Catalogue of Arcade Emulation Software - the Absolute Reference

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Robotron (Solid Blue label)

Robotron - 2084 (c) 03/1982 Williams.

A legendary one-player single screen shoot-em-up in which the goal is to save the last human family in existence and kill the many creatures inhabit the play area. The enemies in the game are called 'Robotrons' and there are five different kinds of them : Grunts, Brains, Enforcers, Tanks and Hulks. There are also three different kinds of human family members who must be rescued, including women in pink dresses, men in blue suits and boys in red shirts.

During each wave, the player must destroy all the 'Robotrons' (with the exception of the indestructible Hulks) and rescue as many human family members as possible in order to proceed to the next wave. The game resets to the first wave once wave 255 is completed. The player's score will be unaffected.


Robotron was available in both upright and cocktail format, with the cocktail cabinet being fairly rare. The alternate cabinets also had different graphics (at least the color scheme was different), and are much more difficult to find replacement graphics for. The standard Robotron upright was 6'2'' tall and featured white sides and a black front. It had painted side-art in the form of a '2084' logo and a few stripes (this is a very simple design, and is easy to repaint if your cabinet happens to be scratched up). The control panel is covered with a geometric shape design, and has two 8-Way joysticks and two start buttons. These joysticks are of a peculiar design, but can easily be replaced with a pair of modern joysticks (purchase red ball tops ones, because that is what the originals had). The games marquee has the 'Robotron' logo in a font reminiscent of an early 80s computer. This is superimposed over a triangular design made from shapes and lines. The Robotron cocktail cabinet was finished completely with woodgrain laminate. The only graphics were on the control panels, and the small instruction cards that were placed under the top glass. The players would sit across from each other, and the screen image would flip for each player.

Main CPU : M6809 (@ 1 Mhz)

Sound CPU : M6808 (@ 894.75 Khz)

Sound Chips : DAC (@ 894.75 Khz)

Screen orientation : Horizontal

Video resolution : 292 x 240 pixels

Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz

Palette colors : 16

Players : 2

Control : Double 8-way joysticks (see 'Trivia' section for more information)


The basic play of Robotron was programmed in three days. The design of Robotron was influenced by "Berzerk" and the Commodore PET game 'Chase'. The original concept name was 'Robot Wars - 1984'.

Robotron was unique at the time in that the controls were two 8-way joysticks (one for running, one for shooting) rather than the more typical single joystick and fire button. This unique dual-joystick control was created because of two occurrences : Jarvis liked the game "Berzerk", but hated the joystick-and-button run-and-shoot configuration; and the fact that Jarvis's right hand had been broken in a car accident shortly after he finished creating "Stargate".

This game shares some sounds from "Defender".

The human characters in this game are named Mommy, Daddy and Mikey. The idea and the inspiration for the character Mikey was from the 1970's commercial for 'Life' cereal.

Williams were sued by Walt Disney Productions for copyright and patent infringement regarding Williams use of 'Tron' in Robotron. Williams won the suit and Walt Disney releases Tron on time.

A Robotron machine appears in the 1983 movie 'Koyaanisqatsi - Life out of Balance'.

Two Robotron machines (including a mini-cabinet) were shown at the 2003 classic arcade games show 'California Extreme' in San Jose, California.


Yellow/Orange label :

* The default difficulty is 5.

* The demo calls the Quarks 'Cubeoids'.

* The default high score is 131682.

Blue label :

* The default difficulty is 3.

* The default high score is 151782.

* The 'shot-in-corner' bug is fixed.


G.R.U.N.T. (GROUND ROVING UNIT NETWORK TERMINATOR) - The red robots : 100 points

HULK - The big green robots : N/A

BRAIN - The robots that are blue and have really large heads : 500 points

SPHEROID - The red circles that travel around the game screen : 1000 points

ENFORCER - The blue, 'Robby the Robot' looking robots : 150 points

QUARK - The white boxes with an 'X' in the middle that travel around the game screen : 1000 points

TANK - The red robots that have tracked wheels underneath them hence making them look like tanks : 200 points

FAMILY MEMBERS : You get 1000 for the first human rescued. Then it will progress at 2000, 3000, 4000, then 5000 for every human rescued after that. This will last the entire wave or until you get killed. If you get killed or go to a new wave, then the progression starts at 1000 again.


* When you start the game, your man will be in the middle of the playing field surrounded by various robots. Depending on the wave that you are on will determine exactly what robots are ready to terminate your existence. The game is straight-forward, take out all the robots (except HULKS) to advance to the next wave. It is vital for your survival that you learn how to 'scoot and shoot'. If you don't learn how operate the controls independently and run in one direction while shooting in other directions, you won't survive very long in this game.

* Equally important to 'scoot and shoot' is your ability to be able to fire on the diagonal. It's easy firing up, down, left, and right, but it takes a little more mastery to fire in the diagonal directions.

* Learn the different things the enemy robots do. For example, the SPEROIDS have a tendency to congregate in the corners. This works to your advantage since you can blast about 3 or 4 before they discharge their supply of ENFORCER robots.

* Your main objective is to blast a path through the robots and get to the edge of the screen. It doesn't matter what edge, just get to one. The reason is painfully simple : It give the robots one less direction to assault you from, plus, you can lead them around in circles blasting them and also cleaning out the corners from the above-mentioned ENFORCERS.

* Enforcer Bug : The enforcer bug is when an enforcer is in the lower right corner and you shoot it diagonal there is a 1 in 3000 chance the game will reset. The reason for the game resetting is there is a bug in the diagonal explosion code for enforcers. The memory below the screen holds the stack and an unclipped pixel can get 'drawn' into the stack causing the game to lock and the watchdog to kick in and reset the system.

* The only times where you won't want to seek the sides is during the BRAIN and TANK robot waves. The BRAINS fire a homing shot at your man so you need as much room to maneuver as possible so going against the wall would restrict that movement. The same goes for the TANK robots which fire bounce shots. They may miss you initially but you might get hit by the shot as it bounces up. You are safer in the middle area where you have room to maneuver. Just watch out for other enemies (which will be very low in number).

* Try to rescue the humans as long as it doesn't put your man in danger of dying. You can rack up some major points on the BRAIN waves since they are loaded with humans for the BRAIN robots to 're-program'. Again, make sure you have an avenue of escape. Doesn't make sense to save a human, get the extra man, then die. You, in essence, gained nothing from that level. You can also shoot the HULK robots to push them away from humans also. On the BRAIN waves, make sure you pick off the BRAIN robots as soon as possible. This prevents them from reprogramming the humans and leaves you more people to get major points with.

* The 'Mikey' bug - on the first Brain wave. There are a lot of Mommies and only one Mikey. The Brains all go for Mikey - if you can protect him (don't pick him up, though!), the Brains will ignore all other humans, making for a point-fest if you can grab them all. As soon as you die, however, the Brains will grab any human they find. This actually works on all Brain waves, but in the other waves the 'golden human' is a random Daddy or Mommy or Mikey, so you don't know who to protect. It's a bug, but a cool one.

* Since you don't have a limit on your shots, you can put up a 'wall' of energy in whatever direction you move. This can have a very devastating effect if applied right.

* Make sure you take a quick look at the wave to assess where the main threats are. You will have from 1 to 2 seconds to get ready for action. If you can survive the initial few seconds as you blast your way toward the edge, your chances of survival will be that much greater. Also be sure to remember what each wave has in store for you, this also will give you a greater chance of getting through the wave.

* If you get tired, you can take a break. That's right, wait for a TANK wave. Eliminate all of the robots except for one. After firing a few shots, the TANK robot will run out. After that, it's just a matter of avoiding the TANK and any other pesky robots.

* ENFORCERS, like their SPHEROID transports, tend to congregate in corners. Use this to your advantage. Every now and then one or two will zip very fast across the field. Their main threat, though, is volume of fire. When you are on the edges, watch out since their shots tend to roll toward your man.

* See all those pretty shapes on the playing field? They are there as a nuisance. They will kill your man if he hits them. They can, however, be shot out of the way but yield no points.

* Robotron Name Trick : The formula consists of three sequences of buttons, that all must be completed within a quarter of a second of each other, without the player dying on-screen. The moves are as follows...

1) Fire Up while moving Right and press Player 1 button.

2) Fire Down while moving Up and press Player 2 button.

3) Move Down while firing Up.

The designer's names will appear and stay on the screen until the joystick is released from the Up position. Your game is over(!) once you've done this trick.


1. Robotron - 2084 (1982)

2. Blaster (1983)


Staff : Larry DeMar (LED), Eugene Jarvis (DRJ) (EPJ), (JER), (KID), (MLG), Steve Ritchie (SSR), (UNA), (JRS), (CJM)


* Consoles :

Atari 5200 (1983)

Atari 7800 (1984)

Atari XEGS

Atari Lynx (1991)

Nintendo Super Famicom (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sega Mega Drive (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sega Saturn (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Sony PlayStation (1996, "Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits")

Nintendo 64 (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Volume I")

Sega Dreamcast (2000, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits Vol. 1")

Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001, "Midway's Greatest Arcade Hits")

Sony PlayStation 2 (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Nintendo GameCube (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Microsoft XBOX (2003, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

Microsoft XBOX 360 (2005, as a downloadable Live Arcade game) : boasts an upgrade in graphics, and a special achievements section, where players are rewarded for different achievements they make in the game.

* Computers :

Tandy Color Computer (1983, "Robotack")

Commodore VIC-20 (1983)

Commodore C64 (1983)

PC [Booter] (1983)

Apple II (1983)

BBC B ("Robotron", 1984 - Atarisoft)

ZX Spectrum (unreleased)

Atari ST (1987)

PC [MS-DOS] (1995, "Williams Arcade Classics")

PC [MS Windows] (1996, "Williams Arcade Classics")

PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (2004, "Midway Arcade Treasure")

* Others :

Tiger Game.Com ("Arcade Classics")


F.A.Q. by Kevin Butler A.K.A. War Doc