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Colecovision Vs. NES in graphics.

Colecovision Nes Vs. Graphics Dicussion

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#51 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:22 AM

People who complain about this drive me nuts. It's been almost thirty years since the D-pad has been moved to the left of the controller. You mean to tell me that you're still not used to this?

#52 RickR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:03 PM

I believe this is what makes me completely unbeatable at Atari games with my kids. They simply can't do the right-hand joystick, left hand button instinctively. So thanks for that Nintendo.

#53 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:24 PM

I believe this is what makes me completely unbeatable at Atari games with my kids. They simply can't do the right-hand joystick, left hand button instinctively. So thanks for that Nintendo.


My kids have that problem too! :P My 15 year old genuinely looks confused operating a controller with only one fire button.

#54 RickR OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:21 PM

My kids have that problem too! :P My 15 year old genuinely looks confused operating a controller with only one fire button.


I wonder...if I let them play with a Genesis controller...would that end my unbeaten streak? I don't think my ego will allow this experiment to happen.

#55 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:37 PM

I wonder...if I let them play with a Genesis controller...would that end my unbeaten streak? I don't think my ego will allow this experiment to happen.


I've let mine try various controllers. Unless it's a button masher they don't stand a chance. BUT in their defense I get owned on the 360. My son once asked me if he's adopted I was so bad.
Little shit!

#56 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:18 PM

My kids have that problem too! :P My 15 year old genuinely looks confused operating a controller with only one fire button.


You need to trade him in for a better model.

I've let mine try various controllers. Unless it's a button masher they don't stand a chance. BUT in their defense I get owned on the 360. My son once asked me if he's adopted I was so bad.
Little shit!


Yep, take him back to the hospital for a refund.

#57 jetset OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:18 PM

You need to trade him in for a better model.



Yep, take him back to the hospital for a refund.


Tried both. he keeps finding his way back. :P

#58 high voltage ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:44 AM

People who complain about this drive me nuts. It's been almost thirty years since the D-pad has been moved to the left of the controller. You mean to tell me that you're still not used to this?


I'm an ace player on pads but it'll never feel right.

Cool that I drive you nuts though.

Edited by high voltage, Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:14 AM.


#59 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:47 PM

The Colecovision compares somewhat ok vs the NES but lets face it, NES had some advantages that would be difficult to overcome.
The NES could be expanded via the game cart itself and Nintendo's tile based graphics are in ROM so it doesn't have RAM issues and that's just one advantage.
The Colecovision really needed a graphics upgrade to compete in the long run so there would have had to of been some sort of new console.

And now I'm going beyond how do the graphics compare into how could the Colecovision compete.


The obvious upgrade for a Colecovision 2 would be the V9938.
From what I can tell, the V9938 didn't come out until 1985 but I'm just going by dates on developer docs.
Old games could run on the newer system, but new games could look better thanks to the new chip.
Hardware wise, it would have been a small design change if they stayed with 16K and not that bad if they went with more RAM.
The chip upgrade gives you a larger palette and sprite mode 2 so you'd have more sprites on screen without flickering.
With only 16K VRAM, you wouldn't have the 256 color mode or the hi-res modes but hi-res wouldn't work on a TV anyway.
For 256 color mode you need 128K VRAM which would have made a game console expensive at the time and offering at as an upgrade probably means fewer games would be written for it.
Coleco could have shipped such a machine with 64K VRAM and offered an upgrade to 128K with a couple pack in games. That would have given developers a little more VRAM to play with or extra storage RAM and would have lowered the cost of an upgrade. Throw in a couple games with the upgrade and it would seem like a bargain.

But remember that on top of graphics, the Nintendo sound hardware has some capabilities the Colecovision doesn't.
Frankly, Coleco went with the least capable sound chip of the day.
Coleco could throw in an additional sound chip, probably a YM2203 (which came out around 1985) but now the base cost of the system is going up.
But at that point the graphics and sound capabilities would have been superior to the NES and most 8 bit or even many 16 bit computers.

There is one other not so little problem with that whole idea though and it's not hardware.
Arcades were starting to close by that time and Coleco had based it's success largely on licensing arcade titles away from everyone else.
NES came to the market with original games nobody else had and the console had been around in Japan for a couple years so it had a decent library of games to port to English.
And NES games weren't designed to kill off the player as quickly as possible to generate revenue like arcade games, many were intentionally designed to be played for days on end to complete the game. This was more like computer games and partially why some people had been turning to the C64, Atari 8 bit, Apple, etc... instead of game consoles.
This becomes a game library comparison and Coleco would have had to of adapted.

Now, even further along the what if trail...
If the V9938 and YM2203 had been out in time for the release of the ADAM or the ADAM had been delayed, that probably would have been a more appropriate target for such a change. It would certainly fit in well with the idea I posted about making the ADAM smaller and keeping the drives external. Buy the ADAM without keyboard, drives or printer and you can use it as a games console. Then buy a package with keyboard, drive and a RAM/ROM upgrade to make it a computer. People might not mind paying $50-$100 more for a system that can be upgraded to a computer and then the NES looks like it has to compete with Coleco rather than the other way around.
The machine would be a decent games console all by itself and as a computer would have clearly been superior graphics and sound wise vs games consoles and most computers.

#60 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:35 PM

...
Now, even further along the what if trail...
If the V9938 and YM2203 had been out in time for the release of the ADAM or the ADAM had been delayed, that probably would have been a more appropriate target for such a change. It would certainly fit in well with the idea I posted about making the ADAM smaller and keeping the drives external. Buy the ADAM without keyboard, drives or printer and you can use it as a games console. Then buy a package with keyboard, drive and a RAM/ROM upgrade to make it a computer. People might not mind paying $50-$100 more for a system that can be upgraded to a computer and then the NES looks like it has to compete with Coleco rather than the other way around.
The machine would be a decent games console all by itself and as a computer would have clearly been superior graphics and sound wise vs games consoles and most computers.

And I finally tracked down when the Hitachi HD64180 (later licensed as the Z180) was released and it was... 1985.
Hmmmmmm.... V9938, YM2203, HD64180...

So um... if I'm reading the ADAM memory map info right... 40H-70H is not attached to any hardware in a stock ADAM is that correct?
*IF* that is the case the HD64180's built in hardware could be positioned there. Why couldn't they have placed the network reset/EOS enable at 40H or not strung I/O all over the place?

#61 gamecat80 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:14 AM

@ JamesD -

I don't know as much as many here about hardware, I just know what looks and sounds good. The ColecoVision looks and sounds like an arcade compared to other consoles of the late 70s / early 80s. The TI soundchip sounds comparable to the POKEY to me. Heck the SMS basically uses the same soundchip and came out four years after the CV!

I look at it this way: The Atari 2600 was a big step up in graphics and sound from the Channel F. Then Intellivision came out a couple years later. It was a step up in graphics and sound. ColecoVision came out a couple years after that and, again, a step up in graphics and sound. The NES was yet another step up in graphics and sound.

Btw, wasn't the Atari 2600 on the market 'till 1991 or so to "compete" with the NES? If that is the case, then the ColecoVision sure as hell could have "competed" with the NES since it was much more advanced than the 2600. I think of the ColecoVision as smack dab between the Intellivision and NES in graphics and sound. In the end, the "rise and fall" of game systems was a mix of timing, marketing and business decisions :!:

Edited by gamecat80, Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:17 AM.


#62 retroillucid ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 11:20 AM

Some facts...

- Eric Bromley meet up with Nintendo in late 1980 (3 years before the release of the Famicom)
- ColecoVision was the first console to have an Expansion Port. (Famicom is the 2nd)
- ColecoVision was expanded to Computer. (Famicom did that too... Kind of)
- ColecoVision had Donkey Kong as a pack-in game. (Nintendo title) (Nintendo did pack-in SMB later in America)

In my opinion, Nintendo did follow what Coleco was doing right and improved what Coleco was doing wrong





#63 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 11:42 AM

For me , the upgrade of the colecovision would be comparable to the SMS. (Sega Master System).

And the SMS , despite it was not as sucessfull on business aspect than the NES. The SMS is clearly technically a better console than the NES.

The colecovision with more RAM and talented programmers could compete with the NES. (Look at that Nanochess does for instance ).

#64 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:34 PM

I don't know as much as many here about hardware, I just know what looks and sounds good. The ColecoVision looks and sounds like an arcade compared to other consoles of the late 70s / early 80s. The TI soundchip sounds comparable to the POKEY to me. Heck the SMS basically uses the same soundchip and came out four years after the CV!

I look at it this way: The Atari 2600 was a big step up in graphics and sound from the Channel F. Then Intellivision came out a couple years later. It was a step up in graphics and sound. ColecoVision came out a couple years after that and, again, a step up in graphics and sound. The NES was yet another step up in graphics and sound.


The TI sound chip doesn't have the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope, waveform, or filtering settings of other chips. With some of the more advanced chips, you can start a sound and the chip will modify the sound up, down, or up and down, whatever. With the TI chip, you cpu has to regularly modify chip settings to get the same result and some results just aren't possible. I believe the POKEY uses square waves as well which is why it sounds similar but I believe POKEY has a greater range than the TI chip and an additional channel. Each of these old chips has it's own unique sound qualities and for the time they were all quite amazing but vs the NES they start to show their age.

The upgrade chip I suggested supports AY chip sound and adds FM sound synthesis which lets you actually play music that sounds more like real instruments and it does it without the huge amount of ROM for sampled sounds a DAC would require. It would be very competitive with the NES and any computer of the day. Here is the first music example I found on youtube:


Looks wise, the Colecovision chip has a fixed 16 color screen palette. It's not horrible and other machines like the C64 also had a fixed 16 color palette. The big difference is the new chip has a palette of 512 colors to chose those 16 colors from and you can alter the screen palette for color cycling, pulsing and other effects like you'd see on the Amiga. You may be able to alter the palette as the screen is updated to give you more than 16 colors on screen but I'm just not familiar enough with the chip to be sure. And then there is the additional sprite mode which would make many games that required a complex sprite engine on the old chip really easy. With 128K VRAM you get the fixed palette 256 color mode which would obviously let you have much more detailed graphics. Games could have scanned photographic images, background tiles could be very detailed, etc... The one drawback to this is the need for larger bank switched carts to accommodate the greater data size but you aren't any worse off than including NES upgrades on a cart... except the NES cart is sized to accommodate more chips. Basically, the games could look better in stock form and really better with the memory upgrade and this is while maintaining compatibility with existing titles.

Btw, wasn't the Atari 2600 on the market 'till 1991 or so to "compete" with the NES? If that is the case, then the ColecoVision sure as hell could have "competed" with the NES since it was much more advanced than the 2600. I think of the ColecoVision as smack dab between the Intellivision and NES in graphics and sound. In the end, the "rise and fall" of game systems was a mix of timing, marketing and business decisions :!:

It depends on what you mean by compete. Even if you don't get a lot of sales you would be competing.
But I don't think that was the intent of the original poster.
At the very least, I think he was talking about the Colecovision selling well vs the NES.
I took it to the next logical step of what I thought would be required to do that.
Really, the only options that maintained backwards compatibility were what I suggested and it's sort of a go big or go home approach. :D
I thought the only way to justify the likely higher cost vs the NES would be the ADAM upgrade route.

Even if Coleco could have gone down this road there was still the software issue. It would have really required opening up the system internals at the time such a machine was launched and incentives to attract 3rd party developers.


#65 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:46 PM

well I personally think a joystick for platform games is not the way to go. as a right-handed person, I find having the dpad on the left and buttons on the right is the better approach as well.

i couldnt agree more. the majority of people are right handed which means your rapid tapping of buttons is easier with your dominant hand. if i use an old school joystick i do use my right hand but that does not mean i would ever want a d pad on the right. that would be awful.....

#66 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 12:54 PM

For me , the upgrade of the colecovision would be comparable to the SMS. (Sega Master System).

And the SMS , despite it was not as sucessfull on business aspect than the NES. The SMS is clearly technically a better console than the NES.

The colecovision with more RAM and talented programmers could compete with the NES. (Look at that Nanochess does for instance ).

While I don't disagree, you have to remember how much time goes into some of these new titles.
Also, a lot of years of experience with the hardware has gone into these new titles.
Games used to be developed in 3 or so months. Providing games like we see now would be impossible in such a timeframe.
At the very least, Coleco would have had to drastically expand it's development staff to accommodate the longer development cycle and they would still be stuck with the existing hardware limitations.
Meanwhile NES developers aren't spending time working around limits of the console and are cranking out titles as fast as they can.
Coleco could definitely compete but in the end they would loose out to the NES.
*edit*
BTW, Sega had a problem with marketing in North America and Nintendo required companies that developed for the NES to not release titles for other machines which limited the number of titles for the SMS. The SMS actually sold fairly well in many parts of the world in spite of that.
Coleco would have had to attract North American and European developers.

Edited by JamesD, Thu Aug 1, 2013 1:13 PM.


#67 Manoau2002 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 2:43 PM

The wii was able to compete with the xbox 360 and playstation 3 for years despite the fact that it used inferior hardware. (in fact it outsold them) Nintendo accomplished this by utilizing a different type of controller, making first party games with characters familiar to consumers, pushing a certain age demographic (children), and selling their console at a lower price than the others.

If Coleco had used any of these tactics I believe they could have competed against the more powerful NES.

#68 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 3:48 PM

The wii was able to compete with the xbox 360 and playstation 3 for years despite the fact that it used inferior hardware. (in fact it outsold them) Nintendo accomplished this by utilizing a different type of controller, making first party games with characters familiar to consumers, pushing a certain age demographic (children), and selling their console at a lower price than the others.

If Coleco had used any of these tactics I believe they could have competed against the more powerful NES.

Well, actually they did that. Remember the gargantuan super controllers and wheel controller?
If anything, Nintendo learned from Coleco.
The problem was that the Coleco super controllers (or whatever they were called) were typical of Coleco. Not quite what people really wanted.
Had they been smaller and cheaper... they might have been more common.
A lot of the Wii success was do to hype which I don't think Coleco could count on.

#69 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 4:23 PM

A lot of the Wii success was do to hype which I don't think Coleco could count on.

While Coleco probably couldn't count on hype as you said, they certainly knew how to drum up the hype with their products... especially the ADAM. :P

I've always wondered if Nintendo would have entered the North American market with the NES if Coleco hadn't blundered so badly with the ADAM Computer and remained a growing force in the videogame industry. Say for instance, Coleco kept improving on the quality of CV games as they were doing throughout 1984 (as well as 3rd Party companies) and had gone the route of a modular computer enhancement as you have previously suggested that would make turning the CV into a full-fledged computer an as needed/wanted process for owners. Unfortunately, we'll never know, but it's another one of those what-if situations that are so fun to discuss.

#70 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 4:48 PM

@NIAD
After the complete spanking Japanese companies got trying to enter the computer market there is a very real possibility that Nintendo would have stayed away if Coleco had still been around. They may have thought they had a superior product though so your guess is as good as mine there.

I do think an upgraded console as I proposed would result in a complete thrashing of Nintendo like happened with computers. Lets face it, everything fits in square tiles and looks short and squatty on the NES, a lot of the games have sort of a blah color palette, the controller is small for adults and I find a lot of the music really annoying... even worse than some of the Euro demos that make my skin crawl but that's personal preference.

There was certainly an opportunity either way. I'm afraid Coleco was a bit too good at shooting themselves in the foot and it would have taken some real leadership from the top to change that. You have to think that someone in that company thought the ADAM was a bad idea the way they designed it.
I like a lot of the features but others just make be scratch my head.

#71 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 6:48 PM

So um... if I'm reading the ADAM memory map info right... 40H-70H is not attached to any hardware in a stock ADAM is that correct?
*IF* that is the case the HD64180's built in hardware could be positioned there. Why couldn't they have placed the network reset/EOS enable at 40H or not strung I/O all over the place?

And they had to place the super game module right smack in the middle.

#72 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 8:00 PM

While Coleco probably couldn't count on hype as you said, they certainly knew how to drum up the hype with their products... especially the ADAM. :P

I've always wondered if Nintendo would have entered the North American market with the NES if Coleco hadn't blundered so badly with the ADAM Computer and remained a growing force in the videogame industry. Say for instance, Coleco kept improving on the quality of CV games as they were doing throughout 1984 (as well as 3rd Party companies) and had gone the route of a modular computer enhancement as you have previously suggested that would make turning the CV into a full-fledged computer an as needed/wanted process for owners. Unfortunately, we'll never know, but it's another one of those what-if situations that are so fun to discuss.


Well, the way I see it, there are two possibilities:

1) If Atari hadn't crashed and burned like it did, and Coleco had managed to thrive as well, then Coleco would probably still have been a secondary competitor to Atari. Atari was really big back then, a lot bigger than Coleco Industries Inc. in terms of video game hardware and software resources and development.

2) If Coleco had survived the crash while Atari sank, I'm not so sure it would have necessarily taken the covetted flame of popularity from Atari. Gamers were already moving towards computers at the time (C64 and Amiga in particular) regardless of what was happening to Atari, Mattel and Coleco.

In either case, Nintendo would have thought twice about entering the console market with its NES, especially if Coleco had released the Super Game Module instead of the Adam.

#73 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 8:47 PM

2) If Coleco had survived the crash while Atari sank, I'm not so sure it would have necessarily taken the covetted flame of popularity from Atari. Gamers were already moving towards computers at the time (C64 and Amiga in particular) regardless of what was happening to Atari, Mattel and Coleco.

That's exactly why the computer enhancement to the ColecoVision needed to be done right. If the computer was a modular design that could be pieced together at the whim of prospective buyers, Coleco would have had all their bases covered...

- ColecoVision game system for those happy with just gaming
- ColecoVision with computer expansion module that provided only video, sound, memory enhancements, further expansion bays/slots, etc. to the CV for enhanced gaming to compete against future game systems
- Add a keyboard and storage option(s) to turn the CV with the above expansion module into a full-fledged computer that could then compete against the likes of Atari, Commodore, Apple, etc.

Then they could offer other accessories like printers, modems, memory expanders, hard drives, interface cards, etc. just like other companies did. Most importantly, make all the information about the system available to prospective software development houses unlike what they did with the ADAM.

#74 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:16 PM

...
Then they could offer other accessories like printers, modems, memory expanders, hard drives, interface cards, etc. just like other companies did. Most importantly, make all the information about the system available to prospective software development houses unlike what they did with the ADAM.

I 2nd that notion.
Sadly, I think we all know that even if someone sent a letter back in a time telling them everything we know now they would still screw it up.
Where's Marty and Doc Brown when you need them?

#75 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:39 PM

Where's Marty and Doc Brown when you need them?


They're doing the Lego thing these days. :)

http://shop.lego.com...e-machine-21103





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