|Also known as||Prof. Weiss-Alles|
|Type||Video game console|
|CPU||Zilog Z80A at 3.57 MHz|
The VTech Socrates is an educational video game console released in 1988 by VTech. The console features a robot character Socrates, named after the philosopher. The character is visually similar to Johnny Five from the Short Circuit movies.
The system features standard wireless controllers that communicated via infrared reception.
In Germany, the system was sold by Yeno under the name Prof. Weiss-Alles, which translates to "Professor Knows Everything".
There weren't many games made for the system. They were divided into two series, "Brain Teases" in blue and "Awareness" in red. Additional games could be played with accessories sold separately. Information such as the name, series, age range, and a short description of the game was available on the box and in the label of cartridges, which were molded in the shape of 3.5" floppy disks.
There were games built into the console as well, including math, language, music and art programs. The system also featured voice capabilities through the use of an add-on voice cartridge compatible with all games, which could be purchased separately.
The graphics and sound of the games were noticeably slow, with the system often taking several seconds to complete drawing and color filling a static picture; small areas could move more quickly. There was a very noticeable delay between user input and the system responding. Response times did not seem to be affected by the presence or absence of the voice cartridge.
List of Socrates games
There were 9 titles known to have been released;
- Background shading indicate needed accessory.
The system came standard with a wireless full keyboard with two wired-on controllers. Other optional hardware included a wireless mouse with attached mouse pad (mainly for use with the CAD Design Cartridge) and an electronic touchpad (for the Touch Pad cartridge.)
Price and phase-out
The system was quite expensive upon its initial release; most consoles saw prices of up to $130. Due to the price and the competition with VTech's other products, including the Whiz Kid systems, the Socrates was phased out after only a few years. Today, it is considered rare, although attempts to emulate the system proceed as part of the MESS project.
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