Last modify 1 January 2007.
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The Pyuuta, Pyuuta Mk II (Pyuuta Mark 2) and Pyuuta Jr. are Japanese versions of the Tomy Tutor. In major respects, they are similar/identical, all powered by the 9995/9918ANL, and all run the same games.
The Pyuuta family tree (left, Pyuuta Mk II, center, Pyuuta Jr., right, original Pyuuta) is shown above.
The original Pyuuta, except for the Japanese label, wider spacebar, a purple RT key and katakana characters on the keycaps, is the same as the American and British Tutor versions on the outside. Inside, the hardware components are similar, but the system ROMs are radically different. Like the early UK Grandstand Tutor, the Pyuuta has no BASIC mode (GBASIC only, so therefore no main system menu, either); the title screen has a sideways-running colour bar animation, and menus and prompts are partially in Japanese. It was first announced by Matsushita in 1982 and emerged in stores by early 1983.
GBASIC on the original Pyuuta, intriguingly, is in Japanese and uses katakana keywords.
Much software appeared exclusively for the Pyuuta that never made it to British or American shores; these games, such as Monster Inn and Saurus Land, were largely Japanese-language and targetted to those audiences only. It originally retailed for the ridiculous price of 59,800¥ (1983), approximately US$230 (even more ghastly in the face of its introductory cost in the US, just $150); like the prices on the US and UK units, this price plummeted in the face of market pressures.
This bizarre manifestation of the Pyuuta is none other than a console retrofit. Again, entirely software-compatible (or at least cartridges, anyway) with the original Pyuuta, the Pyuuta Jr. smacks of the Intellivision and ColecoVision ("you can turn it into a computer!" -- well, not really; there was no keyboard option). Although not able to use the same range of peripherals, it amazingly does allow the use of the Data Recorder to save images with an optional cassette adaptor which went in the cartridge port. It was introduced soon after the 1983 rollout of the Tutor, during the Japanese videogame craze, at the low, low, low! price of 24,800¥, approximately US$90.
The most obvious feature of the Pyuuta Jr. is the abbreviated keyboard, reduced to "colour keys" (for selecting palette colours in graphics mode), an eye-catching yellow button labelled MONITOR that replaces MON, a cursor key diamond, a "PALLET" key, and equivalents for MOD and the 1, 2 and ENTER keys; the joysticks connect as usual through a front controller port. Despite its OS differences, however, the Pyuuta Jr. was fully backwards compatible with the cartridge games produced for its predecessor. In fact, in some ways, the Junior's interface was supremely improved over its predecessors as well as the machines that followed, which seemed to take a step backwards in usability by comparison.
The Pyuuta Mk II, or Pyuuta Mark 2 (1984), is the last Japanese model and in fact the final computer produced in the Tomy line. It had the same CPU and VDP as the original Pyuuta, but featured upgraded system software (in fact, its main ROM is the same firmware as in the American Tomy Tutor) and included the English version of GBASIC which we find in the UK, UK Grandstand and American Tutors. Externally, it has a slicker, white body (no more two tone case) with a proper keyboard in the style of the Tandy Colour Computer systems -- including a SHIFT key in the right place (wow!). MOD and MON now occupy where CTRL and CAPS LOCK might appear on a regular keyboard, and the cursor controls have been moved into a quasi-diamond on the upper right. The MK2 uses the same peripherals and software as the original Tutor. In 1984, it retailed for 29,800¥, approximately US$110; it appears to have been a commercial flop, and Tomy exited the computer business very shortly afterwards.