People kept telling us, "Robots in Osaka are different." When we would press them to explain they would say, "They are so different, you have to go see for yourself." Earlier this month our curiousity got the best of us, so we boarded the bullet train for the two and a half hour journey to Osaka to attend Robo-Fight 3. What we found was totally amazing. Instead of just telling you that the robots, and their builders are "different", we put together the video below.
In some ways the Osaka robot competitions, like Robo-Fight and Robo-Gong, are similar to other, more well known robot contests like ROBO-ONE.
The robots are, for the most part, bipedal and humanoid in nature. The bouts in the ring run for 3 minutes and generally follow the same rules established by ROBO-ONE.
But, while ROBO-ONE tends to focus on determining the 'best' robot entry, and tends to screen out a lot of participants, Robo-Fight is focused on having as much fun as possible and openly invites participation by as many robots as possible. For example, robots that are still tethered to a PC are allowed to compete, even though keeping the wires from getting tangled sometimes becomes a major challenge.
The resulting energy and enthusiasm has to be seen to be believed. These people live, eat, sleep, and breath robots - literally. When they meet they immediately start talking about robots and it doesn't stop until they say their last farewells that night.
Think we're kidding, or being over dramatic? Here's a good example. On the last day of the recent three day Robo-Fight event competitors started showing up around 8:30 am, even though that day's opening ceremonies weren't scheduled to kick off until 10:00 am.
The battles went basically non-stop all day, with a breif break for lunch, until late afternoon. In Tokyo events they stage a robot 'rumble' featuring the top 8 to 16 robots to cap off the day. Robo-Fight takes the same idea and puts it on steroids. They extend the rumble battlefield until it's about 7 meters long, and they add obstacles, including little hills. Everyone, even competitors from previous days competitions, gets to participate. Robot rumbles done Osaka style are an absolute riot. Pure robot chaos and fun.
That, in itself, would be enough for most robot fans, and after a long, exhausting day they might head home for a well earned rest.
Not in Osaka! The Robo-Fight participants packed up their robots and gear, then hit the subway for half an hour to gather at their favorite restaurant. Within a few minutes, and even before the first beer was poured or the first toast offered, they had their robots unpacked and ready to fight again.
During the course of the evening they staged three more massive robot rumbles, and had a huge amount of fun in the process.