For me there are three things that I always think of Japan: airsoft, manga, and robots. The Japanese have a fascination with robots since way way back and they have some of the most advanced robotics research in the world. These three are always connected: mecha for manga (and think of Mazinger Z and Voltes V), and now airsoft for mecha --- airsoft gun-carrying robots ready to battle it out in the arena.
This is different to the Robot Wars that we see on TV, where the robot contestants compete by bludgeoning each other out until one is either torched, mangled beyond repair, or just stops dead due to poor engineering on the part of the owner. The Japanese do it with finesse, they use airsoft, and for us airsoft players, those are our kind of robots.
The Robot Survival Games just recently held the 2nd tournament last 11th of September 2010 in Akihabara, Tokyo. These are the multilegged and even tracked ones operated with remote and a video camera for guidance by their makers. A sensor is attached on each robot-contestant, though I am not sure if a hit detected by the sensor immediately disables the robot out of the game. But perhaps several sensor hits will then a robot be considered "dead" by the umpires.
The games were search and destroy and shoot the flag, somewhat similar to the way we play some casual airsoft games. There were also duels and fight for survival. There were no mangled robots here, and the sensors prevent "zombie bots". One thing that comes to mind, are there ammo caps? The engineers should have been creative enough to put a good bb load on these robots without putting too much weight and still fight it out till the last bb round.
In the photos and videos, the most interesting was the spider-type robot, but I think the meanest one was the dual-uzi robot in the picture above which I would love to bring along for some MOUT and CQB games as my armed recon robot. If in doubt of a certain room or corner, just deploy that robot and take the OPFOR out for you.
If you retire from playing actual airsoft games, then this may be the next hobby for you if you don't want to get out of airsoft.
These airsoft-robot wars are still in the early stages. It would be interesting to follow the games as you'll see the evolution of these airsoft gun toting robots into something that have more use for airsoft and real world applications. As the drones and unmanned vehicles are starting to play major role in the battlefield, these robot wars would soon herald the development of actual robo-soldiers. Skynet or Terminators, robot soldiers are inching or crawling closer to reality.
Photo Credit: Biped Robot News Japan