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Some history about Coleco customer service and other Coleco history


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#1 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Here is some history about my firsthand experience with Coleco customer service that some people might not know. I first became aware of the Coleco toll free 800 customer service number when I got my first ColecoVision around August of 1982. Before then the toll free number either did not exist or I was not aware of its existence. Therefore, before August of 1982 I normally did not call Coleco since I did not want to run up a long distance bill on my parents landline phone (unlimited local and long distance calling plans for around $50 a month did not become a reality on landline phones until the early 21st Century, around the year 2000). Therefore, some of the Coleco letters and Coleco memos attached, is mainly Coleco customer service replying to handwritten letters that I sent to Coleco, since I did not own a typewriter or computer system with word processor yet. Of course, in October of 1983 when I purchased my first computer the ADAM computer system, I stopped writing handwritten letters and used the ADAM letter quality daisy wheel printer. So beginning sometime around August of 1982 some of the Coleco letters and memos I received were replies to my phone conversation with Coleco customer service using their toll free number. Sometimes different departments handled certain issues and instead of calling one back they took ones name and address and mailed one a letter or handwritten memo. However, there is a possibility that I did write Coleco handwritten and typed letters even after I became aware of their toll free number. However I know for a fact that 100% of the time after I received my ADAM computer in October of 1983 that I never wrote handwritten letters every again, since I liked the letter quality daisy wheel printer with the SmartWriter word processor. My handwriting was terrible to read, and for the first time I was able to use a professional printer to communicate with people and to type reports for school.

 

            When calling Coleco customer service between the years of 1982 to 1986+ they were usually friendly and professional. This was in the days before automated robotic voice prompt machines, and one would always get a customer service person after the phone was answered on the other end. Back then, all the customer service representatives communicated with everyone in English and all the Coleco manuals were only produced in the English language for the United States. In addition, this was before the days of the Internet, and dial up BBS modems only offered limited information online. Therefore in the 80’s I sometimes called Coleco once a month, once a week, and sometimes several times a week on their toll free number. Sometimes one would order products directly from Coleco at full list price if it was a rare item not offered in the local retail store. Other times people would call Coleco for technical help or for questions about existing or coming soon products. When calling Coleco customer service they would many times mail me a free dedicated ColecoVision catalog, dedicated ADAM catalog, or a combination ColecoVision/ADAM catalog and with a price list to order from Coleco directly (I attached pictures of the front covers of the catalogs). Coleco customer service also sent me a few free “Gotta get home to my ColecoVision bumper stickers” (pictures of those are also attached). With my parents help when I turned 15 I got my first motor vehicle learners permit that allowed me to drive a motor vehicle when ones parents are in the car. Then when I turned 16 I got my driver’s license and a used car, however I never did place the ColecoVision bumper sticker on my car.

 

When calling Coleco customer service they also many times mailed out free “I Love ADAM” stickers and free “I Love ADAM buttons”. I have many official Coleco I Love ADAM buttons and stickers since I have called them many times over the years (The buttons and stickers are also pictured below). Some ADAM owners ended up placing the “I Love ADAM” stickers on top of their ADAM computer memory console top cover. Some people started wearing I Love ADAM buttons at ADAM user groups and other places. However, some people did not understand the I Love ADAM buttons that people were wearing on their shirts in public. For example if someone were to wear the button to church, one would think the person loved the Biblical ADAM. In addition, if one were to wear the button in public they would think that one loved a guy called ADAM since the words “I Love ADAM” are different then the words “I Love APPLE”. The Apple computer was much more popular computer system. Coleco should have designed the I Love ADAM buttons and stickers to say the words “I Love my ADAM computer” or something similar, but they did not do this.     

 

When the ColecoVision game system came out in August of 1982 it was selling for around $200 at retail stores and bundled with the Donkey Kong cartridge. When the Expansion module #3 ADAM computer came out in October of 1983 it was selling for around $600, and the standalone ADAM was selling for around $800. Back in 1982 all the ColecoVision cartridges had a list price of $29.95 (street price under $30). However there was one exception to that rule, back in 1982 the cheapest price I could find the Zaxxon game on cartridge was $50 at several retail stores, and some places were selling Zaxxon for as much as $60. I called Coleco customer service back in 1982 to ask them why Zaxxon was selling for around $50 when according to Coleco literature the videogame cartridge is suppose to be priced under $30. Coleco informed me that because the Zaxxon game cartridge is more expensive to manufacture, that is why it costs more money. Therefore I added the Zaxxon game to my ColecoVision collection for around $50. Later on I ended I getting Donkey Kong Junior on cartridge for the ColecoVision. However after I became an ADAM computer owner (Buck Rodgers the Supergame on Digital Data Pack was bundled with the ADAM), I purchased the new improved Donkey Kong the Supergame on Digital Data Pack, Donkey Kong Junior the Supergame on Digital Data Pack, and Zaxxon the Supergame on 5.25 inch floppy disk.

 

Between the years 1982-1985+ the ColecoVision/ADAM was the best videogame system on the market in terms of graphics game quality (Also the most powerful home computer on the market). After January 1985 when ColecoVision/ADAM went out of production, Nintendo made a smart business move and on October 18th 1985 released a more powerful videogame system in the USA called the Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES had 52 colors and 64 sprites versus the ColecoVision/ADAM’s 16 colors and 32 sprites. Also in 1985 Commodore released two new computer systems that were more powerful than the ADAM computer. The Commodore 128 and Amiga were based on newer and faster CPU’s. However, the new systems used similar design to the ADAM. A little faster version of the Zilog Z80A was used in the Commodore 128 and the Amiga used the faster Motorola 6800 series.

 

Therefore, by the end of 1985 there was clearly more powerful computer systems on the market when compared to the ADAM computer (And Coleco had no plans on making a ColecoVision II or ADAM II since they lost too much money on research and development for the ColecoVision/ADAM system, plus the bad reputation the ADAM first received when it first launched in 1983.). However many people preferred to keep using their existing ColecoVision and ADAM’s in 1985 since there was a lot of third party support occurring and also consumers became loyal to their very first videogame and computer system.   

 

In January 1985 after Coleco announced they were stopping production on both the ColecoVision and ADAM computer, the price on both the ColecoVision game unit and ADAM computer dropped. Coleco needed to clear out its inventory. Officially, Coleco was selling the ColecoVision game system brand new for $110 directly. In addition, many retail stores were clearing out of the ColecoVision for $99.99 or lower (Which is half the price of original 1982 list price). Some retail stores were selling Expansion module #1, #2, Roller Controller, and Super Action Controllers for around $20 or $30 on clearance. Of course, now a brand new factory sealed ColecoVision system in the 21st Century can run between $500-$1,000+ on EBAY. Back in 1985 game cartridges like Zaxxon were being sold for only $16 from Coleco directly. There were many retail stores in 1985 and 1986+ that were selling ColecoVision cartridges and ADAM programs for around $3-$4+. In 1985 Coleco was selling the standalone ADAM directly to people’s homes for only $299.95 (instead of the 1983 price of $800), also the ADAM expansion module #3 was being sold directly for $199.95 (instead of the 1983 price of $600). In addition, TV auction style info commercials, and retail stores started selling the complete standalone ADAM’s factory new for only $160-$199.95 price range. The complete ADAM Expansion module #3 was being sold factory new for around $99.99. At these prices they were way below what it cost Coleco to manufactory the computers. I think I purchased one extra ADAM at these prices, however I should have been smarter and purchased several ADAM’s at that price for spare parts. Since now ADAM spare parts are going for 10 times those prices. The bare ADAM printer power supply is currently being sold for $99.95 online in 2017 , and some people back in 1986 were able to get a complete Expansion Module #3 ADAM computer with printer new in the box for that price on clearance. In addition, the people that spent $800 on the standalone ADAM when it first came out were getting an older version of the ADAM with more bugs in it. The ADAM computers being sold factory new in the box for $160-$199.95  back around 1986 were the latest R80 bug free version (They had the latest memory console with R80 Smartwriter, they had the latest Digital Data Drives that were more reliable versions, and they had the latest style of daisy wheel printers). Coleco kept making improvements on everything from hardware and software. When they saw a major or minor problem, they would come out with a better version for almost everything related to the ADAM design. Therefore, the people getting the ADAM’s for the cheapest prices were also getting the latest and best quality ADAM’s that had most the bugs fixed.     

 

People that spent $800 for their ADAM computer were more dedicated to spending $200 or more on a disk drive and other components. However, some people that only spent $200 or less on their ADAM computer were less dedicated to spending more money on software and hardware. When the ADAM first came out in 1983, soon after its release several third party companies started developing backup software utility programs for the ADAM. There were many cartridge copy programs that allowed people to make a backup copy of any game cartridge up to 32K in size onto a floppy disk or Digital Data Pack. Several game cartridges could fit on a 1.44MB 3.5 inch disk media. In general, 99% of game rom images could be copied and ran on 1.44MB 3.5 inch disks with no problems. However 1% or less than 1% of game cartridges rom images needed to be either loaded into a minimum of a 64K memory expander or needed to be modified for various reasons to work properly from Digital Data Packs and disks. Since Coleco did not use any encryption or copy protection for ColecoVision cartridges and ADAM software, any Coleco and almost any third party software program could be backed up to a Digital Data Pack or Disk drive. While I am all for people being able to make a fair use backup copy of computer software that they purchased. What was disappointing is that there was wide spread piracy in the ADAM community online on BBS boards and with some individuals at local ADAM user groups around the country. Being able to make a perfect bit for bit backup copy of any ColecoVision cartridge or ADAM software also hurt Coleco’s software sales. One third party company I spoke with, told me that all their software programs are required to have both a cartridge and a disk or data pack installed at the exact same time. By forcing consumers to use a special cartridge and disk at the exact same time for every program, this made it impossible to copy the software since no USB or SD cartridge existed on the market (those were 21st Century inventions). However, since this third party companies releases always had both a cartridge and Digital Data Pack in the package, the software programs cost around $60+ and they stopped releasing products for the ADAM. Other third party companies offered new software for $30+ on disk media. Now Walter’s Software company was known as the best or one of the best third party software developers for the ADAM. Walter’s Software released several programs on 3.5 inch disks. The latest finished elementary operating system created by Coleco was the unreleased EOS 6 which was made available in rom format over the years (The ADAM computers shipped with EOS 5 which has more bugs in it). Coleco was working on EOS 7 but it was never finished (OS 7 was finished according to technical documents from Coleco). Walter Software created EOS 9 operating system for the ADAM which was the best quality operating system. When running Walter’s ADAM Desktop from cartridge or prom, or disk it would install EOS 9 on the ADAM computer. Many of Walter’s Software latest products would install EOS 9 before the program would load. Walter Software used professional Smartkey functions just like the original Coleco programs. In addition, Walter Software and at least one other company used copy protection technology on their 3.5 inch disks so that they could protect their hard work from being copied (This resulted in higher sales and Walter’s Software produced new software for the ADAM up until the early 1990’s).

 

Coleco’s customer service department was almost always professional and helpful. One time I purchased a game cartridge at the store, and for some reason the instruction manual and game controller overlays were not included in the box. Therefore, I called Coleco’s toll free customer service line, and Coleco mailed me a free instruction manual and game overlays. Back in the 80's I informed some people at a large local ADAM users group about what Coleco did for me. To my surprise some people started abusing the Coleco customer service toll free number. Some people that did not own a game cartridge but had a copy of the rom image on disk or Digital Data pack were calling Coleco up and getting them to send a free instruction manual and game overlays to a game they never purchased.  

 

When Coleco stopped production on both the ColecoVision and ADAM computer in January  of 1985, the layoffs started occurring in 1985. There were many stories floating around in ADAM user groups about former Coleco employees that took some unreleased hardware and unreleased software home before they were laid off since they did not want their hard work that they worked on for months or years being destroyed. The unreleased Coleco hardware as far as I know never was developed by any third party company (except of course the OPCODE games Supergame module). However many unreleased Coleco software was released into public domain by former Coleco employees since software is much more easier for a person to duplicate. Anyways in late 1985 someone at one of the ADAM users groups I was at showed up with Address Book Filer on 5.25 inch floppy disk with the official Coleco color disk label (and possible the package itself), and in reality Address Book Filer had only been officially released on Digital Data Pack. In addition Jeopardy was never released by Coleco but someone came to the ADAM user group with a copy of Jeopardy with its original copywrited two screen logo boot screens (A few people at one of the ADAM users groups was good friends with a Coleco employee in New York and was able to obtain unreleased Coleco products (mainly software) ). Over the years there have been several unreleased Coleco and third party programs that have popped up out of nowhere, that most people never knew existed (Like AtariSoft’s 1983 Pacman and Dig Dug for the ColecoVision). Anyways what is funny is that some people in 1985 were calling up Coleco customer service and asking them if they had the Jeopardy instruction manual for the ADAM computer game, since they had the unreleased Jeopardy game. Of course Coleco would say Jeopardy was never released and the instruction manual is not available. However once I heard about a Coleco customer service lady that wanted a copy of Jeopardy for themselves, so they tried to get the caller to send Coleco a copy of the Jeopardy program.

 

In 1986 when one called the Coleco customer service number, I noticed that there was a lot less employees in the department. Also in 1986 the only thing left to purchase from Coleco was Blank Digital Data Packs, Ribbon Cartridges, and Daisy Wheel’s. Gone were all the hardware and software products (supporting documents are attached to prove this). One time I called several times during a week instead of the usually once a month. When a company or individual has a toll free number service, since they are paying for the call, they also get to see all the numbers that call them using automatic number id technology. One day I got a call from Coleco customer service asking me why I call them several times a week. I was surprised by the call and did not have a good answer at the time (Of course I called to order products, ask questions, and technical help). I guess I was that nerd kid that was also a Coleco fan that sometimes ended up calling too many times. At some point in 1988 or 1989 the Coleco toll free number and customer service department disappeared (toll free number was disconnected). A year or couple years later in the early 90’s ADAM House the biggest third party ADAM dealer was able to obtain the Coleco toll free number. However now the toll free number belongs to some telemarking type company.

 

Attached are some items from history that some people might find interesting.

Attached Thumbnails

  • COLECOVISION CATALOG.JPG
  • COLECOVISION AND ADAM CATALOG.JPG
  • ADAM CATALOG.JPG
  • ADAM CATALOG (ANOTHER VERSION).JPG
  • COLECOVISION BUMPER STICKER.JPG
  • COLECOVISION BUMPER STICKER PIC 2.JPG
  • COLECOVISION BUMPER STICKER PIC 3.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM stickers.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM stickers PIC2.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM stickers PIC3.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM buttons.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM buttons PIC 2.JPG
  • Coleco I Love ADAM buttons PIC 3.JPG

Attached Files


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:17 PM.


#2 ValkerieSilk OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:56 PM

Very Cool ... Thank you for sharing... The Intellivision module question is cool (my boss has a semi-working homemade proto [no sound and external power] that works via the expansion mod.  I wish I could get em to put time into the project again. I had always hoped Coleco would release an Intellivision expansion mod.



#3 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:36 AM

Very Cool ... Thank you for sharing... The Intellivision module question is cool (my boss has a semi-working homemade proto [no sound and external power] that works via the expansion mod.  I wish I could get em to put time into the project again. I had always hoped Coleco would release an Intellivision expansion mod.

I always was interested in Coleco coming out with the IntelliVision module. They canceled it but perhaps they had a working prototype. If this would have been released then the ColecoVision/ADAM would have been able to play ADAM Supergames, standard ColecoVision cartridges, ATARI 2600 cartridges, and IntelliVision cartridges.

 

Perhaps OPCODE will release the IntelliVision module. Hardware emulation is better then software, however I wonder if the ADAM computer is powerful enough to emulate ATARI 2600 and IntelliVision system in software?

I never owned a IntelliVision, but I would purchase the adapter for the ColecoVision/ADAM if OPCODE decides to make it. This would give me an excuse to collect games for that system.  



#4 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:05 AM

 

 The Commodore 128 and Amiga were based on newer and faster CPU’s. However, the new systems used similar design to the ADAM. A little faster version of the Zilog Z80A was used in the Commodore 128 and the Amiga used the faster Motorola 6800 series.

 

 

 

The Z80 on the commodore 128 , actually was running at 2MHZ.      



#5 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:51 PM

 

The Z80 on the commodore 128 , actually was running at 2MHZ.      

If that is true then the ADAM is a faster computer. A online source I was reading claims the Commodore 128 was running at 2Mhz for the MOS8502 and Ziog Z80A at 4Mhz. The ColecoVision/ADAM motherboard is Ziog Z80A at 3.58Mhz. Commodore 128 also had native color 80 column video output. The Amiga in July 23rd 1985 had Motorola 6800 at 7Mhz. I am not a Commodore fan and never owned a Commodore. Back in the mid 80's there was not the information overload like we have today with the internet, and one had to learn from books and companies marketing specs. I was happy with my ADAM computer until around 1994 when I switched to a a Windows 3.1 operating system. So the Coleco ADAM was my only computer for around 10 or 11 years. Also my next game system was the Pioneer CLD-A100 Laseractive system that played 12 inch LD-ROM's for the Sega Genesis 16 bit Motorola 68000 processor. Also the Pioneer CLD-A100 played 16 bit NEC TurboGrafx 12 inch LD-ROM games. So even though the NES in October 1985 was a little more powerful than the ColecoVison/ADAM, I was happy with the ColecoVision/ADAM game performance up until around the mid 1990’s time frame.

 

The true videogame collectors if they can afford it will own all the systems from pong to the latest Microsoft Xbox One S that uses 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’s.      


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:58 PM.


#6 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:51 PM

Coleco released and unreleased software information

 

Coleco released most programs for the ADAM on only Digital Data Packs. The select few titles that were released on the better quality and faster 5.25 inch floppy disk were released in small QTY’s and are true collectors items now.  The following programs were officially released by Coleco on 5.25 inch floppy disks in factory sealed retail boxes (And I have seen these titles in person on 5.25 inch floppy disks in the original Coleco retail box over the years): 9662 ADAMCALC, 9628 ADAM Home Software Library, 9613 Smartletters & Forms, 9656 Smartfiler, 9657 Recipe Filer, 9663 CP/M 2.2 Assembler, 9638 Dragon’s Lair, 9633 Zaxxon, and 9659 2010: The Text Adventure Game. And those 9 titles are the only titles that Coleco released onto 5.25 inch floppy disks and they are extremely hard to find even back in 1985 and 1986 since they were made in such small QTY’s.   

 

On the “Coleco ADAM order form from 1985” pdf posted on the first post. The last page has an interesting coming soon for direct purchase section (Some of these titles are slightly labeled wrong on that order form and the color ADAM software catalog has the correct name and catalog number). Address Book Filer w/Auto Dialer was only officially released on Digital Data Pack, however Coleco did make and complete the entire box and color label for the 5.25 inch disk version. I and several other people personally saw Address Book Filer with its color label on 5.25 inch disk from someone that traveled to see a Coleco employee in another state (This was back in the mid 80's). Richard Scary’s Best Electronic Workbook Ever was released on Digital Data Pack only and uses a total of 242K of space on the 256K Digital Data Pack (It is so big it requires a minimum of 320K, 720K, and 1.44MB disks only). Coleco was going to release the Richard Scary’s Best Electronic Workbook on two separate 160K 5.25 disks, however to my knowledge I never seen it and it was never released on floppy disks. Math Quest was never released on either Digital Data Pack or floppy disk. The Berenstain Bears Return to the Spooky Old Tree was also never released on Digital Data Pack and floppy disk. Cabbage Patch Kids Workout was never released on Digital Data Pack or floppy disk. Family Feud was released on Digital Data Pack. Jeopardy was also never released on Digital Data Pack however this game was completed by Coleco and a former Coleco employee released it into public domain for the ADAM community back in 1985. There is a possibility that there are several unreleased ColecoVision/ADAM programs that are sitting around in former Coleco employees houses. One former Coleco employee showed people at the 1989 ADAMCon 1, pictures of the unreleased ADAMNet serial and parallel device that he claimed it was fully functional and working but just never released. Therefore back in 1985 there existed several hardware and software products that were either completely finished or almost finished but were never released. However after 32 years most of these products especially unreleased hardware products might have been tossed out as people pass away over the years. Still its possible that one day unreleased software for systems like the ColecoVision/ADAM might appear online in public domain after the copywrites expire, but as the years go by the chances of this occurring decreases and some product designs will be lost forever.  


Edited by HDTV1080P, Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:26 PM.


#7 ed1475 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:41 PM

 

Coleco released and unreleased software information

 

Coleco released most programs for the ADAM on only Digital Data Packs. The select few titles that were released on the better quality and faster 5.25 inch floppy disk were released in small QTY’s and are true collectors items now.  The following programs were officially released by Coleco on 5.25 inch floppy disks in factory sealed retail boxes (And I have seen these titles in person on 5.25 inch floppy disks in the original Coleco retail box over the years): 9662 ADAMCALC, 9628 ADAM Home Software Library, 9613 Smartletters & Forms, 9656 Smartfiler, 9657 Recipe Filer, 9663 CP/M 2.2 Assembler, 9638 Dragon’s Lair, 9633 Zaxxon, and 9659 2010: The Text Adventure Game. And those 9 titles are the only titles that Coleco released onto 5.25 inch floppy disks and they are extremely hard to find even back in 1985 and 1986 since they were made in such small QTY’s.   

 

On the “Coleco ADAM order form from 1985” pdf posted on the first post. The last page has an interesting coming soon for direct purchase section (Some of these titles are slightly labeled wrong on that order form and the color ADAM software catalog has the correct name and catalog number). Address Book Filer w/Auto Dialer was only officially released on Digital Data Pack, however Coleco did make and complete the entire box and color label for the 5.25 inch disk version. I and several other people personally saw Address Book Filer with its color label on 5.25 inch disk from someone that traveled to see a Coleco employee in another state (This was back in the mid 80's). Richard Scary’s Best Electronic Workbook Ever was released on Digital Data Pack only and uses a total of 242K of space on the 256K Digital Data Pack (It is so big it requires a minimum of 320K, 720K, and 1.44MB disks only). Coleco was going to release the Richard Scary’s Best Electronic Workbook on two separate 160K 5.25 disks, however to my knowledge I never seen it and it was never released on floppy disks. Math Quest was never released on either Digital Data Pack or floppy disk. The Berenstain Bears Return to the Spooky Old Tree was also never released on Digital Data Pack and floppy disk. Cabbage Patch Kids Workout was never released on Digital Data Pack or floppy disk. Family Feud was released on Digital Data Pack. Jeopardy was also never released on Digital Data Pack however this game was completed by Coleco and a former Coleco employee released it into public domain for the ADAM community back in 1985. There is a possibility that there are several unreleased ColecoVision/ADAM programs that are sitting around in former Coleco employees houses. One former Coleco employee showed people at the 1989 ADAMCon 1, pictures of the unreleased ADAMNet serial and parallel device that he claimed it was fully functional and working but just never released. Therefore back in 1985 there existed several hardware and software products that were either completely finished or almost finished but were never released. However after 32 years most of these products especially unreleased hardware products might have been tossed out as people pass away over the years. Still its possible that one day unreleased software for systems like the ColecoVision/ADAM might appear online in public domain after the copywrites expire, but as the years go by the chances of this occurring decreases and some product designs will be lost forever.  

 

 

Thanks for making these threads on Coleco history etc.  I've really enjoyed reading them.

 

So far there are 11 ADAM 5.25" disks proven to have been released.  I've got 9 out of 11 of them in my collection.  The only ones I don't have yet are the ADAM Home Software Library and SmartFILER.

 

1. ADAM Home Software Library
2. Address Book Filer with Autodialer
3. CP/M 2.2 & Assembler
4. Disk Manager
5, Dragon's Lair
6. ExperTYPE
7, Recipe Filer
8. SmartFILER
9. Smart Letters & Forms - Disk 1
10 Smart Letters & Forms - Disk 2
11.Zaxxon

 

I know Coleco had ID numbers for disk versions of ADAMCalc & 2010: The Text Adventure game but so far nobody has provided "picture proof" on the internet that these were actually released.


Edited by ed1475, Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:52 PM.


#8 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:34 AM

 

Thanks for making these threads on Coleco history etc.  I've really enjoyed reading them.

 

So far there are 11 ADAM 5.25" disks proven to have been released.  I've got 9 out of 11 of them in my collection.  The only ones I don't have yet are the ADAM Home Software Library and SmartFILER.

 

1. ADAM Home Software Library
2. Address Book Filer with Autodialer
3. CP/M 2.2 & Assembler
4. Disk Manager
5, Dragon's Lair
6. ExperTYPE
7, Recipe Filer
8. SmartFILER
9. Smart Letters & Forms - Disk 1
10 Smart Letters & Forms - Disk 2
11.Zaxxon

 

I know Coleco had ID numbers for disk versions of ADAMCalc & 2010: The Text Adventure game but so far nobody has provided "picture proof" on the internet that these were actually released.

 

I forgot to mention 9610 Expertype on 5.25 inch disk was released (I have seen Expertype but I forgot to mention it). In addition, you are correct about Disk Manager on 5.25 inch disk, it was bundled with the original 160K floppy disk drive. Smart Letter & Forms is one title with two disks in the same package. I personally had an original of disk of both ADAMCALC and 2010: The Text Adventure Game on 5.25 inch disk, which I made a backup copy to a 1.44MB 3.5 inch disk for my personal use. Sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s I sold the original ADAMCALC and 2010: The Text Adventure Game on disk, so I cannot provide a picture (I think Coleco only shipped certain 5.25 inch titles to certain dealers, which made the ADAM more interesting for collectors). I would be very interested in where you got an original of Address Book Filer on 5.25 inch disk. I never saw it in retail stores or any mail order company on the 5.25 inch disk format. When a person around 1985 had visited a former Coleco employee in another state, they came back to a local ADAM users group and gave a presentation on the unreleased Address Book Filer on 5.25 inch media. When the question and answer section of the presentation began I asked him where he got the Address Book Filer on 5.25 inch disk since it was suppose too have been unreleased. Another person in the room said that was not a proper question to ask (since everyone knew he and one other person had a special connection with one or more former Coleco employees). After the presentation in private he told me it was unreleased version of Address Book Filer on 5.25 inch disk. However maybe by mistake or on purpose Address Book Filer was released on 5.25 inch disk in a maximum QTY of 100 since it sounds like you have an official original. I also heard that there was a 2 Disk version of Richard Scary’s Best Electronic Workbook Ever floating around but I never seen it with my own eyes therefore I cannot verify the story is true. It is rumored one of the people in that ADAM users group back in 1985 got the unreleased full color retail box version of 7716 Jeopardy on Digital Data Pack and then made a copy of it on 160K 5.25 inch disk. They also got the former Coleco employee to make a Coleco letter head saying it was released into public domain, then the two original copywrited screens were changed to have the title screen say it was public domain and then released to the public, and then the program was also distributed to all the large ADAM dealers and clubs for free. The problem was when the person made a copy of the Jeopardy program on 256K Digital Data Pack to 160K floppy disk, the actual program was larger than 160K. Since the ADAM community never got the full Jeopardy image it would crash after a certain point, therefore since Walter Software was told it was a public domain program, he spend several hours and perhaps weeks fixing and repairing Jeopardy so that when it got around the 160K block area it would not crash the program. However to this day someone most likely still has the full original 256K Digital Pack Pack version of Jeopardy that had more questions on it. It’s too bad, but the ADAM community might never see the full version of Jeopardy because the person that copied the program did not copy the entire program. Also many people in the ADAM community do have the original unmodified two screen copywriten logo boot screens of the Jeopardy before it was altered to say public domain, but still the program is not complete since only 160K was copied for the original Coleco Jeopardy Digital Data Pack.           


Edited by HDTV1080P, Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:43 AM.


#9 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:35 AM

If that is true then the ADAM is a faster computer. A online source I was reading claims the Commodore 128 was running at 2Mhz for the MOS8502 and Ziog Z80A at 4Mhz. The ColecoVision/ADAM motherboard is Ziog Z80A at 3.58Mhz. Commodore 128 also had native color 80 column video output. The Amiga in July 23rd 1985 had Motorola 6800 at 7Mhz. I am not a Commodore fan and never owned a Commodore. Back in the mid 80's there was not the information overload like we have today with the internet, and one had to learn from books and companies marketing specs. I was happy with my ADAM computer until around 1994 when I switched to a a Windows 3.1 operating system. So the Coleco ADAM was my only computer for around 10 or 11 years. Also my next game system was the Pioneer CLD-A100 Laseractive system that played 12 inch LD-ROM's for the Sega Genesis 16 bit Motorola 68000 processor. Also the Pioneer CLD-A100 played 16 bit NEC TurboGrafx 12 inch LD-ROM games. So even though the NES in October 1985 was a little more powerful than the ColecoVison/ADAM, I was happy with the ColecoVision/ADAM game performance up until around the mid 1990’s time frame.

 

The true videogame collectors if they can afford it will own all the systems from pong to the latest Microsoft Xbox One S that uses 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’s.      

 

Fastest CPU clock does not mean Faster Computer.  Lot of factor enter in the equation.

on the C128 the Z80 was a 4Mhz (or a little less) but it was running only at 2Mhz.  

 

Personnally i don't think the ADAM was the most powerful computer of its time.  It was a good one but not the best one.  At this time all the computers had their pro and con..

 

Personnally, i love the commodore C64 , I think it is the best machine of its time but far from to be "perfect".  the power of C64 is due in term of hardware to his chip like the SID et the VICII.  And the possibilities of extension,  the number and quality of its sofware library  and all the devices available for it.  It was just crazy.

 

On this point, the Apple 2 was extremely good. Despite being more expensive and less good for gaming.

 

The Atari 8bits were impressive also for their time.   I think all these machines were globally better than the ADAM.

 

I don't know very well the US market , but in europe between 82 and 85 we saw tons of 8bits machines appear and some really good (i think for instance to the ExelTel or the Lansay enterprise 128) . and usually it is not always the best that win .

 

I'm a big collector of 8bits computers  and today i'm still impressed by certain machine when i useand  dig into them.



#10 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:59 AM

To be honest the only reason or main reason I purchased the Expansion Module #3 ADAM computer in 1983 was because I wanted to play Supergames like Buck Rogers and others. For videogames like Donkey Kong the Supergame, Donkey Kong Junior the Supergame, and Zaxxon the Supergame, there was no other system that had a better version of those games in terms of graphics quality and being similar to the arcade ports. So I know back in 1983 that there were some business machines that were more powerful but a lot of them were black and white, and I liked the ADAM’s color graphics. Every system has its plusses and minuses. Some people preferred the ATARI computers because PACMAN was exclusive to ATARI. For some ATARI was better since PACMAN in the early 80’s was never released for the ColecoVision.

 

When the ColecoVision/ADAM went out of production in January 1985, I know some people in October of 1985 purchased the NES system which had better graphics. I never tried Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior on the NES. Maybe someday I well to see if it its better then the Coleco ADAM version. The NES system has the potential of being better with the 1MB cartridges and 64 sprites with 52 colors, but the big question is did a programmer create a good arcade port of those titles?

 

With arcade rom images being released into public domain in the 21st Century, people with Windows PC’s are now able to play classic 80’s arcade games at home and compare them side by side to the actual computer and videogame systems. What some people have discovered is that the ColecoVision/ADAM and many other systems were only similar to the arcade originals but not exactly the same.  


Edited by HDTV1080P, Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:10 AM.


#11 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:11 AM

I always was interested in Coleco coming out with the IntelliVision module. They canceled it but perhaps they had a working prototype. If this would have been released then the ColecoVision/ADAM would have been able to play ADAM Supergames, standard ColecoVision cartridges, ATARI 2600 cartridges, and IntelliVision cartridges.
 
Perhaps OPCODE will release the IntelliVision module. Hardware emulation is better then software, however I wonder if the ADAM computer is powerful enough to emulate ATARI 2600 and IntelliVision system in software?
I never owned a IntelliVision, but I would purchase the adapter for the ColecoVision/ADAM if OPCODE decides to make it. This would give me an excuse to collect games for that system.  

Other than the hand written letter, did Coleco ever mention an Intellivision expansion module in press releases or marketing materials. Was it mentioned in magazines. A working prototype is not a problem but they likely wouldn't have been able to legally sell it.

In the 1980s anyone could have purchased the Intellivision chipset from General Intrument. But the exec firmware would have to be licensed from Mattel. Failing that Coleco would have to reverse engineer and rewrite compatible exec software. It would have been more feasible for Mattel to reverse engineer and rewrite the Coleco vision firmware than for Coleco to do the Intellivision firmware. The other issue is the controllers, without 16 directions some games wouldn't play properly. The extra side buttons would be less of an issue.

So how was Coleco allowed to publish Donkey Kong for Adam. Atari had the exclusive rights for Donkey Kong on home computers. Did they lose those rights when Atari was sold in 1984? Alot of people liked the Atari and Ocean versions of Donkey Kong. The NES/famicom version is excellent eventhough it's missing the cement factory screen. It has the right aspect ratio and number of girders. Mario, runs/jumps/climbs really well compared to the arcade version.

Edit:
It was obvious in 1982 that coleco vision donkey kong was not exactly like the arcade; you just had to count the girders. I didn't even know about the missing springs or screen. I never even got far enough in the arcade to know about the cement factory screen. In 1982 we never expected to have arcade quality at home. The Coleco vision was obviously closer and the next generation of home technology. There were the Atari computers at the time but I had heard or seen little about them and they were expensive.

Regarding writing an Intellivision emulator for Colecovision; you never know what's possible. Someone very clever was able to write an Intellivision emulator for NES. This goes back to the question of how the z80 performs compared to the 6502. It would look ugly with the coleco vision colour palette and flicker. Scrolling would be an issue.

Edited by mr_me, Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:35 AM.


#12 youki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:15 AM

I have owned a colecovision back time , i really loved that console , i have never compared the games with the arcade version, but i loved what i had :  Zaxxon, Cosmic Avenger, Turbo, Donkey kong etc...    but i wanted to programme my own game so i really wanted a computer. Of course, i wanted first the ADAM expension module, but he was not yet available in France and anyway too expensive.  and my Parents said me , if you want a computer you to sell your console. ...what i did.  And i finally bought a Commodore 64  and honestly i have quickly forgetten the colecovision at this time. I missed Just Turbo and his driving module.  

 

Anyway , the ADAM is a fantastic machine, and i would have deserved more success.



#13 ValkerieSilk OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:27 PM

All my friends had the Commodore 64, was a great system... But there was just something so intriguing about the Coleco expansion bay and the thought of turning my CV into a full blown PC.. I had to have it...  

 

Off topic, I think it was APF (Imagination Machine) that was first to turn a gaming console into a computer via the APF M1000 or MP1000 console....   

I have owned a colecovision back time , i really loved that console , i have never compared the games with the arcade version, but i loved what i had :  Zaxxon, Cosmic Avenger, Turbo, Donkey kong etc...    but i wanted to programme my own game so i really wanted a computer. Of course, i wanted first the ADAM expension module, but he was not yet available in France and anyway too expensive.  and my Parents said me , if you want a computer you to sell your console. ...what i did.  And i finally bought a Commodore 64  and honestly i have quickly forgetten the colecovision at this time. I missed Just Turbo and his driving module.  

 

Anyway , the ADAM is a fantastic machine, and i would have deserved more success.



#14 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:47 AM

Other than the hand written letter, did Coleco ever mention an Intellivision expansion module in press releases or marketing materials. Was it mentioned in magazines. A working prototype is not a problem but they likely wouldn't have been able to legally sell it.

In the 1980s anyone could have purchased the Intellivision chipset from General Intrument. But the exec firmware would have to be licensed from Mattel. Failing that Coleco would have to reverse engineer and rewrite compatible exec software. It would have been more feasible for Mattel to reverse engineer and rewrite the Coleco vision firmware than for Coleco to do the Intellivision firmware. The other issue is the controllers, without 16 directions some games wouldn't play properly. The extra side buttons would be less of an issue.

So how was Coleco allowed to publish Donkey Kong for Adam. Atari had the exclusive rights for Donkey Kong on home computers. Did they lose those rights when Atari was sold in 1984? Alot of people liked the Atari and Ocean versions of Donkey Kong. The NES/famicom version is excellent eventhough it's missing the cement factory screen. It has the right aspect ratio and number of girders. Mario, runs/jumps/climbs really well compared to the arcade version.

Edit:
It was obvious in 1982 that coleco vision donkey kong was not exactly like the arcade; you just had to count the girders. I didn't even know about the missing springs or screen. I never even got far enough in the arcade to know about the cement factory screen. In 1982 we never expected to have arcade quality at home. The Coleco vision was obviously closer and the next generation of home technology. There were the Atari computers at the time but I had heard or seen little about them and they were expensive.

Regarding writing an Intellivision emulator for Colecovision; you never know what's possible. Someone very clever was able to write an Intellivision emulator for NES. This goes back to the question of how the z80 performs compared to the 6502. It would look ugly with the coleco vision colour palette and flicker. Scrolling would be an issue.

I would have to look at some old magazines to see if the IntelliVision adapter was mentioned. In my phone conversations and letters with Coleco it was mentioned (Maybe it was mentioned once in a magazine article). Coleco did make games for the IntelliVision. Does anyone know why the Coleco IntelliVision cartridges like Venture, Mouse Trap, Carnival, and Donkey Kong would not work with the IntelliVision II? For some reason the IntelliVision II is not 100% compatible with IntelliVision cartridges.

 

I do not know anything about the ATARI exclusive rights contract, however I did purchase Donkey Kong the Supergame and Donkey Kong Junior the Supergame for the ADAM in 1984 when it was released. However, it sounds like the ADAM version of Donkey Kong might have been the best version of all time except for the original arcade version, since you mentioned that the NES version did not have all the screens. The ADAM version of Donkey Kong had all 4 screens and the Donkey Kong Junior for ADAM had 5 screens (However the released version had 4 screens and a former Coleco employee leaked a unreleased 5th screen version of Donkey Kong Junior to the ADAM community in 1985).

 

Was there any other videogame system or computer system that had all 4 screens for Donkey Kong and all 5 screens for Donkey Kong Junior in the 20th Century? I know in the 21st Century we have homebrew games that might now offer all the screens with the exact same arcade quality.



#15 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:20 AM

Th Intellivision II is not 100% cartridge compatible because Mattel designed it that way. It was an ineffective attempt to lockout third party publishers.

I guess Adam Donkey Kong was not released until 1984 because of the Atari deal with Nintendo. The Atari 400 and C64 versions of Donkey Kong had all four screens in the 1980s. Nintendo, like Coleco, would have had a hard time fitting all four screens on a cartridge in 1983. It's the reason why Coleco planned the SGM with its tape drive; to fit larger games. [I still prefer the NES/Famicom DK eventhough its missing one screen]


edit: If a modern homebrew game has exact arcade quality they might be using exact arcade code. That would have been something the programmers back in the 1980s would likely not have had access to.

Edited by mr_me, Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:51 AM.


#16 tonyankyfan1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:42 PM

Great story, thanks for sharing!!!!  Love the stickers and buttons.  Im planning on taking a road trip up to Amsterdam NY, very soon.  Gonna take many pics and share them on the forum.

 

                                                 Thanks Anthony



#17 LutzfromOz OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:46 AM

dumb campaign with those badges though, by no means am i homophobic, im just making an assumption people wouldnt  have worn those badges because of mistaken context



#18 H.E.R.O. OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:54 AM

I remember being in high school & calling the Coleco number to find out what new games were coming out. There was a pay phone right outside the cafeteria. Don't hold me to this but I think the number was...1-800-842-8100?

 

Commodore 64 was the natural progression at the time after Colecovision for kids at the time, I think.



#19 HDTV1080P OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:21 PM

Coleco's toll free number was 1-800-842-1225. The number worked nationwide and it was printed on the bottom of the ColecoVision, Expansion module #1, Expansion module #3 ADAM computer, and the standalone ADAM. Also the toll free number is located in many Coleco instruction manuals.   



#20 Mike Harris OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:49 AM

I never had a single problem with their customer service.

I am seriously unhappy that they ended up the way they did.
I promise you that it had nothing to do with the NES being better either.
 

You can only imagine how far Coleco would have gone with further generations of the ADAM.

 

As far as customer service was considered all you had to do was ask and I did.
I asked them to send me some internal copies of critical OS peeks and pokes so I could add them to my basic programs and they did.

It was not until the hackers guide to ADAM came out before I really got deep into the OS.
 






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