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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 25 September 2020.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's trade information!
What's on this site
- (25 Sep 2020)What's New?
Site news, on the hoof!
- (23 Aug 2020)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?
(18 Oct 2019)General Information
Summary of capabilities, characteristics and history. Call it our
mini-FAQ. What could you do with a
Tutor? Well, here you go.
- (23 Aug 2020)Tomy Tutor Cartridge and Hardware
Stock numbers for games and peripherals, plus screen shots of
selected games so you can easily identify them! Perpetually under
- (23 Aug 2020)The Myth, The Muddle, The Marketing:
The Purcell Pamphlet and Demonstration Cartridge
A healthy dose of Tomy's wishful thinking, sold to you on demo units in
your favourite store and through the dulcet tones
of celebrity endorser Sarah Purcell. Find out the scoop on how the
Tomy was marketed to parents, what features were advertised, what the
vapourware peripherals looked like, and what happened after.
- (26 Jan 2009)The Tomy Tutor User Club: You Are Not
All about the official 1980s USA Tomy Tutor User Club, along with downloadable
newsletters in Adobe PDF!
- The Yahoo! Groups Tomy Tutor Archive
From 2001 to 2019, the Yahoo! Tomy Tutor Users Group was the spiritual
successor to the User Club, and we've got all the messages archived for
posterity. The Internet never forgets! Even when you want it to!
- 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 scans, photographs and screenshots.
Nothing beats the original(s)! Our special dedicated section lets you
see the Japanese remixes and console version in all their (its) glory,
plus (23 Aug 2020)their own demonstration cartridge.
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.
- (17 Sep 2017)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,
the joy port
Centronics printer interface.
- (27 Jun 2015)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,
- (25 Sep 2020)Tutti II, the Tape-Enabled
Tomy Tutor Emulator
Typing your old programs on that Chiclet keyboard got you down? Does six
minutes of waiting for pictures from the Data Recorder make you want to bang
against the wall? If you've got a Mac, then you've got a saviour: the very
first Tutor emulator that can load and save tape files compatible with the
real hardware. Demo tape images included! (And check out
XTOMYDEV below for other cool cross-development
- (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:
- (13 Apr 2016)Sample Tomy Tutor Programs
Learn Tutor programming by example in the comfort of your own home! Lots
of programs from useful simple tools to thorougly baffling hacks.
- (17 Sep 2017)Exhaustive BASIC Keywords List
Complete list of keywords and operators (and tokens) in Tomy BASIC.
- (1 Jan 2007)GBASIC Tutorial
A tutorial and comparison of GBASIC to other more conventional BASIC
- (13 Apr 2016)GBASIC and MONitor Keywords
A (now probably) complete list of known MONitor commands
and GBASIC keywords, with an analysis of internal GBASIC structure
and known tokens.
- (6 Jul 2014)9918/9995 Memory Maps
Now you know where to stick your, uh, stuff! Covers VDP and "real" RAM.
- (22 Jun 2016)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 and GBASIC
programs, convert 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.
- (23 Aug 2020)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 (and even a coin-op)
the Pyuuta and Tomy Tutor later spawned.
Also check out:
- Tutor luminaries past and present are now accumulating at the "Online" Tomy Tutor Users
Group (replacing our old Yahoo! Groups meeting place after
Verizon Media announced its shutdown: old messages
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, check out this complete
- While these have gone to the great Wayback Machine in the sky,
if you can read Japanese, be sure to see the remnants of 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
Except where otherwise credited, all images and write-ups are mine, and
©1998-2020 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 ...)