You can build anything you can imagine out of Legos, and that's a quite an achievement. But what if there was a construction toy that only allowed you to create robotics, monsters and other science fiction awesomeness? Well, there was, and they were called Robotix.

In the pantheon of beloved '80s toys, Robotix isn't incredibly well remembered, which is a shame. They were kind of like a mix of erector sets and Capsela construction toys, which, if you're unfamiliar with either, means they were more about building frameworks as opposed to solid creations, and they also included motors. Each kit was based around some kind of wild, science fiction-inspired vehicle or robot: these included everything from a strange, quadrupedal "Lunar Explorer" to a spaceship-satellite hybrid with a giant claw on the front named Tyrannix to an outright giant robo-Tyrannosaurus. And the motors allowed pieces to move, claws to clasp, and for giant robo-Tyrannosaurus jaws to open and shut. They were fantastic.

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It also helped that every Robotix piece looked like it was created out of Industrial Light and Magic, circa 1983. Every rod, joint and piece had that random, complex, "real"-feeling design quality that ILM brought to the spaceships and vehicles of the Star Wars movies. So no matter what you ended up building, it looked and felt like something that could have battled X-Wings and TIE Fighters — a massive, massive value-add to nerdy children in the '80s.

The actual Robotix designs were so bizarre they practically demanded creative reinterpretation. If the end result was already going to be something as crazy as a crawling robo-moon-lizard, there was no reason for kids not to experiment further. Between the four main sets — Bront, Argus, Tyrannix and Venturak — the sets included different types of motorized legs, jets and wheels; two different types of robo-dinosaurs jaws, several pinchers; cockpits, satellite panels, and various other spaceship parts; and several motors and joints in order to mechanize your scifi creation. Sure, all the motors needed bright yellow wires, but that was a small price to pay for being able to build an awesome robot, spaceship or creature that you could control with a push of a button.

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While Legos were infinitely more versatile, the scifi aesthetic of Robotix lent the toyline its own unique appeal — and the fact of the matter is, it didn't matter how many Legos you had, you would never be able to build a spaceship out of Legos that looked half as cool as the Tyrannix. You certainly couldn't build a terrifying robo-Godzilla-esque monstrosity like Argus, that's for sure. And if you happened to have ever witnessed the Robotix cartoon back in the '80s, please don't hold that against the toys. Yes, the toys gave the show its name, but the cartoon couldn't be bothered with even matching the toys designs.

Believe it or not, you can actually still purchase Robotix today. Milton Bradley sold the license to Leaning Curve in the '90s, which rereleased the sets with the pieces in bright, garish colors instead of the more Star Wars-esque whitish-gray. Eventually Learning Curve sold the license to Robotics and Things, a site which has created several new vehicles and robot sets, including the Robot Commander, which stands 5-feet tall.

So if you can actually buy Robotix, why am I demanded someone bring them back? Well, because I'm an old nerd wallowing in nostalgia, mainly — this is pretty standard procedure. But also because the original Robotix and its unique aesthetic is no more. I don't want faux Wall-Es and neon R/C cars — I want bizarre robotic creatures that take their insane designs but still render them in authentic, "realistic" designs. I want modern technology and wireless motors and computer programming to be added to the classic Robotix designs, still utterly unique even 30 years later. The possibilities may not be endless, but like Robotix themselves, the possibilities are definitely all awesome.


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.