Top Ten: Greatest Nintendo Peripherals

A look back at some of the greatest add-ons and peripherals to ever grace Nintendo systems.

By Kyle England. Posted 08/27/2013 10:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

10. R.O. B. – NES – 1985

The Robotic Operating Buddy, or R. O. B. for short, was not a very useful peripheral. It launched with the NES in 1985 for the sole purpose of branding the console as an all-inclusive entertainment device rather than a video game system. I talk all about this in my podcast covering the history of the console.

Anyways, R. O. B. is a plastic robot that’s a little under a foot in height that runs off of 4 AA batteries. He is able to be your buddy while you play Nintendo games. Here’s how it works: you outfit R. O. B. with one his two gaming apparatus and point his eyes at your TV screen. When a certain queue flashes on the screen, R. O. B. responds by moving and performing a certain action, which is supposed to help you in the game.

R. O. B. was only meant for two games– Gyromite and Stack-Up, a couple of NES launch titles. In Gyromite, R. O. B.’s whole setup only serves as an incredibly convoluted way to press buttons on the second player controller. In Stack-Up, R. O. B. just stacks blocks. You’re supposed to stack them in certain ways to solve puzzles, but the game employs the honor system since it really has no way in knowing what R. O. B. is doing. Weak.

So while R. O. B. is a pretty terrible peripheral in practice, he is an incredibly important one in history. In essence, he helped launch the NES to a wary consumer market in the mid 1980s, and that’s reason enough to respect him. Also, despite his flaws, R. O. B. is a pretty cool dude. He even went onto race and battle with other Nintendo stars.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

3 Responses to “Top Ten: Greatest Nintendo Peripherals”

  • 1558 points
    penduin says...

    Technical nitpick: The NES Zapper doesn’t need a curved CRT, just a sufficiently bright and fast (fast being the sticking point with modern TVs) display. Pull the trigger and the screen goes black, with a bright box covering one “hit” zone, for one 60th of a second per on-screen target. Some games let you aim at a light bulb and win, if it wasn’t checking for dark during the surrounding frames.

    The Super Scope was even crazier; its hit or miss mechanism was actually based on the timing of when individual pixels were being lit on the screen within that 1/60th of a second timeslice. (Notice how no Super Scope game ever used very dark colors?)

    We might someday build a plasma or LCD bright and fast enough to work with the Zapper, but the Super Scope has almost no chance. :^)

  • 702 points
    Matthew Tidman says...

    I’m kind of sad that the power pad for NES didn’t make the list even as an honorable mention. I remember hours spent playing World Class Track Meet with that thing and trying to figure out how long I could jump off the mat before jumping back on to get insane scores. Of course, it always ended up being me and my sister kneeling next to the mat slapping the run buttons as fast as we could… Good times.

    Also, where were the good peripherals for SNES. I honestly can’t think of any besides the Super Game Boy.

  • 267 points
    decoupage says...

    The rumble pak was great for one reason… The video tape that Nintendo Power sent in the mail advertising Star Fox 64 and the rumble pak.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!