabinet next to the air hockey machine. However, something else that caught my eye was the collection of pinball machines. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect between pinball fans and video game fans and it was good to see that Alex enjoyed both.

On the back wall were several classic arcade cabinets including Defender, Joust and Robotron. The systems were all from Retrocade and Alex explained that originally he wanted to keep the classic original cabinets, but it is truly a lot of work dangerous even to care and maintain due to the circuit boards and electronics used in those older systems.


After my tour I sat down with Alex and we talked about his own gaming history from his first console to meeting game designers and developers with Michael Dell. I was even able to instigate a challenge between Alex and Arthur Lewis, Alienware’s general manager.

This began during my coverage at E3 where I was able to talk to Arthur over at the Alienware booth. In addition to telling me about his own love of gaming he mentioned getting together with Alex to play Tecmo Bowl and that they were scheduled to have a game soon.

Arthur Lewis @ E3

Alex tells a story about a classic gaming of Tecmo Bowl against Arthur where the loser would have to walk around the hotel halls in their underwear. Alex lost and believed the underwear thing was just a joke, unfortunately it was not. Alex said that it has been a while since they had played and that if a rematch did come about Arthur would find himself on the losing end. Of course, I plan to press this to see if a rematch will happen though I doubt the loser will have to do anything too embarrassing.

Alex Aguila Interview


Saying goodbye I felt slightly sad to be honest. Being there and seeing someone love video gaming as much as I do reminded me of my summer days of spending hours doing nothing but gaming. On the other hand it is truly nice to find people who continue doing something they love even as they mature and their lives change. My day with a true gamer, Alex Aguila is not one I will soon forget.