Video Games Come to Life: America and Japan to Duel Giant Fighting Robots
For years, gamers have been fascinated with giant fighting robots called mechs. Mechs are a form of robot that can be piloted by one or more people and generally are used to fight other giant robots or giant alien creatures.
In recent years, there have been many popular mech fighting games, amongst which are included Titanfall, Hawken, Mechwarrior, and Armored Core. The one thing each of these games has in common is the inclusion of a multi-story armored robotic vehicle which responds to the pilots’ commands and/or movements. Essentially, games about giant fighting robots.
While gamers were playing at being giant fighting robot pilots, two companies were busy making their dreams into realities. In Japan, Suidobashi Heavy Industry has created a 9000 lb, single-seat robot named KURATAS. This robot includes twin gatling guns, an advanced targeting system, a full HUD user interface display, and melee motion control via a power glove.
In addition to the base prototype of KURATAS, Suidobashi also offers custom builds of their giant robots to collectors - for the right price.
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Meanwhile, in the United States, MegaBots has persevered after an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign in creating their own giant robot, the Mk. II Mech. The two-pilot robot includes, as expected, really big guns. Weighing in at 12,000 lbs, the Mk. II Mech is specifically designed for robot arena fighting. It features a cannon capable of firing three-pound paint cannonballs at up to 120 miles per hour.
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MegaBots issued a challenge on June 30th, 2015 to Suidobashi Industries, inviting the Japanese company to bring its robot, KURATAS, to duel against the Mk. II Mech. Posted on YouTube, MegaBot’s challenge video included footage and an overview of both the Mk. II Mech and the KURATAS.
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Suidobashi, we have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen. We challenge you to a duel [...] Prepare yourselves and name the battlefield. In one year, we fight.
- Matt Oehrlein, MegaBots
On July 5th, 2015, Suidobashi Heavy Industries responded to MegaBots’ challenge with a response video authored by Kogoro Kurata. In his response, the CEO of Suidobashi Industry indicated that he found the American challenge “interesting," but that it lacked a certain panache. His response? Ratchet the difficulty up a notch - include melee fighting. While the KURATAS already includes melee controls for both a fist and a claw, the Mk. II Mech relies heavily on its guns to do the fighting.
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Just building something huge and sticking guns on it. That’s… Super American. But you know, we really need melee combat. If we’re going to win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.
- Kogoro Kurata, Suidobashi Heavy Industry
With a firm “Absolutely,” Suidobashi’s founder accepted the American challenge on behalf of Japan. To MegaBots, Suidobashi firmly states: Organize the duel. We’ll be there.
In one year's time, MegaBots of America and Suidobashi of Japan will come together with the KURATAS and the Mk. II Mech and battle it out to see which giant fighting robot is the best. One robot will be left standing, but we all know who the true winners are - enthusiasts and gamers around the world who have been waiting eagerly for years to see their dreams come true.
And maybe by that time, Americans will be able to cheer for a name a bit more catchy than “Mk. II Mech”.