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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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#1101 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:54 PM

Ah, you probably did but I forgot about it.
The cart in the prototype pic does look a little different than the academy carts. Would be interesting if it had rca wording on that 1. Could be the Apollo carts design were what rca was going to do.
I see the prototype console looks almost the same as the Apollo console except for the wood grain and that upper tray part. Even the little arrow things on the keypads are similar.

 

I might be remembering wrong but I think that photo was for the Euro-clones porto rather than the actual Studio III.



#1102 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:16 PM

Quick question for all of us regulars here, too: have any of the overseas clone cartridges been opened up to check the actual insides for any dates or manufacturing information? And then to compare those to US Studio II cart insides? For every single known overseas cart? Or at the copies we have duplicates of?

I forget off the top of my head if that's already been done, but I've wondered if the reason all the titles that are scarce in the US formats are the most common overseas carts (and vice versa) is because so many US copies have had their guts placed into overseas carts.

 

Don't remember either whether it was done before - so here's the insides of a Conic M1200 cartridge. It's very similar to the RCA carts, down to the grounding comb. The trace layout and size of the PCB is a bit different, and has text on it mentioning Conic, so that would suggest that it's a custom redesign...

 

The chip has a copyright date (1979) for the game (concentration in this case) but no date of manufacturing that I can see.

 

FliP

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1663.jpg
  • IMG_1664.jpg
  • IMG_1665.jpg


#1103 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:16 PM

The first demonstration repro cart and box is finished and I am thrilled with the results.
They are a considerable amount of work to make but the results are worth it!
This box is built completely from new materials now too :)
Many thanks to FliP for making the pcbs!


20170819_220832.jpg

20170819_221010.jpg

Edited by stupus, Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:18 PM.


#1104 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:27 AM

Cartridges

-------------
Inside is a Toshiba TMM331AP ROM, which is pin compatible with the Signetics S6831.
The cartridge to TMM331 pin connections are as follows, with cartridge pin 1 being the left most angled contact:

Pin 1 to ROM pins 12,13 (GND and E2)
Pin 2 to ROM pins 24,15 (VCC and E0)
Pin 3 to ROM pin 23 (D0)
Pin 4 to ROM pin 22 (D1)
Pin 5 to ROM pin 21 (D2)
Pin 6 to ROM pin 20 (D3)
Pin 7 to ROM pin 19 (D4)
Pin 8 to ROM pin 18 (D5)
Pin 9 to ROM pin 17 (D6)
Pin 10 to ROM pin 16 (D7)
Pin 11 to ROM pin 14 (E1)
Pin 12 to ROM pin 11 (A6)
Pin 13 to ROM pin 10 (A5)
Pin 14 to ROM pin 9 (A4)
Pin 15 to ROM pin 8 (A3)
Pin 16 to ROM pin 7 (A2)
Pin 17 to ROM pin 6 (A1)
Pin 18 to ROM pin 5 (A0)
Pin 19 to ROM pin 1 (A7)
Pin 20 to ROM pin 4 (A10)
Pin 21 to ROM pin 3 (A9)
Pin 22 to ROM pin 2 (A8)

 

 

Some time ago, SlyDC posted a schematic of the Visicom carts. I've been working with stupus to get some of these dumped and we've come across an issue with the pinout that SlyDC drew: address lines 8 and 10 are swapped. This is the correct one:

...

Pin 20 = A8
Pin 21 = A9
Pin 22 = A10

 

So at least 2 of the remaining Visicom carts should become available shortly!

 

FliP



#1105 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:02 AM

Nice work flip! :)

#1106 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:56 PM

Has anyone seen the paperwork in this lot before? :

 

http://www.ebay.com/...~AAAOSwXGtZmd1D

 

I know some of it has appeared here but those ordering forms are new to me.



#1107 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:40 AM

ok, here are the dumps for 2 of the never dumped visicom games!

 

Many thanks to flip for making the dumper and working with me till we had success!

 

Many thanks to my son for his great soldering skills doing multiple repairs to the dumper!

 

Many thanks to Ed Keefe for his wonderful help teaching my son masterful soldering over the last year!

 

Flip and I are currently working to own 2 more visicom games...which would only leave 190 undumped!

 

Enjoy!

 

Attached File  visicom dumps 141 and 160.zip   3.47KB   13 downloads



#1108 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:49 AM

Well done to Stupus for hanging in there!

 

Here's what the new Visicom dumps look like in Emma 02. No idea what is going on in CAS-141. CAS-160 looks familiar - it's spacewar in color (5 for the rocket game), 0 for the 2-player version...

 

FliP

Attached Thumbnails

  • cas-141.png
  • cas-160.png

Edited by flip, Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:56 AM.


#1109 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:00 AM

I believe 160 is an adult game for aliens lol
No it looks to be a nice color version of space war :)

#1110 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:03 AM

141 is:
Gambler II: Slot Machine & Electronic Die

I believe you have some confusing version of a slot machine there ;)

Edited by stupus, Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:03 AM.


#1111 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:19 AM

  1. CAS-110 Maths drill (Math Fun & Fun with Numbers)
  2. CAS-130 Sports fan (Baseball & Sumo Wrestling)
  3. CAS-140 Gambler I (Blackjack)
  4. CAS-141 Gambler II (Slot Machine and Dice)
  5. CAS-160 Space Command (Space War)
  6. CAS-190 Inspiration (Bagua and Biorhythm)


#1112 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:37 AM

141 is:
Gambler II: Slot Machine & Electronic Die

I believe you have some confusing version of a slot machine there ;)

 

that's the dice game in the screenshot.

 

the slot machine looks like this:

Attached Thumbnails

  • slot.png

Edited by TLD1985, Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:38 AM.


#1113 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:12 PM

Aha, 190 is the part number. I thought it was a counter and wondered what kind of goldmine of Visicom games you had stumbled over if you had found close to 200 different games for it!



#1114 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:39 PM

Haha, yep part numbers.
I believe there is a slight possibility more could exist...like 170, 120, 180 etc.
But there are 6 known to exist at thus point.
141 and 190 being the least common.

#1115 TLD1985 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:32 PM

the few Japanese sites/photos I have seen show no more than 6.

 

I also recall photos of a box that all 6 games nicely fit into.



#1116 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:49 PM

Yeah, those 6 are all that anyone has confirmed.

Yes they sold a box set that came with 110, 130, 140, 160.
Big part of why 141 and 190 are harder to locate.
Seems the box probably could hold 5 but it only listed 4 titles on it and the 5th slot was occupied by a piece of foam whenever I have seen it. Maybe it was intended to hold an extra game if you bought one?

#1117 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 1, 2017 2:07 PM

Out of curiosity, has anyone been able to suss out more programmer names for the Studio II, or at least which games Joe Weisbecker worked on? Did Joyce Weisbecker work on any?

 

Incidentally I'm in Maryland now, so it's entirely possible I could get out to the Hagley library some weekend to look at their Weisbecker papers about the Studio II stuff... and I'd be happy to try and interview Joyce Weisbecker if she comes out to a future Magfest.


Edited by ubersaurus, Fri Sep 1, 2017 2:15 PM.


#1118 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 1, 2017 2:49 PM

Out of curiosity, has anyone been able to suss out more programmer names for the Studio II, or at least which games Joe Weisbecker worked on? Did Joyce Weisbecker work on any?
 
Incidentally I'm in Maryland now, so it's entirely possible I could get out to the Hagley library some weekend to look at their Weisbecker papers about the Studio II stuff... and I'd be happy to try and interview Joyce Weisbecker if she comes out to a future Magfest.


Check your PM's soon ;)

But yes, the programmers of the games are known, just look throughout this thread. I'll try and post a summary soon, which would also summarize all the important info across what's nearing 50 pages. Anyway, Joe Weisbecker did the built-in games, Andy Modla many others, and Joyce Weisbecker did at least Speedway/Tag. Nobody knows who programmed the Demonstration or the overseas exclusives. All evidence is that they were done here in the US. There's also "lost" programs, such as at least one game fauxscot mentioned as having been programmed at the factory, a fencing game ROM, a few produced by the newsletter group, the coin-op system, and others. So technically, quite a few different programmers.

#1119 RayXambeR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 9:28 AM

I have tried Cas-141 (thanks for dumping it!) and I haven't found the role of the 'C' letter, in Electronic Dice. First, I think it is 'chance' (total of the three dice) but not in fact.

Do you have an idea of which combination of dice we need to gain points with 'C'?

Thanks!



#1120 RayXambeR OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 6, 2017 1:28 PM

I think I have found the answer: is 'C' a sort of 'joker' (when the player don"t want to use an other character)?



#1121 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 8, 2017 9:15 AM

I found this post from last year Marty Goldberg made on a classic gaming Facebook group about Joyce Weisbecker:

"She's the daughter of the inventor of FRED and the RCA COSMAC microprocessor, Joseph Weisbecker. The FRED was the full fledged microcomputer that hooked up to a standard television set, which Joseph first laid out in '70 and had the TTL based proto done by '71. It evolved through several revisions and made it out as several products, including the Microtutor. Most of the software (including games) was written in the '73-'74 period. In '74-'75 the FRED was also done in a coin format for testing (which RCA did at several New Jersey malls). Then later in '75 it was decided to try a home console format for FRED, which became the RCA Studio II (released in January '77). Per Joyce, the games she coded were Slot Machine, Snake Race, Speedway/Tag, TV Schoolhouse, Slide, Sum-Fun, and Sequence Shoot. Speedway and TV Schoolhouse of course wound up as Studio II cartridges as well, and the latter three wound up as games on the COSMAC VIP (a gaming computer released in '77)."

 

Could her Slot Machine game have ended up on the Gambler program? No idea what some of those other ones could have ended up as.



#1122 gamerMac OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:17 PM

Has anyone seen the paperwork in this lot before? :

 

http://www.ebay.com/...~AAAOSwXGtZmd1D

 

I know some of it has appeared here but those ordering forms are new to me.

 

I bought that lot. Will post some photos of all of my paperwork. 



#1123 gamerMac OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:40 PM

This is all the paperwork I have for the RCA Studio II, front and back pics except for owners manual. Has anyone seen any paperwork that I am missing?

 

 

IMG_6062.JPG IMG_6063.JPG IMG_6064.JPG IMG_6067.JPG IMG_6065.JPG IMG_6066.JPG IMG_6068.JPG IMG_6069.JPG IMG_6070.JPG IMG_6071.JPG IMG_6072.JPG IMG_6073.JPG IMG_6075.JPG IMG_6076.JPG

 

 



#1124 Blazing Lazers ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:21 AM

This is all the paperwork I have for the RCA Studio II, front and back pics except for owners manual. Has anyone seen any paperwork that I am missing?

 

 

attachicon.gifIMG_6062.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6063.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6064.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6067.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6065.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6066.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6068.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6069.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6070.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6071.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6072.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6073.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6075.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_6076.JPG

 

 

Thank you so much for sharing those- some of those forms have indeed not been posted before! :)

 

I especially like the one that indicates "Offer expire June 30th, 1978"- the system had been pulled from retail months before that. That particular document might actually be an indication of continued game sales to wind down excess inventory, which itself would indicate a much longer sort of "availability" than what is generally assumed. Certainly that scenario is more likely than RCA running a promotion that would be valid for over a year. It also says nothing about any copies of Biorhythm, Speedway/Tag, or Gunfighter/Moonship Battle being available- yet more evidence that they were produced in much more limited numbers. Any excess inventory of those titles might well have been gone by the time this brochure was printed up.

 

Can you also post an image of the backside of the system manual? There's at least two known versions, one of which has all of the games mentioned, with the notable exception of Biorhythm.

 

What's the serial number on your unit, out of curiosity? There's a remarkable lack of consistency between what paperwork has shown up with what system numbers- almost as if it was all just random.


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#1125 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:21 AM

When was the Studio II pulled from stores? I was under the impression it was available through at least '79--maybe even into '80 or '81 depending on the retailer--albeit at discounted/clearance prices. It certainly would have been a bargain bin system by then anyway, I'm sure.






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