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:
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.
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
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
Dimensions: 11½" tall x 8½" wide