Mego 2-XL Robot (partially found series of 8-track edutainment games; 1978-1981)

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Assorted tapes for 2xl.jpg

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. [1]

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. [2]

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

The 8-track media used to contain the original Mego 2-XL programs has been obsolete since the early eighties. Like any magnetic media, they are also vulnerable to being wiped with a permanent magnet. The tapes have become collector’s items among 8-track collectors, Mego Corporation collectors, and vintage electronics collectors. Proper preservation requires playing the tapes through an 8-track player and synchronizing the audio between the four programs to line up 2-XL’s questions and feedback. Some tapes have been uploaded in this manner to the Internet Archive. Others have been preserved via the 2-XL simulator, which is a web-browser-based program for playing with a virtual 2-XL.[3]

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. [4] 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

Regular U.S. Titles

Title Status Year of Release Description (taken from cartridge label)
50’s and 60’s Nostalgia Lost 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.
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
Amazing Sports Feats Lost 1981 Share with 2-XL a journey into the most incredible sports feats of all times covering everything from hockey to juggling...
Amazing World of the Small Lost 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...
Animal World Lost 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.
Astronomy / 2-XL in space Lost 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.
The Basics of ABCs Lost 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.
Believe This or Not Lost 1978 Outlandish individuals, stranger-than-fiction feats and weird biological wonders. It is a mind-boggler-a-minute when 2-XL researches trivia.
Bet Your Life Lost 1981 The stakes are high as 2-XL challenges you to pit your brain against his in area 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?...
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.
Exercise with 2-XL Lost 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.
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.
Games & Puzzles Number 1 Found 1978 A tape of funny and challenging games and puzzles for the entire family complete with game book. Various levels of difficulty. Great for parties of those rainy days.
General Information (First Edition) Found 1978 None.
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.
General Information III Lost 1978 Funny facts, sad facts, surprising facts. 2-XL pops the questions on everything. This tape is #3 in the general information series.
General Information (Second Edition) Lost 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.
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.
Interviews With Great People From History Lost 1978 Alexander the Great, Daniel Boone. Let 2-XL introduce you to great personalities of history in the most fascinating “Talk Show” ever.
Math and Number Games Lost 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.
Mego Demonstration Program Found 1978 This rare tape was not sold the public. Instead, it was used for floor demonstration units in toy stores.
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 kilometers and square yards change to square meters.
Monsters, Myths, and Legends Lost 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.
Pre-School Bed Time Stories Lost 1981 A triple length program of stories, music, sounds, and excitement as 2-XL...
Pre-School Facts and Fantasies Lost 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.
Psychoanalysis Unproduced N/A This tape was featured in lists from 1979, but it has been confirmed to have never been produced.
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic Lost 1978 A circus of exciting learning games and quizzes. Test your skills with 2-XL...
Robotrivia (two tape set) Lost 1980 This was a two-tape set that came with a board game that you could play with 2-XL.
Robotstronomy (two tape set) Lost 1980 This was a two-tape set that came with a board game that you could play with 2-XL.
Science Fiction Found 1978 For science fiction superhero lovers. Includes jokes, facts on fictional characters, superheroes, and famous science fiction characters.
Science Fiction II Found 1979 A quiz show on science fiction trivia of every sort! Test your expertise with the talking robot.
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”.
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.
Storyland Lost 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
Storyland: 2XL and the Time Machine Lost 1978 2-XL’s fate is in your hands when he rides the time machine. Launch 2-XL into present, past or future with the press of a button… and become the writer of your own exciting story!
Strange But Is It True Lost 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.
Super Heroes and Comic Books Cavalcade Lost 1979 A comic strip parade of favorite… Superman, Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman and Robin! Follow 2-XL to amazing action thrills when the world’s greatest Super Heroes meet.
”Talking Calculator” and Number Game Lost 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.
Tid Bits and Funny Facts Lost 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.
Traffic & Bicycle Safety Lost 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...
Tri-Lex Found 1979 This tape was used with a board game that you could play with 2-XL.
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.
US President and American History Lost 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.
Who Said It 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.
Wonders of the World Lost 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.
Word and Sound Games (two tape set) Lost 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!

U.S. Titles Planned for the Educational Market

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. Six of the games were later released as regular cartridges for the general public. It is unclear what happened to the remaining 18 games. [5]

Title Status
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

The 2-XL was also re-branded by Ensueño Electronica and released in Mexico. Very little information has surfaced about which title were produced. Images of four tapes were supplied to a 2-XL fan-site in 2008, but the owner has not released the audio [6] Additionally, one more Mexican 2-XL tape showed up in an eBay auction. It is not known if any other titles were produced.

Title English Translation Status
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 Lost

French-Canadian Release

The most obscure known release of the 2-XL 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. [6] 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.

Title English Translation Status
Renseignements generaux General Information Partially Found

Gallery

A video of a Mexican 2-XL playing a customized Spanish-Language cartridge (Courtesy of nayrbgo).
Review of the U.S. version of the Mego 2-XL robot (Courtesy of databits).
Late 1970s/early 1980s commerical for the Mego 2-XL (Courtesy of ActionFigureKing.com).

References