Magic Robot board game

Contributed by Portsmouth City Museum

Magic Robot board game

The robot in this game is not a robot in the true sense of the word but the use of this ttype of automatic machine demonstrates the increasing social and cultural awareness of robots and robotics as a part of modern life in the 1950s. The small robot figure holds a pointer in the centre of a circular pattern of questions. The robot is rotated to a particular question and then lifted from the question area and placed in the centre of the answer area where it automatically rotates to the correct answer. Isaac Asimov had published I, Robot in 1950 and introduced the term 'robotics' at the same time. Robots were an exciting glimpse of what the future might hold and were also posing questions about the nature of intelligence and humanity. The first truly modern robot was invented in 1954 and was put to work in a car factory in America in 1960.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 19:54 on 28 August 2011, Tim_Underhill wrote:

    I had one of these when I was about eight or ten. It took about five minutes to work out what was really going on, but then the fun began: my sister and I made our own question overlays, disrupted it with bigger magnets, worked backwards from answers to questions, and so on. We were not distracted by the robot form at all, as I recall. That was meaningless. It was the function that we enjoyed. There was a kind of ritual pleasure in the setup on the left, followed by the swinging movement and inevitable correct answer on the right. Perhaps we were peculiar kids.

    On a practical note, the pointer often fell off and had to be glued back on.

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