B ts High
● by Collin Berry
Joey Daoud, a BotsIQ veteran
and film school graduate, has
produced a documentary about the
sport. SERVO was given the
opportunity to do a pre-release
screening. We enlisted a journalist
of similar age and background to
review this interesting video.
It’s like a football game for nerds,” is said early on in Bots High, a
documentary about robot combat
events. And that rings true
throughout the entire documentary.
Bots High follows two high school
combat robot teams from the
Miami, FL area. The two teams — a
unisex team from Ransom Everglades
and an all-female team from Carrollton
School of the Sacred Heart — are
rivals, but in a friendly way. There’s
plenty of trash talk between the two
teams, but it’s done in a friendly way
— the type of trash talk you’d hear
between friends at a pickup
basketball game at the Y.
The documentary starts off with
a bit of much expected destruction.
Fluffy, a 15 pound robot from the
Ransom team, is fighting a match at
a regional competition. Fluffy is a very
impressive robot that has a massive
drum for a weapon — perhaps too
massive as it proceeds to catch on fire,
filling the room with smoke and
causing everybody to evacuate outside.
The two teams are introduced
as they prepare for the national level
competition. Will is on the team
from Ransom, and he is basically the
student leader of the team. Will
appears to be very serious when he’s
introduced, but it’s revealed quickly
that he is as carefree and fun-loving
as any high school student. Sacred
Heart is an all-female Catholic school.
Being that they’re an all-girl team,
they face the type of discrimination
that one might expect them to face
in a male dominated hobby.
However, that discrimination doesn’t
seem to affect them one way or the
other. They’re a group of girls that
love building robots and are quite
good at it. Famous Last Words — a
120 pound robot — has a frightening
The first half of the
documentary is about the
preparation for the nation
tournament, and is too slowly
paced. Sacred Heart builds all
of their robots at a facility
called Starbot. Starbot is a
facility intended to get students
involved in engineering.
Sacred Heart has to build their
robots there because their
school lacks that type of
facility. Ransom does have a
shop, and Will has a shop in
his garage, but he and the
team from Ransom spend a
lot of time at Starbot anyway.
Will is not as motivated as
previously indicated, and his
robots struggle because of that.
The second half of the
documentary picks up as the competition
arrives. Ransom shows up without a
single working robot, due to
procrastination and lack of motivation.
Instead of relaxing, they have to
build their robots. They succeed, but
not without postponing their
check-in and forfeiting their first fight.
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