When Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Wydah at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Machines Like Us at the Theatre Company of Lafayette come to town simultaneously tomorrow, it will set the stage for one of the most epic battles ever conceived by nerds, who are well known for conceiving of epic battles: robots versus pirates. Although the inevitable clash between the two tomorrow is expected to render all speculation futile by causing humanity's collective mind to fucking explode, in the meantime, here's a forecast of how the two might match up.
Captain Hook vs. C-3PO The match-up: Unless they are either a) running amok, or b) programmed for evil, robots are at kind of a disadvantage from the get-go, as their functions are generally boring -- and C-3PO, a robot programmed from protocol, etiquette and translation, is a great example of that. Captain Hook, on the other hand, is bumbling and incompetent, so it's hard to say. The winner: Though we would be rooting for the robot just to hear Hook say I'll get you for this, C-3PO, if it's the last thing I ever doooooooo, we're going to give this one to the Captain. He may not be effective, but unlike C-3PO, he is at least constitutionally evil.
Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Bender The match-up: While both are cunning, devious and fundamentally self-interested -- both also have a penchant for heavy drinking (for Sparrow, we're basing that on his being modeled after Keith Richards) and a certain savior faire -- Sparrow is probably the more wily, in terms of getting himself out of tight spots. Then again, Bender's whole purpose is to bend things, meaning he has the advantage of crushing robot strength. The winner: There's no way Sparrow could defeat Bender on sheer force, meaning the only way for him to pull it off would be to somehow turn Bender against himself, possibly by leading Bender's extendable arm on a maze-like chase until coming back around and causing the robot to punch himself in the face. Still, Bender would need only one good swipe to take Sparrow out, making him statistically more likely to pull an early victory.
Captain Blood vs. ED-209 The action: Okay, first of all, dude's name is Blood, which is pretty badass. Secondly, Blood has the clear advantage of cunning over ED-209, who, though heavily armed and menacing, is clumsy and frequently malfunctions. Captain Blood was an Irish doctor who escaped from political slavery and commandeered a Spanish Galleon, while ED-209 is a police robot designed like an American car, which is to say badly. Also, ED-209 has an extensive history of killing the wrong people. The winner: In many ways the same as Bender vs. Sparrow, in that Blood would have to defeat him with trickery rather than force -- unlike Bender, though, ED-209 is an idiot. Pretty much all Blood would have to do is try to get him to go up a flight of stairs.
Blackbeard vs. Maximilian The match-up: Maximilian is basically a machine extension of the evil scientist Dr. Hans Reinhardt, a giant robot programmed to carry out his demeted will -- also, the robot and human are merged at the end of the 1979 Disney classic The Black Hole, and when that happens, they are in hell. Blackbeard is pretty fearsome, too -- he reportedly once participated in a contest in which he and a number of other pirates burned sulfur in a closed room to see who could hold out the longest. And won. Nevertheless, Blackbeard's shrewdness was that he used fear rather than force to intimidate, relying on his reputation to strike terror into the hearts of his enemies. The winner: While Blackbeard's fearsome image would work to intimidate normal people, it's not going to work on a mad-scientist/evil-robot hybrid. No contest here.
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Somalis vs. Basil The match-up: Here's where the shit gets literally real: Modern-day piracy is a real problem off the coast of Somalia, where a narrow shipping passage and unstable governments make for vulnerable hauls; Basil, meanwhile, is a robot built by a couple named Gunderson in Boulder that brings people beers. The winner: If there's any conclusion we can draw from this dumb list, it's that, while robots in theory and pop culture have the advantage of force over pirates, in real life, robots bring you beer. Meaning the winner is pretty much everybody.