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The Little Orphan: The Tomy Tutor
also featuring the Grandstand Tutor, Tomy Pyuuta, Tomy Pyuuta Mk II
and Tomy Pyuuta Jr.
Last modify 6 July 2014.
Here lies probably the only major memorial to this most obscure of
1980's home computers. Part kid's toy, part graphics superstar, part unknown
TI-99 clone, the Tomy was just another computer to fall under the wheels
of the Commodore 64. And I should know, because my parents got me a
Commodore 64 after we got the Tutor. Released in 1983, the Tutor was just
unlucky enough to hit in the middle of the VIC-20 and 64 craze, despite
its superior graphics and its fast, efficient speed. Based around the 16-bit
Texas Instruments 9995 processor, it
blew away the 99/4's in both speed and efficiency (but alas is largely
incompatible), implementing the fine graphics of the TMS 9918ANL
chip, its earlier relative, the TMS 9918A, powering the Coleco Adam, the
Sord and, of course, the 99/4 series. It even had a built-in paint program,
since the graphics were so good, plus lots of fabulous games.
I have no information on when the Tutor was discontinued or how many
units were ultimately sold. Inquiries to the
Tomy Corporation have been to date ignored. Presumably no one there
knows that the computer even exists nowadays.
The Tomy Tutor (left) and Tomy Pyuuta (right) at Vintage Computer Festival 6.0.
Click the thumbnail for a full-size .JPG (111K), or visit the
complete photographs archive.
If you have one of these little gems, and it still works/you still use
it, or even if you used to have one, please get in contact with me! Send
mail to email@example.com.
Let's trade information!
What's on this site
- (6 Jul 2014)What's New?
Site news, on the hoof!
- (6 Jul 2014)The Tomy Tutor And I and My Trade List
Why is it I'm so nostalgic about this thing?
What's so good about the Tutor? Why am I using a Mac instead of a Tomy Tutor
2000? And what Tutor stuff can I trade ya for?
(26 Jan 2009)General Information
Summary of capabilities, characteristics and history. Call it our
mini-FAQ. What could you do with a
Tutor? Well, here you go.
- The Pyuuta Page: the Pyuuta, Pyuuta Mk II
"Mark Two" and the Pyuuta Jr.
(1 Jan 2007)the Pyuuta series' history
and subparts for individual models,
complete with disassemblies
and (where possible) scans, photographs and screenshots.
Nothing beats the original! Our special dedicated section lets you
see the Japanese remixes and console version in all their (its) glory.
I'll even translate the Japanese for ya!
- (17 Sep 2005)The Grandstand Tutor Page
The mysterious UK Tutors, so far as yet unseen -- but perhaps unlabeled
as well? We check it out.
- Pictures and Photographs
Some images of this wonderbox. Also see the Pyuuta section for images of those units. Subparts:
- (26 Jan 2009)Photographs of the Tomy Tutor
Pictures of the main unit, box and packaging, ports, and
some of the cartridges and peripherals. Plus, check out the goodies
inside with our "Disassembling the Tutor" section and high-resolution
photographs of the internals!
- (3 Apr 1999)Scans and Pictures,
Rear Ports Diagram and
Fully annotated diagrams from the manual showing how to hook up
your Tutor, and what keys do what.
- (6 Jul 2014)Hardware and Schematics
Hardware and a brief, illustrative schematic of the main board. Also
contains information on ports and connectors, such as the
Data Recorder cable
Centronics printer interface.
- (17 Sep 2005)Emulating the Tomy Tutor
Yeah, yeah, you little warez leeches: you can emulate it. But you're not
fit to polish the Tutor's deep purple butt if all you want to do is play
some free games. However, for those of you who want to get your Tomy up and
running again on your modern Macintosh or PC, we'll show you how! Plus,
- (17 Sep 2005)Tutti, The Tomy Tutor Simulator
Now that we have better emulators, Tutti -- my original Tomy Tutor simulator
-- is no longer updated. But, if you can't legally get the ROMs for another
emulator, you can still
download and use Tutti instead! Commodore 64 or 100% compatible C64
emulator required: I'm dead serious.
Includes the Tutti never-asked-but-should-be-questions document, and how you
can get it. It's freeware, and honest, you don't need ROMs. Honest.
(6 Jul 2014)Programming the Tutor
At last! Comprehensive comparison of keywords, error messages, exhaustive
vocabulary list, memory map, and more. Selected subparts:
- (6 Jul 2014)XTOMYDEV: Tomy Tutor
Cross-Development and the Tomy Tutor Cassette Tape Format Page
The Tutor, like man, is no longer an island. Use your Data Recorder to send
and receive data from your desktop computer with your Tomy Tutor! Includes
tools to detokenize BASIC programs, display GRAPHIC images and even encode
your own GRAPHIC bitmaps!
- GPL and GBASIC: Separated At Birth?, or, (27 Jan 2009)How Close are the TI and the Tomy Tutor?
Is it enough to call the Texas Instruments 99 series of home computers
brother, just because they both have TI CPUs and VDPs? We investigate.
- (1 Jan 2007)The Tomy Tutor Toys: Tomy's Tutor Typer,
the Tomy Tutor Play Computer and the Pyuuta-Kun Series
Our bonus feature just goes to show that if
you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Meet the toy that gave the Tomy Tutor its
name, and the toys the Pyuuta and Tomy Tutor later spawned.
Also check out:
- Tutor luminaries past and present are now accumulating at the "Online" Tomy Tutor Users
- If you can read Japanese, be sure to see the outstanding
(Pyuuta no Yakata). Check out the tidbits on a Pyuuta sighting at
Kubota's Pyuuta page and see the Japanese remixes in all their
Steven Stengel has a nice
page on his Tutor, Chris Stratford has an entry on the Tutor at the
Computer Hall of Fame (the UK variant, the Grandstand Tutor) -- cool!
there's also a very complete entry on the Tutor at Olivier Boisseau's
Old-Computers.com. Finally, there's also great stuff at Jay's
Factory if you can read Japanese, including some fascinating
information on hardware hacking the Tutor, and this complete
Except where otherwise credited, all images and write-ups are mine, and
©1998-2014 Cameron Kaiser. All rights reserved.
Feel free to use data and pictures from this page after!!! E-mailing
me first, as long as credit and proper links are made to this site as
For what it's worth, the Tomy Tutor and applicable software,
peripherals and designs is ©1983 Tomy Corporation, Carson, California.
All rights reserved.
Send me some E-mail,
because, doggone it, people like me.
(And my parents just thought the Tutor was just a harmless toy ...)