October 28, 1989: Birth of the Battle Bots [Geek History]

By Jason Fitzpatrick on October 28th, 2011

In the late 1980s something special happened in Denver. A group of Sci-Fi nerds and robotics enthusiasts said to themselves “You know what would be awesome? Fighting robots.” and the first Battle Bot arena was born.

Wired magazine shares an interesting look back at the first time robot enthusiasts pitted their creations against themselves. In 1989, at the MileHiCon, they changes the rules of engagement from merely showing off your robot to enrolling it in gladiatorial combat.

“This year, all of that will change radically and violently,” wrote event organizer Bill Llewellin in a pre-convention mailing. “The winner will be the last critter standing (rolling, crawling) on the field of combat.”

What he proposed was an event dubbed the Critter Crunch, in which competitors would face off on a folding table provided by the Executive Tower Inn. “Some potential entrants are discussing critters capable of significant mayhem,” warned the mailer. “So don’t get too attached to your entry.”

Years later we’d have Robot Wars and BattleBots, all inspires by the intervening decades of hobbyists toiling at home and continuing the tradition started at MileHiCon. Hit up the link below to read the full article at Wired for more fun history.

Oct. 28, 1989: Critter Crunch, Mother of All Robot Battles [Wired]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/28/11
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