RCA Studio II

RCA Studio II (1977) I came across the article “Fifteen Classic Game Console Design Mistakes” and was blown away. The RCA Studio II was the first video game console we had as a family. I believe my dad brought it home for Christmas – either 1977 or 1978. To indicate how surprising that charitable action was we didn’t get an Atari 2600 until 1983, cable until 1984, or a VCR until 1989. So the fact my dad, not being either an electronics or games guy, bought this console with three game cartridges (Baseball, Blackjack, & Tennis) was unexpected. To be honest this unit wasn’t anything really special. The unit only displayed in black & white, the graphics were blocky and unattractive, most of the games required two players, and the games had some quirks:

  • Bowling“, one of the five built-in games, had a propensity for producing splits unless you hit the pocket just right. Also, if I recall correctly,  there was no carry over for spares or strikes so they scored 15 and 20 points respectively.
  • Patterns” & “Freeway“, two of the other built-in games, were interesting for the first minute and quite boring after that.
  • Blackjack” was irritatingly un-winnable. If memory serves me right the House popped up natural 21’s much more frequently than the players. And don’t even try holding on 16 or 17!
  • Baseball” had one of the most non-obvious features I’ve ever seen. You had to catch the ball in the thick parts of the the glove when fielding a hit – if you caught it in the center of the glove, the thinnest part of the glyph, the ball would pass right through.
  • Tennis” was classic Pong and not much else.

If you’re really interested in learning more about this ancient piece of the hardware, there are pages for the emulator, technical information, screenshots (where these images were linked from), and an FAQ. Updated 7/21/2014: Discovered the website I originally linked to broke the image links. Thankfully, I came across these two sites and was able to recreate them myself:

~ by bwsd on August 15, 2009.

4 Responses to “RCA Studio II”

  1. It was pretty boring, the result if a game boy and atari jaguar had a baby.

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