Latest news
Written by Ward Shrake

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 out now.
  • 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, hidden-till-now history.
  • 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 long!)
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 "". 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 Arcadia 2001 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 the message 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 up on....
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 message board 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 for years.
  • That message 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!)
  • The message 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 just updated.
  • There are new cart and console lists up on the TEXT section.
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 was!
  • The links section got an update... be sure to check that out.
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 the guide. 
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 very welcome.
  • 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.
    • Obscure Pixels: 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 group.
    • Retro Rene's Gaming Corner
      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 2001 Museum
      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.
    • 8-bit Rot
      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 "Compatibility 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, since 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. (For 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 other sources. 
  • 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 Digital Press.
  • Lest I make myself sound like a miscreant of some sort, allow me to balance the record out with some 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 section, lately.
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 four".
  • 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" and "Parashooter"!
  • 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 mailing deal.
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 DPCG
  • 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 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 28, 2001
  • I am curious about something, and would like to get some feedback from you readers about it? Basically, would anyone want to have a service available where a guy like me would take a common Emerson (or MPT-03) cartridge, and put a new EPROM in it, with one of the harder-to-find games programmed into it? If people were willing to pay enough to make it worth my while, I could even make up new labels for these carts. (Keeping in mind that I would mark the new carts as reproductions for ethical reasons.) Randy Crihfield offers a similar service for the Atari 2600, and Michael White (no current I'net connection) does it for the Bally Astrocade. Would this be worthwhile to offer for fans of the Arcadia?
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 "Multicart FAQ" to clarify things more precisely.
September 17, 2001
  • The "Multicart FAQ" is now in HTML format. (Direct URL address is here.) I added a timeline / news section to it, to keep people informed of my progress.
August 18, 2001
  • The first steps towards a "Multicart FAQ" have been taken.
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.
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 It 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 by!
July 22, 2001
  • Matt Reichert sent me this link, which may interest some of you out there?
    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 software library.
  • 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 it.
  • 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 Astrocade, too.
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 manual.
    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 version of the 2650 microprocessor's info is available on the Wiretap arcade site.
  • 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 website: ...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 straightened out?
June 6, 2001
  • (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 Paul 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 technical text 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 that 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 emulator.
    (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. Donations welcome.
  • 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
  • Movie stuff 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 on 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 this one.
  • 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 pics.
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 around?)
  • 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?
  • I welcome 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 for. (Sorry!)
  • 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 to date.
    (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.) Any comments?
  • 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 on it....
November 17, 2000
  • Alright... we just hit the "3,500 visitors" mark! Thanks for dropping by, folks!
  • 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 "" site to look at.
  • 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 as well.
  • 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 list. :-)
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 emphasis.)
  • 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 / subject matter.
  • 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 authors.
  • 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 "Video Game 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, anyway.  ;-)
  • 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 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 system. Enjoy!
  • 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 available.)
  • I just found out about the "Video Game Archival Movement". See the link over on the Cyberpunks web 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 it.
  • Thanks to Tom Zjaba of Retrogaming 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 "". 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 sending me comments.
  • 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 "" 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 system.
  • 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 he did.
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' arcade titles.
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
  • Unfortunately, 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 to respond!
  • 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, June 2000)
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 let us know, please!)
  • 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

  • This web site is born. Nothing much new to report at this point.   ;-)  The site is still fairly rough in appearance and function. It will improve with age.