Robotron: 2084 (also referred to as Robotron) is an arcade video game developed by Vid Kidz and released by Williams Electronics (part of WMS Industries) in 1982. It is a shoot ’em up with two-dimensional graphics. The game is set in the year 2084 in a fictional world where robots have turned against humans in a cybernetic revolt. The aim is to defeat endless waves of robots, rescue surviving humans, and earn as many points as possible.
Robotron popularized the twin joystick control scheme, one that had previously been used in Taito’s Space Dungeon.
Robotron: 2084 was critically and commercially successful. Praise among critics focused on the game’s intense action and control scheme. The game is frequently listed as one of Jarvis’s best contributions to the video game industry. Robotron: 2084 arcade cabinets have since become a sought-after collector’s item. It was ported to numerous platforms.
The game is considered by many to be an unofficial part of the company’s Defender saga, including by many of its developers.
The game was developed in six months by Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar, founders of Vid Kidz. Vid Kidz served as a consulting firm that designed games for Williams Electronics (part of WMS Industries), whom Jarvis and DeMar had previously worked for. The game was designed to provide excitement for players; Jarvis described the game as an “athletic experience” derived from a “physical element” in the two joystick design. Robotron: 2084?’?s gameplay is based on presenting the player with conflicting goals: avoid enemy attacks to survive, defeat enemies to progress, and save the family to earn points. It was first inspired by Stern Electronics’ 1980 arcade game Berzerk and the Commodore PET computer game Chase. Berzerk is a shooting game in which a character traverses a maze to shoot robots, and Chase is a text-based game in which players move text characters into others. The initial concept involved a passive main character; the object was to get robots that chased the protagonist to collide with stationary, lethal obstacles. The game was deemed too boring compared to other action titles on the market and shooting was added to provide more excitement.
Robotron: 2084 was commercially successful; Williams sold approximately 19,000 arcade cabinets, and mini cabinets and cocktail versions were later produced. The different arcade versions have since become varying levels of rarity; the cocktail and cabaret versions are very rare, while the upright cabinets are more available. It is one of the most collected arcade games, and is consistently higher priced than other titles among collectors.