Battlebots, A Meditation: Week Six

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I am, unfortunately, out of jokes for this shit. Look—[turns out pockets, some heinous puns fall out]—nothing of use left. I will now write as sincerely as I possibly can about Battlebots, with the presumption that you have an idea what the robots do.

FIGHT ONE: BRONCO VS. TOMBSTONE

This was good-ass robot fighting, right here. Bronco, of the trusty pneumatic flipper, has its lever extended. (It was hidden underneath a shield thing, but if you didn’t take notice of that yourself, I assume you are a small child who is only into this for the robot violence, not the careful considerations of engineering and strategy like I totally am. Sports are not for children. Clearly, I am a serious person, and I write about sports, so they must be serious in turn.) Anyway: the lever. Bronco tried to slip it beneath Tombstone without exposing itself to Tombstone’s giant fucking spinning blade. Bronco(‘s driver? Is there an established language for this? We don’t personify stock cars, I suppose) began the fight driving into the corner, so that Tombstone would have to attack the lever head-on.

The MMA Fighter who (admirably) does color for the show said, in his opinion, this was not a great idea, because it would allow the blade to get to top speed, and that bum-rushing the opponent, like Bronco did against Plan-X, would have been a better idea. There’s no way to know, of course, but the strategy as pursued presented absolutely no margin for error: either Bronco was going to flip Tombstone or get tagged. As it happened, the latter occurred. Bronco’s shielding managed to protect it for a few blows, but it eventually ended up on its back, and when it flipped itself over, it was missing a wheel and couldn’t steer around the cage. It managed to keep itself moving a little by using the pneumatic lever.

Then, right before the count was about to end, Nightmare went in for a show hit and all of its electronic components flew out of the robot’s body. Ha! Whoops!

FIGHT TWO: BITEFORCE VS. GHOST RAPTOR

A fight between two grappling robots, wherein BiteForce, an extraordinarily sturdy machine that kind of looks like it was made in a factory, acquired and exploited advantage throughout. Ended when BiteForce drove Raptor into the screws and permanently flipped it onto its back.

Pour some out for Ghost Raptor, who took a beating or two and made due with several in-contest tweaks, one of which, a fork specially designed with corralling Icewave in mind, was probably my favorite thing in the whole tournament.

THAT WEIRD ROYAL MELEE THING: OVERDRIVE VS. WITCH DOCTOR VS. NIGHTMARE

Overdrive, Witch Doctor, and Nightmare went one on one on one, proving, once again, that holy axiom: “You need at least five robots to make a truly chaotic Battle Royale, and this was three, what the hell.” Witch Doctor lost when it got flipped on its back for the third time in this tournament. Witch Doctor managed to lose an extraordinary number of times.

CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT

The show wanted you to think Tombstone was unbeatable. Look at that blade. Holy shit, it will fuck you up. But in Tombstone’s previous fight against Witch Doctor, we got a glimpse at its weakness: a serious lack of armor. If you can manage to absorb a few blows, that crazy spinning blade will flip Tombstone around the ring or break itself in half.

BiteForce, sporting a swanky shield, drove—excellent driving by BiteForce in this fight—into the fight fast, went at Tombstone from the side, took a few tags, pinned Tombstone in a corner, and pushed the favored shredder around until, natch, its weapon’s electrical system lit on fire and the blade stopped entirely, rendering it useless as an attack-bot.

At the same time. BiteForce’s treads malfunctioned. So, for about a minute, on national television, two broken robots malfunctioned around a ring, as if suffering from epileptic fits. The fight ended, BiteForce was the winner, propelled to victory not by its weapon, which was no great shakes at all, but by its superior driving mechanism and magnetic treads. Game over. Good Battlebots, everyone.

SPARE THOUGHTS ABOUT BATTLEBOTS

--Oh man, that was entertaining. Watching robots hurt each other on television was a lot of fun. The package ABC put together was slick as hell, a world away from the grimy-ass Comedy Central days: dramatic lighting and HD Cameras and, frankly, better robots. I guess that last thing shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Technology generally gets more functional over time, I hear.

--The Wild Card selections, by and large, made absolutely no sense. That space should be reserved first for decision losses, then for whatever robot got knocked out latest in the match. There needs to be more transparency in robot fighting!

--Fire robots are totally useless, but they explode, so keep em’ coming.

--Get rid of those pretty boys, though. I would gladly see Radioactive gone for the chance to watch, like, something with two spinning hammers attached to a brick or some shit. HammerBrick might be hard to control, but if you touch it, you will know pain.

--The MMA Fighter who was doing color was all in on Tombstone, and is looking pretty silly after it was beat . He should have to respond to a weary nation.

--I keep wanting to use male pronouns to describe robots. That feels sexist.

NEXT WEEK: DREAMS OF ROBOT FIGHTS

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