Lost In Translation/Robotron - 2084

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This page is a stub for arcade games that are part of the Lost In Translation series using information based on MAME (version 0.113u2).
For an example of preferred content and layout please refer to Out Run or The Ninja Warriors.

Robotron - 2084
Robotron - 2084 marquee.
No screen shot.
Robotron - 2084 control panel.
Manufacturer Williams
Released 1982
(2x) 8-way Joystick
Main CPU M6809 (@ 1.000 MHz)
M6808 (@ 894.750 kHz)
Sound CPU Mono
Raster (Horizontal)
292 x 240 pixels
60.10 Hz
16 Palette colours
Screens 1
ROM Info 15 ROMs
54,272 bytes (53.00 KiB)
MAME ID robotron · robotryo

About The Game

Robotron - 2084 is an arcade video game shoot-em-up.

Character Overview

Man Woman Child

These are the only 3 types of human clones left on Earth. Defenceless and easy prey to the Robots, they are totally dependent upon you for their survival and will wander aimlessly until you make contact with them. Touching them will place them under your protective powers and earn you the following points: 1,000 for rescuing the 1st human; 2,000 for the 2nd: 3,000 for the 3rd; 4,000 for the 4th; 5,000 for the 5th; and 5,000 for every additional human saved. At the beginning of each new wave and when you lose a turn, rescue scoring will again begin at 1,000.


Its goal is to kill you by firing rebounding Shells. Annihilate the Tank for 300 points; the Shell for 50 points.


Red alert! The Brain is the most clever and dangerous of the Robot species. Its 2-pronged attack will be launched every 5th wave. If it collides with you, it will electrocute you where you stand. It also possesses the devastating power to tire Cruise Missiles which will mercilessly seek you out. Destroy or be destroyed. Kill the Brain for 500 points; demolish the Cruise Missile for 75 points.

The victims of the 2nd prong of the Brain's attack are the defenceless humans. If captured, a human will be irreversibly transformed, literally re-programmed by the Brain's incredible mind powers, into a Prog. Into a Robot that will viciously turn against its own protector, against you! Annihilate the Progs for 100 points or meet a violent death at their hands.


This pulsating sphere may at first look harmless, but it is the mother-ship which spawns deadly Enforcer Embryos. You must try to explode the Spheroid before it ejects the Embryos to earn 1,000 points.


The Embryos grow into evil Enforcers. Kill them for 200 points. Let them live and they will lessen your chance for survival by launching Enforcer Sparks. Destroy the Sparks for 25 points.


In all attack waves except every 5th, the Hulk will stalk his prey. He alone of the Robot species cannot be killed. Your Laser Gun can only slow him down or divert him from his objective of crushing all life from the humans and from yourself. You must avoid this Robot at all costs or your mission will be lost at the outset.


The least sophisticated species of Robot is the Grunt. He has no weapon and possesses only minimal intelligence. This does not mean he is to be dealt with lightly. He will single-mindedly pursue you to capture and destroy you. Kill him and score 100 points.


The pulsating, immobile Electrodes will attempt to block your path. Collide with them and meet instant death. Fortunately, the Grunts will also be annihilated by this means. You must avoid the Electrodes or obliterate them with your Laser Gun. In each new attack wave they will assume a different shape, but remain just as deadly if contact is made.


Released in March 1982. Total production is estimated at 18,000 units. The upright cabinet style is common. Both the cabaret (or mini) and cocktail styles were produced in much lower numbers, one estimate citing only 500 cocktails produced.

The basic play of Robotron was programmed in 3 days. The design of Robotron was influenced by "Berzerk" and the Commodore PET game 'Chase'. The concept name was 'Robot Wars - 1984'.

The original name for the production was '2084 - Robotron', but the name Robotron was more commonly used by virtually everyone involved, and the game was renamed shortly before production. This is why the cabinet side artwork simply has the number 2084 vertically.

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 film 'Koyaanisqatsi - Life out of Balance' and on the 1985 film 'Better Off Dead'.


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.


Target Points Comments
SPHEROID 1,000 The red circles that travel around the game screen
QUARK 1,000 The white boxes with an 'X' in the middle that travel around the game screen
ENFORCER 150 The blue, 'Robby the Robot' looking robots
TANK 200 The red robots that have tracked wheels underneath them hence making them look like tanks
BRAIN 500 The robots that are blue and have really large heads
PROG 100 Reprogrammed humans
  • FAMILY MEMBERS - 1,000 points for the first human rescued, progressing to 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, then 5,000 for every human rescued after that. The scoring starts over when the player is killed or finishes a wave.

Tips and tricks

  • 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 manoeuvre 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 manoeuvre. 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 [upright model] (1983)
    Blaster [DuraMold model] (1983)


Larry DeMar (LED)
Eugene Jarvis (DRJ) (EPJ)
Steve Ritchie (SSR)

Cabinet and Artwork


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)
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")
Tiger Game.Com ("Arcade Classics")

Soundtrack Releases

Album Name Catalogue No. Released Publisher Comments
Arcade Ambiance 1983 N/A[1] 2003-01-01 Andy Hofle Digital download only.

External Links


The contents of this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
The sources used include MAME (version 0.113u2) and history.dat (revision 1.28 - 2008-10-18).
Please see http://www.arcade-history.com for credits.