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  • Tony McCaffrey

Why No Real Mecha (Big Robots)?

The mecha trope has been a staple in science-fiction for a long time now.

Would it be possible to create a Big Robot in real life?

Let's take a look at video games, fiction and movies, based on 3 examples:

- Pacific Rim movie - the first part. In Pacific Rim military forces created several Big Robots to fight Big Monsters aka Kaiju. The details on how those robots were built were mostly left for the audience to speculate about, we just know that the main Big Robot "Gypsy Danger" was powered by an atomic reactor which came handy in one moment.

- Future Cop LAPD - an old Playstation 1 game. In this game the player assumes control of X1-Alpha, a police vehicle that can transform between two "modes" - a fast moving hovering vehicle and a mobile combat mech, both of those forms having full combat arsenal at their disposal. In the game the vehicle is more mobile when it comes to speed, though not as precise to control as the combat mech. The vehicle is used to fight crime in a futuristic Los Angeles setting.

- BattleTech universe - a role-playing & a wargame with quite a long history behind it. In the BattleTech universe humanity expanded throughout the stars, got divided into clans, houses and other groups that were waging wars with each other with the usage of the powerful BattleMechs, piloted by humans. Sometimes it were even more reasonable to try to eliminate the enemy's pilot and take over the mech than to destroy the mech.

On the side note - Artificial Intelligence in that universe is mostly non-existent, save for some early agricultural, mining, construction and such robots and a few mentions of androids.

Big Robots honorable mentions in fiction works:

- the Transformers franchise

- Power Rangers's MegaZord

- Hunter Killers & Harvesters from the Terminator franchise

- basically any robot from the mecha anime genre

- Front Mission franchise Wanzers

- ED-209 from the Robocop movie

- AT-STs and AT-ATs from Star Wars

Now would it be possible to build a human-operated Big Robot? What factors need to be considered:

- power source

- heat management

- electronic parts

- mass vs mobility - how mobile can a hulking, walking tank be?

- resources needed to build such a robot

- security issues - amongt others - what if the robot would be hacked, what if the pilot went rogue?

- how much would it actually cost?

- and many, many other factors

Big Robots are fun and entertaining to watch, play on a war game board, and operate within a video game. They inspire lots of Science Fiction writers, yet prove to be hard to tackle in the Hard Sci-Fi genre.

Who knows, maybe we will live to see a Big Robot one day?

SUBMITTED BY: Maciek Jarosz (contact, Tony McCaffrey at to get word to Maciek)

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