Emerson Arcadia 2001:  Frequently Asked Questions
Version 2.7 -- Mar 30, 2002


Historical information
Technical information
Published news reports
Section also functions as a chronological time-line

Copyright notice & disclaimer

Copyright (c) 1999, 2002 Ward Shrake.
All rights reserved.

Permission is hereby granted for non-commercial uses
of this text. Please credit those who worked hard to
bring you this text, just as we took pains to do so.

This document is a derivative work. It is based on a
text written by Sylvain De Chantal. Sylvain was assisted
by the individuals shown below. All contributors retain
the full copyright to their individual contributions.

The data contained herein is provided for information
purposes only. It should never be considered as an
absolute. This is because we are unpaid volunteers
who are getting this information from sources that
are at times questionable, however well intended.
This problem is compounded by speculation based
upon what we know or believe at any given point.
In short, a lot of the time we are just guessing.

This text is supplied free of any charge. No warranty
is given or implied with regards to the accuracy of this
text. Use the information found here at your own risk.

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Credit for contributors, past and present
Listed in alphabetical order

(Editorial note: I'm behind on updating this section, but will catch up soon-ish.)

Carlo Altieri

Contributed to the list of known software titles. Wrote
a "front end" for the stand-alone emulator. Archived one
game ROM image (Crazy Gobbler) without assistance.
His web page: http://users.iol.it/c_altieri/hanimex.htm

Daniel Amend

Sent Ward a ton of trivia related to software for the
various console families, for inclusion in the next edition
of the "Digital Press Collector's Guide". (Version 7.)

Olivier Boisseau

Contributed information to the FAQ and the list of
software titles known to exist. His pictures of various
game systems helped us to figure out the mystery of
the family differences. Helps improve the volume and
quantity of information available about this system and
its clones and software.  See Olivier's web page at:

Anthony Brown

Contributed information to previous FAQ author;
mostly related to hardware specifications.

James Carter

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.

Greg Chance

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.

William E. Combs

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.
Specifically, he submitted a 1982 magazine article.

Jonathan H. Davidson

Contributing information via research on the actual
companies that once sold these systems (so that we
can learn more about their history) but also to try to
find the copyright holders, so that we can ask them
(nicely!) if they'd consider letting fans of this system
copy and use games for non-commercial purposes.
Found the official trademark application online: that
in turn included this system's official "birth" date. Also
found out that Emerson only licensed this system: we
are still tracking down the real creators of this system.
Jonathan's painstaking research is much appreciated!

Michael Davidson

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.
Supplied information on software availability in
New Zealand and Japan. Instrumental in helping to
figure out that the Emerson and MPT-03 families
were internally compatible. See his web page at...

Sylvain De Chantal

Created and maintained this FAQ until December
of 1998 when Ward Shrake took "version A.04"
and rewrote it, then converted it to HTML. (We
two FAQ authors have agreed to liberally borrow
from each others FAQs from that point on.) Sylvain
collects for the Leisure-Vision system. Sylvain's
web page about the Emerson can be found at...

Dean Dierschow

Created the original Internet list of software titles
for the Arcadia 2001 system. (And many other
lists for most of the "classic era" game systems).

Martin Gansel

Contributed information to previous FAQ author;
mostly related to the Schmidt system's software.

Leonard Herman

His book "Phoenix: The fall and rise of home video
games" was -- besides just being a good read -- of
some use in putting the system in a historical context.

Rene Kamerbeek

He was the first person to suspect that the Ormatu
system was related somehow to the Emerson family
of clones. He loaned Ward three Ormatu cartridges
for archiving and inspection purposes. Using these,
Ward was able to confirm that the Ormatu system
is the fourth known family of semi-compatible game
systems. (Same systems, with different cart pinouts.)
His cart loan also resulted in three new ROM images
for play on software emulators such as MESS.

Rikard Ljungkvist

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.
He collects for Schmidt TVG 2000 and Tele-Fever.
Daniel A. Mazurowski Contributed information to previous FAQ author.

Michael J. Novak Jr.

Contributed information to previous FAQ author.

Rayth Orlea

Collects for the Arcadia 2001 system. Contributes
information to the FAQ authors when he can.

Russ Perry Jr.

Contributed information about game titles that were
available in Japan, as well as in other places. Russ
collects items for the Arcadia 2001 system and many
many others. He was instrumental in a number of big
retrogaming projects, on and off the Internet. One of
the biggest was the CD-ROM made by/for "Digital
. It includes many pictures from Russ' collection.


"PeT" took over the Emerson 2001 emulation
project, when Paul Robson no longer had time to do
updates on it. He added the emulator into MESS; the
popular "Multi Emulator Super System" program. The
Mess home page is at: http://www.mess.org/

Stefan Piasecki

Generously made a trade offer to Ward Shrake, to put
a real Palladium console in Ward's hands. Ward made a
counter-offer, and we did a three-way trade that put the
console into PeT's hands instead. (MESS emu author.)
Stefan also loaned Ward some rare Palladium carts for
archiving purposes, and he has just plain "kept the faith".

Matt Reichert

Contributed information about various games, loaned
Ward a number of rare carts for archiving purposes,
and just generally "kept the faith" regarding this game
system and it's overseas clones. Check out his web
site at:  http://www.msu.edu/user/reicher6/

Paul Robson

Creator of the first software emulator for the
Emerson Arcadia 2001 system. Contributed
info about hardware specifications to this FAQ.
Turned over all his emulator code, his notes and so
on to PeT when he no longer had the time to do
further updates on the emulator. (Considering Paul
wrote the first, pre-MESS emulator without ever
having seen a real console, that's very impressive!)
See http://users.aol.com/mk14emu/arcadia.htm

Lee Romanow

Found a place that still sells the service manual for
the Emerson Arcadia game console. This is useful
info to have, if you are technically inclined!

Joe Santulli

Known among classic gamers as the person behind
the "Digital Press" fanzine, and the very popular
"Digital Press Collectors Guide" series of books. He
allowed Ward Shrake to totally rewrite the Emerson
section of the DPCG book, as of volume six (2001).
Ward more recently wrote the volume seven version.
See http://www.digitpress.com/ for more info on that.

Ward Shrake

Creator of this version of the FAQ document and
a number of other 'Digital Archaeology' texts that
are available on the Internet. Archived approximately
two-thirds of the existing ROM image collection by
himself. (Thanks to loans from generous collectors.)
First confirmed that the Emerson and MPT-03 family
of cartridges were 100% internally compatible. Figured
out the MPT-03 family pinout. Confirmed that a simple
adapter cable could be used to play games made for one
family on another. (See pinouts for tips on building such an
adapter yourself.) First noticed that an IBM PC floppy
drive cable was almost perfectly spaced for use in
building such a home-made adapter. First confirmed
that Palladium carts were internally Emerson-compatible,
just as MPT-03 carts turned out to be. Figured out the
pinout for the Palladium system cart slot. Totally rewrote
the Emerson Arcadia section of the "Digital Press
Collector's Guide," version six. Ward's Emerson web
site can be found at: http://classicgaming.com/arcadia/
Ward also makes a multi-cart for this system, as well
as one for the Bally Astrocade game system. See:
Ward also runs a "Commodore VIC-20" web site:

Jack Spencer Jr.

First noticed that "Cat Trax" appeared to have been
ported over to the Atari 2600 system. This set off a
renewed search for "UA Limited," who wrote most
of the games for the Emerson as well as this port. A
number of other Atari 2600 titles by UA were found
once people were looking for them, specifically.

Jay Tilton

Figured out the pinout diagram for the cartridge
slot, for all systems within the "Emerson family".
(He contributed that information to the readers
of usenet's rec.games.video.classic newsgroup.)
Archived the first-ever ROM images; twelve games.
First confirmed that ROM information originally
taken from an "MPT-03 family" game, does in
fact also work in an "Emerson family" system,
when put into EPROM format on a cartridge
made for the "Emerson family". (This helped to
show the main family differences are the pinouts.)
Check out http://users.erols.com/tiltonj/index.html
for lots of cool hardware info on various machines.

Bruce Tomlin

Contributed hardware information to Internet
users. His pinout diagram of the 2650 CPU chip
was Jay Tilton's starting point, when Jay Tilton
first decided to figure out the Emerson's pinout.

Tom Zjaba

Contributed some images of MPT-03 boxes,
and some info related to the cartridge list. See:
http://tomheroes.com/ for his gaming e-zine site.

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Other sources of Arcadia 2001 information

The author of this version of the FAQ guide has a web site
which carries not only this text, but other texts as well.

The author of this text (Ward) wrote the Emerson Arcadia 2001
section of the "Digital Press Collectors Guide," version six.
This discusses the software for this system and its clones,
game by game. Although it doesn't include the very latest
information, it is more current than most other lists and it
far more detailed than any other listing that he is aware of.

See the 'credits' section of this FAQ for a list of people who
collect items for this system. Some of these people have web
sites which pertain to this system. You can find the URL's to their
web pages listed in the credits section. (See also the Internet
sites listed directly below this section.)

Also try the Usenet Newsgroup "rec.games.video.classic"

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Internet sites where you can locate this document

Ward Shrake's "Digital Archaeology" web site
is the official home of this document.

Sylvain De Chantal's home page at
may also carry it,

and Digital Press may have it as well.

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Arcadia 2001: a historical overview

Virtually everything that people once thought they knew about this system has proven itself to be incorrect. We few who consider ourselves historians and researchers of video game history are slowly beginning to see the real story more clearly.

We now see Emerson as being the rough equivalent of an actor that only has scenes in the second act of a three-act play. We learned that someone else created and marketed the system. Emerson merely said "yes" when this unknown company gave them the opportunity to license their "Arcadia 2001" game system for sale within the United States. That cuts Emerson out of the first act of the play; the system's creation. That logically must have taken place during late 1981 or early 1982. We learned that something important which preceeded this particular console's creation was happening during 1981, giving us a "couldn't be before this" date. We know that most of the actual sales activity of this particular console took place during the latter part of 1982, so the system's creation had to have taken place between those time periods. Most of the software created for this system shows dates of 1982. A smaller amount of non-US titles appeared during 1983. However, Emerson as a company had already decided to abandon both "their" console and the gaming market in or around 1983.

Now that we know this about Emerson, we can push that information aside and focus instead on the unknown parties that really did design and create and market both the hardware and the software for the Arcadia 2001. Emerson was only one company among many that licensed this hardware system and sold it within one geographic area. Some of these companies made efforts to appear like they had created this system. One by one, we are eliminating most of them as "possibles". The sheer number of different-looking consoles and cartridges, spread widely across the entire planet, slows this effort down.

Even back in the days when collectors and video game historians honestly believed that Emerson was pulling all the strings, we knew that there were half a dozen or more non-US companies that had licensed this technology from someone and had made a cartridge-compatible clone of their own, for sale within their geographic area. Most of these "clone" systems looked very similar to the console that Emerson had released for use in the United States; some were identical except for the name on the console itself. A few of these non-US consoles looked considerably different. However different these consoles may have looked from one another on the outside, they had the same technology inside. The cartridge slot was also identical. As a result any of these consoles would accept and play cartridges made for any of the other systems from this console family.

In terms of historical understanding, our single largest leap forward came when we discovered that there were more than one of these family types. Certain collectors around the world were fond of finding any cartridge or console that was unusual or odd. As their collections grew in size and diversity they began to notice that games for what we now think of as the "MPT-03 family" of consoles, were very similar to the games made for the more familiar "Emerson family" of consoles.

One of these collectors mailed some of his MPT-03 cartridges to Ward Shrake, since he had enough technical expertise to be able to examine them well in detail. Ward played "hardware detective" with these cartridges, studying their cartridge slot and memory chip configuration until he could successfully "dump" (read and store) the program content of these cartridges. Similar efforts had already taken place on the Emerson family, thanks to Jay Tilton, so there were enough known-good ROM image files from both console families to allow comparison. Checking the most common cartridges from each family type showed the programs to be 100% identical internally. As any technically inclined person can tell you, there is simply no way this could be possible unless the systems that they plugged into were also 100% identically internally. None at all.

At that time, we proudly announced our discovery -- see the detailed list of credits contained in this FAQ -- to other fans of the so-called "Emerson system". Ward announced it both online and in print; by then he had taken over the Arcadia 2001 section found within the printed publication called the "Digital Press Collectors Guide". (See version 6, released in February of 2001. A perfect year to have announced such an important confirmed discovery about a system named the "2001"!)

Long story short, as of March 2002 with the next version of the DPCG book's publishing deadline quickly approaching, Ward is happy to report that our understanding of the global complexities of this group of consoles has really improved. For instance, we have now positively identified four total cartridge families now instead of just two. The Emerson family was known from the beginning; collectors across the globe became simply aware of that largely self-evident relationship, simply by exchanging cartridges and plugging them into their nearly-identical looking consoles. Michael Davidson of New Zealand helped to identify the MPT-03 as a ROM-compatible family... even though the carts were not slot-compatible. Stefan Piasecki of Germany next helped to identify the Palladium console as a third family type. Rene Kamerbeek of the Netherlands helped to identify the Ormatu console as a fourth family type. All ROM-compatible but not slot-compatible.

I am going to close this section of the FAQ now, and move on. This does not mean the story ends here. We still have a lot we would like to find out about this mysterious group of people that created the Arcadia 2001 console group. The things I have discussed so far have been confirmed through rigorous study, observation, research and so on. The next part of the story is still under investigation, and contains much more speculation, historically speaking. I'd rather wait until we know what we are talking about with a reasonable degree of certainty, than to prematurely publish simple speculation here.

The next section of this FAQ may interest those of you who want to find out more about this company's activities. There is at least one major discovery we have not discussed yet; the reality that the Arcadia 2001 was NOT the first console group created by these people. In fact, a technologically similar group of consoles I refer to collectively as the "Interton-VC4000" console group, came before the "Arcadia 2001" console group. These systems have now been proven to be completely incompatible with one another, in any commonly understood way of describing that term. But since that is a discussion that really belongs elsewhere, I will end this part of the FAQ now and resume the discussion in this FAQ's next section.

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Cartridge compatibility and related subjects

You may have noticed all the unusual terminology I'm using here? These terms are the author's idea of how best to try to clarify and explain this situation, which he realizes must be confusing to non-technical people. It is not so much that Ward loves talking about technology, when describing this system's history. There just seems like no way to do so without it!

One other new term is "console group". To avoid confusing people that are new to this subject -- which is probably just about everyone reading this -- Ward adapted a term he saw used by Olivier Boisseau on his "old-computers.com" web site. It was here that Ward began looking into his next big discovery in regards to the global nature of the Arcadia 2001. Olivier's experience with many different consoles made by many different non-US companies led him to try to invent a way to classify and categorize them, so he could better discuss them to his web site's readers. He began thinking of any console that was similar to another console as part of a "console group". The combined result of Ward's and Olivier's attempts to summarize things is as follows.

Any single machine that plays games is considered to be a "game console". Many of these exist throughout the world. Any given game console has a specific type of cartridge that can be plugged into it and played. If two seperate consoles share a common cartridge slot configuration, they are said to be "slot-compatible". However, be careful not to assume too much, too quickly! This does NOT in itself mean that these two consoles will allow you to mix and match games. There are many standardized card edge connectors used within the electronics industry. For instance, the cartridge slot connector used on the MPT-03 family is visually identical to those used on the Ormatu family, the Commodore VIC-20 home computer, and many arcade games manufactured in the early 1980's. None of these electronic devices will understand or be able to use a plug-in cartridge from any of the other devices. Electronics are much more precise and unforgiving than that! Think of it this way; if you press even one incorrect button while dialing a phone number, you do NOT get to talk to the person you had hoped you would. If you read a street address incorrectly, you could end up miles away from where you hoped to end up. ("123 N. Any Street" is NOT identical to "123 S. Any Street" at all; they are in two seperate ends of the same town.) To avoid being overly-technical in my discussion, I'm going to simply hope you take my word on it; slot-compatibility is just one thing that must be common to any two consoles, if you hope to be able to interchange game cartridges and play them.

"ROM-compatible" is the next new term. In other words the program contents stored within two different cartridge famiies may or may not be identical. Again, please take my word for this; if even ONE byte is not EXACTLY where it is supposed to be and what it is supposed to be, the odds are heavily in favor of the idea that you will not be able to play the game on any console it was not designed for. One family's cartridges will not work directly on the other family's console, unless they are both slot-compatible and ROM-compatible. It is simply impossible; it will not work, no matter how much you want it to. However, note the word "directly" in that sentence; it is important. You can create an adapter device to allow one game console's carts on another console, so long as the only problem is that their slot is not compatible. If the slots are different but the cartridges are completely ROM-compatible internally, then under certain circumstances you can interchange games.

I apologize for all these new terms, and for what are likely new concepts to many non-technical people. Unfortunately, trying to describe things accurately demands that I lay a firm foundation first, before I move on to my next subject.

We now have the terms "console" and "family" and "slot-compatible" and "ROM-compatible". As used here, a "console group" is the entire collection of all of the consoles that do, in fact, allow you to play each other's games. You may have to use some sort of home-made adapter to get past slot-compatability problems, but once you do, there is very little practical difference between one console and another. The end result is that you can plug games in, and they will work.

This last term may or may not seem important or necessary, at first. Sadly enough, without the term "console group" things would soon become completely unmanagable! I say that with firm conviction and no exaggeration, because our research has just now (March 2002) made the discovery that the "Arcadia 2001" group of consoles was preceeded by an older group of consoles called the "Interton-VC4000". The games look like they are roughly equivalent at a glance.

Since that was all the "seed" that it initially took to begin the research that led to the discovery that the MPT-03 and Emerson families were related, despite apparent differences, some collectors and historians have now begun to assume too much, in some cases. They see a game that looks similar, and have begun to automatically think, "Hey, this console looks like it is another one of the families that must belong to the Arcadia 2001 group of consoles." That is dangerous!

That is a good observation in itself, but unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on your point of view as a collector or a historian -- most of the simiarities end there. Ward feels that he has very scientifically proven the idea that the Arcadia 2001 console group is a completely seperate entity from the Interton-VC4000 console group. (There is another whole section of this FAQ that deals with nothing but that subject, including precisely how Ward reached that conclusion.)

For the limited purposes of this section of the FAQ, please just take my word on it for it. Pleaes keep reading... with an open mind. I realize that I am human, as we all are, and that we all make mistakes. However, please remember that I am also the person that single-handedly did all of the actual technical research necessary to have positively confirmed that there was indeed some level of compatability between what once looked like completely different game consoles. Does this mean that I "know everything" and that my word on a subject should simply be accepted without question? No.

However, I do not really think that I know nothing, and should be ignored, either. I do not feel the need to "establish my credentials" on this particular subject, but for the record please consider this well. If I can be allowed to explain to all interested parties within the classic gaming community that some seemingly-unrelated and seemingly-incompatible game console families are in fact really just part of one big console group, then it stands to reason that those same people should be willing to listen to me when I speak out and say that just the opposite is true in some cases. It is only fair?

If I say that some game consoles do not belong within the Arcadia 2001 group then that ought to have some credence, just as it was slowly-but-surely accepted that my earlier theory was correct. No one took my word for it then, and I did not expect them to. In that case, I asked other technical people to independently confirm my findings. And they did. It would not bother me in the least if other technical people choose to independently confirm my more recent findings.

One last bit of explanation, and then I'll move on to the FAQ's next subject. We had collectively found published news reports that had said that the Arcadia 2001 console (group) had been based upon the earlier Interton-VC4000 console (group). We knew that, or had heard that, "all along". However, it takes so much time and effort and painstaking research to actually confirm most of the statements that various companies had made back then, that we had no idea what to make of this brief sentence or two of text, before we'd begun to narrow down the related technical issues more clearly.

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Compatability between Arcadia 2001 and Interton-VC4000

The following is a somewhat edited reprint of a text that Ward Shrake wrote up
and posted to the Digital Press message boards on March 28, 2002. I will revise it again later.

The question we have been asking ourselves lately is this... is the "Emerson Arcadia 2001" console group truly "ROM-compatible" with the "Interton VC-4000" console group? If the answer is not 100% yes or no, then to what percentage are the systems related?

A subset of questions involves choosing the best descriptive terminology... a seperate, on-going debate that I don't plan to cover in this post.

I'm going to word this post as carefully as I can, using quote marks to seperate my final conclusions from my explanatory comments. (Sly DC, if you want to quote me on any of this in your upcoming Interton-VC4000 DPCG write-up, go ahead. If others wish to republish this information, go ahead; but please do not quote any of DPCG's authors without proper attribution.)

OK, drum-roll, please... And the first answer is:

"No, these two console groups are definitely NOT ROM-compatible with one another. Given the available evidence gathered by scientific testing methods which appear to be sound, there seems to be both no backward and no forward software compatibility between these two console groups."

As to whether or not these two console groups are actually related to one another in some other manner, that must be answered separately...

"It appears that they most certainly are related, in terms of their technology and their shared history, although we have confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no connection whatsoever between them in terms of ROM-compatibility."

"The Interton VC-4000 console group was created and marketed at some point, by parties unknown. At a later point in time, parties unknown created and marketed the Arcadia 2001 console group. At least one programmer wrote programs for both systems, according to standard ASCII messages found coded into a number of game ROMs on both groups. This person did include dates in these hidden messages. These dates indicate a rough time period of 1981 for the games he wrote for the Interton-VC4000 group, and a rough time period of 1982 for the games he wrote for the Arcadia 2001 group. I will also note here in passing that at least three games that were originally written for the Arcadia 2001 group, were ported over to the Atari 2600 on or about 1983. Any additional dates and/or historical details surrounding these console groups will need to be determined through additional on-going research efforts."

"On a technical level, the primary difference between the two console groups appears to be a secondary processing unit, which was largely responsible for the audio-visual capabilities of each console group. The Interton-VC4000 group used a Signetics 2636 chip. The Arcadia 2001 group used a Signetics 2637 chip. By all indications, the 2637 appears to be a later and more advanced model of the earlier and less-powerful 2636 audio-visual co-processing unit. Both systems used the Signetics 2650 and/or 2650A models for their central processing unit."

Having said all that, I can now move on to discussing how I arrived at those conclusions.

"Sly DC" e-mailed me (Ward) 16 ROM images, which Sly DC had in turn received from a very knowledgable source I will not name here. Ward did not archive these ROMs himself, nor did he have any way to verify where these ROM images came from, as far as what system they were allegedly derived from.

Given the trusted source and the circumstances, Ward is personally confident that these 16 ROM images were both (a) good ROM dumps and (b) derived from carts made for the Interton-VC4000 group of consoles. The fact that the MESS emulator seems to like them tends to confirm those ideas.

Each of these 16 ROM images was two kilobytes in length, or 2048 bytes. This is notably different from most ROM images that came from Arcadia 2001 consoles. Only two ROM images out of the nearly fifty known-good cartridge ROM images for the Arcadia 2001 console group are that small. The vast majority of them are either 4k or 8k, with a few 6k ROMs.

The implication here is that these Interton-VC4000 ROM images come from a console group that is older and less sophisticated than the Arcadia 2001 console group. This fits logically within our other research.

Note that this is not entirely speculative. Published accounts exist which stated that the Arcadia 2001 group had been based upon the earlier Interton-VC4000 group. Ward's web site hosts a FAQ which contains that complete, verbatim news article. Other news articles are similarly quoted within that FAQ to enable us to peice the historical record together.

Moving on to my actual testing methods...

In short, I took all of the seperate ROM images that I was sent, I wrote a batch file to concatenate them all sequentially into one big padded ROM image file housed on my modern PC, I burned them into one big (500k) EPROM chip, I plugged that EPROM into a known-good Arcadia 2001 group "multi-cart" that I had previously made, and I proceeded to test each ROM image in my Leisure-Vision console by selecting each image seperately, powering it up multiple times to see how each Interton-VC4000 program would react when its code was run on an Arcadia console.

To insure that my testing methods were as sound as possible, I had burned this EPROM as a combination of both Emerson and Interton ROM images. The first 16 "slots" within the multicart's memory map were used by the 16 Interton ROM images I'd been sent. The remaining "slots" in memory were filled with the normal, known-good ROM images that this multicart usually contains, in the exact order they normally go.

To accomplish this I simply loaded the known-good, standardized ROM image file that contains all of the known Arcadia group games into the buffer area of my Needham's EMP-10 EPROM programming device. I then over-wrote the first 16 game ROM images in the buffer with the contents of a single newly-created ROM image file containing the 16 Interton programs.

What all of this allowed me to do, in general, was to eliminate as many variables as possible, that might affect the outcome of these tests.

For example: when testing began I activated the Interton program found in slot #1, tested it by powering on to see what it would do, then switched immediately over to the #17 slot within the large EPROM chip. This allowed rapid, back-to-back testing, between Interton ROMs of unknown compatibility and known-good ROMs that definitely work well on this system. Having tested the #1 slot, I would then test the #2 slot, comparing it to the #18 slot. I went through the entire software library this way.

Due to the testing methods used, the only real variable that might have been able to influence the tests was the position of a single DIP switch on the multicart. At no time during the testing cycle was it necessary to burn more than one EPROM file, to plug or unplug EPROMs into a chip socket, or to insert or remove a cartridge from the cartridge slot. It is very hard to believe that testing methods were flawed?

In every instance, the Interton ROM image would simply refuse to do anything useful, interesting, or recognizable whatsoever. Turning these games on resulted in much the same effect as if no cartridge at all had been plugged into the cartridge slot. Any attempts made to reset the games had no effect. Multiple power-cycles (off, on, off, on, with lengthy pauses in between) resulted in no audible or visual difference, from one testing attempt to another.

The only Interton programs that really appeared to do anything beyond crash the system (resulting in a screen full of visual garbage such as random letters, numbers and graphic symbols) was that two of the games caused the screen to flash rather wildly. The visual garbage was still present on the screen just as in every other Interton program's case. The two programs named "Soccer" and "Space War" (in their ROM image form) simply added one more effect.

It is likely these were the two programs that were actually the closest to being software compatible, out of the 16 ROM images under test. However, they were still obviously very much ROM-incompatible. At no time was anything resembling a game apparent.

By way of contrast, in every instance the Arcadia 2001 ROM images that were functioning as a "control group" worked exactly as they were supposed to, without so much as a single instance of trouble.

My overall conclusion, therefore, is that ROM images written to work on an Interton-VC4000 console group system, will not run in an Arcadia 2001 console group system. The two are obviously incompatible.

As stated previously, this does not rule out a similar background or shared history. But that's another story, which will take additional research to clarify!

DPCG book plug #2... Please realize that as the guide's "Emerson Arcadia 2001" section editor, I will be adjusting all of my software entries to accomodate this new knowledge as best I can. I imagine that "Sly DC" will also be doing extensive work on his own sections, including the new Interton-VC4000 area. There are many historical implications that he and I will likely end up discussing in private between now and the deadline, to make guide #7 the best ever.

In addition to my own efforts to shed light on this subject, I would also like to acknowledge the work done by some of my fellow researchers, whether they were directly involved in these tests or not. In particular, Olivier Boisseau who (to my knowledge) was the first person to publicly state that these two console groups shared technology, and that might or might not mean they were compatible. He had the original theory, which I have now tested. Sylvain DeChantel, who has done a lot of research in regards to multiple consoles, has always been helpful to me.

To keep this already very long-winded posting as brief as it can be under the circumstances, be aware that I intend to add my full list of attributions and thanks in the credits section of the Emerson FAQ... where it will more likely be seen, anyway. That FAQ can be found on my web site. I'll see if I can't get a newer copy onto other places that store FAQs, such as DP.

Highly observant and patient readers may notice that I have entirely avoided touching on the issue of whether or not either the Arcadia 2001 console group or the Interton-VC4000 console group is in any way related to other groups of consoles. That too is a subject needing to be addressed, separately, after much additional research and verification takes place.

Ward Shrake
DPCG author and part-time "Mad Scientist"

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Clones of the Arcadia 2001
Some of the names this group of consoles was once sold under

Note that due to recent discoveries, this section badly needs to be updated

Country Name Family Company
Canada Leisure-Vision
Hanimex HMG-2650
France Advision Home Arcade
Hanimex MPT-03
Prestige MPT-03
Germany Hanimex HMG-2650
Palladium Telespiel
Schmid TVG-2000
Italy Leonardo ? Leonardo (?)
Japan Bandai Arcadia ? Bandai
New Zealand Tunix home arcade
Video Master
Monaco Distributors Ltd.
United States Arcadia 2001 Emerson Emerson
Unknown Rowtron MPT-03
Soundic MPT-03
Rowtron (?)
Soundic (?)
Tryom (?)
  • As you may have noted elsewhere in this FAQ, I hesitate to call the system
    by its original name; the Arcadia 2001 by Emerson. This is because the same
    basic system, sometimes with cosmetic alterations, was released in many other
    countries all over the world... under different names in each of those countries!
    Why? We collectors can only guess. (Perhaps licensing agreements?) To
    complicate things further, it is now obvious that different hardware families exist.
  • The hardware units named the "Arcadia 2001", the "Leisure-Vision",
    the "Haminex HMG-2650" and the "Schmidt TVG-2000" all look alike. The
    only big visual difference between these units seems to be each system's name.
  • The Tele-Fever's styling is rather unique. One of its two controllers is
    detachable. The controllers have a keyboard on the left side, a joystick in the
    middle and a red light on the right side. Just beside the "player 1" controller
    on the left are the buttons used for "reset", "select", "option", "start" and "power".
    The circuit board inside, however, is pretty much just your standard Emerson
    family PC board, right down to the "UAL" company markings etched into it.
  • According to a German collector (Sebastian), Palladium is or was "a consumer
    electronics manufacturer for Quelle. Quelle is a big german catalogue Seller like
    Sears. So this Systems has been sold by Quelle Catalogues or Quelle Stores
    only." Now I'm very curious about this, as Quelle also made 2600 cartridges?
  • Notations etched onto every Palladium cart I've seen to date, all say "PolyBrain"
    on them. Does anyone have solid info on a system called the "PolyBrain"? The
    release dates would be of particular interest, to see if it predated the Arcadia?

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Hardware information and specifications

Main Processor Signetics 2650A
RAM One kilobyte (1024 bytes), despite advertising claims of 28k total.
ROM None in the conventional sense; see hardware notes below. (Plug-in
ROM cartridges seem to use 8K or less of total ROM memory.)
Video display 9 Colors total; 4 for characters, 4 for sprites, one for background.
System includes 4 independent, single color hardware sprites.
Sound Single channel; Signetics 2637N.
Controllers Two separate hand controllers; one for each player. Each include
a 12-button numeric keypad and a movement disc / joystick. There
are two ports on the rear of the console, apparently for paddles, but
no one yet has reported having heard of games that use the paddes?
Power supply 12 volts DC at 0.5 amps (500 milliamps or larger) current rating.
Plug's physical physical size is 5.5 mm outside diameter by 2.1 mm
inside diameter. The Tip is "+" and the Ring is "-".
Radio Shack part number 273-1776 will work. Get the "M" sized
Adapt-a-plug (tm) adapter with it; RS part number 273-1716.

Please note that a company still sells service manuals for the Emerson. You can order
one at this web address: http://servicemanuals.safeshopper.com/2/cat2.htm?547
(Look for the video game console "ADV-1" model number on their lists.)
The company that sells those also sells manuals for other Emerson products.
Their web address is: http://www.treasurechestcorp.com/

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List of internal components found in Emerson family systems
(Note that MPT-03 and Palladium systems have not been examined.)


Part number

# pins

Chip function

1 "2650A N"
40 2650 Central Processing Unit
An 8-bit processor which can directly
address 32k of memory space, but only
in banks of 8k each. May be clocked at
3.58 Mhz? By Signetics. Socketed chip.
1 "2637N" 40 2637N
Capable of handling 4 'objects' (sprites?),
has a built-in character generator ROM,
does collision detection, and has an Analog
to Digital converter with 4 inputs.
By Signetics. Socketed on PC board.
1 "2622N" 14 Video sync generator.
2622 chip generates NTSC signals.
The 2621 is the PAL-signal equivalent.
By Signetics. Socketed on PC board.
2 "2114" 18 RAM memory
A total of 1024 bytes (1k) of RAM. Ignore
any advertiser's claims that this system had
anything more than that; 28k was a lie made
up when Emerson found out that systems by
Atari (5200) and Coleco (Colecovision) had
much better specifications than their system.
Socketed on PC board.
1 "7805" 3 Power regulator.
Takes the 12 volt power input and
converts it to a clean 5 volts. A fairly
large heatsink is included, so that the
chip does not burn itself out too quickly.
1 "74LS04" 14 Hex inverter.
2 "74LS86" 14 Quad exclusive OR gate.
1 "SN74LS145" 16 BCD-to-decimal decoder/driver.
1 "74LS00" 14 Quad 2-input nand gate.
1 "74LS258" 16 Quad data selector/multiplexer
inverter with 3-state outputs.
1 "MC14069UB" 14 Hex inverter (?)
1 "CD14066B" 14 CMOS quad bilateral switch.
  • Most of the data above originally came from Anthony Brown; it was
    in the original FAQ. Ward Shrake verified what chips were inside his
    Leisure-Vision (in June 2001) by opening the unit and removing all the
    extremely heavy-duty, thick gauge metal sheilding surrounding the PC
    board. (Much thanks to Anthony for contributing to this information.)
  • Some of the chips had date codes stamped on them. 1982 was the
    norm, with week codes usually in the 18 (April) to 34 (August) range.
  • Ward's Leisure-Vision board has what may or may not be a date code
    of "2300289". Backwards, might that not read the 32 week of 1982?
  • Ward's Leisure-Vision main PC board was designed to be made very
    cheaply. It looks similar to cheap television boards of that era. It has
    etched traces on only one of its two sides. On the other, it had many
    half-inch (13 mm) wire jumpers soldered onto it. The board substrate
    material was brown epoxy, not the stronger and more costly fiberglass
    reinforced PC board materials found in better quality products.
  • Designed and etched into copper traces on the main PC board's single
    side is a very interesting code: "UAL". In other words, the company
    that held the copyrights to most software cartridges -- "UA Limited" --
    must have also created the hardware that their software ran on? If we
    can find out who this "UA Limited" was, we'd know a lot more about
    the how's and why's of this system's history and it's marketing plans?
  • There are a number of color-coded wires that are used as jumpers, to
    and from various places on the PC board. This is unusual; most double
    sided circuit designs have wires like this built-into their design for the
    second side. This meant that hand assembly had to have been routine
    and expected, when each new console was created. (Ward counted
    eight pure jumper wires, and ten wires which ran through the board to
    the various buttons and switches found on the outside of the console.)
  • The hand controllers are not soldered onto the inner PC board. They
    are semi-permanently attached to the outer plastic console casing, but
    can easily be removed from the circuit board via slide-on connectors.
    This pair of connectors have twelve wire connections per player.
  • The mystery connectors that are found on the outside of the console
    were most likely intended as standard, "pong" type paddle controllers?
    Internally, they have only one pair of wires each; power and an input,
    which would mean they could only include the rotating knob, and not
    even a fire button to go with it. The two signal leads are hand-soldered
    to the hand controller ports; internally, with one signal wire going to
    each player. These ports could never be used to add two more full
    hand controllers; there simply are not enough wires there to do it. (It is
    not currently known what resistance value of a potentiometer would
    be required, to make a paddle controller for this game system?)

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Pinout of the Emerson family cartridge port

Component side of the plug-in cartridge's PC board and the
rear side of a carts' outer plastic box. (This side faces the TV.)


 A13  D3  D4  D5  D6  D7  D0  D2  D1  NC  NC  NC  GND GND NC
  1   3   5   7   9   11  13  15  17  19  21  23  25  27  29

  2   4   6   8   10  12  14  16  18  20  22  24  26  28  30 
 GND +5V  A0  A1  A2  A3  A4  A5  A6  A7  A8  A9 A10 A11 A12


Solder side of the plug-in cartridges but the plastic
cases front label side. (This side faces the player.)


  • Pin 1 and pin 30 of the diagram above cannot be taken at face value. They
    do not serve the function one would expect them to. Pin 1 at the cart port
    hooks directly up to the 2650 processor's A13 line. This leads one to expect
    that pin to alternate between an upper and a lower 8k bank of RAM. This
    does not happen in real life. The line connected to "A13" acts as if it were
    really "A12"; it switches between an upper and a lower 4k bank of RAM.
    Pin 30 of the cartridge port hooks directly up to the A12 processor pin. It
    also fails to perform the function you think it would. In fact, it acts just as a
    chip enable line would act. This is not guesswork -- Ward had a multicart
    prototyped and working fine. Upon re-tracing the port out, he found that
    these two pins seemed to be mislabeled. He changed his adapter cables to
    accurately reflect what the schematic implied was the correct way to wire
    things up. The device immediately stopped working. He tried various ways
    to rewire it. Nothing worked at all. He rewired it according to original way;
    using the line's function instead of its proper name. It worked perfectly. All
    this leads Ward to presume that the system's designers assumed that chips
    of 8k in size were prohibitively expensive, and that nobody would use them.
    They used the real A12 (processor) line as a Chip Select line, and used the
    A13 line to switch between two physical chips of either 2k or 4k each. Yes,
    I know this is very strange. Welcome to the fascinating world of Arcadia!?

  • On cartridge PC boards, pin 29 is usually commoned together with pins 25
    and 27, as if they were all hooked to ground. Inside Ward's Leisure-Vision
    system, only pins 25 and 27 are actually commoned together. Pin 29 on the
    port is not connected to anything inside the Leisure-Vision system itself.

  • Pins 19, 21 and 23 on the cartridge port are not connected to anything inside
    Ward's Leisure-Vision game console. Nor are they connected to anything he
    has ever seen, inside any of the cartridges that he has examined.

  • The width of a game circuit board, where it plugs into the cartridge slot, is
    four centimeters (1.56 inches) from side to side. The pin spacing is a good
    match for the card edge connectors found on any standard IBM floppy drive
    cable. (This cable would make an excellent start on a home-made MPT-03
    adapter or cart reader, as it includes both the connector and a long length of
    ribbon cable for one low price, and they are easy to find.) To get this cable
    ready for use with Emerson family carts, you might have to carefully remove
    a small section of plastic -- which acts as a key on the older style floppy disk
    drive's card edge connector -- and do some other relatively minor adapting.
    (The cable's connector has four extra pins you will not need for this project.)

  • There are multiple types of game circuit boards made to fit into Emerson cases.
    The length of the plastic case the game comes in has little to do with the size
    of the game, memory-wise; there are 8k game circuit boards that will fit into
    the shorter case style of the Emerson family, if that is/was desired. Early on, it
    may have been thought that a longer case would be necessary to house the
    larger games but that changed over time. Emerson's early efforts to run games
    larger than 4k involved two actual chips on a much longer board than most
    that were made for this system at that time. Their earliest efforts only added a
    2k chip to the original 4k (for 6k total). They later used two 4k chips (for 8k).
    Some of these longer boards used additional components to help them bank-
    switch, and others did not. It seems like the ones set up for masked ROMs
    did not need additional components, but EPROM boards did? When they
    needed additional components, they used something like a C1390 transistor a
    1k and a 10k ohm resistor to do their bank-switching. They eventually went to
    a single chip, shorter board style that would hold an 8k game -- the system's
    practical limit, judging by the fact that no one ever wrote a larger game program.

  • The shorter board styles all have a part number etched into them. A board that
    is marked "292-1" is set up to work with the pinout used on 4k masked ROMs.
    Boards marked "292-3" are set up to work with a common 4k EPROM chip
    such as the 2732. (There are slight differences between the two chips in terms
    of their pinouts.) A third style of short board exists; it is marked "292-4". That
    board style allows the use of a full 8k on a single masked ROM chip. It is most
    likely to be found in some of the harder-to-find games that came out later in the
    system's life. I have seen two board styles of the longer, multi-chip variety as I
    noted above. One was very plain looking, used two masked ROMs, and had the
    notation "291" etched onto it (without any "dash whatever"). The two-chip long
    style EPROM board was labelled "292-2". It had the transistor/resistor combo.

  • If you want to take apart and recycle a common game, maybe to burn your own
    EPROM chip to replace the factory-supplied game, the "-3" board is the one
    you would want to use. Just cut the factory EPROM out (or desolder it), then
    throw in a socket if so desired, burn a new EPROM, and plug it in. You do
    not have to modify the "-3" board to get it to work; it was designed to work.
    The "-1" board can be converted to use with an EPROM by cutting the wire
    traces in three places, and adding two new jumper wires. On both of these
    board styles you are limited to 4k of space by design because Emerson did
    not run the A12 line from the chip to the edge connector. You can connect it
    yourself if you are skilled enough at soldering; you just run a wire from the A12
    line on your EPROM to the rearmost 1/16th" (2mm) of the edge connector; if
    you use more pin space than that the cartridge may not fully fit into its slot any
    more. (The "292-4" boards are less common, so I didn't discuss them here.)

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Pinout of the cartridge port
(MPT-03 family)
This pinout diagram is based on analysis of Grandstand Video Master carts,
supplemented by later analysis of standard MPT-03 carts. Be aware that the
person that created this pinout chart has yet to see a real system "in person".

Component side of the plug-in cartridges' PC boards. Rear side of the cart.
(Don't take the front / back sides as gospel; I might have reversed them?)

/CE /CE N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N B N A N +5V C GND C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C * C * C -=-----=-----------------------------------------------=-----=---- 1 3 5 7 9 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 1 3 5 7 9 1 3 5 7 9 1 3 5 7 9 1 3 2 4 6 8 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 0 2 4 6 8 0 2 4 6 8 0 2 4 6 8 0 2 4 -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=- D D D D D D D D A A A A A A A A A A A A A / 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 E 2 0 1 N

Solder side of the plug-in cartridges. Label side of the cart.


  •  The width of this circuit board, where it plugs into the cartridge slot, is nine
    centimeters (3.56 inches) from side to side. The pin spacing is 0.156 inches from
    pin to pin. The compatible connector will have 2 rows of 22 pins each. (This was
    a standard connector when these game systems were new. Commodore's VIC-20
    home computer used this exact same spacing for its game cartridges. Arcade games
    from this time period also used this same connector.) While Radio Shack no longer
    carries these connectors, places like Digi-key, Mouser and Jameco probably will.
    Places that supply custom cable harnesses for arcade games may also carry them.

  •  The "Chip Enable" lines shown on pins 37 and 41 are not found on every cartridge.
    In fact, we've only seen them on one; an MPT-03 cart ("Golf") was found with them
    hooked up to the edge connector. No other MPT-03 carts have been seen with
    anything connected at these points; the PC board is empty in those locations. This
    one odd cartridge is presumed to be an early model, for various reasons including
    the idea that later PC boards had a "rev 2" notation etched into them. Ward is
    also assuming it was an early model because it had two EPROM chips on the
    board instead of one; memory prices probably dropped enough to make a
    single-chip PC board more economical? "Golf" had one 2732 (4k x 8) labeled as
    bank "A" and one 2716 (2k x 8) labeled as bank "B" (for a total of 6k). On this
    early cart "A12" had no address pin to connect to on either EPROM chip.
    Iinstead, A12 was routed on the board to both chip's "Output Enable" lines.
    (Active low.) All the address lines through A10 were common; A11 only went
    to the larger chip as you might expect. Pin 44 was not hooked up to anything
    inside the cartridge itself, on this cart. This means that Golf was seen by the
    MPT-03 system as two seperate, bank-switchable sections of 4k maximum.

  • Wild assumption time:  Taken to it's logical (?) conclusion, the info above about
    "Golf" seems to mean that one early MPT-03 system apparently had three lines
    that could be driven independently -- usable as upper address lines -- when only
    one ended up being necessary to have an 8k address space. If this is true, it means
    that this odd MPT-03 may be able to address 32k of memory, in four 8k banks?
    (In other words, to use the full, built-in potential of the 2650 central processor?)
    But note that I have never seen a real MPT-03 in person, so this is just a guess,
    and that we have not found any other Emerson or MPT-03 carts with these lines.
    (Although we've now found an additional Golf cart, set up just like the first one.)

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Pinout of the cartridge port
(Palladium family)
This pinout diagram is based on analysis of a few Palladium carts
compared to the known pinout of a 2364 chip. (8k ROM with 24 pins.)
The pin numbering was taken from notations etched onto the board itself.

Solder side of the plug-in cartridges' PC boards. Rear side of the cart.

/ G + D D D D C N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N 5 5 7 3 1 E C C C C C C C C C C C C C C C D V -=--=--=--=--=-----------------------------------------------=--=- 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-----------=--=- D D D D A A A A A A A A A A A A A N N N G + 6 4 2 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 C C C N 5 0 1 2 D V

Component side of the plug-in cartridges. Label side of the cart.

Technical notes:

  • Pin spacing appears to be 2.5 mm from pin-to-pin, as measured with my metric
    dial caliper. The slot itself is presumed to be 60 mm wide, as the circuit boards I
    measured were all 58 mm wide. This would give 1 mm tolerance on either side.
    (But note that I've never seen a Palladium system in person, so I'm guessing?)
  •  These carts appear to have all of the addressing lines needed to be able to use a
    full 8k of ROM memory storage space. A12 was definitely connected on the
    carts that I checked; the ROM could "see" it, even if it didn't need to use it. The
    practice on the Emerson family of carts was to have A12 apparently there on the
    edge connector, but if a given cart didn't need it, there was no trace leading from
    that point to the actual ROM chip. (This makes it harder to make your own home
    brewed Emerson carts, with replacement chips you've programmed yourself. You
    can still do it, most times, but they've made it more of a pain than it should be.)
  • Note that I made the pinout above based on the known pinout of a 2364 chip.
    That is NOT a typographical error; I really meant 2364 and not 2764. This was
    a ROM chip that could be custom-ordered in this time period. It used four fewer
    pins than a comparable EPROM of the same memory size would use, so there
    are only 24 pins on these ROM chips, versus 28 pins. I'm sure that 2332 chips
    also were made (4k ROMs) and that's likely what these ROM chips actually are.
    I am sure these chips can be read as a 2364 chip, because that is exactly what I
    did to archive them; just remove them from their chip sockets, put them into my
    EPROM burner, and read them in as if they were the larger 2364 ROM chips.

Historical notes:

  • The Palladium could apparently use 8k carts. However, most of the Palladium carts
    that I have seen or archived to date were all 4k or smaller. This makes me wonder
    if this means the Palladium system actually pre-dates both of the other two families?
    The Emerson Arcadia 2001 system itself was allegedly licensed from an unknown
    foreign source and when Emerson began they more larger carts than smaller, so...?

  • The overall quality of these circuit boards is radically better than the boards made
    for either of the other two game families. For instance, this is the only system that
    used gold plating on its edge connectors. Going a step further, however, they had
    every part of every inner circuit board trace gold-plated. (That is very rare?!) In
    addition, there are extensive "vias" or plated holes that go through the board,
    from one side to another. Every one of these costs manufacturing money, and yet
    they used two vias per connection on most traces, and four vias per connection
    at the more critical locations such as the power and ground lines. This costs more
    to manufacture but also reduces the odds of a bad connection. These boards are
    also made out of heavy-duty fiberglass-reinforced materials, instead of the more
    common non-reinforced phenolic resin boards that the Emerson family carts used.
    All of this points in the same direction; that this was most like a very early game
    system, made before manufacturers were sure of how reliable video games were?
    (Over-designing was a common trait in many early home video game designs.)

  • Every Palladium cart I have seen included a chip socket: another higher-cost item.
    Neither of the other two families included this feature. These sockets were all hand
    soldered onto the circuit board. This means that they only had to manufacture and
    stock one type of board, which was probably both pleasant and cost-effective. It
    also implies that they could have a stock of soldered boards ready to go, before
    they got new ROMs for a given game. (Chip shortages being somewhat common
    from time to time, in the late 1970's.) It also meant they did not have to gamble too
    much on any one game; just the cost of the actual ROMs. If a game didn't sell too
    well, they could just leave the ROMs on the shelf, and use the boards for some
    game that sold better. All in all, this chip socket shows they were both a little bit
    insecure about what the future might hold, and pretty wise in long-term thinking.

  • Etched onto every Palladium cart that I have seen is a notation that says the cart
    is a "Polybrain cartridge". I presume this is the name of an overseas game machine,
    but I have no additional information. Knowing more might help us in our research?

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Pinout of the cartridge port
(Ormatu family)
This pinout diagram is based on analysis of three Ormatu carts; working
backwards from a known (2732) EPROM pinout to the edge connectors,
and then checking that information against a 2332 EPROM chip's board.
The pin numbering was taken from notations etched onto the board itself.

Solder side of the plug-in cartridges. Rear side of the cart.

/OE (EPROM) /CE (EPROM) NC (Masked ROM) A12 (Masked ROM) * * G + * A * N 5 N N N N * N N A A A A 1 N N * D D D D N D V C C C C * C C 1 3 5 7 0 C C * 4 6 2 0 C -=--=--------------=--------=--=--=--=--=--------=--=--=--=--=---- 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 -=--=-----------------------=--=--=--=--=-----=--=--=--=--=--=---- G + N N N N N N N A A A A A N A A D D D D N N 5 C C C C C C C 0 2 4 6 9 C 1 8 5 7 3 1 C D V 1

Component side of the plug-in cartridges' PC boards. Label side of the cart.


  •  The width of a circuit board, where it plugs into the cartridge slot, is nine
    centimeters (3.56 inches) from side to side. The pin spacing is 0.156 inches
    from pin to pin. The compatible connector will have 2 rows of 22 pins each.
    This is the same width and spacing as the MPT-03 system but with totally
    different pin assignments, making those carts incompatible with one another.
    Due to their similarities, however, it would be easier to make a homemade
    apapter to allow the use of MPT-03 carts on an Ormatu than the other two.

  • The assembly quality levels of these cart boards, internally, was awful. Even
    the Grandstand carts I've seen, that look like cheaply made knock-offs of the
    MPT-03 family, had better soldering quality? These were obviously soldered
    by hand -- and I do not have a problem with that so long as it is done well. I
    only had three carts to look at but I found three areas where the person who
    was soldering components used excessive heat and discolored the areas near
    the solder joint. One was a scorch mark on a one-ohm "jumper" resistor; the
    other two looked almost like a torch or cigarette lighter burn on the ROM. I
    was shocked at the build quality of these carts; obviously done by cheap and
    poorly-trained, poorly-supervised workers from the looks of things. If some
    of the other family of carts looked like they'd been assembled by chimps, these
    carts were assembled by chimps on heavy doses of experimental medication! A
    few other examples of what I'm talking about... balls of solder that had splashed
    away from the solder joints were sticking to the board's green conformal coating
    just waiting to come loose, fall into the system and short something out. One
    leg of one of the "one-ohm jumpers" was not soldered in at all on one side; it
    was obviously just forgotten and missed by the quality control inspectors (if any).
    Cold solder joints were all over the place, as were excessively large blobs of
    solder on various joints. I have never done this with a set of factory-made carts
    before, for any system, but to insure the longevity of these carts I desoldered
    every joint and did them all the correct way. When doing that, it became very
    apparent that the solder used by the original assemblers was the cheapest and
    lowest quality stuff. Their soldering flux residue was as thick as Vaseline. Even
    with very high quality solder wick, the solder didn't want to flow away from the
    joints on one of the three carts. I couldn't help myself; I cleaned this mess up.

  • Cart sizes are generally the same as the MPT-03 series, but with different
    style plastic cases. Upon opening these cases, it was found that there were
    spaces for four openings immediately under the labels. (If you were to press
    on the front labels too hard you would tear through the paper and make a
    hole in it, through the front of the plastic case!) Just from looking at it, it looks
    like three of the holes were made for square buttons. A fourth had a similarly
    sized square hole, but it also had a channel or slot cut into the inner side of the
    case, as if it was a sliding mechanism? This is just plain strange for a cart? It
    gave me the impression that these cart cases were originally designed for a
    totally different purpose, and were adapted to this use due to availability. I
    wonder aloud if any other systems that preceeded this one, had such holes?

  • Two of the three Ormatu carts I examined had 2732 variants on them; the
    PC boards both had "FOR 2k / 4k EPROM" etched into the upper and lower
    board sides. This implies that they had other boards, as Emerson did, to use
    with masked ROM chips. The third board had such a masked ROM, and it
    was indeed on a different style of PC board. It was marked "PCB190082"
    on both sides, with no other markings or notations visible. That board had a
    huge ground plane, covering most of the boards surface on both sides; what
    that implies as far as which board style came first, I won't try to speculate now.
    Neither of these two board styles had any provision for an RF (metal) shield.

  • There were two other text notations on the PC boards that had the 2732's on
    them. The first of three lines of text reads "M-SERIES (M-1800)". Below
    that is a line which reads "11-40253-30" which I presume is an internal part
    number of some kind. The third line read "FOR 2k / 4k EPROM" as noted
    above. Note the "...-30" part of line two. Compare that to the Emerson family
    of carts that had a "...-3" part number to signify a board set up for EPROMs.

  • Note also the "M-1800" notation on the EPROM boards, and the "1900xx"
    markings on the masked ROM board. Note particularly, the "M-SERIES"
    reference. These markings, along with the general size, shape and similar type
    of card edge connector all lead me to wonder if there isn't some sort of a
    distant family relationship between this system and the MPT-03 family? What
    is really interesting to me, along these lines, were some notations found on the
    chips themselves; they all had MPT-03 style part numbers written on them! A
    sticker was affixed to "Boxing" that read "321". A sticker was found on the
    "Nibblemen" EPROM which read "316". Those two are close to being numbers
    you might expect to find on an MPT-03 series of memory chips. But the single
    biggest clue that these were not just similar-sounding numbers was found on the
    masked ROM; the factory that made it had silk-screen printed "MG 319" on it.
    That is an MPT-03 seriers part number if ever there was one. I suspect that
    they got their ROMs and EPROMs from whoever supplied MPT-03 programs.

  • The three carts I examined were set for a maximum of 4k of memory storage
    space, so I could not absolutely guarantee where the A12 line was hooked up.
    However the non-2732, masked ROM chip said "9332" on it and it did read
    in just fine as if it were a 2364 chip (8k, 24 pins) with an empty upper 4k of
    space. (All bytes were hex $FF.) I don't have a printed pinout diagram for a
    2332 chip but from experience I know an 2332 chip is an earlier 4k version of
    the 8k chip that I do have a pinout of. In other words, my best guess is that the
    A12 line runs to the card edge connector marked "39" on these boards. On the
    board with the masked ROM they ran the "chip select" pin directly to ground; it
    did not have a seperate enable line running from the card edge connector. On the
    2732 board edge #39 runs to the chip's "chip enable, active low" pin. (The 2364
    does not have or need that line internally -- that's one way of cutting four pins
    off, and cramming 8k onto 24 available pins.) Assuming I did not make an error
    of some kind, this makes sense. A board set up with 4k maximum storage space
    would have no need for an A12 line, but if it used an EPROM it would need a
    low signal leading to the chip enable line. If you ran A12 to that pin on the 2732
    it would always stay low since there would never be a reason for it to go high
    as the system will never request to look above the bottom 4k of that 8k space. So
    it appears that this system, like the Emerson and the MPT-03, had an odd way
    of treating the A12 line and/or the enable lines... another last-minute kludge? It
    appears that this system had a neater, more-cunning approach to it, though. That
    in turn implies that it might have been one of the later systems and not a pioneer.
    The MPT-03 system designers first found a way to do it, and they just copied it.

  • The pin layout of the MPT-03 just makes so much more sense, compared to this
    system's layout. This was an obvious attempt to change the pinout, on one of the
    manufacturer's parts, to be sure that the systems were mutually incompatible. It
    looks like the Ormatu designers intentionally avoided using the same pins that were
    used on the MPT-03 system to hook up Power and Ground? The way they set up
    these cartridge circuit boards, no matter which way you inserted one of these into
    an MPT-03 system, one of those two required pins would connect to a pin that
    simply goes nowhere, internally. And with those pins disconnected, it won't work.

  • If you look at the large cartridge library of the Ormatu system, as seen in their
    nicely printed, full-color catalog it appears they had pretty much every cart that
    was available during 1982, and quite a number of those made during 1983. This
    indicates that the Ormatu system was around towards the end of the lifespan of
    these game systems. This does not rule out an early entry into the market, but so
    far things appear that they were not one of the earliest entrants into that market.

  • If you add up all of the individual observations above, and you try to integrate
    this new information into the overall whole of the history of all of the families of
    clones, I would have to say the available evidence points towards this being one
    of the later clones and not one of the early ones? I think the MPT-03 most
    likely preceeded this one, and that this is a later-model clone of the MPT-03
    family. Given the wonderful build quality of the obviously high-dollar Palladium
    carts, and the fact that they mostly had the smaller-memory-sized, earliest games
    for this extended family of clones, I suspect the Palladium system preceeded both
    of these systems. My guess is that the Emerson fits in between the Palladium and
    these MPT-03 "cousins". The U.S. based version died early, but overseas clones
    within the Emerson family continued making software for their own niche markets.

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Pinout of the 2650A microprocessor

                  __________    __________ 
                 |          \__/          |
      -->  SENSE |  1                  40 | FLAG  -->
        <--  A12 |  2                  39 | Vcc
        <--  A11 |  3                  38 | CLOCK  <--
        <--  A10 |  4                  37 | /PAUSE  <--
         <--  A9 |  5                  36 | /OPACK  <--
         <--  A8 |  6                  35 | RUN../WAIT  -->
         <--  A7 |  7     Signetics    34 | INTACK  -->
         <--  A6 |  8       2650A      33 | D0  <-->
         <--  A5 |  9       micro-     32 | D1  <-->
         <--  A4 | 10     processor    31 | D2  <-->
         <--  A3 | 11                  30 | D3  <-->
         <--  A2 | 12                  29 | D4  <-->
         <--  A1 | 13                  28 | D5  <-->
         <--  A0 | 14                  27 | D6  <-->
     -->  /ADREN | 15                  26 | D7  <-->
      -->  RESET | 16                  25 | /DBUSEN  <--
    -->  /INTREQ | 17                  24 | OPREQ  -->
  <--  A14-D../C | 18                  23 | R../W  -->
 <--  A13-E../NE | 19                  22 | WRP  -->
     <--  M../IO | 20                  21 | GND


  • The diagram above was adapted by Ward Shrake (June 2001)
    from a text originally written in 1982-5 by Jonathan Bowen of the
    Programming Research Group, at the Oxford University Computing
    Laboratory, 8-11 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3QD, England.

  • Ward Shrake's Leisure-Vision system was disassembled to trace
    out some of the lines, above. (See below for cart port pinout.) Pin
    17 (/INTREQ) is permanently attached to +5 volts; therefore it can
    never go logic low. Pins 18, 20, 22, 34 and 35 are not hooked to
    anything at all on the console's motherboard. A8 through A12 seem
    to be hooked up to five volts through 2.2k ohm pull-up resistors.

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An article from the "Wall Street Journal" business newspaper
April 9, 1982 issue. Page 4, column 1

Complete article text:
"Emerson Radio Corp. says it plans to market a foreign-made game console and 20 game cartridges under the name of Arcadia 2001 by Emerson, which are expected to generate about $15 million in revenue between July 1 and December 31... It declined to identify the maker of the video console and games".
Added commentary:
Ward wishes to thank Jonathan H. Davidson for researching this subject, and finding such an important bit of news. Jonathan further told Ward that ... "The next mention of Emerson Radio Corp. in the WSJ (other than things like stock splits and dividends) occurs June 11, 1985 (p. 16, col.1). This article discusses the then current product line and makes absolutely no mention of the (apparently brief) foray into the video game business."

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An article from "Computer and Video Games"
(A UK magazine. No 8. June 1982)

Article as written

Ward's added commentary

"Keep your eyes open for a new home game centre dedicated to arcade games. Called the Hanimex Home Arcade Centre it will be on sale at the end of June. Note the system's launch date matches the date this magazine came out. Assuming industry standard publishing delays of about three months, that would mean this article was originally written on or about March of 1982. Note also that the announcement by Emerson came three months after this Hanimex press release.
"Swindon-based Hanimex is launching its new system with a total of 17 games cartridges, six of which are versions of money-spinning arcade favourites. Note that it appears that Hanimex was the maker of this system, and not Emerson at all. Details are not clear yet, but Emerson may have been just one of many licensees? Note also that from the start, arcade games were a big part of the maker's marketing plans.
"The Home Arcade incorporates the handsets used by the Mattel Intellivision centre. These differ from the conventional hand controllers because they come with a circular disc with which you make your maneuvers. Others use a joystick device. Self-explanatory.
"Retailing at around 89 pounds Home Arcade follows in the footsteps of Hanimex's other video games centre, the Interton VC4000. It took literally years before we were able to track down enough other independent facts to make any real sense of this statement. Olivier Boisseau's Old-Computers.Com web site was the first big help Ward located... he reported that this was a console group that was similar to the Arcadia 2001 console group in terms of its technology, but with one critical difference. The Signetics 2636 audio/visual co-processor chip used to power the Interton-VC4000 group was an older model than the Signetics 2637 chip used in the Arcadia 2001 console group. No one knew for certain what that meant. Historians and collectors debated the issue of whether or not these two groups were actually ROM-compatible with one another for quite some time, with no way to prove if it was or was not. (See this for more info on what appears to be the answer.)
"According to Hanimex the new centre is based on a more advanced system than the Interton. Our loosely-knit group of I'net historians and collectors has confirmed this. The more powerful audio/visual co-processor found in the Arcadia group of consoles allowed new games to be more complex than were possible on the Interton... although it appears some games were ported over to take advantage of the existing library.
"Software for Home Arcade springs initially from a Hanimex team who then pass it on to an American sub-contractor which designs and writes each program. This is still proving elusive to find more solid info on. The company name "UA Limited" is listed on many Arcadia console group cart labels, as the people that wrote most of the Arcadia's games. We thought they only did software coding until Ward noted that "UAL" was permanently etched into the main circuit boards of the Arcadia. We even located a programmer's name, hidden within the ROM images of games from both the Interton and Arcadia groups. (Andrew Choi or Choi Andrew.) We think he worked for UA in some capacity since he worked on some games copyrighted by them. His text messages indicate that he worked out of Hong Kong during the Interton days. Finding out much more than this has proven to be incredibly difficult to date.
"The manufacturing process is taking place at the firm's Swindon factory. We presume Swindon is located in the UK?
"Scheduled for launch in June are versions of Phoenix, Defender, Crazy Climber, Pac-Man, Galactica and Berzerk. All of which were actually made early on, despite what collectors initially thought when heavy-duty research had begun on this system. Some of these games had to be altered to become less obvious clones, over time, but they were all written early on as just what the company had promised here.
  • Phoenix = Space Vultures and possibly an earlier pre-legalization version as well.
  • Defender = Space Squadron, followed by the legalized Space Raiders version.
  • Crazy Climber = Crazy Climber did show up "as is" outside US markets.
  • Pac-man = Crazy Gobbler and later also Super Gobbler. Let's not forget Cat-Trax, and R 2 D Tank as similar maze games.
  • Galactica = Space Attack. (The UK arcade game Galactica was a different name for the game known in the US as Galaxian.)
  • Berzerk = Robot Killer at first, and later the less-infringing, legalized Escape.
"Plans are afoot to continue bringing out new games cartridges for the new game centre which will be of an equally (high) standard and meet public demand. Their plans went awry when Atari began sueing its competitors, after it bought up exclusive licenses to various arcade games. Companies like ColecoVision also began licensing the more popular arcade games, leaving little but the most obscure arcade titles available for licensing. In the latter days of this system, the makers did license quite a few of these obscure arcade titles.
"Future releases include Centipede, Jungler and Galaga. Tracking these titles down has been less easy:
  • Jungler did come out. It was the first game port the company had legally licensed.
  • Centipede has not been located yet by modern day collectors in any condition. Spiders could possibly have been based on earlier code that was first written for it?
  • Galaga has not been located yet by modern day collectors in any condition.
"At the same time Hanimex will carry on the Interton VC4000." Self-explanatory, though it is interesting to note that the two systems were essentially competing with one another in the same geographic markets.

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Atari declares copyright war on Pac-Man rivals

Vol. 1 No. 19 (Page 4; "News Desk")
By: David Kelly
26 August 1982

ATARI has fired the opening shots in what promises to be a copyright war with far-reaching implications. Commodore has been the first to feel the effects but other companies, including Bug-Byte, A and F Software and Micropower are also involved. Graham Daubney, Atari's software manager, would not comment on his company's actions but issued the following official statement. "Atari International (UK) Inc is at present campaigning against video games which infringe the Pac-Man copyright. The campaign is being pursued to protect the customer against imitations. "As part of the campaign, Atari is applying for an injunction against Commodore Business Machines (UK) Ltd, Jellymonsters. "Atari allege that Jellymonsters is an infringement of their copyright. Atari are pressing for a full hearing as soon as possible and will claim substantial damages." Atari's campaign is being conducted on two fronts. Both the Commodore and Bug-Byte actions concern Vic-20 cassettes. In each case the companies have been instructed to stop sale of the tapes, to surrender all remaining stocks and promotional material to Atari, to pay Atari all revenue gained through their sale and to allow Atari access their businesss records. Commodore is not prepared to comment on the situation at present. A spokesman for the company would only say: "We are aware of the Atari claim." Bug-Byte, however, has agreed to abide by the first two of Atari's instructions. It has stopped all sale of its Vic-Men program and has surrendered all remaining stocks and promotional material to Atari. "We had the choice of doing what we did or getting involved in a very expensive legal battle that could have cost tens of thousands of pounds," said Bug-Byte's managing director, Tony Baden. "We do not agree that they have got copyright except on the Pac-Man program listing - and all our listings are completely different," he told Popular Computing Weekly. "There is no way that we can afford to stand up against a company the size of Atari, but it obviously needs something like this to go to court to sort out the position. "In the long term I suppose it will be good for the industry. The arcade situation is becoming stale at the moment and it will force companies to think up original games. "Atari's action has not affected us at all. Admittedly Vic-Men was one of our most successfull games but we will survive." In the other series of moves A and F Software and Micropower have received instructions to send copies of certain programs to Atari for inspection. Mike Fitzgerald, managing director of A and F Software explained: "The letter from Atari requested us to send them a copy of our Polecat program for the Acorn Atom to look at and play. If they decided that the program is not an infringement then Atari would send us the recommended retail price of the cassette. "We have no intention of sending them a copy of Polecat. It does not, in our view, infringe the Atari copyright. If Atari wish, they are quite welcome to call and we will demonstrate the program. "Whatever happens, we are not removing our program Polecat from the market and it will need a court order for us to do so. "A and F fully intend to go ahead and develop the Polecat program for any computer we choose. "We believe that the program does not infringe Atari copyright either in machinecode or visual image." Micropower has now received three letters similar to that received by A and F, relating not only to alleged infringements of the Pac-Man copyrights but also that of another Atari game, Centipede. Managing director, Bob Simpson, said: "It is unlikely that we shall be supplying copies of any of our games. We have over 150 games on sale and if we start sending out tapes in this way, where will it all end? "There is no doubt, though, that any injunction taken out against us would be quite damaging, bearing in mind that the average life of a computer game is at most three or four months."

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Emerson unveils Arcadia 2001
Electronic Games magazine, September 1982, page 8

Full article as originally written Ward's added commentary
"Emerson Radio expects to have a new videogame system, along with 20 game cartridges, in the stores in time for the holiday gift-giving season this year. Note that this implies delays had set in... the original plan was to have 20 games ready to be sold by July 1st. That would presumably have been about when this article was originally written, give or take... and yet they were saying they needed almost half a year to prepare?
Dubbed Arcadia 2001, the new machine has a number of desirable features including a 12-volt system to make it usable in trailers, campers, cars and boats, cable-ready connections and a controller that easily switches from an Intellivision-style direction disk to the more traditional joystick. Another nice touch is a power on-off light, to prevent home arcaders from accidentally leaving the system going after a play session. All of which pretty much ignores whether or not the system is any good, from the game player's perspective. Sounds like this was simply a press release, and that the magazine didn't actually get to see this system in action? Even so, you would hope that Emerson could come up with  a better selling point than having a "power-on" light included?
Arcadia 2001 will get heavy software support from the company, promises Emerson's senior vice president of marketing Sonny Knazick. Uh-huh. Emerson actually ended up totally abandoning the game system, but other companies did go on to write more software on their own... overseas, in 1983.
There will be 30 cartridges for the system by the end of this year, with another 20 scheduled to appear in 1983. Ahem... what's a polite way to say "bulls**t" while laughing so hard that your sides hurt? Maybe worldwide, fifty-plus titles were eventually made? Just barely, and only if you count MPT-03 and Palladium games as well?
Also planned for next year is an even more advanced version of the Arcadia 2001, though no details of this second generation unit are available at the present time." Which essentially boils down to an admission that they realized at this point that the system was not going to be able to hold its own, against its competitors. No more information on this newer game system has ever surfaced.
Three screen shots accompanied the article. They are labeled as Football, Soccer and Cat Trax. Close inspection of these screen shots shows that they are not the real thing. The colors are not correct on Football; the game itself had more variation than the nearly-monochrome screenshot shows. Soccer is closer, but at least one player is missing from the field in the screenshot. Cat Trax is nothing of the kind; the supposed screenshot looks exactly like a photo-negative of the "Crazy Gobbler" opening maze, but with the name "Gobbler" erased from the top of the screen. I could overlook the first two, chalking it up to low tech magazine creation at the time. However, the totally faked screenshot of Cat Trax is hard to ignore. I think they were still trying to push arcade games they couldn't really sell. To add insult to injury, right below this article was an article that said some other company was calling itself Arcadia, and making Atari 2600 VCS games on cassette tape, to play through what became the Starpath Supercharger. (In other words, not even their name was very original?)

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Emerson Arcadia 2001 - A Gamer's Evaluation
by Henry Cohen, Electronic Games magazine, November 1982

Article as originally written Ward's added commentary
"A wise man once said, 'Good things come in small packages.' Whoever coined this adage certainly wasn't thinking about Emerson's new Arcadia 2001 videogame system, Is it just me or did the reviewer just insult the machine, twice? The "wise man" reference could mean that the buyer should beware? The rest sounds like a warning, too?
but the phrase sure fits, anyway. Added against reviewer's wishes?
This unit, which looks something like the Intellivision's baby brother, has got to be the cutest system around. The carton in which the Arcadia 2001 comes packed, hardly looks big enough to hold a handful of cartridges. Is this another set of mild insults or even warnings to potential buyers? I don't see parents rushing out to buy this system, on these points?
Nonetheless, the console packs the power of a senior programmable video game machine. Is this another hidden insult? By "senior" does he mean to imply that the system is to be thought of as both old and very outdated? I can't think of any other time that I have heard any person use that term to describe any other video game system? Can you?
Though it's hard to know if the designers considered it in this light, the Arcadia owns the distinction of being the world's first portable videogame system. Besides its diminutive size, always handy in a take-along, the 2001 is capable of operating off of any 12 volt DC power source. This includes auto batteries of the type used in boats and campers, a video power belt or the battery pack of a portable TV. Just think, once Watchman-size color television becomes a reality, you'll be able to fit a complete fun factory into a briefcase! Add a multi-cart to it, and you're all set!
Flanking the central cartridge slot on the Arcadia 2001 console are two Intellivision look-alike controllers. Just below the cartridge slot is the on/off switch and buttons for reset, game select, option select, and start. A 'power on' LED completes the picture. Self-explanatory.
Along the back panel are found conveniently located jacks for two optional controllers, a 12 volt DC power source, two hard-wired coil cords for the built-in controllers and a channel 3 / channel 4 selector switch. The optional controllers never made an appearance, to my knowledge? (They are only wired up for single paddle controllers, such as Pong, and nothing more.)
The big news about the system, however, is its extremely high memory capacity. The unit contains 28K of RAM, This is actually a lie. This system actually had NOTHING like 28k of RAM ... it had one kilobyte, not 28. To an expert, this claimed number does not even make any sense. All digital computers and video game systems work on binary principles; everything has to be based on powers of two. A claim of 32k would have made more sense. A claim of 24k is still plausible. But 28k? Sorry, you're lying, badly!
which makes it the second (Colecovision has 48K) smartest videogame system around. I am sure this reviewer could and did figure out he was being lied to? Why else would he imply that you should compare this system's games to the ColecoVision system?
All this power is great if it is used properly, Which implies it was not used well, from what he could see.
but unfortunately the only six games available for testing at the time of this writing Indicating there were still serious delays in getting ready for market. Emerson had claimed 30 games would be ready by the end of the year, and they only had six ready for review in what I am guessing was then August? (Lead times.)
used more than 8K of memory. How could this reviewer know exactly how much ROM memory was in each cart, but he had no clue how much RAM memory was really in the system? I suspect he did know in both cases, but had to print the manufacturer's claim.
The controllers are almost virtual twins of those found on Intellivision. There are 12 buttons on the keyboard, two firing buttons (Mattel has four) and a disk controller. The latter features a long-awaited innovation, screw-in joystick. If you like the disks you've got em, and if you crave a joystick it's there in the box just waiting for you. Self-explanatory.
Mylar overlays come with each game, as needed, and both controllers fit neatly into the console when play is completed, though the cords dangle. Self-explanatory, but note that not every game came with overlays.
One glaring omission is that the system does not contain circuitry to either blank the picture after two minutes of non-play or to vary the colors or intensity of the on-screen image. When questioned about this lack of TV protection circuitry, Emerson told EG that it is looking into the situation, but that it feels such protection isn't needed. Emerson may be right, but the company is going to have a hard time convincing potential buyers of this. Some of the later games do cycle or change their colors, if you plug them in but you don't play them for awhile. But note that most of the overseas 1983 titles were written after Emerson had abandoned the market.
Let's take a closer look at some of the games: The great American pastime Baseball is done justice by way of one delightful innovation in the 2001's diamond program. When a ball is hit to the outfield, a second screen appears which shows an outline of the outfield and the single player involved. This provides a much better chance for the outfielder to catch and field a ball than other home simulations. After the player gets the ball, the screen reverts to normal and the coach can direct the fielder to throw to any baseman including the catcher. With a full nine-player team represented and control of pitching, hitting and running, managers can make realistic plays. The game is not quite as detailed as the award-winning Intellivision cartridge but it is close - and an excellent baseball game in its own right. It is also easy to learn and to master, giving it a leg up on most of its competition. This reviewer liked 2001 Baseball and looks forward to other sports simulations from this newcomer on the block. Self-explanatory.
Breakaway, the 2001 approach to wall-bashing is nothing more than adequate. The cartridge is innovative in that it allows varying of the paddle speed and includes a vertical version of the game, but the overall effect was unimpressive. As EG tested an early version of the game and we were told later versions would be much improved, it isn't worth detailing the problems. Suffice that paddle speed was much too pokey, the vertical versions had to be played with the joystick moving diagonally, and overall control was anything but smooth. Judging from the other games we previewed, we could only wish for the improved version to come our way. We have no doubt that Emerson can do a much better job than with this first edition of Breakaway. It really shouldn't have broken away from Emerson at all. You gotta love that zinger in the last sentence? Ouch! What may not be entirely self-evident now is that the arcade game "Breakout" was an unofficial benchmark test for game systems that dated from the late 1970's and/or early 1980's. The idea that this system might not be able to live up to even some relatively simple expectations, implied the system was probably not worth buying? After all, any system that could not do an advanced Pong variant well, surely could not be expected to really compete with a next generation system like the ColevoVision? (The Apple II was considered by EG to be a dead or dying game machine by the time this review was written -- see page 51 of this same issue for a Freudian slip saying so -- but even it could still do a decent version of Breakout.)
Cat Trax conversely, is not a game for pussycats, but more of a clever maze-chase. Cat Trax provides three rather than nine lives, as you maneuver your kitty through a maze dodging a trio of hungry dogs. At the same time, the electronic feline must gobble up pieces of catnip and an occasional bone. The bone flashes periodically in the middle of the screen, and if you snatch it, you turn into a dog catcher's van that enables you to race through the maze at a very high speed and capture the offending canines. Once touched, the dogs are placed in the pound for up to 20 seconds of game time. There's a time clock within the doghouse that lets you know just how long you have to grab the catnip before the dogs are released once more. Each time you eat a bone and send the pups to their just reward, less time is awarded to get the job done. The graphics are clever, and the game is generally a great deal of fun. It is one of the few home maze games that offers almost as much fun as the granddaddy of them all, Pac-Man. Cat Trax is a good game and should keep you purring for hours at a time. Self-explanatory, but note that this is simply a legalized re-write of a game that started out being much closer to the original Pac-Man. The original game would have been much more attractive to the public.
Sticking within the labyrinth category, there is Jungler. Played in a maze that closely resembles Cat Trax, Jungler pits a gamer's controlled serpent against one driven by the computer. Notice that we didn't say snake because some people just don't like the thought of snakes, much less actually having one in their home, even if it is electronic. Sticking closely to the arcade version, Jungler challenges players to position a serpent so that its lashing tongue can destroy sections of the rural reptile before the same is done to you. Normally, you can only consume sections from the middle and tail of the opposing serpent, but if you pass through the center of the maze when it is flashing, your head turns color and you can shoot head to head. The game is a little slow, and the maze is a little broad, but Jungler is challenging and fun. Its also unique to the system, so if this Jungler is your coin-op fave, here is the only way to the safari. This review was done after the company had already made their first legally licensed game clone. This indicates that many of the company's early marketing plans had already gone awry, and that they were scrambling to keep up.
The last of the arcade style games, is Space Attack. A combination Galaxian and Space Invaders, Space Attack pits your horizontal cannon against a field of attacking aliens that stays in formation and fires at you relentlessly. An occasional invader comes down one-to-one to keep things interesting. There are no shields so quick reflexes are key to survival. One of the problems in Space Attack is that each round starts with the cannon somewhere off screen to the right. Until you get used to beginning a round with the joystick pointed dead left, you may think the designers forgot a key graphic - your cannon. Other than that idiosyncrasy, there is a pronounced slowness to the movement of the cannon we found irksome. Again this condition may be corrected by the time the final versions hit the home market. Other than these two small problems, graphics are good and Space Attack may be considered another reasonable version of several very familiar space shoot-em-ups. Another last-minute legalized re-write, which would appeal less to the public than "the real thing". There is information hidden inside the ROM code, indicating a date of July. It was being reviewed perhaps a month after it was re-written; not very long at all? So much for 30 game titles at the end of the year?
Capture, an electronic version of Reversi is a delight. In this battle of wits, which can be played against another opponent or the computer, the object of the game is to capture and maintain ownership of the highest number of squares on a grid. You capture a square by placing your piece next to you opponent's piece, on a line or diagonal which also contains another of your pieces. In simpler terms you sandwich your opponents squares with your own pieces. He may then sandwich you in, sort of like putting hands on a baseball bat until no more room is left, and the game goes back and forth until all squares are captured by someone. The game allows you, through its options, to set time limits, change difficulty levels or simply represent two human players. It also keeps a running score and times of each move. Capture is not a speed and reflex game, but rather an intellectual challenge. As such, it's first rate and highly enjoyable. Self-explanatory.
We can only wonder what Space Chess will be like since Emerson is obviously quite clever, judging by Capture, at producing electronic board games. Sounds nice, but kids of the time mainly wanted fast-paced arcade games. I'm sure the mag knew it?
That's the story of the little videogame system that could. This sounds to me like a hidden warning that the reviewer didn't really believe much of what he was hearing. Why else call it a story?
At a list price of $200.00, but with an actual selling price of only half that amount, Arcadia 2001 packs quite a wallop for the buck." Indicating it had serious problems in the market, even before the system launch had really begun. And it also sounds to me like "don't pay full price for it, cause it won't last long".

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