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Why is the importance of ColecoVision almost never brought up historically?


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#276 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:50 PM

The NES owes little if anything to the ColecoVision. The Famicom was in development prior to the CV's launch, and was first tested just after the CV's launch (in October of 1982). Nintendo was making electronic games before the CV and even if you want to argue that the CV had influence on the NES, they would have just been influenced by some other machine if the CV hadn't existed. But I would argue that they could have taken almost nothing from the CV simply due to the timeline. They were developed more or less in parallel.

 

Of course no system exists in a vacuum and every system is in some ways a reaction to the other systems it's competing against. That's no more or less true of the ColecoVision and its competitors at the time. But it also doesn't make it any more influential than any other major system. It's most notable as the last major new American home console until the Xbox. (Of course, discounting the delayed entry of the 7800, which was originally supposed to come out shortly after the CV.)

 

Well, except maybe for this:  "Just before Nintendo started work on the Famicom, Coleco employees visited Nintendo with a prototype ColecoVision in tow. R&D2’s engineers were shocked at seeing smoothly animated graphics for the first time."

 

 

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#277 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:39 PM

Doesn’t matter.

Actually it does matter.

 

Comparing systems with games that make use of additional CPU power or RAM in their cartridges is effectively cheating. It's a bit like a steroid user at the Olympics.

 

Typically, these 'enhancements' take advantage of the falling costs of production over time as well as the lessons learned from hardware designs that followed the release of the systems concerned. 

 

"If you're going to compare, keep it fair."



#278 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:43 PM

Weren't a lot of CBS carts including extra ram? Of course the supercharger had extra ram. Of course any cart that was bigger than 4k had to have extra programming to make the 2600 read bigger. Added hardware in carts isn't new to Nintendo. Its just a neat way to get a system to do extra stuff it might not can do, or have trouble with stock. Coleco Had expansions, if it ran another year or two it could have had more.

 

I'm pretty sure that was extra ROM. 

 

Personally, I make a distinction between adding ROM space and adding RAM (especially with the RAM is working in tandem with additional processing hardware). 



#279 Schizophretard OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 2:54 PM

Actually it does matter.

 

Comparing systems with games that make use of additional CPU power or RAM in their cartridges is effectively cheating. It's a bit like a steroid user at the Olympics.

 

Typically, these 'enhancements' take advantage of the falling costs of production over time as well as the lessons learned from hardware designs that followed the release of the systems concerned. 

 

"If you're going to compare, keep it fair."

 

I think it is fair because all console companies are free to use "steroids".



#280 Schizophretard OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 3:00 PM

 

I'm pretty sure that was extra ROM. 

 

Personally, I make a distinction between adding ROM space and adding RAM (especially with the RAM is working in tandem with additional processing hardware). 

 

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#281 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 8:18 PM

 

Well, except maybe for this:  "Just before Nintendo started work on the Famicom, Coleco employees visited Nintendo with a prototype ColecoVision in tow. R&D2’s engineers were shocked at seeing smoothly animated graphics for the first time."

 

I read that as R2-D2! And started thinking StarWars holography..



#282 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 8:36 AM

Personally, I make a distinction between adding ROM space and adding RAM (especially with the RAM is working in tandem with additional processing hardware). 

 

I disagree. It's a feature of using cartridges, and it was done on just about every successful cartridge-based system. We can't pretend that StarFox and other SuperFX chips on the SNES, Virtua Racing on the Genesis, the N64 expansion pack, and a great many games with mapper chips on the NES, don't exist. Even the Sega Saturn, a CD-based system, used expandable RAM cartridges to enhance its capabilities. 

 

I think it is fair because all console companies are free to use "steroids".

 

Yes, it's totally fair play, especially if the publisher is willing to eat (or pass along) the costs of the extra hardware. 

 

I read that as R2-D2! And started thinking StarWars holography..

 

With enough upgrades, even the lowliest hardware can be a force to be reckoned with.

 

From Star Wars #36, "Revenge of the Astromech:"

 

r2-1.png r2-2.png



#283 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 8:50 AM

Personally, the only distinction I'd make is if the add-on is a separate one. It's built into the cartridge - no matter how sophisticated - I'd count it as "stock," since ANY console can play it without doing anything special. So, in my book, if your console has the capability to address "special features" directly from a cartridge, all the better for it.



#284 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 9:47 AM

Personally, the only distinction I'd make is if the add-on is a separate one. It's built into the cartridge - no matter how sophisticated - I'd count it as "stock," since ANY console can play it without doing anything special. So, in my book, if your console has the capability to address "special features" directly from a cartridge, all the better for it.

 

Yup

 

In -- Genesis Virtua Racing, StarFox, Yoshi's Island, SNES DOOM, Solaris, Super Mario 3, Resident Evil 2 64

Out -- Intellivoice, Odyssey 2 The Voice, Starpath Supercharger, Sega 32X, Super GameBoy, Sega CD

 

The N64 Expansion Pak was just $30 and supported a whole bunch of games. I guess that's in the "out" category even though you'd install it and forget it?



#285 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 9:56 AM

The N64 Expansion Pak was just $30 and supported a whole bunch of games. I guess that's in the "out" category even though you'd install it and forget it?

 

It would have to be an "out" based on that criteria, although obviously for any modern N64 owner, it's a must-have.



#286 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 2:06 PM

I don't see what difference it makes if the upgrade is an add-on or in the cartridge. It's the same technical upgrade. At least if it's a seperate add-on you're not making people pay for the upgrade over and over again when they shouldn't have to. From a marketing point of view making people pay for it with each cartridge works better.

I say if the cost of the in-cartridge upgrade is nominal than its fine. If, for example, it quadruples the cost of the cartridge than its not fair. With any system that has an audio/video input in the cartridge port you can literally put anything you want on the cartridge.

#287 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 2:35 PM

I don't see what difference it makes if the upgrade is an add-on or in the cartridge. It's the same technical upgrade. At least if it's a seperate add-on you're not making people pay for the upgrade over and over again when they shouldn't have to. From a marketing point of view making people pay for it with each cartridge works better.

I say if the cost of the in-cartridge upgrade is nominal than its fine. If, for example, it quadruples the cost of the cartridge than its not fair. With any system that has an audio/video input in the cartridge port you can literally put anything you want on the cartridge.

 

It certainly makes a practical difference. With a seperate add-on, you obviously have to make sure enough people buy it, which will never be as many people as have the console. That limits the number of cartridges you can produce. At least with in-cartridge chips, you can produce exactly the number you think will sell to the entire console owning base. Even if it makes for a higher-priced cartridge, those costs can be balanced to a degree with the possibility of a much higher production run.
 
The other advantage of in-cartridge chips is that you're not limited to the technology of the time of the chip's creation. You can keep developing better helper chips. With an add-on, you're limited to what you can do at the time. Sure, you have more room to get it right the first time, but you're still on lock-down going forward. Combined with the other negatives, it seems to me that the use of in-cartridge helper chips is the superior option.
 
And yes, in theory, you can put an entire system-on-a-chip in some of these cases, and just use the existing console for AV and IO. But in practical terms, we've seen simpler augmentation. Bottom line to me, if I can buy a system on day one and play a game 10 years down the road - helper chip inside or not - I have to say that that's part of the system's core capabilities. I get that these enhancements are not capabilities within the system itself, but for all practical purposes, it's transparent to the end user. That's also why I've always personally favored a practical analysis of system capabilities using existing games rather than theoretically on paper. Theoretical technical prowess means nothing without real evidence of said prowess.
 
Obviously, with the above in mind, I won't go so far as to say that helper chips count in a raw system-to-system comparison of paper specs. That would be silly. But listing that option as a feature of the system, absolutely. And again, to me, those games count the same as "standard" games when comparing libraries.


#288 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 5:17 PM

Yes. The Intellivoice was a good example; with disappointing sales it proved that add-on peripherals don't sell. Other manufacterers should have learned that lesson but some forgot. Incidently, in just over a year after the Intellivoice was released its chipset dropped in price so much that Mattel had ideas to put it in their cartridges for competing systems.

I still don't see why it wouldn't count as part of the systems overall capability. Just as music peripherals, cd-rom drives, trackball controllers, and cartridges with processors would all count.

#289 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 6, 2017 7:46 AM

Yes. The Intellivoice was a good example; with disappointing sales it proved that add-on peripherals don't sell. Other manufacterers should have learned that lesson but some forgot. Incidently, in just over a year after the Intellivoice was released its chipset dropped in price so much that Mattel had ideas to put it in their cartridges for competing systems.

I still don't see why it wouldn't count as part of the systems overall capability. Just as music peripherals, cd-rom drives, trackball controllers, and cartridges with processors would all count.

 

I would personally have no issue with counting them in comparisons, but it would be a separate category of comparing "add-ons." I wouldn't count individual cartridges (with extra chips inside) in that category.

 

In any case, it's definitely a discussion with many qualifiers.



#290 Schizophretard OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 6:32 AM

Bill,

 

You are explaining it really well but I'm not seeing how you are talking about a system's capabilities. It just seems like you are explaining how and why developers would choose to push a system more with helper chips more than add-ons. I don't think that is what needs to be explained. What needs to be explained is how helper chips increase a system's specs while add-ons don't.



#291 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 8:07 AM

Bill,

 

You are explaining it really well but I'm not seeing how you are talking about a system's capabilities. It just seems like you are explaining how and why developers would choose to push a system more with helper chips more than add-ons. I don't think that is what needs to be explained. What needs to be explained is how helper chips increase a system's specs while add-ons don't.

 

I don't think that's the core issue as the discussion evolved, at least for me. It's more about whether optional add-ons should be counted the same as in-cartridge helper chips. I say no. The latter can be used on 100% of systems, while the former only works on those systems with the optional add-on (and as such, I'd count them as their own platform for such discussions). Another, earlier aspect of that same discussion is whether or not cartridges with helper chips inside should be regarded as part of the system's native capabilities, e.g., should something like Pitfall II on the Atari 2600 be taken into consideration when analyzing the quality of games the system is capable of producing. I'm in the camp that says, "yes," while others prefer "no." My argument is is that since 100% of Atari 2600 console owners can play Pitfall II with no other qualifiers than owning the cartridge (just like any other cartridge), then it has to be part of the discussion of what the console is capable of. Obviously, we can still talk core console specs (e.g., the Atari 2600 does not natively have the four channel sound that Pitfall II enables), but the more practical discussion is always what we see in the actual games produced. So, ultimately, one discussion is raw/core/native specs, which are what they are, and the other is what we actually see in the games produced. Again, this ultimately comes down to what we're actually discussing, which has deviated multiple times from the original topic.



#292 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 9:17 AM

The helper chip could be in an add-on peripheral or in a cartridge. The result would be the same thing. I would consider it a different platform if the program code were running on a completely different cpu. That would be the case with the 2600 add-ons for coleco vision and intellivision, as well as the sega 32x add-on. The software for adam and ecs add-ons for coleco vision and intellivision run on the same cpu and graphics chips inside the core console.

Edit: In order to play coleco vision slither (as originally programmed), you need the roller controller peripheral. That doesn't make it a different platform. The supergames released for adam could have easily been released on a coleco vision cartridge. Most of that ram is used to load and execute code from tape not to run the game. The larger rom would have made the cartridges more expensive, probably not as expensive as NES cartridges. NES cartridges with helper chips shouldn't count for the fact that nintendo was known to illegally manipulate the prices of cartridges keeping them artificially high giving them plenty of room to put expensive addons in them.

The adam expansion is essentially a tape drive peripheral. The extra ram is required to make the tape drive work. The coleco vision is the computer. Adding extra ram to cartridges if the game needs it isn't an issue. The sega 32x is a completely different computer from the genesis.

Edited by mr_me, Thu Dec 7, 2017 10:00 AM.


#293 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 9:31 AM

The helper chip could be in an add-on peripheral or in a cartridge. The result would be the same thing. I would consider it a different platform if the program code were running on a completely different cpu. That would be the case with the 2600 add-ons for coleco vision and intellivision, as well as the sega 32x add-on. The software for adam and ecs add-ons for coleco vision and intellivision run on the same cpu and graphics chips inside the core console.

 

I don't consider the Adam's specs when I discuss the ColecoVision's specs. One has 1KB of RAM, and the other 64K, along with other, far more minor differences. They're different platforms, even if the computer version is built on the back of the console. The same thing with 32X, Sega CD, SuperCharger, etc. I similarly don't consider Pitfall II's capabilities as part of the Atari 2600, or any of the mapper chip games as part of the NES, etc. Nevertheless, I would consider those helper-chip cartridges that work, in theory, on 100% of the core consoles, to be part of the discussion when talking about game libraries and what a system was capable of. Semantics, I know, but nevertheless an important distinction for me, since not every system can benefit from in-cartridge helper chips.



#294 Schizophretard OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 12:06 PM

 

I don't think that's the core issue as the discussion evolved, at least for me. It's more about whether optional add-ons should be counted the same as in-cartridge helper chips. I say no. The latter can be used on 100% of systems, while the former only works on those systems with the optional add-on (and as such, I'd count them as their own platform for such discussions). Another, earlier aspect of that same discussion is whether or not cartridges with helper chips inside should be regarded as part of the system's native capabilities, e.g., should something like Pitfall II on the Atari 2600 be taken into consideration when analyzing the quality of games the system is capable of producing. I'm in the camp that says, "yes," while others prefer "no." My argument is is that since 100% of Atari 2600 console owners can play Pitfall II with no other qualifiers than owning the cartridge (just like any other cartridge), then it has to be part of the discussion of what the console is capable of. Obviously, we can still talk core console specs (e.g., the Atari 2600 does not natively have the four channel sound that Pitfall II enables), but the more practical discussion is always what we see in the actual games produced. So, ultimately, one discussion is raw/core/native specs, which are what they are, and the other is what we actually see in the games produced. Again, this ultimately comes down to what we're actually discussing, which has deviated multiple times from the original topic.

 

If used on 100% of systems is where you draw the line then why only add-ons and not other controllers/accessories? For an example, if one bought an Atari 2600 Junior out of the box they could play Pitfall II but couldn't play either Communist Mutants From Space or Breakout.



#295 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 12:23 PM

I don't see what difference it makes if the upgrade is an add-on or in the cartridge. It's the same technical upgrade. At least if it's a seperate add-on you're not making people pay for the upgrade over and over again when they shouldn't have to. From a marketing point of view making people pay for it with each cartridge works better.

 

There's technical reasons too. Not all upgrades or enhancements can be put in the system console itself. Some need to go on the cartridge and interact with the ROM there.

 



#296 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 1:07 PM

 

If used on 100% of systems is where you draw the line then why only add-ons and not other controllers/accessories? For an example, if one bought an Atari 2600 Junior out of the box they could play Pitfall II but couldn't play either Communist Mutants From Space or Breakout.

 

If we reset with a clear query, I'll certainly be happy to defend for/against a position, but honestly, at this point, I don't even know what we're discussing/arguing anymore.  :)



#297 AMenard OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 1:26 PM

My own personal experience regarding the importance of the Adam historically, is that it had almost no impact at all. It got almost no magazine and 3rd parties support compared to its contemporaries for example. And no one tried to compete with it, at least not to the extent of the Apple II/C64/Atari feud. It was also, for me, an ill conceived machine with its dependency on its printer for power and tape drive that could be erased by turning the machine off with a tape in it.

 

It was just another z80 based computer lost in the sea of 6502 based home computers in its market. It may have had a better chance if it had launched and concentrated on the european/asian home market where the z80 was popular and many were developing on it. 



#298 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 1:36 PM

If we reset with a clear query, I'll certainly be happy to defend for/against a position, but honestly, at this point, I don't even know what we're discussing/arguing anymore.  :)

 

That's because the initial post was one of those questions that is full of assumptions. I feel somewhat dirty making this stupid thread even longer by adding anything to it. 

 

 

"Why is the importance of ColecoVision almost never brought up historically?"

#299 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 1:50 PM

The answer may be simpler than anything mentioned to date. It simply could have gotten lost in the fracas. With ports and other systems coming out, and the computer revolution just getting underway, it was an also-ran.



#300 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 7, 2017 2:23 PM

Most histories I've read mention the ColecoVision; that it was a powerful system that blew its contemporaries out of the water; that its life was cut short by the crash. I'm not sure what else you could say about it.

 

I suppose the OP meant "Why doesn't the ColecoVision get the attention of the 2600 and the NES?"






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