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R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) is an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. He was used in the Robot series. He was released in July 1985 in Japan as the Famicom Robot and later that year as R.O.B. in North America. He had a short lifespan, with support for only two games. R.O.B. was released with the intention of portraying the Nintendo Entertainment System as something novel in order to alleviate retail fears following the video game crash of 1983.
The R.O.B. functions by receiving commands via optical flashes from a television screen. With the head pointed always at the screen, the arms move left, right, up, and down, and the hands pinch together and separate to manipulate objects on fixtures attached to the base. In Gyromite, one of R.O.B.'s base attachments holds and pushes buttons on an ordinary controller. In Stack-Up the player is supposed to press a button on the controller to indicate when R.O.B. completes a task. While the Robot games were among the most complex of their time, they were reliant upon the honor system in that players could simply press the buttons on the controller themselves without involving R.O.B. at all.
R.O.B. has appeared as a cameo character in various video games, such as Kirby's Dreamland 3, the WarioWare series, and the F-Zero series. R.O.B. is also featured as a playable character in Mario Kart DS and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In Brawl, one acts as the game's primary antagonist, the Ancient Minister, for part the game's single player mode. He controls the Subspace army under the orders of Ganondorf and also controls a small R.O.B. army, until Ganondorf betrays him, which causes him to join the main characters in their quest.
The creation and marketing of R.O.B. as a "Trojan horse" after the video game market saturation of 1983 was named the fifth in GameSpy's top twenty-five smartest moves in gaming history.
The album R.O.B. by Bochum Welt is in dedication to R.O.B., including the songs "Robotic Operating Buddy", "Family Computer Robot", and "Gyromite".