The Coleco Quiz Wiz is handheld trivia game from the early 80s. The main unit has a numeric keypad to enter the question #, letters ABCD to enter the answer, an ANSWER button to check the answer, and a CLEAR button. There is a green YES LED and a red NO LED. It has a piezo buzzer that plays a high note for YES and a low note for NO.
The unit docks with a cartridge that's part of a plastic case that protects the unit and holds a booklet with the questions. The unit I got came with book #1, with 1001 questions, like "who broke the home run record set by Babe Ruth" and "She formed the Stone Poneys with two friends".
The patent (4303398) shows 2 different embodiments. The first uses a calculator chip - not a custom programmed one like the TI TMS chips, but a regular calculator chip. The buttons were to be labelled so that when you punched in a question # and answer, you were really entering an equation into the calculator. It wound up that if you entered the wrong answer it caused a divide-by-zero that blinked the red LED, otherwise the green one lit up. Pretty odd.
The 2nd concept has 4 latches that get set or cleared based on the question # entered. Numbers 0 and 4 always clear their latches, 5 and 6 always set their latches, and the other digits set or clear their latches based on the cartridge wiring: for cart #1, numbers 2, 8 and 9 clear their latches, and 1, 3 and 7 set theirs. The 10 digits are grouped 1, 5 and 8 on latch 1, 0 and 3 on latch 2, 4 and 7 on latch 3 and 2, 6 and 9 on latch 4. If latch 1 and latch 2 are the same, the first digit of the answer is 0, else it's 1. If latch 3 and latch 4 are the same, the second digit of the answer is 0, else it's 1. Answer 11 is A, 10 is B, 01 is C and 00 is D. So entering 347 would set latch 2, clear latch 3, then set latch 3; latch 1 is different from latch 2 and latch 3 is different from latch 4, so the answer is 11=A. (To check this example I had to cheat, because I did not know the first name of Seals, of Seals and Croft.)
When I opened it up, instead of the several TTL chips that the patent showed, there was only 1 14-pin chip with custom markings. The cart is simple- there are 8 pins, and cart 1 just connects 1-4 together and 5-8 together. The patent shows it and cart 8, which wires 1 to 5, 2 to 6, 3 to 7 and 4 to 8.
I decapped the chip but the die didn't separate from the plastic, so I'll have to try some H2SO4. It should be a pretty simple die.
The instructions say you have to hit clear before entering each question, and the schematic in the patent confirms that, but the unit I got doesn't require it. I guess they were able to add a few more gates to make it easier to play.
The algorithm isn't great; for the 1001 cart 1 questions, B and D are the answers 63% of the time. The first 10 answers are BDBDBCCDDD. That helps to know when you need to guess.
It looks like there are at least a dozen more quiz books, but I can't imagine the work to enter all those questions....