RPO Replay: Robotron 2084

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


I booted up my emulator and selected Robotron: 2084, one of my all-time favorite games. I’d always loved its frenetic pace and brutal simplicity. Robotron was all about instinct and reflexes. Playing old videogames never failed to clear my mind and set me at ease.

Ready Player One p. 14

Game Play

Released in 1982 by Vid Kidz (in the form of Williams Electronics), Robotron: 2084 features a lone hero trying to save the remnants of humanity from murderous robots. It features an endless series of increasingly frantic, fast-moving proto-Terminators – you can blast them, or you can run, but either way, you’ll lose in the long run.


The Ready Player One quote sums it up succinctly: this is a fast-moving game that requires you to fall into a near-trance in order to avoid digital death. Personally, I never enjoyed it as much as the book’s protagonist but there is something immensely satisfying about throwing yourself into the game, and pitting your reflexes against the endless stream of enemies.

While playing the game, I found myself flashing back to the equally frantic energy of Geometry Wars on the Xbox 360. That game features a similar one-against-many setup in which you battle through endless waves of geometrically-shaped enemies. I spent many a night playing that game when my son was a baby (it’s amazing how you can learn to balance a baby, a bottle of formula, and a game controller at 4 a.m…) and Robotron: 2084 took me back to those happy, sleep-deprived times.

High Scores

  • My High Score: 23,000


Where to Play



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