Welcome to the Coleco Box Art site. I made this site since I had lots of difficulties to find scans of boxes of Colecovision games, especially the European versions. I have tried to collect as many as I could and then I scanned them to make them available for you. I also tried to “remake” some of them. If you have boxes of Coleco games on your own, I would appreciate you scan them and send them to me. If you want to sell them, just contact me.

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NEWS

Coleco - The Complete History

10/19/15 : Fortune Builder
10/19/15 : Frantic Freddy
01/28/14 : Centipede scanned by Pixelboy
01/28/14 : Blockade Runner scanned by K. Martens
01/28/14 : Popeye scanned by Ikrananka
01/16/14 : Several updates thanks to Pixelboy
11/23/13 : Scan of Sir Lancelot / Robin Hood
11/23/13 : Scan of Turbo
08/02/13 : Scan of Gateway to Apshai
07/29/13 : Update of my collection

Complete log

HOME MADE

Some boxes I made for homebrewers.

YOU CAN HELP

You can help me by scanning, giving or selling me any artwork, game box, etc. about the Colecovision. Thank you.

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Tarzan

INTRODUCTION TO THE ColecoVision

In the beginning of the 80s, the Atari VCS ruled but it also showed its limits. Graphics were very poor and it couldn’t compare with arcade and computer games.

Coleco had already experienced the video game market with its console Telstar in the 70s. Thinking that the market was ready for a new generation of console, Coleco launched the Colecovision, based on a fast Z80 and which could display 256x192 graphics with up to 32 sprites. These features were superior to the competitors Atari and Intellivision.

In order to enter the competition, Coleco bought licenses of Japanese arcade games like Donkey Kong or Zaxxon. These innovating titles proved that Colecovision was the only console to offer nearly perfect conversions of Sega or Nintendo games.

Colecovision console

Zaxxon - VCS
Zaxxon - Intellivision
Zaxxon - Colecovision
Zaxxon - Arcade
Zaxxon (Atari VCS)
Zaxxon (Intellivision)
Zaxxon (Colecovision)
Zaxxon (Arcade)

Using a Z80 processor was a good choice as it was already broadly used in arcade cabinets, MSX and Sega machines, so it was easier to port games on the console.

A wheel, a trackball and various joysticks were available. Moreover, you could add a special module to use Atari VCS cartridges.

Despite all these advantages, 18 months after its launch, the Colecovision could not resist to the crash of the video game market. Coleco tried to go for home computing with the Adam computer but did not succeed.

Specs

CPU 8bits Z-80A 3.58MHz
Resolution 256 x 192
Colors 16 (one for transparency)
RAM 1 Kb
Video RAM 16 Kb (8 x 4116)
Video Display Processor Texas Instruments TMS9928A
Sprites 32
Sound Texas Instruments SN76489AN; 3 tone channels, 1 noise
Cartridge ROM 8 Kb / 16 Kb / 24 Kb / 32 Kb

What really distinguished the ColecoVision from other systems of the era was its 32 sprite capability. It made it easier to design sprite intensive games like Slither.

Scrolling on the Coleco was sort of chunky because they did not have special hardware for scrolling like the Atari units did - but some games (notably Jungle Hunt and Defender) do manage to scroll well, so there was a software workaround of some kind.

HISTORY

TelstarColeco (a contraction of COnneticut LEather COmpany) was the first company to introduce a "dedicated chip" home video game system, with the Telstar Arcade in 1976. (The Magnavox Odyssey, based on Analog technology, was the first home video game system overall, debuting in 1973.) Trying to build upon the enormous initial success of the unit, Coleco decided to bring out nine different Telstar models. But within a year, 75 other manufacturers had introduced similar units, and combined with production snags, a shortage of chips, and a push towards hand held games, Coleco skirted with disaster. While Coleco sold over $20 million of hand held games, it had to dump over a million Telstar units, and the company lost $22.3 million in 1978. With the introduction of units with games stored on interchangeable cartridges, Fairchild and then Atari had eliminated any remaining market for the simple pong games.

On June 1, 1982, Coleco re-entered the fray with the announcement of its "third generation" video game system, ColecoVision. Touting "arcade quality", ColecoVision took aim at the seemingly unassailable Atari 2600.

Donkey KongThe bulk of Coleco's library was comprised of overlooked coin-op games such as Venture and Lady Bug. With a library of twelve games, and a catalog showing ten more on the way (many of which were never released), the first one million ColecoVisions sold in record time. In 1983 it topped sales charts, beating out Atari and Mattel, with much of its success being contributed to its pack-in, Donkey Kong. The ColecoVision soon had more cartridges than any system except the Atari 2600, and with the 2600 converter still today has more playable games than any other system.

The ColecoVision introduced two new concepts to the home videogame industry - the ability to expand the hardware system, and the ability to play other video game system games.

The Atari 2600 expansion kit caused a flurry of lawsuits between Atari and Coleco. After the dust cleared, the courts had decided that it was acceptable for Coleco to sell the units. As a result of this Coleco was also able to make and sell the Gemini game system which was an exact clone of an Atari 2600 with combined joystick/paddle controllers.

Atari 2600 expansion kitColeco was also the first home videogame maker to devote the majority of their product line to arcade conversions, using the superior graphics of the ColecoVision to produce nearly arcade-quality games, albeit often missing a screen or level.

Coleco truly shocked the industry by doing so well. In a year, the stock rose in value from 6 7/8 a share to 36 3/4.

Adam computerUnfortunately, 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; running behind schedule, Coleco is rumored to have used another manufacturer's computer as the Adam prototype at a CES show while at the same time Adam software was being developed with the system. Some believe if it wasn't for Coleco's Cabbage Patch dolls, they would have completely disappeared. Even the Cabbage Patch dolls couldn't keep Coleco going forever, though; the company went under for good a few years later. Ironically, Mattel (the producers of Intellivision) now own the rights to the Cabbage Patch dolls.

Cabbage patch dollsColeco stopped production of the ColecoVision in 1984. Their last few titles (Illusions, Spy Hunter, Telly Turtle, and Root Beer Tapper) were barely seen in stores. Soon after that, Telegames bought much of Coleco's stock and even produced a few titles of their own that didn't reach the shelves before the shake-out. As recently as 1991 a mail order electronics store was known to sell ColecoVision motherboards and joysticks.

When Coleco left the industry they had sold more than 6 million ColecoVisions in just two years, even with the last year being troubled by the shake-out. Many in the industry believe if it wasn't for the videogame crash of '84, that Coleco could have gone through the 80's as the system of choice, especially with its proposed Super Game Module. It was clearly beating Atari and Mattel, but just didn't have the installed base to last out the crash.

Source : Colecovision FAQ - Copyright (c) 1998 Kevin Bowen, Thomas J. Crugnale, Joseph M. Huber and James Carter


TIMELINE

Aug 1982
ColecoVision released Module #1
Module #2
Super Game Module
Roller Controller
Super Action Controller
1982
Expansion Module #1: Atari 2600 Converter released
Module #2, Driving Controller released
Feb 1983
Super Game Module announced
1983
Super Game Module demoed (non-playable) at New York Toy Show
May 1983
Advertising of the Super Game Module starts; runs through July
Jun 1983
ADAM computer introduced
Aug 1983
Super Game Module schedule to go on sale
Oct 1983
Super Game Module dropped
Fall 1983
ColecoVision Roller Controller released
1983
ColecoVision Super Action Controllers released
Winter 1983
The video game market begins to crash
Spring 1984
The video game industry collapses. All production stops.
Jan 1985
Coleco drops the ADAM computer
Keep Colecovision alive

 

 

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