Robot Wars Inc
Nickelodeon Robot Wars was a short-lived children's version of Robot Wars filmed alongside the second season of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors. Six episodes were produced and aired on Nickelodeon between August and September 2002 as part of their Nickelodeon SLAM! programming block, with later re-runs on Nickelodeon GAS (Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids).
Dave Aizer and Vivianne Collins served as host and pit reporter respectively, with commentary provided by Stefan Frank, who also provided commentary for Extreme Warriors and Robot Wars: Grand Champions.
As with Extreme Warriors, the series featured competitors building fighting robots weighing up to 220lbs and being pitted against each other in a variety of elimination-based competitions. Many of these, such as Rosie the Riveter and The Revolutionist, had also competed in Extreme Warriors; the key difference between the two shows was that the operators ("roboteers") in the Nickelodeon series were all children associated with their respective teams. Battles took place in a purpose-built arena also used in Extreme Warriors and other versions of the original Robot Wars.
As well as each other, competitors would face a variety of hazards in the arena, including the "Pit of Oblivion" and a roster of five "House Robots" ("Shunt", "Matilda", "Dead Metal", "Sgt. Bash" and "Sir K") which could attack competitors entering their "Corner Patrol Zones" ("CPZs"). A non-combative "House Robot", "Refbot", was also used primarily to start battles, count out defeated competitors and enforce fair play. Competitor robots typically won their battles by immobilizing opponents or pushing them down the "Pit of Oblivion".
In the event that more than one robot survived the full battle duration or if there was a rules infraction (e.g. excessive attacks from a "House Robot"), a panel of "Judges" would decide the winner of the battle based on a set of four criteria: "style", "control", "damage" and "aggression".
The series featured a total of eight events, with a variety of single-episode tournaments ("US Championship", "International Tag Team", "Annihilator") as well as smaller competitions ("Mayhem", "Vengeance", "Challenge Belt") spread out across multiple episodes. Two one-off fights, "Battle of the Spinners" and the "House Robot Rebellion", also featured, the latter involving two competitors facing a group of "House Robots" which had free reign of the arena. The format was conceptually similar to Robot Wars Extreme, a spin-off of the UK series featuring a variety of smaller competitions than the main "UK Championship".
Filming took place at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom alongside Extreme Warriors Season 2, using the same arena, pit area and "House Robots" as in the original UK version. The "International Tag Team" event (Episode 2) also featured a small number of competitor robots from the original UK series.
Changes over Extreme Warriors
To suit younger audiences, the Nickelodeon series adopted a less intense and frantic atmosphere than other versions of the show, with teams actively being discouraged from using rougher language. This also extended to a number of one-off changes made to the arena and "House Robots":
- Disabling of fire-based hazards, including the "Flame Pit", "flame jets" and "Sgt. Bash's" flamethrower; the former was converted to spout jets of CO2 instead.
- The renaming of "Sir Killalot" to "Sir K", this being a nickname used frequently in video games and the original UK Robot Wars Magazine.
- Use of less serious items for the "Drop Zone" hazard, including sports equipment and scrap metal.
The "House Robots" were a set of robots serving as active hazards in the arena. Up to two would be stationed in "Corner Patrol Zones" ("CPZs") in regular battles, where they would attack competitors which strayed too close to those areas. They would also deal further damage to and take defeated competitors to other hazards once they had been counted out after thirty seconds.
- Shunt - Influenced by bulldozers and railroad shunting engines, equipped with a snowplough and pneumatic lifting scoop at either end along with a powerful diamond-edged axe.
- Matilda - Based on a mutant alien boar or dinosaur, equipped with pneumatic flipping tusks and a set of "interchangeable" rear-mounted spinning weapons. The latter included a 3,000rpm chainsaw (as originally used in UK Series 1-4) or a vertical flywheel capable of severely damaging competitors.
- Dead Metal - An exoskeleton-style robot with a set of pneumatically-powered pincers and a 3,000rpm circular saw mounted on a hinged 'head' assembly.
- Sgt. Bash - Designed to resemble a futuristic military tank, with green army paintwork and hydraulic crushing pincers.
- Sir K - The largest, heaviest and deadliest "House Robot", equipped with hydraulic arms fitted with crushing claws and a rotating drill lance. Originally known as Sir Killalot in Extreme Warriors and all other versions.
In addition to these, the series had a non-combative "House Robot" to enforce fair play in the arena:
- Refbot - A humanoid-style robot modelled on a sporting referee, featuring ramming ploughs and scoops as well as a variety of additional equipment. His primary roles were to separate competitors if they became stuck together, prevent the other "House Robots" from attacking active competitors outside of their CPZs, and to count out defeated competitors after they had become immobilized for more than thirty seconds.
- Noel Sharkey
- Martin Smith
- Mat Irvine
Marc Thorpe (based on the British show and 1994-1997 US live competitions of the same name); Tom Gutteridge and Steve Carsey (executive producers).
- Runamok.tech, 'Robot Wars Extreme Warriors - Season 2 Rules'
- Runamok.tech, 'Combat Robot Tournaments and Events - The Ask Aaron Archives'