Museum of Curious Toys & Games: Bandai’s “God-Jesus” Robot (1984)
Hello and welcome to another view into this one-of-a-kind collection celebrating the bizarre world of creepy or unusual toys & games. Each item featured in this collection represents a questionable (or maybe inspirational) moment in the development of toys and games throughout history.
Featured Item: Bandai’s God-Jesus Robot (a.k.a. Uranai Robo)
As we enter, as Byron Reese would say, a Fourth Age, where robots and AI transform humanity forever — perhaps it’s no better time than the present to look back to a robot toy from several decades ago. Before there was Pepper by Softbank Robotics or even Amazon Echo, there was the Uranai Robo — better known here in the US as the God-Jesus Robot.
The God-Jesus Robot (or more accurately the “Fortune-Telling Robot”) was a Bandai creation, sold in Japan in 1984. Similar to the Magic 8-Ball, though much more silly, players would ask God-Jesus Robot a question to help them find answers to perplexing questions of life.
This rare find is a favorite among collectors. The battery-powered robot can bow its head as well as walk backward and forward. As you can see from the directions, below, the robot will move its head in an affirmative or naysaying direction based on its answer to your question about the future. Who needs Alexa when you have a fortune-telling robot like this? Imagine all of the fun you can have before the batteries run out.
In a lot of ways, though much more functional, the Anki’s Cozmo robot reminds me of Uranai Robo — perhaps because of it’s size or the quirky personality that Cozmo (admittedly much more sophisticated) imbues somehow.
Here’s the best video I can find that discusses all of the “amazing” features of Uranai Robo — and the hosts even put the robot’s fortune-telling prowess to the test. Just about everything you ever wanted to know about how Uranai Robo works is covered in this video — and by that I mean it’s over an hour-and-a-half in length.
Originally published at Margaret Wallace.