Tron Wiki
For the newer updated recognizer seen in TRON: Legacy and TRON: Evolution, see Recognizer (TRON: Legacy)
Vehicle Type Aerial security transport
Source Persistent
Crew 1 Pilot
Users Flynn, Jet Bradley
Behind the scenes
Appearances TRON

"The sound of a Recognizer hovering."

A Recognizer is a large hovering vehicle that has a central cockpit supported atop two massive pylon legs. Space inside this module is enough for several occupants, including a single pilot, who stands upright at the control console, and several additional passengers or crew. They emit a unique and ominous sound when in flight, similar to the noise of a helicopter.

Recognizers are demonstrated to operate as pursuit and attack vehicles capable of overtaking Light Tanks. They are capable of capturing fugitive programs and vehicles by rotating their legs in together and initiating a 'stomp' maneuver from above. This does not harm the program, but does effect some kind of unexplained capture function.


Recognizers were originally created by Kevin Flynn in 1981 for his video game Space Paranoids. However, when Ed Dillinger stole Flynn's games, the vehicles became part of the Game Grid and were used by the MCP's army to capture other programs, including Clu, whose Light Tank was tracked and targeted by recognizers as he searched for Flynn's stolen data. Vastly outnumbered, Clu destroyed many of his pursuers, but the rest followed him into a canyon where a piece of exploding recognizer struck his tank and caused it to crash, leading to his capture by one of the following ones. Clu's Bit, told to escape, took refuge among the rubble of the demolished recognizers.

Under Sark's orders, recognizers patrolled the Game Grid and took part in the chase after three light cycles made an illegal exit from the light cycle grid. They attempted to perform their stomp capture maneuver on the escaping vehicles, but missed.

During his escape from the Game Grid, Flynn came across the debris of a derelict recognizer which had been swept into a scrap area. He and Ram took refuge in the detached cockpit, where he accidentally reactivated it with his user powers. Although one of its damaged feet fell off, after which it steered with difficulty, his unprecedented ability to reassemble and steal a recognizer led to Ram's realization that he was a user. Flynn commented that the controls were "just like the old arcade grips." Before they could leave the area, though, Ram succumbed to his previous injuries and derezed into the floor of the craft.

Flynn was able to clumsily pilot the crippled recognizer toward Dumont's I/O Tower. During the journey, Clu's Bit emerged from its hiding place in the cockpit, thinking Flynn was its program. The malfunctioning recognizer repeatedly caromed off cliffs and walls, losing parts all the way, and destroyed a tank when its legs cut a bridge out from under it. Accompanied by the Bit's strident criticism of Flynn's driving, the cockpit module finally crashed without further casualties in the heavily populated area surrounding the I/O Tower. Flynn escaped, but the Bit remained in the cockpit and was trapped there by a forcefield.

Two recognizers also took part in the pursuit of Yori's stolen Solar Sailer simulation, centering on the Sailer beam and using a grid of laser beams between their legs to destroy floating debris over the Sea of Simulation. However, a power surge from the MCP, running along the beam, hit and demolished them.

After Flynn's escape from the computer world, Space Paranoids remained an iconic and successful ENCOM game. Flynn, now aware of their capabilities on the other side of the screen, adapted them for his new Grid. Long after his disappearance, Alan Bradley referred to recognizers in an emotional speech announcing the release of Space Paranoids Online.

TRON 2.0[]

In TRON 2.0, recognizers have fallen out of use as a patrol vehicle, possibly due to ICPs taking over the policing of the system. They are still used, however, but for more utilitarian uses, as seen in game where multiple recognizers are being used as tugs for packet transport.

In TRON 2.0: Killer App (GBA), recognizers are fitted with a cannon, similar to the cannon of a tank. The position of the cannon on the recognizers body is on its shoulder. The recognizer can be flown by just one operator, although most carry two, a driver and radar/radio operator. The total capacity is one driver, one radio operator, and a commander.


  • The memorable sound of the Recognizers was created by sound designer Frank Serafine by simply modifying the "Helicopter" preset on the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesizer.
  • The recognizers were designed by Lisberger Studios animator and character designer John Norton. The recognizers are one of the few designs that stayed exactly the same from when Tron was planned to be an animated cartoon film. The simple shapes that made up the recognizer made it easy for MAGI to model the vehicles.
  • Like tank circuitry, the internal circuits and outlines of recognizer components take on the color of the program piloting them. In the first film, most recognizers are understandably red, since they are manned by Sark's forces within the Game Grid. However when Flynn takes control of a crashed recognizer and returns it to serviceability, its outlines change to blue.
  • Ram colloquially referred to recognizers as "demons."
  • In a 1980s-style television ad for Space Paranoids released on the TRON: Legacy Blu-Ray, as well as some material from Flynn's books released in the Flynn Lives alternate reality game, recognizers are described as an invasion of alien craft from space. Classic recognizers also appeared in an online puzzle-reference game played by members of Flynn Lives.

See Also[]