System: Nintendo Entertainment System
Published by: Nintendo
Review: Good ol' Gyromite. Talk about a classic! This game was my introduction to a new era of gaming, for it came bundled with the original Nintendo Entertainment System Deluxe Set along with R.O.B. the robot. Sure, it might seem like a novelty item in retrospect, but imagine being a kid who grew up on the Intellivision and Atari 2600 systems and all of a sudden being told, "Here, take this new video game system. It has superior graphics and sound and it comes with a robot who will help you play one of the included games. It also comes with a gun that you can use to shoot some ducks with, but there's a laughing dog in that game who will make you so furious you'll be talking about him in therapy about 20 years from now, so stick with the robot game instead, ok?"
Ok, I wasn't actually told that, but that's how it felt. It really was the beginning of a new gaming age and I couldn't be more excited about tearing into that Deluxe set and assembling R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) so we could play Gyromite for the very first time.
There are two modes to the game. Mode A allows you to hook up the second controller to R.O.B. so he can spin his gyroscopes in order to depress the pads which control columns on the screen which are in the way of your character, Professor Hector (and Profession Vector in 2-player games). While R.O.B. is busy trying to clear a path so you can move forward, it's up to you to use the first controller to make the professor collect all the dynamite on the screen. However, being accidentally crushed by a rising steel column because your so-called robotic operating "buddy" betrayed you isn't the only thing you need to worry about. Each level has a fair share of Smicks for you to avoid.
Smicks are strange lizard-like creatures with bird beaks and they hunger for the flesh of aging professors such as yourself. They do have a few weaknesses though, my favorite of which is that they can be tricked into getting squished by one of those moving columns. They also love eating turnips and those veggies sure do come in handy at times. Yeah, I don't get it either, but it was very satisfying seeing a Smick eating one of your strategically placed turnips one second, and then getting squashed the next.
Mode B is slightly different in that you are no longer in control of the professor. In this mode, you simply control R.O.B. while the professor sleepwalks his way through the screen. There's no dynomite to collect, but surviving the columns and Smicks while the old man sleepwalks is more than tricky enough on some levels.
I also feel I should mention that the theme song to Gyromite remains one of my all-time favorites to this day. There were times where I would just leave the game on, not even playing it, so I could listen to that fantastic in-game tune play on an endless loop. It also made the game that much more enjoyable when you were playing with a friend. You see, you could have a friend take the place of R.O.B., but that friend could easily turn on you instead of aid you in your quest to get past those deadly steel columns. Believe me, I wasn't above such treacherous and juvenile behavior. I can't begin to tell you how many uncontrollable fits of laughter I enjoyed after watching my friends get squashed because of my immaturity. Hearing that glorious *splat* sound was music to my ears. If you played Gyromite with a friend, there's no denying that you did this exact same thing. Don't even try it, bub.
To be perfectly honest, it's hard to imagine how the hell anybody even came up with a game like this to begin with. Can you imagine how the pitch meeting for something like that went?
"Ok boss, so here's my idea! We're gonna build a robot that picks up spinning gyroscopes and drops them onto a platform which causes a button on a video game controller to depress and interact with some steel columns on the screen. While this is happening, we're gonna have a professor dodge a bunch of turnip-eating lizard creatures with bird beaks while he collects bundles of dynamite. Soooooooo... whaddaya think? When can I expect to see these on the assembly line?"
To say the least, Gyromite is one of those games that you absolutely must play in its original format. No form of emulation can really do it justice, because you simply can't experience both the hilarity and the frustration of playing it with the aid (and I use that term loosely) of R.O.B. the robot. If you have the means, I highly suggest trying it out so you can experience the very beginning of what would become one of the most successful video game systems in history.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
Did they ever use that robot for anything else after that besides a dust collector?
|I also feel I should mention that the theme song to Gyromite remains one of my all-time favorites to this day. There were times where I would just leave the game on, not even playing it, so I could listen to that fantastic in-game tune play on an endless loop.|
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