by Mark Nobes, chief editor

Updated 22nd April 2022

Mr. Robot and his Robot Factory was released in 1984 by Datasoft for the Atari 400/800 and XL/XE models, and then ported to the Commodore 64 and Apple II home computers. The most colourful but not necessarily the best version was for the Atari 8 bit computers (in the video above), which is the version I played back in the day.

I was a huge fan of platform games in the 80s, and this one had a particularly good built-in level editor, which made it stand out from the crowd. Playing rather like a futuristic version of Miner 2049er, the idea was to control a humanoid robot through a factory full of nasties, ladders, tricky conveyor belts and suspended platforms. 

Of course, back in the 80s, most games were played using a joystick which, I feel, made them a whole lot more fun to play than using the keyboard, although the latter option was included in the game. Of course, if you own a console then you'll be used to a controller these days, but there is still something about the feel of the joystick that I miss - that sounds a bit rude, but anyone who used one will know what I mean!

Mr Robot and his Robot Factory Atari 800XL screenshot

Screenshot from Atari 800XL version

There is nothing particularly ground-breaking or original about the gameplay or graphics. Your robot walks, climbs, jumps and collects pills, which is pretty standard for a platform game.

The player has four lives, and the quickest way to lose one of them is to walk off a high platform or come into contact with a fireball enemy. Having a fireball creature as an enemy was original at the time, so that is definitely a plus.

The addition of a timer certainly adds to the tension. The player starts with 100 units of energy and this disappears at the rate of about 1 unit per second, so you need to move fast to avoid losing one of your four lives.

There are also a number of pulsating squares scattered around each level. Collecting one of these make the player temporarily invulnerable.

A total of 22 levels were included in the game, plus 26 customised levels. Although later levels included the addition of bombs and magnets, it would have been nice to have encountered some different enemies.

Nonetheless, the addition of a level editor certainly added to the enjoyment of the game and extended its shelf life. The game also felt very polished and well-programmed.

Atari box and instructions manual by Datasoft for Mr Robot and his Robot Factory game


The Commodore and Atari 8-bit versions are actually pretty similar in terms of both graphics and playability. However, I think the Atari game looks more brightly coloured (it had 256 colours to play with compared to 16 on the C64) and also sounds better due to its POKEY sound chip, but if you're a C64 fan then you'll probably beg to differ.

C64 screenshot of Mr Robot and his Robot factory


The Apple II version of Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory is different in many ways. The sound is totally different and doesn't quite have the depth of the Atari version. Visually, it appears to be suffer from flickering and doesn't appear to play as smoothly or as fast as either the C64 or Atari versions - see what you think!

Mr Robot and his Robot Factory C64 collage