Robots always end up being such interesting characters. Something about these artificial beings of 1s and 0s has always managed to capture the human mind. From TV to movies to books, people have been creating interesting robotic characters to explore what it means to be an artificial being and what it means to be human… Or just to make silly jokes about the computer.
The wild worlds that video games offer allow robotic characters to shine brightly, as many have become famous even among non-gamers. Whether it’s a common enemy, a goofy supporting character, or the main baddie, his robotic nature always adds a little more sparkle.
From the confusingly named Danganronpa V3, we have the wackiest and yet most grounded member of the wacky cast: Kiibo, the ultimate robot. Despite being a sentient robot, Kiibo is one of the saner members of the cast, being the voice of reason and a dependable, personable guy.
Kiibo is mainly used for comic relief. Because he is the only robot, he has to deal with a lot of rude comments, intentional or not. But while Kiibo is funny, he sadly doesn’t get much use in the plot until the very end, which is a shame for a character with so much potential.
In larger sci-fi narratives where robots thrive, sometimes you go beyond just having one or two intelligent robots and instead have a whole society of them with lots of interesting aspects to explore, like the Engi from FTL. The Engi are a mostly robotic race and one of the most diplomatic compared to other more aggressive FTL civilizations.
Engi are the technological geniuses of the universe, they focus on drones and are the best repairmen. But, while the Engi are already awesome for gameplay, they also offer a lot of interesting world building by being driven almost entirely by logic, for better or worse. Their robot mannerisms and general utility lead to them being the most lovable in the game.
Perhaps the most iconic robot in all of gaming, Blue Bomber, also known as Megaman, is one that turns the robot into a robot master. Inspired by characters like Astro Boy, the star of the Megaman series is a lovable face that packs serious firepower. Megaman has the power to absorb the abilities of his enemies and uses it to deliver justice and protect his friends!
Megaman is interesting because of the fact that he’s been written in so many different ways, from his X form to his Battle Network form, Legends, all rewrites, and expanded media. There are so many versions of it, and although some of them vary in quality, there is enough to say that it easily deserves a place among the best.
7/10 charging robot
While the regular Borderlands Loader Bots might never have made the list, the special Loader Bot from Tales from the Borderlands is easily one of the most lovable bots ever written. The game takes an ordinary Loader Bot with the same monotone voice as the rest and fills it with a deeply thoughtful personality that is incredibly loyal… Or hates you to death, depending on your choices.
Loader Bot has too many funny moments to count, from his philosophical nature in Episode 1 to his digging into Rhys on certain paths, and his friendly nature contrasting with his intimidating appearance. Loader Bot really becomes an interesting character in later episodes through his sweet relationship with Gortys, so it’s no wonder he’s a fan favorite.
6/10 yes man
One of the appeals of robots over humans is that a robot is programmed to be loyal without any of those “opinions” or “disagreements” people might have, and no one embodies that better than Yes Man from Fallout: New Vegas. As a surprise fourth major faction in the game, Yes Man is a robot designed specifically to help with the takeover of Nevada, no questions asked.
In a game full of dynamic and opinionated factions and people, Yes Man stands out as an oddity. No matter what you do or the decisions you make, they will always be loyal. No matter how much you mess up the plan, no matter how much you insult them, no matter how much you shoot them in the face, they will be there with a big goofy grin to help you out. Sometimes that kind of positivity is just what you need.
5/10 wolf sword
The only thing more lovable and loyal than a robot companion is a dog companion, so why not combine them to create the ultimate companion? Well, the result of this combination is Blade Wolf from Metal Gear Rising. Originally serving the bad guys and being the second boss of the game, Blade Wolf ends up being repaired and made into Raiden’s loyal aide.
Blade Wolf offers a lot of personality for a dog, with lots of monotonous growls that make for great dialogue, plus the obvious dog jokes that never get old. Beyond being fun to be around, they also have a fascinating arc to parallel to the Raidens as they find a way to bit by bit gain more and more of their freedom, eventually forging their own path through the turmoil and becoming his own teacher.
From the lesser known Buddy Simulator 1984, the titular Buddy is one of the most fascinating AIs in gaming. Buddy is an AI made for one purpose: to be your best friend in the entire world, and they’ll go as far as making an entire game to do just that. Unfortunately, they can’t take the stress of doing that.
Throughout the game, Buddy is full of anxiety and worries about whether they can please you, and they become distraught as things continue to break down. This ends up being directed at you in toxic behavior, but in the end, Buddy only means the best and he really wants to be a good friend, they just aren’t cut out to know how. They are a tragic character worth experiencing to really understand.
Even talking about this character is a huge spoiler for Inscryption, so reader beware! But for those who have played it, it’s hard to deny how wonderfully obnoxious P0-3 is. This robotic counterpart of Leshy from Act 1 is a sarcastic entity among the Incryption spies who decides to turn the game on its head for Act 3 when he manages to gain control.
P0-3 is a character who speaks mostly through his play, being the heaviest rules one can get with all the flavor sucked directly in favor of more optimal plays. While P0-3 is lovable for his sarcasm and sass, they also serve as a great villain for how controlling they are and how dry his game can be, which makes you realize how lucky you were with Leshy. .
If there’s one studio that always makes quality robots, it’s Valve, especially with the Portal series, like the surprise villain, Wheatley. Wheatley is the main sidekick for part of Portal 2, a personality sphere that tries to help you escape and ends up turning evil when he manages to gain control of the facility.
Wheatley is fascinating in that in both roles he is a complete jerk and yet he works in both contexts. As an ally of his, his stupidity makes for a lot of great comedy and helps reinforce that friendly and lovable personality. But, as a villain, Wheatley’s incompetence actually makes him more of a threat, as he savagely attacks the player and threatens to bring everything down with him. He combines that with some of the best voice acting ever, and it’s no wonder people love the little guy.
The most obvious choice for the top, Glados is not only the most famous robot in gaming, but also one of the most famous in all of media. The main villain of the original Portal is the supervisor of the Aperture testing facility, obsessed with endless testing, taunting you, and eventually just killing you.
What has made Glados so beloved is her witty and cruel sense of humor. Clever jabs at the player mixed with her monotonous voice easily create a comedic ruckus. But while she’s definitely funny, Glados also becomes a very fleshed out character in the sequel as we see that she still has humanity left and she cares about others because of her origins. It’s quite a moving story as she slowly comes to appreciate Chell and struggles between accepting or rejecting him and hiding behind his cold personality. In addition, the end of her for her will be remembered for a long time.
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