Mego 2-XL Robot (partially found series of 8-track edutainment games; 1978-1981)
An advertisement showing the Mego 2-XL robot, several tapes, and a few of the board games that were released for it.
Status: Partially Found
The original Mego 2-XL was a children’s educational toy invented by Dr. Michael J. Freeman and released by Mego Corporation in 1978. The 2-XL was based on the educational robot known as Leachim, which Freeman had created for his wife Gail’s Bronx classroom.
Leachim was six feet tall and contained a database full of trivia questions, which could be answered by pressing buttons on its chest. Leachim would then give feedback on the student’s answer via the recorded voice of Dr. Freeman himself. Leachim served in the classroom from 1972 to 1975, by which point Dr. Freeman decided to work on a miniaturized version called “Little Leachim” and pitch it to Mego. This became the 2-XL.
The 2-XL worked by using standard 8-track tapes to hold the questions and feedback. As with Leachim, Dr. Freeman provided his voice. As with all 8-track tapes, the content was laid out into four different programs across the width of the tape. As the tape played, 2-XL would ask a question, and the player would need to press one of four buttons to respond. This switched between the different programs, which would contain responses to the different possible answers. In this way, the 2-XL “knew” what answer the player gave and could “respond” accordingly.
The tapes were produced between 1978 and 1981, with Mego Corporation collapsing in 1983. A completely different version of 2-XL using standard compact cassette tapes was released in 1992 by Tiger.
Preservation[edit | edit source]
Most of the known releases are from the United States, as 2-XL fan-sites have compiled surviving magazine advertisements and mail-order forms. These show at least 45 confirmed tapes, a single planned tape that has been confirmed unproduced, and a selection of 18 with their release status unknown. However, there were also at least four Spanish-language tapes released in Mexico by Ensueño Electronica and at least one French-language tape released in Canada by Grand Toys Ltd.
United States Releases[edit | edit source]
Regular U.S. Titles[edit | edit source]
|Title||Audio Status||Year of Release||Description (taken from cartridge label)||Instruction/Game Booklet Status||Button relabel card status||Game Board Status|
|50’s and 60’s Nostalgia||Found||1978||2-XL turns back the clock to the fabulous fifties and sixties as he tests your knowledge of intriguing trivia. Elvis, the Beatles, the Brooklyn Dodgers and Gunsmoke, to name a few. Recommended for ages 16 to adult.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Adult Games & Puzzles||Found||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||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Amazing Sports Feats||Found||1981||Share with 2-XL a journey into the most incredible sports feats of all times covering everything from hockey to juggling...||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Amazing World of the Small||Found||1981||How many creatures are alive right now on your body? What was the shortest war of all time? Will alcohol make a scorpion go mad and sting itself to death? Did you know that a doctor’s “small” mistake killed George Washington...||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Animal World||Found||1978||Discover the exciting world of the Animal Kingdom: Animals that hear with their tongues, birds that fly faster than jets, and a jungle of animal world records for hours of family enjoyment.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Astronomy / 2-XL in space||Found||1978||For a first-hand look at the planets, stars, and galaxies, be 2-XL’s ground advisor through the amazing world of outer space.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|The Basics of ABCs||Found||1978||A surprise package full of educational games and puzzles for pre-school kids to open with the help of 2-XL. Reading, writing, and fun with numbers plus questions about our world. Recommended for children 4-8 years.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Believe This or Not||Found||1978||Outlandish individuals, stranger-than-fiction feats and weird biological wonders. It is a mind-boggler-a-minute when 2-XL researches trivia.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Bet Your Life||Found||1981||The stakes are high as 2-XL challenges you to pit your brain against his in areas that are made up or quite real. It’s up to you to decide. DO sharks prefer men to Women? Do animals cough? Do people begin to shrink at 30?...||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Challenges of General Science||Found||1981||This program explores the fascinating world of Earth science, astronomy, chemistry, and simple physics. Magnetism, Volcanos, Eclipses, and Weather are just a few areas 2-XL introduces and explains in his own special way.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Exercise with 2-XL||Found||1979||2-XL asks questions and gives information about health, diet, and the human body. In addition, he puts you in shape with 40 minutes of exercise to disco music. He even sings a song. A lively, exciting program that can be used each day to accompany you as you keep in shape.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Fairy Tale Quiz||Found||1979||Pre-schoolers and early school children will have a ball hearing 2-XL recite fairy tales, ask questions, and tell jokes. The fun really begins when unexpected guests drop in to ask questions, try riddles and give information.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Games & Puzzles Number 1||Found||1978||A tape of funny and challenging games and puzzles for the entire family, complete with a gamebook. Various levels of difficulty. Great for parties on those rainy days.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|General Information (First Edition)||Found||1978||N/A.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|General Information II||Found||1978||Questions, jokes, riddles; on sports, world’s records, science fiction. Every subject you can think of for the entire family.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|General Information III||Found||1978||Funny facts, sad facts, surprising facts. 2-XL pops the questions on everything. This tape is #3 in the general information series.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|General Information (Second Edition)||Found||1981||This was a re-release of the original General Information tape, which looks identical on the outside. Many questions are re-used, but some new portions, such as an interview with Benjamin Franklin, are added.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Guinness Book of World Records||Found||1978||What was the longest frankfurter ever made? Who was the shortest woman who ever lived? What is the world’s hopscotch record? Hundreds of challenging questions from the “Guinness Book of World Records” for hours of fun.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Interviews With Great People From History||Found||1978||Alexander the Great, Daniel Boone. Let 2-XL introduce you to great personalities of history in the most fascinating “Talk Show” ever.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Math and Number Games||Found||1979||An educational revolution! Now 2-XL can help build children’s math I.Q. 2-XL is the professor as he tests your answers against his “computer” brain. Math has never been so much fun.||Found||Found||N/A|
|Mego Demonstration Program||Found||1978||This rare tape was not sold to the public. Instead, it was used for floor demonstration units in toy stores.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Metric System / Education||Found||1978||2-XL introduces your family to the Metric System. In his own special way, 2-XL “educates” and amuses as he translates the metric system into “English.” A must tape for all members of the family before those speedometers change from miles to kilometres and square yards change to square meters.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Monsters, Myths, and Legends||Found||1978||On the trail of Bigfoot, Dracula, and Frankenstein, 2-XL encounters the scariest monsters of all time. It’s spine-tingling adventures ahead in out Ghostly Gallery of Myths and Legends.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Pre-School Bed Time Stories||Found||1981||A triple length program of stories, music, sounds, and excitement as 2-XL...||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Pre-School Facts and Fantasies||Found||1979||It’s storytime and learning time in one when 2-XL spins best’ loved fairytales for kids plus fascinating facts about the world they live in. A Pre-School Educational Masterpiece. Ages 4-8.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Psychoanalysis||Unproduced||N/A||This tape was featured in lists from 1979, but it has been confirmed to have never been produced.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Reading, Writing and Arithmetic||Found||1978||A circus of exciting learning games and quizzes. Test your skills with 2-XL...||Lost||N/A||N/A|
|Robotrivia (two tape set)||First Tape Found Second Tape Partially Lost (Missing 15 seconds between 14:26 and 14:41 on program 2)||1980||This was a two-tape set that came with a board game that you could play with 2-XL.||N/A||Found||Found|
|Robotstronomy (two tape set)||First Tape Found Second Tape Found||1980||This was a two-tape set that came with a board game that you could play with 2-XL.||N/A||Found||Found|
|Science Fiction||Found||1978||For science fiction superhero lovers. Includes jokes, facts on fictional characters, superheroes, and famous science fiction characters.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Science Fiction II (Rev A)||Found||1979||A quiz show on science fiction trivia of every sort! Test your expertise with the talking robot.
The Revision A is just a placeholder, as it is unclear which version came out first. There are a few small differences between the two revisions. First, on question #25 on Program 1, revision A asks what the name of the smart necklace-like robots from Buck Rogers is. The choices are A) Doctor Theo or B) Robby the Robot. In revision B, this question is changed to ask about who the leader of the Cylons is. Also, in question #26 on Program 1, revision A asks if Superman was the most expensive movie ever made. In revision B, it asks if Star Wars was the most expensive movie ever made. Most other questions are identical, as the difference between the two revisions are quite minor.
|Science Fiction II (Rev B)||Found||1979||A quiz show on science fiction trivia of every sort! Test your expertise with the talking robot.
The Revision B is just a placeholder, as it is unclear which version came out first. There are a few small differences between the two revisions. First, on question #25 on Program 1, revision A asks what the name of the smart necklace-like robots from Buck Rogers is. The choices are A) Doctor Theo or B) Robby the Robot. In revision B, this question is changed to ask about who the leader of the Cylons is. Also, in question #26 on Program 1, revision A asks if Superman was the most expensive movie ever made. In revision B, it asks if Star Wars was the most expensive movie ever made. Most other questions are identical, as the difference between the two revisions are quite minor.
|Sports||Found||1978||For the sports fans in the family, 2-XL sports tape is programmed with exciting questions, jokes, riddles on all sports: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, water sports etc. Test your knowledge against the coach, “Uncle Brainy.”||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Sports II||Found||1978||2-XL is your coach for an all-sports tournament of intriguing questions from baseball to football and even the Olympics.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Storyland||Found||1978||Down Riddle Street and Monster Street, follow 2-XL on a magical trip through Storyland. Meet exciting characters like the Riddle Monster --- and a new challenge at every turn! Recommended age 9 and younger||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Storyland: 2XL and the Time Machine||Found||1978||2-XL’s fate is in your hands when he rides the time machine. Launch 2-XL into the present, past or future with the press of a button… and become the writer of your own exciting story!||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Strange But Is It True||Found||1979||Do hummingbirds really hum? Did William Tell actually exist? Do the north and south poles ever reverse? Is there an animal that makes no sound at all? Let 2-XL introduce you to the exciting world of the strange and fascinating.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Super Heroes and Comic Books Cavalcade||Found||1979||A comic strip parade of favourite… Superman, Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman and Robin! Follow 2-XL to amazing action thrills when the world’s greatest Super Heroes meet.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|”Talking Calculator” and Number Game||Partially Lost (Missing 10 seconds between 5:05 and 5:15 on program 3)||1979||A program to teach, test, and review the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of numbers. As long as you can add 2 + 2, 2-XL will come up with numbers and also “calculate” the answers. By the press of a button, you decide how difficult this program should be. Math skills have never been so much fun. For children 4 to 9 years old.||Found||Found||N/A|
|Tid Bits and Funny Facts||Found||1979||The world of trivia and funny facts has never been so interesting. Do all animals sneeze? Did Delilah really cut Samson’s hair? Is the ability to spell a sign of intelligence? Why does India ink come from China? What are the odds of finding a pearl in an oyster? Turn on 2-XL, and he will turn you on to these and many other little known facts.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Traffic & Bicycle Safety||Found||1978||This program is a must for parents who want to teach their children the basics of bicycle riding safety, traffic safety, and highway safety...||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Tri-Lex||Found||1979||This tape was used with a board game that you could play with 2-XL. Each game appears to last about 5 minutes, with 4 games used to fill the standard 20-minute track length. While all other 8-track tapes have only one metallic splice for switching tracks, this tape has a very strange configuration in which multiple splices are used at the end of each game. This is used because if a game ends early, 2-XL instructs the player to turn their audio down to zero until the next game begins, as any other audio in that game is irrelevant. This prevents the player from hearing the end-of-game music as well. However, the extra splice results in the player switching tracks with an audible mechanical "thunk," which is used to signal the start of a new game.||Found||Found||Found|
|TV and Movie Challenges||Found||1978||2-XL puts you center-stage as you test your knowledge of the Television & Movie Screen. Enjoy nostalgic question-and-answer challenges on everything from movie history to TV’s brightest stars! Ages 11-Adult.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|US Presidents and American History||Found||1978||Throughout the corridors of American History, you’ll visit the people and places that make our country great. President Lincoln consents to an interview; now, American History has never been so much fun with 2-XL reliving our heritage.||Found||N/A||N/A|
|Who Said It (Rev 1)||Lost||1979||Let 2-XL challenge your knowledge of some of the greatest quotes in history. Some (given in the actual voices of the people who said them) will astound your imagination. “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.” “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” “Take My Wife, Please.” “Winning Isn’t Everything --- It’s the Only Thing.” “Remember the Alamo.” A challenging program for everyone.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Who Said It (Rev 2)||Found||1979||Let 2-XL challenge your knowledge of some of the greatest quotes in history. Some (given in the actual voices of the people who said them) will astound your imagination. “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine.” “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” “Take My Wife, Please.” “Winning Isn’t Everything --- It’s the Only Thing.” “Remember the Alamo.” A challenging program for everyone.
Note: The second revision contains a correction to one of the questions. At around 4:15 on the first program, 2-XL lets the player know that the first version of the program had a mistake on this question. He informs the player that this second revision has been corrected.
|Wonders of the World||Found||1978||Grand Canyon and the fish that hitchhikes… are they genuine wonders of the world of more of 2-XL’s jokes? Discover the world’s most amazing creatures, bizarre moments of history and marvels of the world and outer space.||N/A||Found||N/A|
|Word and Sound Games (two tape set)||First TapeFound Second TapeFound||1978||This was sold as a two-tape set. Tape #1: Sharpen that pencil and your wits as you accept 2-XL’s challenge to solve crossword puzzles, Morse code, magic number and sound games. Tape #2: The fun and games continue in this second tape. You’ve got to be pretty smart to answer the challenge!||Found||Found||N/A|
U.S. Titles Planned for the Educational Market[edit | edit source]
According to an advertisement from 1979, a set of 24 tapes broken up into four assortments were planned to be sold directly to schools. They would use a modified 2-XL with a headphone jack. Pictures of Mego 2-XL robots with integrated headphone jacks have surfaced, though it is difficult to confirm whether these were after-market modifications, or if these robots were some of the original units from the school program. Six of the games were later released as regular cartridges for the general public. It is unclear what happened to the remaining 18 games.
|Advanced Metric System||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American Folklore and Legends||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American Geography||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American History I (Explorers)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American History II (1700-1800)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American History III (1800-1900)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|American History IV (1900-present)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Math and Number Games (Primary)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Math and Number Gamed (Advanced)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Reading Comprehension I||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Reading Comprehension II||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Talking Calculator (1-4 Tables)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Talking Calculator (5-9 Tables)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Understanding Fractions||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Vocabulary Drill (Primary)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Vocabulary Drill (Intermediate)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Vocabulary Drill (Advanced)||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Vocabulary / Storyland Mix||Existence Unconfirmed|
Mexican Releases[edit | edit source]
The 2-XL was also re-branded by Ensueño Electronica and released in Mexico. Very little information has surfaced about which titles were produced. Images of four tapes were supplied to a 2-XL fan-site in 2008, but the owner has not released the audio  Additionally, one more Mexican 2-XL tape showed up in an eBay auction. Later, a YouTube review of the Mexican Mego 2-XL surfaced that showed a card-back for one of the tapes. It contained a list of titles that had been released at the time, as well as a list of upcoming titles. Images of most of these cartridges have surfaced, proving that they were produced. It is not known if any other titles were produced. Legendary Mexican actor and voice actor Jorge Isaac Arvizu Martínez, nicknamed El Tata, provided the voice for the "Informacion Generale" cartridge. It is possible that he also voiced the other cartridges. Thank you to LMW forum user p4ndr1x for this information.
|chistes adivinanzas y esas cosas||Jokes, Riddles and Those Things||Lost|
|En la historia||In History||Lost|
|En las Olimpiades||In the Olympics||Lost|
|Hechos y fantasias pre-escolares||Pre-school Facts & Fantasies||Lost|
|Informacion General||General Information||Partially Found|
|2-XL en el deporte||2-XL in Sports||Partially Found|
|Hechos Graciosos||Fun Facts||Lost|
|En las Idiomas||In Languages||Lost|
|El ABC de las cosas||The ABC of Things||Lost|
|Reino Animal||Animal Kingdom||Lost|
|Incredible pero Cierto||Incredible but True||Partially Found|
|Deportes I||Sports I||Lost|
|Maravillas de Mundo||Wonders of the World||Lost|
|Juegos De Numeros Y Matematicas||Games of Numbers and Mathematics||Lost|
|Calculadora Parlante||Talking Calculator||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Monstruos Mites y Legendas||Monsters, Myths, and Legends||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Ciencia Ficcion||Science Fiction||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Deportes II||Sports II||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Quien Dijo Que||Who Said That||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Astronomia 2-XL En El Espacio||Astronomy 2-XL in Space||Lost|
French-Canadian Release[edit | edit source]
The most obscure release of the 2-XL, of which images of tapes have resurfaced, occurred in Canada. It is unknown whether the English versions of cartridges released in Canada were identical to the U.S. versions. However, it is known that some cartridges were released in French for the French-Canadian market by Grand Toys Ltd. Pictures of the General Information tape, Renseignements generaux have surfaced on a 2-XL fansite.  This tape strangely lacks any sort of artwork, implying that it may have been for the educational market or even a prototype. A few short audio clips have been uploaded online. Since then, another white French-language tape with full-size, full-colour artwork has surfaced on eBay. It is a copy of "Games & Puzzles 1", which has the label in English, rather than French. Due to this dual-language, it is suspected to be Canadian, but this is not completely confirmed.
|Renseignements generaux||General Information||Partially Found|
|[Title is presented in English]||Games & Puzzles 1||Found|
Other Releases[edit | edit source]
According to a 2-XL Robot fan-site, there were also Mego 2-XL games released in France and Germany. The German release was later confirmed, as a robot with the tape "Weltrekorde" (World Record) appeared on an eBay auction. Later on, images of the following four German tapes also appeared on eBay: "Ferne Länder Exotische Tiere" (Distant countries Exotic animals), "Sport" (Sports), "Rätsel, Gags, und Spiele" (Puzzles, gags, and games), and "Technik" (Technology). These tapes are branded by the company "Airfix."
Additionally, images of a Mego 2-XL that was sold in Italy have resurfaced on eBay. On May 7th, 2020, user TropesAreDangerous acquired a Mego 2-XL sold in Italy, which contained the tape "Nastro Dimostrativo" (Demonstration Tape). On May 10th, this tape was digitized and uploaded to the Internet Archive. This is the only Mego 2-XL tape known to have been released in Italy. It is unclear whether it was a true retail release or if it was intended for stores to use in shop displays. The tape claimed to have excerpts from three other tapes: "Cultura Generale" (General Culture), "Sport" (Sport), and "Guinness dei Primati" (Guinness World Record). However, it is unclear if full versions of these tapes were ever produced due to the general obscurity of the Italian release. The distributor appears to have been "Newgioco." No images of tape cartridges or lists of tape releases have surfaced for France.
German Releases[edit | edit source]
|Weltrekorde||World Records||Lost||This tape uses the cover art from the U.S. tape "Guinness Book of World Records." However, the "Guinness" part of the title was removed for some reason. It is unclear whether the same content was translated from English to German or if this was new material entirely.|
|Technik||Technology||Lost||This tape uses cover art similar to the U.S. tape "Science Fiction," but the spaceship on the cover is bizarrely replaced with a car with a Union Jack on the front. It is unclear whether the same content was translated from English to German or if this was new material entirely.|
|Rätsel, Gags, und Spiele||Puzzles, gags, and games||Lost||The tape uses cover art similar to the U.S tape "Games & Puzzles 1". However, words in the cover art have been translated. It is unclear whether the same content was translated from English to German or if this was new material entirely. It is also unclear whether this tape had a German activity booklet, as the U.S. release had an English activity booklet.|
|Sport||Sports||Lost||This tape uses cover art similar to the U.S. tape "Sports." However, the American football player is replaced with a soccer player. It is unclear whether the same content was translated from English to German or if this was new material entirely.|
|Ferne Länder Exotische Tiere||Distant countries Exotic animals||Lost||The tape uses the same cover art as the U.S. tape "General Information III." It is unclear whether the same content was translated from English to German or if this was new material entirely. It is unknown whether any of the other general information tapes were released in Germany. This tape title specifies two areas of focused trivia, and it is possible that other German "General Information" releases also had titles to indicate more focused trivia.|
Italian Releases[edit | edit source]
|Nastro Dimostrativo||Demonstration Tape||Found|
|Cultura Generale||General Culture||Existence Unconfirmed|
|Guinness dei Primati||Guinness World Record||Existence Unconfirmed|
Various Findings[edit | edit source]
Between September 2019 and December 2019, the following tapes were uploaded to the Internet Archive by LMW user TropesAreDangerous under the account TheManWithNoPlan: Fairy Tale Quiz, TV and Movie Challenges, Trilex, General Information (Revised Edition), and both of the tapes used for the Robotstronomy board game. Throughout January 2020, the same user uploaded the following nine tapes: Traffic and Bicycle Safety, General Information III, Exercise with 2-XL, 50s and 60s Nostalgia, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, Animal World, Bet Your Life, Storyland: 2-XL and the Time Machine, and Strange But Is It True.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
This photo, taken from eBay, shows a selection of five Mego 2-XL tapes that were released in Germany: "Ferne Länder Exotische Tiere" (Distant countries Exotic animals), "Sports" (Sport), "Welktrekorde" (World Records), "Rätsel, Gags, und Spiele" (Puzzles, gags, and games), and "Technik" (Technology). It also showcases some of the changes to U.S. cover art when it was re-used for the German market.
References[edit | edit source]
- Mentalfloss article explaining the origin of the Mego 2-XL. Retrieved 08 Jun '19
- Cnet article explaining how the Mego 2-XL worked. Retrieved 08 Jun '19
- The 2-XL simulator created by Mouser of donationcoder.com. Retrieved 08 Jun '19
- A web-browser based simulator for the 2-XL robot. Retrieved 13 Mar '21
- Mego 2-XL tape list from a 2-XL fansite Retrieved 08 Jun '19
- Mego advertisement for the titles that were to be sold directly to the educational market. Retrieved 08 Jun '19
- 2-XL fan-site where the images of the four Mexican tapes and the single French-Canadian tape were uploaded. Retrieved 08 Jun '19