Synopsis of Toy

As people became computer-conscious at the end of the 1970’s, toys moved into the electronic age with items like Merlin and Simon. Most of these toys were designed for simple entertainment, but some of them aspired to greater things. One of the success stories in this arena was 2-XL, an electronic toy that educated its users as it entertained them.

2-XL, originally developed in the People's Republic of China, used 8-track technology as a teaching tool. Mego, a company better known for creating doll-style action figures for Kiss and Star Trek, imported the wonderbot to the U.S. in 1978. Simply put, 2-XL was an 8-track tape deck contained in a robot-shaped plastic casing. It came packaged with a series of educational tapes designed specially for 2-XL, and additional tapes could also be purchased. Sample titles included “Challenges of General Science,” “Guinness Book Of World Records” and “Wonders Of The World.”

The fun of 2-XL began when the user inserted a tape in the robot's midsection and pressed a red button on the top of its head. Many tapes also came with special overlay cards that could be placed over the four buttons to make them game-specific. With a press of the "Question" button, 2-XL began its string of multiple choice and true/false kid-stumpers. Once a guess was entered, the 2-XL would make a few computer-style noises and tell the user whether their answer was right or not. It would also chime in some extra information on the topic in question.

There were also game tapes for 2-XL that allowed the user to engage compete with 2-XL. One of the best examples was Tri-Lex, a game that combined elements of tic-tac-toe and checkers. If the user just wanted some entertainment, 2-XL also doubled as an 8-track player for music tapes.

Overall, 2-XL did pretty well, thanks to its combination of clever game design and the entertaining options presented by its many tapes. The interaction between the user and 2-XL was quite friendly: in fact, 2-XL would often tell jokes and even sing songs in the course of teaching its lessons. The end result was a hit toy that enjoyed a decent shelf life in its 8-track heyday, then found new life as a redesigned, cassette-powered 'bot in the early 90's. You can reinvent 2-XL's robotic form, but you can't stop the learning.

Release History of Toy

1978 - 2-XL

Sub Categories of Toys

electronic games
electronic toys

Toy and Game Manufacturer