Sunday, March 11, 2018

[YouTube] 2-XL

2-XL is an electronic toy from Mego Corp. first released in 1978. Designed to look like a robot, the toy speaks and interacts with users by reading 8-track tapes. One tape was included with the robot, which I believe was "General Information," and a variety of others were sold separately. You can see in the box and toy side-by-side photo below that that my 2-XL doesn't match the box image exactly, namely the eyes. I've got the second version of the toy that released in 1980, though they obviously didn't update the packaging. There is a price tag on the top of my box that indicates it retailed for $69.99.

2-XL box (1978) and toy (1980).

Although it may appear to be just for kids, there are many tapes for all ages and some that might only appeal to adults, such as "50's and 60's Nostalgia" and "TV and Movie Challenges." In most cases the tapes include questions that can be answered using the buttons on the face of the toy. Some tapes do require users to follow along in a tape's instruction manual, use a pen and paper to solve problems, or complete activities in the manual. 2-XL often spouts jokes and makes humorous comments in between questions or while waiting for answers.

Answer panel and "Talking Calculator" tape.

Mego Corp. stopped making the toy in 1981 and would declare backruptcy in 1982 before going out of business in 1983. Tiger Electronics re-introduced 2-XL in 1992 with a modern look. Of course, 8-track tapes were a thing of the past at that point, replaced by cassette tapes in the music industry and that's also what the 1990's version of the toy uses. If you were a kid in the early '90s you might even remember seeing 2-XL on a television show called Pick Your Brain that was hosted by Marc Summers. The show featured a large version of the robot and was voiced by Greg Berg; the original toy was voiced by its inventor, Michael J. Freeman.

A 2-XL ad from Toys "R" Us (1992).

I've got a bunch of photos of my 1980 toy and scans of the few documents I still have. Also, since I opened it up to see if I could improve the sound I took a couple photos of what the inside of the toy looks like.




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