|Platform(s)||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Release date(s)||JPN August 13, 1985
USA October 18, 1985
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Input methods||NES controller, R.O.B|
Gyromite (also known as Robot Gyro) is a video game released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, designed for use with the Robotic Operating Buddy. Gyromite is one of two games in Nintendo's Robot Series, the other being Stack-Up. The opening screen of the game shows the title Robot Gyro, the Japanese name of the game for the Family Computer. Essentially, the Gyromite game program is unchanged from the Famicom Robot Gyro cartridge, and in fact many Gyromite cartridges contain the circuit board from a copy of "Robot Gyro," attached to an adaptor that allows the game to be played on NES systems. Famicom games had 60-pin connectors, so the adaptor converted the game so it can be used with the 72-pin connector in an NES. Internationally minded collectors may look inside Gyromite cartridges for a Famicom cartridge adaptor, though these pin converters are rare, and many Gyromite carts were made without them.
Professor Hector and his assistant, Professor Vector, navigate side-scrolling platform levels with the help of their creation, R.O.B. Their lives are threatened by dynamite and hungry little lizards called Smicks, and Professor Hector's sleep-walking tendencies get him in trouble as well.
As the Professor character moves through the levels, R.O.B. must aid navigation by raising and lowering red and blue gates. When a Gyro depresses the red pedestal, red gates are lowered. When a gyro depresses the blue pedestal, blue gates are lowered. The action on the screen never stops, so while operating R.O.B., the on-screen character continues to be vulnerable.
It is also possible to control the gates through the use of a controller plugged into Controller Port #2.
In this mode, the player controls both R.O.B. and a Professor character, switching on the fly. Professor Hector (Player 1) and Professor Vector (Player 2) must collect all of the bundles of dynamite in each of 40 successive levels. When the player presses start: the screen turns blue, the Professor looks outward from the screen toward R.O.B., and the next button pressed issues one command to R.O.B.—every command to R.O.B. must be preceded by a press of the Start button. Wandering Smicks are a threat, but are harmless when eating the turnips found throughout the phases, which the professor may pick up and move at will. A Smick crushed in a gate is worth 500 points. Bundles of dynamite are worth 100 points. Seconds left on the clock after each level are worth 100 points. Five extra lives are supplied.
In this mode, Professor Hector is sleepwalking, and the player controls only R.O.B. Commands need not be preceded by the Start button, as R.O.B. is controlled directly. The Professor starts at the left edge of the screen, and walks slowly toward the right side of the screen. If he hits a gate, he'll just continue to walk straight into it until it moves out of his way. The player must use R.O.B. to move the gates, allowing the Professor to reach the right side of the screen. Smicks are present in this mode, but they mostly confine themselves to dead ends. There are 25 phases in this mode. Three extra lives are supplied.
In this mode, no game is played: commands are simply sent directly to R.O.B. First-time players or players who just want to operate R.O.B. without playing Gyromite can use this mode to deliver R.O.B.'s commands. Pressing up or down on the directional pad causes the arms to move up and down. Left and right make the arms swivel counter-clockwise and clockwise. The A button opens the arms, and the B button closes them.
Gyromite is the more common of only two titles that were developed to be used in conjunction with the Nintendo R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) accessory. The other is Stack-Up. R.O.B. was essentially a marketing trojan horse that convinced retailers to stock the NES in the United States where video games were seen as a passing fad. Without the toy connection, stores would not consider purchasing another video game system that they believed was doomed to failure.
In game A of Gyromite, the player helps Professor Hector (along with second player Professor Vector) collect six stick of dynamite scattered throughout the many levels of the Professors' lab. In his way, however, are blue and red pipes, which are supposed to be raised and lowered through the aid of R.O.B., as he uses the Gyros to keep buttons pressed on the second control pad. The player must pause the game and issue each instruction to R.O.B. one at a time. In game B, the Professors are sleepwalking, and you must constantly issue commands to R.O.B. in order to allow the Professors to reach the other end of the stage safely.
A complete Gyromite comes packaged with two claw hands for R.O.B., two gyros, a gyro spinner (requires its own D battery), a 2-gyro holder, and a contraption that you place second (original) NES controller in that pushes the A and B buttons through the weight of the Gyros. Because of the speed at which R.O.B. operates (rather slowly), and the frequent misplacement of R.O.B. which resulted in many people possessing only the cartridge, a second player would often take R.O.B.'s place. The Gyromite cartridge also contains one of the highly sought after Famicom-to-NES converters since early versions of the ROM were not converted to the NES cartridge format.
The specifics of how to play the game will be covered in depth in the walkthrough. This section will explain how to arrange the accessories around R.O.B., and how to use R.O.B. and the Gyros to play the game. The instruction manual states that you should place the Gyro holder tray in positions 4 and 5 on the base of R.O.B. The red and blue actuator is placed in positions 3 and 2, and the Gyro spinner is placed in position 1. Lastly, the second player controller should be placed in the actuator tray (no other controller but the original will fit). The truth is, these accessories can be arranged in any layout that you prefer. Note that with Gyromite, R.O.B.'s arms can be placed in five horizontal positions and only three vertical positions: low, middle, and high.
There's actually quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to how you choose to use the Gyros. When only one gate needs to be raised or lowered, you don't actually need to bother spinning the Gyro. You can actually have R.O.B. hold a Gyro between his "claws", manually place it on one of the actuators, and keep it held down for as long as you need. You only need to use the Gyro spinner if you wish to have both the red and blue actuators pressed. If that is the case, you need to get one Gyro spinning, and drop it on one of the actuators (which can occur from any height). This Gyro will remain on the button, and continue spinning for a couple of minutes. Then pick up the other Gyro and instruct R.O.B. to manually press the other button as you did for just one button. Try to make sure that R.O.B. picks up the spinning Gyro before it comes to rest and falls over.
It is important to be mindful of the height of R.O.B.'s arms as you move them across. At the lowest position, Gyros will collide with the accessories scattered around R.O.B. and hurt the motors inside of him. At the middle position, the Gyros can collide with one another. Also, never instruct R.O.B. to lower his arms to the lowest position over the Gyro Spinner when his arms are closed and a Gyro is in the spinner. It's also a wise idea to avoid touching the sides of the Gyros when they are spinning; the friction can cause a nasty skin burn.
Famicom Gyro Set