RCA Studio II

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RCA Studio II
RCA Studio II Logo.png
RCA-Studio-II-FL.jpg
RCA Studio II
ManufacturerRCA
TypeHome video game console
GenerationSecond generation
Release dateJanuary 1977; 42 years ago (1977-01)
Introductory priceUS$149 (equivalent to $616.05 in 2018)
Discontinued1978 (1978)
Units sold53,000-64,000[1]
CPURCA 1802 microprocessor, 1.78 MHz
Memory512 bytes (normally used as 256 bytes display RAM + 256 bytes program RAM)
Removable storageROM cartridge
Controller inputTen-button keypads

The RCA Studio II is a home video game console made by RCA that debuted in January 1977. The graphics of Studio II games were black and white[2] and resembled those of earlier Pong consoles and their clones. The Studio II also did not have joysticks or similar game controllers but instead used two ten-button keypads that were built into the console itself.[3] The console was capable of making simple beep sounds with slight variations in tone and length. The Studio II included five built-in games.[4]

The Studio II was not a successful product; the previously released Fairchild Channel F made it obsolete at launch and the Atari 2600, superior to both, was released ten months later. After poor Christmas sales in 1977, RCA discontinued the Studio II.

Development[edit]

RCA engineer Joseph Weisbecker began building his own personal computer at home in the late 1960s, and encouraged the company to sell small computers. RCA introduced the Studio II video game console—using Weisbecker's COSMAC 1802 CPU—in January 1977.[5]

Joyce Weisbecker, the daughter of the console's designer, learned how to program her father's homemade home computer as a child. After graduating from high school in 1976, she used her familiarity with the architecture to create School House I and Speedway/Tag for the Studio II, becoming the first woman to develop a commercial video game.[5]

Market loss[edit]

The Studio II sold poorly. An internal sales document put RCA's own sales estimate for the console between 53,000-64,000 units sold between February 15, 1977 and January 31, 1978.[1] It was released after the superior Fairchild Channel F, and the very successful Atari 2600 also appeared in 1977. RCA announced the console's discontinuation in February 1978[5] because of low Christmas sales. While losses were not disclosed, the company laid off 120 workers at its plant that produced the system in North Carolina. Some analysts blamed the fact the RCA Studio II's games were in black and white, and could not compete with systems offering color.[6]

System specs[edit]

The RCA Studio II used mostly RCA-built chips.
Like the Atari 5200, the RCA Studio II uses one cable to carry both video and power for the console.
  • RCA 1802 microprocessor, 1.78 MHz
  • 2 KB ROM (includes the five built-in games)
  • 512 bytes RAM
  • RCA CDP1861 "Pixie" video chip, 64x32, monochrome graphics [7]

Studio II built-in games[edit]

  • Addition
  • Bowling
  • Doodle
  • Freeway
  • Patterns[7]

Released Studio II cartridge games[edit]

  1. 18V400|TV Arcade I: Space War
  2. 18V401|TV Arcade II: Fun with Numbers
  3. 18V402|TV Arcade III: Tennis/Squash
  4. 18V403|TV Arcade IV: Baseball
  5. 18V404|TV Arcade Series: Speedway/Tag
  6. 18V405|TV Arcade Series: Gunfighter/Moonship Battle
  7. 18V500|TV School House I
  8. 18V501|TV School House II: Math Fun
  9. 18V600|TV Casino I: Blackjack
  10. 18V601|TV Casino Series: TV Bingo (very limited release)(only 2 copies are known to exist as of 1/7/2018)
  11. 18V700|TV Mystic Series: Biorhythm

List of carts released on the MPT-02 clones (France/Australia)[edit]

  1. MG-200 Grand Pack (Doodle, Patterns, Blackjack and Bowling)
  2. MG-201 Bingo
  3. MG-202 Concentration Match
  4. MG-203 Star Wars
  5. MG-204 Math Fun (School House II)
  6. MG-205 Pinball
  7. MG-206 Biorythm
  8. MG-207 Tennis/Squash
  9. MG-208 Fun with Numbers
  10. MG-209 Computer Quiz (School House I)
  11. MG-210 Baseball
  12. MG-211 Speedway/Tag
  13. MG-212 Spacewar Intercept
  14. MG-213 Gun Fight/Moon ship

List of carts released on the Visicom COM-100 clone(Japan)[edit]

  1. CAS-110 Arithmetic 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, Blood typing and Astrology)

Other[edit]

  1. M1200-05 Star Wars (Sheen M1200)
  2. M1200-07 Pinball (Sheen M1200) or Flipper (German Clone)

Legacy[edit]

The Studio II was followed by the Studio III.[8][9][10] A Studio IV was planned but not created.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "RCA Studio II GOLD MINE! An interview with the Studio 2 Production Manager!".
  2. ^ Kent, Steven L. (2001). The Ultimate History of Video Games. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4.
  3. ^ "Popular Mechanics - Google Books". Hearst Magazines. December 1977. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  4. ^ Dillon, Roberto (2011). The Golden Age of Video Games. A K Peter/CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4398-7323-6.
  5. ^ a b c Edwards, Benj (2017-10-27). "Rediscovering History's Lost First Female Video Game Designer". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  6. ^ TV Games Cutback, Page 21, Spokane Daily Chronicle, 1978-02-14, Spokane Daily Chronicle - Google News Archive Search
  7. ^ a b "RCA Studio 2 Technical Information". Archived from the original on 2009-04-15.
  8. ^ a b Modla, Andy (2019-05-13), RCA Studio II and Studio III Home TV Programmer Emulator: ajavamind/rca-studio2, retrieved 2019-07-18
  9. ^ http://bitsavers.org/components/rca/cosmac/Programming_Manual_for_STUDIO_III_Sep77.pdf
  10. ^ "RCA 1800 microprocerssor, Studio III, CDP 1802, COSMAC microprocessor | 102727712 | Computer History Museum". www.computerhistory.org. Retrieved 2019-07-18.

External links[edit]