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The video game crash of 1983 had a devastating effect on the gaming industry. In a market flooded with poorly made games and consoles, it looked like video gaming might go the way of the Pet Rock and other children’s fads. Gaming giant Atari was even a disappointment, releasing games that barely worked, such as an untested prototype for PacMan and the world famous ET game. With games of this area inspiring little confidence, Nintendo began to change the way consumers saw video gaming. Measures to control third party game development, and increase hardware reliability and performance helped bring people back to gaming, as Nintendo helped the industry recover in 1985.
Nintendo’s big marketing push for Christmas of 1985, including the adorable gaming robot R.O.B. Short for Robotic Operating Buddy, R.O.B. was designed with support for only two games: Gyromite and Stack-Up. This lovable robot was intended to show the NES was a toy, not a repeat of the failed systems of 1983. It seems to have worked too. R.O.B. was the top reason kids and teens gave market researchers for their purchase of a gaming system that holiday. At 19%, the robot beat out the zapper gun and hardward and software improvements. Of course, while the robot was popular, most parents simply purchased the NES system because their child asked for it.