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RCA Studio II GOLD MINE! An interview with the Studio 2 Production Manager!

RCA Studio II Interview

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#576 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:47 PM

I finally went back and updated one of the Digital Press threads about the Bingo game from a few years ago, as I've come to the conclusion that Bingo should NOT be counted as part of a full US set. While it was programmed, likely given a (very very small) pre-production test run at the RCA NJ facilities, and was intended for a full US release, it was never actually manufactured along with all the other games at the Swannanoa, NC plant and was not given a retail release. There was no way for it to have been purchased during the original lifetime of the Studio II.

 

http://forum.digitpr...l=1#post2017692



#577 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:50 PM

Hey all. Issue 139 of Retro Gamer has been published and is just starting to be sent out to subscribers. Please pick it up and enjoy. I'm still interviewing Joyce Weisbecker and getting more material coming in, enough that I'm thinking of turning it all into a small book at this point. 

 

attachicon.gif11041904_10152718354238596_4193346422337437189_o.jpgattachicon.gifrcainside.pngattachicon.gifrcainside1.png

attachicon.gifrcainside2.png

 

Awesomeness :) My order's just been placed!



#578 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 1, 2015 11:00 PM

Hi folks, been quite a while i've posted here. Well, i've received 2 days ago something pretty rare and since the person

who sold me this game system said that it was broken, i simply tried to see if it works or not. Just to say, i've modded it

with A/V output (which is sssooo damn easy to do BTW) and recorded this:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=BKsR-LYN2vs

 

Already 4 views in less than 12 hours before i've posted here.....KEWL! :-D

 

 

--- Sly DC ---



#579 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 2, 2015 2:28 AM

I'm not sure about the car racing game, but it is interesting that the Conic/Sheen M1200 version of Bowling uses alternating single foreground colours (white/yellow on blue or light green on darker green) for the respective players, while the Toshiba Visicom version of the same game uses multiple, but same foreground colours for both players. Since both Doodle and Biorhythm, and IIRC also Black Jack on the M1200 all can display multiple foreground colours, I suppose either the colourisation of Bowling is a by-effect or whoever altered it didn't put as much effort as the one at Toshiba. The use of multiple foreground colours adds a whole other dimension to the visuals.



#580 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 4, 2015 10:26 AM

Hi folks, been quite a while i've posted here. Well, i've received 2 days ago something pretty rare and since the person

who sold me this game system said that it was broken, i simply tried to see if it works or not. Just to say, i've modded it

with A/V output (which is sssooo damn easy to do BTW) and recorded this:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=BKsR-LYN2vs

 

Already 4 views in less than 12 hours before i've posted here.....KEWL! :-D

 

 

--- Sly DC ---

 

Awesome work :) You can bet I'll be looking more into the the archives for color information when Ii go up North to peruse the RCA archives later this year :)

 

Btw, just how did you mod the system, and do you think it would be as easy on a US Studio II, what with the power box and selector switch and all?



#581 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 5, 2015 7:49 AM

The ongoing search for our mysterious Dan (McIntyre?) who had the Bingo game keeps turning up various dead ends, sometimes in a sadly literal manner. For example, the following recent death may or may not be the guy, but the age and geographic areas of residence fully match up to what we do know, minus any mention of old videogames. Of note is that he also was tragically pre-deceased by two sons, both of whom were also Dan McIntyre and who were of age to be online and collecting in the late 90's to early 2000's:

 

http://www.boucherfu...424&fh_id=10325



#582 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 7, 2015 1:03 AM

@carlsson: Completely agree with you that European clones have a better "color palette" than the Toshiba Visicom. But if you check the guts of a Conic M-1200 and the Toshiba Visicom, you'll notice that the two doesn't use the same color encoding circuits, The Conic uses two TTL's (CD4001 & CD4069) with a PAL Color encoder circuit and the Toshiba uses a lot of transistors. Even an MTP-02 (say...Hanimex) uses a PAL color encoding circuit with five TTL's. Would love to have HD pics of an MPT-02 (Hanimex or Soundic) board (both sides) to see how the color encoder circuit is interconnected.

 

@Blazing Lazers: Thanks. I'm looking forward to read what you'll find at the RCA archives. I'll post later today how i mod the Toshiba Visicom and also the Conic M-1200

but as for the RCA Studio II how to mod it, i did it some time ago but never finished the mod itself (boost the video signal). Check here: http://atariage.com/...12#entry2735241

 

After i've finished modding the Conic M-1200 with A/V output (just made a test if it worked or not), i'll do the Studio II. I'm pretty sure that i'll only need 3 components

(x1 transistor and x2 resistors) to make the video mod. And maybe i'll also try the pause button mod, a reverse-video mod and...err...i'll stop right there. =p

 

 

--- Sly DC ---



#583 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 8, 2015 11:11 AM

Ok, now for how to mod a Toshiba Visicom COM-100:

 

It is really simple actually, you will only need to solder (or tie together...not the best thing but only do this if you don't have

a solder iron) 3 wires! One for the video, one for the audio and one for the ground. At first when i've opened the console,

i was hesitant since everything written is in Japanese but once i saw only seven wires connected to the RF modulator, it

was much easier than to translate...lol!

 

There is three yellow wires which are connected to a switch, these three you can cut since it's only for channel 1 & 2

and you can also cut the wire next to the yellow indicated by a weird "N" symbol (that one is the +5V). Now that four

wires are cut, there is only three left (those that we need). Now cut those three and solder/wire them to the appropriate

output (video = yellow, audio = red and ground ....is ground! lol!). Voila! Told you guys that it was simple!

 

Here's the picture how to do it:

toshiba-mod.png

 

 

Now the next mod i'm going to do for the Toshiba Visicom is a cartridge adaptor to see how Studio II/MPT-02

cartridges look like. Will the Toshiba displays the same colors or only 2 or more colors ? We'll only know when

the cart adaptor will be done since the Visicom cart pinouts doesn't match the Studio II/MPT-02.

 

I think Charles McDonald posted the pinout of the Visicom cartridge, but i'll use my multimeter to check where

each pins goes where in the Visicom. It won't take too long since there is only 22-pins.

 

Next A/V mod, either the RCA Studio II or the Conic M-1200 coming soon. =)

 

 

--- Sly DC ---


Edited by slydc, Wed Apr 8, 2015 11:13 AM.


#584 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 20, 2015 5:43 PM

Just got the most awesome note from Joyce Weisbecker, the daughter of the man who created the little known and often maligned RCA Studio II games console. I did an article for Retro Gamer magazine on the Studio II earlier this year, the first to tell the story behind the console and the people involved. These are some of her comments after reading the article, and they are humbling:

Your article on the Studio II is fantastic! You were able to cast off the blinders of 20/20 hindsight and adopt the mindset of someone working in the industry at that time - a time when new opportunities and possibilities were being created and discarded so rapidly that it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of (what would turn out to be) a dead-end technology, or to dismiss (what would turn out to be) an industry-changing innovation.

I am amazed at your ability to discover the key theme of a compelling story buried within the chaos and clutter of a collection of intertwined people and events, and then to use that theme to structure a story so fast-paced and linear that the reader feels like he has experienced what it was like to be a participant in, not just an observer of, those events and that time. A non-techie friend of mine said "It moved along so fast, even through the technical stuff. Now I really want to know more about how your father became that person in the article." High praise, indeed, coming from someone who's first comment was "Wow, that's a pretty long article, isn't it?" and who admitted that she was only reading it as a favor to me :).

And thank you for "getting" what my father was trying to do. So many people have (erroneously) speculated that some product or another that my father designed was "RCA's response to X", when the truth is simply that my father had a unique vision of what a computer could be (an embedded microprocessor) and that sometimes he was able to get RCA to greenlight one of his projects :).

#585 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 21, 2015 7:02 AM

I did an article for Retro Gamer magazine on the Studio II earlier this year, the first to tell the story behind the console and the people involved.

What issue did this go in?  I would love to get a copy.



#586 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 21, 2015 7:23 AM

Hey,
it was in issue 139

You can still order it new here:
https://www.imagines.../?q=retro gamer

And it's currently discounted ;)

#587 Atari2008 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 21, 2015 9:07 AM

Hey,
it was in issue 139

You can still order it new here:
https://www.imagines.../?q=retro gamer

And it's currently discounted ;)

Thank you! Oh yes, I'm totally ordering a copy! This is so awesome!



#588 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 21, 2015 9:15 AM

Yeah, its a beautifully laid out and written article. And that whole issue is really nice. Certainly a great buy ;)

I bought 1 from them...well actually a few different issues and they came within 2 weeks to the usa.



#589 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jun 26, 2015 6:33 AM

Just wanted to report back that no further progress has yet been made locating the Bingo guy from PC 2K1, and presumably the year before. The search continues.

 

Speaking of rare games, has anybody been able to acquire any of the Japanese Toshiba titles and/or the US Demonstration Cartridge and Tester I? One of the reasons work on the multicart hasn't gone any further (yet) is because of the desire to get all of these undumped games so they can be included in the multicart if it doesn't end up having SD or flashing support. I'm beginning to question the wisdom of that approach.

 

There's another thing I'd like to ask of all who've contributed to making this thread so excellent, and to those who've read it: can you check your copies of the Blackjack game and see if ANY of the cartridges (and instructions) say TV Casino Series, instead of TV Casino I? This is the one realized box variant (every Studio II collector should have both versions!), but it seems that all of the game cartridges and instructions have the (likely original) TV Casino I text. I swear, though, that I've seen copies of Blackjack that had TV Casino Series on the box, cartridge and instructions both in person and among various Ebay listings. And never thought anything of it. I wish I'd saved pictures (sound familiar?). It's by far more uncommon, and  I wanted to check and see if any of you have or have seen that too.



#590 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:20 PM

In contact with someone and trying to buy their (well their sons/childrens) old Academy Apollo 80 and if they accept my offer, I hope to get a lot of preservation information/comparison information out of it..

 

This is the photo they sent me of it:

 

unnamed.jpg

 

This is the first reasonable photo I have ever seen of the console.



#591 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:24 PM

I wish I had taken pictures of that Bingo cart. I'm starting to feel special that I even saw it.

#592 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:25 AM

In contact with someone and trying to buy their (well their sons/childrens) old Academy Apollo 80 and if they accept my offer, I hope to get a lot of preservation information/comparison information out of it..

 

This is the photo they sent me of it:

 

unnamed.jpg

 

This is the first reasonable photo I have ever seen of the console.

When I see this, i'm still pissed at the guy that promised me to sell me a complete, boxed Hanimex MPT02 with at least one game, for 50€, and (probably) sold it in my back, first pretending that he tried it and that it smoked out (to which I said that I'll sort it out) and then at this point I had found his phone number, he said that he sold to someone else :mad:



#593 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:39 PM

This is all the current information I have for the Euro/Aus Clone system games:

 

Studio_IIEuro_Clones.png

 

I don't have photographic evidence of every title existing (I've never seen Bingo for Sheen/Conic for example).


Edited by TLD1985, Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:54 PM.


#594 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 10:54 AM

First thing first.. the box of the Academy Apollo has a photo of the machine branded "Victory III"/"Victory - 3" and including the cart.  I remember "Victory III" was the prototype name given for the clone systems.

 

P1020038.jpg

 

Unit itself doesn't

 

P1020034.jpg

P1020032.jpg

P1020036.jpg

P1020031.jpg


Sadly quickly trying to power the unit up and plugging a game in and the unit doesn't seem to turn on.  The plug is rattling tho.. so that might be the reason. Sadly don't currently have anything on me to test or a replacement plug.

 

I wonder if the 12 month warranty is still valid?

P1020039.jpg


Edited by TLD1985, Mon Aug 3, 2015 10:55 AM.


#595 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 12:03 PM

and now for some internals

 

P1020046.jpg
P1020047.jpg
P1020048.jpg
P1020049.jpg
P1020050.jpg
P1020051.jpg



#596 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 1:03 PM

Here's the post from slydc about the "Victory-3 prototype"

 

 

console2.jpg

Finally discovered about this mysterious game system after 12 years! The picture was taken from the
Creative Computer Sept/Oct.1978 issue (page 39) and is called the "Victory-3" by Accurate Electronics
Industry Ltd. (aka Conic) which was showned at the 1978 CES (June 11-14 in Chicago, IL).

This prototype did indeed had color and the sound comes out the tv (and not from the system itself like
the RCA Studio II). Just another note about the sound, same goes to all European clone. The sounds comes
from the CDP1864 and not from a LM555 like in the Studio II.

The "Victory-3" name was inspired from two different names actually: the "Victory" part was reused for the Soundic
Victory game system and the "3" comes from the Studio III (the Studio II color prototype). So this picture would be
a prototype of the Studio III in a way but the Victory-3 was a PAL system (not NTSC).

To achive exactly a Studio III (3), you would need a Studio II (2) and mod it with a CDP1862 plus a VP-595 Simple Sound
board and also a extra 1k RAM for the Color (VRAM), which this would make a NTSC version of an European clone.

What is weird is that history was repeated with the the Magnavox Odyssey 3 prototype, which finally became the Philips
Videopac+ (G7400 and other clones) in Europe.

---Sly DC ---

 

I have managed to disconnect the top part of the unit from the top as the wires are not hardwired onto the unit.

 

P1020052.jpg
P1020053.jpg

 

I would like to disconnect the board from the bottom casing to see if any wording is on the back of the board (such as Victory - 3) but.. I am a little worried of breaking the tiny/flimsy cable that connects it to the powerjack.



#597 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 4:48 PM

I do find it interesting that in that b/w photo of the prototype the cartridge looks like the number 7 which is the same cart used in the image for the Apollo/Victory 3 Box.

 

Anyway I was very careful and unscrewed the board from the base and lifted it up slightly to get some photos of underneath, sadly no interesting writing apart from a number.

 

back1.jpg
back2.jpg
back3.jpg

 

Wednesday, I'll probably start scanning in a bunch of things, like the system manual, etc.

 

Any questions? and I'll try to answer.. :)



#598 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2015 5:15 PM

Those innards are so typical of late 70's early 80's Hong Kong works. I wouldn't be surprised to see a serial number starting with SD somewhere on those boards...

#599 etxmato OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 5:49 AM

Does anyone know if there are any differences between the MPT-02 (Hanimex/Soundic), M1200 (sheen/conic/mustang) and  and the Apollo 80?

I believe I have a ROM dump from the MPT-02 Soundic Victory machine but is that the same as the M1200 and Apollo 80?

 

Cheers, Marcel.



#600 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2015 11:22 AM

I've not been able to get my Academy Apollo 80 to power on to see what it "looks" like, might go out tomorrow to try and get a replacement adapter.

 

In terms of games, they are just the same exact games on all the other clones. It has the ROM chips on board. So it seems that only the Hanimex has no on-board games as the ROM chips missing.

 

 

Here's the manual I have, that I scanned in today.. sadly it's very creased. Again "Victory - 3" is mentioned all over the place.

 

SCAN0019.jpg
SCAN0020.jpg
SCAN0021.jpg
SCAN0022.jpg
SCAN0023.jpg
SCAN0024.jpg
SCAN0025.jpg

 

The manual is just one long sheet of paper that's printed on both sides and folded. This is how the pages are arranged for anyone who may care:

.-----.-----.-----.-----.
|Page1|Page2|Page3|Page4| Right
'-----'-----'-----'-----'

.-----.-----.-----.-----.
|Page5|Page6|BLANK|Cover| Right
'-----'-----'-----'-----'

Edited by TLD1985, Wed Aug 5, 2015 11:23 AM.





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