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Remembering the Legacy of Nintendo’s R.O.B. the Robot

Remembering the Legacy of Nintendo’s R.O.B. the Robot

Do you remember R.O.B. the Robot? The signature accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System didn’t leave a big library of games in its wake. Only two R.O.B. compatible titles, Gyromite and Stack-Up, were released in the U.S., but its gaming legacy goes far beyond its meager lineup. As explained in The Story of R.O.B. the Robot documentary, R.O.B. was designed to sneak the NES into stores and homes at a time when the video game console industry was thought to be dead.

This was the latest short documentary released by Norman Caruso through his Gaming Historian YouTube channel. In the video, Caruso relates the tale of Nintendo’s ambitions to bring its Famicon console to the U.S. in the aftermath of the great video game crash that decimated the industry. No matter what Nintendo did, no one wanted any part of the NES until it was decided to use R.O.B. as a Trojan horse to win over gamers and retailers alike.

While R.O.B. still looks pretty cool, it was never a very good accessory. Caruso demonstrates both Gyromite and Stack-Up, but neither game holds up under close scrutiny. The problem is that R.O.B. wasn’t built for speedy interactions and it really couldn’t do much. But the novelty of bringing a robot home proved to be irresistible for children.

R.O.B. didn’t last very long at all, but it fulfilled its primary function by winning a new generation of gaming fans and paving the way for everything Nintendo has done since. R.O.B. still occasionally shows up in games, including the Super Smash Bros. series. Perhaps someday, Nintendo will even find a new role for R.O.B. to play.

What do you think about the R.O.B. the Robot documentary? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image: Gaming Historian

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