Arcadia 2001:  Frequently Asked Questions
Version 2.99h -- June 4, 2002


Historical and general information
Technical information
Published news reports
This section also functions as a chronological time-line.
(Just scroll down through it, read items sequentially.

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:

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 "Pinwhiz" 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.
Chris Hind Helped with info regarding the Interton VC-4000
console group. Was the first to confirm that there was
indeed an official "slot-compatibility" adapter made for
the Interton console group, to allow normally incompatible
console families to use each other's carts. (But note that
this is an earlier verions of the Arcadia that has no really
practical technical compatability with the Arcadia 2001.)

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.
Sebastian Kraus Supplied info regarding the Palladium system, and about
the German manufacturer Quelle..

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:

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:

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!)

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 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:
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 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
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: for his gaming e-zine site.

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Other sources of Arcadia 2001 information

The author of this "Arcadia 2001" FAQ has a web site
which carries this text, cartridge rarity lists, and more.
The site also includes links to other cool Arcadia sites.

The "Digital Press Collectors Guide" (version six
and up) has an "Arcadia 2001" section written by
 the author of this FAQ, plus other retro goodness!

You may also want to try the Usenet Newsgroup called:

See the 'credits' section of this FAQ for a list of
people that are interested in the Arcadia 2001.

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Internet sites where you can locate this document

Digital Press hosts Ward Shrake's "Digital Archaeology"
web sites. They will have the latest version of the FAQ.

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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 "" 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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Arcadia 2001: International listing of known members of this console group

List also includes names of some similar-looking consoles that
DO NOT actually belong to this console group. This is so you
can better avoid confusing the two incompatible console groups
any more than is necessary. (We apologize for the complexity
of all this! Please remember that we are "just the messengers"!)

Console name

Company name (Licensee)





Built Where

Case type

Acetronic MPU-1000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Acetronic MPU-2000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Arcadia Bandai Emerson Japan NTSC
Arcadia 2001 Emerson Emerson U.S. NTSC Standard Emerson
Arcadia Emerson Emerson Australia PAL Rebadged Schmid
Audio Sonic PP-1292

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Audio Sonic PP-1392

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Audio Sonic Programmable Video System

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Computer Video Game Trakton Palladium Australia
Cosmos Tele-computer Emerson Spain
Dynavision Morning-Sun Commerce MPT-03 Japan
Ekusera P.I.C. MPT-03 Japan
Fountain 1392

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Fountain Force 2

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Fountain Programmable Video System

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Grundig Super Play Computer 4000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Hanimex HMG 1292

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Hanimex HMG 1392

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Hanimex HMG-2650 Hanimex Emerson Canada NTSC
Hanimex HMG-2650 Hanimex Emerson Germany PAL
Home Arcade Advision Emerson France
Home Arcade Centre Hanimex Emerson U.K.
Home Video Centre 2001 Sheen Ormatu Australia PAL
Intelligent Game System MPT-03 ? MPT-03 U.S. (??)
Interton VC-4000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Intervision 2001 ? Ormatu Finland and Europe
Karvan Jeu Video TV

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Lansay 1392

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Leisure-Vision Leisure-Dynamics Emerson Canada NTSC UAL Hong Kong Standard Emerson w/ new name plate
Leonardo GiG Electronics Emerson Italy
MPT-03 Soundic MPT-03 Europe
MPT-03 Tempest ? MPT-03 Australia
MPT-03 Tobby ? MPT-03
MPT-03 Tele Computer Spiel Poppy MPT-03 Europe

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Ormatu 2001 Ormatu Electric BV Ormatu Netherlands (and Europe?)
Palladium Telespiel Palladium Palladium Germany
Prinztronic VC 6000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Radofin 1292

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Radofin 1392

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Radofin Advanced Programmable Game System

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Radofin Programmierbares Video System

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Rowtron 2000 Rowtron MPT-03 Europe
Rowtron Television Computer System

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Societe Occitane Electronique OC-2000

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Tele Brain Mr. Altus (?) Palladium Germany
Tele-Fever Eduscho or Tchibo (?) Emerson Germany or Sweden (?) PAL UAL Unique case styling
Tunix Home Arcade Monaco Leisure Emerson New Zealand Standard Emerson type w/ new name plate
TVG-2000 Schmid Emerson Germany
UVI Compu-game Orbit Electronics Orbit New Zealand
Video Computer Game Palladium Palladium Germany
Video Computer Game Polybrain Palladium Germany
Video Computer Game Tempest Emerson Australia
Video Computer Game MPT-03 Prestige MPT-03 France
Video Computer Game MPT-03 Rowtron MPT-03 Europe
Video Game Center Tryom MPT-03 U.S. (??)
Video Master Database

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

Video Master Grandstand Orbit New Zealand UVI Compu-game w/ new name plate
Waddington Voltmace Database

This is NOT a member of the "Arcadia 2001" console group

XL-2000 Intercord Emerson Germany

Definitions of terms used above:

  • "Console name" -- The name that is on the specific console or its packaging.
  • "Company Name (Licensee)" -- The company name that is listed on the specific console or its packaging.
  • "Family" -- What cartridge family does this system belongs to? This indicates the cartridge slot type used, which in turn determines which cartridge family of games can be played on this console just by plugging the cart in.
  • "Country" -- Primary geographic area where the specific console was generally sold.
  • "TV" -- Is the console set up to use NTSC (North American) or PAL (European) standard televisions?
  • "PCB" -- What company name is indicated on the actual circuit boards? (Actual manufacturer, not a licensee.)
  • "Built where" -- Where was the console actually built, according to notices on its housing or its circuit boards?
  • "Case type" --this column is simply my attempt to summarize what the console's plastic housing looks like.

Any console listed above as "...NOT a member of..." is actually part
of the Interton VC-4000 console group and is not an Arcadia clone.
See the LINKS section of Ward's web site for info on the Interton:

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The "Arcadia 2001" console group is a completely different
animal than the "Interton VC-4000" console group. Please
do not confuse these two very different console groups with one another!

Yes, they do seem like they are sort of related. And in some ways they are.
They share some common history in terms of who made the machines.
The hardware inside both groups is similar enough to make people wonder,
since both groups use a Signetics 2650 CPU and Signetics 263x co-processor.
At least one programmer definitely worked on games for both groups.


Games from one console group WILL NOT WORK when used on the other group.
You cannot make or buy any kind of an adapter that will allow the two
console groups to use each other's cartridges. We tried it. It did not work.
This is NOT an educated guess! This is tested scientific fact!

In the absence of equally valid scientific testing, we consider the matter closed.

People who agree with this include:

Ward Shrake: this FAQ's author and the person who first
told you all that the Emerson family of Arcadia 2001 clones
was ROM-compatible but not slot-compatible with these
other Arcadia clone families: MPT-03, Palladium and Ormatu.

PeT: the author of the MESS emulator for both of these console groups.

Michael "Pinwhiz" Davidson: avid collector of obscure carts and consoles.

Believe me, we all regret that things are this complicated!
Really. It is not Ward's intent to "yell at" anyone in regards to
this matter. It is a fair question to have asked, based upon a
good set of observations by various people around the world.
Ward loves seeing such good observation and good analysis.

But some people do not want to give up this cherished belief
for reasons we find puzzling. If we have hurt anyone's feelings
or disappointed their hopes; hey, we are sorry. But we would
be doing both ourselves and the community no favors at all if
we saw a myth, knew the truth, and did not report that truth.

If it makes any of you feel better, you can think of these two
console groups as being similar to concepts like the relationship
between the earlier Commodore VIC-20 and the later C64,
or the earlier Atari 2600 and the later Atari 5200 consoles.
That is roughly the relationship that we see between them.

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Assorted notes on what can be a rather (bleep-ingly) complex and confusingly detailed subject:

Overall and/or technical notes:
  • Games within the "Arcadia 2001" console group are ROM-compatible with one another. But from one "family" to another, these machines are NOT "slot-compatible" with one another. If you want to just buy a cartridge, plug it in, and have it work with no fuss, then you have to make sure the cartridge family matches the console family.
  • Chris Hind, a collector from the U.K., reports that the older Interton console group DID indeed have an available adapter from an official source! "The difference is that Voltmace, a U.K. company, produced conversion devices that allowed its cartridges to play on the other two systems. I only have the convertor for the Interton VC4000 but I have the sales sheet for the Acetronic convertor - so I'm still hunting for that one :-)" There may or may not have ever been an official adapter device made and sold for the Arcadia 2001 console group, to allow people to play one family's games on another family's console.
Emerson family notes:
MPT-03 family notes:
Ormatu family notes:
Palladium family notes:
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Arcadia 2001 console group hardware specifications

Central Processor Signetics 2650A
Co-processor Signetics 2637
Internal RAM One kilobyte (1024 bytes)... despite false marketing claims of 28k total.
Internal ROM None in the conventional sense, though there was some built into the processor chips.
ROM cartridge size Plug-in ROM cartridges use between 2k and 8K (2048 to 8192 bytes) of 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 paddles?

Please note that a company still sells service manuals for the console that Emerson made. You can order one at this web address: (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:

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Power Supply specifications
Globally speaking, various consoles used different power supplies. This is perfectly normal and quite expected since different countries supply "wall power" in very "different flavors". Here are the ones we are aware of...
"Emerson Family" consoles (North America) 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 "-".

In Ward's experience, Radio Shack part number 273-1776 works fine. Get the "M" sized Adapt-a-plug (tm) adapter with it; it is Radio Shack part number 273-1716.

Sheen console, Ormatu family (Australia) 9 Volts (DC?) at 0.75 amps (750 milliamps) with positive center.
Tempest "MPT-03" console (Australian) 9 volts AC at 0.75 amps (750 milliamps or larger) current rating.

Rectification and DC power regulation is handled inside the console.

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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


Chip function

1 "2650A N"
40 2650 Central Processing Unit
  • This is an 8-bit processor. It 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 Audio - Visual Co-processor
  • Features: capable of handling 4 'objects' (sprites?). Has a built-in alpha-numeric
    character generator ROM that includes letters, numbers and a few simple graphics
    shapes; sort of like a cut-down VIC-20 or C64 set of keyboard-based graphics. It has collision detection capabilities. It has an Analog-to-Digital converter with four inputs. By Signetics. Socketed on PC board.
  • Note that the Interton VC4000 console has a 2636 co-processor; an earlier model of this same basic chip.
1 "2622N" 14 Video sync generator
  • Two models exist, depending on the game console's region of manufacture. For NTSC (North American) televisions, a 2622 chip is used. The 2621 model is the PAL-signal equivalent. By Signetics. Socketed on PC board.
2 "2114" 18 RAM memory
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.

Much of the data above originally came from Anthony Brown; it was in the original FAQ.

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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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Pinout of the Emerson family cartridge slot

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.)

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Pinout of the MPT-03 family cartridge slot
This pinout diagram is based on analysis of Grandstand Video Master carts,
supplemented by later analysis of standard MPT-03 carts and a Tempest console.

Component side of the plug-in cartridges / label side of the cart / side facing player.

/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 / rear side of the cart / side facing the TV.

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Pinout of the Palladium family cartridge slot
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.

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Pinout of the Ormatu family cartridge slot
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.

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Pinout and cartridge comparison notes
Based on analysis of various carts. Meant to be used in conjunction with pinout diagrams above.

Emerson family notes:
MPT-03 family notes:
Palladium family notes:
Ormatu family notes:

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Chronological Timeline

Just scroll downwards through the many published reports below.
Various gaps are filled with commentary as needed but as much as
possible, I would prefer to let the record speak for itself. As I find
more published news articles, press releases and so on, I will be
able to delete much of the commentary I have added as a temporary
stop-gap. Editorial comments added by the author of this FAQ have
been printed in italics and are also labeled as such to avoid confusion.
It may not be immediately clear why certain articles were reprinted;
in context with the other texts included here a "bigger picture" is seen.

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Activision formed; video game industry's first-ever third-party software producer
"Activision" was formed as a company on April 25, 1980 by four disgruntled former Atari programmers.

While Activision would only create game programs that worked on the Atari 2600 VCS console, the appearance of the first fully independent, third-party software production company set the stage for many things to follow. It was common for game programmers in this period to feel under-appreciated and under-rewarded.

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Signetics manufactures "Alien Invaders" ROM chips during January 1981

According to information permanently printed on the outside of masked ROM chips, Signetics manufactured at least two batches of a simple "Space Invaders" game clone, during the third and eighth weeks of 1981. (January and February 1981.) This game was written to work with specific hardware that later became the inner workings of the game consoles that we now collectively call the "Arcadia 2001 console group".

The total sizes of these batches are not known. It is not known if these were the first batches ever made.

The primary components of this game console -- the 2650A CPU chip and 2637UVI audio-visual co-processor chip -- were parts made only by Signetics. The "Arcadia 2001" game console hardware had been based upon an earlier pair of Signetics chips -- the 2650 and the 2636 -- which were the primary components of the game consoles that we now collectively refer to as the "Interton VC-4000 console group".

Signetics was a company that had been owned and/or controlled by Phillips since 1975.

See the "ROM date code" list (started in April 2002 by Arcadia researchers) for other manufacturing dates.

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Hidden message found inside an Interton VC-4000 game program

Console group: Interton VC-4000
Program name: Shoot Out
Clone of arcade game: Gun Fight (Midway, 1975)
ROM image: shootout.bin
Message seen at $06cb - $0721


Message is shown verbatim. Original was in all capitol letters.

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Atari files a lawsuit against Phillips, alleging copyright infringement, in November 1981
An article in 'Electronic Games' magazine (July 1982), said that a "protracted legal struggle with ace rival North American Phillips" had begun in November 1981. It said, "At that time, Atari sought to have Munchkin yanked from the stores in time for Christmas. Although the injunction wasn't granted at that time, the judge ultimately ruled that the graphic elements used in Munchkin did, indeed, infringe on the Pac-Man visuals."

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United States Trademark application: "Arcadia 2001"

Quoting part of the actual Trademark application filed by the Emerson company to protect the trade name "Arcadia 2001" for use within the United States:

"Goods and Services Equipment Sold as a Unit for Playing
a Video Output Display Type Parlor Game;

DATE OF FIRST USE: 1982.03.26;


In other words, Emerson claimed in a legal document that they considered their official foray into the world of videogames to have begun on March 26, 1982. Thanks to Jonathan H. Davidson for having researched this small but vital bit of historical information regarding Emerson's marketing of the Arcadia 2001. Jonathan did it using legal records... a very unusual thing for someone within the retro-gaming community to have done, but something that is very much welcomed and appreciated by Ward, the author of this FAQ!

Jonathan told Ward in e-mail back in 1999, that "There is no current Canadian registration for Leisurevision nor Arcadia as a video game system (there *is* Arcadia ginger ale, however, registered in the 1950's!)"

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"Wall Street Journal" newspaper
Press release from April 9, 1982 issue.
Page 4, Column 1

Complete original press release:
"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".
Ward's added commentary:
Ward wishes to thank Jonathan H. Davidson for painstakingly researching this subject and finding such an important bit of verified news. This report shows beyond a doubt that Emerson did NOT create this game console themselves. They merely licensed it from parties unknown, despite making gamers think otherwise.

We are still interested in tracking down who that company was. It is difficult to do, because so many of the licensees appear to have tried within their seperate regional markets, worldwide, to appear like the console and its games had been created by the licensee; with no mention of or easy way to back-track and find out who this mysterious company was. The best leads we have so far indicate a "best-guess" involving "UA Limited". They wrote most of the software for this system, according to copyright messages found on Emerson-family carts. Note that this official business press release refers to one company that both the hardware and software; so far, the only company we have been able to identify that appears to meet this criteria is "UA Limited". They may or may not have been based in Hong Kong. They may or may not have had offices elsewhere within the world.

Coupled with a trademark applications' stated "first use in commerce" date of March 26, 1982 you can clearly see that Emerson's early plans involved four months of unhurried preparation in getting "their" game console ready to go to market, a summer 1982 console release date, and six months of heavy profits leading up towards Christmas of 1982. (It is important to note this up front, because from now on things change very rapidly.)

Jonathan's added commentary:
(Quotes taken from private e-mails between Jonathan and Ward during 1999 when a few folks on the Internet were beginning to do serious research.) "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." Jonathan later said: "The Atari section of the WSJ index was even more fun to read -- announcements of MANY unreleased products and mergers that never happened. (E.g.. Atari and Activision jointly providing games by cable TV, Milton Bradley announced a voice synthesis *and recognition* device for the 2600 and 5200). One has to wonder if the people drafting press releases 1981-4 ever talked to engineers in the same company!!!"

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"Computer and Video Games" magazine
(A magazine based out of the United Kingdom)
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. Assuming industry-standard publishing delays of about three months would mean this article was originally written on or about March of 1982. That matches well with both the Wall Street Journal articles and the Trademark Application, indicating that this console, globally, seems to have "been born" into the videogaming marketplace in about March of 1982.

Note that this announcement by Hanimex in the United Kingdom closely matches (in terms of earliest possible submission dates) to when Emerson in the United States was first beginning to become involved with marketing within their own seperate territory. This implies that there was a global efforts being made to license this console, by the parties that created it.

The system's stated launch date matches the date this magazine was on the newsstands, for whatever that particular observation is worth?

"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. Right from the very start, arcade games were always a big part of the maker's marketing plans... this becomes increasingly more important as time goes on, due to copyright infringement lawsuits filed by Atari against its competitors.

According to U.K. collector Chris Hind, "Swindon is in Wiltshire in the U.K., that's just outside Bristol in the South-West of the country."

"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. Note that it implies the parties that made the system had seen and apparently liked the console that Mattel had made. A few titles later made for this system look like clones of Intellivision games, but I may be getting ahead of myself.
"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 researchers were able to track down enough independent facts to make any real sense of the last part of this statement.

Olivier Boisseau's Old-Computers.Com web site was the first big help that Ward Shrake located in trying to research this. Olivier had reported that this Interton-VC4000 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 brand model 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, approximately one year later.

Not even Olivier knew for certain what that implied. Historians and collectors ocasionally debated the issue of whether or not these two console groups were capable of running one-another's software. Educated guesses were made by many but no proof was offered either way until March 2002. Having run a very thorough and rather scientific series of real-life tests, Ward is certain that there is ZERO software compatability between these two console groups. Ward recognizes that collectors may or may not disagree with his findings but he now considers this matter settled, once and for all... unless someone can prove with equally scientific zeal that there is tangible proof to the contrary.

"According to Hanimex the new centre is based on a more advanced system than the Interton. As noted above, the loosely-knit group of I'net historians and collectors has already confirmed this. The more powerful audio/visual co-processor found in the Arcadia group of consoles obviously allowed newer Arcadia games to be more complex than were possible on the older Interton.

Note that the already-existing Interton software library helps to explain where some of the Arcadia's more obscure, less-arcade-like games originally came from... and why they thought they could put so many new games on the market, so quickly. They were not starting from scratch, they were simply porting games over.

Note also that while a few non-technical collectors wonder aloud if existing Interton games could probably be rewritten to work on the Arcadia, that the point is largely moot... the company themselves has likely already done so.

"Software for Home Arcade springs initially from a Hanimex team Like virtually everything else here, it is hard to determine how much of this is true or false? The wording here does not even make much sense; this part is most likely mostly a lie. Many licensees apparently felt a need to lie about who really made this console and its games, and what their role in it was.
"who then pass it on to an American sub-contractor which designs and writes each program. This is at least partially true, but it contradicts what they just said above. (How could the sub-contractor start with designing a game, if Hanimex had already done something significant to begin the creative process?) We have recently discovered that at least one American sub-contractor, Chris Capener, was hired by UA Limited on a three-month contract to write the game "Funky Fish". But that's not Hanimex, that's "UA Limited" which may have been based out of Hong Kong. So this comment is only somewhat true.
"The manufacturing process is taking place at the firm's Swindon factory. This is partially true, as far as we can tell. What we have recently learned is that, in general, laws regarding import restrictions were often in effect. You could not easily take an item that was made completely in some off-shore area like Hong Kong, and bring it into a given country "as is," in a finished state. You could, however, let them do most of the initial assembly chores overseas, then have them ship you the raw parts, so you could assemble them yourself in your own factory. Interviews done by Michael "Pinwhiz" Davidson showed for instance that (parties importing hand-hand games into New Zealand) had to bring completed molds from overseas, then manufacture injected plastic items such as the game's cases, in the country they were selling the end items in.
"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 before heavy-duty research had begun on this system. Part of the problem is that collectors were watching what Emerson and other licensees did, while the real action was going on with Philips, Signetics and UAL.
  • Phoenix = the legalized Space Vultures, without the mothership, and possibly an earlier pre-legalization version that did have that stage.
  • Defender = Space Squadron, followed by the legalized Space Raiders version.
  • Crazy Climber = Crazy Climber did show up "as is" outside US markets, with no apparent attempt to legalize their original version.
  • Pac-man = Crazy Gobbler and later also Super Gobbler, as well as Nibblemen. Let's not forget Cat-Trax, Jungler and R2D Tank as being similar or related maze games.
  • Galactica = Space Attack. (The arcade game "Galactica" was just a UK-based 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. Yes, all indications show that was the original plan. However, Atari threw a big monkey wrench into those plans when they paid to have official licenses for certain really popular games and then began taking legal action against anyone that was making an unauthorized, competing version of that game.

In the latter days of this system, the makers did actually license quite a few of these obscure arcade titles... but I'm getting ahead of myself again.

"Future releases include Centipede, Jungler and Galaga. The titles above were tracked down. These have been less easy:
  • Jungler did come out. It was the first game port the company legally licensed, in reaction to Atari's unexpected copyright lawsuits.
  • Centipede has not been located yet by modern day collectors in any condition; infringing, legalized or otherwise. "Spiders" may or may not have been based on earlier code that was first written for Centipede?
  • 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.

It is also interesting to note that there were apparently plans later to follow up the Arcadia 2001 with an improved version; again, after about a year.

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Hidden message found inside an Arcadia 2001 game program

Console group: Arcadia 2001
Program name: Space Attack
Clone of arcade game: Galaxian (Namco, 1979)
ROM image: spaceatt.bin
Message seen at $0004 - $004b

"To my wife Daisy and my son Jonathan
From Choi Andrew Jul 1982 Galax.002"

Message is shown verbatim, including capitolization.

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"Pac-Man bites K.C. Munchkin"
"Electronic Games" magazine
"Electronic Games Hotline" section
July 1982, Page 9

"Atari's attempts to protect its license for the home version of the top-rated coin-op, Pac-Man, have brought the company into a protracted legal struggle with ace rival Noth American Phillips. The Sunnyvale, Ca., manufacturer claims that N.A.P.'s Odyssey division has produced a cartridge, K.C. Munchkin, which infringes on its own VCS Pac-Man.

The fireworks began last November. At that time, Atari sought to have Munchkin yanked from the stores in time for Christmas. Although the injunction wasn't granted at that time, the judge ultimately ruled that the graphic elements used in Munchkin did, indeed, infringe on the Pac-Man visuals.

Odyssey appealed this decision and won a temporary stay which allowed it to keep shipping its own popular gobble game.

As Electronic Games goes to press, there has been yet another important development. Atari has succeeded in getting a judge to vacate the stay, with the result that Munchkin is not being shipped to stores at the present time.

In a related case, On-Line Systems, maker of Jawbreaker for the Atari 400/800, has settled its litigation with Atari. The software publisher is believed to have negotiated a licensing agreement that will allow it to continue to market its much-praised maze chase".

News article reprinted in its entirety. Note that this legal battle had been going on for some time before this report and that Atari was taking legal action against more than one of its videogame market competitors.

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"Atari declares copyright war on Pac-Man rivals"
Popular Computing Weekly
"News Desk" section, Vol. 1 No. 19, page 4
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 machine code 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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"Pac-Man reigns supreme"
"Electronic Games" magazine
"Electronic Games Hotline" section
September 1982, Page 9

"The joy continues unrefined at the offices of the manufacturers of Pac-Man and its various incarnations. While the Namco / Midway coin-op -- which started it all, of course -- holds onto the top slot in the coin-op division of Electronic Games' monthly readership poll, Atari's cartridge for the VCS did the same in the programmable videogame cartridge category. (The Atari ROM cartridge for its 400/800 computer system was not available commercially before the deadline for this month's voting.)

Star Raiders, too, maintained its first-place ranking. There are signs of a coming shake-up there, however, Star Raiders, though significantly less magnificent than it was last fall when it began its dominance of the poll, must compete with literally hundreds of new computer programs. It's still number one, but it no longer enjoys a two- or three-to-one superiority over the rest of the games on the list.

The hottest new videogame cartridge appears to be Imagic's Demon Attack. This invasion-type game vaulted into the fourth spot in its very first month of eligibility. Doing nearly as well is Activision's Grand Prix. The steering game with gorgeous graphics popped into the fifth spot.

A couple of relatively new cartridges just missed making the videogame "top 10" this month. Mattel's Star Strike and Atari's Yars Revenge each lacked only a few vote-points of qualifying for the list.

Ms. Pac-Man scored the biggest gain on the coin-op list, leaping into the fourth position. Space Duel, a sort of sequel to Asteroids, looks like it may pick up where the older title left off."

News article reprinted in its entirety. Included here due to the comments regarding the popularity of Pac-Man at the time; it helps overall understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships between individual articles here. Note that this article and the only following it were both printed in a single monthly issue of the magazine.

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

Full article as originally written

Ward Shrake'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. The date quoted here is historically significant. Compare this new date to what Emerson had said publicly back in April... it quickly becomes apparent that somehow unexpectedly changed Emerson's earlier plans, causing months of delay.

What happened in between? Atari's copyright lawsuits. Ouch!

Atari's obviously unexpected legal actions had largely been directed at stopping unauthorized clones of various popular arcade games. Which unfortunately for Emerson and the other licensees of this globally-distributed group of consoles, was largely what the makers of this console group had based their marketing efforts on. Double-ouch!

Emerson's own stated plans originally involved them being well on their way towards $15,000,000 in gross sales starting at roughly the time this article would have been submitted. (I am assuming it was submitted in June for publication in September, given an industry-standard publishing delay of three months.) That tends to shed some light on why Emerson got out of the gaming market long before they had originally expected to... share-holders do not like finding out that $15 million in sales might actually end up being no sales at all? That would tend to ruin just about anyone's day! 

"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 a game player's perspective... and any good gaming magazine would never start a list of "why should you buy it" features with the weakest sales pitch? You would hope that Emerson could come up with  a better selling point than having a "power-on" light? Any good sales person starts with their strongest reason to buy.

Part of this sounds suspiciously like the magazine may have simply been repeating a glorified press release's specs instead of actually seeing this system in action? Signs of further problems brewing.

"Arcadia 2001 will get heavy software support from the company, promises Emerson's senior vice president of marketing Sonny Knazick. This is both arguably true and false depending on how literally you read it... "which company are we discussing?" comes to my mind.

At the risk of repeating myself, Emerson did not write the games for this system themselves... but we did not always know that. It turns out (after years of painstaking research) that Emerson and others simply licensed someone else's hardware and software. Think about it... to sell licensees on the idea of going into a partnership with them, these parties unknown had to have made promises of being able to make a good profit back on their original investment. And now that seemed very unlikely. "We will make it up to you, we promise" was probably what this company had to tell all of their now-angry licensees. And it looked like the Christmas sales season might come and go, with no profits? No doubt the licensees insisted that the company re-write and legalize all of the infringing games... at the maker's expense, and not out of the licensees' pockets?

I used to think this was an intentionally misleading statement made by an Emerson spokesman. I now believe it could have just as easily simply been Emerson repeating what they had been led to believe?

"There will be 30 cartridges for the system by the end of this year, with another 20 scheduled to appear in 1983. But again, not actually created by Emerson themselves... it was being written by a third party. To have made 30 games in six months or less, even if you already had some of them mostly finished and/or only in need of "legalization" efforts... that time period still seems very unlikely. But what choice did this company have, if they wanted happy licensees?
"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." This is extremely interesting to we researchers, to say the least! My mind boggles at the implications inherent in this seemingly simple statement. For one, it seems to imply that this console was thought by some folks close to the creation and marketing process, to be "dead already" and in need of a replacement... before the console had even been launched!?

No more information on this mysterious newer-than-new game system is known by us at this time. However, there is reason to believe that this could have been a statement made in good faith? The Interton-VC4000 had been the Arcadia 2001's immediate ancestor; that much is true. There was seemingly about a one year interval between these systems according to dates found hidden in game ROMs for both systems. So the company that had made them both, could have planned on repeating the process?

Whatever their initial plans were -- where have we heard this before? -- we have not found any evidence that this actually took place. What did take place in 1983 was that "UA Limited" ported three or more of their later, legally licensed arcade games titles to the Atari 2600 machine... in what we can only surmise was in their minds an open admission of defeat?

Article reprinted verbatim in its entirety. Three screenshots accompanied the short article. They were labeled as being "Football", "Soccer" and "Cat Trax". Close visual inspection of these screenshots shows they are not the real thing; they were artist's early impressions of the games. (Colors are not correct on Football and the game that was released had more visual variation than seen in this nearly-monochromatic screenshot. Soccer is a bit closer to the game that was actually released but at least one player is missing from the field in the screenshot. These two were close enough to have me believe the games may have been mostly finished at press time. But "Cat Trax" is not even close. That alleged screenshot of the finished game appears to be a photo-negative of the "Crazy Gobbler" maze... with the name "Gobbler" erased from the top of the screen. To me this seems to support the idea that although some sports games were actually close to being release-able at press time for this article (mid-1982), that the obviously infringing ones they had originally wagered heavily on, were nowhere near being ready for release. And all of this makes me think that things within both the actual company that had originally designed and created this hardware / software combo, and the licensees, were getting desperate.

To make even these existing matters worse, right below the article above was a brief news report 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 even the console's name was under dispute!

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"Crazy Climber" ROMs mass-produced during week 41 of 1982 (October 1982)
"General Instruments" mass-produced a batch of masked ROM chips which contained the "Crazy Climber" program, during the 41st week (October) of 1982. We currently have no idea how many ROM chips were manufactured at that time? Nor do we have any way to know if this was the program's first batch ever made. We have no way of knowing if GI was simply being paid to manufacture these ROMs, by parties unknown, or if this was some sort of an in-house project, with sales intended to happen later, to parties making Arcadia hardware?

It is important to note they manufactured them AFTER the many lawsuits Atari had begun to file. We have no clear idea why this took place. More details, such as exactly WHEN Atari first licensed the arcade original would help us to figure out if they were taking a big chance, legally speaking, or if they felt the overall risk was low?

See the "ROM date code" list (started in April 2002 by Arcadia researchers) for other manufacturing dates.

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"Emerson Arcadia 2001 - A Gamer's Evaluation"
by Henry Cohen
"Electronic Games" magazine
November 1982, page 100

Article as originally written Ward Shrake'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, Two months before this actual review article was published, a short preview had been published in the same magazine. Comparing the two articles give us the opportunity to see how much real progress the various companies had been able to accomplish in the intervening months. It is likely Emerson took whatever they actually had ready in about August, to the magaine, in the now-desperate hopes of getting a positive review of the console seen by U.S.-based videogamers before the Christmas shopping began. (Assuming a standard three-month publishing delay.)

As for this actual quote... is it just me or did the reviewer just insult the machine twice in a row? The "wise man" reference may mean that the buyer should beware? The rest sounds vagely like a warning, too... at least to me? If that is what was intended, it probably took place because the magazine was highly suspicious of the things they were being told, and had serious doubts of their own that what they were being told was accurate?

but the phrase sure fits, anyway. Added against the reviewer's wishes, for balance?
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 for Christmas based on these sales points? And note also the reference to Intellivision.
Nonetheless, the console packs the power of a senior programmable video game machine. Again, I have to wonder if this was intended to be a hidden insult? By "senior" does he mean to imply that the system is to be thought of as both very old and outdated? Maybe. 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! Take their idea, add an Arcadia 2001 multi-cart to it and you're all set for gaming on the go! Just a mild suggestion, mind you, from the guy that makes them!
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. There is that infamous power light, and a second reference to Intellivision-idea cloning. Maybe it was felt to be safer to copy them than Atari, given how many lawsuits Atari had filed?
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 two-wire paddle controllers -- such as Pong.) Since Pong was long dead by this time, I can only assume this was a left-over Interton-VC4000 feature?
The big news about the system, however, is its extremely high memory capacity. The unit contains 28K of RAM, This is actually a huge lie, and the single largest reason for historians and researchers to be VERY cautious about taking any sales-related statements at face value.

This console group actually had NOTHING like 28k of RAM ... it had one kilobyte, not 28 kilobytes. This means they multiplied their system specs by 2800 per cent; it was an astoundingly dishonest and amazingly desperate thing to do... you are bound to get caught if your lies do not even sound remotely plausible? I am aware that other people repeated this, in good faith, later on... non-technical people that did not know any better. This is not a conjecture; this is cold hard fact, based upon an examination of actual RAM memory chips on real circuit boards from real consoles.

To any sort of a technical 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, buddy!"

which makes it the second (Colecovision has 48K) smartest videogame system around. This reviewer may have known he was being lied to, which in turn would have caused a non-positive review of the system at launch, just before Christmas began. Why else would he imply that you should compare this new system's games to the ColecoVision system... the most recent and most powerful of all the competitors?
All this power is great if it is used properly, Implying 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 Yes, that does seem to indicate there were still serious delays in getting ready for Christmas season. Emerson as a licensee had been promised 30 games at launch... but got only twenty per cent of that amount. This has the effect of making the console's actual creators look like 80% of what they had promised was not credible.

However, note that only two months had passed... if none of them were ready then and six were ready now, that's not really all that bad? The coding rush was on. At that pace, with four actual months till the actual day of Christmas, there was still some hope remaining? It still looks like they won't be able to make it in time -- not fully -- but they might minimize the past damage?

used more than 8K of memory. Going back to the "28k lie"... how could this reviewer know exactly how much ROM memory was in each cart if he had no clue how much RAM memory was really in the console? I suspect he did know in both cases but politics forced him 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. There was no huge consistency there.
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. Again, here is important proof that the reviewer did indeed have a technical background.

While the sysem itself lacked this feature, 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 videogame market.

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. Indicating or implying that they did indeed put pressure on Emerson to "come clean" with some of their more hard-to-believe statements of a technical nature.

Perhaps more important is the implied half-admission, obtained under apparent pressure, that Emerson was not actually in charge of making the design decisions involved. To whom within Emerson's own company would this Emerson own spokesperson  have to go to, to in their own words "...look into the situation..."? If Emerson was in charge, they'd just get on the phone and talk to someone. The only way to take this as an honest statement is to remind yourself that Emerson was only a licensee, and that any real or imagined faults of the console really fell under the licensor's jurisdiction and control. Emerson was "out of the loop" and this statement nearly admits that openly.

Emerson may be right, but the company is going to have a hard time convincing potential buyers of this. In plainer words... "Emerson, we think you are trying to lie to us and we are not going to allow you to. We have a job to do, and we intend to do it well whether you want us to or not. We won't lie to our customers for you. We'll even drop hints that we do not trust you."
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. 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 obviously been much more attractive to the public. Oh well!

This legalized clone obviously had a high priority with the console's makers, given that it was one of only six games "ready to go" four months before Christmas.

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. This was their first fully-licensed arcade game clone.
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. Which sounds a lot like "don't buy this system"... if only in terms of a hidden message, or perhaps a Fruedian slip on the reviewer's part? This is NOT the kind of statement that writers use to indicate consoles or games they think you should run out and buy. Even if they did, would the magazine's editors "miss it"? Not likely. There are far too many subtle "don't buy" hints for me as a thinking person to think they are mistakes?
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. What were the odds of this being a reader's favorite coin-operated arcade game, with the entire country then suffering from "Pac-Man Fever"? More likely this is yet another half-hidden "go buy any other system than this one" hint... this time combined with the non-subtle reminder that the Atari VCS 2600 was just about the only place you can play an authorized Pac-Man game on a home console at that point.
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, giving a date of July, so it was being reviewed perhaps a month after it was re-written. Still warm from the oven!
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. Notice the word "story" and the reference to a child's tale... both out of place for an article talking about a game console's rushed pre-Christmas launch efforts.

Remember the openly negative comment above, where he said "...the company is going to have a hard time convincing potential buyers of this"? The reviewer had said that at the end of his hardware review section. He made this additional negative comment at the end of his software review. Sounds to me a lot like "don't believe a word of it, folks, 'cause we certainly don't!"

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." Which sounds to me a lot like "don't be foolish enough to pay full price for it 'cause it won't last long. Wait till after Christmas when it will be on close-out for sure".

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"Arcadia to change name"
"Electronic Games" magazine
"Electronic Games Hotline" section
March 1983, page 10

"The Supercharger, the RAM cart that increases the graphic resolution capabilities of the Atari VCS, is manufactured by a company called Arcadia. At the same time, Emerson has released a new videogame system called the Arcadia 2001. Sounds confusing, you say? Well, Emerson agreed, and so Arcadia is now being called 'Starpath'. (Since the Emerson Arcadia 2001 made its way onto retail shelves before the Supercharger, the Emerson team has squatter's rights to the much sought after name.) Starpath, by the way, is releasing a slew of new titles including a D&D-style special, Dragonstomper."

News article reprinted in its entirety. This trademark dispute implies Emerson was still interested in staying in the gaming market as late as January 1983, which would have likely been the printing deadline for this issue, given a 3-month lead time. But note that under U.S. law if you do not protect a trademark you risk losing it, so the fact that Emerson's lawyers took action in this matter could be considered as just 'Big Company' routine.

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"Atari attacks Demon Attack"
"Electronic Games" magazine
"Electronic Games Hotline" section
April 1983, page 10

"Atari has gone to court, filing a lawsuit against Imagic, claiming the Intellivision version of Imagic's Arkie-Award winning hit, Demon Attack infringes a copyright. The folks in Sunnydale aren't too happy, to say the least, because Atari holds the rights to Phoenix (Centuri), and says that Demon Attack is plagiarism of that game. The VCS-compatible version of Demon Attack is not believed to be at issue. A spokesman for Imagic expressed confidence that Atari's case won't stand up and denies the charges as being 'completely without merit'."

Press release reprinted verbatim in its entirety. See also this other report from just seven months earlier which stated just how happy Atari was at their financial fate, etc., etc. Given a normal lead-time of three months, this report would have submitted for publication on or around February 1983; right after the Christmas had ended, with some of Atari's competitors reeling from an unexpectedly bad year's profits. Not being overly sympathetic towards their competitors, Atari apparently figured this was a good time to finish off any that were wounded enough and weak enough not to be able to survive much more of this cutthroat competition? It is not known for certain when Emerson decided to abandon the videogaming market but it was definitely sometime during this year. That leads Ward to believe that this latest wholly-unexpected fiasco didn't make Emerson want to stay around much longer? Other licensees continued longer but close-out sales soon became Emerson's game fate.

Which leads us back to the details of this court case against Imagic, because it apparently affected anyone that had a Phoenix-like game on the market that appeared to have the "boss" stage of the original arcade game. That would have included Emerson and the other licensees, since "Space Vultures" apparently fell into this category at one time... box and label art implies that stage is in the game, but only a legalized version without that important part of the game has been found to date. Ward expects the original version will be found at some point, most likely with that stage intact, just as has been the pattern with the other formerly-infringing games.

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"Coleco, Atari cross swords"
"Electronic Games" magazine
"Electronic Games Hotline" section
April 1983, page 10

"Atari has entered suit against Coleco Industries for what it terms patent infringement and unfair competition. Atari seeks and injunction to halt the sale of Coleco's Expansion Module #1, which allows VCS-compatible cartridges to be played on the Coleco game unit. Atari is seeking damages from Coleco in the amount of $350 million. Coleco has responded by filing a countersuit for $500 million, alleging violations of the Federal Antitrust statutes. Arnold Greenberg, president of Coleco, states, 'Patent attorneys for Coleco have carefully examined all relevant Atari patents and are convinced that Coleco does not infringe any valid patent.' Greenberg went on to say that Coleco wasn't surprised by Atari's suit. 'It's another example of Atari's effort to monopolize trade and commerce in the home video competition, and thus deprives retailers and consumers of the benefits of a fair and open competitive marketplace.'"

News article reprinted verbatim in its entirety. Notice that some competitors were now going after Atari, challenging their right to continue to -- in their opinion's -- bully anyone and everyone into complying with their wishes or being forced out of the market completely. At some point, efforts like this paid off -- judges began to simply not accept any more lawsuit filings from Atari, apparently claiming Atari was clogging the court system with frivilous lawsuits. That aside, it did not do Emerson any good... by then, they were most likely completely out of the game market. Upon seeing this, the remaining overseas licensees probably became a bit more bold in their personal attempts to compete... if so, this would help to explain why games like Crazy Climber came out in its obviously infringing form, with no apparent effort then being made to disguise or "legalize" the game?

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Usenet posting regarding 2600 ports by UA
"Author: Bill Esquivel
Date: 1998/05/17

well, I was in the area of a fleamarket today and a made a pretty
good find. 3 2600 carts that were not  on DP's list. they are:

UA 1983 pleiades (I guess its like the arcade game)
ua 1983 cat trax (a pacman type game)
funky fish (weird fish game)

funky fish has a title screen that says

funky fish
round 1
lic tehkan
corp 1983
ua ltd.

I opened pleiades and it looks like a handmade proto. JUst thought
I would let people know. I will try to take them to the next BAVE
meeting.. Larry you awake??? Later, Bill"

End of document.
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