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Feature: Top 11 - Machines in Video Games

Posted by Wayne Davies

Who is the ultimate mean machine?

Whether it's simple robots, controllable mechs or half-human cyborgs, machines have been one of the most popular go-to source for video games over the last 50 years. They make the perfect cannon fodder enemy, a great tool for destruction and of course, a fantastic outlet to answer philosophical questions.

So in the first of a regular feature, let's count down our Top 11 machines in video games. The only stipulation in this countdown is to exclude advanced AI computer systems such as President Eden from Fallout 3 and Portal's GLaDOS. This is for humanoids only.

So let's get started!

After a brutal attack leaves him near death, his entire body is "upgraded" with cybernetic augmentations to save his life. Though it's made clear that Adam "never asked for this", the player gets to decide if he embraces his new cyborg self, or condones himself as an abomination to humanity. Adam's transformation is similar to that of Robocop, who is referenced in a conversation between two officers at the police station. One officer talks about an old movie about a cop who dies and is revived as a cyborg. The other cop claims to have never heard of it and if the police officer is targeted, his name's revealed to be...Alex Murphy.

The dynamic duo of the Portal franchise were created by GLaDOS from a Personality Core and a Sentry Turret to be test subjects in the Cooperative Testing Initiative, previously uncompleted by human test subjects. Originally, series protagonist Chell and a new character called Mel were planned to be the characters to be used in the Portal 2 co-op mode. That concept was later scrapped for the more light-hearted Atlas and P-Body, whose design and personalities were inspired by the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.

If the Terminator and Ivan Drago had a love child, Jack would be it. This slaughtering military machine was developed by the former Soviet Union and was sent to get rid of Kazuya Mishima during the world coup d'état. Since then, Jack has been mass-produced and upgraded multiple times in the hope that one day the mission will be completed. In Tekken 6, Jack-6 could be customized to look like the T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

These big boys are the battle-horses of the interstellar war between Hammond Engineering and the Frontier Militia. Not only can the Titans be piloted, but are programmed with basic commands to either follow and protect their designated master, or set up a defensive posture and stand their ground no matter what. The default Titan, named The Atlas, is the only titan that has two points of entry: the front of the Titan that opens up, and a smaller hatch on top for boarding from above

This evil, violent and cold-hearted robot with a superiority complex not only resembles Sonic, but he can also mimic most of his moves. First appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Metal Sonic was created by Dr. Eggman and sent back in time to destroy Sonic in the past, so Dr. Eggman could rule the future. Metal Sonic is the second most recurring villain in the franchise, only behind Dr. Eggman himself, and is considered Sonic's first major rival.

After losing a fist fight with Solid Snake in a minefield, Gray Fox's blown-apart body was rebuild and encased in a cybernetic chassis. Resurrected as the Cyborg Ninja, Fox developed a yearning for death, only wanting one last fight with Solid Snake and to yet again die by his hand. The Cyborg Ninja character wasn't in the original concept for Metal Gear Solid, but when director Hideo Kojima saw designs by series artist Yoji Shinkawa, Kojima he decided to incorporate him into the storyline.

Built by Eli Vance to protect his daughter Alyx when she was just a child, this hulking beast of a robot not only made a great bodyguard, but was fun to play fetch with. Much like a real dog, he is very friendly, loyal, and has an excitable personality, even barking like a dog to convey basic emotion. Created by Marc Laidlaw, the creation of D0G was inspired by "classic movie robots," such as Robby the Robot.

The second bodyguard on our list is the caring, yet deadly protector of the Little Sisters. Originally created to serve as maintenance workers, these genetically enhanced humans were transformed into cyborgs when their skin and organs were grafted into a diving suit. Their foreboding and formidable figure, supported by their ghostly moans and heavy weaponry, make them and intimidating and very tough foe. Though there are multiple types of Big Daddy, the most iconic of them is The Bouncer, whose design is on the front cover and appears to have been inspired by a 1882 French Carmagnolle diving suit.

Arguably one the most iconic mechs in video games, REX is a pilot operated, nuclear equipped, walking battle tank, thats capable of firing a nuke anywhere in the world and deal with hostile infantry like the were ants. This walking behemoth can only be stopped is the Snake in your name. Rex was created by series artist Yoji Shinkawa, who used the famous Tyrannosaurs Rex as inspiration, not only in name, but design as well.

With a name inspired by the Russian AK-47 assault rifle, HK-47 is the ultimate trash talking assassin of the Star War universe. First appearing in Knights of the Old Republic, this blood lusted android clearly loves his work, contently sharing his murderous thoughts and calls everything in sight a "meatbag". After the release of Knights of the old Republic, HK-47 was dubbed one of the coolest and original characters of 2003 and since then he's gone on to achieve a cult following among star wars fans.

The only robot in our list that's actually real, the Robotic Operating Buddy was created by Nintendo as a novelty after the video game crash of 1983. He would function with video games by receiving optical commands via flashes in the screen, though only two games were ever supported. There will probably never be anything like R.O.B. ever again and he will go down in history as one of the cutest and pointless peripherals in gaming history.

Honorable Mentions:
Bomberman (Bomberman)
Glitch (Metal Arms: Glitch in the System)
Clank (Ratchet and Clank)
Yoshimitsu (Tekken)
Josef (Machinarium)

If you think we missed someone who should be included? Lets us know in the comments, along with your suggestion for future Top 11s

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User Comments (4)



Generik said:

I think this list is incomplete without Mother Brain from Metroid / Super Metroid. Otherwise a pretty good list!

btw... My next door neighbor had R.O.B. when the NES first came out. I don't recall the name of the game, seemed to have 'Gyro' in the title, but it was entirely complicated and unfun. Yet I was jealous to get the NES a few years later without the robot.. LMAO!



DRL said:

@Generik — Gyromite! I owned that and ROB when I was a kid — until I decided to dissect ROB because I didn't understand his purpose. I still get depressed when I think about it.

Remember that story, @JonWahlgren?

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