Thursday, February 23, 2012
Things I'm Digging: Nostalgic Geek Toys from Childhood
Batman-free post today.
Instead, this post is dedicated to another favorite of mine from childhood.
A high school friend posted something on Facebook today about her Little Professor calculator. Remember the Little Professor? He taught you multiplication and division.
This post isn't about him, either. But waxing nostalgic about Little Professor got me thinking about my favorite educational toy from the '70s:
Ladies and germs, I give you 2XL. 2XL talked to you. More specifically, he quizzed you on various topics , and you had to register your answer by pushing one of the red buttons on his front. If you were wrong, he sort of made fun of you in a haughty, "I am SO above this" tone of robot voice.
I don't remember what the big red dial did. But aren't all of the buttons and dials so awesome in a retro, ironic way? Seriously - this was the height of technology back in the day. Cutting. Edge. I thought I was the flippin' bomb diggity because I owned one of these.
By the way, this is the 1978 version of 2XL. Until I Wikipedia'ed him just now, I did not realize that there was a Next Gen version, released in 1992:
By 1992, I was out of college and, thus, out of the market for primary school educational toys.
The critical difference between the two models (other than the fact that 2.0 is, marginally, cooler looking - First Gen appears to have been modeled after Rosie from The Jetsons, NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT) is that 2.0 utilized cassette tapes, WHEREAS FIRST GEN 2XL OPERATED OFF OF EIGHT TRACKS.
You read that right.
Message to my mother: in the name of all that is holy, why did you elect to donate this gem from my childhood to charity, as opposed to saving it for posterity's sake? Because you have met your grandchildren and you know that this thing would amuse the living Hades out of them. I am almost tempted to procure one via eBay for $39.95, plus shipping. Almost.
I believe that my parents purchased 2XL for me because they considered me to be smarter than the average bear and, thus, the type who would enjoy being quizzed by a glorified eight track tape player. They were not completely wrong. Except: apparently, I was not smart enough to figure out that "2XL" translated into "TO EXCEL." Get it? Yeah, I didn't - another thing that I just learned via Wikipedia.
Apparently, I didn't log enough hours learning from my robot pal.