Butlerian Jihad title screen shot.

The early computer games of Chase and robots (available on various platforms) involved the player facing waves of robots that were programmed to kill him. The player could only influence the robots to destroy each other, as their character had no way to shoot, nor destroy them in any other manner whatsoever. The games were turn-based, as each time the player moved, the robots would also move. Depending on the game, at times the player was able to teleport themselves to a random area on the screen in case of an emergency. If the player was caught by a robot then their character would die, if that would not end the game altogether.

Butlerian Jihad is a modern day remake of these games with some added features and differences. The game was developed by joshmillard and was released in 2016, which, being a part of the PICO-8 medium, can be played on various platforms.


In the year 199 B. G., the player controls humanitarian rebel Jehanne Butler, who is engaged “in an all-out war against the intelligent machines” that want to enslave humanity. Butler is “armed only with a slow-charging Holtzman shield/displacement belt” in order to try to “defeat the machine-mind scourge”.


The player starts a game on a small playfield with only three robots. With every move Butler makes, the robots will also move, so she must influence them to run into each other, which will destroy them, along with if a “live” robot were to run into an already-destroyed robot, that will also obliterate the live robot. Butler can also choose not to move, skipping one or more turns and allow the robots to advance. Once all robots have been destroyed then Butler will move onto the next level -- usually with more robots -- plus the playfield will also get larger with the more levels that are cleared.

If a robot runs into Butler then the game will end, although after several levels if Butler is able to survive and destroy all the robots the game will also end. Butler also starts off every game with three shields, which will destroy any robot that comes into contact with her. An extra shield is awarded with every level that is cleared. Butler can also use the displacement effect to transport to a random onscreen area, although if a robot is within striking range when she lands at a new spot, once all robots move, the nearest robot will also move onto her space, taking up one or more of her shields or just killing Butler if she has no remaining shields.


  • Start game–Z key
  • Use shield–Z key
  • Move Butler–Z + arrow keys
  • Skip turn–Z key (if a robot is not close enough for shield to activate)
  • Activate displacement–X key
  • Pause game–Enter key
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