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The RCA Studio II Game by Game Podcast


HDN
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Hello, Atari.io!

I've fallen down a rabbithole these past few months, and it's culminated into me starting my own podcast with @Zerobeat2004 about the "worst video game system of all time", the RCA Studio II. I know that not many of you have actually played an RCA Studio II system before, so I hope you all can learn something about the system from this podcast, scheduled for release next month. I'm currently getting everything together that we need. This should be a lot of fun.

We are going to have listener feedback as a part of the show, much like other game by game podcasts. Our first game we are covering is Freeway, which looks like this:

 

The game plays about as good as it looks, which is not great. Especially with that keypad!

Now, I know that not many of you have played Freeway on the RCA Studio II. I expected that. So, we're broadening the horizons for listener feedback a little bit. That means that  you can send in feedback for similar games, as long as you at least make a slight comparison to how the Studio II recreates the game. Similar games to Freeway include but are not limited to:

  • Speedway! on the Magnavox Odyssey 2
  • Street Racer on the Atari 2600
  • Dodge 'Em on the Bally Astrocade
  • Midway's Wheels arcade game
  • Various dedicated consoles, such as Sears' Speedway series, the Coleco Telstar Arcade, and Nintendo's Color TV Game Racing 112

You may also submit feedback on the game just by looking at it and just imagining how it plays. I assure you, it's just as bad and boring as it looks in that YouTube video. Making assumptions is almost never okay, but in this case it is perfectly acceptable! It's really... not good.

And of course, there is the option of actually playing the game! There is a really ancient emulator I found that was meant to work with Windows 3, I believe. It still works on my Vista machine just fine, but I'm not sure how it'll work on Windows 10 or so. I have no way of testing that. This is the link to a much more modern emulator found on Github. The older emulator, which I have been using so far, is called STEM. However, this emulator on Github seems much, much, much better. I have yet to try it out myself. Here's the link for all of you: https://github.com/ajavamind/rca-studio2

As of yet, there is no deadline for feedback. So just send it in! We'll obviously have to cut it off at a certain point for recording, but since we don't know when we'll be doing that just yet you can just send it in. If you miss out on the episode, don't fret! We'll accept all late feedback submissions for future episodes.

As far as actually sending in feedback goes, you have two options. The first is to post what you think of the game in this thread. The second is to send an email or audio submission to rcastudiopodcast@gmail.com.  Remember, it can be about similar games!

We plan on doing bonus episodes occasionally as well, but as of yet we have nothing planned as far as that goes.

Our next games we will be covering are Bowling in episode two, Doodle and Patterns in episode three, Addition for episode four (all four of which, as well as Freeway, were built directly into the system), and 18V400| TV Arcade I: Space War will be our first cartridge game. Gotta love that title. I'll be posting about each game in greater detail once we get to them.

Hope that you enjoy the podcast when it comes out! I'll keep you all updated.

Take care and best wishes,

Harry Neubauer, who I guess is now a podcast host

Edited by HDN
I forgot about Addition
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4 minutes ago, RickR said:

Are you playing on a real RCA Studio 2? 

Sadly, no. I don't have a Studio II as of yet. However, I do hope to get one relatively soon. It's such an obscure thing, and so hard to come across.

I'm using emulation and a keyboard. So at least I get to play the games with the same interface as intended. It has been working pretty well for me. I've wanted to try out the Studio II for a long time.

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Feedback:

I don't think it's fair at all to call this "the worst video game console of all time".  This thing was made prior to the home video game industry even existing.  You ever played the original Odyssey (the one with the wax paper screen overlays)?  It was much worse.  Yet it isn't fair to criticize.  Because giants were made standing on the shoulders of these early failures. 

I played a lot of the RCA games in the store back in the late 70's (precisely, Montgomery Ward's always had several systems out to try).  I remember "Freeway", and I thought it was a lot of fun.  My comparison back then was the handheld game "Tomy Digital Derby", which I owned and LOVED.  This game was a huge improvement. 

By today's standards, it's super crude.  Atari Street Racer is a ton better.  But didn't it come out like a year later? 

So in summary, for a kid that had a pong console and a few handheld electronic games, this system looked GOOD back then. 

Still, the Coleco Telstar (the one with the triangle shape) was the one I drooled over because of the super cool controls (steering wheel, gun, and paddles).  My parents wouldn't buy one sadly.  But they did relent when the 2600 came out later.

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3 minutes ago, HDN said:

Sadly, no. I don't have a Studio II as of yet. However, I do hope to get one relatively soon. It's such an obscure thing, and so hard to come across.

I'm using emulation and a keyboard. So at least I get to play the games with the same interface as intended. It has been working pretty well for me. I've wanted to try out the Studio II for a long time.

Oooh, that's cool.  Let me know what emulator you're using.  I can play along. 

 

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11 minutes ago, RickR said:

Oooh, that's cool.  Let me know what emulator you're using.  I can play along. 

 

I'm using the Stem emulator that I found here. Specifically, the Windows 3.11 version. https://www.zophar.net/rca/stem.html

It only comes with the built-in games. I downloaded the other games from the Github page I mentioned above.

Thanks for playing along!

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16 minutes ago, RickR said:

Hey Harry, I see your original post has info about the emulator.  I didn't see that!  Sorry for the dumb question about it. 

 

That's okay! I do stupid crap like that all the time.

A few updates:

1). I emailed Shinto and now we have a page on the game by game podcast site! http://studioii.gamebygamepodcast.com/

2). THE Kevin Bunch is helping me out with this project by supplying some audio! I wanted to include some in the podcast, but since my emulator has no sound and I couldn't find any good sources of it online (that is, coming from the studio II's internal speaker), I asked him for some help. He agreed! I'm a bit starstruck to be honest...

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@Willie! did a great video on the RCA Studio II a while back. I can't believe he actually had one of these as a kid! That's awesome! I think he's the first person I've met so far (at least, that I know of) that actually grew up with one of these! @Willie!: if you have any feedback about Freeway on the system, we'd LOVE to hear from you!

 

Speaking of feedback, @RickR, I forgot to thank you for your feedback! I can't believe you also played one of these as a kid! I looked up that Tomy handheld game, and it looked pretty interesting. If I ever find one in the wild, I'd love to add it to my collection. It looks awesome! Thanks for talking about the game, and I'm looking forward to you playing the games along with us.

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Thanks again @Willie! for mentioning us on your video! I've already seen some people come from your video.

Also, big thank you to Atari Archive a bunch for the sound effects for the show! I received them today.

Reminder to all: get your Freeway/similar games feedback in by the end of the day TOMORROW! Send it to our email, rcastudiopodcast@gmail.com

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On 3/12/2021 at 1:48 PM, RickR said:

I played a lot of the RCA games in the store back in the late 70's (precisely, Montgomery Ward's always had several systems out to try).  I remember "Freeway", and I thought it was a lot of fun.  My comparison back then was the handheld game "Tomy Digital Derby", which I owned and LOVED.  This game was a huge improvement. 

I saw the video Willie did a while back. It did look fun and reminded me of playing Street Racer when I was young.

I also had the Tomy Digital Derby and now own 2 different model number versions and a couple of extra for parts. They are notorious for a small plastic part breaking where the timer stops. I am looking for a permanent repair but have not seen anything yet. I loved playing those old Tomy games and had others they sold.

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