What is an RCA Studio 2, you may ask ? Well, this picture here is what
it looks like in reality (photos courtesy ClassicGaming).
It is the second ever video games machine produced that used cartridge
programs, the first being the Fairchild Channel F (discounting the original
Magnavox Odyssey). It looks a little grubby, (the yellowy brown case is
a poor choice of colour, the European and Austalian ones look much nicer)
but inside, it is actually very well made, all nicely soldered in, with
no last minute wires strewn everywhere.
So what does this machine offer to the hungry videogame punter of 1976
Well, there are five built in games, a 64 x 32 pixel monochrome display,
a single channel beeper, a reset key, a LED so you know it is switched
on and a slot for the additional cartridges. There were 9 of these. It
is powered by an RCA (now Intersil) 1802 Microprocessor, and has 2k of
built in ROM, and 512 bytes of RAM.
At the moment about half of the cartridges have been transferred. I
have built and tested a cartridge reader for other ones. If you've managed
to successfully transfer one please let me have a copy !
There are two emulator types. The first one, the original one has a debugger
and is written in assembler. The second one, which is the one still being
developed, does not have a debugger and is written in 'C'. Anyone volunteer
to write a Linux driver ?
The following people have provided invaluable assistance
John Dondzila (firstname.lastname@example.org).
He provided the RCA Studio 2, and postage, so that I could "rip" the ROMs,
so without him none of this would have happened. He has a lot of stuff
on vintage machines, and makes multi-game cartridges which are shipped
worldwide. Visit his page at http://www.classicgamecreations.com/
Frank Palozzolo. For uploading the datasheet for the CDP1831
so I could make some corrections.
Ralph Johnson. For eventually getting me the Studio 2 and cartridges.
If you want to mail me with questions, comments, bugs,
feedback or you are kind enough to loan me a cartridge to copy, or provide
a downloaded image, please contact me at
Or, feel free to leave messages in the Guestbook.
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