The Full Wiki

ColecoVision: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A "CBS ColecoVision" unit
Manufacturer Coleco
Type Video game console
Generation Second generation
Retail availability US August 1982
EU 1982
Media ROM cartridge
CPU Zilog Z80
Controller input Joystick/Numeric Keypad
Roller Controller
Driving Controller
Super Action Controller
Best-selling game Donkey Kong (pack-in)
Predecessor Telstar Arcade (1978)

The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries' second generation home video game console which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered arcade-quality graphics and gaming style, the ability to play Atari 2600 video games, and the means to expand the system's basic hardware. Released with a catalog of twelve launch titles, with an additional ten games announced for 1982, approximately 125 titles in total were published as ROM cartridges for the system between 1982 and 1984.[1] River West Brands currently owns the ColecoVision brand name.[2]



Coleco licensed Nintendo's Donkey Kong as the official pack-in cartridge for all ColecoVision consoles, and this version of the game was well received as a near-perfect arcade port, helping to boost the console's popularity. By Christmas of 1982, Coleco had sold more than 500,000 units,[3][4] in part on the strength of its bundled game.[5] The ColecoVision's main competitor was the arguably more advanced but less commercially successful Atari 5200.[6][7][8]

The ColecoVision was distributed by CBS Electronics outside of the United States, and was branded the CBS ColecoVision.

Sales quickly passed one million in early 1983,[9] before the video game crash of 1983. By the beginning of 1984, quarterly sales of the ColecoVision had dramatically decreased.[10]

Over the next 18 months, the Coleco company ramped down its video game division, ultimately withdrawing from the video game market by the end of the summer of 1985.[11][12] The ColecoVision was officially discontinued by October 1985.[13] Total sales of the ColecoVision are uncertain but were ultimately in excess of 2 million units, as sales had reached that number by the spring of 1984,[14] while the console continued to sell modestly up until its discontinuation the following year.[15]

In 1986, Bit Corporation produced a ColecoVision clone called the Dina, which was sold in the United States by Telegames as the Telegames Personal Arcade.


The main console unit consists of a 14x8x2 inch rectangular plastic case that houses the motherboard, with a cartridge slot on the right side and connectors for the external power supply and RF jack at the rear. The controllers connect into plugs in a recessed area on the top of the unit.

The design of the controllers is similar to that of Mattel's Intellivision—the controller is rectangular and consists of a numeric keypad and a set of side buttons. In place of the circular control disc below the keypad, the Coleco controller has a short, 1.5-inch joystick. The keypad is designed to accept a thin plastic overlay that maps the keys for a particular game. Each ColecoVision console shipped with two controllers.

All first-party cartridges and most third-party software titles feature a twelve-second pause before presenting the game select screen. This delay results from an intentional loop in the console's BIOS to enable on-screen display of the ColecoVision brand. Companies like Parker Brothers, Activision, and Micro Fun bypassed this loop, which necessitated embedding portions of the BIOS outside the delay loop, further reducing storage available to actual game programming.

Technical specifications

Expansion modules

Expansion Module #2
Super Action Controller

From its introduction, Coleco had touted a hardware add-on called the Expansion Module #1 which made the ColecoVision compatible with the industry-leading Atari 2600. Functionally, this gave the ColecoVision the largest software library of any console of its day. The expansion module prompted legal action from Atari, but Atari was unable to stop sales of the module because the 2600 could be reproduced with standard parts. Coleco was also able to design and market the Gemini game system which was an exact clone of the 2600, but with combined joystick/paddle controllers.

Expansion Module #2 is a driving controller expansion that consists of a steering wheel, gas pedal and the pack-in game Turbo. The driving controller is also compatible with the games Destructor and Dukes Of Hazzard.

Expansion Module #3, the final hardware expansion module, was released in the summer of 1983. Module #3 converts the ColecoVision into a full-fledged computer known as the Coleco Adam, complete with keyboard and digital data pack (DDP) cassette drives. Module #3 was originally conceived to be the ColecoVision Super Game Module using game wafers as the storage medium. Although Coleco presented a mock-up of the SGM at the 1983 New York Toy Show, that product was never manufactured. There were also rumors that Expansion Module #3 was to have incorporated an RCA CED player to store larger amounts of data.

Coleco prototyped a fourth expansion module intended to provide compatibility with Mattel's Intellivision, but this was never released.

Two controller expansions were also available. First was the Roller Controller, a trackball packaged with a port of the arcade game Slither, a Centipede clone and meant to be used with some dedicated games like Victory or to enhance the gameplay of previously published cartridges which benefitted from its trackball system (like Wargames). The second was the Super Action Controller Set, resembling a pair of boxing gloves each with joystick and numeric keypad on top and a series of buttons along the grip. It came with the game Super Action Baseball and saw later release of the Rocky-inspired Super Action Boxing and a port of Front Line.

Similarities to other platforms

The ColecoVision contains the same CPU and graphics chip as the MSX and Sega SG-1000/SC-3000. It also shares a sound chip with Sega consoles (including the Master System), making them identical in hardware capabilities. The MSX contains a different sound chip that is very similar in capabilities, the General Instruments AY-3-8910. For this reason it is very easy to port games between the three systems.


Coleco's software approach was to license arcade games that Atari had not. Realizing that Atari had firm support from Namco (the creators of Pac-Man and many other hits), Coleco entered into contracts with companies such as Sega, Konami, and Universal. Given that the ColecoVision could produce near arcade-quality ports, industry magazines like Electronic Games were unanimous in their enthusiasm over the console.

Some of the more popular games include Donkey Kong (the pack-in), Donkey Kong Junior, Carnival, Lady Bug, Mouse Trap, and Zaxxon. Coleco also popularized lesser known arcade games, such as Venture, Cosmic Avenger, and Mr. Do!. In some cases, the console versions were arguably superior to the arcade versions, as seen in Space Panic. Later Coleco continued adapting newer successful arcade games like Subroc, Time Pilot and Frenzy, the company also made inferior ports of many of these games for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, in an effort to broaden its market.

Compared to arcade ports, the ColecoVision did not offer many games original to the console, though a few notable releases are Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle, War Room, Illusions, and Fortune Builder, an early milestone in the style of SimCity.

Coleco was infamous for its vaporware offerings. An example of such was to be an adaptation of Tunnels and Trolls. It is not known whether the game's printed screen shots were from an actual prototype or were merely pre-development illustrations. The ColecoVision's box itself bears several other examples, among them Chess Challenger, Side Trak, Rip Cord, Horse Racing, and Mr. Turtle.


In 1996, programmer Kevin Horton released the first homebrew game for the ColecoVision, a Tetris clone entitled Kevtris.[16][17] Dozens of homebrew games, as well as programming tools to aid development, have since been released.

In 1997, Telegames released Personal Arcade Vol. 1, a collection of ColecoVision games for Microsoft Windows,[18] and a 1998 follow-up, Colecovision Hits Volume One.[19]

In popular culture

The value of the ColecoVision as an 1980s pop culture icon was discussed on VH1's I Love The 80's Strikes Back.[20] Several television series have aired episodes that reference or parody the console: South Park,[21] Family Guy,[22] Everybody Hates Chris[23] and The Simpsons.


  1. ^ Forster, Winnie (2005). The encyclopedia of consoles, handhelds & home computers 1972 - 2005. GAMEPLAN. p. 50. ISBN 3-00-015359-4.  
  2. ^ Trademark Registration for River West Brands
  3. ^ "Coleco hits with home video games", Business Week: 31, 1983-01-24, "Most of 1982's action was in the second half, when Coleco shipped 550,000 ColecoVision game machines--which sell for $169 to $189--booking orders for nearly that many more."  
  4. ^ Video Game Maker Says 1st-Quarter Profit More Than Tripled, Associated Press, 1983-04-20, "Arnold C. Greenberg, Coleco's president and chief executive, said more than 500,000 ColecoVision players were shipped during the first quarter, nearly equaling the number shipped in all of 1982."  
  5. ^ "Coleco's New Video Challenge", New York Times: 1 (Section D), 1982-11-11, "Potential Colecovision buyers have also apparently been attracted by Coleco's licensing agreement with Nintendo Inc., the Japanese creator of Donkey Kong, a current arcade hit, and Universal City Studios Inc. One Donkey Kong cartridge comes with each Colecovision unit."  
  6. ^ Aeppel, Timothy (1982-12-10), "Zap! Pow! Video games sparkle in holiday market", Christian Science Monitor: 7, "In recent weeks, two particularly hot-selling systems have emerged - the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision. Both are described as powerful 'third wave' machines, the Cadillacs of game systems, and priced accordingly at close to $200...[T]hey are sure to snatch most of the Christmas market."  
  7. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (1984-01-10), "Sigh of Relief on Video Games", New York Times: 1 (Section D), "As for game hardware, many experts said that Atari's...5200 or Coleco's Colecovision would corner the high end."  
  8. ^ "Coleco Strong In Marketing", New York Times, 1983-08-01, "Since its introduction last fall, Colecovision has sold about 1.4 million units...Of that total, about 900,000 were sold this year, compared with 800,000 units by Atari and 300,000 by Mattel."  
  9. ^ Video Game Maker Says 1st-Quarter Profit More Than Tripled, 1983-04-20
  10. ^ [Coleco Industries sales report], PR Newswire, 1984-04-17, "'First quarter sales of ColecoVision were substantial, although much less that those for the year ago quarter,' Greenberg said in a prepared statement. He said the company has sold 2 million ColecoVision games since its introduction in 1982."  
  11. ^ "Coleco Reassesses Its Video Games", New York Times (Reuters): 4 (Section D), 1985-06-13, "Coleco Industries is assessing its continuing commitment to the video game business...Arnold C. Greenberg, the chief executive, said no timetable had been set for a decision on continuing or dropping the Colecovision products or on whether the software for the games would continue to be produced if hardware production was discontinued."  
  12. ^ "Video games Coleco may drop out", The Globe and Mail (Canada), 1985-06-21, "Coleco Industries Inc. of West Hartford, Conn., is considering withdrawal from the video game business in both hardware and software."  
  13. ^ "Coleco's Net In Sharp Rise", New York Times (Associated Press), 1985-10-19, "Thursday, Coleco said the entire inventory of its troubled Adam personal computer has been sold, along with much of its Colecovision inventory. The company's chairman, Arnold Greenberg, said Coleco expects no more charges against earnings from the two discontinued products."  
  14. ^ Coleco Industries sales report, 1984-04-17
  15. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (1985-07-21), "Coleco Moves Out Of The Cabbage Patch", New York Times: 4 (Section 3), "Coleco is now debating whether to withdraw from electronics altogether. Colecovision still sells, but it is a shadow of its former self."  
  16. ^ "Kevtris for ColecoVision - MobyGames". MobyGames<!. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  17. ^ "Classic Videogame Games INTERVIEW - Kevin Horton". Good Deal Games. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  18. ^ "Personal Arcade Volume One for Windows - MobyGames". MobyGames<!. 2000-05-21. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  19. ^ "Classic Gamer: Colecovision Hits Volume One for Windows - MobyGames". MobyGames<!. 2000-05-30. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  20. ^ "I Love the 80s Strikes Back | Show Cast, Episodes, Guides, Trailers, Web Exclusives, Previews |".<!. Retrieved 2009-08-24.  
  21. ^ "Chickenpox", Season 2 Episode 23, Production no. 210
  22. ^ "I Take Thee Quaqmire", Season 4 Episode 21, Production no. 4ACX23
  23. ^ ~Will Harris (2007-06-04). "Everybody Hates Chris: Season One review, Everbody Hates Chris: Season 1 DVD review". Retrieved 2009-08-24.  

External links

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:ColecoVision article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

This system category is a stub. Help us expand it with system details as well as a {{system}} infobox. Reliable information can be researched on Wikipedia or you can just search for "ColecoVision" on Google. Do this and you get a cookie.

The logo for ColecoVision.
The console image for ColecoVision.
Manufacturer Coleco
Active 19821984
Total Games 157 (36 present)
← Coleco Telstar Coleco Gemini →


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Manufacturer Coleco
Type Console
Release Date August 1982 (NA)
Media Cartridge
Save Format None
Input Options 2 ColecoVision Controllers
Special Features Cartridge Input
Power Switch
Expansion Slot
RF Output
Power Output
Units Sold 1 million
Top Selling Game Donkey Kong
(1 million, Pack-In)
Variants Dina
Competitor(s) Magnavox Odyssey 2
Emerson Arcadia 2001
Atari 5200
Predecessor None
Successor None

The ColecoVision was a console released by Coleco in 1982.

The console boasted of having "arcade-quality graphics and sound" at a time when game consoles could barely match the quality of arcade game machines. The console came with Donkey Kong as a pack-in game. The console features an expansion port for expansion and peripherals. Released with a catalog of twelve launch titles, with an additional ten games announced for 1982, approximately 125 titles in total were published as ROM cartridges for the system between 1982 and 1984. Support for the system was dropped following the Video Game Crash of 1983, and also due to the failures the company had with the Adam Family Computer System.


See also

Second-Generation Consoles
Fairchild Channel F | RCA Studio II | Atari 2600 | Bally Astrocade | Magnavox Odyssey 2 | Intellivision | Emerson Arcadia 2001 | ColecoVision | Atari 5200 | Vectrex | Sega SG-1000
This article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.

This article uses material from the "ColecoVision" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

The ColecoVision was a second generation home video game console known mostly for its expansion packs including the Expansion Module #1 which gave it the largest library of games for its time by having compatibility with Atari 2600 games. The ColecoVision offered arcade-quality graphics and gaming style, and the means to expand the system's basic hardware. River West Brands currently owns the ColecoVision brand name.

Other pages

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address