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iRobot is considered a breakthrough title in terms of technical achievement but it was one of those titles that seems to have gained more fans as it has gotten older.

It was an arcade game that was released to a public that was maybe not ready for this type of game as it was slightly surreal in its use of graphics and different types of game modes.

Poly What?
Polygons were unheard of in 1983 and iRobot was the very first game that had ever displayed solid 3D objects on screen.

The aim of the main game was to change the solid polygon blocks from Red to Blue by shooting the blocks which in itself is pretty straight forward. It got a little odd when you think that the 'Eye in the sky' would destroy the player if the player jumped while it was open. Then within Bonus rounds you were tasked with shooting down different types 'Tetras' (shapes) for bonus points. 

Throw in another mode of play called Doodle City, which enabled you to draw various in game objects, and you have a highly unconventional video game for 1980's video games standards. The Doodle City mode strangely penalised you for spending too much time in the mode by taking lives away for each minute you spent in there.

Not finished there with the firsts and the oddness, camera control was actually operated by the player and this was indeed another first in the video games of the 80's. Obviously nowadays this kind of feature is standard in many video games.

The game also had a science fiction plot that resembled George Orwell's 1984 which added further to the intriguing nature of the video game.

I guess it just wasn't an arcade style video game and yet it made its way into the arcades with around 1000 video games cabinets being made for iRobot.

I suppose it was not a coin gobbler game and therefore the arcade cab was never going to succeed. I suspect that not too many arcade goers were going to put another 20p into a game whereby you have to work out what the hell is going on before you can get anywhere. I think it may have been more suited to the home consoles market but graphical power was seriously behind the arcade games at the time which might not have been able to match the lofty ambitions of the original game design.

The game is only now recognised as being a pioneering game in the world of video games.
The arcade cabs themselves are very rare and are sought after by today's collectors and arcade enthusiasts.

Have You Ever Played iRobot?

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