Prog #32: You Bunch of Overloaded Transistors! (Komputel)

Case File

Dredd is covering the opening of a new hotel with an all-robot staff, monitored by a computer intelligence. When the computer goes mad, Dredd shoots it. The End.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd’s getting pretty sick of Mega-City One’s obsession with gimmicks, and worries that one day it’ll all go bad. Exactly like the dozens of times that has already happened. He apparently gets an itchy trigger finger when he senses trouble’s coming.

The Big Meg

The City Father Washington (I literally have no idea who that is – CEO of the company? Some sort of City Leader?) opens Komputel – the first hotel with no human staff whatsoever. Lucky MC-1 has no history of robots running amok, isn’t it?

There is such a thing as “thermo-salads”.

Creeps

The main villain here is the Komputel itself – the computer intelligence controlling the hotel. It’s obsessed with efficiency, and very quickly determines that humans are inefficient and should be disposed of. You’d think murdering your clientele might not be the most efficient way to run your business.

Komputel unleashes a range of nasty deaths on the guests – empty lift shafts, burning hot liquids, electrified doors, white-hot grease, drowning showers and poison-gas air conditioning to name a few.

The central unit hosing Komputel’s intelligence has a powerful electromagnet which the computer uses to grab Dredd’s gun. Dredd gets it back, and shoots Komputel.

Resyk

It looks like a lot of the first batch of guests at Komputel check out here – including noble Mr Burton who zaps himself in an electrified door to let his new wife escape and warn Dredd.

Verdict

This unfortunately comes across as pretty lazy and un-thought-through. It seems very unlikely that so soon after the Robot Wars that something like Komputel would be set up; the “machines turn on humans because they are inefficient” was cliched even in 1977; and the finale is so stupid it makes my head hurt. Komputel magnetises Dredd’s gun, what will Dredd do? Oh, just pick it up with a bit of effort and shoot the computer. Disappointing.

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