Today we have a colorful doodlewash of a little fighting game featuring robots that I loved when I was a kid. Of course, if you were a kid in the UK at the time, your game didn’t mention the cool robots and was weirdly renamed to Raving Bonkers. Sorry about that. But here in the U.S., it was all about the red and blue robots who, through no particular backstory, were dead set on kicking each other’s ass.

Each player takes control of a bot: the “Red Rocker” or the “Blue Bomber” who are waiting in a bright yellow boxing ring (If you were a kid in the 80’s who liked Transformers, you might have had the Megatron and Optimus version). By pushing plunger buttons on a pair of joysticks, player’s try to punch the other robot’s lights out. If you smack the other robot just right under the chin then it’s head pops up and you win the round. That was it, actually, which sounds a little dull when you write about it, but it was super fun to play!

There’s just something about controlling a physical robot that is so much cooler than a video game. Admittedly, it played like an elaborate game of thumb wrestling and didn’t stay exciting for very long during a given session. But in those spurts of time when we pulled out the game and played a few rounds, it was very engaging. Unlike video games, there were no bullets and no bloodshed, just a robot who malfunctions briefly until you jam his head back down into place.

I wasn’t one of those rough and tumble boys. I never liked sports of any kind and I preferred a good book or playing the piano instead. But this was a “sport” even I could enjoy and participate in, without feeling like a completely out-of-place idiot. It was perfect! So, I have a love for these little guys for providing a little rough sport to my over-cultured, nerdy childhood. If you’re curious, I was always “Red Rocker” but, to this day, I have absolutely no idea why.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Cobalt Teal, Azo Yellow, Dioxazine Purple, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

42 replies on “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

  1. I’m laughing at ‘Raving Bonkers’ – I knew of the game but not of the name. How typically bonkers of us… I apologise on behalf of the UK. ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em’ is so much better. But what a lovely doodlewash! Those primary colours are glorious, and screaming childhood, wanting me to play. On that, it’s appropriate that you were always the Red Rocker, because I really like the look of the Blue Bomber – such a wonderful turquoise you’ve got there. I challenge thee to Raving Bo.. er, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em!😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! You thought of me as Raving Bonkers came up. The charm knows no bounds!

        I so wish we could play! This doodlewash is more eye-catching and inviting than the toy itself! Mercifully for you, I guess my resounding Rock Em Sock Em victory won’t be happening any time soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Charlie, that’s an amazing painting. All the details are just right.
    These were well after my time, but I would have loved them too. Electric football and knock hockey were not nearly as cool…(K)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think Ive seen this before but sounds like a good way to burn off some aggression! Your doodlewash is so cool! Wonderful job on the shadows! Yellow for me is such a difficult color!! Do you still play the piano? I don’t get a chance to play much anymore because my husband works at home. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was definitely good for working off aggression! Hehe…I keep thinking these should be in every conference room in corporate America. Might change a few things. Lol And I haven’t played in a few years. Philippe plays piano as well, but right now it just sits there closed with an IKEA light sculpture on it. 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Mr. Red Rocker – I totally remember this. Of course my brother had it – not me – lol! – but I played it with him. And you totally ROCKED this doodlewash! Wow – so much detail. You ROCKED it again! So many fun toy and playful memories you are evoking this month. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks Jodi!! ❤️😃 I bet you were pretty good at this. Hehe… It was definitely a boy toy I guess. Or at least marketed as such. They only had two boys playing it on the box. It’s been fun to travel back down memory lane for me… I didn’t plan on a retro trip, but looks like that’s where we ended up somehow! Glad you’re enjoying the ride!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. More than a few years ago I found out that my older brother always wanted these for Christmas, but coming from a large family it was not to be even though my dad worked 2 jobs while my mom stayed home to take care of the five of us (the last two a set of twins!). So, my sister and I thought our brother should have them and, even though he was in his 40s, we found a vintage game to surprise him. Boy was he surprised, and we had so much fun reminiscing about Christmases past, which were always full of fun, love, warmth, and cookies. Who could ask for more? Thanks for taking me back to childhood in the 60s🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a wonderful story, Carol!! 😃😃Thanks so much for sharing this! I bet he was thrilled as that’s an amazing gift! You guys are cool sisters to have indeed. They always say you can never go back to childhood but that’s just not true. We can all go back whenever we like! We just have to let our hearts take us there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These were epic!! One of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, right behind the light bulb. I was wondering when these two would show up. You couldn’t have “Jarts” or lawn darts without having Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots. Ha! Very good.

    Liked by 1 person

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