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RCA Studio II GOLD MINE! An interview with the Studio 2 Production Manager!


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It's been a minute, but I finally had the opportunity to speak with Gooitzen van der Wal about his time working for RCA on the COSMAC VIP! 

 

A quick rundown of the highlights that may be of interest here: Gooitzen was a seasonal summer hire in 1978 and again 1979, coming from his university studies in the Netherlands to work specifically on the VIP in Phil Baltzer's group. He wrote a few games for the VIP hardware, several of which found their way into the VIP Game Manual; one that didn't show up there that he told me about was a Battleship clone that could actually be played against someone else using a parallel port cable connecting two VIPs together; each player would only be able to see their own screen. He was also very interested in the VIP's musical capabilities, and even performed some Bach using the VIP and a flute during the first Philadelphia Computer Music Expo. At the conclusion of his 1979 tenure, he inquired about coming to RCA permanently, and got a job in an unrelated part of the company (and he's still with the Sarnoff Labs' successor, SRI International, today!)

 

Gooitzen did not do any direct work on the Studio line, which is unsurprising if he only came on board in 1978. As such it is unlikely that he is the actual author of Biorhythm for the Studio II, and while he does remember writing Star Wars (and vaguely remembered Concentration Match), he didn't do those for the Studio III - more likely, he suggested, someone else took his games and converted them to that hardware.

 

He does still own a VIP, though he hasn't gotten it out in years! Didn't mention having anything else related to his time working on those machines, but he had a lot of very fond memories of Andy Modla, Phil Baltzer, BJ Call (who he spoke extremely highly of and thought was very funny), and Joe Weisbecker.

 

I've been going through my transcripts from the oral history project for Hagley and have a bunch of names I'd like to reach out to if I can find them, see if we can close some more knowledge gaps.

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As a follow up to this, I think van der Wal's dates were misaligned - I looked back through the photos of memos i took from Hagley and his name is on a number of them for the summers of 1977 and 78 - so it's possible that he did do Biorhythm and such for the VIP and they got converted to the Studio III. Still no idea who actually did the conversions of them, though! I've sent out a couple more letters over the weekend, so fingers crossed for some new information from some of the old developers out there.

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  • 2 months later...

Not been here in a long time.  Just wondering if there's any "news" on the missing Toshiba Visicom title? 霊感 (Inspiration)/(CAS-190)

It's the only missing title from the "Studio II family" to be dumped. 

Kind of funny really. That the diagnostics/bingo/demo got dumped before this one.

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29 minutes ago, TLD1985 said:

Not been here in a long time.  Just wondering if there's any "news" on the missing Toshiba Visicom title? 霊感 (Inspiration)/(CAS-190)

It's the only missing title from the "Studio II family" to be dumped. 

Kind of funny really. That the diagnostics/bingo/demo got dumped before this one.

Not as far as I know. It hasn't shown up in any auction that I've seen (as opposed to the five other carts).

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On 2/13/2024 at 2:45 PM, TLD1985 said:

Not been here in a long time.  Just wondering if there's any "news" on the missing Toshiba Visicom title? 霊感 (Inspiration)/(CAS-190)

It's the only missing title from the "Studio II family" to be dumped. 

Kind of funny really. That the diagnostics/bingo/demo got dumped before this one.

Welcome back:)

 

I've been keeping an eye on the usual sites and while I'd like to think I haven't missed any copies I don't doubt the possibility of one or two that might have slipped under the radar. It will eventually get preserved. It's just a matter of time.

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  • 2 months later...
3 hours ago, RayXambeR said:

I only have preserved a photo from an auction for the CAS-190 cartridge. Complete so great to see. Here it is:

 

n1085728109.5.jpg

That's definitely the best picture I have seen of it.

I take it the auction is over?

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I still have the visicom dumper if we can ever find a 190. I have been looking too. I very much would like 1.

The rest of the set I had on display in my early Japanese display at mgc this month. :)

20240405_235957.thumb.jpg.66dbc783de99de150f2a8a67d79e5342.jpg

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Yes, the auction is over since some months, sorry.

You have a Visicom dumper? Is it a system from the 80ies or a recent system made by you? Interesting to know! If by miracle I can find the CAS-190 cartridge, be sure I will send it to you to dump it! ;)

 

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I made the Visicom dumper a few years ago when we realized only two of the six carts had been dumped. I sent it to @stupus who dumped CAS-130, 141 and 160, and hoping he would come across CAS-190 sooner than I would.

It's a simple Arduino-based (so modern) system that writes the ROM contents to an SD cart. I know Ed Keefe made a similar system for the RCA carts, though his was a bit more polished than my kludge version

 

FliP

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok, after reading through these 69 pages of posts (whew), it sounds like 4 verified copies of Bingo have been found to this point.   I can make that 5 now. Found on eBay, listed with Intellivision and RCA stuff, I stumbled over it with a BIN. Not in great shape, but has all the cards, manual, and cart.  Missing quite a few markers though.  For everyone’s info that has followed this thread, this purchase came out of Glassboro, NJ which fits the other NJ finds for this title.  

IMG_2324.thumb.jpeg.33abf00f70c1edeb8efc39973f56901e.jpeg

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On 5/20/2024 at 3:02 PM, Atari_Bill said:

Ok, after reading through these 69 pages of posts (whew), it sounds like 4 verified copies of Bingo have been found to this point.   I can make that 5 now. Found on eBay, listed with Intellivision and RCA stuff, I stumbled over it with a BIN. Not in great shape, but has all the cards, manual, and cart.  Missing quite a few markers though.  For everyone’s info that has followed this thread, this purchase came out of Glassboro, NJ which fits the other NJ finds for this title.  

IMG_2324.thumb.jpeg.33abf00f70c1edeb8efc39973f56901e.jpeg

PM sent:)

 

Just kidding, I'm lucky enough to be one of the few. Your count is correct, and this looks to be the fifth verified copy. 

 

Other ones are:

 

Known copies exist:

1) PC2K1/Philly Classic/Dan McIntyre copy: discovered by an owner of the Studio 2 Demonstration Cartridge at the Circle 40 flea-market on the way back home from the previous Philly Classic. This was the infamous copy exhibited at PC2K1 that everyone got excited about and which became a minor videogame urban legend. It re-surfaced in 2018 and I now own it. Does not have a manual but does have two very old photocopied manuals from RCA, and a red inner tray instead of a blue one. The original owner is unknown.

2) the 2016 Joseph Santone copy: Joseph Santone worked in Finance for RCA and this copy was discovered by NJ house cleanout company A W Cleanout and put up on eBay, initially in a lot. Multiple collectors flooded the seller with offers and it was relisted separately and eventually sold to a very established and reputable collector who still has it. This was the copy from which the ROM dump was made by Ed Keefe. This copy is complete.

3) The Harry Callahan copy: recently listed complete copy on eBay and is apparently from the estate of the late RCA employee Harry Callahan. Still available and has been relisted multiple times: 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/294976981033?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=RzdQMI4wT8W&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=cssq4zlBQMK&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

4) the videogamesage/VGCollectaholic copy:

https://www.videogamesage.com/forums/topic/2688-post-your-holy-grail-item/?do=findComment&comment=265374

...not only complete but with extra sets of cards and an extra manual! 

Bingo technically does count as a retail release as at least one former RCA employee familiar with the title mentioned it being sold at the Deptford store, that is, that location of the RCA Family Stores. More than 50 copies were made, probably around a hundred. At least a few hundred, and probably a few thousand, copies were made of the various overseas releases of Bingo on all the "clone" systems. The ROM itself is identical.

Your extra manual and card sets suggest that at least a few other copies existed. It wouldn't be a huge surprise if some older collectors from back in the day have copies. I remember exchanging messages with A W Cleanout back in 2016 when the Santone copy came up. Everyone went gaga over it as the Philly Classic copy had vanished and wouldn't re-emerge for another two years. It was a really exciting time! 

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