In a series of short stories, originally by Keith Laumer but later stories were by many different authors, a bolo is an artificially intelligent tank. Early model bolos still required a human occupant to control and direct it, but as the quality of the AI imporved humans no longer needed to personally oversee the bolo, and later humans could almost leave the entire war to the AIs in the bolos.

Bolo is not dead.
Bolo is an arcade/strategy multiplayer tank game for Macintosh, Windows and Linux operating systems. The object of the game is very simple: take over all the refueling bases, and conquer all the pillboxes. The idea is very simple, and yet like all very simple ideas the gameplay is very addictive.

The game was created in early 90s by Stuart Cheshire for Mac platform. A few spoofs were created, such as Armored Aliance which never was released due to copyright issues. Around June 2000 I stumbled upon a first fully working Windows port: Winbolo. Apparently now there's even a port for Linux.

Web page:

On a more personal note. We had a roomfull of LC575s in my old highschool. Every lunch, a bunch of people would assemble there and play. Oh the good old days. No talking to fellow students, no gawking at pretty girls. Just Bolo (tm). (I even wrote it in my year book!)
A bolo is a type of necktie symbolic of the American West. It usually consists of a braided leather cord with metal tips or other ornaments at its ends, and a decorative brooch which holds the cord together around the neck. Most clasps are decorative, and many include stones associated with Southwestern art, such as turquoise. The ends of the cord hang down below the clasp like the ends of a regular necktie.

It was invented in the Arizona city of Wickenburg, and in 1971 the legislature adopted it as the official State Neckwear. Also spelled bola.

Years before the multiplayer game described above, there was a single-player game for the Apple //+ called Bolo which was connected with the Keith Laumer stories. Actually, the only connections appeared to be a) the fact that you drove a tank and b) the message when you cleared a level, which read 'THE DINOCHROME BRIGADE SALUTES YOU!'

This game was highly addictive, if you had a surfeit of quick-twitch muscle fibers and a penchant for fast-moving, stuttery action. The base premise was a maze; you watched top-down, and drove your tank (Bolo) around the maze. There were, naturally, various foms of enemy who attempted to grease you. They had different behavior patterns depending on their shape.

It was really an amazing piece of programming. Despite being in Dinochrome (Sorry, couldn't help it, monochrome) it held my interest for many years. There were a few odd things about the implementation that made it extremely hard to master but very very satisfying to play once you did. For one thing, your tank remained stationary while the maze (comprised of white lines) moved around you. For another, you could move very fast. Next fun bit was that you could only turn in 45-degree increments, and your turns were instantaneous (anyone remember Automan?) This by itself wouldn't have been a severe problem, but your turret was also moveable in 45-degree increments, and your shots were slow enough that you really needed to maneuver the turret - otherwise you'd end up plowing into a wall trying to align your aim. The damn game was fast; it required a sort of elevated zen state at higher levels to drive around at anything but the lowest speed, as well as a good sense of rhythm. The maze was an altered grid with standard-sized squares; at high speed, the best way to judge a sudden turn was to keep time as you passed grid edges, like 'one and two and three and four turn.'

The controls were two mirrored sets of keys, one at either end of the keyboard. I used my left hand on the inverted-T (W,A,S,D) for movement, and my right on the right side turret controls (-,=) and the space bar for firing as well as the 'emergency stop' button. Many nights in front of my Apple //+ were spent on this one. Try it for yourself; grab any of the excellent Apple //+ emulators like STM and poke round. You'll find it.

Bolo, a short, broad, lance-shaped weapon used by the Filipinos in their operations against the American troops. The blade is about 18 inches in length by nearly 3 inches in breadth at its broadest dimension. It tapers from the middle toward the shaft as well as toward the point, making it strongly resemble the ancient short sword. It is not double edged, however, but tapers from a thick back to an extremely keen edge. In April 1904, the United States troops operating in the Philippines, were supplied with bolos.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Bo"lo (?), n. [Sp.]

A kind of large knife resembling a machete.

[Phil. Islands]


© Webster 1913.

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