R.O.B.

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For Patent of "R.O.B.", see Rob.
R.O.B.
R.O.B.

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.

 Operation

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.

 Specifications

R.O.B. equipped for Gyromite.
R.O.B. equipped for Gyromite.
  • Height: 24cm/9.6inches
  • Arm movement range: 300 left/right (five stopping points), 7cm/2.75in up/down (six stopping points), 7cm/2.75in between hands when open. Though R.O.B. is mostly receptive to unpowered manipulation, the rotational axis should only be operated electrically.
  • Head movement range: 45 tilt, horizontally centered. This joint is one of the most commonly broken areas on pre-owned R.O.B.s.
  • Five accessory slots around the hexagonal base (numbered clockwise, starting at the left rear) and notches on the hands allow for specialized parts to be attached depending on the game.
  • Red LED on top of head indicates a state of readiness.
  • Runs on 4 AA batteries.
  • Optional tinted filter could be attached over the eyes to compensate for use with overly bright televisions.
  • The original "Famicom Robot" was white with maroon arms to match the Famicom; R.O.B. was colored in two shades of gray to match the NES.

 Appearances in Video Games

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.

 Reception

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".