R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) is an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System NES. It was released in 1984 in Japan as the Famicom Robot and in 1985 as R.O.B in North America. It had a short lifespan, only being supported with two games, but remains known today for the role it played in getting the Nintendo Entertainment System into stores in the United States.
In Japan, the Famicom Robot was sold with Robot Block (a.k.a. Stack-Up).
The Robotic Operating Buddy was sold in two packages. One was the NES Deluxe Set, which featured a control deck, the NES Zapper, two controllers, and two games (Duck Hunt and Gyromite). The other package only included R.O.B. and Gyromite.
While in production, R.O.B. was not widely accepted. Its brief inclusion in the NES Deluxe Set explains its lack of availability today.
It was compatible with only two games, neither of which were simple enough for a game market that, at the time, was composed almost entirely of younger children.
Its most successful use was as a "trojan horse" to garner interest following the video game crash of 1983.
Retailers, reluctant to stock video games because of huge losses they incurred during the crash, were willing to stock R.O.B. (with the NES) as a "robot toy." It worked, as retailers stocked the NES, giving Nintendo its first major foothold in the western market.