Jump to content

Photo

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

RCA Studio II Interview

1127 replies to this topic

#1001 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

Blazing Lazers

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,156 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:19 PM

Just for info, too, here's a quick and updated rundown of all the everknown Demonstration Cartridges:

 

1) Copy used in the old black and white image with a system displaying the RCA logo on a TV, as correctly noted by TLD1985.

 

2) Copy that, along with the "Diagnostic Cartridge", was added by Andrew Krieg based on unknown evidence to all of the online collector lists sometime in 1997. Whereabouts of both items currently unknown.

 

3) Copy owned by "Dan" "McIntyre", who per his own account had it displayed at PC2K, and also had with his copy of Bingo at PC2K1. Likely a different copy than the one above, as whoever had that also seems to have had the "Diagnostic" which "Dan" is not known to have had. Then again, it could be the same as the above, if "Dan" was the source of info that got it added to the checklists. This copy vanished along with "Dan", sadly.

 

4) Loose(?) copy that slydc kindly posted an old image of the front label of several pages back. This is possibly either of the above-mentioned copies. Nothing further known of the copy in the image.

 

5) Boxed and possibly complete copy that Tom Keiser trashfound in Philly, along with many other Studio II games and other RCA memorabilia, and which he described as having a unique white box. Believed to have been lost in Hurricane Sandy and the resulting aftermath.

 

6) Loose copy that turned up just now in the possession  for 40 years of a family in North Dakota, having been purchased along with a system and several common games from a hardware store in rural Cavalier, North Dakota that closed in 1977. This copy also provided our first clear images of the backside. This copy is now safe in worthy collector hands :)

 

7) Boxed copy that a very lucky gentleman obtained in December among a lot for an Ebay BIN of $29. Copy had previously been among the belongings of a former RCA dealer that were sold at an estate sale. Current owner generously shared good images of it among us, and I'm confident that it too is in good hands :)

 

So, just seven possible copies ever known at all, 3 (or even possibly 4) of which may be the same copy, and only two of which, one boxed and one loose, are still known to exist.



#1002 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

Blazing Lazers

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,156 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:32 PM

 

Nothing that hasn't already been said.  As the years go by my memory of the event is getting fuzzier, but what I do remember is:

 

1. The guy had a whole Studio II display.  Not just the system and some games, but some sort of advertisement standee as well (might have been cardboard)

2. He had the Bingo cart with the box, cards. and tokens.  It looks exactly like the one that turned up from what I remember.

3. I swear it said that it was part of the TV Casino series (TV Casino II), but that was probably just my mind making a logical jump as the box that turned up doesn't say that.  It's possible it was a slightly different box I suppose.

4. I didn't actually see the game in action. I just pawed through the box.

5. IIRC he said that he got it from a tiny local shop (an appliance store I think) years earlier when the couple who owned it retired.  I believe he said they had it in the back room in storage all this time.

 

That's about all I can recall other than the guy was nice enough and I wish I had asked more questions.

 

Great info- I had just wanted to re-check given that two have suddenly surface :)

 

I don't doubt that there was such a display that "Dan" could have obtained from a small store that was closing. You also mentioned the same in posts over the years.

 

"Dan's" own posting, though, indicates that he found the Bingo copy at the Circle 40 indoor flea market- on the way back from PC2K, of all things. Combining that with what he told you, and his own post, would indicate that everything but that Bingo copy were from the unknown mom and pop store. Proof that both Bingo wasn't actually sold in any store, and that there are likely other Demonstration Carts still out there in the wild.

 

What you saw then, and that the one released TV Casino game (Blackjack) has the only box variant on the Studio II, are what have convinced me that there's a good chance of their being two versions of the Bingo box, just as there are for the Blackjack game. TV Casino II: TV Bingo and TV Casino Series: TV Bingo could easily both exist!



#1003 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

TLD1985

    Chopper Commander

  • 230 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:39 PM

They probably made around 2000 of the things.



#1004 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

Blazing Lazers

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,156 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:45 PM

Just a couple of years ago it would have been inconceivable to me that the Studio II could ever generate this much excitement. :P

 


Any chance you'd ever do CIB repros of Speedway/Tag and Gunfighter/Moonship Battle? Those are the only original titles I'm still missing CIB. :-D

 

My advice there is just to keep watching Ebay, and the occasional odd forum sales thread. Though rare, those two do turn up a few times every year. I'm sure you'll get real ones :)

 

And yeah, it really is an exciting time for the Studio II- and very appropriate given that it's the 40th Anniversary! Repros of the more uncommon titles are now totally feasible, but that's just the beginning. I can easily see us all enjoying:

 

"US" copies of Star Wars Game, Pinball (though there could be real ones...), and Concentration Match, along with a color Blackjack box art.

 

TV Homebrew Series featuring the newer homebrew games as standalone releases. Pac Man, Asteroids, etc.

 

TV Casino III: Slot Machine

 

Tester I (and II?) repro when it too inevitably emerges from the wild.

 

and others!



#1005 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

Blazing Lazers

    Stargunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 1,156 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:57 PM

They probably made around 2000 of the things.

 

I wish- if only because more would have turned up by now if so. Anything greater than a few dozen would have been made at at the factory in Swannanoa- and there weren't any made down there.

 

But then again, another contemporary system provides an example: the Channel F. It too had a Democart made, complete with a box, and they even made enough of them to be offering them for sale by mail at one point. Maybe RCA really could have done something similar, but exercised greater control over their copies and never sold them officially. Or perhaps they did on some limited basis that just hasn't been discovered yet. They did sell the Tester I, after all, albeit in the back of a service manual. And none of those Testers have been known since 1997.

 

One way to determine how many of these might have ever been made would be to determine how many RCA dealers there were back in the day, along with known retailers of the Studio II. Assuming that even a fair amount of those got at least one copy would yield a working minimum number that existed at one point. After all, every single known Demonstration copy can be traced back to some sort of store or RCA dealer/employee. And if anyone else were to really pursue it (I already am!), more could be found by tracking down former RCA dealers...


Edited by Blazing Lazers, Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:58 PM.


#1006 carlsson OFFLINE  

carlsson

    River Patroller

  • 4,712 posts
  • Location:Västerås, Sweden

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:52 PM

My comments above were not exclusive to Studio II reproductions, but reproductions in general. I am one of those who don't understand the excitement with a 1:1 perfect copy of something that I otherwise can't find or afford, when a near exact copy would play as well and for an untrained eye look the same. I've been involved in discussions elsewhere - mainly in the Nintendo circles - where 1:1 perfect copies are becoming a real problem, in particular as people have them made on order and sell them online or on expos pretending it to be the real deal. That is forgery, indeed. On some collectors' groups on Facebook, anyone who even mentions the word "repro" gets banned, and several people are pushing on expo arrangers like myself to set a strict no-repro policy on sellers, who should be kicked out from the event and have their fake products confiscated.

 

I agree that the Studio II, Fairchild or Arcadia scenes are much too small and esoteric for this to ever become a problem, but why should the honest people we represent not lead the entire community towards a path how to make copies that look good enough, without the need to scrutinize every inside flap, check the type of screws or do a C14 test of the label ink to determine if it is worth $10 or $250?

 

But each to their own, it is enough that this thread discusses the possibility that 1:1 perfect copies may exist, to make anyone finding these cartridges 20 years from now inspect them extra closely. That is assuming AtariAge lives on in 20 years time.

 

Disagree if you like, that is the good thing with an open forum that everyone are entitled their opinions as long as we're civil about it.



#1007 mckafka99 OFFLINE  

mckafka99

    Stargunner

  • 1,004 posts

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:20 PM

Just a couple of years ago it would have been inconceivable to me that the Studio II could ever generate this much excitement. :P

 

Any chance you'd ever do CIB repros of Speedway/Tag and Gunfighter/Moonship Battle? Those are the only original titles I'm still missing CIB. :-D


Ditto this

#1008 stupus OFFLINE  

stupus

    Stargunner

  • 1,418 posts
  • pixel obcessed yeti
  • Location:Chicago's Suburbia

Posted Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:54 PM

Well put in your above post carlsson.
I agree I detest people who make fake games and try to pass them off as real.
I honestly have never had much interest in repros until the last couple years as I focused harder on my atari 2600 collection and came to terms with the fact there are about a dozen 2600 games I will almost certainly never be able to own.
When you have a collection very complete it can be nice to have a tangible placeholder for something you just will never be able to attain.
Like I own a real music machine cart, but the manual and more so the box I probably will never attain. So for me having the nice repros of these to go with my cart is a very nice thing. It has beautiful artwork.
Think of art in general. There are countless reproductions of famous art. In fact most of the art that most of us enjoy is reproduction. But we enjoy it none the less.
The same goes for videogames just on a nerdier level I suppose ;)

I definitely agree though these repros need some amount of designation to distinguish them as repros.
A happy medium just needs to be found where they can be easily identified as fake, yet not detract any more than needed from the design.

I would also ask people to only ask for 1 copy and I highly would discourage anyone who does not plan to keep it to not bother getting 1 in the first place.

I make these as a labor of love to the small handful of us who have interest in them and not as a money maker whatsoever.


Any chance you'd ever do CIB repros of Speedway/Tag and Gunfighter/Moonship Battle? Those are the only original titles I'm still missing CIB. :-D

I don't currently have any plans too. These are alot of work and for those 2 games I think it would be more worthwhile to just hunt down real copies. I see them both occasionally come up for prices similar to a cib homebrew game.
Not saying i never would, but I have a few other things that would be higher priority to make before I would do that. ;)



As for how many demo carts could have been made.....I would certainly think that there would have had to be at least a few hundred originally made.
I mean only 4 per state would be 200 copies.
The only way I could see only a couple dozen being made would be if it was experimental and they felt it was not worth while and made no more.
Now if this was the case I would be surprised they made boxes and 2 labels for it....
I would highly doubt it was ever sold. They say not for resale right on them. So that's very unlikely.
I think most any store would have discarded it without a second thought after the very very short period the s2 would have been worth anyone displaying and selling.
So to me it's no surprise that next to none still exist. Even ones now out there are likely getting thrown out by former store owners or their children who have no idea what they are anymore and don't care for that matter.

I experienced this a couple years ago. My uncle was a huge collector of various thing. Multimedia items in particular.
When he passed his 2 sons wanted to just trash everything. To them it was not worth their time to even look at the stuff or open boxes of things.
They were ready to pitch film projectors from the 40s that are easily the only examples still left out there.
As well as a prototype interactive GE show n tell phonoviewer that is the only 1 ever made.
Luckily I tried to be on hand to help them and saved as many unique items as I could. Had I not been there, I know where they would be now....gone.
And I have the feeling this type of thing happens daily across the world. Which is why preservation and knowledge are so important.

#1009 Tombstone OFFLINE  

Tombstone

    Moonsweeper

  • 392 posts
  • Location:Chico, CA

Posted Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:34 PM

Well put in your above post carlsson.
I agree I detest people who make fake games and try to pass them off as real.
I honestly have never had much interest in repros until the last couple years as I focused harder on my atari 2600 collection and came to terms with the fact there are about a dozen 2600 games I will almost certainly never be able to own.
When you have a collection very complete it can be nice to have a tangible placeholder for something you just will never be able to attain.
Like I own a real music machine cart, but the manual and more so the box I probably will never attain. So for me having the nice repros of these to go with my cart is a very nice thing. It has beautiful artwork.
Think of art in general. There are countless reproductions of famous art. In fact most of the art that most of us enjoy is reproduction. But we enjoy it none the less.
The same goes for videogames just on a nerdier level I suppose ;)

I definitely agree though these repros need some amount of designation to distinguish them as repros.
A happy medium just needs to be found where they can be easily identified as fake, yet not detract any more than needed from the design.

I would also ask people to only ask for 1 copy and I highly would discourage anyone who does not plan to keep it to not bother getting 1 in the first place.

I make these as a labor of love to the small handful of us who have interest in them and not as a money maker whatsoever.


I don't currently have any plans too. These are alot of work and for those 2 games I think it would be more worthwhile to just hunt down real copies. I see them both occasionally come up for prices similar to a cib homebrew game.
Not saying i never would, but I have a few other things that would be higher priority to make before I would do that. ;)



As for how many demo carts could have been made.....I would certainly think that there would have had to be at least a few hundred originally made.
I mean only 4 per state would be 200 copies.
The only way I could see only a couple dozen being made would be if it was experimental and they felt it was not worth while and made no more.
Now if this was the case I would be surprised they made boxes and 2 labels for it....
I would highly doubt it was ever sold. They say not for resale right on them. So that's very unlikely.
I think most any store would have discarded it without a second thought after the very very short period the s2 would have been worth anyone displaying and selling.
So to me it's no surprise that next to none still exist. Even ones now out there are likely getting thrown out by former store owners or their children who have no idea what they are anymore and don't care for that matter.

I experienced this a couple years ago. My uncle was a huge collector of various thing. Multimedia items in particular.
When he passed his 2 sons wanted to just trash everything. To them it was not worth their time to even look at the stuff or open boxes of things.
They were ready to pitch film projectors from the 40s that are easily the only examples still left out there.
As well as a prototype interactive GE show n tell phonoviewer that is the only 1 ever made.
Luckily I tried to be on hand to help them and saved as many unique items as I could. Had I not been there, I know where they would be now....gone.
And I have the feeling this type of thing happens daily across the world. Which is why preservation and knowledge are so important.

Love this post. My 11-year-old daughter has a GE show n tell phonoviewer btw    :)



#1010 stupus OFFLINE  

stupus

    Stargunner

  • 1,418 posts
  • pixel obcessed yeti
  • Location:Chicago's Suburbia

Posted Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:13 PM

Love this post. My 11-year-old daughter has a GE show n tell phonoviewer btw    :)

That's great Sean! :)
I love the GE phonoviewers, they were a huge part of my childhood.
My dad and 2 uncles owned a media company called Dosix.
They were a ge phonoviewer distributor.
They also were the creators and owners of the Canon Bible Program series for the phonoviewer, they also worked with the children's television workshop to make a sesame street letter and numbers set of phonoviewer programs. They also invented the cassette carousel and were the first people to print in color directly on cassette tapes :)

I own about 20-25 different phonoviewer models. Including the interactive prototype and the demonstration model. Also a full store display carousel rack. And just about every program that was made for them :D Fun stuff for us pre vcr kids!

Edited by stupus, Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:15 PM.


#1011 Tombstone OFFLINE  

Tombstone

    Moonsweeper

  • 392 posts
  • Location:Chico, CA

Posted Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:38 PM

That's great Sean! :)
I love the GE phonoviewers, they were a huge part of my childhood.
My dad and 2 uncles owned a media company called Dosix.
They were a ge phonoviewer distributor.
They also were the creators and owners of the Canon Bible Program series for the phonoviewer, they also worked with the children's television workshop to make a sesame street letter and numbers set of phonoviewer programs. They also invented the cassette carousel and were the first people to print in color directly on cassette tapes :)

I own about 20-25 different phonoviewer models. Including the interactive prototype and the demonstration model. Also a full store display carousel rack. And just about every program that was made for them :D Fun stuff for us pre vcr kids!

Mark, you never cease to amaze me with your stories. I think that is incredible that you have such a connection to the Phonoviewer. A couple pics here of my daughter's setup. She is so lucky to have old parents!  :)IMG_2832.JPG IMG_2831.JPG



#1012 stupus OFFLINE  

stupus

    Stargunner

  • 1,418 posts
  • pixel obcessed yeti
  • Location:Chicago's Suburbia

Posted Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:11 PM

Great pics sean! The phonoviewer is such a neat, unique unit. Those programs were so great and very nice content. I enjoyed it more than tv in the 70s. Did you have 1 as a kid too?

I will have to post some pics of some of my stuff too, it's blended in with the videogame collection ;)

#1013 flip OFFLINE  

flip

    Star Raider

  • 80 posts

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:35 AM

I definitely agree though these repros need some amount of designation to distinguish them as repros.
A happy medium just needs to be found where they can be easily identified as fake, yet not detract any more than needed from the design.

 

I think we can leave the shell/label as original as possible, but have the PCB different enough to distinguish them either in color (the current set is red which was never used for real carts). We could also add some silkscreen message to indicate a repro on the part sticking out. That would make it harder to cheat while looking the part when it's in the console...

 

also: all the repro ideas are nice, but I guess there's a limited number of shells... Unless we find a new source (i.e. commission a new production run), there's not going to be more than a few dozen? It would be a shame to sacrifice working original carts for repros.

 

FliP



#1014 stupus OFFLINE  

stupus

    Stargunner

  • 1,418 posts
  • pixel obcessed yeti
  • Location:Chicago's Suburbia

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:00 AM

That's a good idea flip, I think the red boards is probably enough to easily identify the repros.
Then the repro wording in the inside edge of the box.

I have probably just over 30 common carts to use for repros between bingo and the demo. So any orders beyond that, the buyer would need to supply their own shell. I would guess that the repros would be less popular than the multicarts by a good margin.
Right now there is probably about a dozen people who have expressed interest in them. I agree that while I don't mind sacrificing some amount of original carts it can't go on forever as the rca stuff does seem to be getting less and less common. There tends to be only 5-15 listings these days total on ebay for rca studio 2 at a time.

Also in other news the demo cart arrived safely in the hands of the buyer yesterday. Hopefully it can be on its way to me early this week.

I will try and dump it and the 2 visicom games I have asap ;)

#1015 Tombstone OFFLINE  

Tombstone

    Moonsweeper

  • 392 posts
  • Location:Chico, CA

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:32 AM

Great pics sean! The phonoviewer is such a neat, unique unit. Those programs were so great and very nice content. I enjoyed it more than tv in the 70s. Did you have 1 as a kid too?
I will have to post some pics of some of my stuff too, it's blended in with the videogame collection ;)


I was not fortunate enough to own one when i was a kid, but i had a friend that did. I remember building forts out of blankets and chairs and then watching the phonoviewer inside said forts. Good times for sure.

#1016 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

TLD1985

    Chopper Commander

  • 230 posts

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:12 PM

Someone on that demo cart video commented and claimed they also have a demo cart that they bought on ebay 10 years ago. They could be lieing but they seem to own a large video game collection. So if true is a 3rd known copy still in existence.  Overall the demo cart seems more common than Bingo.



#1017 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

BassGuitari

    Habitual Line Stepper

  • 5,889 posts
  • Remember how bright the future used to look?
  • Location:Milwaukee, WI

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:23 PM

I would guess that the repros would be less popular than the multicarts by a good margin.

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I would think anybody hardcore enough to get a multicart for the Studio II--of all things--is probably also interested enough in the system or early console history to spring for a repro Demo Cart as well. :)

[/$0.02]



#1018 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

TLD1985

    Chopper Commander

  • 230 posts

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:26 PM

Might be an idea if someone was able to model/3d scan the RCA Cart shell, so those who rather have a 3d printed version rather than destroy an original cart have an option.


Edited by TLD1985, Sun Jan 15, 2017 3:26 PM.


#1019 Tombstone OFFLINE  

Tombstone

    Moonsweeper

  • 392 posts
  • Location:Chico, CA

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:13 PM

I wouldn't be too sure about that. I would think anybody hardcore enough to get a multicart for the Studio II--of all things--is probably also interested enough in the system or early console history to spring for a repro Demo Cart as well. :)

[/$0.02]

I concur with this statement



#1020 stupus OFFLINE  

stupus

    Stargunner

  • 1,418 posts
  • pixel obcessed yeti
  • Location:Chicago's Suburbia

Posted Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:02 PM

I don't know, while there a few people that I know will really want the repros, I would be very surprised to see numbers close to the multicart which is around 40 copies as of now i think. And 25 of those ordered boxes as of today.

I think a good amount of people want the multicart so as not to have to collect every original game. And it's already got bingo on it and can have the demo if its reflashed.
As of now I think there are about a dozen people interested in the repros. I could be wrong but I don't see a lot more people showing interest.

#1021 rayik OFFLINE  

rayik

    Moonsweeper

  • 341 posts
  • Location:US

Posted Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:06 AM

I don't know, while there a few people that I know will really want the repros, I would be very surprised to see numbers close to the multicart which is around 40 copies as of now i think. And 25 of those ordered boxes as of today.

I think a good amount of people want the multicart so as not to have to collect every original game. And it's already got bingo on it and can have the demo if its reflashed.
As of now I think there are about a dozen people interested in the repros. I could be wrong but I don't see a lot more people showing interest.

 

I am also interested in these repo carts.

 

I also think they should be marked different so it is clear they are not originals.  Good idea with the red pcb and writing inside the box.  Maybe something on the label too.



#1022 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

TLD1985

    Chopper Commander

  • 230 posts

Posted Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:53 PM

well the guy in the youtube comments does have a video showing he owns a copy.. it's in this video.

 

 

 

Not much point contacting him as all the info he has is.. he bought it on ebay over 10 years ago. Did reply to ask if his copy had any form of instruction leaflet. Would be interesting to know.



#1023 Tarzilla OFFLINE  

Tarzilla

    Stargunner

  • 1,813 posts
  • Location:Alberta, Canada

Posted Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:25 PM

Might be an idea if someone was able to model/3d scan the RCA Cart shell, so those who rather have a 3d printed version rather than destroy an original cart have an option.

 

 

I don't know, while there a few people that I know will really want the repros, I would be very surprised to see numbers close to the multicart which is around 40 copies as of now i think. And 25 of those ordered boxes as of today.

I think a good amount of people want the multicart so as not to have to collect every original game. And it's already got bingo on it and can have the demo if its reflashed.
As of now I think there are about a dozen people interested in the repros. I could be wrong but I don't see a lot more people showing interest.

Can someone post a pic of what a disassembled RCA cart looks like, I'm assuming you end up with two pieces and the board? We just ordered a hi res 3d Scanner at work to go with our two 3d printers, it might be worth trying to scan/cleanup and print. We've been experimenting with Acetone bath cleanup to remove the visible layering effect and are getting some great results



#1024 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

TLD1985

    Chopper Commander

  • 230 posts

Posted Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:06 PM

 

 

Can someone post a pic of what a disassembled RCA cart looks like, I'm assuming you end up with two pieces and the board? We just ordered a hi res 3d Scanner at work to go with our two 3d printers, it might be worth trying to scan/cleanup and print. We've been experimenting with Acetone bath cleanup to remove the visible layering effect and are getting some great results

 

I think/hope someone here can donate a copy or at least sell you a cheap copy for you to use. The thing about the RCA carts tho are they are riveted shut. So have to be carefully open with tools


Edited by TLD1985, Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:06 PM.


#1025 mckafka99 OFFLINE  

mckafka99

    Stargunner

  • 1,004 posts

Posted Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:14 PM

I concur with this statement


As do I. :-)




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users