Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Robotron Game (AKA what we do to keep Rory occupied on car journeys)

So, the prompt for this post for Travel Supermarket is to write about my top tips for keeping children occupied on long journeys.

I expect I'm supposed to enthuse about the joys of I Spy or come up with some natty little handheld, mess proof game here, or maybe extol the virtues of the car DVD player (pfff, they might be brilliant, but I wouldn't know as we can't afford one).

Instead, I'm going to be honest and share with you our foolproof method of keeping Rory happy in the car.  You'll be pleased to hear that it doesn't include sedatives or duct tape, which is ususual when it comes to controlling a 3 year old.  It's all good, clean family fun.

The Robotron Game:

You will need...
The ability to talk in a robot voice for hours on end
Nothing else (although it's always fun to wear a tin foil covered box with eye holes on your head to enhance the experience)

This is how it goes:

(in car, setting off for 6 hour drive to Scotland.  Robot voices ON)

Richard: "About. To. Depart. Check. Roads. Please. Robotron. One.

Rory: "Scanning. Roads. All. Clear. Robotron. Two."

Richard: "Engage. Power. Button. Robotron. Three."

Me: (button pressing, whooshing sort of noise) "Power. Button. Engaged."

Richard: "We. Are. Off. Robotron. One. Scan. Roads. For. Hazards."

Rory: "Approaching. Traffic. Lights."

Richard: "Slowing."

Me: "Knobby. BMW. Driver. On. Right."

Richard: "Boosters. On."

Rory: (noise of rocket powered boosters)

Richard: "Overtaking. Ha. Ha."

And this continues indefinitely with Rory looking out for hazards and giving directions to his father. We are only allowed to speak 'in robot' for the entire time.  As well as keeping the small one busy and looking out of the window (no car sickness) it's had the added benefit of teaching him some good, geeky long words like negative, affirmative, engaged and so on.  His vocabulary has been extended endlessly by this game, making it very likely that he's going to be that weird kid at school who talks like a computer and spends break times playing with a rock in the corner.

3 long hours later...

Me: "There's a service station coming up, do you need to wee, Rory?"

Rory: "Who. Is. This. Rory. You. Speak. Of? There. Is. Only. Robotron. One."

Me: "Sorry. Robotron. One. Do. You. Need. To. Urinate?"

Rory: "Negative."

Me: "Are. You. Sure?"

Rory: "Robotrons. Are. Always. Sure."

Me: (to Richard) "I think we should stop, just incase."

Richard: "No, he'll be fine.  He said he doesn't need to."

*zoom past only services for 50 miles*

Rory: "You. Know. When. I. Said. Negative. Just. Then?"

Me: "Yes."

Rory: "I. Meant. Affirmative."

Me: "You DO need to wee?"


Richard: "Oh for fu..."

Me: "I TOLD you to stop you...I mean...I. Told. You. To. Stop. Robotron. Two. You. Complete. Wa...."

Richard: "...Do. You. Think. You. Can Urinate. In. This. Empty. Crisp. Packet. Robotron. One?"

Yeah, so basically imagine that for six hours and you've got the idea.  It's tricky at first but with a bit of practice, you can entertain your child and have a small domestic with your spouse under your breath all in Robotron Language.  Now what DVD or iPad app can provide that sort of entertainment?  The Robotron Game: Give it a try on your next car journey.


  1. Robotron Three - I read your last line ( "The Robotron Game: Give it a try on your next car journey.") in the manner of Neil Buchanan on Art Attack.

  2. Love it - unfortunately I can't drive and I think we'd look very odd doing this on the train otherwise I'd be doing this every journey

  3. That sounds like fun - for like, a ten minute car trip maybe!
    But I'm going to keep it in mind anyway for our next long drive. ROBOT. PROGRAM. DOWNLOADED.