Yesterday, an 8-inch toy robot stuck to a pillar near Coors Field triggered hours of havoc downtown, culminating in the Denver bomb squad detonating the innocuous figurine in a hullabaloo of wondrous proportions. Wondrous, but also completely unnecessary. Clearly the little bugger wasn't out to get anybody, and even if he was, what was he going to do? Mechanically bite off our kneecaps?
Now, there are robots that would have warranted such turmoil -- and more. Here are the top 10 androids and robots that, if they popped up downtown, would warrant a massive military response:
Basil Not only does this robot really exist, but he's based right here in Denver. Basil is the techno-brainchild of husband and wife roboticists Jim and Louise Gunderson, owners for the local robot lab Gamma Two, Inc. And here's why he's scary. The Gundersons have figured out how to make this sucker actually process real-world information like a human -- which means he can problem solve, he can learn... and sooner or later he'll be smart enough to realize this whole human race thing is well past its prime and needs to be eliminated. He may look like a roaming end table, but that's how he'll get you. One day you'll be resting your Heineken on him, the next he'll use his cute bowtie to strangle the life out of you. Any of the GoBots Forget the Transformers. After what Michael Bay has done to them, they're nothing more than impotent jumbles of metallic machismo that clang around and spout horrible lines of dialogue. No, the real toy line to be worried about are the GoBots, the Transformers knock-off line Tonka introduced in the 1980s. These poor schmucks have long been the ugly kid brothers of the robot world, and saddled with god-awful names like Screw Head, Dumper, Grungy and Baron Von Joy, they're clearly ready for retribution using whatever poorly-made plastic weapons their sweatshop manufacturers provided for them. A robot mime Sure, he may start off as still as a statue, but sooner or later he's gonna move really quickly and make you poop your pants.
The Gunslinger from Westworld Not only is he a gunslinging robot that has gone bat-shit crazy, and not only has the robot taken the bad-ass form of 1970s-era Yul Brynner, but considering the movie he's from has more or less the same name as, ahem, a certain Denver-area alternative newsweekly, he'd likely be wearing nearly impenetrable body armor comprised of two layers of glossy-magazine cover and page after page of marijuana ads.
A hipster dressed as a robot We'd explain why, but it's a really obscure reason and you probably wouldn't get it.
Johnny 5 from Short Circuit We're less worried about this robot showing up than we are about him being accompanied by his humanoid sidekick Steve Guttenberg. That dude is scary.
Nintendo R.O.B. Long ago banished to the dusty basement rumpus rooms of our youth, these deceptively cute robots, packed with the 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System, are surely biding their time to wreak 8-bit death and destruction on the populace. After all, the red-eyed monstrosities used gyroscopes, and as we know from Segways, gyroscopes will kill you. Anyone using an Android phone Let's face it: It's time to put all those wannabe iPhone users out of their misery.
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Cadet Larvell Jones doing his robot sound effects from Police Academy Come on, listen to those realistic bloops and beeps! That guy just has to be a robot! Oh wait, now he's a hissing tire... now he's a neighing horse... and now he's a horny dolphin! Oh Michael Winslow, you so crazy!
Plus, he'd probably bring along Steve Guttenberg. That dude is scary.
Maximilian from the Black Hole Disney's blood-red hell-beast has long left us scared speechless. We have to let former Westword food critic and long-time robotophobe Jason Sheehan weigh in on this one for us:
Max has the special distinction of being the first character in a Disney movie ever to eviscerate another character on-screen when he killed Anthony Perkins's Dr. Alex Durant with those spinning food-processor blades he had instead of hands.
Oh, and did I mention that he was also Satan? Yeah, the Satan. Because when the Cygnus went into the titular black hole, viewers (including yet again, a young and impressionable me) were treated to a very non-Disney vision of hell with Maximilian lording over all the fire and brimstone and the crippled Dr. Reinhardt (who'd been crushed by a falling television screen, of all things) trapped forever inside his armored shell with just his eyes staring out madly from Max's eye-slit.
This movie fucked me up for years after seeing it, and still can even now that I am a fully grown man, deeply involved in the fight against evil robots myself. Seriously, there were years when I couldn't bring myself to go into the arboretum in Niagara Falls during my family's annual winter sojourn simply because it reminded me too much of the greenhouse section of the Cygnus. And one year (cruelty upon cruelty...) my folks bought me a bunch of (undoubtedly remaindered) Black Hole action figures for Christmas, including one of Maximilian. Seriously? Who buys a kid a toy of the one thing in the world that scared him more than anything? The very first thing I did with my Maximilian toy was take it out in the driveway and try to smash it with a rock, which, of course, was pointless, because Max was indestructible, so I had to content myself with throwing him into the sewer and telling my mom that I'd just lost it.