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RCA Studio II

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It is now January 1977.

 

1977 is a year of extremes in the home videogame universe. On the one extreme, call it the "bright side", we will see the birth of a mighty system which will bring joy to literally millions of people. On the other extreme, call it the "dark-as-the-inside-of-a-cow's-butt side", we will see an ugly little system that will bring pain and misery to the select few brave enough to purchase it and gaze upon its grotesque and deformed offerings.

 

Okay, enough with the hyperbole. (I think it's pronounced "hy-per-bo-lee", but I always want to say it "hy-per-bowl".)

 

*1977 contains the continuation of the Fairchild VES (to become known as the Channel F).

*It also will mark the birth of the Atari VCS, destined to bring the love of videogames to millions.

 

These are the sweet high points of the year in terms of home videogame consoles. (Other stuff was happening with home computers, very important stuff. We'll have to save that for when I do chrono-computer gaming.)

 

The low point is the RCA Studio II, which came out in January of 1977. The system does have its bright spots, however, these spots are only bright when set against the darkness that is the rest of the system.

 

Firstly, the most fascinating thing about the RCA Studio II is the microprocessor that runs it: The RCA COSMAC. This particular chip has the honor of being the furthest man-made microprocessor from Earth.

 

Ever hear of the space probe Voyager? Well, the same chip that runs the RCA Studio II is still running Voyager. Voyager is now billions and billions of miles from Earth (seven, actually), thanks in part to the same object responsible for the videogame Tag. More on Tag later.

 

I'm going to go through every game released in the US for the RCA Studio II, except Bingo.

 

Bingo, apparently, is extremely scarce. This is one of those game for which I will but say "gee, I wish I could play that game". There was a site once that had screen shots of this game, but they don't anymore. As far as I know, Bingo, is an RCA Studio II exclusive.

 

The rest are (in no particular order):Baseball, Blackjack, Speedway, Tag Space War, Gunfighter, Moonship Battle, Biorhythm, Tennis, Squash, Bowling, Freeway, Patterns, Doodles, Math-TV School House I, Math Fun (TV School House II), Fun with Numbers (TV Arcade I)

 

Here are some pictures of the system . . .

 

Take a look at this!! It looks cool enough to maybe not suck! (hah, if only.)

blog-1571-1125016302_thumb.jpg

 

Just so you know, you use this with your TV!

blog-1571-1125016361_thumb.jpg

 

The Built-in games . . . in glorious Black and White!

blog-1571-1125016345_thumb.jpg

 

RCA's logo emblazoned on the styrofoam looks pretty classy.

blog-1571-1125016332_thumb.jpg

 

Take a look at this!! It looks cool enough to maybe not suck! (hah, if only.)

 

I have to say that I like the way the system presents itself: The box art has a nice "family friendly" look to it. The console itself has a metallic finish and looks very cool -- the way the future used to look! Even the Styrofoam is pretty slick, um, for Styrofoam.

 

The built-in games, pictured on a side panel of the box, are just too painful to talk about this entry, especially since I've already been abusive of the system enough for one day. I'll talk about the built-ins next entry with renewed venom.

 



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Those controls are just priceless... It's a two player telephone. : |

 

I didn't know that chip was used in the Voyager spacecrafts! Interesting stuff. Oh, and Voyager 1 has just recently crossed the edge of the solar system. It will reach another star in just 40,000 years, more or less at the same time you should be done with your chronogaming.

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By the way, I'm also doing chrono-computer gaming. But as I said when I started reading the blog, I'm not getting the systems nor even playing most of the games on emulators. Only those I want to try for historic reasons and those I really want to play. But I'm reading about all of them.

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GREAT book I would recommend is Dungeons and Desktops by Matt Barton. He does a terrific job of talking about the early computer RPGs. I adore that book.

 

lol, yes, I'm scheduled to finish all of this in about 4212 A.D., hopefully my cyber brain will arrive before my real one turns to mush.

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