Retro Gadgets: Nintendo R.O.B Wanted To Be Your Friend

Far too occupied participating in video games to have a social lifestyle? No problems. In 1985, Nintendo released R.O.B. — or else regarded as the Robotic Working Buddy. It was created to participate in Nintendo with you. In Japan, evidently, it was the Household Personal computer Robotic. We suppose ROB isn’t a pretty Japanese name. The robotic was in reaction to the movie sport sector crash of 1983 and was meant to hold the new Nintendo Leisure System (NES) from becoming labeled as a online video video game, which would have been a death sentence at the time of its release.

Due to the fact you may not have listened to of R.O.B., you can in all probability guess it did not get the job done out pretty very well. In reality, the whole thing tanked in two many years and resulted in only two online games.


After video activity product sales tanked in 1983, numerous shops determined that video clip games had been just a trend and that the fad was above. Even so, toy revenue remained sturdy, so Nintendo pivoted from its approach to make, basically, a property online video arcade video game. This led to the famed NES. Even so, Nintendo also experienced accessibility to the Family members Laptop Robot and made the decision to bundle it as element of the NES technique, as effectively.

The Robot

The robot itself, as you could consider, was rather easy. It couldn’t transfer very fast, and it experienced crude eyesight that could go through sure styles off the display screen. The toy motors inside of ended up noisy, as you can see — and listen to — in the movie down below.

In fact, the robot’s vision was essentially the similar as the “Zapper” which was the gun involved with the NES. You can see each in the advert beneath (the NES ad is at 2:30).

Like a lot of light-weight pen devices, the Zapper, and therefore R.O.B. only labored with a CRT-based mostly Television set. Of system, again then, that was very considerably your only solution, so that was no issue at the time. If you want to know a lot more about the plan, you can browse the patent. Mirrored light and Tv set brightness could cause problems. The robotic experienced a sticky filter you could put more than its eyes, if required, to cut down on a particularly bright Tv set.

It is not straightforward to inform from the video clips, but the robotic is a little about 9 inches tall, and about 6 inches vast. It weighed considerably less than a pound and a half. The arms could rotate via 300 levels, stopping at five various points. It could also go the arms a little considerably less than 3 inches vertically, with six unique stopping details. The grippers could open up to 2.75 inches.

Game titles

There ended up only two games officially made, Gyromite and Stack-Up. The first match arrived with claws for the robot that could have interaction with the incorporated spinning tops. The robot’s manipulation of the spinning tops authorized the on-monitor participant to navigate past road blocks to obtain dynamite just before it explodes.

The Stack-Up activity had 5 trays and 5 coloured disks, alongside with much more custom claws. There were being several variants of the video game, but, in general, you experienced to make the robotic stack the disks to match a pattern on the screen.

Unofficially, there was a 2014 sport introduced by an indy developer that makes R.O.B. dance to Christmas new music. Other than that, as much as we know, that’s all you can do with it unless you hack one thing jointly.

Trojan Horse

R.O.B. was really just a gimmick. It certain outlets that this wasn’t a video clip activity, but a toy. It also thrilled children. A industry research business established that of 200 people who purchased the to start with NES devices, a vast majority did so mainly because of the robotic.

But after a bit, most of the game titles didn’t use the robot and there were no updates to it. But it didn’t make a difference. Young ones had been pleased to participate in Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and other online games whilst R.O.B. sat, unused, in the closet. R.O.B. does exhibit up on display screen in several Nintendo online games. You can even unlock him as a character Super Smash Brothers.


As you may well anticipate, any of these that are left right now in all probability will need some operate. [Long Island Retro Gaming] has a teardown and repair movie if you want to see what helps make all that sounds when it moves.

Farewell R.O.B

You could say R.O.B. was a failure. But, really, it was really thriving. It held the NES from being tagged as a online video video game and failing in the marketplace. As soon as the process was in your house, it did not subject that you didn’t use the robot. Not poor for a gentle gun, a couple motors, and some plastic gears.

Of study course, these are just begging to be hacked — not to mention begging for better motors. Or cellphone command by means of goggles. Or permit [Joshua Vasquez] display you how to establish a new just one.