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This article is about the televised robotics competition. For the video game, see Robotica (video game).
Robotica logo.jpg
Robotica Logo
Genre Reality Television
Created by Bruce Nash
Starring Ahmet Zappa
Tanya Memme
Tanika Ray
Dan Danknick
Narrated by Ahmet Zappa
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 21
Executive producer(s) Bruce Nash
Running time 60 minutes
Original network TLC
Original release April 2001 – November 2002

Robotica is a robot combat show (similar to the early seasons of Robot Wars) produced for the American television cable channel TLC, a subsidiary of the Discovery Channel. Three seasons of Robotica were produced. The shows first aired in April 2001, with the final season beginning in late 2002. Show hosts for the first season were Ahmet Zappa, Tanika Ray, and Tanya Memme. For the second and third seasons, Dan Danknick replaced Tanika Ray.

Season 1[edit]

Each preliminary show in the first season of Robotica featured four robots weighing as much as 210 pounds paired off in a series of three challenges.[1] The winners of each pairing faced each other in a Robot-sumo style "Fight to the Finish" to determine the winner of the show.

  • The first challenge was The Speedway. Robots raced in opposite directions around a figure-8 track. Robots were awarded 10 points for each lap completed (up to 8), with an additional 20 points awarded to the winner. This challenge had a two-minute time limit.
  • The second challenge was The Maze. Robots negotiated obstacles in two identical, twisting courses that met in the middle. Five obstacles (teeter ramp, push box, rotating paddles, guillotine, and waterfall) worth 15 points each, plus 25 points for the first robot to the center platform. This challenge had a three-minute time limit.
  • The third challenge was The Gauntlet. Robots crashed through barrier walls of increasing difficulty. Five barriers (glass pane, paint cans filled with sand, bricks, concrete paving stones, and a heavy safe) worth 15 points each, plus 25 points to the first robot to complete the course. This challenge had a three-minute time limit.

Total points were added for the three events to determine a winner. In the event of a tie, the robot who won the greater number of events advanced.

The Fight to The Finish took place on a 16' by 16' platform elevated high above the floor. A low guard rail surrounded the platform for the first minute and then fell away. The last robot on the platform moved on to the finals.

The finals worked the same way as the preliminary shows, except there were six robots, competing in three pairs. Three robots met in the Fight to the Finish. The winner of the show was awarded the largest cash prize in robot combat to that date: $12,000.

Seasons 2 and 3[edit]

Robotica seasons 2 and 3 featured redesigned challenges. The Speedway was eliminated, The Gauntlet was redesigned, and The Maze had been completely re-done and renamed The Labyrinth.[2]

The former side-by-side Gauntlet course was now arranged in a diamond-shape. The first barrier wall was now a wooden plank, the walls of metal cans, bricks, and concrete paving stones remained, and the safe was gone. Each robot had to complete their own two legs of the diamond and then return through the opponent's rubble field before climbing a ramp up to the Forest of Glass in the center of the diamond. When all the glass strips were broken, a final glass sheet lowered as the final challenge. Scoring was 10 points for each barrier, 5 points for each rubble wall, 10 points for first up the ramp, 5 points for second up the ramp, 15 points for the final glass pane. This challenge had 150 total points available and a three-minute time limit.

Jawbreaker's Revenge battles Buzzbomb at the 'Rollers' obstacle: Robotica season 3

The former two-path Maze was now a single Labyrinth wherein both robots could roam to choose from six scoring obstacles. Also roaming the Labyrinth were two rat-shaped robots named the "Robotica Rats" that could interfere with (or sometimes help) the competitors. Breaking the glass strip beyond each obstacle claimed the points. Obstacles were:

  1. Push Box - 15 points
  2. Lifting Spikes - 15 points
  3. Suspension Bridge - 20 points
  4. Flipper - 20 points
  5. Rollers - 25 points
  6. Sand Box - 25 points

Robots started together in a motorized rotating turntable, where combat was encouraged. A robot could be penalized the entire point total for an obstacle if they broke down or got stuck in a position that blocked access to the obstacle.

At the end of three minutes, or when all the obstacles were cleared, the exit opened. The final glass strip on the far side of the exit was worth 30 points. This challenge had 150 total points available and a four-minute time limit.

The winning pair of robots faced each other in The Fight to The Finish. The platform was enlarged from season 1; it was now a 25' by 25' elevated platform. A new rule called for robots to hold the other robot 'pinned' for no more than 15 seconds before release. A low guard rail surrounded the platform for the first minute, then fell away. The last robot on the platform moved on to the finals.

For the finals, three pairs of robots competed in The Gauntlet. The two robots with the lowest scores were eliminated, and the remaining four robots paired off for The Labyrinth. The two winning robots met in The Fight to The Finish to determine the champion.

Winning robots[edit]

Robotica Season 1 winner, Run Amok

Current status[edit]

The Discovery Channel is currently showing re-runs of Robotica in Europe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robotica Season 1 rules
  2. ^ Robotica Season 2/3 rules

External links[edit]