The Robotic Operating Buddy, or R.O.B. (ロボット, Robot), was an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), intended to be disguised as a toy, rather than a video game, due to toy stores' avoidance of video games after the video game crash of 1983.
R.O.B. was originally advertised as a toy in order to get toy stores to alleviate retail fears following the North American video game crash of 1983. R.O.B. was compatible with two games, Gyromite and Stack-Up and although the player didn't necessarily need R.O.B. to play the games, it still remained a key figure in Nintendo's attempt to keep the video games industry alive.
Although R.O.B.'s time has passed, his legacy lives on, as he was named the fifth in GameSpy's top twenty five smartest moves in gaming history. On the downside, ScrewAttack called R.O.B. the fifth-worst game peripheral ever, citing that it only moved up and down and side to side, was noisy and slow, was nearly impossible to put together by oneself and specifically noted the lack of games that could be played with R.O.B.
Despite only appearing as a game peripheral, R.O.B. has made many appearances in games, both in playable and non-playable roles. R.O.B. appears as a playable character in Mario Kart DS. A treasure in the Pikmin 2 game was "Remembered Old Buddy", being R.O.B.'s head and having the initials R-O-B. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, there is a stage where Kirby must complete puzzles in various rooms to collect pieces of R.O.B. for Professor Hector, R.O.B.'s creator in Gyromite, so that R.O.B. can be rebuilt. Robotic-cranes designed in R.O.B.'s image can be seen in the F-Zero GX course "Port Town Aero Dive", which can also be seen in the Brawl stage of the same name. Also, R.O.B.'s legacy is also paid homage to in the Star Fox series where the Star Fox team's robotic helper, ROB 64, was named after R.O.B and 64 as in Nintendo 64. He also appears as a boss in WarioWare: Smooth Moves in 9-Volt's stage, where the player controls Fox in remakes of levels from the original Star Fox game, with R.O.B replacing the original boss character.
R.O.B. is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. There are also many R.O.B. enemies in the Subspace Emissary and he also appears when the Ancient Minister's clothes are burned off. He sports his Japanese color scheme, being white and red like the Japanese Famicom, though one of his alternate palettes is his North American design, being gray and black like the NES. He appears as the simple robot, without any specific accessory from his game configurations except for the hands, that are in fact his Stack-Up hands. He also uses a "Gyro" and the "Spinner" from his Gyromite configuration during his Gyro attack. Overall, the R.O.B. in Brawl looks more realistic than the actual toy.
R.O.B. is ranked 18th on the tier list in the C- tier.
The R.O.B. Squad is the general term referring to the army and race of R.O.B. enemies in The Subspace Emissary. Although having no real canon of their own outside of the Smash Brothers series, the story of Subspace Emissary suggests that the race of R.O.B. robots called the floating island named the Isle of Ancients their home and was subsequently taken over by Tabuu in preparation for his invasion into the Smash Bros. world.
R.O.B. returns as a playable character, being officially confirmed on the Smash Bros. site on October 15th, 2014.