After the success of their Telstar pong systems in the late 70's, Coleco decided to re-enter the videogame market, inspired by the success of cartridge based systems like the Atari VCS and Mattel Intellivision.
As the Colecovision was released later than these competitors, it was possible for the Coleco engineers to put more hardware in the box while keeping the cost acceptable. The Colecovision is thus powered by a Z80A cpu running at 3.58 MHz. It has 8 KB RAM, 16 KB VRAM, three-channel sound and a powerful video display unit (Texas Instruments TMS9928A) offering 16 colors, 32 sprites and a 256x192 resolution. The result is that when the system was finaly released in summer 1982, it was immediately considered the most technologicaly advanced home console. The games simply had arcade-quality graphics!
But even with this technological superiority, Coleco had to face the competition of Atari big arcade hits licenses and Intellivision realistic sports simulations. Coleco did not have enough money to compete with Atari for big licenses, so they secured licenses for small games with strong followings like Mr DO, Lady Bug, Cosmic Avenger and Venture. And Coleco's good relations with Sega resulted in a Zaxxon cartridge that sported excellent 3D effects.
But the best was to come: one february 1, 1982 Coleco and Nintendo signed an agreement which gave six-months exclusive license for Donkey-Kong! Their excellent version was thus exlusively sold as a pack-in with Colecovision as an incentive to purchase the system, and it worked! The Colecovision was an instant success.
Coleco marketed different add-ons for their console. The Expansion Module #1 is an Atari VCS adapter wich enables the Colecovision to play Atari cartridges! Coleco sold 150,000 Atari adapters in just two months... Atari sued Coleco for $850 million, but lost the case.
The Expansion Module #2 is a complete driving controller with steering wheel, acceleration pedal and gear shift. It was shipped with Sega's classic racing game Turbo. The Expansion Module #3 is the ADAM computer.
A rollet controller was also sold to play games like Slither. The Super Action joysticks, a massive and complete controller, was used to play sports games like Super Action Baseball and Rocky Super Action Boxing.
Colecovision was a great success, selling over six millions units in just three years. Unfortunately, the ColecoVision suffered the same fate as the rest in the great video game shake-out of 1984. Coleco's unsuccessful bug-ridden ADAM computer only complicated the problem, and Coleco stopped production of the ColecoVision in 1984.
The Colecovision was my first console too. My favorite game was Venture. Want to talk about advanced graphics, you were a head that went in and out of various rooms collecting treasures. If you stayed too long in the room, a giant green head came after you. Was the most basic of games, but was incredibly fun.
Wednesday 25th May 2011
I don't know if anyone noticed, but in one of episodes of an animated comedy series "Family Guy" a maid, whose service Mr. Griffin had won, at one point finds a Colecovision system in Mr. Griffins bellybutton! His comment was: "Hey! A Collecovision! This is going to be a fun afernoon after all!" :-D
Wednesday 15th November 2006
I have one of these consoles and they are neat. Why did they stop making them?
Wednesday 10th March 2004
Chocolate Thunda (united states)
END OF PRODUCTION
2 controllers with joystick, 12-button keypad and two fire buttons
3 tone channels, 1 noise (Texas Instruments SN76489AN)
SIZE / WEIGHT
38 x 24 x 7 cm
Power in, Cartridge slot, Video output, Expansion connector, 2 x controller connectors
NUMBER OF GAMES
More than 170 (174?)
External power supply
Atari VCS 2600 adapter, Driving module, ADAM computer, Trackball, Super joysticks
$195 (USA, september 1982)
The Colecovision system is technicaly quite close to MSX systems. Same CPU (Z80A) and same video processor (Texas Instruments TMS9928A). The MSX as just usually more RAM (often 64 KB) than the Colecovision (8 KB), though the initial MSX standard specified only 8 KB RAM as a minimum...