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Arcadia-2001

Released in 1982, the Arcadia 2001 was produced by Emerson, a manufacturer of budget-friendly consumer electronics. Originally selling for $200, the system was quickly reduced to $100. It was a small unit, even smaller than the Intellivision II. It contains 28K of RAM (Random Access Memory), but most of the game cartridges use only 8K. Two input ports are on the back of the unit, though no peripheral was ever produced or even announced for the system. The two controllers, apparently patterned after the Intellivision’s joypads, have bubble keypads and come with little joysticks that can be screwed into the control discs. Each controller has two fire buttons—one on each side. All 22 U.S.-released games available for the system were published and developed by Emerson, meaning third-party support was nonexistent. The cartridges, most of which came with plastic keypad overlays, were produced in two sizes; some were similar to standard Atari 2600 carts while others were quite a bit longer. The Arcadia 2001 was technologically superior to the Atari 2600, but it lacked popularity of the famous Atari system. Also, its system specs were weak in comparison to the ColecoVision and the Atari 5200, both of which were released the same year. One thing that did set the system apart was its 12-volt power supply, which meant that the system was semi-portable. You could hook it up batteries used in boats and campers and the battery pack found in most portable television sets. Some of the better games in the Arcadia 2001 library include Jungler, Spiders, and Peiades, each based on a coin-op classic. Space Vultures (a Phoenix clone), Space Attack (a Space Invaders clone), and Star Chess (an early battle chess game) are also worth mentioning. The system lasted only two years.

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