This web page is dedicated to 2XL. It is in no way associated with the manufacturer of said toy nor is any of the information found on this site necessarily correct. If you can't find the answer to one of your questions, or wish to add to this site, simply click on the 'submit' graphic above and send us some e-mail.

Out fixation with 2XL formed when Andy brought his 2XL to college with him one semester, and we spent many, many hours playing with it and figuring out how it worked. "We" in this case consists of Andy (the owner of the 2XL unit featured here), Dave (the techno-guy who knows everything) and Jeff (the web site curator).

The web site itself has developed a loyal following and Cyrus has contributed some new .wav files for everyone to hear.  Keep sending that feedback and we'll keep adding to the site...

NOW READ ON!


What is a 2XL?
How do 8-tracks work?
How does 2XL work based on 8-track technology?
Can 2XL play my huge collection of regular 8-tracks?
What is the correct voltage power adapter for plugging in 2XL without frying his circuits?
What are some people's opinions of 2XL?
Where can I buy my very own 2XL?
Are there any bands named after 2XL?
IS 2XL a life form?
What other related toys might be considered life forms?
Who does 2XL look like if I put a fishing hat and black glasses on him?
What are other people saying about this web site?
What are some other 2XL-related web sites?

 

Q: What is a 2XL?
A: 2XL is an 8-track based toy thing which
allows its user to answer questions via
buttons on its front. MORE TO COME!



From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Friday, November 07, 1997 11:04 PM

Anyhow, some more info for the page: 2XL was imported by a company called
the Mego Corporation in New York, NY from the Republic of China. The mfg.
date on Andy's unit is 1978. As an added bonus, Andy's daughter Arwen has
already learned how to say "2XL" in her own special way (which pretty much
consists of omitting the "2").

 

Q: How do 8-tracks work?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 10:40 PM

8 track was actually 4 stereo programs on one loop cassette which was
modeled after the professional audio cart machine. Pressing "program" would
physically move the audio head up one set of tracks, allowing you to listen
to any one of the 4 segments on the tape. At the end/beginning of the tape,
there was a short metal strip which the deck would sense in order to
automatically advance to the next track at the end of one track (to avoid
playing the same track over and over again). Cueing was next to impossible,
and while a relatively slow "fast forward" function was possible on some
decks, "rewind" was impossible due to the way the tape looped inside the
cassette. Fidelity was pretty bad, and head misalignment was a frequent
problem due to it moving around all the time. It's kinda like the older
auto-reverse cassette decks which actually flipped the head around to play
side 2, rather than just using a 4-track stationary head as they do now.

 

Q: How does 2XL work based on 8-track technology?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 10:40 PM

2XL worked by asking a question which you answered by advancing it to a
certain program on the tape. He actually had 4 different buttons, where
each one would send the head directly to the corresponding track (as opposed
to a single button which would just advance forward by one track). For
example, if the question was on one track, two or three answer options would
send you to other tracks. You would select your answer with the appropriate
track button and depending on what you answered, he would tell you if you
were right or wrong. With clever recording methods and some planning, you
could keep a reasonably continuous stream of questions and answers going.

I remember sometimes, however, 2XL would have to stop and "think" for awhile,
or he would just tell you to press a certain button (without asking a
question) in order to sync himself back up with the answers and other
questions again. As I'm sure you remember, it was quite humorous to answer
wrong on purpose just to see what he would say. There were quite a few ways
you could get through the tape.

I recently saw that 2XL is still available in a standard cassette form now.
It probably uses the same basic technology, since cassettes really have 4
tracks as well. The newer version is probably more reliable and solid-state
rather than the KERCHUNK of the 8-track head moving around when you answered.
I don't know, however, if they still use the ridiculous Japanese/New
Jersian voiced man or the horribly fake-sounding "thinking beeps".



From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 8:16 PM

Update!

When I spoke to Andy last night, he reminded me that 2XL's tapes had two
levels of difficulty or sometimes two entire programs which you chose when
you put in the cassette. This may be how 2XL took advantage of the other 4
tracks... 4 for beginner level course, and 4 for advanced. Or 4 for program
1 and 4 for program 2.

That's probably way more than you ever wanted to know about 8-tracks and 2XL.
Sorry for my rambling...

 

Q: Can 2XL play my huge collection of regular 8-tracks?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 8:16 PM

Andy also said that he remembers that 2XL would play music (i.e. regular
music 8-tracks). He said it was one of the "features" listed on the box.

 

Q: What is the correct voltage power adapter for plugging in 2XL without frying his circuits?

More specifically, here's some of the questions asked:

From: Gordon Nelson <serrog@earthlink.net>
Date: Wednesday, October 14, 1998 11:45 PM

I have recently found an 8 track 2XL robots and he did not have a power
adapter. Do you know the correct voltage power adapter for plugging in
2XL without frying his circuits?

Thank you,
Gordon Nelson

p.s. Your web page is fantastic-among the best I have seen!


From: Ben Hills <ben@imperial.co.uk>
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 3:14 AM

Hi,

I have recently been reunited with my 2XL that I used to spend hours
playing with as a child. My parents are sorting out of my old
toys and I am now having to find homes for them all including the
2XL.

The 2XL and two tapes have survived well, but the power supply gave
up years ago. I can use one of the many DC power adaptors I already
have, but there is no information on the 2XL to indicates what
voltage it requires or which part of the adaptor plug is positive
and which part is negative.

I would be very grateful if you could give me the answers to my
questions so that I can bring my 2XL back to life and spend an
hour or two reliving my child-hood.

Keep up the good work with the 2XL Home Page. :-)

Thanks.

Regards,
Ben Hills.

A: From: Dave Lennie <wdln@iaonline.com>
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 10:59 PM

The connector on the back is indeed for power. I modified the 2XL that Andy
had to include an audio output jack so that we could hook him up to the
stereo, but that's only if you want to annoy the neighbors. He runs at
around 7.5 volts DC through that jack at something around 300mA, and as I
recall the tip of the 1/8" connector is positive and the ring is negative.

Rat Shack sells an adapter capable of producing many DC voltages and it
comes with several different kinds of plugs, including the one 2XL requires.
I would suggest using that, CAT #273-1662. If you REALLY want to be sure
on the polarity of the plug (I'm not sure what would happen if you hooked
him up backwards) you can pop him open with a philips screwdriver and look.
The side that is the ground goes to many different grounding points, whereas
the hot side goes straight to the circuit board. I figured out the voltage
by slowly cranking up a variable DC power supply until he seemed to be
working correctly. 7.5 seems to be the magic number.

 

Q: What are some people's opinions of 2XL?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Friday, October 24, 1997 10:40 PM

I could never quite decide if 2XL was an ingenious inexpensive learning tool
or a pathetic attempt at one. I'm inclined to think the latter, but had the
voice and questions been better written and executed, it might not have been
so bad.

 

Q: Where can I buy my very own 2XL?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 11:42 PM

If you're interested in purchasing your own 2XL, go here:

http://www.dantiques.com/toys.htm


From: Peter Golkin <pgolkin@juno.com>
Sent: Friday, September 25, 1998 6:19 AM

I recently found a motherlode of 2-XL game tapes, all in very good
condition except for the inevitable pad rot. No accompanying booklets or
anything, unfortunately.

I'm hoping to unload the batch in one single deal and, in the best of all
possible worlds, I was hoping to trade for a nice PORTABLE 8-track stereo
player. But maybe good ol' cash will do.

Anyway, here's the list. Let me know if you're interested.

2-XL tape list.............. (in no particular order):

Science Fiction (1978)
Science Fiction II (1979)
Wonders of the World (1979)
General Information II (1978)
General Information III (1978)
Math and Number Games (1979)
Strange But Is It True (1979)
The Basics of ABC's (1978)
Talking Calculator and Number Game (1979)
Exercise With 2-XL (1979)
Animal World (1978)
Who Said It (1979)
Games & Puzzles, Number 1 (1978)
Astronomy/2-XL in Space (1978)
Storyland:2-XL & the Time Machine (1978)
"Guinness Book of World Records" (1978)
Sports (1978)
Super Heroes and Comic Books Cavalcade (1979)
Interviews with great people from history (1978)
Believe this or not (1978)
TV and Movie Challenges (1979)
Monsters, Myths & Legends (1978)
50's and 60's Nostalgia (1978)
Fairy Tale Quiz (1979)
Adult-Games and Puzzles (1978) - "A dynamite maze of challenging
brainteasers for adults to sharpen and tickle your funny bone. Test your
logic and ingenuity -- 2-XL has some real stumpers -- for adults."
Tid Bits and Funny Facts (1979)
Pre-School Facts and Fantasies (1979)
2-XL TRI-LEX, THE GAME YOU PLAY WITH 2-XL (1979)

 

Q: Are there any bands named after 2XL?
A: From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 1997 11:26 PM

You'll be happy to know that there's a band named 2XL. There's a pretty
uninformative web page chocked full of grammatical errors at:

http://members.aol.com/Band2xl/2XL.html

These guys look like total mega-dorks. I tried to listen to some music via
a realaudio link offered on the page but got an error. Figures.

I don't think they were named after the plastic 8-track japanese new jersian
robot, though.



From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 1998 6:34 AM

2XL mailed me back!
of course, they misspelled "excel". big surprise there.

------- FORWARD, Original message follows -------
From: Band2XL \ America On-Line
Date: Thursday, 15-Jan-98 02:44 PM

Our Name Does not have anything to do with the toy although it has been
brought to my attention before by variuos other people that had or knew
about the toy... 2XL =( To Ex-cell )
------- FORWARD, End of original message -------

 

Q: IS 2XL a life form?
A: That depends on who you talk to.

Dave sez yes, but Jeff and Andy disagree.

 

Q: What other related toys might be considered life forms?
A: One example is Armatron:

From: Dave Lennie [wdln@iaonline.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 1997 8:16 PM

I still have the Armatron at my parents house. I should probably get it and
remove the batteries, as they may have already exploded inside it.

FUEL CELLS LEAKING MUST REMOVE IMMEDIATELY

that would be what you guys would tell me that it wrote on the wall of the
basement.

 

Q: Who does 2XL look like if I put a fishing hat and black glasses on him?
A: From: Andy Boyer [furthur@dpc.net]
Sent: Monday, November 03, 1997 7:27 PM

Did you know 2XL looks just like Woody Allen if you put a fishing hat and
black glasses on him? I've seen it for myself.

 

Q: What are other people saying about this web site?
A: From: xentex@ica.net
Sent: Monday, August 03, 1998 6:28 PM
Subject: 2XL

Hi there,

I too was crazy about 2XL and all its sound effects as a child. Two
decades later, after cleaning out my basement, I brought mine back to
life and this time began playing with it from the "How'd they do that"
perspective too. Not really expecting anything, I entered 2XL into Yahoo
just for the heck of it, and was surprised when I found your website.

My compliments to all three of you. Your explanations,
pictures, and sounds were great!

To your point "I could never quite decide if 2XL was an ingenious
inexpensive learning tool or a pathetic attempt at one." My guess is
that two decades from now, today's 10 year olds will be reminiscing
about how cheesy Microsoft's "purple puppet robot Barney" was.

Thanx for bringing back childhood memories guys.
Hope to hear from you,

Cyrus (Toronto, Canada)

From: Laura270@aol.com
Date: Monday, February 22, 1999 5:19 PM
Subject: I'm not the only one with a 2XL???

I can't believe this! You mean, my sister and I aren't the only ones who grew
up with a 2XL? None of my friends have ever heard of him/it/whatever - they
think I'm crazy when I describe the cute little 8-track playing robot.
So, I'm cleaning out my closet the other day, and there it is, sitting in a
box with all my tapes (none of the booklets, of course) and I just had to plug
it in and give it a try. I'm glad to report it still works perfectly and I
still think it's one of the best toys ever. On a whim, I entered "2XL" on
Netfind, and I found your site. Very cool! Thanks for making me feel slightly
less crazy - it's good to know there are others like me out there! How sick is
it that we use this powerful tool of limitless information to reminisce about
a cheesy 70's robot?
Laura


From: James Cassidy [James.Cassidy@atx.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 9:51 AM
To: Jeff Laird

Yo man...I can't believe I found this site. I as cleaning my basement last week
and awakened my little buddy from his extended slumber. I popped in Super
Heroes and Comic Book Cavalcade, and the next three hours were spent
re-learning about traffic safety, Big Foot, and listening to a fascinating interview
with Abe Lincoln. ROCK ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Q: What are some other 2XL-related web sites?
A: From: Andrew Boyer <AndrewBoyer@AFFINA.com>
Date: Friday, February 19, 1999 1:12 PM

Here is another web page about our friend, 2-XL. It has some info we could
steal, such as the name of the inventor (who also does the Voice!):

http://www.joysjapanimation.com/Fer/2xl/index.html

Andy


Here are some pictures of and by 2XL. Click on the thumbnail of the picture to see it in full, living color!

Here are some pictures drawn by Armatron, friend of 2XL. Click on the thumbnail of the picture to see it in full, living color!

Note: No, these really have nothing to do with 2XL, excepting that Andy and Jeff believe that 2XL and Armatron conspired to create these drawings. Dave DOES NOT believe that these drawings were created by Armatron, nor does he particularly like it when you bring the subject up.


Here are some sounds for you to listen to or download. These are WAY cool and make great Windows event sounds!

Note from Dave: "I think the best ones are 'question' and 'answer'. They are an actual question and corresponding answer from the 'Strange But Is It True' cartridge. It's one of those great ones where you answer correctly but he decides not to give you credit through some kind of made-up loophole. In most of the clips, you can hear what sounds like a chorus of 2XL's all babbling about different things in the background. This is a testament to how truly crappy 8-track technology is and how much crosstalk exists between tracks. At times there is so much noise that it's almost difficult to hear the track you're trying to listen to."

If you have problems, e-mail 2XL@pickletreats.com

Note from Cyrus: "I've spliced together a few sound 'collages' from various tapes...8-track quality control being what it was back in the late 70's, I guess I lucked out - mine never had crosstalk noise problems."


This page was last modified on: 04/08/09

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