When the video game industry crashed in 1983, many people thought that it would never recover again. A few years later, when Nintendo was ready to launch their first console, they got a lot of pushback from retailers that didn't want to carry a video game console.
Nintendo's solution was to tell them that the NES was not a video game console, but rather a toy. In order to demonstrate this idea they came up with R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy). It was an accessory that came with the NES and would play games along with the player. R.O.B. was a huge failure with gamers, because it didn't work that well and wasn't really that exciting. However, it was extremely succesful in that it helped the original Nintendo get started in the US market. This led to the NES reinvigorating the video game industry and helped it get to where it is today.
R.O.B. was soon discontinued. Since it has made appearances in later Nintendo games like F-Zero GX and Super Smash Bros Brawl.