An Oral History of the RCA Studio II Console
Sometimes, oral history makes up for a shortfall in the archival record, or adds depth and greater context to existing archival records. RCA had many short-lived projects in the 1960s and 1970s which aren’t as well documented as some of their other developments.
Kevin Bunch is a writer and communications specialist for the International Joint Commission and an independent researcher of video game history, centered his research at Hagley on RCA in the 1970s. In 1977 RCA released their own home video game console, the RCA Studio II. The device, which played games in black and white, had five built-in games and 11 cartridges released over the course of it’s short life- it was discontinued in 1978. Bunch interviewed several members of the Studio II development team, as well as developers who worked on RCAs other endeavors including some 1960s arcade machines, and a short-lived virtual reality project in the 1990s. Bunch’s interviews included one with Joyce Weisbecker, an independent game developer and the daughter of Joseph Weisbecker who developed the 1802 chip which powered the Studio II console. Bunch is currently working on a book about the history of RCA and videogames and the interviews he conducted for this project will become a part of Hagley’s digital archives on publication.
In support of his research Liebman received funding from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society at the Hagley Museum & Library.
The audio only version of this program is available on our podcast.