Red Rocker and Blue Bomber "I coulda been a contender"
January 15, 2019 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots What more could you want in life, as a youngster, than to field your own robot in the boxing ring? It was a simpler time, perhaps?

Mattel re-issued the original contenders in a downsized form for the "35-th anniversary"; yet, re-used the original design of the box to appeal to the retro market. (ahem, Robot Blue)

The toy, issued in the 1965-66 era, was marketed to little boys so they could enjoy thumb exercises to prepare them for the more modern world of playing games by proxy like good Game Boys. UK boys were marketed the "Raving Bonkers" (band name, anyone?)

The toy has broad appeal, and even appeared in Mr. Incredible's room in Pixar's 2004 film The Incredibles.

You can make your own adult version.
posted by mightshould (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A hungry hippo could take both those robots easy.
posted by srboisvert at 9:32 AM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

My kiddo randomly got the Batman v. Superman version of these (yes from the movie) a few years ago. There is no ring, just two stands. They will pop off the stands when they "lose" but each one can only fit on his own stand.

They were pretty boring but then the kid I added lots of dialogue (Batman is more fun because you can do a Batman voice; our Superman ends up kinda whiny for some reason) and also cheat horribly by turning them at angles to hit each other or even hit from behind. It's actually kind of a pointless and annoying toy tbh.
posted by emjaybee at 9:37 AM on January 15, 2019

Someone has set one of these up in a public space at work.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 9:38 AM on January 15, 2019

Wow, the "bzzzzzz" of the robot's Block getting Knocked Off in the commercial suddenly and unexpectedly took me back...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:39 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

the sweet science
posted by thelonius at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, but my brothers and I soon moved to Battling Tops.
posted by AugustWest at 9:59 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Battling Tops were better for sure. The problem with the Robots was that one of them inevitably had more of a hair trigger than the other -- so if you had it, you were almost always going to lose.
posted by philip-random at 10:30 AM on January 15, 2019

I knocked his block off!
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:42 AM on January 15, 2019

In 2009, I put the robots on a sign in Times Square. There was a phone number to take control of one robot and keypad numbers had him punch. It used a Windows version of RSRobots wrapped in javascript and also some phone stuff.
I have forgotten who sponsored it.

Sadly, this kind of control is no longer possible because iphones send the keycode on key-up instead of key-down.
posted by hexatron at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2019

I got Karate Fighters when I was a kid. Those things were super cool. You attach your fighter to the platform, then twist the knob to rotate the platform, causing your fighter's limbs to flail about wildly like that scene in Team America. The goal is to launch the other fighter off the platform by hitting the button on their chest, but with two kids madly twisting like it's a race to see who can grind the most pepper, it's mostly a matter of luck who wins. Maybe that's why we all got sick of it after a week. Ah well, such are childhood fads.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:15 PM on January 15, 2019

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