Video games are very equal opportunity. You don’t need a body or a soul to be included in the main cast. There have been a lot of robots and AIs in games, throughout the years, so here is a brief exploration of some of my favourites, in date order.

Metal Gear – Metal Gear Series – 1987

Metal Gear

The granddad of my list, soon to be celebrating its 30th birthday, and its had so many face lifts over the successive games that it doesn’t look a day over 2. A few scratches maybe from Snake and Big Boss’s continuous attempts to destroy it, but then the very next game up it pops again, albeit a new model. Some models of Metal Gear could be considered more weapon than a robot but many can function with an AI component which makes it count as a robot in my books. Without Metal Gear there would be no Metal Gear games, enough said. It’s on my list.

Jack/ P Jack & Combot   – Tekken – 1994

CombotJack P

Combot came later in the series and takes on other character’s fighting styles, instead of having his own, but P Jack, Prototype Jack, was in the games from the start. This pair of dangerous fist fighting androids were fighting in the Iron Fist Tournament when their AI cousins were still busy trying to beat humans at chess. I know which type of match I would prefer to watch.

Cait Sith – Final Fantasy 7 – 1997

Cait Sith

You would be forgiven for not thinking of Cait Sith as a robot as, let’s face it, he doesn’t look like one. But he is, indeed, a robot that looks like a cat controlled from a distance by a Shinra employee. Yes, technically he’s a spy in Cloud’s party but who can stay mad at that face? Not me certainly. Hence he’s in my list.

Jehuty & A.D.A – Zone of the Enders – 2001

Jehuty

This was one of my favourite games for PS2. One could argue that Jehuty itself doesn’t constitute a robot, as it has to be piloted and therefore is more an armoured vehicle, mecha, but I think if you include A.D.A which is the frame’s AI control software then it could be argued the two together make a robot.

GlaDOS & Wheatley – Portal Series – 2007 & 2011

GlaDOS

When it comes to robots in computer games these are the two that come first to mind, for me. Who can forget GlaDos’ scathing wit and sarcastic insults? She’s intelligent, dedicated – as she really loves testing – and quite menacing when she’s not attached to a potato. She also holds a serious grudge against those who kill her… Who would have thought?

Wheatley

Wheatley in Portal 2 on the other hand is hilariously idiotic and a great contrast to GlaDos’ clever wit, which turns out to actually be by design as he is a personality core made to counter GlaDos’ high IQ. This character had me in stitches most of the game, and even though you lost the plot of reason in the end, Wheatley, I still love you. Just stick to your day job in future.

Claptrap – Borderlands – 2009

Claptrap

Claptrap is designed to be annoying and is very successful in that respect and appears in all the borderlands games, 1, 2 and prequel. It might be annoying but no one can deny it has personality, being enthusiastic, arrogant and quick to distance itself from a fight, but you know what? I forgive you for that Claptrap. No one’s perfect, after all.

Nick Valentine & Wadsworth – Fallout 4 – 2015

Wadsworth

Fallout has a host of robots and synths (synthetic humans) to choose from, the most prominent is Wadsworth who you meet in the intro of Fallout 4 and is available as a companion the whole way through. Wadsworth is a robot designed to serve humans, cook, clean and wash. His personality is perfect for this, but the two centuries left alone between the intro and the main game clearly has had a psychological effect which goes beyond simple programming to serve and shows he clearly does have a personality of his own.

Nick2

My favourite robot of all time, however, has to be Nick Valentine, a synth loaded up with the memories and personality of a long dead police officer. Out of all the characters in Fallout 4, I actually found Nick to be the most human-like, even in comparison to the human characters, they were that wooden. Nick behaves perfectly human-like, eats, drinks and while can’t say that I ever asked him if needs to relieve himself the food and drink needs to go somewhere, right? It’s strange, certainly, as through wear and tear you can see some of his internal workings, so he certainly isn’t the most human looking synth but I found myself becoming very attached to him as he’s very relatable.

Nick and Tailyna

Nick is by far my favourite character in Fallout 4. He has personality and is real handy in a fight and he’ll even sit down and have a drink with you. Here’s to you, Nick, my buddy!

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Katie Alford
Katie lives in London; she loves playing games, is a published author, a digital artist and an astronaut. Okay, so one of those is a lie. Her blog can be found at http://kmalford.blogspot.co.uk/ and her twitch channel at http://www.twitch.tv/tailyna . You can also find her on steam as Tailyna.