And this was no mean feat, considering the London studios where the cult BBC Two series was filmed were a good 300 miles away from my childhood home. I was either one heck of a pint-sized debater or my parents were secretly huge fans of the show as well. I predict it was the latter, after all who could resist its unashamed awesomeness?
Robot Wars: Originally broadcast from February 20, 1998 to March 28, 2004
Robot Wars as we know it grew from a kind of low-grade, underground fight club for machines originating in America, pioneered in 1994 by a Lucasfilm designer who had initially been trying to create a radio controlled vacuum cleaner.
Taking the impossible to resist concept of seeing great big bots ripping each other to shreds and applying BBC mulah to it, the show landed on BBC Two four years later with none other than Top Gear irritant Jeremy Clarkson at the helm.
The first two series eased viewers of a weaker disposition into the bloody psuedo-sport of Robot Wars with earlier rounds that rewarded the roboteers' (a fancy term for operators) proficiency over the ass-kicking ability of their creations. First up was 'The Gauntlet', an obstacle course filled with dangers including immobilising grills, crushing vices and a massive spiky, sweeping arm known as The Sentinel, where the robot to cover the least ground would be eliminated.
The survivors were then required to take part in 'The Trials', a mini-game such as robot sumo, skittles, tug of war or pinball, before finally being pitted against each other in a head-to-head battle to the death.
Adding extra peril to proceedings the whole time were the menacing army of House Robots, without a doubt the stars of the show. Headed up by Sir Killalot - an abominable amalgamation of the Predator, a knight of the round table and a Stegosaurus - the villainous gang also included flame-thrower wielding Sgt Bash, bulldozer gone bad Shunt, Dead Metal - who looked like a fine art instillation made of junkyard materials, with massive pinchers and a circular saw - and, doing it for the ladies, Matilda - the mutant offspring of a warthog and an elephant with a chainsaw sticking out her backside.
Unbound by the same weight and weapon restrictions as the contestants, the House Robots were the rulers of the arena, more impressive and terrifying than anything your average geek from Roehampton could put together.
They may have technically been nothing more than hunks of metal, but the Robot Wars creative team put so much thought into what they were creating and crafted each of them so beautifully that the House Robots quickly became more like characters than props. They developed personalities without saying a word and together formed a rogues gallery worth getting excited about. Every fan had a favourite.
Robot Wars was a programme that constantly evolved. The first series - won by Roadblock, which was literally a road sign with wheels - was an experiment, a test of the robots' limitations. By the third series in 1999, the robots had gotten bigger, more power and developed greater weapons, so the show ditched the games in favour of an all-battle format, realising that there's no point wasting Hypnodisc's body-shredding flywheel or Razer's crushing claw on a game of robo-football. Then in 2001, a spinoff Extreme series consisting of ante-upping exhibition matches was launched.
It was a move that not only pleased the Robot Wars audience - little boys and big boys baying for oil - but also the contestants themselves. In the early days, the show attracted engineering students at prestigious universities who simply wanted a place to show off their technical prowess. Now, as every dad with a toolbox tried to get a piece of that robot-ey action, they wanted to prove they were the most destructive.
Series three saw 128 contestants enter the programme, dwarfing the 36 who signed up for its inaugural outing. Truly astonishing weapons of mass robot destruction emerged, forcing the House Robots to be given upgrades of their own as this neat little game show became a hard-fought competition. Contestant robots such as Chaos 2 - the only two-time winner - started garnering a reputation, but other, seemingly lesser robots proved to be giant-slayers, and new contenders with potential would always cause a buzz.
Fans argued passionately on matters such as who was the greatest robot of all time, and match upsets really resonated. Robot Wars was the equivalent of the Premiership for the type of people who don't know the offside rule, further parallels being drawn through the introduction of a 'Refbot' and the commentary of Jonathan Pearce, a Match of the Day star who expressed the same amount of enthusiasm in the Robot Wars final as the FA Cup final.
The show also needed time to perfect the right mix of humans. Clarkson seemed like a natural hosting choice due to his role on the similarly testosterone-infused Top Gear, but his mocking of the machines and his snarky asides to their operators weren't helpful at a time when Robot Wars was trying to establish itself as spectacular.
What Robot Wars needed was a host who could get everyone excited about the competition, and that's what it got with Red Dwarf's Craig Charles, who arrived in series two. Spitting with pleasure, roaring at the crowd, and jumping around like a hyperactive child, you could believe he was the show's biggest fan.
And then there was Philippa Forrester, the Tomorrow's World presenter turned robot-fancier who captured many a teenage boy's hearts by slinking around the pitstop area in leather pants, caressing bodywork and getting all flustered over nice big axes. There's something strangely sexy about a woman with a fetish for twisted metal - and that's not a weird thing unique to me, even Spaced picked up on her flirty ways in their excellent Robot Wars-themed episode.
Though she and Craig rarely appeared on screen together, their shared enthusiasm for the show made them the perfect presenting pair and guided the viewer through the 'golden era' of Robot Wars. Sadly the show started to lose its fun factor with new House Robots Mr Psycho, Growler and Cassius Chrome, introduced over the last two series. Boasting underwhelming weaponry, they failed to excite fans in the same way as the original gang.
When Robot Wars moved to Channel 5 for its seventh and final outing in 2003 (ad breaks?!), ousting Philippa in favour of Jayne Middlemiss, too much had changed and it just didn't have that same magic.
Though Robot Wars may be gone, the little community of contestants and diehard fans that formed as a result of the show continue to keep its spirit alive, holding tournaments of their own to this very day. Sure, it may just be a shamelessly fun show for boys who like big toys, but Robot Wars also had the foresight to know that one day being a geek would be chic.
It made heroes of nerds long before the likes of The Big Bang Theory and The Inbetweeners, and in return, they made us cackle with glee by creating the most awesome, yet wholesome, war machines of all time. Just think of what they'd come up with today if the show was still on the air...
Were you a fan of Robot Wars? Who was your favourite House Robot? Leave your comments below!