Big Boys Toys Wraps Up In Style

Whoever said that there was no common ground between physical entertainment and digital entertainment? Big Boys Toys (BBT) shows just how closely tech – the physical and the digital – are really becoming. This is not an event that is all about being big and showy. BBT also goes out to raise awareness for Menslink, a support program that exists to help men from all over Canberra (and further afield) get through tough times. On Saturday BBT managed to raise over $4000 for Menslink, and they expect to raise the same again on Sunday. I am sure that this contribution will go a long way.

Having just finished at EPIC park in Canberra, BBT brings many different forms of entertainment and hobbies together. We talked a couple of days ago about the various kinds of things that would be going on, including everything from boats to brawn. This event is no light-weight, over the weekend it saw in excess of 10,000 people through the gates. While I was wandering around the venue I came across the strong man, car racing (both big and small), various sports demonstrations (unfortunately none of the ‘e’) and nerf.


One of the cool attendees at this event was an Australian Battlebot (and soon to be RobotWars) team. They competed in the US with their robot Deathroller. Getting to see at full size makes you appreciate the amount of power they really have. Check out the video below where Erica and Steve introduce the cunning croc to the American audiences!

However, the feature that really grabbed my attention were the Robowar fights. There is nothing quite like seeing metal against metal, hearing the whirring of the blades as they shatter each others armour. Seeing hunks of metal whizzing through the air, it makes you feel so good that robots have not yet turned on their human overlords and instead attack each other.

Like any good form of battle, there must be competition. The highlight of the Australian Robowars calendar is the Nationals Contest. This saw teams from all over the continent (and New Zealand) get together in Canberra to fight for our love. There were about 10 teams involved with many more robots than that.

For those that might not have come across robot fighting before, there are three main styles: the wedge, the spinner and the flipper. It is fair to say that putting a robot into the ring at one of these events is a risk, the bots will not always come out the other end in one piece. The finals saw The Undertake, an unassuming wedge, take on the fearsome Dreamcrusher, a spinner. There were more than a few knocks and bumps as these two titans took each other to town. A spectacular piece of driving from the Undertaker saw the little wedge that could force the Crusher up and onto it’s side, rendering it as helpless as an upside down tortoise.


Undertaker takes its prize home

For us poor Aussies this great show was also somewhat painful, A New Zealand team got to take away both first and second place. We can never really catch a break.

So you want to get into this kind of thing? But you are not too sure where to start. Well you could jump right into the full-scale fights, there are some really cool cheap leagues that people can enter into, or you can check out some of the games that exist that allow you to build your own machines in the digital space. While we have not played all of these titles ourselves, they would certainly be a good place to start fiddling if you don’t want to put too much money down at the moment.

  • Simple Planes
  • Medieval Engineers
  • Scrap Mechanic
  • Space Engineers

Julian has been involved in the games industry for more than a couple of years now, from working in retail to developing board games to judging Magic: the Gathering tournaments Australia wide. Now as a writer for OK Games he likes to explore niche titles that try to approach gaming from a different perspective. Now all he needs to do is start finishing all those games in his Steam Library...