Robots (BSD game)
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Robots is a computer game originally developed for the Berkeley Software Distribution—a derivative of Unix—by Ken Arnold. In the turn-based game, players are tasked with escaping robots programmed to kill them. Since then it has been reproduced as clone games for various platforms.
Robots is played on a two-dimensional rectangular grid. The objective of the game is to escape from a number of robots, which have been programmed with only a single objective: to kill the player.
The game is turn-based. In the original game the player character starts at a randomly selected location. In some derivative versions, such as the GNOME version, the player starts at the centre of the grid. The robots start at randomly selected locations on the grid. Every time the player character moves a square in any direction (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally), each robot moves one square closer to him, in whichever direction is the shortest way.
If the player character collides with a robot, he dies and the game ends. However, the robots are also fatal to each other - when two robots collide, they both die, leaving behind a scrap heap. These scrap heaps are also fatal to robots and the player.
The player can also teleport into a randomly selected location in cases where escape is otherwise impossible. A teleportation counts as a move. However, because the location is randomly selected, it is possible that the player teleports right into the path of a robot. In some versions of the game, there is a "safe teleport" feature which the player may use a limited number of times (for instance once per level) and there may also be a close-range weapon which kills all robots within the immediate vicinity, the use of which would be limited in a similar way.
When all robots on a level are dead, the player moves onto another level, with more robots. Traditionally, the number of robots increases by ten each level.
Some versions of Robots are called Zombies. Others are called Daleks, after the Daleks in the British Doctor Who TV show. Tim Hartnell also wrote a BASIC version called Robot Minefield which involved fleeing from four robots on a small field of landmines. The game was more difficult than Robots since the player lacked the ability to teleport. Moreover, robots could merge into each other without being destroyed. In addition, the player could only move in four directions (North, South, East, West) while the robots had the ability to move diagonally. The game was played in real time; as the player pondered his move, the robots would continue converging toward him. This version was published in the 1983 Giant Book of Computer Games.
The Windows 3.1 version of Robots is called Tobor.
- Robotron: 2084, a real-time version