Coleco In Spat With ColecoVision Community

If you were a child of the late 1970s or early 1980s, the chances are that your number one desire was to own a games console. The one to have was the Atari 2600, notwithstanding that dreadful E.T. game.

Of course, there were other consoles during that era. One of these also-ran products came from Coleco, a company that had started in the leather business but by the mid 1970s had diversified into handheld single-game consoles. Their ColecoVision console of 1982 sold well initially, but suffered badly in the video game crash of 1983. By 1985 it was gone, and though Coleco went on to have further success, by the end of the decade they too had faded away.

The Coleco story was not over though, because in 2005 the brand was relaunched by a successor company. Initially it appeared on an all-in-one retro console, and then on an abortive attempt to crowdfund a new console, the Coleco Chameleon. This campaign came to a halt after the Chameleon prototypes were shown to be not quite what they seemed by eagle-eyed onlookers.

The latest twist comes from the console fan site AtariAge, on which it is claimed that Coleco is issuing DMCA takedown notices to ColecoVision fan pages and developers of fan games for the platform. It is unclear whether the excuse is a concern that there might be some adult content for the console in the wild or that there has been some form of dispute with an individual developer, but it is difficult to discern the logic behind widening the net to an entire community.

Let us put it this way. There are early 1980s consoles and computers that you will not have heard of, because they do not have an active online community. That you have heard of the ColecoVision is not because it was a wildly succesful device in its day, because it was not. It was one of the players, but it never achieved the cultural significance of the Atari or the Japanese machines that came after it. Instead you have heard of the ColecoVision here and now in 2017 because it has a band of enthusiasts who have kept it alive. A brand is nothing without its community of loyal fans, we here at Hackaday know this very well because it is you, our readers, who keep us going. Your online fans are the footsoldiers of your brand; they give you free marketing to a huge value, just because they like you. Why on earth mess with that?

For a brand owner to pursue the community who have kept it alive during decades of dormancy  in this manner can hardly be described as an astute move, indeed we would have to wonder whether somewhere a Coleco executive has just said “Hold my beer”, or “Hey you guys, watch this!”, before picking up a shotgun and reserving his place in the foot gunshot ward of his local hospital. With that level of marketing genius behind it we await their next console with interest, we’re sure it will achieve fame, of a sort.

Here’s our report on the Coleco Chameleon prototypes, and of course it’s worth reminding retro gaming fans that when it comes to treading on the toes of game console manufacturers, Coleco has form.

Via Hacker News.

ColecoVision header image: Evan-Amos [Public domain].

 

 

81 thoughts on “Coleco In Spat With ColecoVision Community

  1. Err, adult content for consoles has existed for literally 40+ years now. Even the Atari 2600 had all sorts of titles such as Bachelor Party, Burning Desire, Custer’s Revenge, A Knight on The Town, Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em, etc. Why would the fact that *gasp* adult games simply exist for a console have any bearing on, well, anything? Have they even heard of Rule 34? What does the type of content have to do with DMCA notices anyway?

  2. Coleco initially had better games than Atari. I remember Coleco was considered the up market alternative to the 2600. Eventually though due to the developers fighting for rights and more people making 2600 cartridges the 2600 won out. Intelivision and Magnevox Odesy suffered the same fate as Coleco.

    1. Exactly. I remember getting my 2600 when JC Penny, Sears, and the like in my area only sold Atari and Intelivision. A year or two later, at stores well outside of the town I live in, I started to discover the Odyssey and ColecoVision. By that time I had a couple dozen 2600 games and was heartbroken to see the graphics and gameplay on these other consoles.

      I laughed at K.C. Munchkin on the ‘Vox. Then I plugged Pac Man into the 2600 for the first time. Ugh.

      I never liked the Intelivision. Better graphics and games for sure, but I could not get past the controllers.

    2. The Atari 2600 came out in 77, the Coleco came out in 82. The Atari and the Coleco weren’t even really head to head competitors in most respects, they were different generations of console gaming. The NES didn’t hit America for two more years.

  3. “For a brand owner to pursue the community who have kept it alive during decades of dormancy in this manner can hardly be described as an astute move…” This sounds eerily similar to the mess with CBS and the Star Trek fanbase, honestly.

      1. What is it with leather companies suddenly deciding to make electronics? Was Coleco like “uh oh, Tandy just started this Radio Shack thing, we’d better start making video games!”.

  4. Sears had a branded version of ColecoVision, when they dropped the price of their unit to $100, I went to the local store to buy one. They refused to sell me the last one on the shelf (a working display) because they said it didn’t apply to the sale.
    So, I never bought one.

    1. In situations like that try to get the floor manager, then offer less. If refused, offer less again. They may argue at first, but eventually the logic kicks in that the item isn’t gaining value on the shelf. It worked for me; an Atari 400 for a fraction of the price they had marked.

    2. I think that the Sears model is the one I briefly saw in the store. Ever the hardware geek I though that having a keypad had to make it a better console because possibilities. Fortunately we got a TRS-80 instead.

  5. Crazy… those homebrew devs and hackers can actually be the ones who resurrect your product during the glorious “retro” years, so it makes no sense to go after them! For example the Atari Flashback series of plug-and-play devices was pretty much the brainchild of one dude on the AtariAge forums, getting the blessing and assistance from Atari to make the product a reality. And then some of the homebrew devs have gotten their games included within official Atari retro software or the PnP devices… a lot of times they’re better than the shovelware crap that came out 30 years ago.

    Coleco should be embracing and recruiting these people, not suing them.

  6. “…and of course it’s worth reminding retro gaming fans that when it comes to treading on the toes of game console manufacturers, Coleco has form”

    Just to clarify that the Coleco that produced the Atari clone Expansion Module was the original Coleco Industries, Inc. The so-called Coleco today is simply a trademark squatter called Coleco Holdings LLC (Dormitus Brands) that has absolutely nothing to do with the original company other than squatting on a bunch of Coleco Industries original product names and logos.

  7. Dear Jenny, have you ever played the game ET? I haven’t but I do have an opinion about it.
    A lot of people just like to call the game a crap game to be part of the (negative) cult status it has.
    If you ever played the game I guess that your statement “notwithstanding that dreadful E.T. game” is acceptable. But I don’t think it is really OK to write these things.

    Because, when ask yourself the question, was ET really the worst game ever made? You’ll have to come to the conclusion that almost all games from that time period were making promises that could not be made true. In many cases the boxart of the game was nothing like the game itself. Graphics were simply not good enough at that time. And this was the case for any other computer game of any other platform of that time. A lot of games “sucked” in some ways or disappointed in many areas, the box-art was mostly to blame (it simply was too good).
    One things is certain, fantasy was the key (to overcome the crappy graphics) in playing these games. ET was a game that had to live up to the expectations of the movie that was so close to our hearts. It came at the time when the computer games industry were already going downhill anyway…

    The documentary made about the dig up of the atari games in the desert is a great documentary and is worth seeing, ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3715406/ ) it made me think of atari and the games of that early time in a much more positive way.

    Personally, I’m a Commodore fan, but that does not really matter, early computers and their graphics no matter what platform (or how ugly or badly playable) have a certain charm that should be cherished by this generation because I think that the newer generations will not be able to appreciate the early gaming experience in the same way.
    Think and remember the positive things, focus on that and live will be (or seem) much more entertaining.

    PS: I noticed that many of your articles seem to hit my sweet spot in a positive way, I just felt I had to stand up for the ET game.

    1. Jan,

      I have played the ET Atari 2600 game. I received it as a Christmas present in 1982. It was horrible. It was every bit as dreadful as the folklore says it was.

    2. I owned the ET game for my 2600 – it was indeed dreadful and all I ever accomplished was for the game to start, ET to fall into a big hole and remain stuck there forever. And that was the game…. So I guess if your idea of a “good game” is starting a game only to be immediately stuck in a hole where you can’t move and that’s it. You are an idiot with an opinion. Golf clap. No, actually since you claim you never played the game, you don’t get an opinion. you can type furiously away a bunch of words, but they mean nothing. Thanks – have a nice day!

    3. “Because, when ask yourself the question, was ET really the worst game ever made?”

      I don’t think anyone here asked or claimed that, but since you bring it up, yes I’m pretty sure it was.

      Can you name another game released on cart/disc/physical-form that had almost 3 times as many copies manufactured than there were game consoles made with which to play it on?
      They priced it such that every single last Atari owner would need to purchase two copies of ET just for them to break even, and a nice sized chunk of Atari owners to purchase three copies just for them to see any returns.

      This at a time when even “just” every last Atari owner buying ONE copy was exceptionally unlikely.

      As a business choice, that game was the worst one ever, and that’s before even attempting to evaluate the game play itself, which was pretty far from good.

      You should probably try playing it some time. No cheating looking up how to! You get nothing but the game and manual that came with it. Then you can come back with an informed opinion ;}

    4. Question..have YOU played the game? I have…it’s was awful, not to say it was better or worse than other games of the era, but it was awful. I think most of the hysteria though, was based on the hype of the movie, and the fact that the game was rushed to market and in the end had little to do with movie (unless you a way advanced imagination…).

      That being said there were equally bad games of the that time that didn’t get the negative backlash the ET did (some mentioned custers revenge above….). Just my opinion…

  8. In all fairness the fake prototypes were entirely the work of the RetroVGS/ Game Gavel companies and were presented to the public without Coleco verifying they were real because Coleco had no technical staff to do so. When the prototypes were exposed as fakes Coleco demanded they be submitted for inspection and terminated the deal when they were not. But, this latest mess is not a winning move for a company with an already tarnished reputation.

  9. I have been friends since adolescence with one of the co-owners of Coleco and I have spoken with him about this.

    Their issue is the use of the ColecoVision logo on these games. I was told that if these particular homebrewers were to say “For play on:ColecoVision” in a common font without using the official ColecoVision logo, they wouldn’t object.

    After being ignored when they asked the developer(s) to remove the logo from the adult themed games and unlicensed reproduction of Nintendo games, Coleco called in the lawyers.

    They did this to make sure that Nintendo didn’t think that Coleco was behind those unlicensed games and come after them.

    I’m sure there are three sides to this story but it’s not as cut and dried as “Big, bad Coleco craps on homebrewer’s parade”.

    1. retro video game people have a elevated since of ownership when it comes to dead and defunct things, just cause a brand is dormant, its still a brand and owned by someone. This is a common mistake among the community, and now that someone that owns rights to properties, wishes to protect those properties, its a big stinky poo.

      Simple fact is people were and are using trademarked names, logo’s and artwork as they please, and while no one cared for a long time about it, some one now does care, and that someone paid for the right to protect their brand.

      1. Those poor companies, all they want to do is buy up an old abandoned trademark and try to squeeze a bit of blood out of it. This is just an even more lazy form of patent trolling.

      2. Not in this case. All you have are some fat ass greasy scumbag squatter trying to extort compliance from a community of hobbyists via a boiler plate legal threat.

        Besides it’s not like Coleco LLC is using the brand names in question.

        If it wasn’t for the hobbyist community, The Coleco brand would be unknown.

    2. This is not about weather they have the right to take action. They have the right to chop off their limbs if they want and it appears they have figuratively done just that.

      Modern CEO’s and company managers are well aware of techniques like reputation management and brand phoenixing. These techniques are often use after they have a public relations catastrophe.

      Reputation management is often used as a tool to increase market share or the customer base. The central tactic is to make changes that will result in loss of some existing customers and also attract even more new customers so that you have a net positive gain. This technique has diminishing rewards because the customers you loose will never come back in any significant proportion.

      When there is no reward left you have maximized both the customer base and also the number of previous customers that will not return. At this point you can on sell the product to a new brand to loose the brand association to all the lost customers that wouldn’t otherwise return (phoenixing).

      TL; DR;

      This product is a retro product that is practically unheard of outside of a fan base. There is no possibility to use reputation management as there will be no customer churn. This action will polarize the existing fan base which is currently close to 100% of the potential customer base. Any new customers that may attract in future can never offset the loss they have caused by this action.

      There is also no point in phoenixing the bran because that is the one and only thing thay have to support any pre-existing reputation.

      TLDR; TLDR:

      They have quite royally f*cked themselves over completely trashing their brand and making it completely worthless in one single move that is, oh so, entertaining to see. Goodbye forever ColecoVision.

    3. I agree that it shouldn’t be stated like that, how’s this: “Man-child “Coleco” craps everywhere while not understanding shit”.

      “They” don’t own the logotype, they don’t own the things they claim to do, they don’t have anything to do with the game console nor other brands they try to pretend are related to them. They haven’t got the copyright for anything and well, they are just trademark squatters.
      You post is full of obvious shit. How about “Coleco” using “unlicenced reproduction[s] of Nintendo games” after this shitstorm started? Knowingly in fact.

      Also I doubt any lawyers would want to be involved in this mess – in theory using the DMCA to take down content one have no rights to can have a penalty, lawyers don’t like penalties.

    4. “After being ignored when they asked the developer(s) to remove the logo”

      They never asked the developers, they asked a fan page, who they have confused as the developers. The fan page told them “go talk to the developers” but yet Coleco still had the lawyers attack the fan page. None of it makes any sense and then everything that transpired later just proved that the people who run Coleco are “not smart.” They got what they deserved. A community who was already on the fence about supporting them after the Chameleon and now have pretty much jumped off that fence completely. The whole thing was just incredibly dumb.

      1. Nah, they didn’t jump off the fence. The fence is one of those wrought iron ones with all the pointy pieces. They’ve slipped and jammed one of the pointy pieces up their nether region.

  10. They even failed with the obvious product placement of Reese’s Pieces! They are depicted as a single dark-green pixel, instead of brown, orange, or yellow of real candies.

  11. We don’t all agree on how to deal with copyright laws, but we all have to agree that they exist and are created in a certain way and that the weight of “right” is with the holder. It is a shame that everyone is not communicating because if all parties try to be above-board on a system nowhere near its 1982 popularity level, then everyone wins and in the end more people buy and play games. The folks in the Intellivision sub-community have done a fair job of this, but it seems to affect all classic consoles where there is at least one dollar to be made on the IP.

    1. Look the people who buy up the old trademarks like Dormitus Brands are greedy scumbags looking to make a buck. And if it that means shutting down a bunch hobbyists via legal threats they will.

      They really don’t care that it is the hobbyists keeping the console and brand alive.

  12. Dissy says:
    May 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    “Because, when ask yourself the question, was ET really the worst game ever made?”

    I don’t think anyone here asked or claimed that, but since you bring it up, yes I’m pretty sure it was.

    Can you name another game released on cart/disc/physical-form that had almost 3 times as many copies manufactured than there were game consoles made with which to play it on?
    They priced it such that every single last Atari owner would need to purchase two copies of ET just for them to break even, and a nice sized chunk of Atari owners to purchase three copies just for them to see any returns.

    This at a time when even “just” every last Atari owner buying ONE copy was exceptionally unlikely.

    As a business choice, that game was the worst one ever, and that’s before even attempting to evaluate the game play itself, which was pretty far from good.

    You should probably try playing it some time. No cheating looking up how to! You get nothing but the game and manual that came with it. Then you can come back with an informed opinion ;}

    We’re getting off track a bit, but…There were not 3 times more E.T. cartridge’s produced than Atari 2600’s! I love the false video game history – usually created by people who read about it vs. living through the era! By Christmas 1983, roughly 12 to 15 million 2600’s were sold(a fairly well-educated guess).

    Another comment, directed toward the authors of this article: The Colecovision was wildly popular for a couple of years. Donkey Kong, rendered so well on a home console, blasted Colecovision to the Moon! If Coleco hadn’t thrown in the towel on their electronics division, it it possible we, here in America, would’ve played ColecoVision throughout the remainder of the 80’s. Ninetendo would’ve never got a foothold in our market.

  13. I remember seeing this console way back then. I didn’t have one though.

    I was interested in one TV game console that you could remove the game paddles from and plug in a keyboard and program (in BASIC??)

    Does anyone remember what that console was???

    1. It was basically just a game console but you could upgrade it to a BASIC computer by unplugging the game controllers and plugging in a keyboard.

      It looked something like this but this picture is of a 1982 console and my memory is from about 1978 – 1979.

      1. That’s a little more specific. The system that immediately jumps to mind is the APF Imagination Machine. I didn’t have one of these, but I did have the video game console, the APF-1000, very briefly. (It stunk.)

    2. Here is a wonderful link of all the early consoles (with pictures) including the ColcoVision.

      Have a look before it gets taken down !!!

      http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/evolution-of-home-video-game-consoles-1967-2011/

      Anyway, I can’t find what I was looking for. There was a “compumate” keyboard for the Atari 2600 that looks like what I remember but it’s from the 80’s. The console to computer upgrades are hard to find because they blur the line between console and computer.

  14. ROB: Lots of systems were like that, but I suspect you’re thinking of the Atari XEGS. That was basically just one of their computers reconfigured into a (rather ugly) game console.

    Anyway. I think Coleco is under the impression that it can sell licenses to produce software for a console that’s, uh, been dead for thirty years. There was never a licensing system in place for the ColecoVision, and trying to sell licenses now is a fool’s errand. If New-leco owns the rights to the logo (and that’s not totally clear) they can certainly prevent homebrew game designers from using it, but that won’t stop the games from being released. And I get a funny feeling that future ColecoVision games will have some very amusing Easter Eggs hidden in them at River West’s expense…

  15. ROB: There were several game systems which fit that description, but I suspect you’re thinking of the Atari XEGS. That was basically just a disguised computer anyway… a 65XE with some of the computer parts trimmed away.

  16. So even after 40 years with absolutely no support being provided by the company, you still are not (“legally”) able to do what you want with a piece of hardware that you purchased and physically own? This whole way of thinking is seriously screwed up and the fact that this modern generation has allowed this type of culture to permeate is really sad. I’m all for a new counter-culture revolution. Anyone else?

  17. For starters, I’m currently working on two different projects with Coleco, however I will keep this comment as unbiased at possible, since, above all, gaming is my passion. That being said, I do have some inside information regarding this matter, and I’m interested to see how the community reacts to my point of view.

    1. They asked nicely for them to take down a pornographic game post.(And i DO mean pornographic as a very loose term.) It wasn’t as disrespect, or even trying to strong arm the community into anything. The reason why is because they are in the process of releasing Coleco products marketed for kids. When they asked them to take it down (again, NOT DEMANDED), they became indignant, and started to threaten them with the exact repercussions they’re facing now, which is, “You can’t tell us what to do, and we’re going to turn the community against you if you try”.

    2. I’ve read a few different posts from people, pitchforks in hand, bemoaning about how wrong it is that Coleco is trying to target, and shut down the home brew community. This.. is actually kind of hilarious. Coleco is currently employing three different home brew programmers to work on various projects. I know at least one of the developers declined to comment on this matter because said person is afraid of community backlash… if that tells you something.

    3. I spent some time with one of the current owners of Coleco. I can pretty much tell you as a fact that he bought into the Coleco IP to work on as a passion project. That dude has the craziest GI Joe collection I’ve ever seen, and he loves all things 80’s. Does he want the upcoming projects to be successful? Of course. But these projects are far the image of a money grabbing scheme that some people are trying to paint. The people I’ve met with seemed extremely busy with a multitude of different projects, gaming and non-gaming alike. It didn’t seem to me like the type of operation that would be involved with petty things such as attacking its own community.

    4. The Chameleon fiasco occurred before I started working with Coleco. I read through the entire forum posts in disbelief just like some of you did. So when the company contacted me to do work with them, I really wanted to know what was going on with that situation before I agreed to work with them. From what I understand, Coleco wanted to partner with somebody, who, again, is highly involved in the Retro Gaming/Home brew community, to create a console. My professional opinion is that the team trying to produce that console was a little bit over their head, but well intentioned.. And that Coleco was offering its trademark to market the console, but wasn’t involved with much else. So, in retrospect, the fact that Coleco still tries to have the retro gaming community involved in creating products is.. to put lightly.. surprising? I think any other company would immediately write off trying to do business with members of its small homebrew community after that debacle.

    That’s my two cents. The entire gaming community is notorious for shitting on the companies that make them. Business as usual I suppose.

    1. I, as a complete bystander who has nothing to do with this scene either by hay of coleco or the fan boys, immediately dismiss this as fictitious on the basis of posts that I have read that provide proof of the interaction that has occurred between coleco and that fan club that coleco now denies and is deleting comments from where they can (such as facebook) rather than attempting to in any way address the legitimate concerns of onlookers.

    2. Ok 7331, what’s your project, and why do you feel compelled to stump for the zombie COLECO brand? Especially to a community that you feel is ungrateful?

  18. I just noticed that the atariage.com site is now down. I wonder if it has been HaDOSSed or overwhelmed by requests as this hits the tech news here and in other places of if it has been DCMA’d ???

        1. Wow, you’re really something. You read a thread in a forum you don’t generally visit, and “immediately dismiss this as fictitious” things that you saw. Then, you jump to conclusions about distributed denial of service attacks and copyright takedowns, even though it’s just a network configuration problem on your end. Finally, you assume the problem is your VPN … without evidence that AtariAge blocks VPN traffic (they don’t), saying you “generally turn your back on sites” that do that.

          How does someone like you function in the real world?

          1. This sounds exactly like the Rob who has been perpetuating this drama from the beginning… lol. This guy is unreal.
            I just googled his name, and this came up.

            https://encyclopediadramatica.rs/index.php?title=Robb_Alvey&diff=next&oldid=780152?title=Robb_Alvey&diff=next&oldid=780152

            “Robb Alvey (also known as ThemeParkReview and Robert Lee Alvey) is a butthurt, manchildish, narcissistic roller coaster enthusiast who thinks he has power over everything and feels he could get everything he fucking wants.”

          2. I am in independent observer and you are clearly biased.

            It is very common that links on HackaDay send so much traffic to the link target that the target site goes down. I call this hackaday ddossed or HaDDOSed. This actually happens all the time. You clearly are not aware of this and I would suggest that you are unaware because you are not a frequent visitor here.

            Perhaps you are here on this occasion because you have an undeclared personal interest and bias towards the particular article.

            The DCMAed comment was a little tongue in cheek but be aware that almost every hosting provider has a process whereby an application can be made to have the complete website taken down (by removing the hosting account) for copyright violations. This suggestion is not inconceivable.

            As for proof of blocking a VPN – I can’t connect directly (server timeout) but I can connect via proxy – there’s your proof sunshine.

            I function very well in the ‘real’ world.

            I think you need to understand that you’re commenting on a web site that attracts engineers, educators and generally people that are ‘ahead of the times’.

            I think it is quite true to say that visitors here are most often higher in intelligence than the average person.

            You might get away with your biased accusation on other sites but on this site you are making you self look like a complete fool.

          3. @[e7331]

            You go from “RÖB” to “Rob” and then to “Robb Alvey” – well done.

            The name will have one or two ‘B’s. If it has one you use one in the abbreviated form “Rob”. If it has two then you use 2 in the abbreviated form Robb.

            “Robert” is one of the most common names in the western world as it was originally a Biblical name in the original Hebrew Bible then the King James Bible and there after just about every Bible including Cristian, Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant etc.

            Your chances of finding someone disliked or resented by the name of “Rob” to accuse me of being mealy on the basis of first name association was really quite optimal.

            It’s simply couldn’t have been easier and yet you still stuffed it up. Your post quite clearly reflects on you more-so than me.

          4. WOW, accusing [RÖB] of being a newbie; now I’ve seen everything. Please, attack some more people who have been here for years.

            Ya done failed epicly bros. Hahaha, please do me next! I’m loving this!

    1. @e7331 (or should I perhaps call you Fred) : Well didn’t take you long to go from “I will keep this comment as unbiased as possible” to one quoting from an extremist website that also states about Robb “entertain the stupid people on JewTube and for his shitty cult jewish website called ThemeParkReview.com”. I think this says it all about the credibility of the link and quote that you provided.

      Also, Robb is not the only party that has been attacked by Coleco Holdings LLC and it is Coleco Holdings LLC that are “perpetuating this drama”.

      BTW – Robb Alvey is a moderator on the AtariAge forums and would therefore not be someone on here called ROB accusing AtariAge of blocking VPN connections.

  19. After a weird pong/tennis style clone, my first REAL console was actually a ColecoVision Adam computer system. Wouldn’t work without printer, cause the power supply was in the printer. It had a pair of tape drives, all these empty expansion slots, and of course, the cartridge slot. I actually really liked that machine. To be fair, I’d had a Commodore 128 and a TRS-80, but the Commodore was sold to the library, cause we needed the money for farm expenses. The Commodore was a gift from my grandmother. I was alway sad to see it sold, but I only ever played the occasional game on it. I was only 5 at the time. We had it for only a few months, but I was allowed to get anything I wanted, up to $50 in exchange for giving it up. I chose a 50-in-one electronics kit, and was building AM radio transmitters with it when I was 6. It set my life’s direction, and I never veered course! The TRS-80 and the ColecoVision Adam were both freebies that I got CV cause it was old, and TRS-80 CoCo 2 cause it didn’t work. I repaired the TRS-80 when I was 10, repaired the CV once later on, and eventually got a Commodore 64, and FINALLY replaced my 128 years later, when I was in high school. Also had a Fairchild Channel F, And a Magnavox Odyssey (original and Odyssey II). Didn’t get an Atari VCS till I was in COLEGE! XD

    1. Wow you had access to the very early computers like the TRS-80. We had a Trash80 at school but I never had one personally as they were so expensive. Instead I had a VIC-20 at home which I didn’t use much because I had already learnt Z-80 (TRS-80) assembly and the VIC-20 was a 6502.

      I also had one of those early tennis/pong/hockey games. It was quite small and from memory it was driven by a single chip: AY-3xxxxx ???

      1. I also had a Commodore PET and VIC-20 in high school, and in my adult life, I’d found an original TRS-80, an old Atari computer, Some Apple IIe and //c systems… I actually kinda regret young me’s decisions… When the PET quit working, I took it apart. I sold all the old Apples, except for one nice IIe. I kinda wish I’d have kept at least one //c. The TRS-80 and atari machines were sold… The meager gains don’t match not having them in the collection anymore. As for my CoCo2… The keyboard membrane failed, but I’d kept it for years, determined to fix it someday. Sadly, all my old “junk” got tossed by may dad. He didn’t think any of that stuff was “important” so he tossed it, rather than call me to ask if I wanted to stop by and grab any of it first. A friend had a CoCo3, same problem, but his mom tossed it out. I always asked him if I could have it, since it was broken, and simply not used by either of them… He had an early teenage cigarette addiction, and always held onto it in lieu of cig money. I always balked, and he never gave in, and eventually, it was just gone. I DID manage to at least keep my VIC-20, and all the commodore 64 and 128 stuff after all these years.

        I always thought highly of Commodore’s hardware, but was always baffled by their utter lack of a better BASIC. TRS-80 CoCo2 had an amazing implementation of BASIC, with some crazy musical and graphical commands. Granted… They were useless, as they were slow and fully occupied the system, but imagine if the Commodore 64 or 128 had a BASIC that had genuine COMMANDS for the SID, or for controlling sprites!

        I never did learn assembly though. Heck… I’m struggling just to learn C, so I can use a friggin’ Arduino. I’ve always been a hardware guy… If I had a problem I needed solving, I’d throw together some good old jellybean logic. Heck… I built a 15 chip controller for a walking quadrupedal robot. Five controls (direction + stop), 8 gaits (plus Stop). It’s just a state machine that passes a sequencer through to a series of H-bridges. I later made a modded version that switched PWM values to servos to do the same thing, but using servos… I did it on the schematic editor in Xilinx’s software for programming their CPLDs. That’s the kinda stuff I do… Software is not my forte.

        I used to know BASIC fairly well, for the Commodore 64 and for the TI graphing calculators… But it’s been nearly 2 decades since I did either extensively.

        1. I through out a Apple 2][e about 20 years ago lol.

          I learnt BASIC on the TRS-80 first and it was an easy and *fun* language. In hindsight it’s a language that encourages poor coding by modern standards but it also created a generation of programmers.

          I quickly moved to assembly or in my case machine code as is didn’t have an assembler. The Z-80, a ‘Complex Instruction Set’ language (CISC) had about 396 documented op-codes (including variants). Modern ‘Reduced Instruction Set’ Languages (RISC) like AVRs have less than 50 or so. For the ATmega you just need to download Atmel Studio (it does C as well as asm).

          I use Xilinx (ISE) as well but I have never entered a schematic because modern CPLDs/FPGA are too big to make schematics for. I use VHDL which is easier than Veralog if you can understand logic at a gate level but Veralog is much more common in places like America. If you can make a state machine with gates then you’re top of the field for a HDL like VHDL or Verilog. I use the Altera version (Quartus) as well.

          I have a resurrected Amstrad CPC6128 (from the 80’s) that I am slowly modding. The next mod is a WiFi floppy emulator so I can drag and drop files from my desktop PC straight to the CPC via WiFi.

      2. I currently have an HP9825… I will never sell that thing! It’s amazing, for what it is! a 10 MHz, 16 bit computer, in a form factor similar to an Apple II, but released in 1976 at those speeds! Very impressive!

        I’ve been going crazy trying to find what kind of pong clone I used to have. It was two handheld parts, but I’m 95% certain it had no central box, just the two hand held units. I am fairly certain, it ran on batteries… 75% certain? I don’t recall at all if it had an AC adapter of any kind. It had one wire connecting player two to player one’s hand control, and then the player 1 control had a cable that went to the TV. I wanna say it was a 4-in-one style pong game, but I’m not 100% sure… I also think it used a slider as the paddle. Google images has failed me in showing anything that looks even remotely like what I had. I don’t remember the brand either, but I lived in rural Minnesota, so it’d be something American, and available in nowhere’s-ville… Sears, Pamida, JC Penny, K-Mart, Red Owl, Runnings, Ace Hardware, Coast to Coast Hardware… Those were the local stores that I can still recall. Might have been some other stuff, but nothing that stands out. it’s been driving me crazy trying to figure out what pong clone I had back then!

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