Starcade Prizes: RB5X, ‘The Intelligent Robot’

RB5X

The RB5X, which is apparently still being manufactured today, was the grand prize on quite a few Starcade episodes, though I’ve yet to see anyone win it. Originally retailing for around $3500, it goes for at least $2000 today (the arm will cost you another thousand or two). The kick-ass ad below is from a kick-ass site called Vintage Computing and Gaming (Scorched Earth, anyone? Yes, please).

RB5X Ad

The following clip is a news story from 1984 summarizing the state of robotics at the time. You’ll see the Topo robot and the RB5X in action, and you’ll hear the same kinds of pronouncements we hear from the A.I. crowd today—that robots will soon learn to think, provide security, do our household chores, become like part of the family, etc., etc.

1 Response to “Starcade Prizes: RB5X, ‘The Intelligent Robot’”


  1. 1 leftylimbo January 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    How I never watched (nor knew of) Starcade back in the day is beyond me, but to win an RB5X? Holy crap.

    Ah, I can only sigh and fondly recall those early days of voice synthesis, as so eloquently spoken by good ol’ Topo. The robot, Intellivision’s B-17 Bomber own “voice synthesis module” and the Macintosh computer (also a product of 1984) all had it down. Heh, don’t just take my word for it—it can speak for itself:

    It’s too bad, though, that technology has increasingly become miniaturized to the point where nowadays it’s microscopic and hardly known to exist, although it indeed takes care of nearly everything we do.

    It’s like showing old vinyl records and phonographs to today’s kids—somehow they “know” how a CD/CD player operates, but cannot for the life of them figure out how sound is transferred from a vinyl disc through a stylus to a speaker, even though it’s right there in front of them.

    Nevertheless, I’d love to have a Topo do all my household chores.


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