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Time Machine: Colecovision

Going hell for leather with Coleco's competitor...

Coleco, Mattel and Atari: the Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft of their day (in no particular order, conspiracy hunters).


While the Atari and Intellivision names have lingered over the long years since they first shone, the ColecoVision tends to be the wallflower in today's brassy world of remakes and digital distribution. Which is odd, as back in 1982 it was a cocky swine with both the resolve and the repertoire to rule the dancefloor.


Coleco came strutting up with plenty of experience from early Telstar consoles and tabletop versions of high-calibre arcade games. Their ColecoVision console may now look like an Alba video recorder that had somehow mated with the Batphone, but remember this was only the second generation - both its rivals had wood-effect panelling, and who cared when the pack-in game was the official and best home version of Donkey Kong?

Chasing big arcade publishers wasn't Coleco's only trick. They swooned over expansion modules, and in one of the industry's first great WTF moments, the first of these let the ColecoVision run games for the Atari 2600 and Atari couldn't do a thing about it.

The second module turned it into a dedicated driving game system with steering wheel and pedal, while the third upgraded it to the Coleco Adam home computer.

Alas survivors were few and far between when the videogames business ate its own face off in '83, and Coleco took enough damage to pack everything in boxes throughout 1984 and abandon the ColecoVision in a skip in 1985.

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After achieving a million sales in the first year, it was an unfitting end for a console that promised far greater things.

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