01623: The Robots of My Life

With Pacific Rim mania still sweeping across the social web, it's certainly a nice time to be a robot fanboy at a time like this. And with a lot of people using the Jaeger Designer to come up with different robot designs and names, this had me thinking back to the many robots of my limited history.

But let's be a bit more precise here - as much as I love the Transformers most of all, a lot of the "robots" that we're celebrating today are not sentient mechanical beings. Instead they tend to be the equivalent of highly technological suits of armor - tanks that have legs instead of treads. And I won't get into a debate about whether or not these are truly robots or not - I still love them. Plus they represent a unique blending of man and machine in one awesome package.

One of the bigger robotic franchises that I remain a big fan of for the most part is the BattleTech / MechWarrior series of games and novels. The use those giant BattleMechs as the true warriors of the battlefield and trigger a return to almost chivalrous practices with giant robots instead of horses. And the back story behind the Inner Sphere and eventually the Clans is definitely a really great story too - which just goes to show how rich world-building can truly be especially for a franchise that also includes a tabletop RPG.

Of course beyond BattleMechs, one should factor in all the worlds of mecha and sentai shows. I cared little for the human problems of the various characters in these shows and really just waited for the last 10 minutes of each episode when they start summoning their giant robots. So yes, I even watched Power Rangers with more interest that probably appropriate for my age when the series came out - thankfully I had a younger brother that I could watch the show with.

But yes, I was very much into Voltes V, Daimos, Voltron, Macross, RobotechGrendizer, Getter Robo, Gaiking and Danguard Ace to name a few of the more memorable ones. Sadly I was too young for the original Mazinger Z series and haven't found the time to immerse myself into it just yet.

The video game world has also been a rich source for interesting robot franchises. I struggled through playing Zone of the Enders even though the gameplay wasn't something that I was very good with. I was okay with Xenogears and it's fighting game style combat engine if only because later I got to portray giant robots again. But the game that really shined for me was the tactical RPG Front Mission that was insanely long but quite fun. A lot of people found that combat a little repetitive but I found it reassuring in that regard. And man, I kept on playing it even if I wasn't able to finish the darn thing since it was so crazily long. But it was certainly a fun, fun robotic gaming experience.

And the rest of pop culture history is littered notable robots and power suits over the years. This can include shows as crazy as Centurions and the Power Loader that was but a small part of the Aliens movie. I actually loved ED-209 a lot more than RoboCop himself. But that's me and my particular geeky perspective of things.

And I wonder what is bound to come next now that Pacific Rim has made giant robots a bit cooler again.
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