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North American cover art
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Gyromite, also known as Robot Gyro (ジャイロ Jairo?), 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 (AKA Robot Block). 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 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 consoles. 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 bird-like creatures 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, a lever presses the B button on Controller #2 and red gates are lowered. When a Gyro depresses the blue pedestal, a lever presses the A button on Controller #2 and 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.
In this mode for 1 or 2 players, 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. Tens of Seconds left on the clock after each level are worth 100 points, while the ones digit are worth 10 points. Five extra lives are supplied.
In this single-player 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 will 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.
Some early copies of Gyromite released outside of Japan were not properly localized and, as a result, the cartridges contain a circuit board from the Japanese Famicom version of the game along with a cartridge adapter so it can be played on the North American and European NES. The internal cartridge adapter can be removed from affected copies of the game and used to play other Japanese Famicom games on the NES.