What is ColecoVision?

Although most video game lovers remember the Nintendo Entertainment System as the first high-quality home console, the most retro gamers fondly remember the only video game console capable of surpassing the Nintendo brand, we mean to ColecoVision . Although it was only on the market for two years, it managed to break all expectations and sales records .

What is ColecoVision?

The ColecoVision was the second generation of Coleco brand home video game consoles that were on sale in 1982 . A device that offered good quality in graphics and gameplay of quality to the nearest arcade .

  • History
  • ColecoVision Features
  • Technical specifications
  • ColecoVision connections and ports
  • Models
  • Cartridges
  • Accessories
  • ColecoVision Featured Games
  • Curiosities


The history of this game console begins in 1982 when the Connecticut Leather Company , a company that was dedicated to the manufacture of shoes (as strange as it may seem), managed to launch what was known as ColecoVision . However, this was not the first attempt to enter this game system since in 1976 Pong had already been introduced , although it did not manage to work properly, causing it to lose strength in the market.

Despite this failure, the company continued to think about the video game industry and managed to develop a better system , with better graphics and better sounds, and this is how ColecoVision managed to enter the market with a list of twelve games . Coleco was smart enough to pull off two masterstrokes that catapulted the console with great speed. First, they managed to acquire a license from Nintendo to publish the famous Donkey Kong game and to add it to each of the consoles they managed to sell. On the other hand, they managed to anticipate the actions of Atariand Mattel , managing to increase its sales, by Christmas 1982, more than half a million consoles had already been sold.

By 1983 , more than a million consoles had been sold , however, the increase in the video game market and the over-saturation of the markets in a short time meant that the company could not cope with the situation, causing large losses . In addition, home computers began to become one of the preferred video game platforms, leaving aside the console. In this way, the ColecoVision lost power and was eventually discontinued.

ColecoVision Features

Among the main features of ColecoVision are the following:

  • It was the first console that could emulate the arcades of the time.
  • It had a pretty powerful graphics .
  • It was the first team that managed to include the steering wheel as a form of control .
  • It had an adapter that made it possible to run games from other systems, such as the Atari 2600 .
  • The main console unit was a rectangular shaped plastic box measuring 14x8x2 inches with the motherboard located in it .
  • The control console is connected via outlets in a recessed area placed on top of the unit.
  • Its command or control was rectangular in shape and had a numeric keypad and several side buttons .
  • The control stick also had a joystick measuring 1.5 inches.

Technical specifications

Among the most relevant technical specifications in this console are the following:

  • CPU : NEC D780C-1 (NEC version of the Zilog Z80A at 3.58 MHz).
  • Video processor : Texas Instruments TMS9928A (40 Pin DIP) which had a resolution of 256 × 192, 32 Sprites and a total of 16 colors.
  • It had a 1 KB RAM (2 x UPD2114LC 1024 X 4-bit SRAM (two chips for 1 KB of memory).
  • Its graphics card was 16 KB ITT 8244 4116 3N.
  • storage capacity per cartridge of 8/16/24/32 KB.
  • In addition, it had three different expansion modules :
    • Module 1 : made the ColecoVision compatible with the Atari 2600 which managed to give the console the largest software library of the time.
    • Module 2: A gas pedal , steering wheel and drive controller that was basically an on / off switch. It was used as a type of gears for control in order to achieve a more precise speed.
    • Module 3 : made the ColecoVision become a complete computer , better known as Adam .

ColecoVision connections and ports

ColecoVision had the following ports and connections:

  • ColecoVision expansion module interface which was located on the front of the console.
  • ColecoVision cartridge slot that was placed on the top / front of the console. The power and reset switches are also shown .
  • ColecoVision channel selection switch and A / V output on the rear of the console.
  • ColecoVision power port on the back of the console.
  • The part superior of the internal PCB of ColecoVision – motherboard.
  • Part bottom of the PCB internal of ColecoVision – motherboard.


There were very few models of the ColecoVision as well as few changes to its design . One of their models included a compartment to place the controls and to keep the cables in place. Perhaps its main model is the Coleco Chameleon that offers the user the possibility of playing games similar to those of 8, 16 and 32-bit consoles.


Video game cartridges were a format by which games for ColecoVision could be distributed . It is a type of removable device that contained reading memory which was manufactured to be connected to a consumer device. It is in other words, the place where the game is located .


The main accessories that were part of the ColecoVision are:

  • Expansion controller : it was the accelerator pedal which worked as an on / off switch.
  • Adam computer expansion : a keyboard that also had a cassette unit for the digital data package.
  • Roller Controller – Known as a roller controller it was a trackball packed in the Slither cartridge that used a special power connector.
  • Super action controller: this controller was a set of two hand controls that also had joysticks which were packaged with the Super Action Baseball cartridge. Each of the joysticks had a ball, four action buttons, a number pad, and a speed roller.

ColecoVision Featured Games

Among the most important and outstanding games of ColecoVision are the following:

  • Donkey Kong: the famous gorilla from video games.
  • Donkey Kong Junior
  • Carnival
  • Lady bug
  • Mouse Trap
  • Zaxxon – a combat game where enemies are shot.
  • Venture
  • Cosmic avenger


The ColecoVision was the first console that had enough graphic capacity to be able to emulate the arcades that were in fashion at that time. His machine was so powerful that even years later, it would still be used in video editing consoles . It was also the first console to include a steering wheel as a control and also had an adapter to run games from different systems such as the Atari 2600. The Coleco company paid Nintendo the sum of $ 250,000 as rights to use. by Donkey Kong .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *