This was one of a series of children's games The Learning Company made in the 80's for the Apple // that were all based on the same basic game engine. All of them are available on the internet as emulator-ready disk images if you know where to look. The engine in question consisted of a bunch of screen-sized rooms. Each room was basically just a grid of icons, most of which were empty and black and represented floor, most of the rest of which were full of a single color and represented wall, and which all together made this kind of orthographic-overhead-perspective 2d world you could move around freely in any direction in. You had a little man icon (it was always the same man..) walking around that you controlled with the keyboard or joystick, and you could make him pick up the other icons and drop them wherever you wanted.

Robot Odyssey was the best of them all-- it was a full-fledged RPG, albeit one without NPCs. The plot consisted of waking up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, on the way mistakenly falling into a massive hole next to your bed you didn't remember being there, and winding up in a huge robot-inhabited underground dystopia called Robotopolis. Once there you came across three rewirable robots, who had been tossed into the trash chute along with you. The point of the game was to carry around the robots and program them to perform various tasks. And DAMN, did it get involving..

The "programming" of the robots was essentially the same as Rocky's Boots, only more flexible because instead of the irritating hard wires you could just solder flexible lines between different contact points. The soldered lines would move along with the things they were attached to if you moved those things. You could crawl inside of (and leave objects, including other robots, inside of) the robots, where you would have a touch sensor on each side and a thruster on each side. You would then hook up your AND/NOT/OR/XOR/flip-flop logic gates between them to make the robots move and act different ways under different conditions. There was some more complicated stuff involved, such as reprogrammable chips, a grabbing arm, batteries that would run out over time, and a little beeper thing that would let the robots send special signals to each other.

You started out in the sewer and moved up in the world to a subway station and a number of levels whose names i don't remember. In each level you would be presented with a series of mazes and have to program your robots in such a way you could set them loose in a maze and they would be able to navigate safely to the other side, pick up an item (such as a key), and then get back. Almost all of the tasks had to be done by the robots, because of various force fields and sentrys preventing humans from entering large sections of the map. And you had to specifically program one of your robots for each task. More complex jobs in later levels involved burning little dedicated reusable microchips for specific tasks and complicated interactions between robots working in tandem.

It was really cool.

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