Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
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Rock'em Sock'em Robots is a popular two-player action toy and game, designed by Marvin Glass and Associates and was first manufactured by Marx toy company in 1964. It features two dueling robot boxers mechanically manipulated by the players, and the game is won when one player knocks the head off of the opposed. The 2000s version of the game by Mattel features physically smaller robots.
Each "manager" takes control of either robot: the "Red Rocker" or the "Blue Bomber", both of which are standing on a platform molded in bright yellow hi-impact polystyrene plastic, representing a boxing ring. By pushing plunger buttons on a pair of joysticks at the base of the platform, players make their robot punch at their opponent's robot. If a robot's head is hit with sufficient force at a suitable angle, the head will overextend away from the shoulders, signifying that the other player has won the round.
Rock'em Sock'em Robots has enjoyed far-ranging success in the United States, selling in the hundreds of thousands and becoming something of a minor pop culture phenomenon. The history of ownership of this game was unclear. There were various production runs by Mattel, Hasbro, Playco, Toys "R" Us, and other toy companies.
The game was available in the United Kingdom during the 1970s, where it was sold under the name Raving Bonkers.
Marx Toys also released an updated version of Rock'em Sock'em Robots called Clash of the Cosmic Robots in 1977. It featured robots of a more space-age design, (or rather, the same robots as before with different heads) no doubt inspired by the success of the Star Wars film released that May. Instead of a red robot and a blue robot, Clash of the Cosmic Robots featured PROG-2, an orange robot with a head more like that of RoboCop, and V-STYX, a white robot with a long, protruding mouth (but no eyes). The boxing ring was molded in black this time to give the game a more 'spacey' look, and stickers and decals (for both the robots and the ring) were provided for this same idea.
For a period of time in the mid 1990s the blue robot was changed to a darker shade of blue and given the old PROG-2 head. The red robot was changed to a grey (Though the instructions referred to him as "silver") color but retained his classic head. Their respective names were changed to "Bolt Crusher Bob" and "Gear Grinder Greg". As in 'Clash of the Cosmic Robots', stickers and decals were provided for additional design. Aside from the cosmetic changes, the game remained the same.
In 2000, a remake of the classic version was developed by Mattel—at approximately half the size of the original model. In addition, an action figure line, a PlayStation game, electronic handhelds, a head-to-head plug and play and bobble head dolls have been recently introduced. The PlayStation game was Rock'em Sock'em Robots Arena, published by Mattel Interactive, and was developed by Paradox Development using their successful game engine from the completed but canceled Thrill Kill video game. The video game and action figure lines represented a newer, updated version of the robots, whereas the reissued game and licensed products all were based on the original Red Rocker and Blue Bomber characters.
In other media
In the Game Boy Advance video game, more robots were introduced, including the "Yellow Yahoo", "Brown Bully", "Orange Oppressor", "Silver Stretcher", "Purple Pyro", "Green Grappler", "Pink Pummeller", and "Black Bruiser". The game was also made into a mobile phone video game years ago by Oasys Mobile. Latest mobile game was developed by OneStepMobile LLC for iPhone and Android devices. Al McWhiggin, the main antagonist in the Disney/Pixar film Toy Story 2, owns a Rock'em Sock'em Robots toy, which Slinky takes to be "a cowboy doll with a bad arm". They are voiced by two of the film's directors John Lasseter (Blue Bomber) and Lee Unkrich (Red Rocker). These robots are also used in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory during the Oompa Loompas' musical number about Mike Teavee in the TV room at Willy Wonka's factory.