Turning the cool factor up to 100 was the original Nintendo that came with a robot. Seriously, it was a real robot, as in bit, bop, blip. Moving pieces and everything. But it wasn’t only for looks, as in a toy that utters a few dozen phrases. This robot actually even played a couple of games on the original console. Cool factor 1000! Who needs friends right? So why did the original Nintendo come with a Robot, and why did they stop it?
Ok, so most people reading this today are too young to recall the early video game market, or weren’t born yet. Either they are too young, or old age dementia has set in because they are over the hill and find it hard to remember things, such as when the next pill should be taken.
Back in 1983 the video game industry crashed, and a lot of observers thought that it was long gone, and would never recover. I mean, what can beat a push bike, hide and seek and a game of snakes and ladders right? Kids grew up outside, and had fun. Things like video games were just a passing fad not to be taken too seriously, especially after some companies had suffered massive losses chasing a wild idea. Nintendo, however, could see something that few others could, and continued to develop a game changing entertainment console. But making something and selling it are two completely different things, as Nintendo would discover.
A couple of years later the very first Nintendo Entertainment System had been completed and was ready for sale. The big problem was that no retailers wanted to stock the item, believing that the video game market was dead. Who’s going to buy something that nobodies going to want? You could see thee reason for their hesitation. So Nintendo developed ROB the robot to sell the original console.
To sell the original Nintendo to retailers, Nintendo sold the console as an addition to the Robotic Operating Buddy (ROB). So in Nintendo’s eyes, and that of the hesitant retailers, it wasn’t a video game console. It was a toy robot.
ROB proved to be an absolute failure. It was almost unworkable, and proved to be as much fun as a fire in an orphanage. But what it did do well was marketing. It kick started the sale of the new video game console in a US market that had little excitement for such an item. This ROB the robot with the original Nintendo helped catapult Nintendo into the dominant market leader it is today.
ROB was discontinued a short time later. While he was discontinued from production, Nintendo have given him a few cameo appearances in games such as F-Zero GX and Super Smash Bros Brawl. I don’t think that they will ever show some of their more shady endeavors in their games these days.