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Not Dead Yet!

March 19, 2017

Hello again.  It has been a little more than two and a half years since I posted on this blog, and the topics that I wish to discuss have stacked up a bit.

The first three things I want to talk about are terms used by our community, scale vs. size, and the evolution of the “List.”

Our community is a combination of Anime Fans, Lego Fans, Robot Fans, and Gamers.  Our community also uses terminology that came to us from all those source communities, and several sub-set communities.  Anime fans use the term “Mecha” to describe robots that are piloted or not.  Fans of Battletech and Mech-Warrior call the robots in their games “Mechs.”  Many games, manga, and anime have different names for the robots they contain: Gear, Bot, Trooper, Armor, Exo suit, Exo Armor, Landmate , Hard suit, and many more.  From the beginning the original Mechaton referred to “Giant Fighty Robots,” and “Mechs.”

Eight years ago this month, I started “The list of Frames.”  I got the term “Frame” from the Lego community, specifically the Lego Mecha community.  Finding Mechaton online in 2002 had brought me back to Lego, but I had not stopped there.  I did delve heavily into the Lego Mecha community for several years, and still keep tabs on it to this day.  The Lego Mecha community does not use the term frame as a replacement for mech, mecha or robot.  The term Frame is used to describe the internal structure and method of construction of the model.  It was not uncommon for a builder to build a mecha model, photograph it, strip the outer layers of Lego off of the “Frame,” and then build another model over the same inner Skeletal “Frame.” Many builders would photograph the naked frame itself as a way of helping new builders learn the art of building mechs themselves.

This was my reasoning behind starting the list of frames.  It was one way of making the game more accessible to the world at large as well as keeping a record of what was popular in the community over the years.   Two and a half years later when Joshua decided to reboot Mechaton as Mobile Frame Zero, he used the term Frame to replace Mech. Frame is a good alternative to Mech, and part of me likes to think my use of the term in “The List” was an influence in his decision to do so.  Everyone likes to think they have had an influence on the shape of the world, no matter how small.  Another part of me wishes he had picked another name, because his use of “Frame” as a name for the robots has blurred the definition of my use of the term “frame” to describe the “method of construction” of the robots.

My list was intended to highlight different ways of building mechs of an appropriate size to be used in the game (and that is part of the topic of my next post).  The list was not about the final appearance of the mechs, or the prettiest or coolest mechs, but the inner “Frame” of the mechs that had proven “popular” in the community.

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