Robotron: 2084 was released in March 1982.
Total production is estimated at 18,000 units. The upright cabinet style is common. Both the cabaret (or mini) and cocktail styles were produced in much lower numbers, one estimate citing only 500 cocktails produced.
The basic play of Robotron was programmed in three days. The design of Robotron was influenced by "Berzerk
" and the Commodore PET game 'Chase'. The concept name was 'Robot Wars - 1984'.
The original name for the production was '2084 - Robotron', but the name Robotron was more commonly used by virtually everyone involved, and the game was renamed shortly before production. This is why the cabinet side artwork simply has the number 2084 vertically.
Robotron was unique at the time in that the controls were two 8-way joysticks (one for running, one for shooting) rather than the more typical single joystick and fire button. This unique dual-joystick control was created because of two occurrences : Jarvis liked the game "Berzerk
", but hated the joystick-and-button run-and-shoot configuration; and the fact that Jarvis's right hand had been broken in a car accident shortly after he finished creating "Stargate
This game shares some sounds from "Defender
" and "Stargate
The human characters in this game are named Mommy, Daddy and Mikey. The idea and the inspiration for the character Mikey was from the 1970's commercial for 'Life' cereal.
Williams were sued by Walt Disney Productions for copyright and patent infringement regarding Williams use of 'Tron' in Robotron. Williams won the suit and Walt Disney releases Tron on time.
A Robotron machine appears in the 1983 movie 'Koyaanisqatsi - Life out of Balance' and on the 1986 movie 'Better Off Dead'.