item # ??? by Mego Corporation

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This was the original 2-XL, with the Tiger 2-XL being the successor. Whereas Tiger's version played cassette tape, the original used that great 70's technology: 8-track tapes. And forget about portable - 2-XL could only be used with an AC power adapter!

The tapes contained trivia, games, stories and added a unique and likable personality that was sure to entertain and educate any child (or adult, for that matter) for hours on end. The robot's creator, Michael J. Freeman, voiced the programs himself, giving the robot a New York accent. All in all, there were about fifty tapes released before being discontinued in 1981.

In a rare turn of events, I actually do have several of the 8-tracks that go with the Mego 2-XL - I just don't have the robot! Go figure. So if you'd like to donate (for free or reasonable cost) a robot, working or not (did I mention I'm an electronics technician?) with or without tapes, by all means, please let me know.

I was able to locate a defective bot on eBay and have successfully revived him. I had the rebuild/strengthen the tape head mount, clean and regrease the mechanism and realign everything. He is now up and running entertaining us with his apparent wealth of knowledge.

   How It Works
First, a little background on 8-track tapes in general. On a standard tape, there are four "tracks" of audio running the entire length of the tape. Imagine a four lane highway. Each lane would contain a different audio program. The head (an electro-magnet pickup) starts reading audio off the top track. Once the track had been played through to the end, a small piece of metal tape would bridge the gap of two contacts and complete a circuit. This would cause the head to drop down one position to begin reading the next track. This process is continued until the end of the fourth and final track, at which point, the head would return to the top and start the process all over again. You couldn't fast-forward or rewind like you could with cassettes. The only control you had was a button that would change tracks. Each time you pressed the button, the head would drop down one track, or return to track one if it was already on the last track.

Now when you'd play a 2-XL tape, the program would start on track 1, just like a standard tape. 2-XL would then introduce himself, tell a joke or two and ask questions. Depending on your answer, you would press one of the four Answer buttons - A, B, C or D. Pressing A would bring the head back to track 1. B would take the head to track 2, C to track 3 and D to track 4. So let's say you had just started and 2-XL had asked you a question. You answer C, so you press that button. The head would then jump from track 1, where it currently is, directly to track 3 - skipping track 2 - and continue from there. As you can see, in reality, each Answer button is actually just a Track Change button. Only instead of just going to the next track, you are telling the machine which track you would like to jump to. With a little planning and a few tricks, the tapes creators were able to create an effect very close to intelligence. I know how it works and I am still amazed!

Well, I hope that was as clear to you as it was in my head. You can probably tell I am not a teacher, so if you need any further clarification, feel free to contact me.

Year Released: 1978
Original Price: $65

Technical Specifications:
Power Supply:
   9vdc 300mA "tip positive" wall-wart transformer

Dimensions: 11½" tall x 8½" wide
Weight: 3 lbs