Robot Combat League: A Brief History of Robot Brutality

The tradition of robot fighting is one that’s steeped in grease and loose screws, dating back as far as the 20th century. From Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, up through Syfy’s Robot Combat League, robots have been battling it out to determine who is the supreme machine. Let’s take a moment to look back at the evolution of robot brutality.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots are born 1964: Marx Toy Company releases the iconic robot boxing set by Marvin Glass and Associates, and the world is forever changed with children taking it to the robot ring to settle their beef. Kids in the 1960s had no idea at the time, but their plastic toys would later evolve into life-sized robot gladiators. Don’t expect that kind of awesome evolution to happen with Pokémon.


Robots finally start beating the sh*t out of each other 1990s-present: For most of the 20th century, robots were wasted on assembly lines and Japanese trade shows. It wasn’t until the 1990s that we finally realized the robots true purpose – battle. The BattleBot movement was one of the most successful robot fighting tournaments and spawned similar competitions all over the world. The three minute long matches involved small remote controlled robots armed with everything from buzzsaws, to sledgehammers and battle-axes going at each other in a cage match setting. Finally, MIT grads had a practical use for their engineering skills.


Robot Boxing Comes to television with Syfy’s Robot Combat League 2013: Rock’em Sock’em Robots got the ball rolling back in the 1960s, Battlebots showed that robots were capable of brutal destruction, and now, we’re finally getting the robot boxing we deserve! Robot Combat League truly is a real version of that Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel , only way better. Twelve teams of robo-jockeys and robo-techs are paired up to create 8-foot-tall metal gladiators that will battle to the death in the ring. Boxing and robot badassery? It’s a win-win if there ever was one.

Robot Combat League Competition Promo2013-02-21T21:13:12.000Z

One of the most fascinating aspects of the show is that the robots movments will be guided by a fighter wearing a state of the art exo-suit that translates their movements to the robot. The suits were created by robot expert, Mark Setrakian and are top of the line when it comes to robotic combat.

Robot Combat League premieres on Syfy Tuesday, February 26 at 10/9c. It’s sure to be a milestone in the sport of robotic fighting.