|I, Robot is a 3-D shoot-em-up in which the player controls the "Interface Robot (#1984)" in a rebellion against the all-controlling Big Brother and his ever-watchful 'Evil Eyes'.|
The game is set over a series of platform-based stages constructed from solid coloured blocks and to complete a stage, the player must "eliminate the red zones". This is achieved by moving the robot over all of a stage's horizontal surfaces, changing their colour from red to blue. In order to reach all of the platforms and surfaces, the Interface robot will need to jump. This must be carefully timed, however, as jumping is not allowed under Big Brother's regime and his Evil eye will open at regular intervals to watch over the interface robot. Should the eye turn red while the robot is mid-jump, he will be spotted and destroyed, costing the player a life.
Once all of the red squares on a stage, the enemy's shield is destroyed and the Interface Robot will automatically shoot and destroy that stage's Evil Eye before launching itself into space from the top of the pyramid on which the eye was located. A small space-flight to the next stage then follows, with three-dimensional objects hurling through space that must be either avoided or destroyed.
Every third terrain contains a red pyramid which the Robot must enter after destroying the Evil Eye. Once inside the pyramid, the Robot has one chance to collect as many of the jewels as possible before once again destroying that stage's Evil Eye. If the Robot is destroyed while inside the pyramid, he is immediately thrust back into space. The player must then battle through three more terrains and destroy a further three Evil Eyes before he has another chance to collect the jewels inside of the pyramid.
I, Robot was very much ahead of its time and the game featured many new and ground-breaking innovations that the games industry would later adopt. The most striking and obvious of these was the game's graphics. While I, Robot wasn't the world's first fully three-dimensional game (Atari's own "Battlezone" had been released three years earlier), it was the first game to feature solid, filled-polygon graphics, as opposed to the wireframe graphics adopted by other three-dimensional games of the time. The concept of the player being able to switch viewpoints also appeared here first, and is activated by pressing the game's 'Start' button. The final innovation was 'Doodle City'. Instead of playing the game, players could instead choose to use the game's colourful three-dimensional object to draw pictures on the monitor screen.
Game description from www.arcade-history.com