Robinson Technologies

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The Robinson Technologies Company Logo

Robinson Technologies is an independent video game developer, currently located in Japan. It was founded by Seth Robinson. The company is most well-known for the BBS door games Legend of the Red Dragon and Planets:The Exploration of Space, and most recently, the game Growtopia, released in 2013, which is an experimental multiplayer creative sandbox created as a collaboration with Hamumu Software.[1]

History[edit]

The BBS Era[edit]

In 1989, Seth Robinson created a game that he called Legend of the Red Dragon, or LORD, in an effort to attract new users to his Amiga-based BBS that he ran at the time.[2] He was only 14 years old at the time.[3] He later ported the game to a disk operating system and would allow others to port the game to other operating system and BBS platforms.

The game exemplified how simple a game could be while still being fun. The game is a text-based menu-driven fighting game, allowing players to take on the role of a potential dragon-slayer. It featured multiplayer options if it's BBS host had multiple nodes (or phone lines). The gameplay style that it featured was in many ways a predecessor to the MMORPG genre. The game would later feature a form of graphical menus, created and displayed by RIPTerm.

Another feature of the game was In Game Modules, or IGMs. IGMs were little add-ons to the game, allowing for expansion. IGMs could be written by anybody and allowed for a lot of gameplay to be added on. Some IGMs even allowed "mischievous" game play, almost allowing players to cheat. Seth Robinson only released a single IGM of his own, called Barak's House.

Shortly afterwards, Seth would release a new game called Planets: The Exploration of Space. Commonly referred to as Planets: TEOS, it was a space trading game that had players flying to various kinds of planets, buying, selling, and trading items in order to make money. The game even allowed fights that were very similar in style to LORD, allowing players to attack others when they were offline. Players could also attack planets in order to take control of them. In Seth's own words, he describes the game as "kind of like LORD mixed with Tradewars".[4]

The game featured two sides, the "Alliance" and the "Maraken". Players could join and fight for either side. Players could even own planets for whichever side they belonged to. However, they could also play independently and even start their own "guilds" called cartels. The game had a notable Star Trek influence, including references to the Borg and characters from the different Star Trek shows.

Planets: TEOS also featured IGMs, the major difference being that players had to travel to a particular planet to enter into that IGM. Seth Robinson only released one TEOS IGM of his own, called "Landfill", which was a Tetris clone.

In various releases of Planets: TEOS, Robinson advertised a new game he had been working on. This game, New World, would never see release due to reasons that were never made public. Instead, another of Robinson's games inherited the name, Legend of the Red Dragon II: New World. Fans wanted a new game from Robinson and wanted New World as well, so he released the official sequel to his original hit, Legend of the Red Dragon.

This game is completely different than the original Red Dragon. Instead of a text based menu concept, the game was changed to an ANSI-based graphical map concept. Players controlled a smiley face-like character that could roam around, much like modern MMORPGs. The game was never as successful as the original Red Dragon, but it did gather a cult following.

Eventually, Seth Robinson sold the rights to the three BBS games to Metropolis Gameport in 1998.[5]

List of RTSoft BBS Door Games and Programs[edit]

  • Legend of the Red Dragon
    • Barak's House (A LORD IGM)
  • Planets: The Exploration of Space (or simply Planets: TEOS)
    • Landfill (TEOS In Game Module tetris clone)
  • Legend of the Red Dragon II: New World
  • RTReader (BBS door that ran from a scripting language)
  • BradyBunch Adventure (multiplayer .DLL for MBBS/Worldgroup)
  • Tournament LORD (MBBS/Worldgroup .DLL port)

The PC Era[edit]

In 1997, Robinson Technologies released an adventure/RPG title by the name of Dink Smallwood. This was an effort made by Seth Robinson to move away from BBS door games and into something more profitable. The title featured an isometric view and had a comedic focus.[6]

In an attempt to keep the game's player-base active longer, Robinson took the idea of IGMs from Legend of the Red Dragon and created "D-Mods", an add-on feature where players could create their own adventure for others to explore. Anyone could create D-Mods and distribute them as they wished.

On 17 October, 1999, Robinson Technologies released the game to the public for free, and now it can be downloaded without charge from their website. On 16 December, 2011, a new version of Dink Smallwood called Dink Smallwood HD was released for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows XP/Vista/7, webOS, and Mac OS X.[6][7]

After Dink Smallwood, Seth worked on many programs, releasing most of them on the company website. Notable releases include Teenage Lawnmower, Dungeon Scroll and Funeral Quest. He also worked on games for other companies like the Opening Weekend series for The Learning Company and developing several Flash games for various websites.

List of RTSoft PC Games and Programs[edit]

  • Dink Smallwood (WIN95 RPG; published by Iridon Interactive)
    • Mystery Island (A Dink Module released as a free addon)
  • Opening Weekend: Varmit Season (published by The Learning Company)
  • Opening Weekend: Deer Season (published by The Learning Company)
  • Opening Weekend: Grizzly Season (published by The Learning Company)
  • Opening Weekend: Bear Season (published by The Learning Company)
  • Teenage Lawnmower
  • Dungeon Scroll
  • Funeral Quest (Flash game)

The Mobile Era[edit]

Robinson Technologies started developing games for the mobile device market in the early 2000s. They developed games for the Pocket PC platform, like a game designed by his wife, Akiko Robinson, called Reckless Thief. The company made the leap to the smartphone market after 2007.

List of RTSoft Mobile Games and Programs[edit]

  • Trophy Whitetail PDA (MachineWorks Northwest; Pocket PC)
  • Grizzly PDA (MachineWorks Northwest; Pocket PC)
  • ProCar Racing (MachineWorks Northwest; Pocket PC)
  • Akiko Robinson's Reckless Thief (Pocket PC)
  • Duke Nukem Mobile (MachineWorks Northwest; BREW)
  • T-rexx Hunter: Terror From The Past (MachineWorks Northwest; BREW)
  • Duke Nukem Mobile (3D) (MachineWorks Northwest; Tapwave Zodiac)
  • Stargate SG-1 (MachineWorks Northwest; BREW)
  • Duke Nukem Mobile 3D (MachineWorks Northwest; BREW)
  • T-REXX Hunter 3D (MachineWorks Northwest; BREW)
  • Dungeon Scroll[8]
  • Tanked[9]
  • Mind Wall[10]
  • Blip Arcade[11]
  • Growtopia

Growtopia[edit]

Players in a 'world' in Growtopia.

Growtopia is an independent server-run sandbox MMO game where players can chat, farm, add friends, game-in-the-game, trade, building worlds and pvp. [12] It is currently one of the most successful games by Robinson Technologies and Hamumu Software.[13]

Co-developed with Mike Hommel of Hamumu Software, the game has more than 15 million accounts and more than 300 million worlds (as of April 2016). The iOS version was released shortly after the Android version in December 2012. A PC Windows and Mac beta version was also released in July 2013.

As of February 28th, 2017, a Ubisoft acquirement of Growtopia was announced and would be completed by Ubisoft's 2016-2017 fourth quarter, with the original developers being design and general advisors to the game's continued development.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robinson, Seth A. "Robinson Technologies - Home". www.rtsoft.com. Retrieved 2017-02-10. 
  2. ^ "Nuklear LORD Forums". lord.nuklear.org/. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  3. ^ Games, DIY. "DIY Games". diygames.com/. Archived from the original on 2006-05-06. Retrieved 2017-04-15. 
  4. ^ Robinson, Seth A. "Robinson Technologies - LORD/BBS Frequently Asked Questions". www.rtsoft.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  5. ^ Robinson, Seth A. "Robinson Technologies - LORD/BBS Frequently Asked Questions". www.rtsoft.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14. 
  6. ^ a b Gidari, Cameron (24 August 2014). "A Criminally Underrated Game About A Pig Farmer". Kotaku. Allure Media. Retrieved 25 September 2016. 
  7. ^ Dink Smallwood HD official webpage on rtsoft.com
  8. ^ Dungeon Scroll mobile webpage on rtsoft.com
  9. ^ Tanked mobile webpage on rtsoft.com
  10. ^ Mind Wall mobile webpage on codedojo.com
  11. ^ Blip Arcade mobile webpage on rtsoft.com
  12. ^ http://growtopiagame.com
  13. ^ Gilmour, James (4 January 2013). "Tree-punching sandbox platformer Growtopia taking root on Android and iOS next week". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media Limited. Retrieved 25 September 2016. 

External links[edit]