The Rant: This was one of the two pre-NES game systems I used to own back in the day, the other being the Odyssey 2. My dad got this one because he's always got to have the most powerful hardware. As I remember right we got this thing and me and my brother were happy playing the Smurfs game, yet my dad did not seem impressed. He returned it within a week and instead stuck with the Atari 8-bit computers even though in my opinion they had crappier games. What I suppose was the big deal about this thing is that it was supposed to have arcade perfect translations. Well it didn't. It's versions of Donkey Kong, DK jr, etc. were better than anyone else's but they still lacked when compared to the arcade version. Still in 1982 it was king of the hill.
Problem was some fool in the Coleco corporate hierarchy decided that the only games they should make would be arcade conversions no matter how crappy they came out on the home machine. Thus you have three or four good games and the rest are cheesy, rushed concoctions pushed out too early to make a buck. Live and learn I suppose. Funny how today's machines can bust out perfect arcade translations every time yet no one seems to care anymore.
Anyway there was some kind of lawsuit between Atari and Coleco because Coleco released this adapter (expansion module #1) which let you play Atari 2600 games on the Coleco vision, then Coleco got all crazy with the Adam computer and ended up putting out this total piece of crap that nearly bankrupted the company, etc, whatever. No one cares anymore. When the hell are these bozos going to learn that nobody wants a game system that doubles as a computer? Coleco wasn't the last to try such a maneuver, 3do, Apple, Bandai, Panasonic, APF, and Tandy tried to lure people with an all in one machine that can't play decent games or give decent computing. People want a COMPUTER to do COMPUTING and a GAME SYSTEM to play GAMES. Every single company that's tried to release a jack of all trades machine has failed horribly. No one wants a "Multimedia device." They want to play some kickin' games. Maybe if those morons would have concentrated on making cool games their machines would have lasted longer than three months. Anyway... The crash utterly destroyed the Colecovision and Coleco eventually went out of business. For some reason I don't feel bad about that, since it was moron companies like this that caused the crash in the first place. So much for Coleco.
THE GOOD: Some pretty cool games. Nice versions of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Zaxxon, etc. Lots of cool junk to collect, like the 2600 expansion and driving wheel attachment (expansion #2.) You can find a ton of crap for this system on E-bay on any day of the week.
The Colecovision homebrew scene is alive and well and new games are released on a regular basis.
THE BAD: Everything else about the system. The console itself is HUGE and takes up waaay too much space. Then the power supply has this gigantic transformer thingy attached to it that's nearly as large as the console itself. The funky controllers are made in that early 80's telephone style, where you hold the thing vertically and use this control disc with your left thumb, making your fingers do yoga to press buttons AND hold the controller in you right hand. Also, the controller has a full keypad on it, in addition to two fire buttons, but out of the 15 games I have for this system I have yet to see a game that uses more than three of the keypad buttons. They are usually used for things like select, pause, etc, so they could have just made a five button controller that didn't have to be vertical and it would have been a a lot easier to use.... I don't know. I suppose they had monkeys play-test this thing or something.
THE UGLY: For some reason after I got this system it wasn't as cool as I remember it. Maybe I'm just spoiled by screens that scroll or music that comes out in more than one channel. When I was six that Smurfs game was like playing the cartoon. I have it now and it seems so....simple. Room one: Jump over the fence. Dodge the bat. Jump up a little cliff. Room two. Jump over a log. Dodge another bat. Etc. I beat it on my first try. I suppose in 1982 this was considered deep gameplay, but I can see why Dad thought this thing was a piece of junk.
The Adam Computer- A high priced oversized failure that put the nail in the coffin for the Colecovision
Exapnsion module #3 Coleco Super Game Module Prototype: A proposed add-on that essentially later became the Adam Computer. Games came on "Mico-wafers," cards that used magnetic tape storage to play 128K games (comprable to say, early early games on the NES.) Load times supposedly clocked in at 10 seconds, and the media also let you store things on the cart, such as high scores. At leat three games were completed for this machine,
Super Donkey Kong, Super Donkey Kong Jr., Super Smurf Rescue in Gargamel's Castle.
Interestingly there was also plans for a CED version.
CED stands for Capacitance Electronic Disk system, which was like a little vynl record but with very compact grooves. Think of it as an analog CD Rom. Hard to imagine how such a foward thinking company could have disappeared like that.