RCA Studio II
Type Console Developer RCA
Release Date 1976-Aug Region(s) North America, Japan, France, Australia
Initial Price $149 USD Games Released 16 (5 built into system)
     by Dark Watcher
RCA could not let the fact that they let the Odyssey slip through there fingers (Ralph Baer the designer of Odyssey approached RCA with the deal first) and into the hands of there TV rival Magnavox.  RCA Studio II was their answer to the Magnavox Odyssey.  Released in 1976 a few months after the release of the Fairchild Channel F, it would have been the first programmable console (Fairchild beat them to the release gate).
The console was doomed from the start.  The lack of a color display and control paddles made the unit old and dated.  With only 11 retail games released, the Studio II suffered the same fate as Channel F - overshadowed and rendered obsolete by the Atari VCS / 2600.

FACT: The RCA Studio II actually had 16 games.  Five games were built into the machine (Addition, Bowling, Doodle, Freeway and Patterns).  This console was also one of the first to allow 16 directional control (though it was hardly ever utilized in the games that were released).

Research has proven that RCA Studio II should have been a color console.  A few games were designed for color, but the video output of the console was black & white.  The research appears to have been proven true with a clone released in the UK called Sheen M1200.  The Sheen M1200 was released in 1978, and produced PAL color with RCA Studio II games.  Japan also made a color producing clone called the VISICOM Video Computer System.  The lack of color on the RCA Studio II proves that the system was rushed to the market.  Either that or RCA was looking for a cheaper way to manufacture the consoles.
     Officially licensed releases
RCA Studio II (Model # 18 V 100)

Toshiba Visicom (Model # COM-100)

     Non-licensed hardware releases
Hanimex MPT-02
Conic M-1200 Colour MPT-02
Soundic MPT-02 Victory
Academy Apollo 80
Mustang 9016

Sheen M1200
     by Marriott_Guy
Consoles are rated based upon the available technology at the time of its release.  A 10 point scale is utilized, with 10 being excellent.

Console Design 02 Though I admire the compact design, overall this is one foul looking piece of electronics.  The casing has a tendency to yellow, much like the first run Super Nintendo consoles.  There is no ON\OFF switch - plugging in the console serves this purpose.
Console Durability 04 Though I have not had any issues with my two systems, the proprietary AV\Power supply is prone to failure.  The bad thing is that this is NOT a part you can easily replace at Radio Shack.  Without this connector, the RCA Studio II is just a door stop.
Controllers 01 The built-in numeric\directional keypad feels sturdy, but is extremely awkward to use when attempting to play a game with a friend.
Graphics 03 The black & white display is brutal, When considering the technological standards of the day, the black and white display is truly brutal and a total cop-out by RCA.
Audio 02 The only sound that is emitted by this system is an internal beep, which gets extremely annoying after 5 minutes of game time.
Media 07 The game cartridges are solid and well constructed, but you have to be careful with exposed metal connector.
Game Library 02 I am not sure which is worse - Brussels sprouts or the RCA Studio II game library.
Gamer Value 01 Not much here to warrant the purchase of this system/games unless you are a collector.
Collector Value 05 With the small game library is rather small, the RCA Studio II a system that is relatively easy to complete.  Ensure that the system comes with the proprietary AV\Power Switch.

     Interesting facts on software for this system
RCA Studio II games mostly came in rather small boxes that were constructed of sturdy cardboard.  A multifold direction manual accompanied the title.  The cartridge itself was made with an extremely hard plastic casing and featured simple graphics that mimic the respective cover art.

The games did have a numbering system, but it seems that this was simply utilized to identify the part number.  Games also organized into series. such as TV Arcade, TV Mystic and TV Schoolhouse.  The series was identified above the game title on both the packaging as well as on the cartridge.

Software, though relatively easy to acquire, can sometimes be rather expensive.  Biorhythm is one of the more rare titles and is definitely sought after by collectors.  Bingo has been rumored to have been released, but in all honesty I can not verify this to be true.  Variations for clone systems may differ in title, but the game play and programming is exactly the same as the officially released games.
Sample Game Play

RCA Studio II Game Boxes \ Sample Cartridges
     Captured in-game images
Space War
Tennis \ Squash
     First and third party system emulators

MESS (Multi-Emulator Super System) is a DOS based emulator capable of running many
 systems including this one.  It has a Windows based GUI and is extremely user friendly.
     For the hardware enthusiasts out there - all the detail you\we love.
Processor Type  Processor Speed  Other Processor Information RAM \ Video RAM
RCA COSMAC 1802 1.78 MHz CDP 1861 Video Display chipset 512 bytes \ None
Screen Resolution Color Palette Polygons \ Sprites Audio
128 x 64, 64 x 64, 64 x 128 Black & White N\A  Single channel Buzzer (internal)
Media Format Media Capacity Games Released Other Supported Formats
Cartridge Up to 2.5K 17 (5 built into system) None
Internal Storage External \ Removable Storage Game Controllers Other Game \ Peripheral Devices
2 KB None Numeric Keypad (10 keys) None
Controller Ports Network Ports Other Ports Audio \ Video
None (built into system) None None RF
Power Supply - External Other Outputs  Other Details \ Notes
9V DC None Proprietary AV\Power switchbox is utilized
RCA Studio II Owners Manual (PDF) - 0.91 MB

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