[Editor’s Note: This article was originally set to be published in Issue #3 of Furry N’ Fuzzy Magazine however the publication folded before release resulting in this article never being seen until its republication here.]
Space Jam, released 1996, is a “movie” of the “comedy” genr– okay you know what, I’m just gonna stop with the sarcastic air quotes in this article because this gag will get real old real fast. Space Jam is a movie, I guess, but it’s a “comedy” in the same way as World Trade Center is one too. Both films document a national tragedy although while World Trade Center is a re-enactment of said tragedy Space Jam is the tragedy in and of itself. When this film came out the Looney Tunes were fading from public view and needed a reboot; they were literally being used by Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network to pad dead air between the hours of 1am and 5am before Adult Swim was a thing.
Space Jam is a terrible movie with a terrible premise. A bunch of aliens from “Moron Mountain” inexplicably invade the Looney Tunes world to capture and enslave Bugs Bunny & Company because I guess if I was bored as hell I’d do the same thing; Bugs Bunny says he isn’t going to take any of this bullshit so he challenges the aliens to a game of basketball and then cheats by enlisting the talent of Michael Jordan to beat the aliens who in the meantime have in turn cheated by stealing the basketball-playing talent of Charles Barkley and four other players whose names I did not commit to memory. Yeah. That’s the entire movie.
The movie is “so bad it’s good” and the special effects are “so bad they’re horrifying”, seriously. Using the term “special effects” to describe the CGI of Space Jam is an insult to the art of computer modeling because Jurassic Park came out three years prior and that film’s effects are seamless even today. All Warner Bros had to do was put a cartoon rabbit on screen the same time as Michael Jordan and they screwed it up so badly that pressing the pause button at the wrong moments will trigger a land mine of nightmare fuel. Between shoddy CGI applied to Space Jam‘s physical actors and “transition frames” where characters demonstrate exaggerated anatomy I can’t decide which is worse, so I won’t. Instead I’ll just share with you my favorite awkward, terrifying, or downright bizarre stills and call it a day.
Also, Bugs Bunny is anthropomorphic. That’s my excuse for shoehorning this article into a furry publication.
1. The Most Hyped-Up the Name “Bugs Bunny” has Ever Been
The opening credits to Space Jam are over three minutes long, feature that song by Quad City DJ’s – you know, the “come on and SLAM” one – and are filled with enough archival footage of Michael Jordan that it counts as an episode of SportsCenter. Throughout all of this, however, I must stress that this is the most emphasis anyone has ever placed on the name “Bugs Bunny” in the history of time itself. Somewhere Mel Blanc isn’t just spinning in his grave, he’s exploded. The film’s title credits are what happens someone literally presses every button on the special effects board and rumor has it the guy who had to cut out the word “BUNNY” and slap it on a chain link fence put a bullet in his head afterward. If I had to describe the opening credits in as few words as possible I’d go with “the” and “nineties”. Bugs Bunny is billed second in the film’s title credits between Michael Jordan and Wayne “Nah-Ah-Ah You Didn’t Say the Magic Word” Knight. His voice actor (Billy West) isn’t even credited. Nobody has ever been this excited to see Bugs Bunny. No one.
2. The Existential Nightmare that is “The Space Jam”
I could try and provide the context of these screenshots but it wouldn’t really serve any purpose. Space Jam is a nightmare and while watching it you start to ask yourself a lot of deeply personal and introspective questions; things like “who am I”, “why am I here”, “where is that large automobile”, “where does that highway go to”, “am I right or am I wrong” – and sometimes you might even say to yourself “my god, what have I done?!” At some points in our lives every one of us is a Grateful Dead acid trip rabbit superimposed on a white background or a basketball-playing alien presented in the stark contrast of two tones while in the middle of a slam dunk. When that happens it’s important that we look inside of ourselves for the answers to our troubling questions and, if that fails, there’s always the tranquility that comes with listening to an Enya album while binging on ice cream.
3. The Unintentional and Impossible to Explain Pornography
Looney Tunes have always been slightly “edgy” with toilet humor especially when the series was brought up to speed to appeal to kids in the 1990’s. Also, there were tons of jokes for “mom and dad” throughout the history of the animated shorts. I could try to explain what’s happening in each of these scenes but it’s no use. Sure, that might be Bugs Bunny trying to kiss someone but it really kind of looks like a butthole and in the very next image Bugs Bunny’s ass is literally exploding while one of the “Monstars” (yeah that’s what those horrid things are called) shows off his freeballin’ lifestyle and flaunts his ghetto booty. I could sit here for forty-five minutes explaining that last one too you and it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day someone had to sit down and draw that and they were paid to do so.
4. The Horrifying Monster Known As “CGI Michael Jordan”
Steven Spielberg was able to not just put a damn Tyrannosaurus on the silver screen he also made Jeff Goldblum act. You’re telling me that a handful of people whose professional titles include the word “animator” can’t apply CGI to someone without making them look like an episode of Reboot rendered in 240p? Every single time Michael Jordan’s CGI counterpart shows up on the screen it looks like a deleted clip from the music video to Black Hole Sun. The scene where the Monstars bend Michael Jordan into a ball and throw him around the court is the 20 most unsettling seconds in film history. It makes Old Yeller look like Tommy Boy and don’t even get me started on the scene where Michael Jordan gets sucked into a golf hole or stretches his arm out a mile and a half to make a game-winning dunk. Oh, did I spoil Space Jam for you? Good.
5. No, Really, The Unintentional and Impossible to Explain Pornography
So let’s get back to talking about my favorite thing in Space Jam: all the scenes that look like something promiscuous, like the part when the Monstars go to steal basketball talent but instead just look like The Invisible Man jacking off at a Suns game. I’m serious, that’s the entire gag – the lady in the still literally says “the guy next to us is doing something weird in his raincoat”. That’s the whole joke. Moving forward I’ve included the “foot inflation” image pre-emptively because while I’m not completely certain this is a fetish I fancy myself a gambling man and am putting up $50 that this exists as a searchable tag on e621. One thing I do know there’s a market for is butt crushing and self-rimming of which Space Jam has plenty of. Apparently Daffy Duck’s duckhole is shaped like the Warner Bros logo, who would’ve guessed?
6. The Scene Where Wayne Knight Walks in on Michael Jordan Masturbating
If you want an explanation for this scene you can send your inquiry to [email protected]
7. The Invention of Wayne Knight Inflatophilia Fetishism
Look, I’m not going to come in here and tell people what you can and cannot paw off to. Wayne Knight tried to do that to Michael Jordan in the previous entry in this article and you wanna know how that turned out? Michael Jordan got sucked into Looney Tunes land so he could bang that girl rabbit. You can be into whatever you damn well please but don’t tell me you can look at this gratuitous inflation scene and not revile in fear. This is an inflation scene with Wayne Knight. The first time I saw this I wanted to kill myself. This scene stole a part of my soul that I will never get back. When I die and go to Hell (because let’s face it we’re all going there) my eternity in pain will be watching this scene over and over again. There is nothing funny about this at all. People jerk off to this. I hate everything now. Let’s just go back and talk about unintentional pornography.
8. All the Unintentional Pornography I’ve Forgotten to Mention
I’m sorry. I really don’t know how we’ve made it all the way down to point #8 on this list without bringing up all the frames where it looks like something raunchy is going on. That’s a mybad and I feel like I should apologize for my neglect of journalistic integrity. To make up for it, here’s a naked fat guy and a babyfur, two upstanding citizens who took time out of their busy schedules of being in someone else’s nightmare to make it to The Space Jam. If that’s not enough for you the opposite end of the spectrum is covered as well with Bugs Bunny getting in on that musclefur action in a scene where his body literally looks like a bag of marshmallows being microwaved. Finally, I’d like to also introduce you to a still very near and dear to my heart that introduces the concept of “spacejamming” into the world. Spacejamming, for the uninitiated, is what happens when a condom breaks. That term isn’t on Urban Dictionary yet, but you can make it happen.
9. The Locker Room Money Shot Compilation
There’s this whole scene in the film where the Tune Squad get all butthurt that they’re all just a bunch of washed up cartoon has-beens and the Monstars are kicking their asses because of being on the juice. They mope around for like five minutes feeling sorry for themselves until Bugs Bunny discovers the secret to getting people hyped up for sports: blowjobs. Each of the Looney Tunes take turns taking a load in the mouth and then start fighting over who gets it next and in this scene we discover that Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd are pretty much traced from the same exact models because the animators recycle a motion loop between the two characters immediately after it’s used the first time. There’s this whole sub-gag where Wayne Knight doesn’t get any action because the cartoons play keep away with the bottle and you can really see the latent homosexuality of his character come out when he stares at that dog gargling cum. Yiffy!
10. The Scene Where Lola Bunny Tries to Say “Bugs”
Fine. Here’s a scene where it doesn’t look like a character is touching themselves or touching someone else or negotiating their anatomy to make it look like they have questionable genitals. Here’s one of the most popular stills from this stupid movie where Lola Bunny (that’s her name, glad we’re getting to it all the way at the end of this article) imitates Bugs Bunny dropping his spaghetti and introducing himself in a voice that sounds like a wet fart. It wouldn’t be a proper still for this article if there wasn’t something remotely sexual in it so to fill this hole we have Bugs undressing her with his eyes and in the process starting up an entire subculture of people who drawn terrible fanart/porn of this character because this was Lola Bunny’s debut movie. Excuse me, I’m going to go vomit now. You can finish the rest of the article without me.
11. The First Interracial Gay Kiss in Cinema History
I’ve ragged on this movie for 2,000+ words if you can believe that. I’ve sat here and written an entire article about how stupid this movie is and I’ve gone through the trouble of watching it at a quarter speed to find all these dumb animation frames to make fun of and you’ve actually read it. Or maybe you just skimmed it and looked at the pictures and then searched for “foot inflation” on e621. I don’t care, I’m getting paid either way and by “getting paid” I mean the complete opposite of that. For what it’s worth, as bad of a movie as Space Jam is, it actually gave the world the first interracial – nay, interspecies – gay kiss in film history. You can take your “rosebud” and your “here’s lookin’ at you kid” quotes and shove them up your Warner Bros-shaped ass because when it comes right down to it Space Jam has done more to progress acceptance of same-sex man-rabbit relations than any other movie in history.
Thanks, Space Jam. Thanks.
I write about BattleBots and robot combat pretty often. I can’t help it, the motorsport is one of my favorite things on the planet and mark my words this will become a staple of this new site. Back when I wrote for RFSHQ I spearheaded a column called “BattleBots Update” that ran for two seasons and I even provided coverage for the RoboGames TV special that was on Science Channel a few years ago. One of these days I’ll write something about Robot Wars or Robotica but until then here’s some more nonsense about something from my past that I give way too much of a shit about. Keeping in line with my enjoyment of awful things I’ve always been more tickled by robots that sucked rather than ones that won championships. I get it, the robot that cost $10,000 to build is going to win because it has armor made of space polymers and shoots laser beams, whatever. I’m more impressed by the bots that some guy slapped together in his garage from a scrap lawnmower and was blown up after a single hit.
I set out to find the absolute worst robots in BattleBots history. A couple years ago I wrote a piece about the most one-sided fights of all time but even the losers of those matches were still “decent” robots. The Missing Link, Super Chiabot, Trimangle, and even The Wacky Compass all had to actually beat opponents to make it to the televised rounds of the event. I won’t try to deny the fact that they were all pretty stupid designs but on the other hand they weren’t the “worst” robots to enter the arena, not by a long shot. I wanted to dig up some robots that never won a single fight ever. These are bots that really sucked; the ones that entered the arena, some multiple times, and lost every single time.
Before this article fully begins I’d like to give mad props to Badnik96, AlexGRFan97, Madlooney6, and the rest of the staff of the BattleBots Wiki for their relentless work in amassing photos and data that has helped make this article possible. If you’re a fan of BattleBots their work is absolutely worth your time to check out (and contribute to).
The ten robots that follow all have win/loss records (in BattleBots) that begin with the number zero. They are:
Prompt Critical was a Super Heavyweight robot whose elusiveness piqued my interest back in the year 2000 when it was mentioned off hand and given about five seconds of screen time as Bil Dwyer stated that it had lost to Mechadon. A quick clip of Prompt Critical was shown with its bizarre weapon spinning and flailing about and that’s all I ever saw of the robot for 14 years. Mechadon, for those who aren’t familiar with the sport, was essentially a giant 470+ pound six-legged walking crab monster with no active weapon other than its stomping claws. How someone loses to Mechadon has always intrigued me since the robot, while terrifying, might as well have been named “Automatic Points”. Prompt Critical managed to lose to Mechadon by a knock out. It has bothered me for far too long to see just how the hell this robot operated.
It was brought to my attention that Team Mutant Robots (more on them later) put their archive of fight videos on their website one of which being the Season 1.0 Super Heavyweight rumble featuring Prompt Critical. I was floored. After over a decade the mystery would finally be solved. I finally got to see a decent shot of Prompt Critical since the robot was absent for its official BattleBots photo and the only pictures I could find were from a bad angle. Behold, the glory that was Prompt Critical:
Was it worth the wait? Does the mystery of the robot live up to the version I cooked up in my head all those years ago? Hell fucking yes. That is a robot whose lid appears to be made out of a piece of plywood and the top to a portable barbecue bit that’s been spray painted black. It’s weapon, if you can even call it that, is what looks like an off-set hammer mounted on a spinning platter attached to yet another piece of plywood. I can’t identify what Prompt Critical’s drive components are but I’m willing to bet whatever it is touched a trash can at some point in time before ending up on that thing. Absolutely no part of that robot looks like it would last even if it were fighting a bunch of Lightweights and yet here is Prompt Critical toting what looks to be an upside down wheelbarrow in a rumble full of saw blades, spring-loaded hammers, spinning body shells, pneumatic spikes, hydraulic jaws, and ramming devices.
The BattleBots Wiki describes Prompt Critical’s loss to Mechadon as “self destruction” and honestly I’ll buy that. The robot’s weapon wasn’t centered or balanced properly and when Diesector shoved the robot into the arena wall during the rumble the top of its chassis came off and the robot was knocked out. The fact that the builders of Prompt Critical even managed to find 300+ pounds’ worth of crap to hide under their trash can lid of a robot is what surprises me the most here.
Much like Prompt Critical, Drill-O-Dillo was another Super Heavyweight whose appearance eluded me for far too long. It too failed to show up when the BattleBots photographers were taking the official pictures of all the robots competing in the show’s second season and the only photograph I could find from Team Nightmare’s website suspiciously showed the robot with its wheels precariously balanced atop what was quite obviously not a functional piece of machinery. Drill-O-Dillo’s weapon was clearly a spinning rock chisel thing. A drill, hence the name. Normally this would be funny but it wasn’t because the pun was bad and you’d have to be an idiot to bring a rock drill into an event where there are absolutely no rocks.
Drill-O-Dillo was drawn to fight Gray Matter, a robot you may recall from the rumble with Prompt Critical. Gray Matter was the robot with the monster truck wheels and giant spike that proceeded to run over everyone. Under most circumstances I would make fun of Gray Matter because you’d have to be stupid to enter the Super Heavyweight category with what amounted to a spike with wheels; you’re outclassed in every single instance, hell even Drill-O-Dillo here has better weaponry. Gray Matter’s spike was different however. In Season 1.0 Gray Matter took that spike, shoved it right up the ass of Minion (the reigning champion), and blew Minion’s cutting saw to pieces in one of the most spectacular highlights of the season. Remember, Drill-O-Dillo was missing its wheels in the only photo of it that I could find. Something did not add up.
Gray Matter’s spike managed to go all the way through one of Drill-O-Dillo’s wheels. The spike entered the robot and as Gray Matter kicked it into reverse gear Drill-O-Dillo’s wheel and the entire fucking drive axle of the robot came out with it. With no axle to rest upon, the other wheel just kinda fell off and that’s why Drill-O-Dillo was only ever seen without its tires. I don’t know if that’s because Drill-O-Dillo was simply an exceptional piece of crap or if it has something to do with Gray Matter’s spike and dark forces. Whatever the reason, Drill-O-Dillo managed to lose its entire drive system in a single hit and featured a weapon that probably would’ve sucked against even Prompt Critical.
I’ve taken it upon myself to salvage the original clips of this fight from the long-defunct BattleBots.com website and I’ve assembled them into a short video that you can download to see this ass-kicking for yourself: CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.
A couple entries ago I mentioned that Team Mutant Robots had done me a solid by providing video proof that Prompt Critical was as much of a piece of crap as I imagined it to be. Their creations aren’t exempt from the title “Worst BattleBot Ever” however, even if Diesector eventually won two BattleBots championships. That header image up above doesn’t say “Diesector” anyways, does it? No, this is an entry about Root Canal, a Middleweight robot from Mutant Robots that showed up to two BattleBots events and lost both times.
Root Canal was a robot whose design is best explained in the context of when it was actually created. Root Canal featured what’s known as “omni-directional” wheels meaning that while pretty much all robots can drive forward, backward, and turn left and right Root Canal was able to drive whatever the hell direction it wanted to. Like sideways. The robot was meant to be super mobile and maneuverable so that it could bring its cutting disc in for some serious damage. That’s fine and dandy and all but the bigger issue here is that the robot didn’t actually work. Onmi-directional wheels were a gimmick that a lot of “advanced” builders tried out and in no case that I can think of did it work out. Team Whyachi (of Son of Whyachi fame) even tried out the whole “drive sideways” thing with Y-Pout and that robot didn’t make the list simply because one robot with a stupid drive system was enough.
The problem with Root Canal is that it was too fragile. See that ridiculously simplistic wedge up there? That’s Cuad the Annihilator. It beat Root Canal in its debut fight by doing nothing more than slamming it into the wall which broke Root Canal and disabled it. Cuad was a robot with exactly two moving parts and I’ll let you guess as to what they were and the robot was so simplistically and/or poorly designed that there’s a gaudy hunk of metal sticking out into the wedge to keep the robot from doing a wheelie when it accelerated. Root Canal was more or less an expensive jewelry box and in its second fight against Whirlwind — a simple thwack bot — Root Canal was hit a grand total of one time and one of its precious omni wheels blew up and scattered little beads and pieces everywhere. Whirlwind then proceeded to dent in the side of Root Canal which further crippled its drivetrain.
Root Canal’s builder said he drew inspiration from the video game Quake when he designed Root Canal. Specifically, he could not play Quake without strafing side to side and wanted to capture this movement in a robot and apply it to a sport where that method of driving has clearly led his robot to an infinite number of victories. Look, just because you saw it in a video game doesn’t mean it’s going to work in real life that’s why there aren’t any BattleBots that can play a fucking ocarina.
Some of you might be quick to cry foul and claim that Root Canal actually took second place at a recent BattleBots event. Three things about that:
- That was Root Canal rebuilt as a Heavyweight.
- It was not a “classic” BattleBots event.
- The robot wasn’t using stupid-ass omni-wheels.
It goes without saying that Green Dragon did not make it to the televised one-on-one rounds of BattleBots, that’s a given. It did make a brief appearance in the Season 2.0 Lightweight rumble and if memory serves me right it didn’t do much of anything. That was the main flaw of Green Dragon, really: not doing anything. Durability wasn’t a virtue the robot subscribed to either but we’ll get into that in just a bit. Green Dragon was a Lightweight competitor whose original design (the one pictured) boasted an incorrectly centered saw blade, two giant wheels, and a ridiculous dragon decal that makes even me cringe. Green Dragon’s second incarnation was simply a large trapezoid with the same saw blade embedded in one of the wedges. Both robots weren’t very good and both of them lost by KO but there’s a special kind of crappiness associated with the first dragon.
A lot of people make fun of the Scrap Daddy team and its robots without much rhyme or reason; they get a lot of flack because visually they were terrible and most them didn’t perform too well. I’ll give them that much. Spoiler alert, Scrap Daddy did not make this list because while the designs were pretty bad some of them actually won battles; Green Dragon was one of those battles. For all the rude remarks Scrap Daddy LW 55 received for being blown to bits by Ziggo in one of the greatest mismatches in BattleBots history here is a robot that Scrap Daddy was able to conquer. Here is a robot that’s worse than Scrap Daddy.
In Green Dragon’s only Season 2.0 battle it rammed into Scrap Daddy LW 55… and lost a whole tire. That’s right, the entire wheel just rolled off and hilariously enough made it all the way across the arena. If the video was still available on BattleBots.com I’d show it to you but unfortunately it’s not so instead just do your best to picture the robot above minus one wheel with said wheel idly coasting down the Battlebox by itself while Scrap Daddy LW 55 does that stupid waddle-driving thing it was known for. True, Green Dragon’s missing tire was not a direct result of anything Scrap Daddy LW 55 did and was more than likely a case of “what are set screws” but allow me to respond to that observation with a hypothetical question: How many tires did Scrap Daddy (any of them) lose because the builder forgot to put a fucking screw in one of them? That’s exactly what I thought.
There is nothing noteworthy about this Middleweight robot and I mean that in absolute terms. If you took the gaudy red spray painted name off the front of this robot and left it as a black wedge its name would magically change to “This Is Why There Are Untelevised Qualifying Rounds In BattleBots”. Psyche is the only robot in this list that did not have an active weapon and the only reason why this robot made the list and the other eight million weaponless wedges that never won didn’t is because Psyche was given a very special television demo against Evil Cheese Wedge, a robot operated by Bil Dwyer… the host of the show. Notice how I said “operated” and not “built”. Bil Dwyer didn’t build his robot, he can’t even build a goddamned joke. Comedy Central bought a trashy robot on eBay because another robot, Slap ‘Em Silly, was bought on eBay and that was apparently something worth making fun of at the time. Comedy Central, ladies and gentlemen.
Also, why the hell am I talking about Evil Cheese Wedge? This entry is about Psyche. In its only televised match Psyche was inexplicably driven by Gary Coleman. No, I’m fucking serious. Look:
The phrase “Bil Dwyer you’re going down” became somewhat of an in-joke in the robot combat community after this fight aired. For some reason, and I don’t know why, Gary Coleman was sent to BattleBots by UGO Networks (some random Gen X-pandering web company) to hang out with Team Nightmare and namedrop UGO in post-fight interviews. No, I can’t explain that. I have no idea what UGO even produced and furthermore I have no idea why Gary Coleman was chosen to go dick around on BattleBots of all things. Maybe he was going to be late on rent that month and needed some quick cash?
Psyche was inexplicably retconned to “Infectious Tattoo” in its demo fight where it was promptly knocked out near the Pulverizer. Either that or no one turned Psyche’s remote on before handing it to Gary Coleman. Rather than count out Psyche the officials let the fight continue because I guess having a D-list celebrity standing around holding a radio transmitter while laughing passed for “good television” in the early 00’s. Why they chose to give Gary Coleman this particular robot has bothered me for a very long time. Why did they give him Psyche? Why not literally any other Middleweight robot? Evil Cheese Wedge had enough ground clearance to park a truck under so I guess the goal here was to pick a shitty robot that made it look good by proxy? If that’s the case why Psyche and not some gimmicky robot that didn’t look like a doorstop?
RACC (Robot Action Combat Cluster) was a Lightweight multi-bot that competed in the Long Beach 1999 BattleBots event. Normally multi-bots are pretty ineffective but when you’re dealing with the Lightweight division the entrants are already fairly small and compact so there isn’t much lost in the way of power when you essentially split a bot in two. RACC was a pre-TV era robot built partially by Will Wright, the guy who created SimCity. The red thing on the right, when separate from RACC, was named “X11” and was a robot based upon a Middleweight champion from the original Robot Wars. If the gray blob on the left had a name it has long since been lost to time and the thing in the middle was known as “EEP” or “Emergency Escape Pod”. Yeah, whereas most multi-bots consisted of two machines RACC dared to make it three.
The reason for the EEP’s existence, other than to continue the Robot Action League’s apparent obsession with acronyms, was a safeguard against being counted out of a fight in the event that one of the two main parts of RACC became incapacitated; the EEP would be deployed so that only 33% of the robot would be considered “knocked out” rather than the necessary 50% for the robot to be counted out. There was a lot of ingenuity that went behind RACC which is why I can’t understand how it never managed to win a single fight.
Well, that might have something to do with it. Apparently even with all the zeal of having two robots fight at the same time, one of them armed with a whirling death blade and the other featuring the ability to fart out a minibot, RACC was unable to impress the crowd that attended the Long Beach 1999 event and lost by two “audience” decisions. It was a different time back then. The robot in the photo above letting X11 get some sweet air is known as The Crusher and if that screenshot is anything to go by the rest of that fight probably unfolded with RACC being thrown around. Its other loss is a little more pragmatic, however: Spike of Doom. Just what was “Spike of Doom”?
Another damn multi-bot.
Spike of Doom consisted of a silver bulldozer ramp (Wedge of Doom) and a two-wheeled clamping machine with its internals exposed (Spike). Spike of Doom didn’t feature fancy paintjobs, an “EEP”, or even active weapons for that matter and yet it still beat RACC. Look, when your fight consists of what is essentially a miniature rumble with five robots and you’re unable to beat opponents who are using the same exact gimmick as you and you can’t entertain the crowd enough to win an audience decision I… honestly I don’t have a snarky comment to say to that because that’s just utter failure. I guess the only way you could do worse is to take a ladybug sandbox and put wheels on it an- oh wait.
Rim Tin Tin was a Lightweight I wanted to like. Every time it showed up in the tournament I expected it to at least beat someone, if that’ll help clarify what I meant in that first sentence. Rim Tin Tin changed its appearance over the course of the four BattleBots events it was brought to but for the most part the “core” of the robot stayed the same each time: a robot built inside of a tire rim armed with a lifting device of some sort. Everything about Rim Tin Tin at least made for a “decent” robot. Rim Tin Tin had a name whose punny reference was just dated enough to be amusing, its weapon wasn’t the worst piece of crap brought into the tournament, and it was an admittedly original design that I would argue photographed nicely. What I’m trying to say is that there’s no chance in hell Rim Tin Tin would’ve stood up to Backlash or Ziggo for longer than twenty seconds but it would have at least been able to beat the other Lightweights in this article and yet it didn’t.
I don’t like dogs, and even moreso I don’t like dog actors, but Rim Tin Tin was neither a dog nor a dog actor, just named after one. It was a robot built inside of a car tire and adorned with stupid decals and a questionable paint job. In the robot’s maiden voyage against Rampage it almost won. Rampage abruptly stopped moving and began to smoke which would have been great for Rim Tin Tin had it not also spontaneously blown up and quit moving just moments prior. Rim Tin Tin is also special in that, not counting Psyche because its “fight” was a demo, it is the only robot in this list to have one of its many losses televised. In Season 3.0 a newly rebuilt Rim Tin Tin squared off against Hammerhead (a rambot) and managed to perform fairly well. “Fairly well” in this case means it didn’t just drop dead in the middle of the arena like last time. Then, without provocation, the piston hazard in the arena went all “you’re doing too well in this fight time to change that” and up-ended the tiny robot giving a victory to Hammerhead.
Between BattleBots’ third and fourth seasons Rim Tin Tin was completely rebuilt, armed with a larger lifting device, painted jet black… and then promptly lost two more times. The first loss came to Whirligig which was essentially a thwackbot and the only way to actually lose to a thwackbot is to self-immolate or do whatever Rim Tin Tin did to end up losing this match by a judges’ decision. Speaking of judges’ decisions, Rim Tin Tin lost its final match to Paladin in the fifth season with a 42-3 result. Rim Tin Tin managed to score three whole points. I’ve never seen the fight and a video of it doesn’t exist online but I’m willing to bet those three points were pity points awarded just for showing up and having the balls to enter the arena with a robot that clearly wasn’t cut out for the sport.
Oh no it’s Blendo, Jamie “MythBuster” Hyneman’s Heavyweight robot that was so destructive in the 1995 and 1997 Robot Wars tournaments that the event officials forced it to forfeit because it was a safety hazard. “Why, Dracophile?” You might ask. “Why put Blendo in your list of the worst BattleBots of all time, and at number THREE to boot?” Yeah, Blendo might have received some special awards for being so destructive in Robot Wars that it posed a safety hazard to the audience and it also might’ve been one of the BattleBots that received official merchandising but that doesn’t exactly address the issue of Blendo itself being a giant spinning turd in the arena.
As amazing and as talented of an engineer as Jamie Hyneman is, Blendo sadly is obsoletion realized. Full body spinners have the potential to be absolutely devastating machines but like any other breed of robot they have to “evolve” with the sport or die. Blendo died. As early as the Long Beach 1999 BattleBots event Blendo was immediately trumped by Punjar, a robot that it had delivered a one-hit knock out to in Robot Wars just two years prior. Punjar topped Blendo a second time in an off-the-record grudge match at a later BattleBots event as well. Punjar evolved, Blendo didn’t.
Blendo’s spinning dome required an electric power drill to start its gasoline engine. There’s nothing wrong with “dirty” engineering (gasoline engines, hydraulics, etc) in a sport that’s largely comprised of electric parts but there is a pretty glaring problem with designs that, when hit too hard, can spontaneously stop working and subsequently be impossible to get running again. Spoiler alert, that’s what happened to Blendo while fighting Gold Digger — a Heavyweight thwackbot. Middleweight is where I draw the line for robots that amount to a sledgehammer and two goddamned wheels so I have and will relentlessly make fun of thwackbots in the upper weight classes. I considered putting Gold Digger on this list because of how much I hate it but oh wait Gold Digger didn’t lose every fight it was in because Blendo fucking showed up and ruined goddamned everything.
How about the MythBusters all get together to test the myth that Blendo can actually win a fight? My money’s on “no” so at least we’ll get to see them blow the robot up at the end of the episode.
This might seem like a cheap entry in the list but honestly it wouldn’t truly be a “Dracophile list” if I didn’t find some way to shoehorn in a multi entry under some stupid reason. For Team Black Ops Six it just so happens I have said reason. With more combined losses than any single robot in this list (even the yet to be revealed #1 robot) Team Black Ops Six infiltrates the second place spot on this list bringing them and their robots closer to victory than they’ve ever been but still falling just short. Across all four of this team’s fantastic robots they have four losses by knock out, one loss by a judges’ decision that was nowhere near close, one loss by forfeit, and finally one loss by what Team Nightmare considers a “TKO”. There doesn’t appear to be an official BattleBots declaration of what actually constitutes a “technical knock out” but by looking up the televised fights that Team Nightmare has noted as such it appears to be a KO loss where the robot in question knocks itself out. So, yeah. Team Black Ops Six also has one of those losses under their belt. They have at least one loss of every single type there is in BattleBots, what an amazing team.
The question now is what exactly did their robots look like? Well, they had four of them: AWOL, MIA, Black Ops, and Prototype 4. Each robot was entered into one of the four weight classes in BattleBots but not all four robots competed at the same events at the same time, they were spread out so their shittiness could be truly savored. Real quick, here’s a breakdown of the bots in the event that clicking additional hyperlinks is too much work for you. AWOL was a Lightweight thwackbot (I think) that had a rotary saw blade on a stick. MIA was a Middleweight wedge and that’s it. Black Ops was a Heavyweight thwackbot and as such is now the object of the most derision in this article because I was unable to include Gold Digger as a Heavyweight thwackbot in this list. Finally, Prototype-4 was a Super Heavyweight robot that had what appeared to be a spinning drill of some sort but looked more like the handle-end of a corkscrew. Since this entry in the list is about the team itself, here they are posing with AWOL:
Look at these fucking jokers. There are literally an infinite number of Call of Duty MLG jokes I can make about these asshats. Since the idiot culture surrounding Call of Duty wasn’t a thing back when this photo was taken there’s a possibility that the builders are actual soldiers and if that’s the case then I would feel pretty badly about making fun of servicemen but I’m banking on the notion that their whole Army getup was just a charade and they sincerely thought and believed they were badasses carrying around airsoft guns in the pits. As mentioned, that’s AWOL they’re posing with. AWOL was a thwack bot and two of its three losses were by KO. It’s third loss was a judges’ decision against another thwackbot-esque machine, Locomotion. Holy shit. If you have a thwackbot and it loses to another thwackbot then Bil Dwyer is allowed to come to your house and personally kick you in the dick. It’s in the BattleBots rules, I swear.
Four of Team Black Ops Six’s seven losses were by knock out. All of their robots were invertible meaning that none of them could’ve possibly lost by being flipped over; I’m led to believe that they were simply outclassed in every single possible scenario. By the official count there was a grand total of exactly one fight where one of their robots was still moving when the match ended. The knock out losses are funny and all but I’m more intrigued by the “TKO” that Prototype 4 managed to finagle. The robot was a tire with a tiny spinning drill. I really want to know how it self destructed but I’m guessing this will be my new “Prompt Critical” and I won’t find out for another 14 years.
I’m pleased to say that the robot seated at number one in this list has literally not driven more than the length of the Battlebox in the four “fights” it’s been in. Abbatoir was built by Team Wetware whose family of robots within BattleBots has an impressive twelve losses under their belt, half of them by forfeit. The only reason why Team Black Ops Six made it into this list as a team entry and not Team Wetware is because Wetware’s record is actually 1-12 and that single solitary win made them ineligible for this list. In fact the robot with that single victory, Mr. Bonestripper, almost took this very spot because it has a staggering six losses (four of them by forfeit) but unfortunately it actually managed to beat someone so Mr. Bonestripper gets to skate away from the firing range with exactly one BattleBots “WINNER” medallion. Abbatoir is a close second however and even though it only has one forfeit loss its story more than makes up for it.
So the thing is I don’t actually know what the fuck Abbatoir’s problem was. Compounding that, I don’t even know what Team Wetware’s problem was. Generally speaking you’re supposed to bring a working robot to BattleBots because a robot that is able to move is kind of integral to the the sport. There is a term used to describe robots that don’t move, it’s called “knocked out”. Speaking of, two of Abbatoir’s losses were by knock out. Against Ricon all that literally happened was Ricon rammed into Abbatoir before it even started moving and broke it. Abbatoir proceeded to drive into the middle of the arena and caught fire. That actually happened. Abbatoir’s arena introduction stated the robot was ranked number eight. Out of how many robots, four? How did Abbatoir get ranked in the first place? Was there an event official giving out ranks to everyone who said “what” and Abbatoir’s driver wasn’t paying attention?
Against Rammstein the robot lost by a quick KO however according to the report on Team Loki’s official website Abbatoir tapped out before Rammstein could line up the coup de grace blow. Does that mean one of those “knock out” losses was actually a forfeit?
Abbatoir has lost twice by forfeit and once by a KO where the robot essentially barely left its starting square. Seriously, its weapon wasn’t even able to make more than one rotation before Ricon broke the goddamned thing. Abbatoir’s best loss had to have been in BattleBots’ second season where, against Kenny’s Revenge, Abbatoir lost in a 44-1 decision. Alright, I made fun of Rim Tin Tin up there for losing 42-3 but Jesus fucking Christ Team Wetware, ONE POINT?! How do you even get one point in a fight? No, really. How the fuck do you manage to only get one point in a BattleBots fight? Each of the judges have 15 points to give out and in this given scenario apparently Abbatoir was given one point for “strategy”. I realize the opportunity for this has come and gone but whoever gave Abbatoir that point needed to be fired on the spot. In its fight against Kenny’s Revenge the robot literally drove straight into its opponent’s weaponry, backed up over the arena saw blades, and then stopped working. At no point in this fight did Abbatoir’s weapon even begin to spin.
The most hilarious thing about this whole stupid ordeal is that after Abbatoir’s loss to Kenny’s Revenge it disappeared for two whole seasons only to return in Season 5.0… and forfeit.
I know building a BattleBot takes a lot of time and money and effort and that’s why Abbatoir is actually one of my favorite robots in the sport. I’ve gone through the trouble of digging through all of my BattleBots archives (with the help of the curators of the BattleBots Wiki) to bring you this montage of Abbatoir’s finest moments presented in the classiest way possible:
“NO!!!” You exclaim.
“NO, GOD, PLEASE NO! HAVE MERCY!! I HAVE A WIFE AND KIDS!!!” You continue, lying about the last part.
Your cries fall on deaf ears. You will not see mercy tonight. Your favorite television show ends and after the credits scroll you witness the face of Satan in it’s purest form:
You cannot escape. The synth chords reverberate against every fold of your brain, the blank screen stares directly into your very soul, and then “it” comes. The V. It approaches, slowly, but gradually picking up its pace. A strange smell fills the room; you have soiled yourself once again, just like all the other times. Will tonight be the night the V breaks free of the constraints of your television and drags you down to hell with it? A hell full of hollow DMCA violation notices and shitty reality TV shows? No. The V disappears. Tonight is not your night. But tomorrow might be.
If the above excerpt caused you to run in fear while the crotch of your pants adopted a suspiciously darker color then this isn’t the article for you and you should turn back now lest you avoid adding some #2 to go with that #1. However, if you find it hilarious and absurd that it’s possible for someone to be afraid of a television logo then look no further, you’ve come to the right place. “Telelogophobia”, as it’s called, is a fear of TV production logos. Yes, this exists, and more than likely “telelogophilia” does as well.
The website CLG Wiki is a place where “logo enthusiasts” can gather and talk about the finer points of everything you and I fast forwarded through on VHS tapes in the 80’s and 90’s. While strange, it’s to be expected I guess. The real kicker, however, is they frequently use their forum to talk about logos they seem to be genuinely afraid of. The result? A meticulous (and hilarious) break down, usually second-by-second, of every terrifying logo along with horrendously stupid nicknames for all of them (that they actually use in idle conversation) plus a “Scariness” rating.
I’m still being 100% serious here. Here’s a beginner’s guide to terrifying TV logos.
In 2010 GatorAIDS’ editor-in-chief Dracophile was billed for a stand-up show at an anime convention. In it he performed as his alter ego and approached the show with the intentions to be as unsettling and unrelatable as possible. One of the first things he said to his audience was, “Was anybody else scared of the ending credits to Rugrats? Nobody?” I’d link you to it on YouTube but it appears to have been deleted so you’ll have to just take my word for it. I reference this performance because something as obscure and non-threatening as the credits to Rugrats couldn’t possibly scare anybody. Just as Dracophile assumed this was something he said specifically to alienate the audience; there are more people out there who can relate to “white people be all _____ but black people be like _____” instead of “autistics _____”. Or so he thought.
Klasky-Csupo is an animation company headed by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, two people who apparently sell themselves on having names that piss off every single form of document spell checking ever created. They produced Rugrats. This was their logo:
oh god KLASKY BROWN NOTE jsdhfkjshffjhcs wak-wak
This video was uploaded by a guy on YouTube who calls himself YoshiLove5OOO. One can infer from his channel design, content, and selected username that this guy is probably 16 bits shy of a Super Nintendo. I wanted to learn more about the mysterious psyche of those who adore closing logos but I took one look at his testament to the bane of beginners’ HTML (his YouTube page) and decided it wasn’t worth attempting to read the page while mashing CTRL+A to let me see the text. I genuinely do not care. I received all the insight into YoshiLove’s mind with this comment he left on the Klasky-Csupo video:
How cute, YoshiLove thinks he’s an expert on establishing normality when he’s the one fawning over poorly animated television bumpers. This isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, this is the pot calling the kettle and all of Africa a nigger.
So why is this logo supposedly terrifying? Let’s consult the CLG Wiki for the lowdown:
Scare Factor: For the [animated version], high to nightmare, the bad animation and the face looking at us and smiling as if it accomplished something is an even more unsettling sight. The black background and unexpected transition from the credits to the logo is also another reason why this variant is scary. It can be decreased to medium for those who expected this.
CLG rates logo “scariness” on a scale including none, low, medium, high, and nightmare (occasionally with emphasis added). Supposedly Klasky-Csupo’s dadaist approach to animation along with the face smiling “as if it accomplished something” is what causes this logo to be scary. Yeah, its “accomplishment” factor. Leave it to a group of shut-ins who more than likely failed an elementary art class collage assignment to be afraid of something potentially signifying “accomplishment”.
Paramount Pictures is a name I’m sure you’re familiar with. They were “big” in the business of television and film before “big” had a chance to be defined. Tons of shows carried the Paramount name, and now most of them carry Viacom’s name instead since they bought out Paramount Pictures (we’ll have more on Viacom later). Much like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s iconic lion that was shown before their films Paramount became synonymous with their majestic mountain. What better way to celebrate it than with this fine logo:
Cue the dramatic chipmunk.
Whoa wait a second, what the fuck Paramount? What kind of game are you running here? Is that mountain about to stab me in the kidneys and rape me? Am I actually saying this logo is scary? No, but if you’re of the disposition of being frightened by a disembodied face with a robot voice saying “KLASKY-CSUPO” then you’d sure as hell be terrified of this fucking thing.
“Honey, we’ve got to get to our dinner reservation!”
“Okay,” you reply. “I’ll be right there just after the episode of Happy Days is ove- oh god honey get me some new slacks CODE BROWN CODE BROWN!!”
I don’t understand the irrational fear behind logos, but if you pointed to this thing and said “that, fucking that; I am scared shitless by that fucking mountain flying forward at me while the cut version of the goddamn Psycho strings play” I would look at you, then at the flying mountain, then finally back at you and explain that I understand exactly where you’re coming from. I would then take the soundbite from the logo and set it to a bunch of inappropriate things. What’s CLG’s take on this?
Scare Factor: [Low to medium.] The mountain drawing, the zoom, and the very dramatic fanfare can scare more than a few.
Really? Medium at best? Something with legitimately sudden and striking music and sudden moves — two things movie directors frequently incorporate into fucking horror films — passes as “medium” in the world of Closing Logos? For fuck’s sake the only reason these people are afraid of the aforementioned MGM lion is because “it’s a lion”. That’s the best they could come up with. It’s not even a lion in the same room as you, it’s in a TV. Not even a 3DTV. There is absolutely no illusion that the lion is coming toward you to rip your face off Siegfried & Roy style like the Paramount mountain is clearly trying to do. I bet these motherfuckers are also afraid of the lion cub from the “MGM Kids” line of movies. Oh wait, they are?
Well at least we know they aren’t furries. What’s next, are they going to say they’re afraid of something that looks like the Mona Lisa?
Fuck me, this is going to be the Mona Lisa, isn’t it? Because I called it?
The still above is a capture from the bumper to a production company known as Renaissance Pictures and is nicknamed by CLG as “The Evil Portrait of Death” demonstrating that they apparently hire kindergartners to assign witty nicknames to everything. Evil Portrait of Death, really? Really you guys? “Evil Portrait” and “Portrait of Death” are both names acceptable for this picture as well as Castlevania games. Combining the two doesn’t double the scariness, it just makes you look retarded. Speaking of retarded:
Okay, I think I get this one. These guys are afraid of women, right? I mean, because Renaissance Pictures produced both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, a couple of medieval-themed action series complete with all kinds of crazy sword fighting and horses and lightning and whatever pseudo-homoerotic scenarios both warriors landed themselves in. I think the company is well within their rights to use fucking lightning and era-appropriate artwork in their bumper probably because for the 59 minutes leading up to it you’re blasted with just that: loud noises, lightning, and women that kinda look like men.
Scare Factor: Nightmare due to the thunder, lightning, ripping/tearing animation FX, and the Tibetan monk chant soundbite. This logo is no doubt one of the scariest ever made. Especially the abridged and short versions.
Because as we all know Buddhist Tibetan monks are fucking scary, right? I mean, what with their matching robes, bald heads, and proclamations of peace and all; those assholes and their inhumanly deep voices sure are scary. Please. Apparently Mona “Lightning” Lisa is just as scary as our Klasky-Csupo robot friend from the beginning of this article. What do these have in common? A face. It’s a well known fact people with Asperger’s can’t read social cues. I call bullshit.
If Klasky-Csupo was the first part of this whole “face” charade then that makes Renaissance Pictures part 2 and the Oz Film Company the equivalent of The Return of the King. Unless you’re incredibly well versed in contemporary American literature you may not be familiar with the Oz Film Company, and you sure as hell have never seen a movie by them; I can almost guarantee that. The Oz Film Company was a short-lived film studio that existed from 1914-1915 solely for the purpose of making Oz movies (if you couldn’t infer that from their fucking name). They didn’t have a logo, probably because they weren’t around long enough for anyone to realize “oh shit we’re missing a logo you guys” so their films were introduced with a woman nicknamed “Lady Ozma”:
Jesus Christ look at that bling!
I’ll give CLG the benefit of the doubt, there’s a certain eeriness to this “logo” but it isn’t because this is a scary logo due to some wacky animations or suspenseful sting music. It’s because Lady Ozma, and every single person who ever originally saw this logo in a theater, is dead. The Oz Film Company was created almost one hundred fucking years ago; everybody involved with it and everybody who’s ever seen it is 100% irrefutably dead, and if they somehow aren’t dead then they’ve got to be coffin shopping right about now. It also doesn’t help that Lady Ozma is a dead (hah) ringer for a female Aphex Twin.
Oh right, CLG Wiki probably has something to say about this logo, don’t they?
Scare Factor: Medium to nightmare; the rather cold, lifeless stare of the woman may freak some people out, especially the “close-up” variant, where it’s “in your face” style.
What is it? I’m not going to bother looking. Is it more about faces? Knew it. Apparently any face = nightmare fuel to these people because bellowing lions and screeching mountains are only worth 1 Terror Point on their sliding scale of idiocy.
I’ve made the conclusion that every goddamn logo that involves a face is somehow nightmare material to these people, therefore I’m done showing anything with a face or anything that even remotely resembles one. On that note, here’s a bunch of spinning diamonds courtesy of ITC Entertainment Group. ITC was a British television production company Americans might be familiar with due to the fact that they produced movies like The Last Unicorn and The Dark Crystal (and The Muppet Show TV series). Their production bumper was this monstrosity that looks like something from a shitty (but color) Vectrex game:
WELCOME TO THE 1970’S.
ITC was around for almost 50 years and they never once changed that fanfare. However much they paid for it, which I can’t imagine was substantial, they really got their money’s worth. This logo is apparently terrifying because of those spinning gems which leads me to believe nobody on CLG Wiki has ever completed a Sonic the Hedgehog special stage and lived to tell the tale. Also diamonds? Am I the only one who fails to see “diamonds” and instead sees a spinning Phlat Ball?
Scare Factor: Nightmare, probably about as scary as you can get without causing fatal injury. This logo, even though it is not talked about as much as the other well-known scary logos (such as the S From Hell and V Of Doom), is probably one of the scariest logos ever made, thanks to “in-your-face” animation, a dark mood, and that evil music!
“As scary as you can get without causing fatal injury”?! Cry me a fucking river, CLG Wiki. I refuse to believe this is a scary logo and that it’s “scare factor” rating was assigned by a solitary person who can’t watch a Justice music video without shitting himself. It’s “not talked about as much” as the other logos because, surprise surprise, it’s not fucking scary. It looks like a goddamn carnival ride in space. Also, this logo and Lady Ozma are “in your face” when Paramount Pictures and Renaissance Pictures aren’t? How the fuck does that one work?
The more research I do for this article the more I realize that there’s absolutely zero consistency with any of this website’s content and that their entire notion of “fear” is constructed around one central “idea” that anything signifying the end of Autism Power Hour is inherently “bad” and thus should be feared.
Before I begin I want to first state that being afraid of Viacom and being afraid of Viacom’s logo are two completely different things; one is more socially acceptable than the other. Viacom is an incomprehensibly large media conglomerate whose primary products and services include Jersey Shore, copyright infringement claims, and SOPA. I take pride in knowing that if you had no prior knowledge of the company before today that I’ve already soured them in your thoughts with a single sentence. Back before Viacom’s board of executives was replaced with humanesque-shaped burlap sacks of hundred dollar bills and minced chunks of dead prostitutes they actually served a purpose as a television production company. Since 1971 they’ve featured almost a dozen new logos. Apparently, this one from the early eighties is the scariest:
Must be those gaudy synth chords.
The Viacom “V of Doom” has become somewhat of an in-meme online. There are people who are afraid of it that weren’t even alive when it was originally used who fear the logo solely because Viacom is god tier nightmare fuel and they’ve repeatedly been told this is a scary logo so to fit in they join the others in fawning over just how OMG TEH SCARY it is. I don’t see it, I don’t get the “fear”. For fuck’s sake, GatorAIDS even has a fucking thread tag that reenacts the zooming V of Doom. This thing is everywhere.
Scare Factor: Nightmare for the filmed and videotaped variants […] because the music and “V” zooming in had been a source of bad dreams and nightmares for many. The filmed variant’s general quality is also poor. One of the scariest logos ever created along with the “S from Hell”. Though this logo is less scary for those who are used to seeing it.
So people actually had nightmares about this logo? A single stylized letter of the alphabet? I don’t get why it’s scary; are they thinking this is going to happen? Appropriately enough the “scare factor” entry for Viacom’s voracious V alludes to another spooky letter: Screen Gems’ so-called “S from Hell”. Let’s take a look:
Daytime Emmy Winner: Most awkward Sesame Street letter sponsor ever.
What’s doing it here? The high-contrast red on yellow? The inclusion of a shitty synth chord like Viacom’s V of Doom that sounds like someone playing a trumpet with their ass? The shape of the logo? The only thing I’ve collected from this logo so far is virtually every nickname these people come up with is some variant of “(description of logo) of Doom”. In fact, their naming scheme is so atrocious that both the Screen Gems and Renaissance Pictures logos share the secondary nickname of “The Personification of All that is Evil”. I’m fucking serious. They can’t even be original with their elaborate and flamboyant displays of hivemind-manufactured grade school pants-pissing faux terror.
Scare Factor: Medium to nightmare for the full music variant. Numerous people have very un-fond memories of this logo, mostly due to the creepy theme music combined with the animation, which is very in-your-face (though it’s less scary for those who are used to seeing it). Possibly one of the scariest logos ever made.
Possibly one of the scariest logos ever made, or THE scariest logo ever made? You be the judge. Here’s a short documentary from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival called The S From Hell.
Fuck it. I quit.
Although the competition today is a shell of its former glory at one point in time BattleBots was sitting pretty as one of the highest rated series on television and touted a five-season show, seven officially sanctioned events in the span of 4 years, two video games (that were terrible), and an entire line of merchandising ranging from wind-up toys to keychains to radio controlled replicas of popular contenders and even fucking Happy Meal toys. BattleBots was it. It was the “in thing” to do, and it honestly was something that was only possible at the turn of the millennium; it was the pinnacle of technological and mechanical advancement and entertainment, the first completely contained (sort of) bloodsport. Megarace realized.
In the five seasons of BattleBots aired on Comedy Central there were a number of fights showcased that were laughably and ridiculously in favor of one of the competitors for a myriad of reasons. Maybe their opponent was built out of tin foil. Maybe they were broken from a previous fight. Whatever the reason was, in between nail-biting back and forth bouts between the series’ heavy-hitters there were always some fights in the mix that stuck out like a sore thumb. These are the seven most one-sided battles in the [televised] history of the sport.
The Obvious Winner: Ziggo
The One-sided Fight: Ziggo was a lightweight robot built by a closet furry that was renown in the sport for two things: destroying its opponents in a few quick blows or being bumped into the wall and stop working completely. Ziggo was the robotic embodiment of a cat, it’s a small spinning dome covered in blades; that’s all it ever needed to win. The Missing Link, on the other hand, was a more elaborate and robust-looking robot sporting a wider chassis and two big rubbery tires. In its official BattleBots photograph The Missing Link is seen sporting a Craftsman chainsaw but in this fight the driver smartly replaced his gas-guzzling tree killer with — and this is the best part — a phone book covered in nails. There’s a certain kind of crazy required to take a look at your opponent, Ziggo, and say “you know what would beat that? A phone book. With nails.” The guy who built The Missing Link possessed that craziness.
At the start of the fight The Missing Link proudly floors it across the arena and starts gently caressing Ziggo with the yellow pages. Its strategy is pretty obvious: push Ziggo onto the section of the arena where the bots are loaded in and get it stuck there. That’s a great idea. The bad idea is attempting to do so with what amounts to a phone book on a yard stick. This is not a precision device. It doesn’t take long for The Missing Link’s replacement weapon to come apart and it also doesn’t take long for Ziggo to get in close and pop The Missing Link right in its wheels, ripping them off. And then this happens:
Holy shit. In a shot that could only have been one in a millon Ziggo strikes the remaining wheel on The Missing Link and sends the robot skittering across the arena floor. The wheel makes a half turn in one direction, then a half turn the other, and beautifully falls off. Then out of nowhere the Killsaws rise up from the floor and throw The Missing Link a few feet forward while spraying sparks everywhere.
This was the first fight BattleBots ever aired and I personally believe it’s the reason why the show lasted five seasons. You don’t get a beating of this caliber anywhere else.
The Obvious Winner: Complete Control
The One-sided Fight: Complete Control was a newcomer to BattleBots in this season (2) and this fight was its television debut. Complete Control was a middleweight built by a guy from SomethingAwful.com armed with a clamping device geared down to ridiculous proportions. It’s sleek, blue, and Canadian design let it effortlessly glide across the arena, slip under opponents, and pick them up. Super Chiabot was a “super” version of the previous season’s Chiabot despite the fact not much changed between the two. The robot was basically a box covered in fake plants that had a large spinning disc in front and pooped miniature robots out of its backside. The minibots, as they were called, did absolutely nothing in the fight and one of them was even crushed by Super Chiabot when it was tossed away by Complete Control.
From the start Super Chiabot appears to put up a fairly commendable fight by getting right into the gears of Complete Control wherein a horrendously loud grinding sound can be heard as the Canadian robot’s armor is eaten away by the plantbot’s flywheel. It’s worth mentioning that for being an incredibly ballsy move it was also incredibly stupid; Super Chiabot drove straight into Complete Control’s weaponry which didn’t break from the impact at all. Without missing a beat Complete Control clamps down on the ghillie suit-wearing Chiabot and deadlifts it completely perpendicular to the floor. The move is considered to be one of the most iconic moments in BattleBots history.
Complete Control proceeds to throw the entire robot over its back and promptly hooks itself into Chiabot and goes over with it. It then starts grappling and tugging at Super Chiabot in a manner that makes it look as though its attempting to rip its opponent’s broken weapon straight off of its face. Even when upside-down the thing is still capable of MMA-style grapples. The fight is stopped and both robots are rolled back over but when the buzzer sounds again it’s readily apparent Super Chiabot’s weapon is completely trashed and it loses to Complete Control by a landslide.
It’s worth noting Super Chiabot was built by Will Wright; the guy who created SimCity. He would have had better luck building a replica of the $1 bulldozer from that game instead of this mess. Let me put it this way, remember The Missing Link from the previous entry? That thing managed to beat the original Chiabot before being eaten alive by Ziggo.
The Obvious Winner: Nightmare
The One-sided Fight: People who are only familiar with BattleBots in passing can recognize Nightmare because it was one of the “poster robots” of the sport. Nightmare was a two-wheeled heavyweight robot sporting an inhumanly large vertical disc with two well-defined teeth on it. Its unique appearance and memorable blade decorations permanently burned it into the collective memory of the sport. Even though its history with BattleBots up to this point (season 3) had been shady and full of cheap losses this would be the first time we’d see Nightmare really shine. Slam Job, a pyramid-ish box with an ice pick hammer, was a rookie competitor in this tournament and was built by an average college guy who wanted to experience robot combat firsthand. Oh, he would experience it alright and would need a change of pants afterward.
This fight is BattleBots. It’s also only ten seconds long. Slam Job holds back on leaving the blue square and instead lets Nightmare come over to its side of the arena, its blade already roaring at full speed. Both robots do a half turn to face one another and Nightmare lands the only hit of the fight. This single hit was all it needed because in the blink of an eye Slam Job is hurled into the air head over heels eloquently erupting into at least a dozen pieces.
This one hit knock out victory is easily the go-to moment for anyone who is or was a fan of the sport. Watch the slow motion replays of it from the fight. Go on. You get to see it from three camera angles because that’s how memorable this fight was. This fight lasted ten seconds according to the official timer on the screen. Ten seconds. They gave more air time to replays of this fight than the actual fight. The disconnect between the two robots in this fight was palpable; on one hand you had Nightmare built by a serious and seasoned competitor and on the right was the lowly Slam Job built by some guy in college. Both builders no doubt pulled out all the stops and put forth 101% effort with the tools available to them but that just wasn’t enough; Nightmare absolutely erased Slam Job from history. Had this fight not been videotaped nobody would even know the robot ever existed. Not even the driver.
The Obvious Winner: Wedge of Doom
The One-sided Fight: Wedge of Doom has always been a pretty basic robot throughout its entire BattleBots career. Every incarnation of the robot featured a wedge design with some form of lifting device and this inaugural run of Wedge of Doom is no different; it’s a wedge with a lifting arm. The Wacky Compass, however, was a little bit of a mystery. It’s introduced as having a “spinning wacky bar” but when we actually see The Wacky Compass it appears to be missing its weapon; a little known fact about this battle is that The Wacky Compass won its previous fight in a knock out but broke its weapon in the process. Instead, it has been reduced to a waddling heap of metal with various cardinal directions scribbled onto it. It looked like a total piece of crap, in other words.
And piece of crap it is. The Wacky Compass can’t even get out of its starting square before Wedge of Doom has already smashed into the side of it, bent up the “NE” corner of the bot, and thrown it onto the arena saws which promptly finish off several of the other pieces of “armor” adorning the robot. By this point The Wacky Compass is dead; it’s still visibly functioning to an extent but its armor is bent up and preventing it from moving around. Wedge of Doom wastes no time and promptly shoves the dysfunctional stomper under the hammer wherein the broken machine gets flattened immediately.
The greatest thing about this fight is how much of a mismatch the two designs were. Team Delta, the team behind Wedge of Doom, has never once built something that wasn’t completely streamlined. All of their robots could probably fly if you put wings on them. Believe it or not The Wacky Compass weighs almost exactly the same as Wedge of Doom, perhaps even more if it still had its weapon, but since it was removed I’m guessing both robots weighed about 60 pounds (walking robots received a special percentage of additional weight in each class). Wedge of Doom is completely refined and enclosed on every side. The Wacky Compass literally looks like a walking crab trap stuffed with electronics and pieces of scrap metal. It was so flimsy it was completely knocked out after two nominal hits. You know you’ve got a horrible design when you can bend the sheet metal around the edges and it prevents you from moving.
The Obvious Winner: Mechavore
The One-sided Fight: I wanted to go this whole article without featuring two losing robots built by the same guy but I just couldn’t help myself with Towering Inferno. Towering Inferno comes to us from the same guy who brought us The Missing Link. Though this battle takes place three tournaments later (season 4) it appears that our driver here hasn’t learned much. The guy who built Towering Inferno originally built the first model of the robot using Legos. That’s how you know it’s a quality machine. I’m guessing somewhere on the chassis of Towering Inferno is a sticker reading “CERTIFIED IN LEGO”. Its opponent Mechavore was a no-frills destroying machine inexplicably featuring a cobalt blue fiberglass top. Its weapon was a hellacious cutting disc that made short work of former BattleBots poster robot Vlad the Impaler. That’s right, Mechavore beat Vlad so bad it was forced into retirement.
The moment the arena lights turn green the most ear-shattering mechanical screaming is heard as the gasoline engine powering Mechavore’s cutting disc roars to life and the disc immediately takes off spinning at physics-bending speeds. Towering Inferno takes a moment to mosey on over to Mechavore and proceeds to stab the robot’s cutting wheel with one of its flimsy hammers (the red one) which is promptly sheared off. The impact also completely destroys the drivetrain for that side of Towering Inferno. At this moment Mechavore can safely sit on the sidelines and take a standard knock out victory over Towering Inferno but the driver isn’t the least bit interested in that at all. He decides to teach Towering Inferno a lesson on why having triangle-shaped wheels is a retarded idea.
The icing on the cake is the fact that Mechavore still isn’t quite done utterly humiliating its opponent on national television. Mechavore was never the type of robot that would continuously beat on a crippled opponent until they were counted out; that’s considered bad sportsmanship in the realm of robot combat. The guy who built it, however, owns a giant party boat. He knows how to laugh at everything and not give a damn while he’s sailing off into Margaritaville or whatever. Mechavore approaches the giant hunk of metal it ripped off of Towering Inferno, lines up a slap shot, and uses its weapon to blast the piece of scrap metal directly at Towering Inferno.
It then comes in and slices off the robots orange hammer, you know, to make things even.
The Obvious Winner: Vladiator
The One-sided Fight: Trimangle was a behemoth of a super heavyweight sporting a low chassis, four big tires, and a massive spinning triangle-shaped blade powered by the same kind of motor running Nightmare’s disc, and we’ve already seen what that thing was capable of doing in a single blow. Vladiator was a giant metal brick constructed by the builder behind Vlad the Impaler, a legendary fighting robot responsible for a number of knock out wins and tournament championships in the heavyweight division. Vladiator took everything that made Vlad deadly and bumped it up a weight class. It’s weapon was this tiny little pneumatic lifting spike that theoretically is supposed to dead lift 300+ pound robots (don’t worry, it can).
Going back to our geometry-laden friend, Trimangle was proof of concept that Team Loki has never built a single thing that will ever work properly except for that one time their robot Surgeon General somehow won a few fights. Even though I just discredited everything they’ve built Trimangle looks beastly at the beginning of this fight; it floors forward and its spinning triangular blade looks five kinds of wicked. It seriously looks like it’s about to bust some heads until the robot’s biggest flaw becomes apparent: Trimangle can’t fucking turn. This isn’t some Zoolander-esque “he can’t turn left” nonsense; Trimangle is literally unable to turn. It only does so when Vladiator rams it or when it gets hit by the hazards. No really, watch it. Despite this, Trimangle gets one solid hit in with its blade and manages a second glancing blow that actually shears the lifting spike right off of Vladiator.
So how is Trimangle the “obvious loser” here? With the exception of not being able to turn it is clearly winning this fight by disabling the weapon of its opponent. Despite scoring loads of points with the judges this was a bad move because by castrating Vladiator Trimangle has effectively reduced its opponent to a 300 pound box that can hurl itself across the arena at speeds of up to 35 MPH. Thirty-five miles per hour. That’s fast enough to get pulled over in a school zone. Let’s crunch some numbers here. Force equals Mass times Acceleration, right? That’s 300 pounds multiplied by 35 MPH. I get 10,500 as an answer. I don’t know how to apply this number because I’m not a physicist but I am officially labeling it as the number of ass kickings Trimangle has just unleashed from Vladiator.
Vladiator lines up one shot — one single shot — and plows straight into Trimangle’s weaponry and destroys it probably while shouting “I CAN DO THAT TOO”. Vladiator is past the point of giving a shit, it has gone into a berserker rage and its only mission objective is to make Trimangle its toy which it proceeds to do after doing flips off of the arena hazards like they’re not even there. From doing nothing more than repeatedly bashing its opponent Vladiator manages to noticeably screw up two of Trimangle’s four wheels and even causes the robot to begin belching out copious amounts of smoke all without having any weapon whatsoever. To finish off a fitting bout demonstrating the horrors of domestic abuse and battery Vladiator mounts Trimangle’s smoking and beaten carcass and parks there until the timer runs out.
The Obvious Winner: War Machine
The One-sided Fight: Mark Setrakian is a maniac. He took the idea of “fighting robots” and ran with it until his legs just couldn’t take it anymore and then he threw the idea like a javelin as far as it would go and killed a small child with it. Let me just quote myself in a previous robotics article to give you a better idea:
“BattleBots was a sport filled with wedges and rammers and boxes until this guy showed up. Setrakian didn’t just think outside of the box, he stomped the box into the ground and drew his robot plans on it with his own blood.”
That’s Setrakian in a nutshell. His robot Snake, just like Mechadon, was the embodiment of nightmare fuel. When you hear “snake” in a robot name you might be expecting a reptile-themed paint job, not a robot that actually looks and moves like a snake. Well guess what? Snake was a goddamned robot snake. It had a large Graboid-from-Tremors mouth and its ass was a spinning drill. War Machine was simplicity realized. It’s a ten-wheeled box with a single piece of steel bent into the shape of a plow mounted onto it. For reasons unknown it also had two small pieces of wood stuck on top of it along with a holographic blue sticker. This design has bothered me for almost a decade.
It’s pretty obvious that Snake isn’t much of a fighter, it’s more or less trying to sell itself on intimidation alone. Apparently, though, Snake won its previous fight by knock out and I’m assuming his opponent rolled forward and spontaneously burst into flames because I cannot see Snake being dangerous to anything if you’re more than five feet away from it. War Machine lines up a shot and almost like a reflex Snake assumes this really creepy attack stance that actually makes its opponent flinch. War Machine actually stops when Snake throws its pose. It doesn’t work a second time, however, and War Machine pounds Snake right in the gut and throws it against the wall causing the mechanized reptile to being smoking and shooting sparks out of its abdomen.
I might be a reptile expert, but I’m no robo-reptile expert. Despite this I do know that it isn’t a good thing when a robot starts smoking and War Machine’s low blow easily took the wind right out of its opponent. Snake never leaves the wall for the rest of the fight and instead writhes around uncomfortably against the arena spikestrip and does things like trying to eat the Pulverizer and attack the crowd or something. For such an amazing robot Snake failed because its weak point can be described as “anything that isn’t its head or tail”. It lost to the equivalent of a bomb-disposal robot.
The Obvious Winner: The Crusher
The One-sided Fight: Oh, Stewbot. Stewbot, Stewbot, Stewbot. There is nothing I can say about this robot to fully give you an idea of what this thing was, so here’s a picture of Stewbot in all its former glory to do the explaining for me:
That is a red monster truck towing a platform trailer full of Legos. Whereas the whackjob behind Towering Inferno built his first robot models out of Legos here is a robot that is actually built out of Legos. Hold on I’m not done yet, you haven’t even seen the team behind this thing:
I’m not going to make fun of Stewbot or its team too much because these guys weren’t there to win the championship. These two guys were the hosts of ZDTV’s Computer Stew and they were there to promote their show. They were trolls, in other words, and Stewbot’s maiden voyage into the arena wasn’t televised either, so that’s why they’re here as an Honorable Mention. They lost in the most brilliant manner imaginable, though:
Goodnight, sweet prince.
Some of you reading this might be subscribed to Netflix, if that’s the case then if I quote the phrase “I messed up, I owe you an explanation” you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. The DVD rental and media streaming behemoth has lately been under heavy scrutiny due to raising its prices and changing its available rental/streaming plan structure. What was once “all the DVD’s and streaming you could ever want for ten bucks” now costs — holy shit — sixteen fucking dollars. Stop the presses, this is highway robbery and Netflix is a leather-clad biker wielding a tack hammer strung onto a chain who is also raping your girlfriend at the same time. Netflix’s decision to alter their prices has led to a shitstorm of problems culminating in the company completely severing their trademark “DVD’s in the mail” business practice and stuffing it into their new company “Qwikster”. If you believe jerk-offs like this guy with 26 Twitter followers you’d think Netflix is dead.
Please. Get over yourselves you whiny pussies. Netflix may have screwed up and dropped the ball but crucifying them alive is no way to treat this company. Here’s five reasons why Netflix, even with the $6 price increase, is still the best deal in TV and movies, bar none.
Have you seen TV lately? I mean, not literally but figuratively; have you paid attention to the amount of utter shit that passes for television these days? Call me cynical but overall television has been downhill since the first season of Survivor. Sure, there have been groundbreaking series such as Lost that demonstrate the lost (hah) art of writing can still keep up with the likes of shit like American Idol but do you know what the real problem is? People are retarded and will mindlessly take in worse and worse programming until everything around them is utter shit. It’s easier and cheaper to cash in on a show about nothing more than a psychologist standing in the house of someone who’s never thrown anything away for two decades and say “holy shit” for 45 minutes multiplied by 20 episodes than it is to go through the process of finding writers, actors, effects artists, catering, or virtually anybody else who doesn’t have a job involving a camera or an editing suite.
There’s a programming term out there called “least objectionable programming” (LOP) which basically describes a show that you will “tolerate” when nothing of interest is on. Reality TV began as LOP but never went away, in fact while you were busy watching black people yell at each other on Cops producers working for every network in the market were busy reducing costs by getting their own reality shows in the works. What was once mindless crap you’d watch when you had nothing else better to do ended up becoming the status quo. Now there honestly is no television market, every single channel is filled with LOP. Remember when The Learning Channel (TLC) used to show Junkyard Wars and How It’s Made way back in the 1990’s? Yeah, fuck that. It’s easier to follow some unimportant bimbo with 8 kids around and record the mindless shit they do than it is to research and put together something you can actually fucking learn from, you know, considering the word appears in the channel’s goddamn name.
And seriously, where does Discovery Channel get off thinking we want to watch a bunch of old fat guys work on motorcycles for eight fucking seasons?! Holy shit on a Jesus wafer that’s almost 200 episodes of the same exact shit every single time!!
Remember when Animal Planet used to show the documentaries that Discovery Channel used to air? Back when you could watch a program and learn something about an endangered species or something meaningful? Yeah, there’s no money in that anymore, but you want to know what does make money? Midgets with pit bulls. Don’t fucking ask me how but that’s their magic formula. They went from airing educational programming to shows that will make you clinically retarded if you watch them for more than three minutes at a time.
And don’t get me started on how the market feeds off of unoriginality. Speaking hypothetically, you know what’s a fun show to watch? Pawn Stars. Now that Pawn Stars has made a quick buck for History Channel there are me too’s out there to completely ruin the market; now we have copycats like Hardcore Pawn and offshoots like Auction Kings popping up on TV. Also, remember the scruffy guy who restores everything the pawn shop buys? Yeah, they gave that nobody a show too. Ever watch American Pickers? What could be better than watching two middle-aged guys wade through the house of someone previously featured on Hoarders? Two chicks doing it. Yeah, Lifetime Network decided that the world needed Picker Sisters, a show that’s exactly the same as American Pickers except the hosts have vaginas. That’s it. Modern-day television is just a cesspool of shit that takes a weekend to shoot 100 episodes’ worth of content and costs a fraction of what it would to produce a show that would require some amount of coherent thought to execute.
How does Netflix fix this? I mean, they have Jersey Shore available for streaming — if you’re Neanderthal enough to watch that kind of crap — but they also feature the few genuine shows presently airing on cable right now. Tired of seeing The X Factor shoved down your throat and want to watch House? Go do it. Want to watch an episode of Saturday Night Live from a decade that didn’t, in your opinion, blow? Go do it. Netflix features most of the programming that gets covered up in a shit-saturated market without having to deal with the shit in the first place.
You know what the best part of watching cable TV is? The part where your show stops so Anthony Sullivan can masturbate into a vacuum steam mop dust-buster and show you how it can improve your car’s performance for only $19.95. Seriously, I believe with the exception of Xbox Live, cable TV is the only thing you can pay for to be blasted with advertisements and it’s only gotten worse since media executives started finding out creative ways to stuff more advertisements into their programming.
On average, a 30-minute television show lasts 22 minutes with the remaining 8 being given to commercials. If you crunch some fuzzy numbers this means that about a fourth of everything you watch on TV is an advertisement. For every three minutes of Piers Morgan punching Howie Mandel in the throat there’s one minute of some ridiculous ad for a Jamster ringtone you don’t need.
The “8 minutes of commercials” became a kind of industry standard, one that’s maintained today, but of course corporations are going to find ways to squeeze in just one more Zhu Zhu Pets commercial into each half-hour of programming because the advertising package for those little electronic hamsters probably cost more than the combined total value of the lives of you and your immediate family multiplied by forty. That’s just extra change in their pockets and since we’re talking about faceless media conglomerates here you know where this is going. Remember when TV shows used to have credits? Actual credits that usually played a reprise of the show’s theme song? Yeah, TV shows made today don’t have those since every channel smashes them into a tiny little column on the left side of the screen so ads can play in the larger half on the right.
Recently Viacom revived some of their old licenses from the nineties to air late at night on the TeenNick channel as “The 90’s Are All That”. As you might imagine, I was pretty floored at the prospect and was eager to see reruns of All That again. The very first night the block aired I knew something was wrong with the episode shown mostly because it didn’t have credits and a lot of the content had been truncated. I sent an email to the department behind the programming block and would you like to know what they told me?
“Due to the changes in the amount of advertising shown on television today as compared to 1994 we had to make some nominal changes to the episodes airing to edit them for time.”
Yep, Nickelodeon is having to whittle down their old shows because more ads are being shown in television in 2011 than they were 20 years ago. Big surprise, right? Skip all of it, get Netflix.
Perhaps the most infuriating thing about TV is timeliness, something TiVo tried to fix with the advent of the DVR. Most cable companies will give you a free DVR to record your shows which has pretty much led to the dismantling of TV scheduling as we know it. Networks know that you’re probably going to record their best programming and watch it later so they can afford to put their good shows on at their usual times and proceed to fill their morning and afternoon lineup with eight hours of Scrubs or Spongebob Squarepants because that’s basically dead air time nobody’s going to tune into.
Netflix isn’t a DVR and it doesn’t get new episodes instantly upon airing (that’s what the Internet is for) but if you’re looking to watch a specific episode of a specific show, they have it. There’s no need to wait for the Bob Saget episode of Saturday Night Live to air on E! Entertainment, sitting through three months worth of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (fuck you, Kim Kardashian) just to try and catch your favorite SNL is a thing of the past. All you have to do is turn on Netflix, punch in “saturday night live” in the search box and you’re good to go. You can effectively cut out every single rejected piece of TV trash in a millisecond with the service and watch anything you want right there, right then. Plus, there’s no commercials.
Also, did I mention the whole “Netflix does full movies too” thing? Because yeah, they do that. I know I’ve kind of underwritten it in this article; you get all the TV shows plus every “premium” movie channel.
Know what you need to watch cable TV? A television. Sounds obvious. You can be poor as shit and still use Netflix though, because while a TV is generally useful for watching TV and movies, you don’t need one. You can watch Netflix on pretty much any TV-enabled device (Playstation 3, Roku, etc) but you can also use their service on your computer, and pretty much all computers are able to play DVD’s these days unless you bought an eMachines junker from Wal-Mart in which case the CD drive is faulty and will start a fire. You could probably watch Netflix on a rock with two sticks glued onto it if they’d give you an activation code for it.
But you can also watch Netflix on a laptop, or a tablet, or a mobile device. Anywhere. You can take virtually every fucking television show and movie ever made with you in your goddamn pocket that you can access at any time. Waiting in line at the airport for your turn for the TSA agent to fit his hand in your ass to search for bombs? You can watch King of the Hill on your Android phone while you stand there spread eagle against the wall. Tired of crunching for that test in the university library? You can login to Netflix on your laptop and watch Aliens from start to finish and turn in an essay on Xenomorphs to your professor because you just don’t give a shit. The point is you can do so much more with a Netflix-enabled device anywhere in the whole entire world than you ever could by sitting in front of your ridiculous 3DTV watching Paula Deen shit butter into a Tupperware bowl.
Finally, standard television is just a goddamn rip off. On average if you subscribe to the “full bells and whistles” package (which is arguably what you get with Netflix) you’ll end up paying over $100 per month to your cable or satellite TV provider. If you subscribe to Netflix for unlimited streaming and 1 DVD out at a time, which basically guarantees you access to everything they offer with the service, do you want to know how much you’ll be paying?
No, that’s not missing a zero somewhere, that’s sixteen dollars. For $16 you get a service that has virtually anything ever released on TV that you’d ever want to watch plus movies, you can watch it anywhere, and there are no commercials. Even with the “unfair price hike” that’s still the best deal in entertainment bar none. Even with the ensuing break into two separate companies (owned under the Netflix name) the end result will still be the best damn deal there is.
So everybody needs to quit their bitching and realize that paying $16 to watch the same shit — and then some — that you’d pay $100 for with your cable company is still a pretty damn good deal. There is absolutely no reason people should be up in arms with Netflix other than being whiny little asshats with entitlement complexes. Netflix is to Dish Network as what a value menu cup is to a Super Size one at McDonalds: you’re drinking the same soda, so there’s no reason to buy a giant mug.
– Dracophile and Roastmaster
I don’t talk about family much in my articles on GatorAIDS mostly because they aren’t funny (my family, not my articles you asshole). They’re mundane people who don’t really do much of anything of importance and are noticeably quieter than I am. For example, while growing up any time you opened my bedroom door you’d be blasted with the theme song to Crossfire. This was the only door in the house that was sound-activated. Similarly, the place I live now is just as loud and has led to at least five prior evictions. Like any good son I am still in contact with my family and I still visit and see them and we go do family things even though everywhere I walk I’m followed by 80’s hair bands and my actions are normally accompanied by hot guitar licks and people stop and ask me for my autograph constantly because I am INTERNET FAMOUS.
A team of motivational speakers once paid a visit to my brother’s school and spoke to him and his classmates about how bullying is bad and that you should treat others with respect and all that which is perfectly fine. Then they proceeded to break a bunch of shit that they had brought with them because they’re also a performance group. Weird, but again totally fine. Afterward they handed each kid a card that doubled as a ticket to a show they were performing in town.
My brother was just visited by Team Impact and was given a pass to their show. Nobody in my family, except for me, knew what was about to happen.
For those who aren’t in the know, and trust me don’t feel bad because there are a lot of you, Team Impact is a religious group that performs “feats of strength” in the name of Our Lord. Or Their Lord, I guess. I’m atheist so all I see is a bunch of priests with ‘roid rage smashing shit in a church. I may not have a religion but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the beliefs of others, unless they are Christian Furries, so if Team Impact wants to punch holes through wood while reading the Bible they can do whatever the fuck they want. I’ll still look at them like they’re retarded though, not because of the fact that they’re religious but because this is how they practice their craft.
You might be wondering how the fuck these jokers were allowed into a school, a public state-owned facility, when there’s a little clause about “separation of church and state” in the US Constitution. That’s where that little card comes into play; when Team Impact visited the school they broke some baseball bats and deepthroated silicone dolphin cocks stuffed with bricks and told the kids to treat others with respect but they never once mentioned anything about Jesus during the entire assembly. Technically they were just there as performance artists and motivational speakers. The show they were putting on, and inviting the kids to, is where they’d have full reign to preach until they were out of breath and wooden boards to break.
Nobody was any wiser to their predatory loophole tactics and honestly that’s what pissed me off about these dickwads. They weren’t holding their show somewhere obvious like the First Church of Sammy Sosa or another locale that would have instantly raised suspicions. No, they were performing at a local convention center where everything from monster truck rallies to anime conventions are held every year. A show where people do nothing but break shit seemed like it would fit right in there with Grave Digger and teenage virgins dressing up as Inuyasha characters.
You don’t even know you’re seeing a religious sermon until about half way through the show when the hos-I mean, when the preacher mentions that we should all pray so that Muscles McPecs can fit the entire golf club up his ass. You’re too busy laughing and cheering these jokers on that you almost skip right over the “wait what the fuck did this guy just say” thought. I knew from the moment my brother said “Team Impact” that these guys were a religious group mostly because I waste all of my free time trolling people so I played along like I didn’t know who these people were just because I wanted to see firsthand just how ridiculous they really are. Here’s a YouTube video that demonstrates what I mean:
All these guys do are just a bunch of shitty parlor tricks spaced out with lots of padding and religious quips. That video shows the same “breaking a row of bricks” trick at least four dozen times. Save for things like picking up admittedly heavy objects/people everything they do takes virtually no strength at all if you know the secret to doing it properly so guess what I’m about to do? Yeah, I’m going to tell you exactly how Team Impact does their shows so now the only thing they can be known for is parlor tricks and sermons. Much like the real “miracles” of the Bible if you know the tricks to them you can see there’s nothing but smoke and mirrors in front of you. I’m like James Fucking Randi… except minus the gay thing.
WARNING: As per safety standards and all of that bullshit I am supposed to tell you not to try these tricks at home because they can be dangerous if done improperly. However, since Team Fucking Impact is capable of doing these things and not fucking them up (most of the time), I’m pretty sure you can probably do it too.
Breaking a stack of boards is like an act of rites in the world of martial arts, something you have to do if you want to get that white belt and be knee-deep in pussy, but honestly it’s not that hard if you know the gimmick to doing it. Wood has grains in it and the direction of these grains, the density of the wood, and how dry the wood is all factor in to how easy it is to break it. White pine is used in martial arts because it’s basically the easiest kind of wood to break due to its mostly straight grains and dryness. When you break wood you break it with the grain, not against it; this is why a fucking seven year old can do this.
You might be wondering how bricks come into play here then since it’s just a solid piece of stone (or so you think). Is there a secret to breaking a brick, too? Uh, yes. There is. A brick, like wood, will break at its weakest point. Look at the bricks Team Impact is using, they’re the decorative types people buy to put in their gardens when they retire but haven’t yet resorted to eating canned cat food. Not only are some of those bricks not breaking but for the ones that are look at where they’re all failing: right between the circular humps. This isn’t so much a feat of strength as it is taking advantage of the structural weaknesses of garden decorations. Also the concrete mixture used to make these bricks is airier and lighter than most bricks because these are generally purchased in larger quantities from home improvement stores and are used as decor-fucking-aitions and aren’t meant for building or walking on.
What about ice? Team Impact fucking loves to break ice, too. Breaking ice is even simpler: they freeze water in molds that have irregular patterns and holes in them. Where does this ice break when they hit it? On the fucking holes. There’s so many holes in each slab of ice that all you have to do is fart on them and they’ll turn into snow cones.
Stacking breakable objects is negligible. Once you break the top piece the rest come with it as you follow through. Team Impact puts dowel rods and pencils between each piece of wood to make breaking them that much easier.
Back in the 1940’s and 50’s hot water bags were a popular form of relief for back pain and the like but when the electric blanket was invented most people stopped using them in lieu of the convenience of electrical appliances and today hot water bags are mostly used by people with pregnancy and enema fetishes. Oh, and Team Impact likes to blow them up like balloons until they burst.
Also, they look like giant nutsacks when inflated.
Haha, you probably thought I was fucking with you. No really, that’s a goddamn scrotum. Here’s a picture from another angle of a member of Team Impact drinking the cum straight out of a freshly severed pair of horse gonads. For all the gay hating and homophobia associated with the church at large here’s a picture that if properly taken out of context, say with an image macro or something, can set Team Impact’s reputation down to that of the Westboro Baptist Church in terms of how seriously people take their message.
So how do you blow up a hot water bag like a balloon?
Like a fucking balloon you idiot. There is no skill to this whatsoever it just looks impressive because the bag reaches a large size before it pops; blowing it up is a matter of holding it in such a way where you can pinch off the top of it to prevent air from escaping while you take another breath and exhale it into the rubber bag. Repeat until deafening boom.
Beginning largely in the 1980’s ripping a phone book in half is something you’d normally see a WWF wrestler or “World’s Strongest Man” do and you’d be in awe because a San Francisco or New York telephone directory is as thick as a Bible except with slightly more worth even in today’s age. Unlike Team Impact the things people with the title “World’s Strongest Man” do actually involve an incredible amount of strength but ripping a phone book is just a trick anyone can do to appear tough. The secret to destroying a phone book in mere seconds spread like wildfire on YouTube and in an episode of Mythbusters Adam Savage takes a moment to demonstrate exactly how to do it and overall Adam looks like a pretty scrawny and average guy. You don’t need muscles to do this.
I don’t need to harp on this one much, do I? This was an Internet fad, get with the times.
When Team Impact needs to fill the clock while their stage crew preps for another sleight of hand many of the team members will toss one another a can of soda and squeeze it with their bare hands until it bursts turning their preaching sermon into what amounts to a Gallagher concert except somehow even more depressing.
There’s some science to this trick but for the most part you can probably guess how to do it. The soda of choice used by Team Impact is diet 7up and/or diet Sprite, and yes both “diet” and “7up/Sprite” make a difference, here’s why. Citrus sodas such as Sprite and 7up are fizzier than other soft drinks sold in stores, this is a fact popular among elementary school science fairs. In addition to that diet sodas have artificial sweeteners in them and because of this are simply more prone to releasing carbonated gasses faster than their non-diet counterparts. What does this add up to? When you shake a diet 7up pressure builds up inside of the can much faster than it would if you were shaking a can of regular Coke. The cans, however, are of the same size and make which means from a common sense standpoint the can of diet 7up would be more prone to failure.
(If you look closely in the photo above you can see a white can of Sprite, that’s diet Sprite, amid the sea of horse semen.)
You don’t have to go to a Team Impact show to see a trick involving a bed of nails. The “bed of nails” gag is something that’s been a part of sideshow circus acts for decades and is a routine trick performed in middle eastern countries. The idea here is that if one nail is dangerous enough to pierce your skin then an entire bed of nails is just stupidly dangerous and if you lay on it and survive long enough to drink a glass of water you’ll leak out of a thousand tiny holes like Bugs Bunny. This isn’t the case. The more nails you add to a bed of nails the less dangerous it becomes, if you can believe that.
The science behind this phenomenon is simple: if you were to step on one nail that’s the full force of your body going down on a single sharp point but with hundreds of nails all in close proximity, and with you laying on your back to maximize the surface area, your weight is distributed across multiple nails and you’re able to safely lay on the bed without so much as a scratch. This example of distribution of weight and surface area makes for a popular high school physics gag, you may have seen it before:
The nails won’t even pop a fucking balloon, of course you can lay on the bed of nails. The most dangerous part of the bed of nails trick is getting off of the bed and Team Impact just fucking skips it altogether because they wouldn’t know how to do a real trick if they read it on a humor website with “AIDS” in its title. Anytime they perform the nail trick they always place a smaller bed of nails on top of someone’s chest who’s already laying on their back safely on the floor while someone else lays on top of the underside of the bed of nails (what was that about homophobia?). When it comes to the nails it doesn’t matter if you’re on your chest or back, the principle still applies either way; Team Impact simply dumbs it down to its lowest denominator and tests the “sharpness” of the nails by throwing extra cans of diet Sprite at it.
I’m fucking serious.
Rebar is a form of reinforcement steel used in the construction of buildings. It’s the rusting metal you see protruding out of concrete blocks that are all broken up. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and sizes which are invariably more or less resistant to pressures and bending depending on their makeup and diameter. Team Impact likes to bend them “with their teeth” to show off how tough they are.
This is one of their “big acts” and honestly out of everything they do this has got to be the most fake of them all. They don’t even bend it with their teeth like they say, the towel is there to simply obscure your view so they can claim that’s what they’re doing. When they bend rebar “with their teeth” they first bend it slightly by hand so there’s a weak point in the metal where a bend has already been started. From here, when they put it into their mouths they simply keep it in place by biting on nothing but the towel (if even that) and bending the rest of the bar by hand. Mind you, rebar isn’t very tough to bend if you get the cheapest shit you can find and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case here since they’ve already proven it to be true in other tricks and are about to prove it again with their final two tricks:
When you see a baseball bat you don’t immediately think of it breaking, it’s a solid piece of wood and it has to be pretty sturdy to hold up to repeated punishments of being slammed against things coming into contact with it at almost 100MPH when the bat itself is swung with enough force to break your goddamn skull. Then again maybe the first thought that pops into your head is the fabled super Grand Slam where a player hits a ball so hard that the wooden bat shatters into pieces and flies into the audience and kills someone. If you’re not immediately thinking of a wooden bat and you spent your childhood playing with aluminum bats (or you were mugged and beaten up with such an object) you might be wondering how the hell this is possible because that bat probably hurt like a sonofabitch.
Wooden bats are made out of wood (surprise surprise) thus they are subject to all of the structural weaknesses of wooden boards. When Team Impact breaks a bat it breaks in one of two ways: it breaks long the grain of the bat or it breaks at the weakest point (where the handle widens into the bat itself). I’ve explained the science behind wood, here’s a little more about metal bats. Wood naturally absorbs blows and impacts because of the properties of the material, metal does not. To ensure players don’t receive the full force of striking the ball being transferred from the bat directly into their wrists there are a number of features added to metal bats to make them safer to use.
For one, here’s a page full of a bunch of science regarding flexible metal bats. Another simpler option is the placement of a rubber “ring” separating the handle and the bat to absorb and lessen the force being transferred into the player’s hands. Both the flexing point and the rubber ring are the “weak points” of a metal bat and whenever Reverend Brick Puncher snaps one in half it’s less of an impressive feat of strength and more or less simply abusing the structural weakness of the bat itself much like the trick involving bricks and ice.
Finally, we come to Team Impact’s last favorite parlor trick: rolling up a frying pan. Surely something as solid as a frying pan couldn’t be as weak as a baseball bat or a can of diet soda, right? I mean, if you’re like me you have a pan in your kitchen that you cook everything in and for years it hasn’t so much as developed a scratch anywhere on its surface. There’s no way say, for example, a big buff white guy could destroy one with his bare hands, is there?
Wrong you are. There’s actually a pretty easy way to decommission a frying pan and it involves buying the cheapest most low-end pan you can find because at first glance a frying pan is a frying pan. If you handed an expensive pan and a cheap pan to someone they probably couldn’t tell them apart because they’re basically identical to one another however its what’s on the inside that matters. Cheaper pans are made of shitty alloys that can hold their shape but they heat unevenly and basically suck at everything they do; just try cooking with one sometime, you will fucking hate it.
These cheap alloys are all it takes for a pan to make a metal “clang” when you tap it on the table but also be completely weak and fragile if you apply enough force. It’s all in the thumbs; getting the proper grip on the pan is key to crushing it, and crushing it easily. It’s all about leverage and keeping the handle parallel with the ground since the pan handle usually has rivets of some sort fastening it to the pan which won’t bend. With enough patience you’ll be well on your way to having one metal burrito that the geniuses at eHow are kind enough to point out isn’t suitable for cooking with if you unroll it.
And there you have it. 8 “feats of strength” by Team Impact that are nothing more than petty party tricks. If you were to learn the ropes of these easy tricks and line them up one by one it would take you at most about 15 minutes to go through all of them. Unsurprisingly this is exactly how long it takes Team Impact to do the same if you were to cut out all of the fluffing and padding they do in their shows. Hilariously enough each and every time one of the team members attempt something “hard”, like breaking a bat, the announcer is quick to mention that they “don’t attempt this trick very often” to get the crowd going. There’s hardly any concentration required to break a fucking bat, you just do it, but therein lies the fact that this is about 15 seconds’ worth of entertainment so to stretch it out into a five fucking minute ordeal they do nothing but fake strain under the “strength” of a goddamn three foot long bat no thicker than an inch at its smallest point and make it look like they’re developing a fucking hernia over it until with a sudden “crack” the bat snaps in two.
Then they calm you down and drone about Christ for a while.
All in all, the most hilarious part of the show is seeing just how many people get pissed off at how predatory these dickheads are and walk out during the show once they find out it’s nothing more than a traveling church. There’s a certain hilarious assholishness present in the room when the preacher is begging people not to leave and people continue to walk out of the show with a “fuck you, you lied to us you faggot” expression on their face. I stayed for the whole show relishing in how shocked, awkward, and distressed the rest of my family looked having been duped into the sermon and laughed the entire way home.
But seriously, fuck you Team Impact. That’s pretty goddamn low to try and brainwash kids by breaking bats at their school and duping them into seeing a sermon.
A long time ago on an RFSHQ.com far far away we had this thing we did where we’d release an archived episode of the old Comedy Central show BattleBots and on the following day post an article that made fun of the robots, drivers, and content of the show. The column, inspired by Driving The Death Car, was called BattleBots Update and it was the very last column I routinely managed on RFSHQ until my departure in 2008. BattleBots Update ended the day I resigned from RFSHQ, though in recent years there was talk of a special three-episode 6th season of the show set to premiere on CBS College Sports; in the end, however, the show did not air apparently because nobody wanted to buy advertising slots on a channel nobody ever watches during a show that had been cancelled for almost a decade prior. It seemed that robot combat was thoroughly dead and that BattleBots Update would remain where it was, an abandoned and unmanaged column on a website that no longer had a writing staff.
RoboGames is an annual robot combat event, the last of its kind, that occasionally gets coverage ranging from “a quick spot on the local news” to “had a couple of DVDs released“ and this past Memorial Day Weekend the fine folks at Science Channel (a.k.a. Discovery Channel Pre-Reality TV Era) put together a one-episode special event called Killer Robots. When it came to finding a host for their show they looked no further than Mythbusters‘ Grant Imahara, a TV personality whose previous broadcast credits included being a former competitor in the late BattleBots series of competitions. Fans of Mythbusters will remember his robot Deadblow as the nimble 4-wheeled machine that dragged raw chickens around hungry alligators, and fans of BattleBots will remember it as the robot that was the butt of endless penis jokes. Seems like a winning combination if you ask me, you get exposure on a dying sport hosted by a guy who has graduated into bigger and better things than having his creations be the punchline to kindergarten humor.
Normally we here at GatorAIDS don’t condone the whole “piracy” thing but the whole point of our column is to make fun of something people have already seen so if you missed out on this televised special, well, we won’t tell you where you can get a copy of it but clicking these underlined words might be a good start.
From the start of the show, after the weird opening montage of people screaming at robots and cowering in fear and shock, Grant Imahara introduces us all to the sport in an incredibly brief run-down that demonstrates that virtually nothing has changed in the sport since the days of BattleBots. Well, except for the addition of flamethrowers. And Grant’s teeth. Okay, maybe that was rude of me but seriously if you Google “grant imahara” one of the suggested searches is “grant imahara’s teeth”. Don’t blame me for being a racist douchebag, blame Google.
Grant doesn’t take too long introducing the arena mostly because there is nothing to introduce. Perhaps the biggest letdown of this whole event is the fact that the difference between this arena and a Wal-Mart parking lot is the placement of the lines painted on the floor and the lack of dirty diapers in the arena. What happened to the Pulverizers? What happened to the Spike Strip? Hell, there’s not even the famed Killsaws! And really “Killsaw” probably has a trademark on it but I mean the RoboGames people couldn’t come up with a second-best knock-off like “Discs of Inconvenience” or something? Hell I’ll even be content with the shitty Piston hazards from BattleBots season three, but seriously there is a grand total of zero arena hazards present at this event. Hazards not only made wedge-on-wedge fights watchable, they were just damn fun, especially when a turtled robot was shoved underneath the Pulverizer hammer while Bill Nye creamed his pants about the physics of a giant goddamn hammer breaking everything that gets placed under it. The RoboGames arena is so non-threatening that old people use it for bingo night when it’s not in use. The Westminster Dog Show has been held in this place more times than someone has taken hazard damage in this arena.
Sewer Snake vs. Gruff
In the infantile days of robot combat the heavyweight class was ruled by a robot by the name of Vlad the Impaler, a heavily armored forklift that could manhandle and flip its opponents onto their heads or slam them into the wall. Whichever was more convenient. Sewer Snake, the reigning champion, can best be described as… a heavily armored forklift that we get to see slam some unnamed robots into the walls. But! Sewer Snake has something Vlad the Impaler didn’t; Sewer Snake comes equipped with… wait for it… a flamethrower. Sewer Snake is proof of concept that you just can’t beat old technology, especially when it’s armed with a flamethrower. Grant makes sure to point out that the husband/wife team that built Sewer Snake frequently incorporates usage of their robot during sex.
Gruff is a robot that boasts a lifting arm of dubious ability and copious amounts of stickers from TheRobotMarketplace. It also looks like it was built from the side of a tool shed (but it’s rumored to be as durable as an armored truck). We don’t get to learn much about the Gruff drivers or their robot mostly because they are not the champions in this pairing and we aren’t supposed to care about them because of it.
At the start of the fight Gruff appears to not be intimidated by the Sewer Snake’s bullshit and cutesy blue snake mascot graphics. Gruff tosses Sewer Snake straight into the wall which is Sewer Snake’s cue to repeatedly do the same in return. While molesting and slamming Gruff around we are treated to cutaways of both a row of 100% straight & Christian boy scouts and a shot of Gruff’s driver who appears to be trying to land a plane in Microsoft Flight Simulator. A few more “make me a sandwich” slams into the wall leaves Gruff belching out more smoke than Dan Aykroyd talking about UFOs and to celebrate its victory Sewer Snake is seen have a flaming orgy with itself in the center of the arena because showboating is always classy when you beat up on the equivalent of a furniture mover.
Preda Raptor vs. Mini Fridge
Before we are introduced to Mini Fridge (the robot) we are introduced to Mini Fridge (the driver of Mini Fridge, whose real nickname happens to be the even less flattering “Chewy”) who is seen riding around on his own machine screaming like a maniac and wielding a battle axe against a much smaller robot that appears to be held together with tape. Team Tiki are classic robot combat trolls, they build things just to piss people off and they don’t give a shit about a single thing. Before they strapped a broken mini fridge onto a stripped-down obesity scooter with tank tracks Team Tiki’s creations also included a dog house (with obligatory flamethrower), a living television set, and other mobile versions of the Zonks from Let’s Make A Deal. Their present incarnation of Mini Fridge answers the aforementioned question of “what happened to the Pulverizer hazards”; Team Tiki straight up stole the pneumatics of the beloved BattleBots hazard and stuffed it inside of a refrigerator… probably because people won’t look for stolen goods inside of a broken appliance.
Preda Raptor will look familiar to fans of the original BattleBots series. That’s because Preda Raptor happens to be a distant offspring of the super heavyweight competitor Tripulta Raptor. Over the past decade it appears that these robotic dinosaurs have evolved some semblance of coherent names but still aren’t quite there. Seriously, does anybody know what the fuck “tripulta” means? Preda Raptor’s species seems to have selected against having tank tracks that fall off after one hit from a Pulverizer which is good because the Pulverizer just so happens to be exactly what its opponent stole from BattleBots. Team Raptor’s fixation with pseudo-robotic saurian vore is back in full swing with Preda Raptor who, like its ancestors, is armed with a gripping claw of “holy shit” proportions. According to Grant it can destroy your car with its massive raptor shlong.
Upon starting the battle Mini Fridge’s first order of business is to use its hammer to self destruct and promptly tears itself open to expose its delicious innards to the maw of Preda Raptor. I’m not a BattleBots expert (actually yes I am) but this seems counterproductive. Then again Team Tiki are robo-trolls so they may have filled their top-heavy robot with Harry Potter jelly beans to lure Preda Raptor into taking a bite only to fool him with poop and vomit flavored candies. Mini Fridge begins making steady use of its pneumatic hammer while Grant begins not getting the joke and points out how ineffective a pneumatic hammer is against the machined metal of Preda Raptor who by now has torn the door off of Mini Fridge and has proceeded to dismantle the renegade chill locker’s tank treads and top half in search of delicious treats. Mini Fridge’s ace in the hole, though, is a potent dose of spoiled beer which incapacitates Preda Raptor after it snags a swig of the frothy beverage. Mini Fridge, falling apart more than Joan Rivers’ face, shoves its reptilian opponent straight into the Nerf-lined arena wall where the sedated and dazed dinosaur does nothing but open its mouth in awe at being beaten by what amounted to a Sears twist on Night At The Museum.
Toro Maximus vs. Vera
There’s a special place in my heart for international robot teams. I don’t know if it’s because they’re an underdog for traveling several thousand miles or if it’s because I think broken English is cute but for whatever reason Toro Maximus, no relation to BattleBots legend and pneumatic funhouse Toro, makes me smile. Toro Maximus is basically a metal brick with a spinning drum covered with carved tool steel. It is described as having acceleration “as fast as a race car” and a weapon that spins “as fast as a chainsaw” which leads me to have a mental picture of a formula one racer absolutely covered in chainsaws and that’s a pretty goddamn awesome representation. Toro Maximus is a race car armed with a chainsaw, it should win every fight just for showing up. After seeing the collective insanity of Team Riobots it’s pretty obvious that these people are probably breaking some sort of probation violation involving staying away from sharp objects.
Vera is a domestic robot that is, in keeping with the comparisons to vehicles, armed with a weapon that spins as fast as a helicopter blade. The weapon? A 70-pound chunk of metal shamelessly stuck on the front of what appears to be half of Vera’s last opponent. The metaphors don’t end there, though. Grant goes on to describe Vera’s weapon as both “like getting hit by a car going 40MPH”, “like a blender on steroids”, and “like having your innards liquefied by a spider bite and sucked out of your ass”. I might have added in one of those comparisons.
It’s made quite obvious early on that Toro Maximus’ entire strategy is based on simply not giving a fuck about anything and the team drives their robot straight into the spinning bar of Vera like it’s not even there. A weapon belt flies off of Toro Maximus but the robot is completely unfazed because there are three other ones attached to the robot’s spinning drum. Why? Because the Brazilian team is insane. Apparently when they aren’t making fart fetish videos Brazil is hard at work confining excessive amounts of insanity into little metal boxes that end up getting described as the greatest race car you’ll never see. Vera’s drivers don’t even know what the hell is going on because by the time they realize they probably shouldn’t just sit in the middle of the arena doing nothing they’ve been hit another five times and are thrown completely over in the air while Team Riobots shouts incoherent Portuguese phrases at them. When Vera finally manages to land a solid hit on their opponent their weapon actually explodes into two pieces out of sheer awesomeness and pants-shitting terror. After emasculating its opponent Toro Maximus follows up its parade of Brazilian insanity by managing to wedge Vera behind the arena barrier while simultaneously blowing apart the rest of the ‘roid raging blender’s weapon.
Grant doesn’t even know what the hell happens by the end of the fight but he most definitely has a roboner.
Avalanche vs. Great Pumpkin
Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin has been involved with robot combat for over a decade. His television debut in the second season of BattleBots was with a four-wheeled bright orange snowplow. His returning appearance here at RoboGames is… with a four-wheeled bright orange snowplow. If there was ever an award for taking one idea and just running with it indefinitely Fuzzy would win it hands down. Technically I suppose Avalanche has eight wheels, but when each wheel is just two of them stuck together that’s kind of cheating. That’s like saying you only drank one beer if you dumped an entire six pack into one novelty-sized gas station soda cup.
As ridiculous and seemingly low-tech as Avalanche looks, though, its simplicity is trumped by Great Pumpkin, a robot who is perpetually ready for Halloween and who literally is nothing more than a fatty scooter with the seat removed. Grant creates an extended euphemism for the team’s lack of effort by playing up its “260 pounds of pushing power with two strong motors” but in reality it’s literally like the team stole a scooter from Wal-Mart and stuck a plastic pumpkin on it where the seat used to be. Also you kind of can’t play up the pushing power of a robot when the driver of its opponent just got done describing his creation as “no matter how you come at it there’s just tires”. Michael Mauldin fucking loves tires and Great Pumpkin seems to only be toting two of them. In Mauldin’s mind this means Avalanche is four times the robot Great Pumpkin is.
Apparently all of those extra fancy tires is just one way of begging for drivetrain issues because while Great Pumpkin does nothing but pop wheelies and skid around — two things a wedge robot probably should not be doing — Avalanche begins falling apart mechanically and starts doing donuts in the center of the arena. Either Fuzzy is confusing this event with a monster truck rally or he’s just screwing with his lackluster opponent, but despite Fuzzy’s intentions Great Pumpkin is kind enough to bring the ailing robot over for Grant to take a closer look at almost as if it’s asking Grant’s opinion on the situation since the people who stripped apart a Wal-Mart fatty scooter clearly aren’t the robot geniuses here. Also, this fight was chopped down from three minutes to about 45 seconds. Clearly we aren’t missing much of anything.
Despite Grant’s attempts to say nice things about Great Pumpkin the recommissioned scooter lives on to see another day.
Mini Fridge vs. Last Rites
From the people who brought us the fabulous Great Pumpkin comes Last Rites, a robot that is apparently incredibly feared in the sport, even causing Jim “My Robot Nightmare Is Basically Synonymous With Awesome Knock Outs” Smentowski to squirt a little in his pants. For a robot feared by all, what could it possibly be? Well it’s kinda like Vera except instead of being red, Last Rites is blue. Either Team Moon (Vera) is ripping somebody off, or Team Hardcore (Last Rites) is the one acting like Carlos Mencia here. Last Rites seriously is a blue version of Vera, the weapon is even the same weight and we just got done seeing Vera get blown to pieces by a single robot driven by about a dozen crazy Brazilians. Mini Fridge is a robot driven by a handful of insane white guys, and if the past is any indication this “spinning helicopter bar” design is very weak against “batshit insanity”.
Mini Fridge is still a mini fridge. However to combat the thought that their robot is about to be turned into a Lego version of its former self Team Tiki has decided to raid a nearby industrial dumpster and has covered their precious sentient appliance with a truck tire and parts of a blown out air tank. The axe that we previously saw Mini Fridge’s driver wielding like a maniac has also replaced the Pulverizer lookalike we saw in its first fight. Whether or not covering your robot with trash will protect you from imminent robotic rape is questionable but since we’re talking about a team whose previous projects included a doghouse armed with a flamethrower I think it’s safe to assume that they’d have covered their robot with trash regardless of who they were fighting.
Right from the start Mini Fridge deploys its front door tactic by ripping its door off and throwing it at Last Rites (seriously, who gave these people another refrigerator). This proves fruitless as the door is promptly sent into another dimension by Last Rite’s who proceeds to attack the strangely indestructible front junk plow of Mini Fridge. That’s great and all, the only issue is that the rest of Mini Fridge’s faux-armor consists entirely of a truck tire which is probably less durable than a chunk of solid metal. This law of matter is proven true because Last Rites proceeds to thoroughly disassemble its opponent like the Nintendo 64 kid after snorting a line of coke. Strangely enough this fight also suffers from “this isn’t 3 minutes long syndrome” so who knows how much implied carnage we missed. It was probably too offensive to be shown on television. After our brief lapse of time we are greeted with what I think is about 45% of Mini Fridge still in one piece. The judges seem to agree that Last Rites probably won even though it broke about 13 protocols of the Geneva Convention in the process.
The History of Robot Combat
For a motorsport as comprehensive as robot combat Grant Imahara manages to summarize it in about two minutes using footage of old Robot Wars competitions (before the event turned into the WWF of the sport). The reason why we have race cars armed with chainsaws today is because about 20 years ago an inventor named Mark Thorpe wanted to live the lazy American dream by inventing a remote controlled vacuum and said “you know what screw it I’ll just put a chainsaw on there”, and with that robot combat was born. If you’re like me you’re probably not paying attention and are instead nostalgia’ing hard over seeing archaic and simpler versions of old favorites such as Biohazard, but narrating the sideshow of wonders is Greg Munson and Mark Setrakian, two guys who are a little more than qualified to give commentary on the sport mostly because both of them are literally insane. Greg Munson co-constructed Ginsu with BattleBots founder Trey Roski. Ginsu is literally a box covered in saw blades. There were no wheels on Ginsu. Just saw blades. If you flipped the robot over it could still drive not because the robot was designed to drive upside down but because Munson designed it to have another completely independent set of freaking saw blades on its top.
Mark Setrakian took the concept of “fighting robot” and applied it in a literal sense. BattleBots was a sport filled with wedges and rammers and boxes until this guy showed up. Setrakian didn’t just think outside of the box, he stomped the box into the ground and drew his robot plans on it with his own blood. Setrakian’s most famous robot, Mechadon, was a giant six-legged spider. Yes, I said “six-legged” and I also said “spider”. “Blender” and “racecar” might be used to describe 99% of the robots that exist out there but the only term that comes close to describing Setrakian’s work is “nightmare fuel”. Mechadon is the creature you will see when it drags you down into Hell after murdering your family and dissecting your dog while it was still alive.
Sewer Snake vs. Live Free Or Die
Sewer Snake hasn’t changed much since the last time we saw it. Its drivers still use it to facilitate intercourse in their relationship, we get it. Also it still has a blue snake on it’s top that’s just begging me to draw Rule 34 of it. Live Free Or Die,on the other hand is a robot who is one word away from pissing off Bruce Willis. Live Free Or Die is equipped with a flipping arm which is nice and all but the placement of the robot’s tires shows that its builders don’t really know much about how leverage and weight distribution can affect driving and maneuverability. How it managed to win its last fight against Pump I have no idea but with a name like “Pump” I’m willing to bet it wasn’t televised because that robot’s weapon cost too much to censor.
I don’t understand how Sewer Snake keeps winning fights. I mean, I guess it’s because the driver is just good at pushing things around but the moment Live Free Or Die gets a good flip in with its pneumatic arm Sewer Snake just goes crazy and parts start moving and convulsing in places that I didn’t think were supposed to move like that on a robot. It’s like the driver just pressed every button on his remote at once because Sewer Snake breaks into an interpretive fire dance.
Perhaps what’s even more distressing is the fact that this seizure causes Sewer Snake to win the fight. Somewhere in the midst of looking like a perpetual plane crash Sewer Snake manages to throw Live Free Or Die completely out of the arena. Don’t ask because I don’t even know what the hell either.
Great Pumpkin vs. Ragin’ Scotsman
Team Hardcore is back with their dollar store Halloween decoration robot Great Pumpkin after a boring victory over Avalanche. You know your opponent is a worthless piece of crap when the only repairs you have to do to your robot involves popping the front of your plastic pumpkin back out from being punched in by a monster truck tire. Ragin’ Scotsman is yet another robot described with the adjective “racecar” but rather than being equipped with a chainsaw for medieval drive-bys this robot totes a flamethrower. I guess when RoboGames relaxed the rule on flame-based weapons people just went hog wild over it. Seriously, when you’re dealing with robots that are completely encased in metal what’s the purpose of a flamethrower? To burn off all of their endorsement stickers or something? Did nobody get the memo that the flame pit from Robot Wars was just a gimmick? For a Scotland-themed robot Ragin’ Scotsman sure does have a distinct lack of Scot going on; the robot is solid purple. It’s not just the chassis either, the team painted the tires too; why they did this is a mystery to me, but at least they’re wearing
dresses kilts. It’s also worth nothing that the drivers of Pumpkin Fucker 4000 are somehow taking this fight hilariously serious when they’re the ones who were uninspired enough to build a boring wedge and decorate it with discount party supplies.
It takes about 20 seconds of solid roasting for the battle announcer to mention the inevitable roasted pumpkin joke. Had this been BattleBots Bil Dwyer would have said that within nanoseconds and then taken his shirt off and started screaming at his co-hosts. When it comes to fire Great Pumpkin just takes it like a bitch because when you’re built from a Hoverround and your opponent is an actual combat robot that’s just what happens, you get your shit ruined. Due to time constraints this fight was cut short but I can only imagine the 2:30 we missed out on involved the purple Ragin’ Scotsman fisting its Thanksgiving-themed opponent with its flamethrower. After the fight the Scotsman team matter-of-factly stated “we burned up all of our fuel in one big shot”. The manner in which they said “we just ignited a molotov cocktail inside the arena” is alarming to say the least, it’s like they did it and don’t exactly understand that they just lit up enough energy to start a universe and shoved it up the ass of a plastic pumpkin.
The Non-Violent Side of RoboGames
As a break from the carnage Grant shows up to speak a little about the other fun things people do with robots that doesn’t involve a mixture of demolition derby and murder. RoboGames is the home to tons of other demo events and contests among them including Mexican wrestling, robo-stilts, break dancing, Japanese sex robots, Japanese sex mecha robots, miniature Mechadons, and possessed monkeys. The segment had the potential to be both informative and entertaining, but for a show titled “KILLER ROBOTS” I guess showing a strip dancing anime girl just doesn’t fit with the theme but I’m sure Grant spent a full hour (and all of his singles) watching it act cute and giggle while flashing its panties.
Toro Maximus vs. Original Sin
Moments before their next fight we get to see a shot of Team Riobots huddled around their robot tweaking and fixing all sorts of things on it. The team captain speaks briefly saying that they’ve been working “since the 3 in the PM fight” rebuilding and repairing their creation. In case you forgot Toro Maximus showed up the Bizarro version of Last Rites (Vera) in a previous bout where their entire strategy revolved around using their face to stop a helicopter blade-speed weapon. Needless to say they have a lot of repairs to make because of it. Toro Maximus is wheeled into the arena completely repaired using a mixture of both actual tools and tamarind fruits. Original Sin is a giant wedge with a bulldozer-armored ramp on its front and that’s it. Apparently Original Sin has been around for a very long time, long enough to get destroyed by Toro Maximus and also to beat it as well. Normally I’d rap about this new robot for a while but seriously, it’s just a goddamn wedge. At least Great Pumpkin had some kind of decoration to make fun of.
Taking a page from the Toro Maximus style of fighting, Original Sin flies out of its square and immediately starts shoving its face into Toro’s spinning drum. At first the tactic seems stupid and Grant demonstrates this by sharing with us the fathomless wisdom of “if you touch that drum (loud crashing sound) you’ll be taking damage”. Thanks Grant, we totally missed Toro Maximus’ last fight. In the middle of sweeping the floor with its opponent Original Sin’s wedge starts to deform and shoot sparks everywhere Toro’s weapon touches it though it does somehow manage to throw the Brazilian box of insanity onto its backside. Original Sin shoves its opponent into the corner
where the Pulverizers are and Toro performs a hand stand while being counted out.
Like I said, they’re insane.
Sewer Snake vs. Ragin’ Scotsman
We’re out of new robots to introduce so I guess I can spare you the trouble of describing new competitors and just remind you of the following: Sewer Snake, robot sex & Ragin’ Scotsman, kilts. Sewer Snake for the uninitiated is a wedge with a flamethrower. Ragin’ Scotsman is also a wedge with a flamethrower. Team Scotbots’ captain describes their weapon as a “whooosh” and their opponent’s as “a blowtorch”. I’m not sure if he knows what a noun is.
At the start of the battle both robots begin locking heads and shooting flames at each other completely unaware that grilling the side of your opponent that shoots fire is probably fireproof. In what amounts to essentially a battle of wedges (one of which is capable of contortions) somehow Ragin’ Scotsman loses a tire. Either they forgot to put the screws in or the wheel itself is fed up with Sewer Snake’s overrated bullshit and decides it wants to leave and check out the exotic anime robo-dancers. Either way Ragin’ Scotsman doesn’t seem to be affected by losing a wheel as it still continues to haul ass around the arena and perform sweet jumps off of the front of Sewer Snake. However, thanks to having lost a tire Ragin’ Scotsman loses the battle to Sewer Snake since in the sport of robot combat taking your opponent’s wheel off is basically a guaranteed victory unless you manage to really screw something up.
Last Rites vs. Original Sin
What we have here is a battle that amounts to two apparently tired designs going head to head. Out of 16 robots at RoboGames two of them (that we know of) were Last Rites and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Mythbuster to figure out that wedge designs are pretty commonplace too. Last Rites comes to us from Team Hardcore, a bunch of tryhards whose other robot was literally a mobile Halloween decoration that they took as seriously as their “real” competitor Last Rites. Original Sin comes to us from a racing aficionado and features a design and mechanical structure based upon an overpowered go kart. For the sake of the fight it would be nice to see Original Sin win only because I’d like to see if Last Rites is capable of cleaning the crap out of the pants of its driver. Additionally Gary Gin, builder of Original Sin, is no stranger to taking out overrated opponents. In the fourth season of BattleBots, Team Late Night Racing showed up with a little known rookie wedge robot called The Big B. Big B proceeded to stomp out five BattleBots favorites (Fang, Gamma Raptor, Carnage Raptor, Slam Em Silly, Das Bot) before losing to Ziggo in the lightweight finals in what was almost a split decision.
If you believe in miracles then Original Sin is the robot for you.
Last Rites happens to be about as stable as me after a night of drinking over being laid off from work. It’s simple physics to know that a wedge plus a spinning weapon equals some kind of crazy aerial stunts, and thanks to the high power of Last Rites’ weapon it doesn’t take long before it looks like the robot is mid-transformation into becoming a full blown flying war machine. Instead it just Michael J. Fox’s all over the arena while its Jeffrey Tambor lookalike driver tries to regain control over their new flying contraption.
During their exploration of space Last Rites somehow manages to teleport its weapon directly behind Original Sin and wastes no time popping a wheel right off of the robot. This wheel is then followed by Original Sin’s wedge and three more tires. The damage is incredible but perhaps what’s more amazing is how maneuverable Original Sin was with only one wheel. For a robot that should only be capable of moving in a tight circle Original Sin was channeling the power of the dark lord to power slide all over the place but even pausing the battle to make a goat sacrifice can’t put a magical barrier around your last remaining wheel and that gets promptly torn off. Once Last Rites realizes there are literally no more parts to rip off of its opponent it then decides to play hockey with itself using Original Sin’s tires as makeshift pucks (and then decides to go check out the anime strippers).
Sewer Snake vs. Last Rites
Much like Michael Jackson after a heart attack, this is it. The finals. We’ve got Sewer Snake, a robot with freaking 12 wheels, and Last Rites, a robot who has a fetish for trying to wear as many wheels as it can on its massive tool. To get here Sewer Snake literally beat three teams from various schools around the country ruining the dreams of a bunch of kids and young adults in the process. Sewer Snake beat Gruff so hard that Gruff took up smoking, afterward Sewer Snake went on to dismantle the poorly thought-out design of Live Free Or Die (Hard) by throwing it out of the arena and followed that up by ripping the wheel off of Ragin’ Scotsman and sticking it up the backside of their kilts. Last Rites on the other hand disassembled a mini fridge, guarded our country’s international borders, and sucked the magic right out of one of the sport’s true underdogs. Seems like one of them accomplished more than the other, and Sewer Snake seems to be taunting Last Rites with the promise of delicious cherry-flavored wheels.
Sewer Snake enters this fight with a new weapon that its driver seems to be proud of calling “bulldozer blade” like he’s the only one who’s ever muttered that phrase before and as the red and blue reptile is brought into the arena Grant takes a look backstage at Last Rites and explains that the team seems to be burning through weapon motors like they’re going out of style. For those of you who aren’t savvy to the cost of building a robot, the price of something like the motor that drives Last Rites weapon can cost as much as $1,000.00. Pretty obvious to see who’s well off financially and it seems like you can understand why both drivers wear shit-eating grins, because unlike what the name I just called them implies they won’t be going home to lukewarm ramen noodles and stale bread like you and I are. I don’t like it when douchebags with entitlement complexes win events like this, so frankly I don’t care who wins. Ideally it would be cool to see Sewer Snake get raped while Last Rights creates an electrical storm that sends both robots back in time so everybody loses, but I digress.
My dreams are achieved (somewhat, and for a moment) however when it appears that the people behind Last Rites forgot to plug in their fucking weapon motor and the robot refuses to become anything other than a creatively shaped doorstop.
Meanwhile, Grant screams “SPIN UP” at Last Rites and almost like magic (actually not almost, it is magic because Grant is secretly also a robot) their weapon comes to life and manages to make a flurry of yellow foam explode forth from Sewer Snake’s wheels. Realizing that its opponent’s tires aren’t just cherry-flavored but also have cream filling Last Rites goes into an insane rhythmic convulsion and starts reeling around the arena while Sewer Snake starts hobbling around like it was just body slammed by a fat kid. Last Rites wastes no time coming back in for seconds and throws sparks and wheel fragments of the reigning champion all over the arena, but for a robot with as many moving (and flimsy-looking) parts as Sewer Snake the robot somehow manages to not fall apart. Just because it’s holding together, though, doesn’t mean that it’s winning any championships by being a punching bag. Sewer Snake is down to little options, so while it has Last Rites pinned against the wall it does the only thing its robot brain can perceive as “reasonable”.
It lights itself on fucking FIRE.
Sewer Snake goes completely insane and turns into a flaming hunk of metal and proceeds to burn both itself and its opponent in the corner of the arena. Last Rites simply cannot process the fact that its opponent has transcended both reality and the universe and to become a goddamn phoenix and promptly stops working. Sewer Snake blew its opponent’s mind.
As the knockout is made official Grant loses his crap over the victory (along with the crowd) and while Sewer Snake continues to smolder and burp out flames Grant talks to Team Plumb Crazy about their victory. The fact that the credits are rolling on top of their accomplishment kind of belittles it and makes it feel cramped and rushed but regardless Sewer Snake skates away with its fourth RoboGames victory after utilizing a battle tactic that I have never before seen in the 12 years of experience I have with the sport. Seriously I don’t even know how to end this article now that I’ve just witnessed the first meta-dimensional victory in the history of robot combat.
But regardless, it was a nice opportunity to revive BattleBots Update for a special “last hurrah” column. Killer Robots seems like it was a pilot of sorts and if Science Channel plans on beefing up RoboGames to put it on the same pedestal as BattleBots for future seasons then it looks like this column won’t be so dead after all.
I’ve held jobs at several places, most of which were media-based (all of them, actually… a video game store, a cinema, and a Blockbuster Video). While I cannot effectively say that working in a corporate chain of media outlets is better than food service I can say that food service can’t possibly be much better, if any better at all. Corporate-owned chains are notoriously depressing places to work in the first place and Blockbuster Video is not an exception by any means, in fact it may actually be the centerpiece of awful jobs with depressing demands and expectations. After having done my time I ended up quitting because the constantly changing sales demands and lack of stability in the company was having an adverse effect on my actual well being so as per my doctor’s orders… I told Blockbuster where they could shove those excess copies of Twilight.
Having worked there, though, I have a unique insight to all of the company’s lies and stupid practices that they pass along to unknowing customers. Even if some customers are completely retarded there’s still no reason why they should be kept in the dark about such things as:
Remember all the hoopla about “NO MOAR LATE FEEZ” a few years back? Yeah, that was a whole load of crock and was actually a better operating model than what replaced it. Prior to the new system that was enacted a few years ago if you kept a movie out past its due date you were charged a nominal fee (less than $1) for each day you kept the movie out. People hate late fees either because they’re just too incompetent to see “DUE BY: TUESDAY 04/13” printed on their receipt and feel embarrassed about it or simply because through evolutionary changes in the human race the phrase “late fees” causes people to instinctively lose their shit over the stupidest things. What happens if you keep a movie out past its due date NOW?
They charge you the full price of the movie as if you had bought it new.
Yeah. You spend $5 renting that copy of Iron Man and if you keep it five days past its due date you’d be charged $20 directly to your credit card, if you were stupid enough to let them put it on file with their records in the first place. Once that charge goes to your credit card you have a whole problem to deal with because charges for late fees may actually have an adverse effect on your credit score. If you’re too lax with your Blockbuster rentals there’s a solid chance you may actually end up playing guitar in a seafood restaurant or buying shitty cars and getting 1980’s cell phones from Verizon. If you do the math on average late fees have gone from 25 cents a day to almost four fucking dollars. Legally they can do this to you so long as they don’t call it a “late fee” because that would be false advertising… but should you ever find yourself disputing a claim over it don’t refer to it as anything else other than “late fee”, because that’s exactly what it is only repackaged.
If you ever find yourself owing a Blockbuster Video store money for whatever reason (late fees, etc) you don’t have to pay them. At all. It is company policy that the “customer is always right” and with Blockbuster completely in the crapper financially they will do anything — anything — to keep customers happy. If you rented the maximum number of movies out at one time and kept them all for a month and accrued several hundred dollars in late fees they have to overturn this. Generally they will of course tell you that they cannot do it for whatever reason but if you make enough noise about it they will overturn it regardless of the amount.
They probably realize that nickel and diming the hell out of their customers at every possible point in the transaction is a counterproductive way to stay in business so if you are completely flustered over them charging you for late fees you can get out of it. You could make up whatever story you wanted to ranging from your idiot brother renting it without you knowing to being abducted by aliens and giving them Blockbuster’s only copy of Gigli so that they would let you go in return and the manager will have to pardon the fees, the manager/employee handbook guide says so.
Normally Blockbuster Video would have you believe that their store is absolutely crawling with security what with all of the tempting movies and games sitting out on the sales floor. As it turns out there are only two cameras in the entire store (that’s what the asterisk means): there is a camera pointing at the front door and a camera pointing at the registers to watch the employees. There is also a camera in the back/storage room but that isn’t accessible by customers so it’s not being counted. Blockbuster is more concerned with people taking petty cash from the registers than they are with thieves stealing actual merchandise; while the registers only have about $200 in them at any given time somebody exceptionally devious could cut open the entire Star Wars franchise and other films and make off with more in merchandise than the employees could ever pocket from the registers.
It also doesn’t help that in some stores they leave entire retail games out on the floor unsecured. No, I’m not making this up, Blockbuster is almost inviting people to come take whatever they want from the stores and never be seen doing it. Sure the employees might notice you slicing something open but even if they do see you every employee is instructed in their handbook to not pursue or even confront people they think are stealing and also not to notify the police about it because if the suspect has a knife or pulls out a gun Blockbuster would be liable for whoever gets shot and/or stabbed. They’d rather let people walk out with every copy of Land Before Time than they would in being aggressive to take care of their own asses.
You’re this far into this article and you still think that perhaps Blockbuster Video isn’t that bad. Well, okay; fine. Here’s another tidbit they feed you that is 100% untrue. “You need a credit card on file to rent from us,” a clerk might say. You can look this person in the eye and tell him “no” and he has no choice but to listen to you. The way the archaic computer system is set up allows for blank fields in the credit card information. The only time you actually need a credit card is to rent a video game because apparently losing $60 for every game is seen as “bad” by the corporate offices whereas losing $20 on copies of The Mummy III isn’t; but even then if you’re exceptionally crafty you can give them a Visa gift card with a penny on it and they won’t be any wiser.
If you want to get technical with the person behind the counter tell them to put “VG” as your credit card type and your customer profile will suddenly no longer demand plastic. “VG” is a two character abbreviation for “VideoGuard”, an old subscription you could purchase back in the days of VHS that would protect you from damaged tapes and thus keep you safe from having to pay for it with your credit card. VideoGuard is no longer sold/offered but the functionality is still there because the system is old as fuck so telling them to put it in the field will abstain you from surprise late fees and charges.
It’s also worth pointing out that even though you are given a grace period with late movies by giving Blockbuster Video your credit card information you are letting them put various holds for X amount of dollars on your account until said late movies are returned to the store. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck a hold of $20 on your account can be pretty crippling.
If you are tempted by the sodas, the popcorn, or the candy at the registers don’t buy it… and if you absolutely have to then check the expiration date. People generally aren’t interested in buying a Snickers bar for $2 at Blockbuster when they can stop at a Wal-Mart and get it for 50 cents and because of this the inventory of snacks at any given store is likely poorly circulated. The next time you’re at a Blockbuster Video check the soda cooler and see how many Diet Cokes are past their date and for the sake of hilarity don’t say anything and instead just keep an eye on it to see how long the staff neglects the food. The second it becomes so rancid that it evolves sentience is about the time they usually do something.
I can speak from my own experience that the staff doesn’t keep an eye on all of the snacks mostly because there’s too much of it to keep in mind. There were boxes of flavored popcorn that had expired in 2007 and were still out on the sales floor in 2009; I’m fairly certain Orville Redenbacher even had a new logo in that time. There were also bottles of Vitamin Water that were so old they had somehow started growing mold inside the bottle, the entire inside was coated with a thick black goop that looked like something straight out of The X-Files. Mercifully the worst offenders were sitting in the back room and were pulled for expiration long ago but nobody ever marked them defective to be credited back to the store.
In the past decade Blockbuster Video has tried a lot of different ploys to keep people in the store, most of which involved some annual or monthly fee and copious amounts of “coupons” to keep people’s attention. I can’t speak against all of them because some have some decent deals and specials, but I will advise that you familiarize yourself with the terms in more detail than just what the clerk tells you because he only wants you to buy it because if he doesn’t his job is on the line. He’d tell you that purchasing a Blockbuster Rewards subscription would get you laid every single day if it meant you’d buy one.
The problem with these frequency subscriptions is that they require you to spend a lot more money than they are worth to get any savings and I’ll use the formerly popular “Blockbuster Rewards” as my example. The deal was nice: rent any 5 movies and your 6th (least expensive) is free! You also got 1 free rental from the 99 cent section (when it existed) as well as “rent one get one” from the 99 cent section on certain days of the week. On the whole it’s not that bad of a deal for only $9.99 annually. The problem with the “rent 5 get your 6th free” thing is statistically nobody rents 5 movies in any given month. Renting a movie is, at best, a once a week kind of thing and generally people only rent 1 movie which adds up to 4 for each month… and your amount doesn’t carry over at the 1st of the next month. The system was devised in such a way to simply scam people from ten extra bucks at the register.
If you’re that much of a die-hard customer than it’s probably something for you but for the casual customer you’re going to be spending more money than you want to and you probably won’t reap the benefits from it at all.
When I worked at Blockbuster Video I hated my job. It was one of the most depressing things I can remember doing in my life. I was forced to dress up as a vampire on Twilight release day and wave around signs and other such nonsense outside in the South Texas sun without sunblock on. It’s a humiliating and depressing job and that opinion is something echoed in every single Blockbuster Video in the world. I’ve advised a lot of awful things against the clerks in the store which may be a bad thing because honestly they don’t deserve it. They’re rude to you largely because they just don’t want to be there and that goes for the managers too. The clerks are generally teens and young adults who just think “The Man” is keeping them down, but the managers are all people who quietly cry to themselves and wish they had stayed in school or done something better with their lives.
Yes it’s inconvenient that you were charged whatever fee because someone on staff messed up and didn’t check your movie in before putting it on the shelf, and yes they will take that fee off because they are the ones at fault. Yes they understand that you’re pissed off because they are sold out of whatever fantastical movie you wanted to see or that they don’t even carry whatever classic you wanted to rent but there’s nothing they can do about it. From an employee standpoint working for Blockbuster is like performing regular maintenance on a sinking battleship, it’s futile and they are aware of it, but it’s the best they can do for themselves right now. When corporate sends out their weekly bulletins about what deals they are supposed to offer generally within a couple of days these correspondences are redacted or replaced with something else; it is a job environment that promotes a feeling of insecurity and instability and to the average worker the thought of going to open the store in the morning only to see a “STORE CLOSED – BANKRUPTCY” sign on the doors with changed locks and people with a crane taking the light-up sign down is actually a very real possibility.
Blockbuster is going down and the company knows this. They have been futilely trying whatever zany idea they can think of to stay in business because in all honesty the “walk in movie rental store” business plan is dying and is getting its ass kicked BADLY by services like Netflix and Redbox offering a much more convenient method of renting and returning movies and at much more affordable prices. Blockbuster has been trying to respond with things like Blockbuster Online and every single frequent renter deal they can think of but all in all it’s not helping. They’ve tried going the Hollywood Video route and adopting the “used video game” business plan (GameRush) and making some stores into entertainment venues (Rock The Block) but it’s all fruitless and to no avail; Blockbuster is currently operating in the red with a debt of almost $300 million and is showing no signs of recovery. Searching the New York Stock Exchange for Blockbuster Incorporated (BBI) shows that the value of their stock is twenty-eight cents. That’s the price of a fucking gumball.
To a prospective investor for just under $1 million they could become the majority shareholder in the company assuming the stocks were all being offered by their holders. Compared to other companies that is pathetic and many investors and economists have written Blockbuster off as one of the companies that won’t be with us much longer. The insecurity felt by the common sales clerks is the same if not worse as the insecurity felt by the corporate employees of Blockbuster, many of whom built their way up long long ago when VHS rental was a mainstream and lucrative business, and for them in some cases they also have nowhere to go.
Working for Blockbuster is a horrid idea, and out of their own insanity shopping there has become a toilsome task as well. With the commitment potential of a Vegas marriage to their business plans Blockbuster is a company on rocky ground heading straight to that big stock exchange in the sky.
If you’re anything like me and someone tells you “hey there’s this new show coming to Discovery Channel that’s like BattleBots meets Twisted Metal” your response will either be “holy shit tell me more” or an uncomfortable erection (or both). A show of this caliber once existed… sort of… and it was called Weaponizers. Discovery Channel isn’t shy about the shows they produce because when they have an idea they will throw money at it until it rips apart at the seams even if it turns out to be total crap (see also: The Colony). Weaponizers was a show based around the idea that building gun-toting fighting machines is something that registers on the Scale of Badassery somewhere between “Dinosaurs With Jetpacks” and “Chuck Norris Jokes Circa 2001” and for all inclusive purposes, it does. If the reasoning behind the show sounds so awesome, then why am I bothering to write an article about it?
Because Weaponizers was a show that missed its mark so spectacularly its flaming descent from the heavens was a spectacle to behold by all.
For those who never got to experience the “joy” of Weaponizers here’s its colorful history. The show debuted on May 11th, 2009 to absolutely abysmal ratings, but prior to that regardless of what you were watching every commercial break for three months out had a plug for the vehicular combat extravaganza. Watching (Insert Sea Creature Here) Fishing: EXTREME? Cars with rocket launchers. Watching Jon & Kate: A Lesson In Contraceptives? Flaming pickup trucks with bulldozer scoops. Watching MythBusters? “From the producers of MythBusters comes Weaponizers.” The show was everywhere, and yes it was from the same producers of MythBusters so this has to be good right? MythBusters is legally obligated (by contract) to have no less than five catchphrases, two suggestive shots of Kari Byron, and eight explosions plus required instant replays per episode so boobies and Savage-isms aside Weaponizers looks to be a formidable and interesting contest. Too bad it was entirely staged, the execution of which was incredibly sloppy and poor.
The suspension of disbelief for something that’s most certainly too good to be true is a difficult thing to keep intact but you’d think with the zillions of dollars (approximated) at the disposal of Discovery Channel they could have done a better job.
In terms of failure the obvious choice would be to jump all over the stage pyrotechnics that took the place of actual bullets and explosives but before we jump into that I’d like to backpedal and discuss the cast of the show. Like any series based upon modifying cars for competition Weaponizers featured two teams of two builders, all of whom had some kind of “qualifications” to be on the show. The people building things on the show had a variety of credentials to their name including such vague accomplishments as “can build almost anything with wheels and drive it” and “has broken the land speed record”. Those are only two examples but honestly there’s issues with all of them, namely the land speed record one because it doesn’t specify the most important detail: “with what”? With the kind of oily gearheads they invited onto the show I can’t quite picture any of them sitting in an expensive rocket car that they cannot explain the physics of as it reaches Mach 1 in a desert lake bed so for all I know these jokers could have put on a pair of rollerskates and cruised down a particularly gnarly street, that’s a land speed record.
With the qualifications provided they may as well have listed “can make almost any kind of balloon animal out of any color balloon”, “once solved a Rubik’s cube using backwards video footage”, or even “has eaten at Wendy’s twice in one day”.
The most disappointing aspect of Weaponizers comes down to the very namesake of the show: the weapons. Rather than being comprised of gunpowder and sheer brute force the weapons attached to the cars operate approximately on equal parts smoke and mirrors. The producers made a huge deal about putting at least two machine guns on each car that can be used to open fire at whatever moves but for all of the hype not once in any of the three episodes of the show do you actually see the guns attached to the cars shoot. You hear them shoot by means of shitty stock sound effects but never once do you see any bullets, any spent casings, or any bullet holes. I’m not entirely sure how guns work in your fictional world but here in the third dimension when a fifty caliber bullet hits a rusty piece of metal roofing it leaves a fucking hole. Doom on the Super Nintendo can render bullet holes in walls but with the million-dollar budget of Weaponizers not one bullet hole is seen. Ever. A “spray of bullets” gets fired at specific targets in the battlefield and none of them, NONE OF THEM take any damage that isn’t triggered by a remote explosion that’s passed off as being set off by the teams’ magical weapons of sorcery.
So the bullets are 100% fake, that’s a huge let down yes, but there’s also an entire second set of weaponry that doesn’t consist of machine guns enchanted with a +5 Invisible Bullets perk. These weapons are all part of an arsenal custom-made by the teams and feature a number of fire-based, kinetic, and pneumatic devices. Ranging from an assortment of engine-powered spinning axes and saws to pneumatic harpoons and cleavers at the very least we can expect to see a snazzy jacked up demolition derby here, right?
Man, you are so fucking wrong.
If the fake guns were any hint, the actual physical weapons of the cars are equally as useless and fragile. Through creative use of camera angles a set of spinning axes and chains can look massive, an illusion which is further aided by showing footage of the Redneck Mobile 2000 tearing up small plywood (!!!) targets but when it’s fighting time only then do you see how much the weapon is dwarfed by its RV opponent (as well as after the weaponry breaks down after hitting a junk target). As a matter of fact all of the weapons are like that once some form of logic is applied to them. In one episode a team opts to have pneumatic harpoons that fire from the side of their van as a means to deal out some solid damage and when they are tested in the garage they look hellacious. Once they are thrown into “combat” though the pistons go flaccid and are never even used. To further my point the same team was also behind a pneumatic cleaver meant to swing out from the side of an ice cream truck and when it came time for the Carnage Round if the blade swung out any slower you could probably have luck making a playing card tower on it.
For weaponry that would make die hard Death Race 2000 fans cream their pants (sorry Jason Statham but your Death Race movie was pretty fucking awful) the phrase “its bark is worse than its bite” has never been more true.
Weaponizers was further crippled by shoddy editing that resulted in hilarious discontinuity in the episodes, especially the “battle” portions. In an effort to keep things action-packed at least in spirit the show utilizes lots and lots of jump cuts and alternate angles (going as far as to show three angles in five seconds in the chopping screenshot above) so viewers would be too distracted by the implied action to notice that whenever one car starts “shooting” the other one sits still either by virtue of “being stuck on debris” or just actually sitting there doing nothing. Blaming easy targets on debris is understandable but every time without fail once one car takes an imaginary ass beating of a lifetime it magically comes to life again and wouldn’t you know the other car stops moving so it can take its licks. I can only do so much by putting it into words because Lord only knows what you have a mental picture of right now so I’ve gone through the trouble of taking the “Carnage Round” from the premiere episode and, in stark violation of YouTube’s “DON’T UPLOAD THIS SHIT” rules, uploaded it onto YouTube.
At this point I’d like to remind you not only did this actually air on national television, it was also touted as “real vehicular combat”. Look at it. LOOK AT IT. I specifically chose this clip because I personally felt it epitomized just how motherfucking terrible the final product of this show was. To further drive my punchline I even created the Weaponizers Drinking Game. Take a shot of your favorite hard liquor every time you:
- See excessive computer animation used as filler.
- Hear dry commentary or panned out scripted dialogue from either team.
- See wide-angled shots to hide the lack of actual bullets firing.
- Hear bullets being fired while the camera is pointed elsewhere.
- See stage pyrotechnics passed off as “weaponry”.
- See a car “stalled” because it was “damaged”.
- See a weapon other than a gun not function properly.
- See the “Black Knight”. Actually, whenever it comes out onto the field just down the whole goddamn bottle. By this point it doesn’t even matter anymore.
I appreciate the effort that went into this show, I really do, but passing this off as real entertainment is just insulting. Scripted ballet between hulky men in tight underwear is one thing but doing it with entire vehicles is another thing far more precarious than ‘roid rage. What’s the problem in simply skipping all of the bullshit protect/destroy “objective” missions and letting people go hog wild with actual weaponry on a car? What, is Discovery Channel afraid of not having enough footage to fill a one hour timeslot? For fuck’s sake if you put real weapons on real cars and let them go at it you could fight for all fifteen seconds and people would be floored regardless. We don’t need to be spoon fed a bunch of bullshit passed off as being “real” only to see that the Black Knight is only a golf cart with a Batman cape and copious amounts of camera angles added for needless dramatic effect. Let it be an R/C demo derby and people will be happy.
In closing I’d like to mention doing research for this article wasn’t very easy because if you consult this list of every single program Discovery Channel has ever produced and/or aired you’ll notice that Weaponizers doesn’t even have its own page on Wikipedia but shows like Lobster Wars do. Not even Wikipedia gives a shit about Weaponizers and I’m speaking about a website with a community full of Asperger’s Syndrome folk who will meticulously detail every episode of even the absolute stupidest crap ever made. There’s not a single image macro available on the Internet that can encompass this amount of failure; when Wikipedia ceases to care about your television show it’s game over. Give up. Pull the plug.
Being a part of a band comes with a lot of choices and decisions. First and foremost there’s a name that you have to agree upon followed of course by the kind of music you will be performing and recording. If you can manage to get through all of that without killing each other then the last hurdle to leap over is the name of your album and what to put on its cover. There are literally thousands of terrible band names and equally as many if not more terrible album covers. This article is a showcase of those covers.
But first before we begin, and also so that nobody can point a finger at me and say that I’m being an arrogant jerk, here are two album covers from two different acts I was a part of. Both are pretty bad in their own respects.
Everything about this group was meant to be a gimmick from the start. That’s me on the left pictured with a close friend of mine who was an accomplice of most of my misadventures during the early 00’s. The Wink Martindale 3000 was no exception to the rule and was a novelty that initially portrayed itself as a generic rap/hip-hop performance group complete with the hand symbols flashed above to seal the deal. The end result, compounded with red-eye and Casey looking like he’s screaming at Godzilla over to his left, turned out to be a complete trainwreck of a cover design that in the end turned out just fine in the context of the group. Also, “Are” appears in the album title twice.
Radio F is a group that saw many names and many incarnations of content production. All of the songs contained in all four of the Radio F music albums were trance beats composed with the help of MTV Music Generator. Originally this album was titled On when it was released in 2002 (or 2003, I don’t quite remember) but picked up the name No More Lonely Nights in its 2007 redesign and re-issue. The new title and accompanying cover art was a throwback joke to a very hazy and very confusing time I spent associating with people who had “interests” in Sonic the Hedgehog things. At the time an Amy Rose upskirt shot seemed like it would be pretty hilarious until we realized a while later that it was in fact an Amy Rose upskirt shot we used as an album cover. Regret soon followed.
Those are my two contributions to the world of bad album covers, now here’s the rest provided by the good fellas over at ZomicWeb.
I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this duo but there’s a certain cheesyness that applies to their album cover of Vamos a la Playa (literally “we go to the beach“) that I absolutely adore. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there’s an air around the image of them (badly) Photoshopped onto the beach that just makes me giggle. It may have something to do with the fact that they’ve literally made a journey out of something as mundane as going to the beach or it could just be how depressingly uninspired they look to actually be at the beach. Francisco has an expression that seems to imply a sarcastic “yay” and Fernando appears to be trying to make the best out of his predicament of having gone to the beach with a person who clearly doesn’t want to be there.
Oh, what? Did you think this article was going to be restricted to just sketchy foreign bands or something? No, no, and “oh hell naw”; Black Sabbath is not invincible to the realm of terrible album cover art and Sabotage embodies that notion tenfold. Look at this album cover for a few moments and see if you can guess what I’m going to point out. I’ll give you a hint if you haven’t guessed it yet; it’s not the cheap fog effects and it’s not their clothes. Do you give up? It’s the fact that apparently nobody involved with the production of this album knows how a fucking mirror works. You’d think that perhaps someone at the record label would have said “hey whenever I look in the mirror I don’t see the back of my own head” but I guess not. Maybe they’re all secretly afraid of mirrors and believe that once they turn away the reflection of them still continues to gaze forward.
Here’s an album cover that’s so bad it transcends the ranks of terrible and somehow defaults back to “holy crap that’s awesome”; it’s a preacher breaking a stack of cinder blocks with the palm of his hand in a church. Go on, let this sink in for a while because it’s one of those things that only happens once in a millennium. I’m pretty sure this is an album full of hymns and other nonsense but just imagine what it would be like if he sang about kicking the Devil’s ass with karate and substituted every instrument solo with the sound of concrete blocks being smashed and broken with distinctive “HIYAAAA” sounds in the background. Whoever came up with the idea for this cover and the idea for this persona (or both if it was the same guy) deserves a goddamned medal.
If there was an award for Most Depressing Album Cover Ever this would win it every consecutive year. Lots of people like to give credit to Linkin Park for inventing the genre of depressing “emo” music, but guess what Mr. Gage here beat them to it by about 30 years with All My Friends Are Dead. The text under the picture reads that it’s an album produced by a ministry devoted to the victims of drug abuse among younger users. I’m just going to toss this out there with the possibility of sounding like a total D-bag, but if these addicts seek help from you and still end up dead… maybe you’re not doing something right? Maybe you should focus less on an album to remember them and focus more on, you know, not letting them die from overdosing and other terrible things?
There’s not a whole lot to see in the minimalist approach that this album cover shows so there’s a pretty good chance that I may actually only be putting this here on the merits of its name alone. How can you even tell if your dog is gay to begin with? I’m pretty sure all dogs sniff each other’s butts so that’s a terrible rule of thumb to go by; the only way I can think of finding out would be to purchase this album and put it on and see if your dog either runs away or starts dancing to it akin to half the production bumpers shown on Nickelodeon in the 1990’s. Dogs don’t wear tight leather nor possess the capability to grow suspicious-looking facial hair and they also lack the ability to wear pastel clothes and only go to trendy “in” bars named “Six” so there’s no other way to tell unless you own this album, and that’s a genius marketing move.
And while we’re here, remember that thing I said about “not a whole lot to see” on this cover? I’ll just say this, that chair is clearly away from everything else and is facing a wall with nothing on it. Use your imagination.
Obviously the little gross-out face plastered smack in the middle of that album cover is my own doing and wasn’t there to begin with. It’s not actually censoring anything because that guy’s fat rolls are doing that for us (*shudders and cringes*) but, you know, his pants are clearly off so I just did it out of common courtesy. Unlike our previous candidates which included simple things such as forced enthusiasm at the beach and not understanding how a mirror works this cover has a lot of things wrong with it. From a morality standpoint, I mean, hello? That dude’s either about to pork pork or he’s already done so and is ironically posing next to the “Please Do Not Feed Animals” sign. Every single stereotype one might have about someone who is into this kind of stuff is encompassed in this single photograph: this guy is fondling livestock, he’s about 300 pounds past the “tolerable in public” limit, and he’s got ugly greasy hair that you could wring out and cook french fries with.
I have to stop myself here before I go too far with things, so I will just share this one final thought. For a band who is clearly trying to sell something based on shock value they could at least make sure they spelled “bestiality” correctly before emblazoning their fucking album cover with it.