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    jp's Robotron 2084 (Arcade)

    [May 30, 2006 10:57:09 PM]
    I've decided to participate in Chris Bateman's "Only a Game Play Specification Symposium" ( He's basically asking people to help him out by exploring play specifications.

    He suggests (in order to keep things constrained) that we start with games whose primary "verbs" are move and shoot. A fine idea, if I may say so. As for how we should go about specifying play, he proposes that we "simply think about all the activities you pursue in any given game and then identify what you do (the verbs) and what you do it to or with (the nouns). Then, list them."

    I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out because it reminds me of something tried to do as part of the game ontology project. We found that our attempts, while yielding a reasonable specification, didn't result in something that we thought was particularly interesting. What worried me the most was that I felt that we had somehow lost something that was vital towards describing, in an interesting fashion, what a certain game was like. Our analyses were perhaps to dry, and most games ended up looking similar, though we knew that the experience of playing them was not. So, we abandoned that approach and moved on to other things.

    Regarding this approach, I still have many of the same reservations. However, I am hopeful that this approach will prove more fruitful!

    Robotron 2084 (Vid Kidz, 1982)
    Specified by Jose

    Move (stick1 - 8 discrete directions)
    Fire (stick2 - 8 discrete directions)
    Save (collide with a human to score points)

    Spark from Enforcer
    Shell from Tank
    Missile from Brain
    "Bullet" (fired by player)

    The above is what I'd call the "basic verbs". However, I would proposed that maybe we should consider something like "tactical verbs". Tactical verbs are actions taken by the player which, in a certain context, can be interpreted as having a "higher" order of meaning. If you were to ask the player something like "what are you doing?", he would most likely answer in a tactical sense. (I am carrying out these basic verbs in order to meet this immediate goal or purpose)

    Tactical Verbs

    Dodge (to move with the intention of avoiding a collision)
    Circle-Strafe (to move in a circle or arc while firing towards the center)
    Strafe (to move in a direction, whilst firing in another)
    Lead (to move with the purpose of causing an enemy to move in a certain way)
    Wait (to stop moving until a certain condition or state is reached)
    Flee (to move in the opposite direction of an enemy)
    Circle (to move along, or close to the walls)
    Attack (to move towards the enemy while firing)

    The above tactical verbs are all used to describe common strategies while playing Robotron. For example, attack towards the edge with the least grunts and then circle around while strafing. Also, since grunts will always converge on your position, you can lead them into electrodes and cause them to explode.

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    [September 13, 2004 06:26:25 PM]

    Take that!
    Wave 5 is a potential goldmine for points since there are so many "family members". Each family member gives you more and more points, if you are able to not die in between! (I think the progression is 1000,2000,3000,4000,5000)

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    [September 13, 2004 06:05:38 PM]

    I feel really good.
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    [September 9, 2004 10:54:00 AM]
    I beat my high score. I was feeling really proud and I wrote it down on a piece of paper so that I would remember it when I got around to writing this gamelog. Obviously, I've lost the piece of paper. I've even played some more Robotron to see if I could beat THAT score. Sigh.

    All I remember is that it was over 40,000!

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    [September 2, 2004 12:27:56 PM]
    I'm playing this for research reasons. Seriously!

    Robotron is an interesting game that everyone seems to remember rather fondly. In particular, there is always mention of the intensity of the game as well as the sense of impending doom. I think this is certainly true though I would add that the game has a lot of onscreen caos as well! It's a cool game and I'm enjoying playing it every now and then. (for research purposes)

    Robotron is a hard game, and it is made even harder due to the controls. The original arcade version was played with dual joysticks. I've had to play it on a keyboard. This is a clear example of an arcade game with special affordances due to the hardware input!

    My current high score is 39,175 (and I reached wave 5).

    There's a pretty good shockwave version up at:
    read comments (3) read comments - add a comment Add comment

    jp's Robotron 2084 (Arcade)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 30 August, 2004

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 1 November, 2006

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Really hard, especially on with keyboard. It has a certain intensity though..

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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