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R.O.B. (short for Robotic Operating Buddy; in Japan known as the Famicom Robot, short for Family Computer Robot, or simply called Robot) is an accessory released alongside the Nintendo Entertainment System to help advertise the console as a toy. He functions by translating flashes of information on the television screen into physical actions to assist players in compatible games, and was only used for the games Gyromite and Stack-Up.
While R.O.B. has made cameo appearances in the Mario franchise, he has also appeared as a playable character, most notably in Mario Kart DS.
Mario Kart DS
R.O.B. is one of the four unlockable characters in Mario Kart DS, unlocked by winning either all nitro Mirror cups, or all retro Mirror cups, and is the first non-Mario character to appear as a playable character in a Mario Kart game. In the game, he is tied with Bowser for being the heaviest racer. R.O.B.'s symbol is the NES D-pad. R.O.B. has two original karts: the ROB-BLS, which resembles R.O.B.'s stand for the game Stack-Up, and the ROB-LGS, which is a kart that appears like "legs" for R.O.B. His karts are fast, heavy, and have stronger handling, but they also offer the weakest drifting among all the other karts. R.O.B. is the only character in Mario Kart DS who doesn't control his kart with the wheel; instead, he seems to control the kart by moving his arms.
In the Japanese version of the game, R.O.B. is colored like his Japanese model, and is named HVC-012, the model number for the Japanese version of R.O.B. His karts have also different colors in the Japanese version. Also, the staff ghost data for Desert Hills and Rainbow Road feature the Japanese R.O.B. and vehicles, no matter what version of the game the player has.
R.O.B. is the subject of the Stack-Up microgame in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! from 9-Volt's games. In WarioWare: Twisted!, a R.O.B. is seen in 9-Volt's game room. In WarioWare: Touched!, a R.O.B. accessory appears in the microgame Gunslinger after the player destroys a blue canister (this microgame is found in 9-Volt/18-Volt's stage). In WarioWare: Smooth Moves, R.O.B. is the boss of 9-Volt's stage, the Star Fox boss level. Like many of his other appearances, his model differs between Japanese and western versions. He bobs around, shooting either a large revolver-like light gun using both arms in the Japanese version or its western equivalent, the NES Zapper. To defeat him, the player has to shoot the flashing blocks set-up for has if he is being used to play Stack-Up. R.O.B. reappears in WarioWare Gold, appearing in the R.O.B. Block Set microgame.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
R.O.B. appears as a newcomer and unlockable playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He is unlocked by playing 160 Brawl matches, collecting 250 trophies, or having R.O.B. join the party in The Subspace Emissary. His moveset is mostly based on the original R.O.B. accessory. His standard special move is Robo Beam, which fires a beam from between R.O.B.'s eyes. R.O.B.'s side special move is Arm Rotor, which has him spin his arms around rapidly to attack. His down special move is Gyro, which charges and tosses one of R.O.B.'s gyro accessories. His up special move is Robo Burner, which uses jets in R.O.B.'s base to fly into the air. His Final Smash is Diffusion Beam, which fires a short-range constant beam from R.O.B.'s eyes that deals constant damage to nearby opponents.
R.O.B.'s general appearance in the game is that of the Japanese version of the accessory, while his NES colors appear as an alternate costume. Also, one of R.O.B.'s alternate costumes is based on the colors of the North American SNES. In addition, a structure that looks similar to R.O.B. appears in the Port Town Aero Dive stage, as he is in F-Zero GX. He is visible in one of the stop spots in the background of the stage.
The Subspace Emissary
Before the events of the Subspace Emissary, R.O.B. was the leader of the R.O.B. race of robots, officially titled the Master Robot. He and the other robots lived on the floating Isle of Ancients and watched over the World of Trophies. However, it was ultimately invaded by Tabuu, a humanoid entity from Subspace. He attacked the Isle of Ancients, deactivating many R.O.B.s and eventually taking the robots hostage. R.O.B. was forced to ally himself with Tabuu in order to prevent the deaths of more of his robot brethren, and began to hide under his ceremonial robes of mourning and assume the title of Ancient Minister. The Isle of Ancients itself was converted into The Subspace Bomb Factory, and the Ancient Minister became the commander of the Subspace Army. As the commander of the army, he lead the invasion of the World of Trophies on behalf of Tabuu, while a specially trained group of R.O.B.s served as the "Ancient Minister's" personal bodyguards, the R.O.B. Squad, made up of R.O.B. Sentries, R.O.B. Launchers, and R.O.B. Blasters. R.O.B.s were also used to detonate Subspace Bombs, to the "Minister's" deepening regret.
As the Ancient Minister, he first appeared in the Subspace Emissary after Mario and Kirby's match at the Midair Stadium, where he detonated a Subspace Bomb, sending the stadium to Subspace. He escaped, only to be later chased by Mario and Pit in The Plains, who had little success catching him. He then detonated another Subspace Bomb at The Battlefield Fortress, attracting the attention of Marth, Meta Knight, and Ike. Regardless of the group's efforts, he manages to escape their grasp, however, he is soon discovered by Mario and Pit once again, along with Link and Yoshi. Again, the Ancient Minister escapes, but not before detonating yet another Subspace Bomb, sending King Dedede's Castle into Subspace.
The Ancient Minister is not seen again until Samus Aran and Pikachu corner him at the Subspace Bomb Factory. Samus and Pikachu are ready to fight, but the Ancient Minister refuses, growing depressed at the number of R.O.B.s sacrificed to activate the Subspace Bombs, confusing them. Soon after, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Captain Falcon, and Captain Olimar arrive, also battle-ready, but the Ancient Minister still refuses. A holographic Ganondorf appears, quickly realizing that he has betrayed him. Using a remote-controlled button, he is able to control the R.O.B.s, ordering them to attack the Ancient Minister and activate every Subspace Bomb in the factory.
However, when the R.O.B. Squad shoots the Ancient Minister, his robes burn off, revealing to everyone present that he was a R.O.B. himself all along. Unable to prevent the bombs from being detonated, he ends up finally being carried away by Donkey Kong as the factory explodes. R.O.B. escapes with the others on the Falcon Flyer and later meets up with the rest of the characters on the ground. He and the rest of the cast go into Subspace to confront Tabuu, but are all turned into Trophies. Eventually, Kirby saves him and he joins the group who go on to defeat Tabuu and save the World of Trophies. With so many Subspace Bombs set off simultaneously on the Isle of Ancients, only a shining, X-shaped scar appears where the Isle once was when the rest of the world is restored with the destruction of Tabuu and the Great Maze.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
R.O.B. appears again in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U as an unlockable character. This time around, his default palette is different depending on the version to match the colors of his original release; in the Japanese version, he is the tan and red Famicom palette, while the US and PAL versions have the grey NES palette. R.O.B. also has a new Final Smash, the Super Diffusion Beam, which turns R.O.B. into a cannon that fires a single beam, dealing continuous damage until the end of the attack.
For equipment, R.O.B. uses the Zapper equipment for attack, the Block equipment for defense, and the Booster equipment for speed.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
R.O.B. is set to reappear as a playable character in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. This time, he has a light gauge on his chassis showing how much fuel he has left when using his Robo Burner, which emits blue when it is full, yellow when it is two-thirds full, red when it is one-third full, and flashes red when it is completely empty.
Robo Beam is R.O.B.'s standard special move. When used, R.O.B. fires a laser beam from his eyes that travels through opponents. The shot can be angled up or down with the control stick and reflect off of the floors or walls, and using the beam closer to opponents causes them fire damage. Firing again right after firing once causes the beam to be a close-range attack. Holding the Robo Beam for a period of time turns the shot into the Super Robo Beam, a larger and more powerful shot that travels across the entire stage. The levels of charge are determined by the LED on R.O.B.'s head; he glows brighter and blinks faster when the normal Robo Beam can be used, and he glows and blinks even more, in addition to a sound playing, when the Super Robo Beam is available.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Robo Beam has two customizable variations that can be unlocked and switched out. The first custom move is Wide-Angle Beam, which allows R.O.B. to fire a less-powerful beam at wider angles. The second is Infinite Robo Beam, which allows R.O.B. to fire the standard Robo Beam at any point, but it takes longer to charge the Super Robo Beam, the attack itself is weaker, and the laser can no longer bounce off walls.
Arm Rotor is R.O.B.'s side special move. R.O.B. spins his arms around at a downward angle as he moves forward, dealing multiple hits to any opponents in his path; in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, the move ends with an uppercut that deals greater damage and knockback. Players can move in the opposite direction while the move is in use. The move also lasts longer if the player holds down the special move button, and can reflect projectiles.
Two custom variants for Arm Rotor are also available in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. The first is Reflector Arm, which makes it easier to reflect projectiles as R.O.B.'s arms spin completely horizontally rather than at an angle, but R.O.B. can no longer move during the attack. The second is Backward Arm Rotor, which has a shorter spin but allows the uppercut to happen more quickly.
Robo Burner is R.O.B.'s up special move. When used, R.O.B. flies into the air using the jets under his base. Unlike other up special moves, this move can be stopped at any point and does not leave R.O.B. helpless afterwards. However, the move has a limited amount of fuel, which only recharges while R.O.B. is on the ground. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the three lights that make up a gauge on his chassis indicate how much fuel he has left (three blue lights when it is full, two yellow lights when it is two-thirds full, and one red light when it is one-third full). When it is empty, the lights flash red until it is full again.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, the Robo Burner's first custom variant is Robo Rocket, which turns the move into a jump rather than flight that cannot go as high and leaves R.O.B. helpless afterwards, but can damage opponents. The second is High-Speed Burner, which allows R.O.B. to fly faster but has less total fuel.
Gyro is R.O.B.'s down special move, based on the gyro accessories that the actual R.O.B. uses to play Gyromite. R.O.B. charges the attack by spinning the gyro in place on a stand, similar to how he uses an actual gyro; the charge can be stopped by using another button. Pressing the button again causes him to toss the gyro, the distance and power determined by how long it charged. After R.O.B. tosses the gyro and it lands on the ground, it spins in place for a time until it disappears; while it is active, opponents who run into the gyro receive damage as long as it is spinning. R.O.B. can pick up the active gyro, while opponents can catch it while it is in the air.
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, the Gyro's first custom variant is Fire Gyro, which tosses a flaming gyro that deals more damage but does not travel as far. The second is Slip Gyro, which tosses a gyro that spins across the ground and trips any opponents that are hit by it.
Diffusion Beam is R.O.B.'s Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. R.O.B. shoots a constant beam from his eyes for the duration of the move that deals continuous damage to any nearby opponents and will occasionally shoot a blast of energy. R.O.B. is able to move freely, is invincible to damage and unaffected by knockback, and can use any of his other moves while this move is in use.
Super Diffusion Beam
Super Diffusion Beam is R.O.B.'s Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, replacing the original Diffusion Beam from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. R.O.B. transforms himself into a cannon and fires a laser that splits off and ends in four smaller branches. Opponents caught in the beam are trapped and take repeated damage. Once the beam dissipates, the opponents are stunned for a brief moment and R.O.B. fires a second beam that launches them away. The angle of the first beam can be adjusted with the control stick, but the second beam always fires directly ahead of R.O.B.
Super Mario Maker
R.O.B. also makes an appearance as a Mystery Mushroom costume in Super Mario Maker. His appearance changes depending on the region: in the Japanese version of the game, his appearance matches that of the Famicom; in all other versions, it matches that of the NES. Upon transforming into R.O.B., the "level start" tune from Gyromite plays. When is pressed, R.O.B. emits beams of light from his eyes.
Profiles and statistics
Mario Kart DS
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
"R.O.B., the Robotic Operating Buddy from the NES, makes a grand entrance into the maelstrom!
His stately form has received a lot of attention, but it’s his air of gentle playfulness that really charms us."
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Blue indicates exclusive to the Wii U version.
Names in other languages