The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Bring the Thunder: Robots in Gaming

Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor

5) Steel Battalion

As a member of the military, I know how to read exactly none of these dials

Were you super rich in high school? Or did you know someone who was? If not, you may have missed out on the monstrosity that was Steel Battalion.

Whereas some of the games on this list focused on action or story, Steel Battalion focused on simulation and realism. At the onset of every level, players had to go through a complex start-up sequence using the mandatory 40 BUTTON CONTROLLER. Failure to complete the necessary steps could result in overheating or inoperable weapon systems. 

This photo had to be taken from space…and then cropped way down

Early models of your VT–Vertical Tank–had small windows and plenty of blind spots. In order to survive, players had to immerse themselves in the world of ST. The game became less like most modern shooters, and more like real warfare. Which means boring stretches of nothing followed by intense and rapid action. It received a modest response at first, mostly due to the hefty $200 price tag, but has endured as a strong title for the original XBOX. 

We built them in case we were attacked by dinosaurs

As for the mechs themselves, they were nothing to snuff at. Standing roughly seven to fifteen meters tall, these mobile gun platforms could decimate enemy fortifications and turn infantry into mush. Armed with rockets, heavy machineguns and powerful cannons, the VTs owned the battlefield. 

But each of the three variants of VT had a serious limitation: they had to rely on dated technology. Using the same sort of computer systems that guide my own M1A1, these walking tanks had to contend with endless ground troops and platoons of armored monstrosities. While the developers erred on the side of realism, this did sacrifice some of the epic combat that other games deal out in spades.

Author: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor

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