Comprehensive coverage

Robot wars. The ingenuity, flight and creativity are wonderful

Contagious enthusiasm
Robot Wars, 19:30, Internet and Hi-Tech channel, "Yes"

TV / Spy Alper

I came across "Robot Wars" last night by chance, during a pessimistic and restless reign, and it immediately changed its abnormality. In a crowded and dark studio, an audience sat very close to an arena that was illuminated by spotlights and was made of a slippery, metallic surface, bordered by a shiny railing. Inside it sat three insectoid-looking robots, futuristic pets, with names of heavy rock bands, such as Sir killalot (that is, to kill a lot), Sergeant Bash (the smashing sergeant), Dead-Metal and Matilda, whose bodies were attached to clamps, hammers, torches and spikes . These, it soon became clear, were the deadly super-robots and horror villains of the show itself, which awaited the contestants.

Behind the scenes, in a large hall that served as a workshop, small groups of excited young computer geniuses, dressed in commando camouflage pants and T-shirts, roared at their homemade robots. They tightened a final screw, applied some fiberglass and watched the remote control calibrate.

The moderator, an encouraging and smiling motor sports girl, turned among them and heard about the wonders of their handiwork, which were characterized by a variety of strange shapes - a triangle connected to four lawnmower engines, a tank-like one with a chainsaw engine in the middle, a circle like leather and green in which a toy car is a little confusing and vulnerable.

The announcer interrupted the conversation. One by one, the home robots were launched into the arena, trying to pass an obstacle course that included spikes that jumped from the floor, net traps, dungeons, and the bully and sadistic Fire Sergeant. Some came out of there sooty, punctured, twisted and crushed; The faces of their creators are fallen and humiliated, holding scraps in their hands, a souvenir of many months of labor that went down the drain.

The winners qualified for the next stage, bruised and slightly scratched, where they fought an all-out war, fleeing for their lives from Matilda's snarky fangs. If they were caught, they were mercilessly slammed against the railing and saved in the campfire. The last two survivors competed in the final stage, from which the winner qualified for the Champions Final.

The ingenuity, flight and creativity in the program are wonderful. The aesthetics are extraordinary and fascinating, the enthusiasm is childish and contagious - pure in its absolute dedication to a complex and demanding field of interest whose possibilities are almost unlimited, which requires perfectionism and considerable investment and which yields great satisfaction, which has nothing to do with financial reward. Professional fame, competition tests excellence.

This is a hobby for crazy people to talk about. The website ( serves a community of common interest members incorporated into the club. This is a happy place for people for whom robots are the flavor of life.

Most televised competitions are based on greed, distraction, luck, emptiness and stupidity. "War of the Robots", which is very popular in Britain and is broadcast there on the BBC, is different because it nurtures and improves a hobby that exists anyway and gives it a purpose, something to strive for - a challenge, publicity, exposure, appreciation. The human race is revealed in "Robot Wars" at its best.

The world of the participants is full and overflowing, they are productive, curious, purposeful, full of life and energetic. The relief of the soul and the joy of victory come from an emotional and intellectual connection to something that is really important to them.

The intensity, vitality and existential meaning that radiate from the "Robot Wars" originate from the innate instinct to learn and improve through play, trial and error, which tends to degenerate over the years. It's fun to watch, because it's fun to see people who are enjoying themselves and immersed in their expertise, their minds drilling plans to build the next robot.
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 1/2/2001}

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