Sitting near the entrance to the Underdog room for 2013 was a system borrowed from a friend (Jeff Koss), which was actually my first cartridge-based system when I was a kid. This being the not very popular, and somewhat rare, RCA Studio II. This console system from 1977 was crude (in many ways), being in black and white, only had keypads (not joysticks of any kind), and could only do two sounds – which I call ‘bleep’ and ‘bloop’. It also has an annoying non-standard TV cord setup, but some systems back then did too. Suffice it to say, this system did not do well in 1977 – being canceled in less than a year – and did not do that well for the U.C. room in 2013.
One of the main reasons I borrowed this system and set it up was the simple fact that the RCA Studio iI is a real big underdog gaming console (9.5 on a scale of 0-10 – using the U.C rating system). Amazing how I loved this system as a kid (I really did), but as an adult, really don’t care much for it. It does have it’s own little charm, and a few games that I find okay to play, but it is best for simply being a piece of history.
Of the few games on display, Squash/Tennis were the most popular, because they were the easiest to play – and that is saying a lot. Main issue is that when the screen just goes black when you hit ‘reset’, you get a lot of confused looks on show attendee faces. That was the main issue with the Studio II, as you had to actually read instructions to be able to play it, which is why I photo copied them and had a sign ‘please read instructions’ next to the thing. I still had to help out the few people who were courageous enough to try this mostly unknown system.
The biggest kick I got out of the RCA Studio II was when Scott Adams went through the U.C. room on friday night while we were finishing setting up the room. He really took a shine to the older systems, the RCA Studio II and the Channel F, and we talked about them and other old systems for a while. That was very, very enjoyable, and kind of funny too, as I did not know it was Scott Adams until about halfway through our conversation – which Scott found amusing (in a nice way). Glad I bumped into the guy – it was a pleasure talking with the guy who wrote a few games I played when I was younger.
Back to the RCA Studio II, it do not do well at all, but did garnish some game play. I am sure that the main issue was simply the difficulty in starting and figuring how to play the game(s). That aside, it was a piece of history, which I’m just fine with. I always like to have something like this in the Underdog Chamber each year.
RCA Studio II popularity rating for 2013: D