Older news about the Arcadia 2001 and this
Covering the time period between 1998 and 2002
Written by Ward Shrake, site copyright owner
As of 2003 this web site has become a
"no-longer-updated static display" site.
Over the last 18 months, Ward slowly-but-surely
lost more and more interest in reading about, writing about,
researching, or otherwise thinking about any old or new game machines
and or their software libraries. From now on, games are simply
things to play with once in awhile, and that's it.
However, Ward can not see any point in simply discarding all the
work he spent a combined eight years of his life
on, hence this static display site (and two others). Ward
is now happily spending his free time on other hobbies
and interests which do not involve computers, gaming or the Internet.
Click here for recent news: 2003 onwards
Some of the web links found below may no longer be working. Sorry!
|Dec 2, 2002
Things are starting to pick up a bit, on the Yahoo! Groups message board,
after a long time off, for all of us to recuperate from all the work
we did on the guide.
I got in both the exclusive Japanese carts, on an archiving loan. (Though
from the originally-planned loan-er, not the second person, after all.) They
are both archived now. "Doraemon" in particular is a nice, cute game,
in my opinion. It is obvious that Bandai really put some time and effort
into both of these games. I can't wait to see the two other Bandai exclusives...
which no one admits having.
I would like to upload some stuff to the Digital Press web servers,
but I have no access to their FTP site at present. They recently switched
servers or something, -- trying to gain more reliability, maybe? --
and therefore my old passwords and FTP addresses are now invalid. So,
I can't put new content on the web, at all.
|Oct 10, 2002
(My situation changed, and I have semi-regular web access again,
so I can do occasional updates again. However, when I uploaded this news
update, DP's auto-syncing web server software wiped it back out, not
A few interesting things have been happening, over on the message boards.
One of our die-hards over there has aquired "Dr. Slump" and "Doreamon"
for his own personal collection, and plans to get them dumped, as the situation
allows. (I may not be able to do any more archiving for the forseeable, so
others may have to dump these carts now, or we'll just wait awhile. Nice
to see them in someone's hands, at least, given their global rarity!) We
are sort of debating the existence of an Ormatu cart called "Super
Bug" and trying to dig up tangible proof that it both exists, and is what
we hope it is; screen shots make it seem like a original game.
|Aug 18, 2002
Re-loading this site to the Digital Press web site... their servers had problems
for awhile, so they were off-line for a few days. Guess they're working that
The site is going to be mostly "static" for the forseeable future. This is
because Ward, the site's creator / owner, won't have any steady internet
connection, after this week. This may last months, folks; I have no
way of knowing, in advance.
There is a lot of info here, that is YEARS ahead of anything else on the
net, about this particular subject matter. Take the time to explore
what is here. And don't forget to pick up a copy of the printed book
"Digital Press Collectors
Guide, version seven" to learn even more. Ward wrote the Arcadia 2001
section in that book. The section discusses the cartridge library in detail,
and goes into what we have learned of the console's all-but-forgotten,
As far as archiving goes, Peter Trauner is handling that for the time
being. See the links section, for the Arcadia 2001 message boards, for that
sort of thing.
|Aug 10-11, 2002
I was at the CGE 2002 show in Las Vegas,
as a guest of Chris Neiman -- a big thanks to Chris, for taking me along
to my first-ever CGE show! It was cool. I especially liked the keynotes,
given by the people that helped found the industry.
|July 4, 2002
The planned day for the site to appear on the main Digital Press web site.
Yay! I for one am stoked to see it here. The emulator section was hooked
up, first, and there is still some talk going on in the message boards, from
the pre-announcement notice Joe left a couple of days ago. The rest of the
site went live not long after.
|July 3, 2002
DP and I are working through some technical growing pains, before the site
goes live. ("Murphy's Law" ... nothing lets you escape those realities for
|July 2, 2002
The work continues, to adapt the way the site looks so that it will
match the "decor" or feel of the rest of the Digital Press web site.
Some minor site changes were made, as well, just to update the site or organize
it better. It looks like the site will be ready for visitors, within
a few days.
Joe made a "coming soon" announcement on the DP message boards.
|July 1, 2002
I began talks with Joe Santulli of "Digital Press" about possibly hosting
my sites over on his organization's servers. Before the day was over, I had
access to the DP servers, a folder area to myself, and was starting to transfer
things over. Joe and I are both pretty stoked on the idea of my web sites
being hosted over on the DP main site. (For those of you that did not know,
I am already one of the section authors for the "Digital Press Collectors
Guide," versions 6 and 7.)
|June 30, 2002
After much thought, over almost a year, I decided that I would be happier
if I had my gaming web sites hosted by someone other than "ClassicGaming.com".
It was fun while it lasted, but it was simply time to move on to other
pastures. I wasn't sure if I'd have a place to put my Arcadia 2001 and
VIC-20 web sites, besides my own private ISP's servers, but under the
circumstances I wanted to make the move anyway. I wished CG well in their
future endeavors, and "moved on".
|June 18, 2002
I posted something
humorous that you may want to check out... just be warned that it
might be considered sacrilege by some fans of classic gaming!
|June 4, 2002
The last of the cart archiving loans are apparently "on hold" for
the time being. I'm not considering it "cancelled" but it makes no sense
to consider them a "current events" type of thing, either. They'll still
happen later, at some unknown time. I will make a fresh announcement, when
they are actually in the mails, coming my way.
Michael "Pinwhiz" Davidson has been interviewing parties involved with the
game scene in New Zealand, and has some interesting snippets of news
to report, up on the
message boards. His efforts may have made some sense of at least one
thing that was bothering me/us, regarding who made these consoles and
how they went about it. It appears that import restrictions may have
forced some licensees to at least do final assembly on their
consoles, even if the work could have been done where the product actually
originated. This tends to explain why different manufacturers had different
plastic moldings on their carts and their system housings; because
the import laws said they had to do at least that much in the country they
were selling the product in. That explains quite a lot, actually.
|June 3, 2002
The guys on the message board are beginning to work hard on getting game
manuals typed in, so that we can have an archive of downloadable game cartridge
instruction manuals, in the standard "plain jane" ASCII text format. Five
or so are now up, in a finished form on
boards, with more to come in the future. (When we get a bunch of them
together, I'll start posting them here, too.)
I'm going to check on the status of some cart loans... there is one person
left, who said he would loan me some stuff for archiving, but hasn't
gotten to it yet. I know how busy people (including myself) get, so it will
happen, I'm just not sure when.
|May 24, 2002
The folks that host this web site have decided to add more ads to all of
their hosted web sites, throughout their network. They say it won't
be all that intrusive. This is their decision, not mine. Just be aware that
I have no control over it.
The site is up over 10,000 views or hits now. Not bad for an obscure subject.
|May 10, 2002
Finally! My guide section is completed and has been sent off. I'm "on strike"
now for the forseeable! I have six weeks of "real life" to start catching
|May 8, 2002
Geez, this is like real work or something! I've been chained to my computer
for so many weeks now, that I feel like my typing fingers are surgically
attached to my keyboard. Sigh. Oh well. My
Digital Press Collectors Guide entry
is 98% ready to go to print now. The Arcadia section came out to
16 pages this time, with a 3 page preface. I'm going to go over it one
more time tomorrow, then send it in to the editors. (Then I'm taking a long
and well-deserved break from all this junk!)
|April 27, 2002
I just now finished up my 16-page Commodore VIC-20 section
of the Digital Press Collectors Guide,
this morning. I have e-mailed it to the guide's editor. Now I can put
more of my free time into the Arcadia 2001 section, to finish it up. And
after that I am taking a long overdue break, away from any game
I'm not playing!
|April 25, 2002
A few days ago, one of the
members wrote a "hello world" program for the Arcadia 2001 console. I'm putting
technical info into my DPCG write-up, about which PC boards inside Emerson
family carts work best for making homebrew games. The "Crazy Gobbler" ROM
image was dissassembled and then re-assembled, showing that it is possible
to write and reverse engineer these games. We have located and talked to
at least one original programmer, now; Chris Capener, who wrote "Funky
Fish" as a contractor for UA Limited. And all for a message board that
is only three weeks old now? Not bad at all!
|April 20, 2002
If any of you have corrections or additions to the
cartridge lists, this is the time... in another week or so, the
final press deadline for the
"Digital Press Collectors
Guide" comes up. After that, we will have to live with our mistakes
board group over on Yahoo! is going totally gonzo, lately. Guys
are actually doing things like disassembling game ROM images, trying
to figure out how to program the Arcadia 2001 console. The two emulator
authors were kind enough to supply us with the technical notes they had,
on that subject. The boards are up to over 320 message postings now... and
the board is only 16 days old!
|April 17, 2002
Lots going on behind the scenes, as I work hard to finish my DPCG section.
|April 12, 2002
|April 11, 2002
Bill LaGrue's new web site
is worth a look. For the first time ever, someone has posted screenshots
from Arcadia 2001 (ROM-compatible) games that are NOT taken from an emulator.
These screenshots have an accuracy never seen before for this console group.
(Told you that I / we were gonna make that happen!)
board is one week old today. It now has 14 members and over 200 messages
on it. The new knowledge we have is literally growing daily and hourly.
|April 10, 2002
The FAQ's lists of clone consoles was
There are new cart and console lists up on the TEXT
|April 9, 2002
The new message
boards now have over 125 postings ... most of them full of ultra-nerdy,
hardcore research info. (Awesome, for under one week's time!)
Over 9,650 total visits to this web site, too. Coolness!
|April 5, 2002
I am proud and happy to say that some of the "biggest names" in Arcadia
2001 and/or Interton VC-4000 research circles are now members of the new
message board group I created yesterday.
Come and join
in on the (nerdy) fun, folks!
|April 4, 2002
I just started up a message group about the "Arcadia 2001 console group"
over on "Yahoo! Groups". You have to be a member to use it, but it is
free to join.
I'm taking a bit of time off from game research, to avoid total
burn-out. I've been working on this stuff, morning-till-night, for over
a week. Time for some movies! I want to finish up my VIC-20 stuff when
I return, and then my Arcadia section. (I will be posting some stuff that
others sent me, to the message group, soonish.)
|April 3, 2002
I am starting to get a bit frustrated with the I'net's total lack
of real screenshots of Arcadia 2001 games. Every one I have seen -- and there
are only a few -- is NOT accurate. Most are based on the older, stand-alone
software emulator and not the "real thing" at all. I am going to work on
fixing this, as time allows. (I do have a Snappy device, and the full set
of games on my homebrew multi-cart. My modern PC has Windoze-related problems,
so I'll have to work around that.)
|April 2, 2002
Even MORE revisions to the FAQ are going
on, right now. AAARGH! This is much too much like actual work!
Over the last few days, every time I get caught up, you guys decide
to fill up my e-mail box with stuff nobody has ever heard of.
Man, oh man... when this FAQ is fully done, it won't be recognizable at all!
At the end of today, large sections of the FAQ were apparently deleted...
this is just a consolidation and a rewrite, not a permanent thing.
Basically, any speculative or technical observations about carts or
cart families falls into this category for now. I want to get that all figured
out, make it nice and neat, then put it all into one place.
The FAQ's "International list of Arcadia
2001 consoles" (clone section) had what I can only call a massive
update. Thanks to Dieter Koenig and Michael "Pinwhiz" Davidson for help with
figuring out what is an Arcadia and
what is an Interton. (See the links section
for their personal web sites, both of which are very cool.)
|April 1, 2002
Did you hear? The Arcadia 2001 has just been pronounced the console
with the best group of games known to mankind! Ever! Playing these games
is guaranteed to cure all major diseases, end world hunger, and
bring about world peace... err, maybe not. Maybe I'm just being sillier than
normal, since it is "April Fool's Day".
I did some more FAQ updates. I now have 90% of all the backlog of stuff
that people have sent me incorporated into
the FAQ. And what a lot of work it
The links section got an update... be sure to check
|March 31, 2002
Ugh! All of this writing and re-writing is is actual WORK! I'll be glad when
I have turned in my finished sections of the Digital Press Collectors
Guide, so I can go back to my "regular life"... whatever that means for a
guy like me. Anyway, the FAQ has been through
many more HOURS of updates. The whole is largely almost non-recognizable,
compared to what it was just a week or so ago. But it is good stuff,
and writing it helped me to clarify my own thinking processes on the possible
relationship between various players in the gaming market in 1982-3,
which is what I need to be able to write a kick-butt Arcadia section for
|March 30, 2002
The Arcadia 2001 FAQ just went through
hours of revisions. Most of the new info I've discovered over
the past week has been integrated into it. Not every single thing, but enough
to radically change the shape of what we thought we knew about this
system... err, "console group". I'm still adapting to all of the new terminology
that is becoming increasingly necessary to talk about this subject!
I found more published news reports to add into the FAQ, but that will
have to wait. I plan to delete the existing, out-dated "Timeline Text" entirely,
instead relying on a sequence of news reports in the FAQ in chronological
order. The gaps in our knowledge are getting smaller, making this change
For two reasons, I decided to give the site's front
page main graphic a "face-lift". I wanted a change, and to improve
the look of things, for one. I also wanted to remove the name "Emerson" and
to start using "Arcadia 2001" instead, since it is fast becoming all
too apparent to me just how little Emerson had to do with
the console, historically speaking. I edited out a
distracting telephone pole that was formerly visible behind the
store. (The store really does exist, out in a So. Cal. town called
Pomona if I recall correctly. It is really just a clothing store,
but the potential in-joke here was too much for me to resist not snapping
a few pictures.) I also added "Emerson-ized" color stripes to the site's
title text. Looks like their cart titles now; kinda cool. I'll save
any other random silliness for later.
|March 29, 2002
I just heard an update on the MPT-03 cart loans from Australia; the
carts have not been mailed out yet but the person who is going to loan
them to me said they should go out next week. The Bandai carts from a second
source are likewise still with their owner; he just got them himself
and wants time to play with them before shipping them. I am just glad they
are both still willing to loan them to me. I see no reason to push either
party... whenever they are ready to send them out will be fine with me. However,
due to a looming deadline there is virtually no way that either group of
carts will arrive in time to be reported on in the next DP guide.
I'm doing a lot of organizing on my personal hard drive. This will result
in a better FAQ along with a better
Digital Press Collectors Guide entry
for the Arcadia. It may be weeks before these two things are done, but
this is a step towards that. I have already figured out a better way to
accomplish what the Timeline Text was always supposed to do, and to get
double-use out of it, within the FAQ. On a personal note, I'm also just
glad to have 100 or so files weeded down to 24!
Hey, coolness! The web site's "hit counter" just rolled past 9,500 visits...
over its entire lifetime. That's probably half an hour for a site like
IMDb but I will take it!
|March 28, 2002
It seems like the deeper I dig, the less Emerson had anything to do with
this game system? It is beginning to look like they showed up "a console
late and a dollar short" ... to butcher an old saying. Things are changing
rapidly now, so I don't want to say too much just yet, that I'll have
to change soon after. But I am very glad to see that things -- believe
it or not -- are starting to make more sense. If you're wondering what
the heck I'm rambling on about, that's OK. Check out these very cool web
sites until I get around to making my official announcement.
By Olivier Boisseau, whose huge online database has been very helpful in
a number of ways, to help me better understand the global nature of things
and the generational shift that is beginning to make itself more apparent.
weird UK and New Zealand consoles
By Michael Davidson, who among other things was instrumental in helping me
to confirm that the pin-incompatible "Emerson Arcadia 2001" and
"MPT-03" families were part of the same ROM-compatible console
Retro Rene's Gaming
By Rene Kamerbeek of the Netherlands, who was instrumental in helping
me to discover that the "Ormatu" family was ROM-compatible, as well.
Le Musée Arcadia
By Sylvain "Sly DC" DeChantel, who has always been more than helpful to me
in my efforts to research and document info about this console group.
By Matt Reichert, collector extraordinaire, who generously loaned me more
carts for archiving purposes than most casual collectors even own.
(Later in the day... revised more than once as things changed.)
I am ready to make the announcement I referred to. Sort of.
I spent three hours or more, typing up a major discovery concerning
this system. If you wish to find out what I'm talking about, please
go visit the message boards run by Digital
Press. I posted my detailed and rather scientific findings
in the Retrogaming
Roundtable area, Video Game Forum section, under a message thread called
between Arcadia 2001 and Interton-VC4000". Check it out...
I added some of the new info to the
FAQ, in raw form, needing more editing
later. I tweaked a few minor things in there, and deleted lots of the
old text that talked about things like how many cart families there are.
(Badly dated, now.)
|March 27, 2002
I should probably clarify some things, just for the record... in my
postings here yesterday, I put up a link to some 1998 quotes regarding IDSA,
copyrights, and the potential legalization of ROM images. So much has changed
over these last few years in terms of what we once thought we knew about
this system, that it is hard for me to reconcile the two completely
different views of gaming history. I look back at that 1998 quote and I think,
(A) "Gee, no one has bothered to try to respond to my Usenet message
in all this time" and (B), "Emerson? What did they have to do with anything?
I want to know who REALLY owns these copyrights!"
To head off one specific question that may likely become
common-place soon... "What did Emerson say, if / when you contacted
them?" The truth is, there is no real point in trying to learn a whole lot
via Emerson themselves,
we now know for certain that they had very little to do with any of the really
important decisions made by whomever it was that was really in charge of
this system's global propogation. Adding to that problem is the idea
that spokes-people for Emerson's now long-defunct game system division had
a bad habit of not being entirely candid with the press.
example, their infamous lie that their game system had 28k of RAM memory,
when it in fact only had 1k of RAM in it.) Add the passage of 20
years to all this and the odds are, they have nothing to tell us?
I prefer to bug them for gap-filling details once we learn more from
That makes it sound like we know a lot that we did not know before.
That is true. However, much of the info currently found on this web site
is still radically out of date compared to what I / we now know or suspect
to be the truth. (The Timeline Text, especially, jumps to mind.) I am, as
I mentioned above at the very top of this news section, "spread so thin"
that catching up will be a real chore for me.
My current focus is getting my sections of the Digital Press Collectors Guide
up to date, since that has a deadline while my web site does not. One thing
at a time...
|March 26, 2002
This is not an official announcement by any means but I've recently
heard from a reliable but anonymous source that the
"Game Vault" may not continue
to exist forever. It has (as I reported some time ago) been frozen or in
a holding pattern for a long time, as far as new ROM image availability
goes. It would not really surprise me if it did eventually go the way of
many, many other download sites?
Along those lines, you may want to check out the recent news at
Lest I make myself sound like a miscreant of some sort, allow me to
balance the record out with
things I said very publicly in 1998 regarding copyrights. My
stance on this is pretty much the same... I'd still like to see
these ROMs legalized. It's pretty obvious these particular games will
never make a commercial come back but still it'd be very
cool, and a big step forward as far as I'm concerned.
As part of my own efforts to gently push authors and copyright
holders to allow non-profit uses of their game software code, in
ROM image form or whatever, I am currently making note of any "legalized"
program as I'm doing my updates for version 7.0 of the "Digital Press
Collectors Guide". I am not able to report any current successes
in legalizing Emerson-compatible software (yet), but there are a number
of "legalized" programs for the
Commodore VIC-20 and other
classic systems. It would be nice just to find the authors of this
code and talk to them, to get a better historical view on what took
place back then... any takers on that?
|March 23, 2002
At the SC3 meeting today, I learned that Bandai definitely made
at least one "new" game for the Emerson family, that nobody knew for
sure was unique. A few game titles we've just recently unearthed
could have perhaps been just name variations on "Cat Trax" or
other known games... but they're not. "Doraemon" is a totally different
game; it has a cat in it, but that's the only similarity. Seeing it
in person for the first time today, it looks like a more "mature" cart...
one of the later releases, done when coders were beginning to understand
a system pretty well. (I may be getting that in on an archiving loan,
later... more news as that happens.)
This is educated speculation, but it appears there are a few more games like
this, that we're just now becoming aware of? A game called "Dr. Slump" also
appears to be based on a Japanese anime character, and is most
likely a new and "unique" game. We always suspected the Mobile Suit Gundam
game was unique, too, but a copy or two has proven itself just slippery
enough to have missed falling into our hands, in the past. (Little
by little, though, the "want" list is being nibbled away.)
Part of the problem with things like this is that people are not sure
what is or is not a name variation, and so they sometimes pass on a
"unique" cart, thinking they most likely already have it anyway. I'll
be glad when my current write-up for the
"Digital Press Collector's Guide"
version 7.0 hits the streets... expect to see many changes to the Emerson
section of the guide, when the new version comes out!
|March 11, 2002
I got confirmation that the deal is still on for the MPT-03 cart
loans of "Circus" and "Blackjack and Poker". Coolness... glad to hear
that's still gonna work out.
|March 10, 2002
I'm beginning to wonder if the loan of "Circus" and "Blackjack and Poker"
is still going to happen, as I have not heard from that person
in about a month now? I hope it is still on. As I get more
information, one way or another, I'll pass it on.
I may get a few other carts on loan, from a different source.
These would be a bunch of Bandai-made carts for the Emerson family;
they may or may not be "new" games.
(These loans would be in the near future, but not immediately.)
I'm making lots of changes to the Digital Press Collectors Guide
|February 26, 2002
The FAQ and the cart
rarity listing have both gone through significant changes. The FAQ pinout
sections all had a lot of new technical info added into them. I wanted to
change the archival status of the three new Ormatu additions, but I also
added a couple of "new" carts into the confirmed section of the cart rarity
listing. (Thanks to Russ Perry Jr. for sending me scans of two Bandai Arcadia
carts we have never seen or heard of previous to this; "Dr. Slump"
and "Doraemon". It is unknown at this point if these are genuinely
new games or just name variations?)
I dumped each of the new Ormatu game images multiple times to insure
they are good dumps. I even desoldered the memory chips from their circuit
boards, and plugged them into my Leisure-Vision system directly.
I burned all three of the new cartridge images into my own personal
multicart. I tried the ROM image running in the MESS emulator.
Everything checks out well. The games all work just fine. That
definitely confirms it; the Ormatu system is officially "family number
I plan to offer these latest ROM images as an upgrade to any of my multicart
customers (all 17 of you besides myself) but it does not make sense to do
it right away. I plan to wait until the other person's loaned carts
arrive, and are archived as well. At that point I'll e-mail all of my
customers and offer one giant upgrade.
|February 25, 2002
The three Ormatu carts arrived today. I'll be going through them thoroughly
over the next few days. I've already archived the ROM images. I
even checked that MESS likes them. I want to do it again just to be
paranoid; double-redundancy type stuff, to minimize any chance of an archiving
error. I was loaned the boxes / instructions / overlays, too; I'll scan those
in also. A big thanks to Retro
Rene for loaning me the cool Ormatu games "Boxing", "Nibblemen"
Oh, by the way, for those of you keeping track... the Ormatu seems
like "clone family number four". The technical pinout info is going into
the FAQ as I work on archiving the carts. (That's another reason for me to
take it slow; to get that right!)
And if all that wasn't cool enough, there is still another cart loan coming
from my other source in Australia, with at least two more new MPT-03 games
that have never been archived before; "Circus" and "Blackjack and Poker".
The kind soul loaning me these may send along a few other MPT-03 games
for comparison purposes... if nothing else, all this should make my upcoming
Emerson system write-up in "Digital Press Collector's Guide" version 7.0
all the more accurate.
Things are pretty busy lately, here behind the scenes in 'EmersonLand"!
|February 5, 2002
I just got news that a second person is willing to loan me some
very cool Ormatu carts for archiving purposes. I'm all excited to see them!
More news as it happens, but please be patient as this is yet another overseas
|February 2, 2002
I just got the news today that I may be getting in a few MPT-03 games
on an archiving loan. I'm pretty excited about this, as it is getting harder
and harder to find anything that isn't already archived, let alone multiple
titles at one time? More details as they come in... be patient, this
will take some time to happen as it is another one of these overseas mailing
deals; Australia to the US and back.
Thanks to the same kind person, the MPT-03 cart list is now going to be more
accurate; part numbers, etc. which is good considering the
Digital Press folks are telling
section authors to get cracking on some updates for
version 7.0 of
The web site's counter just rolled passed 9,000 hits. Coolness. :-)
|January 29, 2002
A German collector named Sebastian just sent me the news that the Palladium
system was probably sold by Quelle, in their catalogs or directly in their
stores. (Palladium was apparently a consumer electronics manufacturer for
Quelle, who was apparently similar to Sears in the US.) It is too early to
tell, but I think that may get us closer to understanding who the original
makers were? I've been guessing ever since the discovery of the Palladium
family's compatibility, that the system may predate the others? I just noticed
something else, regarding that... it seems the Palladium family probably
originated in Germany, more or less alone? I am not sure what to make of
all this, just yet. It's just some food for thought.
|January 26, 2002
|December 23, 2001
The latest batch of multicarts is now nearly complete. I am planning to start
another batch soon. If you think you may want to get a multicart, or it just
sounds interesting, you may want to read about
the project in my Multicart FAQ.
|November 24, 2001
I made a third version of the cartridge software
listing. This attempts to sort the software library, roughly by the amount
of global markets a title was sold in.
|November 23, 2001
I took a brief break from my multicart stuff. I totally revised much
of the Emerson FAQ and added quite a bit.
I added a visual comparison of the different cartridge
sizes and style available for this system and its various clones to
the picture page, along with a scan of the innards of a Palladium cartridge.
I figured out the pinout to the cart slot on a Palladium, and posted that
info in the FAQ as well.
|November 22, 2001
I made some updates to the "family" sections of the
Emerson's main FAQ.
|November 19, 2001
The lastest cart to be archived is "Horse Racing" for the MPT-03 and Palladium
systems. It was loaned to me by a kind soul, who had purchased it on eBay.
|November 2, 2001
"False Alarm" on the Palladium carts not working. We still don't have it
figured out completely, but I did get the "Grand Prix de Monaco" cart
to respond, even on Paul Robson's old (pre-MESS) software emulator.
The controller buttons seem to be what is used, more than the joystick
buttons. I guess what would be a good thing, would be a collection of
instructions and/or scans of any overlays?
|October 29, 2001
This web site has had more than 8,000 total visitor "hits" now. Coolness.
|October 10, 2001
|October 9, 2001
Check out http://www.atariage.com/
for info on some games that UA Limited ported over to the Atari 2600, from
the Emerson Arcadia system. (See the entry for that company, to see some
Atari 2600 screen shots of Cat Trax, Pleaides and Funky Fish.) Any new info
you have about these ports would also be welcome.
|October 3, 2001
Those two Palladium games are now archived. (If you know where to look, the
ROM images are available online now.) Cart list was
updated, too. That's the good news. The bad news is that one of
the images (Grand Prix de Monaco) may not work on the existing emulators,
or maybe not even on a different brand of the "real thing"? So
far our working theory is that there is some alternate type of controller
that we're not currently aware of, which allows these games to work properly?
(Paddles perhaps, maybe for the rear ports?) We just don't know for
sure. But it seems like a logical assumption since the
gameplay problems seem to be related to waiting for the expected inputs
from some controller? More news on this cart as it happens. The other Palladium
cart (Panzerspiel, or tank game) does work, but you'll have to use buttons
on the controller in addition to the joystick.
|October 2, 2001
I just got word that another kind soul has plan to loans me a cart
for archiving. This one will be an MPT-03 cartridge called "Horse Racing".
(Nobody had ever heard of that title until one showed up on a recent
eBay auction.) It will be weeks before it is in my hands, thanks to the wait
for overseas shipping and so on.
Keep an eye on the AtariAge web site:
I just got word that they will be posting some interesting stuff in a week
or so. This involves the few Emerson-like carts that were ported over
to the Atari 2600 by "UA Limited"; Cat Trax, Funky Fish, and Pleiades. (Plus,
it is just an interesting web site for fans of retrogaming.)
|October 1, 2001
That package from Germany just arrived, with two (hopefully) new Palladium
games in it for me to archive. ("Panzerspiel" and "Grand Prix de
Monaco".) It may be a few days before I get a chance to do that but
they got here safely, and it is on my "to do" list.
More Multicart FAQ revisions got done. I'll
also update the cart list soon, too.
|September 30, 2001
|September 23, 2001
I may be loaned a few more new cartridge finds, relatively soon. ("Monaco
Grand Prix" and "Tank Battle".) The recently-discovered Palladium
family seems to have a few titles we didn't really know much about,
or had never even heard of (at least by those names) until recently. More
news as it happens.
|September 18, 2001
I made further revisions to the
FAQ" to clarify things more precisely.
|September 17, 2001
The "Multicart FAQ" is now in HTML format.
address is here.) I added a timeline / news section to it, to keep
people informed of my progress.
|August 18, 2001
|August 17, 2001
I just got in some interesting questions, in private e-mail, regarding
the Emerson multicart that I'm thinking about making a few copies of, for
public sale. I'll try to answer them here, since others probably are also
interested in knowing? I am also going to try to head off a few questions
I anticipate being asked, in the future. (Info removed from this
section 8/18, and moved to the text file
|August 14, 2001
Just when I was beginning to get bummed out over the idea of the non-popularity
of my Emerson multicart, I noticed an interesting post on
seems at least one person has two collections they want to get rid of, quickly,
for as much money as they can get. (An Emerson and an Astrocade.)
Perhaps it has nothing to do with the fact that my multicarts for those same
two systems were shown off publicly at CGE just a few days ago? It could
be a coincidence. But it makes me wonder if purist collectors may
fear a reduction in the value of the rarest carts for these systems, once
an alternative aquisition method appears? (Especially since my multicart
includes MPT-03 games, as well as Emerson's?) I wish these people no harm,
but I would personally welcome a shift in focus from the "pure collecting"
of a rare few, into the "actually playing" realm of many more. At the very
least, such a shift would mean my historical efforts were not wasted?
|August 13, 2001
I heard from two people so far about the CGE show, and how well the
pair of multicarts I'd made were received, among those attending the show.
It seems that the Astrocade multi was somewhat popular or well accepted?
The Emerson cart, however, apparently had mixed reviews? People made
fun of the quality of the games (which is beyond my control) but really
liked the labels I'd made for it. I was told I would have been "red
with embarrassment" over the label's reviews?
That sort of confirms the near total lack of interest people have in a multicart
for this system, so far? (Or should I say, a lack of interest in
playing these games?) Up until now, the only people claiming they want one
of those carts, said it as an afterthought of sorts... they just wanted
one of both. Now even that seems "iffy"?
|August 8, 2001
The annual "Classic Gaming Expo" for
2001 is happening this weekend, over in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. (I
will not be able to attend in person, unfortunately.) I am planning on sending
out at least one of my new Emerson multicarts, for demo purposes. It should
be running all weekend, on and off, if not continuously. If you want to see
and play some of the rarest games for this system, CGE is the place!
I will also be sending some rare items for the Commodore
VIC-20 computer system, and a multicart for the Bally Astrocade,
both for display purposes.
I really doubt that any multicarts will be on sale this weekend, but
I'm tending more and more towards selling a limited number of multicarts
for both systems, after the expo ends. I'm going to judge various factors,
and decide on it soon.
Over 7400 total web site visitors so far. Not bad? Thanks for stopping
|July 22, 2001
Matt Reichert sent me this link, which may interest some of you out
Just when you thought you've seen everything there was for this system....
|July 19, 2001
Stefan Piasecki's loaned "The End" cart arrived. I did archive it. I sent
the ROM image over to the folks over at the
"Game Vault" but please be
aware that I have no control over whether or not they'll ever make the
image publicly available. I hope they will, but they strongly prefer that
all ROM images be at that one place, and that we hosted sites not distribute
any ROM images on sites like this one. (It is the way things were
always supposed to be, not something new.) The cart
lists were updated to reflect this change in the archival status of the
On a personal note, I must say that it sure feels strange to be at this place?
To be to the point of having archived almost every cart known, rumored,
or dreamed of for this system? Who would have believed all the clone
systems that we found out about? At the start, I sure would not have!? Heck,
I wrote up some long-winded section in the FAQ about there only being two
family types, then we found out there was a third! The second one was an
interesting surprise, let alone a third? As far as I'm concerned, "The
End" is the last cart I expect to find, anytime soon. At one point, I think
most fans of this system probably thought they'd never get to see things
like "Funky Fish" or "Pleiades" or "The End"? Let alone some of the more
common carts... which still does not mean they're at all easy to find? It
is a good feeling for me to have been involved with preserving so much game
history. Once again, I thank all of you who have loaned me carts in the past.
It was quite generous of you. Without such people, very few of us would ever
see this stuff?
|July 16, 2001
The Emerson multicart was shown at the
SC3 meeting, this
past weekend. The final version was not ready, so I took the
ugly-but-fully-working blue prototype with me, and showed that off. It
worked, and that was all these hardcore gamers seemed to really care
about! Most of the guys there saw games they'd never had the chance to see
before. A number of folks commented that they thought more of the sytem,
after having seen its games. At least one guy there said he was giving
thought to buying a 2001 system now that he's seen the software library for
I still have some development time to put in, on the "final" version
of the multicart. I had an etched, drilled, and almost all assembled
PC board together, when I saw that one circuit board trace wasn't going where
it was supposed to. And another. And another. And I finally figured out,
with a sick, sinking feeling, that in my 4 AM haste to actually etch the
double-sided board I had designed, that I had made the dumb mistake
of having placed the top and bottom photomasks in the wrong order. All the
circuit traces meant for the top were on the bottom, and vice versa.
That's what I get for staying up too late, and being in too big of a hurry!
But other than that, a test copy should be up and running "real soon
now". (I need a break from all this for awhile! And I need to catch up on
other things, too.)
In my defense, the Bally
Astrocade multicart that I had designed / etched / drilled / assembled
for the same weekend meeting, ran perfectly. (I thought it would, but Murphy's
Law sneaks in one way or another, so you just never know!?)
|July 12, 2001
There is a lot going on, lately. (Must be because it is summer?) PeT,
the MESS emulator author, just received the Palladium system that Stefan
Piasecki sent him. That should help PeT to make the MESS emulator better.
That's great news. My thanks to Stefan for his generosity.
Watch the MESS work in progress page.
Stefan is also going to loan me one of the last Emerson family carts we needed
to archive; "The End". Once that one is archived, the only remaining carts
are ones that were made overseas, or are just vaporware.
(See the archiving list here.)
My work on the multicarts is going according to plan, so far. I hope
to be ready by Saturday, as I mentioned before. With luck, I'll be etching
PC boards tonight? Both for the Emerson cart, and one for the Bally
|July 8, 2001
I'm busy working on the multicarts again. This Saturday is the
SC3 meeting, so
I had better get off my behind, and finish this puppy up soon! I did
take a break from the hardware parts, for a bit, and came up with a
nice way to make labels that have that
colored-stripe effect, on the name portions.
That's looking good. My hand-built prototype cart does hold the whole
software library now, with plenty of room to spare for later additions. Now
I just have to design the PC boards, etch them, etc, and get at least one
"production" type cart finished up.
Over 7,100 total website visits now. Coolness!
|June 30, 2001
Well, things just improved in terms of software emulation for this system.
One of the readers of this website made me a very generous trade offer, intended
to put a Palladium system in my hands so I could study it, etc. I
counter-offered, and to make a long story shorter, it is going to go instead
to PeT, the MESS emulator author. It is amazing that anyone could write an
emulator, without ever seeing the real thing. Paul Robson did it, and PeT
was continuing in that tradition until now. But thanks to Stefan Piasecki's
generosity, PeT will soon have "the real thing" to play with, study, and
most importantly, emulate. Darn good news for emu fans!
|June 29, 2001
After much brow-beating, and lots of soldering and desoldering, I have come
to the conclusion that my original
cartridge port pinout diagram was
correct. PeT had an excellent point when he mentioned that they might
have been labelled incorrectly. Literally, in terms of the schematic, he
was correct. But it appears that the designers of this system used two
pins in a non-intuitive way, so that they do not do what you'd expect them
to do, when reading the schematic. Instead, they do what I thought they did,
all along. The pinouts have been re-corrected.
|June 28, 2001
See this link if you want to order a printed copy of the Emerson's service
The cost is only $9.20, which isn't bad (IMHO) for a service manual.
(I also added the info into the FAQ.
Thanks again to Lee Romanow for the info!)
|June 25, 2001
Lee Romanow sent me some interesting information. He reminded me that a PDF
microprocessor's info is available on
the Wiretap arcade
Lee also had this awesome bit of info to pass on... it seems you can still
order the original service manual to the Emerson Arcadia system! Visit this
...and then click on "Service manuals," then on "Emerson," then "audio
/ others". Scroll down the list, and you'll see the model number
"ADV1". That's the one you want. The manual includes schematics,
wiring diagrams, exploded view drawings, and internal parts lists.
Stefan Piasecki confirmed that the newly discovered "Palladium" family of
clones machines includes the "Polybrain" and "Mr. Altus" consoles. He says
that these all seem to have some problems with sound and joystick response,
perhaps due to inferior hardware designs and/or low quality components used
in these consoles? He reports that the machines do work better on some
games, however. Games he considers to be almost unplayable on the Emerson
or MPT-03 families, he says are responsive on the Palladium, with
their apparently altered hand controllers. (He cited "Breakaway"
as an example.) One of the strangest carts he knows of for this system is
a German / English dictionary cartridge, which came with two miniature
cartridges. You used the hand controllers as a rudimentary keyboard,
with overlays supplied. He thinks that French and Spanish versions may have
been in the planning stages, or might have possibly been made. He thinks
this because the dictionary cart itself seems to imply this at times, during
its use. The system's cart library never has copyright designations, as far
as he has seen. It is not known whether they were never there, or were
intentionally deleted. "Tank Battle" (or "Video Panzerspiel") sounds
interesting... it apparently uses a 3D effect well, and the gameplay sounds
fairly sophisticated for this era. Stefan says it may be a sequel or
advanced version of "Combat". An apparent clone of Indy500 is also available
for the Palladium family; it uses an isometric 3D effect.
Chris Hind sent me some info about the Interton VC4000 system -- one of the
sytems that pre-dated the Arcadia and its clones. Of particular
interest is that its marketing sounds similar enough in marketing schemes
to the Arcadia's of later years -- many companies that made
semi-compatible machines, apparently with different cartridge pinouts.
Voltmace (a U.K. company) made conversion devices to allow its family of
cartridges to work on the other machines, and/or vice-versa. This is the
first indication I've heard of that this "family" approach was done with
pre-planning, instead of a way to perhaps avoid legal hassles for copyright,
etc. Chris also has a
video game web
site up, discussing his personal game collection.
|June 7, 2001
I did a partial update of the FAQ,
mostly focusing on technical things. (I plan to do more later, as my time
and motivation permits.) Part of the reason this update was done now, is
that "PeT" discovered some errors in the pinout diagrams for
the Emerson system. Ward had to take apart his Leisure-Vision, and trace
out each line from the CPU to the cartridge port (using what we hope is a
good diagram of the 2650A microprocessor). The
results are listed in the latest FAQ.
Knowing this information brings us a step closer to having that strange Golf
cart figured out; there are still real problems there, but one thing is
|June 6, 2001
ClassicGaming.com (my site's web
hosts) just had a facelift. Check it out!
Work on the new multicart was hampered by my
movie schedule, but
that was expected. I will post any news along those lines, as it happens.
I'm still shooting for a few test-and-comment sessions during the next
SC3 meeting, if
all goes well.
|May 18, 2001
I still don't have exact quotes yet, but have enough confirmation to
announce this news item...
the one-and-only software
emulator for the Emerson Arcadia 2001 is no longer being worked on by
Paul Robson, its author. That's bad news. But Paul has turned over all of
his research, source code, etc, to someone else, who is in the process
of starting the project up where Paul left off. That's very good news! And
there is more good news: this new author (PeT) is on the MESS team! In other
words, at some point in time the Emerson Arcadia is going to be emulated
in MESS, the Multi Emulator Super
System, which runs on many platforms.
I for one want to publicly thank
Robson for having begun the emulator, and for having made such significant
progress with it, before being sidetracked by real life and having to quit
working on it. As Paul's other emulators have proven, he is more than capable
of having completed this emulator, had he the time to continue working on
it. In fact, I wish to once again express my own personal awe at his
coding skills... without ever owning a real console to make comparisons
with, and with only eleven raw ROM images to look at, he wrote a software
emulator that played most games that were dumped, even years after his emulator
was first released. In other words, he never saw a console or its cartridges
in their real life form, and wrote a mostly-working emulator anyway. That's
god-like in my book!
|May 17, 2001
I've posted a
up on my VIC-20 web site. You
may want to read it, as it is about how to straighten or repair bent or
broken legs on computer chips?
Still working on various multicarts... mostly on the
Bally Astrocade one,
right now, but once I've done that for awhile, I'll go back to the Emerson
one. I'm still shooting for a debut at the
SC3 meeting of
California game collectors in June.
I've just heard some preliminary news that is still too early to print,
from the author of the existing emulator. As soon as Paul Robson confirms
what he told me this morning by e-mail, I hope to have some interesting emulation
news to post?
|May 8, 2001
I got rid of any old archived game ROMs that were still on the site. The
three that were uploaded yesterday are now the only ones available directly
on this site. You can still go to
"The Vault" for any of your
classic gaming ROM image needs.
Alexander Bilstein over at
AtariAge informs me that he's
again in contact with a collector for the Atari 2600
found three very interesting carts some years ago. It
appears they are official ports of Emerson games, to the Atari 2600!?
We had a hard time finding this person, but Alex is talking to him now.
Any news will of course be passed on, as soon as we have it.
|May 7, 2001
Here are the latest ROM images archived for this system: Funky Fish, Pleaides,
and R2D Tank. They all work at least a little bit with the software
(ROMs removed and de-linked on June 30, 2001.
Visit the Vault, please.)
Paul Robson's emulator was never finished by its author, as he has never
seen or had access to an an actual system to do comparisons with.
A big thanks to
Matt Reichert for loaning
me these three very rare cartridges!
Of course, I've updated the cart rarity list
and the archiving have / want list.
|May 6, 2001
has been keeping me busy, lately, but I did finally finish soldering that
archiving adapter cable together. Did a new Bally Astrocade one while
I was at it. Haven't "real life" tested either one for bugs, but since
this is "version two" of an older pair of designs that I used before,
I should have some good news soon....
|April 25, 2001
My multicart-to-be was seen at
PhillyClassic, by at least a
few people. Mostly, Matt Reichert displayed "Funky Fish" for the show's
attendees, at his table. From all the reports I've seen, the show was great
fun but was very crowded due to a larger crowd than anyone anticipated. (Which,
of course, is a good thing!)
Three guesses what cart will soon end up archived?
Matt has agreed to loan his "Funky Fish" cart to me, along with (IIRC) "R2D
Tank" and "Pleaides". Those should be arriving sometime next week. More news
as it happens. (Meantime, I need to get back to soldering up another archiving
cable, since I loaned my first one out to someone popular in New Jersey.
Ditto for my Astrocade cable. At the last minute, I decided to
"share the wealth" and just told him to keep them.)
|April 17, 2001
The multicart I made, should be available for viewing at the
PhillyClassic event. I sent it
out with only the 8 games on it, but hey, it is something. And
it's a chance for many folks to see games that are really rare and hard
to find, like the Emerson version of Crazy Climber. The other games I put
on it were: Astro Invaders, Cat Trax, Combat, Hobo, Jumpbug, Super Gobbler,
and Tanks A Lot. I mixed it up a bit; obscenely rare carts along with
some relatively common (but fun) games.
"Funky Fish" definitely exists. A collector friend of mine just bought one.
It arrived safely in his hands, earlier today. If he's so
kind as to loan it to me for archiving purposes at some future point, you'll
hear about it here first.
The list of unarchived and unconfirmed carts keep shrinking. I just got
in a bunch of info along those lines, but it will take me awhile to
update my lists with the info I've been sent. Thanks to Daniel Amend
for his lengthy list of cart info updates.
|April 16, 2001
I now have an 8-in-1 multicart working. The addressing portion
of the electronics can select up to 256 total choices; that's not a problem.
But as this is just a "proof of concept" stage of development right
now, I am using only a 64k-byte EPROM memory chip, which is why I'm
currently limited to only eight programs. (8k each times 8 total choices.)
Next step is for me to work on modularizing the design for the addressing
-- in other words, the tiny switches used to select each new game. I want
to do that, so that I can use the same basic module in multicarts for other
obscure game systems. More news as it happens, but progress is being made.
|April 15, 2001
I'm currently working on the first versions of a multicart for this
system. I have a 2-in-1 version working already, and am going to extend that
up to an 8-in-1 next, hopefully over the next few days. I work on it in spurts,
when motivation jumps out at me, like most of my other gaming-related
projects. More as it happens.
Next Gen magazine's may
issue (V3 N5) has an article about the new games that some classic gaming
fans are creating for various systems, such as the Atari 2600 or the Vectrex.
Always nice to see positive articles about we retro-gamers.
Over 6000 web site visitors to date! Thanks for stopping by, folks!
|March 19, 2001
I've added a new link. This one simply searches
for stuff at auction on eBay.
Well, as soon as I told AOL that I wanted to cancel my account again,
they wiped out every one of the redirection links I'd put up. Oh well,
I tried. I'll be darned if I'm going to pay good money, though, just to host
redirect links. I put notices
saying where this "new" home is located.
|March 17, 2001
After eons of procrastination, I finally got another
account on AOL... just long enough to delete the older version of this
web site, which was still there. That makes this the one and only version
of this web site now. I posted appropriate notices at the older site, pointing
to this new one, so that everyone can find us.
The web site's visitor counter will shortly jump by 229 to reflect the number
of people that visited the older, now-closed site before they knew about
Personally, I wish to say "thanks" to those very loyal folks that kept
visiting the older site, despite the lack of any new content over a period
of almost 2 years! I can only hope they feel that their loyalty was rewarded,
when they find this site?
|March 14, 2001
Since I did not have any more cart loans lined up for archiving purposes,
I sent my cart-reading adapter cable thingie to someone that may be
able to put it to some use. I loaned out my Bally Astrocade adapter, at the
same time. With any luck, this will result in more ROM images being archived
for both systems? As usual, any news will be reported here as it happens.
|March 12, 2001
I created a
small web site
that links to all of my different hobbies, so that I could stay on topic
a little bit better, while still letting interested parties know what I was
up to, in my other hobbies. (Acting, scale models, etc.)
Some things still fall into grey areas, like this news bit about the Bally
Astrocade. Fans of that system will be glad to know that six new carts have
been archived over the last few days, and there should be more in the coming
weeks. Check out this discussion group for more
Bally archiving info,
or see some SC3 meeting
|February 15, 2001
Just got in my copy of the
Digital Press Collector's
Guide, version six. It rocks! I am saying that as a fan of various
retro-gaming systems, not just as a person that contributed to this version.
(For those who don't already know, I have sections in this version on
the VIC-20 by Commodore, the Emerson and its clones, and one small section
about the Telstar Arcade machine by Coleco.) The folks
at Digital Press have certainly
outdone themselves with this version!
I just got confirmation that someone does actually have a copy of "Funky
Fish" in their possession, for the Tunix system (Emerson family.) One
of my best contacts is busy bugging the owner about having it archived.
That may or may not happen; we can only hope. Nice knowing it isn't
hopelessly a "vaporware" cart, though!
Off-topic, but some of you may find this interesting... one of my other hobbies
is working as an extra on TV and in movies. An episode of
"Charmed" is coming
up on the 22nd (called "Just Harried"), and I was one of the background folks
in it. I am in my favorite trouble-maker outfit -- long hair down, leather
jacket on -- and was having fun playing a mean biker type in a rough
bar that Shannen Doherty's character is playing pool in.
This old picture
should give you some idea of what to look for, if you want to try
to see if I'm visible in any of those scenes... add about six inches of hair
to it, subtract the beard, add a leather jacket, and that's me. ;-)
February 9, 2001
The web site's counters just went over 5000 visitors! Coolness.
Digital Press is shipping their
Collector's Guide out
now... I have not received mine just yet, but it should be here any day now.
I can't wait to see it!
|January 5, 2001
Good Deal Games just published
a crossword puzzle about the Emerson system. You may want to check that out.
Their site looks pretty cool... go explore it!
|December 30, 2000
Stranger and stranger... while investigating the Golf pinout mysteries further,
I tore open my Leisure-Vision console. And lo and behold, the three pins
on the cart slot really are not connected to anything, despite
the microprocessor having two pins labelled as A13 and A14; higher addressing
lines, which would presumably give this processor the ability to double its
8k limit, then double it again. But they are not connected to anything. Weird.
I can only presume that this hints at the idea that the MPT-03 system actually
PRE-dates the Emerson family of clones? That by the time the Emerson
came out, most of the software was already written, and that they knew they'd
only be using an 8k addressing space for those games? (It just does not make
sense to ignore quadrupling your program space, early on?)
Along that theme, and making me wonder more about it, is the idea that
the carts I found from the Palladium system (all of which had gold plated
PC boards that said "Polybrain cartridge" on them) make
me wonder if they did not predate both of the other families? (MPT-03
and Emerson.) Weird? This is speculation, mind you, not facts,
but it is interesting to wonder what system predated what others? (Why
make gold plated circuit boards, for a system that you know is going to be
a low seller, based on past sales? It was the MPT-03 and the Emerson
system that had really low-dollar PC board production, not the other way
Christopher Stärkel e-mailed me, saying he thought the Polybrain
system was out in the marketplace, over in Germany, back in the late 1970's.
That sort of makes sense, although I had first suspected his memory was in
error. Said it was never all that popular, which could have caused them
to consider selling their rights?
Then I thought of the idea that UA wrote lots of arcade ports, back
in the early 80's... about the time the Emerson system was released. Which
also seemed to contradict the idea that the Polybrain came first, until
it occurred to me that the arcade ports could have been there way of making
the system more exciting. After all, the "less fun" games could
have been what was out already, if and when UA bought out the rights
to the Polybrain? (Wild assumptions.) I believe they must have
already been written, because it makes no sense to write "filler"
type games for your low-selling system, once you've figured
out that even your best games have little chance of being bought in
any great quantity? Especially when UA has been proven to have started
porting things to the Atari 2600 in 1983?
any info on the Polybrain system and its list of available
games. That would shed some more light on "what came first, the chicken or
the egg" idea?
|December 21, 2000
That Golf cartridge spurred further research. I found a pinout diagram for
the Signetics 2650 Micro Processing Unit,
online. I opened up my Leisure-Vision, removed the nearly bulletproof RF
sheilding box, and plan to do some digging. As it turns out, there really
are two additional address lines built into that processor. And they showed
up, apparently, on the Golf cart. And there are three lines that up until
now, all us techies simply listed as "NC" for Not Connected. Hmmm....
On the bottom side of the main PC board for my Leisure-Vision console,
is the name "UAL" etched into the circuit design. (Along with a date code,
I think?) Guess what that implies? We all assumed that "UA Limited" only
designed the software for this system. Apparently, they designed the
hardware for it, too?
|December 20, 2000
The good news is, "Golf" has now been archived. The bad news is, it
uses some strange, as-yet-unseen-on-this-system form of bankswitching, that
makes it 100% unplayable on anything but the real MPT-03 system it was designed
Eventually, all of these cart images will show up on ClassicGaming's Vault
pages. Until then, here is one big (145k) zip with all 37 of the games archived
(ROMs removed and de-linked on May 8, 2001.
Visit the Vault, please.)
The best I could get (when I tested it on my Leisure-Vision in EPROM form)
was the starting screen, asking for the number of players. And nothing else.
And don't even ask what a pain it was to archive; I ended up desoldering
the chips from the PC board itself, and reading them in via my Commodore
64's Promenade burner. My adapter cables could not read it and my modern
burner had problems with it.
I updated the FAQ's system pinout
diagrams, to reflect the latest tech info.
I had access to four other carts that I was supposed to archive, seeing
if they are indeed what their owner suspected; a third family of clones,
with a third set of odd pinout diagrams. Yup. That's what it was. Count the
"Palladium" as a third family.
In the process of checking the ROMs inside the Palladium carts,
byte-for-byte against known-good Emerson dumps, I found out that Soccer is
only 4k, not 8k. (I had suspected it before, but didn't want to
cut out anything good by mistake.)
Last but not least, here is the latest version of the
cart rarity list, just updated. And the latest
list of what is or is not currently archived,
for this system.
|December 3, 2000
Fully tested in both emulator and EPROM form, and ready to go now...
Astro Invaders, from a Tele-fever cartridge,
Basketball, from an MPT-03 cartridge,
Fussball, from another Tele-fever cartridge (just basically 3D soccer),
3D Soccer, from a foreign Emerson family cart with an unusual label,
Super Gobbler, from a Leisure-Vision cart.
(ROMs removed and de-linked on May 8, 2001.
Visit the Vault.)
And of course, the (mostly) updated list of what remains
to be archived.
|November 26, 2000
Almost ready... I archived 5 carts, and they seem at least semi-playable
on the emulator. I want to burn them into EPROM chip form, and test them
further. Then I'll make them available. (Titles are Super Gobbler, Astro
Invaders, Basketball, 3D Soccer and Fussball.) Should just be a day
or three, before they are ready.
|November 22, 2000
This system's library is just full of mysteries, and strange head-scratchers....
while archiving the carts I was loaned, I uncovered the following (so far):
The MPT-03 system may have had more than one wiring diagram. That makes
the one in the FAQ out of date. When I figure out the new revisions,
I'll update the FAQ accordingly. But for now, I'll just say that two
lines that were never hooked up to anything on any board I've dealt with
before, are hooked up on the Golf cartridge that I was loaned. This appears
to be a first revision board, and the ones I've seen so far say "Rev 2" on
the PC boards. And this one has two EPROM chips on it; one is 2k, the
other is 4k. Which may seem weird at first, but I'm used to it considering
that I've opened Emerson carts and found the same. EPROMs were used somewhat
often by the makers at a certain point, apparently after learning
hard lessons about making ROMs they could not legally use. And chips
were expensive, once, making 6k hybrid carts more affordable. My rough initial
guess is that this all makes this an early-planned, late-released cart.
I was loaned four carts that are going to take some detective work.
They appear (from box and manual artwork) to be Emerson clones. But the carts
are not the same size as anything we've ever seen before, nor does it
have the same pinout. They may or may not turn out to be an unknown, third
family of Emerson clones? (Company name is "Palladium" or "Mr. Altus". An
inner PC board says "Polybrain cartridge" on the Palladium version
of video bowling.)
I've never seen a Tele-Fever cart in person, up until now. Guess what?
On the left side of the cartridge's plastic casing, there is a groove cut
into the plastic. On the right side, there is a molded-in tab that protrudes
outwards. Otherwise, the carts for this system appear to be just
like the long-style Emerson carts. In other words, way back in 1983, this
system had the equivalent of a country-based lockout?! As designed,
this cart won't easily fit into an Emerson, without cutting a notch
in the side of the game console's plastic housing. (Which I did on my
Leisure-Vision, just because I thought it would be cool to do so.
Technically, it will fit without this, but only with some force applied when
inserting the cart.) And Emerson carts won't fit a Tele-Fever system, apparently,
as it must have a tab sticking out on the left side of the cart slot,
where that cart groove has been cut?
More news as it happens, including a few archived carts, as my
free time permits.
|November 20, 2000
The next batch of soon-to-be-archived carts has arrived. I'll get working
|November 17, 2000
Alright... we just hit the "3,500 visitors" mark! Thanks for dropping
Not much new going on here, but
check out the links
section. Matt Reichert put up some cool Emerson-related pictures
on his Time Vault web site.
Michael Davidson is going to have some cool pics up, soonish, on his
Obscure Pixels web
site. And I'm sure there are other cool things going on at other places
I've linked to. And there is always the main
"ClassicGaming.com" site to look
The Combat cart is officially back in the mails again, going back
to its owner. The next batch of soon-to-be-archived carts is in the mails,
coming my way. More news as it happens... might be a week or two, but I'll
make announcements here.
|November 13, 2000
Added a few pictures of the recently archived
Grandstand "Combat" cart.
From time to time, folks ask me if the one-and-only Emerson emulator is ever
going to be updated. The most reliable answer is, "maybe".
Paul Robson, who wrote
it, isn't making any money off the emulator and never will, most likely.
It is just a hobby project for him... and just one of many, at that. What
impresses me the most is that Paul got as far as he did, without actually
owning a "real" system. Yes, you heard that right... the guy that wrote the
emulator, does not own any real system to compare things to. Would he
like one? Sure. If anyone can donate one to him, that would help improve
the odds of a better emulator happening, at some future point. The catch
is that not just any Emerson clone will do... because Paul lives in the UK,
the donated system must work on a PAL television standard, instead of the
NTSC television standard that is in common use inside the US. If you have
one that you know will work with PAL televisions, consider donating it
to Paul Robson, so that we all can benefit from it.
|November 11, 2000
|November 8, 2000
Here it is... the long-awaited COMBAT for the MPT-03 system!
... and the "fine print" that goes with it, unfortunately...
The short story is, this ROM image will not work on the one and only emulator
that exists for this system. The emulator, as most of you likely already
know, was never finished. (All things considered, it kicks butt, even though
it needs work.) I did, however, verify that this ROM image is a good dump
of the original cart. I did that by taking this image, burning it into
a 27C64 chip (standard 8k EPROM), and soldering up an ugly-but-functional,
MPT-03 compatible testing cartridge. It worked fine, so the ROM image
itself is now verified, as far as I'm concerned.
(ROMs removed and de-linked on May 8, 2001.
Visit the Vault, please.)
And I played this game through my ugly-but-functional "MPT-03 family
to Emerson Arcadia family" adapter cable. So that theory was proven sound
Techie info: this looks like an 8k cart, internally. At least 6k; most 4k
carts are easy to tell, but this one looks a larger cart. Not all
programming code; some data is in there, as well. I looked for hidden messages;
sorry, nothing interesting there.
My newly-made test cartridge will soon (?) be put to more use, when
I verify each and every one of the games I have dumps for.
("Crazy Climber" does work, and I tested a couple of others, while I was
at it. Not a bad game, actually.) You folks that can read between the lines
well, can perhaps see a pattern developing...
I do have other cart loans lined up. My regulars are helping us all
out, as much as they can. As soon as I have more stuff on the way,
I'll say so here....
|November 5, 2000
My day job's hours are slowing my hobby stuff way down, but I'm still
working on archiving that Combat cart. My initial impressions are that
(a) this is definitely a cart I have not seen before on this system, (b)
it reminds me a lot of something called "Combat II" for the Atari 2600 system,
and (c) that this system's library is just filled with interesting little
mysteries. Before I release the ROM image, I am going to burn it into a real
EPROM chip, and play it on a real system, to verify it 100%. (The emulator
doesn't like it, at all.) I'm going to check other games that way, too, just
to be doing it. More news as it happens....
I had to get a replacement power supply for my Leisure-Vision system.
Here are the Radio Shack part numbers, if you're in a similar situation...
the power supply has to be 12 volts, DC, at 500 milliamps or better. (Half
an amp.) I bought one rated at 1000 milliamps (up to one full amp of
current). The part number for that adapter is 273-1776. But to use it,
you also have to get the appropriate end for the power cord itself --
an "Adaptaplug" tm as they call it -- which is 273-1716, or size "M". (For
you techie types, the "tip" is "+" and the "ring" is "-".) If you are
shopping at another electronics house, the plug's physical size is 5.5 mm
outside diameter by 2.1 mm inside diameter.
|October 14, 2000
As promised, the Combat cart that was mailed to me,
did arrive. I've been doing 12 + hour days at my day job, 6 and 7 days a
week, so I'm slow on archiving duties. I dumped it, but haven't had
a chance to verify the information as good. It will be a few days, but
then I should have one more game crossed off my
|October 3, 2000
The final version of my Emerson Arcadia write-ups just went to
the folks over at Digital Press.
You can read all about it on
their web site. (DPCG 6, out soon!)
|September 25, 2000
Major news! Jonathan H. Davidson has done research for us all, in the past.
He outdid himself with this find, though. Quoting the "Wall
Street Journal" from April 9th, 1982, page 4, column 1: "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." (My
Read that again. It is absolute proof that Emerson had little or
nothing to do with the invention of this game machine. Someone else designed
it. And its games, for that matter. Emerson just put their name on it for
awhile. That's all.
Researchers had long suspected something like this. Now it
has been confirmed. We'll be figuring out the full implications
of this, for some time. As the system died out in popularity, due to
competition with the Colecovision, the Atari 5200 and various home computer
/ game systems, Emerson just gave up on it. They all but gave the systems
away -- close-out sales galore -- and got out of gaming. The foreign companies
were apparently still being supplied by some other source(s) of games, since
they had many of the same games, after Emerson themselves quit.
I will be adding this info into various texts, for awhile, as I find
the time to. I want to get it into the upcoming Digital Press Guide
first, due to its looming deadline. I will add it into the
FAQ and the
Timeline as my free time permits.
The "foreign makers" of this game system are still a small
mystery. The FAQ contains a
quoted reference to Hanimex, as one company that pre-dated Emerson
Radio Corporation's involvement with this system. But that in itself
means little; it is conceivable that they too were just a licensee,
and not the system's originators?
The next question after that will have to be the involvement of "UA Limited".
They wrote most of the games for this system. Many of their
apparent original versions -- the ones deemed too illegal for U.S.
release -- ended up in the MPT-03 family system. But UA went on to release
ports of some Emerson system games, on the Atari 2600. Sounds like the system's
makers had a falling-out with UA in 1983?
|September 18, 2000
2500 visitors so far! Not bad, given the subject matter's overall obscurity!
My new day job is keeping me ridiculously busy. It may slow down a bit, soon.
Time will tell. But just so you know, I didn't forget this web site /
That combat cart should arrive soon. There were some mailing glitches, that
we hope will soon be overcome. More on that when it happens; hopefully soon?
I have confirmation from Matt Reichert that the cart "Fu&ball" (foreign
character set approximation) is just a name variation on "3D Soccer".
I have some more carts planned for archiving, relatively soon. One collector
is planning to send me a batch of them, when his latest purchases have arrived.
|September 5, 2000
The work on the DPCG book is almost over, except for fine-tuning it. It goes
to the printers, after the next few weeks worth of "beta-testing" by other
I've been pretty busy lately, and the site is suffering a little bit because
of it. Sorry! I had to find myself a new day job, which of course is
always so much fun. :-) I do have a new day job now, so in theory,
I'll have some hobby time to spare, once I adjust to my new schedule. (Or
not... I'll know fairly soon, either way!)
You may want to check out the
Archival Movement" web site. (Well, actually an eGroups discussion
forum, for the most part.) I've done some work there, this last weekend,
trying to help push some other classic gaming systems towards eventually
having them archived and emulated, too. I put up a long list of all the Bally
Astrocade carts and tapes, for one thing. And more....
|August 19, 2000
My first draft of the Emerson section of the upcoming Digital Press
Collectors Guide has been completed. It will be checked over soon by the
other DPCG authors, and revised as needed. If you want a partial "sneak peek"
you can at least check out the prices and rarity values I've assigned:
see the rarity list text.
|August 15, 2000
The web site's counter just registered 2000 visitors. Not too shabby,
considering the obscure nature of this gaming machine? I'm happy with it,
Not much new on this web site, in part because I'm busy working on the section
for the Emerson system, for the upcoming Collectors Guide version 6 by
Digital Press. Check out
their web site for all the
details on the upcoming guide.
|August 13, 2000
The combat cart is now in the mails, heading from Australia to California,
USA. When it arrives, I'll archive it and say so here. I have a few other
future offers of cart loans, once folks buy certain carts for their own personal
collections. More news as it happens. (It will be weeks, more than likely,
but stuff is happening.)
|August 4, 2000
Not really related to the Emerson system, but I'm gonna mention it anyway...
I just put up a sister site on
the ClassicGaming.com servers.
It is all about another early 1980's video game machine: the
Commodore VIC-20 home computer.
It has basically everything this site has, except for a different game
This web site has 1,800 visitors as of today. Not too shabby, considering?
|August 3, 2000
I just put the manual for this system
online. Thanks to Bran Handley for having scanned it in, so that everyone
could benefit from seeing it. (He did it over a year ago, but due to my having
been on a "no gaming break" it is just now
I just found out about the "Video Game Archival Movement". See the link
over on the
page if that group name sounds interesting to you.
|July 26, 2000
The loan is still "on" for Combat, another cart I want
to archive soon. It will be a little while, so please be patient. (Postage
from overseas and all.)
|July 25, 2000
Well, here it is... Space Squadron in downloadable form over
at The Vault. I want to
thank Matt Reichert
who loaned me his cart so that I could archive it!
You can also go to my links section for the only
emulator which exists for this system. It was never fully completed, but
it plays this game reasonably well. And I updated the various cartridge lists
over on the text sections while I was at
Thanks to Tom Zjaba
Times: we were awarded his "Site of the month" kudos
in the latest
(#35) edition. He said "The site is really impressive and for someone
to put this much work into such an obscure game system is a blessing for
all the fans!" Thanks! I certainly do appreciate those kind words.
|July 11, 2000
More good news, and I'm happy to be able to report it... I
just found out that a kind-hearted soul out there in Internet land is
willing to loan me a cart of "Space Squadron" for archiving purposes.
(Emerson's version of "Defender".) These things usually take days at least,
if not a week or more, due to mailing times, etc.
That is two more carts (counting "Combat") that
will soon be archived and publicly available. The
list of unarchived carts is steadily getting shorter!
The hit counter just went over 1,500 visitors. (It surprises even me, folks!)
All I can say is "thanks for stopping by" and I hope you have fun checking
the site out.
|July 6, 2000
This site is officially launched at its new home, on
"ClassicGaming.com". It was here
for a few days, in an unannounced state, but this is the official day
visitors began pouring in. ;-) At my old ISP, I had roughly 1,020
"hits" total, from a year plus. I had about 100 more
hits in one day, at my new home. Not bad?!
|July 3, 2000
Check out the "texts" section; I just uploaded a
brand new one. This is the first revision of an official
cartridge rarity / price list. (Practice for the upcoming DP Collector's
Guide version 6, basically.) No flamethrowers, please, but I do want to hear
from other collectors and get their input on this new list? Keep in mind
the limitations of the format -- a short text list -- when
Incidentally, there are only ten cartridges that have
not been archived, so far. Thirty have been archived, one will soon be
on loan for archiving purposes, and ten others have yet to be confirmed as
being non-vaporware products. Cool!?
|July 2, 2000
I am very pleased to announce that the New Zealand collector
that loaned me "Crazy Climber" for archiving purposes, has just
offered to loan me his latest finds, as well. He confirmed that "Combat"
does indeed exist. I'm not 100% sure what else he may have,
that we have not already digitally archived? More
news as it happens, but it looks like things are officially "back to normal"!
|June 30, 2000
I'm back! And this "Arcadia 2001" web site is back
as well. Coolness, eh?
In my time off, at my old ISP, this site had been viewed
by slightly more than 1000 people. Not bad, especially considering how
obscure this early 1980's gaming system is, even among modern
day retrogamers?! (And despite a year or so of the site going
without any updates at all!)
Now that I'm officially back from my gaming
break, a number of things are planned for the
future, both for my Emerson web site and my
Commodore VIC-20 site.
My free time is still rather limited, but things
should happen in regards to these gaming systems.... if not
constantly, at least often enough.
One of the things I'm proudest of is that
"ClassicGaming.com" has asked
me to put this web site alongside their other system-specific sites
on their retro-gaming network. (Thanks!) I am pleased
to be a part of their
family, so to speak.
has given me the space to do things I could have
never done, with my old ISP. Now that memory space is not
a big restriction, I can look forward to
posting pictures on a much more regular basis. I have a bunch
of them in my personal collection. Over time, I'll try to put them
all up here.
Another thing I am proud of
is that "Digital Press"
was kind enough to ask for my expertise, in regards to
their upcoming "Collector's
Guide". (Version 6 is due out in the late fall, per
their current plans. See the DP web site for all the details.)
My role in the upcoming guide is two-fold. DP has asked
me to create a brand new section which will discuss the
game cartridge library for the Commodore VIC-20 home computer
system. I agreed to do that. That is in progress now.
I also volunteered to take over the Emerson
Arcadia section of the guide. This means that all of the newly discovered
information on this site will soon become part of the retro-gaming
community's best known guide for game collectors. No offense meant to the
previous authors of that section -- whom I know and talk to from time
to time -- but I think fans of the system will be excited when they see the
huge, positive changes this section of the guide is going through.
Between all this and my personal life, obviously, I'm going
to be pretty busy for awhile! So please do not panic if this
web site does not get updated all that frequently. Worthwhile stuff
is happening, at least behind the scenes. :-)
|June 25, 1999
About this time, I had made the decision to take some time
off -- to avoid "burnout" by getting away from any and all
video games for awhile. I had been doing far too
much research, far too much archiving, and so on, over
the past five years. I did not regret doing it, but
I seriously needed a rest.
I announced on Usenet and in this news section, that this
site would soon be closing down, possibly forever. My old
Internet Service Provider (AOL) surprised me, however. They
left the site up and running, "as is", even though I was no
longer a member of their service. So really all that happened
was that the site did not get updated for a very long time!
|June 19, 1999
I just archived another ROM image. This was a very rare game called
"Auto Race". (Olivier Boisseau loaned me the original; much thanks!) This
one makes an even 30 ROM images that have now been archived for this game
To put that number in perspective, most collectors used to think that fewer
than that number were ever released; that 25 or so was all that was
ever made. We have more than that archived already! In addition
to the 30 that not only have been found somewhere, but
were digitally archived, there are another 10 titles that have
been confirmed to exist by collectors who own a copy of
the title. In addition to those, there are another 11
titles that we are less sure of. (See the
cartridge list to see what we know about all
the carts we've ever heard of.)
Olivier says Auto Race reminds him of the Intellivision's racing game.
As far as any of us know, this particular game was only released for the
MPT-03 family. In any case, only two collectors have said they had a
copy, so it is pretty rare!
Just a reminder... not all the available ROM images fully work on
the existing emulator. This is because
its author never "finished" the emulator. When he first wrote it, he only
had 11 carts to look at, and no system to test things on, etc. The fact
that these games play at all, is a testament to his code writing skills!
I for one am deeply impressed, and very grateful that he did what
|April 10, 1999
Made further additions and changes to the cartridge
list. (I seem to be on a roll, as far as figuring out what Emerson had
originally intended for this system.)
I think I have figured out the mystery of why there were two different
sizes of plastic cases for the Emerson family of carts. If my observations
are correct, the taller carts were intended to be used for arcade game
conversions, while the shorter ones were the non-arcade games; sports and
board games and so on. I do see that pattern, now that we know which games
were officially licensed and which games started out as being blatant copies
that were later "legalized". It is about 95% consistent. (There
are two sports titles made in taller cases.) My guess on this is that,
since the companies were worried about being sued
for copyright infringement lawsuits at some point they purposely confused
the issue to be able to deny certain games were based on other companies'
| April 9, 1999
Made some rather substantial updates to
the cartridge list, thanks to lots of new info supplied by others.
(Thanks mostly to Jurgen Mahlow and Joe Santulli!)
Also finalized the completely new version of
the Timeline text. (All the info we have to date, has been kicking
around in my brain.) Things make more sense now, and everything holds together
much, much better than the older versions.
| April 3, 1999
my free time has shrunk to nearly nothing at
the moment. I'm still interested in doing more things
for this system, but it won't be able to do as
much and/or as often
as I used to. Be understanding if I'm slow
I did manage to do
some updates to the cartridge
list earlier today.
|March 16, 1999
Even MORE info on those UA ports! Coolness. Please note that I said
"ports" -- as in more than one! Two others were found by Atari 2600 collectors
in 1998. Alexander Bilstein was kind enough to send me a DejaNews link.
(DejaNews' year-plus archives are temporarily off-line now. -- Ward,
| March 15, 1999
Got in more
info on "Cat Trax" ... we now know a bit more
about the origins of the ported Atari 2600 version of
that game. (The original ROM copy was found inside a European version
of the 2600 that had 128 games built into it. That still leaves us wondering
how it got there in the first place, obviously, and what its prior history
was, but we welcome any tidbit of info we can find.)
Now I can't help but cast a
suspicious eye towards some of the other lesser
known "pirate" type carts for the Atari 2600 sytem!
Fun to wonder about that? A number of pirate type 2600 carts
have similarities to Emerson 2001 games.
This "UA Limited" company is beginning to look like a very major player
in the fate of the Emerson system! (Any info anyone has on how
to get ahold of that company or the programmer "Choi Andrew" should
Jonathan Davidson's trademark research just paid off...
we now have more info on when exactly this sytem
was "officially born," for lack of better terminology. I will be
busy adding his info into the various
texts, for awhile to come.
| March 14, 1999
| March 1, 1999
|February 28, 1999
|February 27, 1999
Lots going on in the background! Bunches of "new" information is
coming in to help us flesh out what everyone knows
about this system. Check out this site's links
page, for other Emerson-related web sites. (This tiny
little community of retrogamers
and historians does not mind
sharing the info they have!)
|February 26, 1999
Revised the cartridge software list just a
little. "Crazy Climber" has been found in New Zealand, for the Grandstand
Videomaster "MPT-03" system.
| February 8, 1999
Uploaded two scans from documents I just got in. Both are probably "boring"
from a game collector's standpoint. These pictures
were uploaded so that the people who want to help us track down the current
copyright owners, can find them via searches on trademarks and such. This
is a step towards that goal.
| February 7, 1999
Made a brand new document, discussing the timeline
of events in the life of this system. Includes quite a few theories I
have, after having done lots of research in many different places, and having
tried to tie all of that information together. In the process I massively
updated the list of cartridges for this system.
| January 19, 1999
Making some updates to the site. Added new information to the FAQ, and
to the list of this system's names in various countries. Updated
the list of software now known to exist.
|December 21, 1998
Working on converting the previous FAQ text over to HTML. Working on how
it is organized, too; doing a complete rewrite of it. (All previous
contributors are still credited
in the latest version. I always try to give credit where it is due.)
December 20, 1998
- Contents -