My quest to collect a complete in box set of RCA Studio II games required a little bit of research to figure out exactly what I was collecting. As I mentioned in my last post, there isn’t a whole lot of dedication to preserving the history of this console available online. I already knew that the Studio II had five games built into the system; “Addition”, “Bowling”, “Doodle”, “Freeway”, and “Patterns” but built in games rarely count towards completing a console’s game collection since you inherently “own” those games simply by owning a working console. None of those games were ever sold separately either. Beyond those built in titles, I needed to do a bit more digging.
What that leaves for me to collect are the games that were sold separately, 11 of them total. Studio II games were sold in little rectangle boxes color coded by series (the first console to do this). Orange colored boxes represented games from the TV Arcade Series, blue colored boxes represented TV Casino Series, red colored boxes represented the TV School House series and light blue represented the TV Mystic Series. The boxes included simple drawings that represented the style of gameplay found on the cartridge and typically included a stock drawing of a man and woman sitting on the floor next to the Studio II console which was positioned on a small table in front of a television. They are both staring at the TV, neither of them actually touching the console, which would be required to play and both have blank looks on their faces. The interesting aspect of this drawing is that the TV changes with each title, as the gameplay shown is meant to somewhat represent the game inside the box. For example, the drawing on the TV screen shows what appears to be numbers for a game titled “Fun With Numbers”. For a game called “Tennis/Squash”, a Pong-like screen is shown on the TV, giving potential consumers a hint that this game was a Pong-clone. Because what self respecting 70s console would be without a Pong-clone? Not the RCA Studio II, that’s for sure.
Of the 11 games available for the Studio II, I am in possession of 5, with 1 more “in the mail” so to speak. The 6 games I own are:
- Fun With Numbers
- Gunfighter/Moonship Battle
- Math Fun
- Baseball (the game that’s “in the mail”)
The two remaining games that I’m missing from the TV Arcade Series is “Space War” and “Speedway/Tag”. There were only two games from the TV School House series and I’m only missing the one that is nameless, simply titled, “TV School House Series I”. The only game from the TV Mystic Series is titled “Biorhythm”, which I still need as well. That leaves the TV Casino Series, which had two games. Those games were “Blackjack”, which I own, and the elusive “TV Bingo”. According to Wikipedia, there are only two “TV Bingo” titles known to exist, as it was apparently a very (very) limited release.
As soon as I read that only two “TV Bingo” games were known to exist, my heart sunk a little bit as I realized that owning a complete set of RCA Studio II games was going to be nearly impossible. Some of these games have been easy to procure as they must have been some of the better sellers for the system. Others, such as “Biorhythm” & “Speedway/Tag” are less commonly found or when they do show up on online auction sites, sellers often want more money for them than I’m willing to spend. However, I do think that getting 4 of the last 5 games I need to complete my Studio II set is achievable. Then I can rest knowing that at least one more obscure console and its library of games will be preserved in my collection.