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Thread: RDI Halcyon - Exposed with Pics (lots of pics, 56k beware)

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    Bell (Level 8) 98PaceCar's Avatar
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    Default RDI Halcyon - Exposed with Pics (lots of pics, 56k beware)

    In a stroke of almost pure luck, I managed to locate and purchase a complete and working RDI Halcyon unit with both games and everything needed to play them. I've spent some time with it and wanted to share some pics and observations with everybody here.

    The system itself:






    The laserdisk player is nothing more than a Pioneer LD-700 with a custom faceplate. The controller module (the unit on top) handles the main part of the work. It controls the laserdisk player through a proprietary bus. All audio and video are carried to the laserdisk player through this bus and out to the tv through the laserdisk player.

    The controller module also handles all of the speech synthesis and recognition. The speech synthesis is identical to what you would have gotten from a Commodore 64 speech cart. It's all phonetic based and sounds very computer like. There is even a way to put the controller in a text to speech mode where you can type in anything you want it to say. The speech recognition is primitive at best. Both of the games allow you to play them entirely by using nothing but speech, but it's more frustrating than anything. You have to 'train' the Halcyon to your voice for every command that can be used in the game. I've found that it's easier to just use the keyboard to play!

    According to the manual, there were supposed to be 2 different versions of the controller. The one I have that works with the Pioneer LD-700 and another one that would work with the Pioneer VP1000/PR8210, the Magnavox VC8040, or the Sylvania VP7200. This would allow customers to purchase a lower cost unit if they already had a compatible laserdisk player.

    The Keyboard:


    The keyboard connects to the controller module through a modular cable. It's sort of a membrane keyboard, but has a much sturdier feel. The keyboard can be used as a controller to the games as well as a remote when watching a normal laserdisk. Both of the games have overlays that you can slide into the keyboard to easily know what keys to hit for each function.





    The carts:


    Each of the games has a dedicated cart that's required to play the game in addition to the appropriate laserdisk. In fact, it's possible to 'play' the games without the proper laserdisk, but the footage displayed wouldn't match what's supposed to be going on.

    System bootup:






    This is the one place I was very surprised when I finally got to see the system in action. I expected it to boot up with fancy graphics and all kinds of bells and whistles. Instead, I was greeted with a black screen and the voice synthesis module telling me "Welcome to Halcyon" and then asking me to enter my name. None of the above screens pop up until the laserdisk player is started, which is after entering your name and the system asking you if you want to play the game for the installed cart. It will also ask you if you want to continue your last game, if the game supports it. Also, the entire time you are playing, the system calls you by name. A cool touch for sure!

    Chargers vs Raiders Football:












    It's an extremely simple football game, using actual game footage from four seasons of games. All you do is call plays and don't have any real interaction with the players. Probably the most intersting thing I've noticed while playing it is that periodically on a turnover, the system will say that either the Cowboys or the Redskins have the ball instead of the Chargers or Raiders. I'm assuming this indicates that the game was never fully tested, but no way to know for sure.

    Thayer's Quest:












    If you've played any of the other versions of Thayer's Quest, you've played this. It's basically the same gameplay as Dragon's Lair, only it's not as reflex based. You have to make the proper decision based on the information presented to you. Not the most exciting game I've ever played, but still kind of cool. This one feels a bit more complete than the football. I haven't noticed any obvious bugs in it yet.

    Overall, the system is an amazing piece of history, especially with all of the paperwork intact. In all of my research, I have found no evidence that it was ever really shipped, but the info available on the net is very limited and tends to repeat from site to site. Personally, I don't think it would have really stood a chance at it's retail price ($2500) as the games are very limited in gameplay. Thayer's Quest is extremely linear and the NFL Football has so little footage that I began to see repeats in the very first game I played. Still, having read several vintage articles about it as well seeing as an interview with Rick Dyer (the creater) talking about the system in 1985, you have to appreciate the effort that went into it's design and genuinely feel for the amount of love that Mr. Dyer put into it. It's almost like he tried to make the system do too much instead of focusing on just being a game system, which may have stood a chance. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to meet him one of these days as I've got a ton of questions I'd like to ask him!

    This particular system was purchased from one of the original investors by another collector. The previous owner had it for a number of years before I found him and purchased it from him. It's going to be in my personal collection for a LONG time to come! This is one of my absolute holy grails and was a system that I never believed I would get to play, let alone own!

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    It can TALK!

    Tell it that I love porn!

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    Awesome find there! Thanks for letting us see it.

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    Thanks for posting up photos, It is hard to find any info on this system anywhere, Let alone photos of both games on and pics of the games themselves!

    Great find, you're probably the only person on DP that has a halycon!

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    Nice, but UGH RF only? :/

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    Bell (Level 8) 98PaceCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mills
    Nice, but UGH RF only? :/
    Nah, it does have a standard rca with separate audio, but I didn't have a cable with me when I had it set up for the pics. It makes the quality a bit better, but most of the noise you see is from bit rot on the disks.

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    Thanks for the info, that was a great read. I could only dream of owning one of those someday. I could only imagine how much that would fetch on Ebay, upwards of $2,000 bare minimum!
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    I've been collecting for 12 years now, and those are first pictures of a RDI Halcyon I've ever seen. Now I know what the ^%@# people are talking about!!
    Lick me! LICK ME!!

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    man that is one hell of a find!
    Thanks for sharing info on one of the most obcure systems of all time.

    congrats, if you find another let me know
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    AWESOME find, thanks for sharing.

    Paging stonic...
    Selling collection, Atari through XBox. Send a PM with whatever games you're looking for.

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    are you saying that this system may have not seen a store shelf in its lifetime?

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    NICE!!!!

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    Bell (Level 8) 98PaceCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mills
    are you saying that this system may have not seen a store shelf in its lifetime?
    It's very possible. I've heard that there were less than 25 produced during the lifetime of the system. Every system that I've heard about in collector hands (3 of them, including mine) have come from the original investors in the company. Apparently, even the creater of the system doesn't have one for himself.

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    jeez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    First time (i think) ive seen one of these Really cool find, congrats! How many games were made for this? 3?

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    I think there were only two games made for it, And 98PaceCar has them both. Complete, too.

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    Thanks for the pics and...

    Hoily shit, I never realized how utterly HUGE that thing is.
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    Bell (Level 8) 98PaceCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slate
    I think there were only two games made for it, And 98PaceCar has them both. Complete, too.
    Yup, 2 games. Thayer's Quest came with the console and NFL Football was an extra $90. There is footage of 5 or 6 other games that were planned, but I don't think they exist anymore.

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    What about Time Gal? Isnt that for this system?

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    Man that is awesome, at least an R4!


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