Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots Doodlewash

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

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Jacob 7 years ago

    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! 😉

    • Author

      Thanks!! Haha! I thought of you as I was typing Raving Bonkers. Wait…it’s the UK thing… not…well…maybe a little… Lol And I accept your duel! But beware, Red Rocker can really kick some ass!! 😎

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        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.

        • Author

          Yeah…I broker mine when I was a kid so we’d have to acquire one. The new ones are made smaller so they’re just not the same. Hehe

  2. memadtwo 7 years ago

    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)

  3. Rachel Murphree 7 years ago

    never played with this, but I had to smile at how you used this to be athletic. I would have played with a girl version of it, if it existed. I never could get the athletic thang….

    • Author

      Hehe…glad I’m not alone there. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t into athletics. Too many things to draw and write about I guess. Hehe

  4. Kari 7 years ago

    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. 😊

    • Author

      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. 😊😊

      • Kari 7 years ago

        Oh no! The piano must be played! My favorite pianists are all French!! 😊

        • Author

          And the French pianist I live with is really great too! I wish he played more. He used to play The Heart Asks Pleasure First from the movie The Piano. It’s so beautiful!! 😊

          • Kari 7 years ago

            I had to go to iTunes to listen to it! Impressive! I’m a huge classical piano fan and loved the Piano, just didn’t remember all the pieces. 😊

          • Author

            Awww cool! It’s lovely isn’t it? I tried to play it and gave up. Too hard!! Lol

  5. Jodi 7 years ago

    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. 🙂

    • Author

      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!

  6. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Charlie, each new toy you add is so awesome. The robots are brilliant! 🤖😻

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 💕😃 I was envisioning more baby animals when I started but we got toys instead. That’s why I never plan this themes to much… I’m just as surprised as everyone else as to what will pop up next! Hehe

      • Sharon Mann 7 years ago

        Just our luck, you are bringing back lots of memories for us all. 👯

  7. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    This is also something I never owned. I love all the little details you put on them! I seriously feel like I can reach into the screen and play with them, you made them look so 3D and real! <3 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa!! ❤️😃Hehe…I love pushing watercolor into 3D. I should practice going loosing and less representational, but it’s fun to make toys look like you could play with them! 😊

  8. Carol 7 years ago

    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 🙂

    • Author

      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.

  9. Cathe 7 years ago

    Ah, super fun Charlie. Makes me want to go play! Now this is my kind of sports activity for sure!

  10. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    I remember the commercials for this toy! Lol! Never played it but it looked like fun! 😜 Super duper doodlewash Charlie! And thanks for all the wonderful memories! 😃👍🎨🌟🌈

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 💕😃 This was probably more a boy toy, but yeah…the commercials were everywhere for a time! So you couldn’t miss it!! Hehe

  11. itsmyhusbandandme 7 years ago

    A friend of mine had this game. It was strangely addictive! Great pic – feels like I can just reach out and start playing.


    • Author

      It was weirdly addictive even though it was stupidly simple. Hehe… Sometimes I think those are the best kind of games! 😉

  12. This is wonderfully done, Charlie!!! I’m so amazed at the details in your work! Rock ’em and sock ’em, my friend!!

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks Laura! I keep wanting to get looser and not so into details, but it’s what I always see!! 😊 Glad you liked it!

      • As P always says…..draw what you see hehe. Go with it, my friend! You’re good at those details. (I hear your advice from P all the time in my head: “Draw what you see.” Simple, but so powerful!) <3

  13. kirkistan 7 years ago

    Nice image and thanks for the trip down memory lane. I think we had these too. I’m pretty sure my brothers and I wrecked them pretty quickly. Sadly.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk! Yeah…these games could get pretty heated. I know at least one time where the head actually popped off.

  14. brad young's art 7 years ago

    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.

  15. […] and sister which contained tiny memories from the past including miniature versions of Tinker Toys, Rock ’em Sock ’em robots, and Lincoln Logs. I was so excited to receive the latter in my bag, but they were plastic instead […]

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