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#1 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:13 AM

Because I know Telegames is every Coleco fan's favorite subject. :P :-D

 

I've been doing some research and am hoping for some clarification on a few things:

 

1.) It is commonly asserted that all stock of DINA systems was lost when a tornado destroyed Telegames' warehouse in Lancaster, Texas in 1994. However, I used to cruise Telegames' website in the late '90s and early '00s and distinctly recall DINAs appearing on their pricelists. In fact, thanks to the Wayback Machine, it is easily confirmed that Telegames continued to sell the console into the 2000s. First at $50 (starting in '96 or '97), then $60, then $80, then $100 with choice of free River Raid or Pitfall, and then $100 plus free River Raid and Pitfall.

 

Anecdotally, an article about retro consoles in a 1997 issue of EGM pictured not a Colecovision for its blurb about that system, but rather a DINA (with a Telegames version of Frogger II in the cart port). It's impossible to say when the pictured unit was actually purchased, of course, but the timing of its appearance is interesting...as is the plug for Telegames in a sidebar in the article about where/how to find games for old systems like the Coleco (as of Feb. 1997).

 

Where did it start that there were no more after 1994?

 

2.) Telegames initially sold original Colecovision consoles. Does anyone know when they ran out of those, or whether they were ever sold concurrently with the DINA?

 

3.) I understand Telegames produced many of their own cartridges in the Coleco's "afterlife," and that a few were even Telegames exclusives. And there seems to have been quite an assortment of different cartridge styles that they produced, with not necessarily very much consistency between or even among them. Telegames cart/label styles seem to be specific more to individual titles than to developer or original publisher. For example, Championship Tennis and Wing War: both originally Imagic titles, but with very different Telegames cart styles (apart from the silver foil).

 

Anyway, the question: Did Telegames also sell existing original back/overstock copies of the cartridges they reprinted? Specifically ones originally released by Coleco. I've seen some of those bizarro Frankencartridges Telegames put together. Typically Coleco-esque shells with UK CBS labels, like Zaxxon, but sometimes with "standard" US/NA labels too, like Congo Bongo and Choplifter. Or even chintzier-looking ones with UK CBS shells and generic plain white labels with simple text (I've seen Coleco titles like Lady Bug, Bump 'N' Jump, and Time Pilot in this version, and also third-party titles like Gateway To Apshai).

 

Just curious as to whether original, as-you'd-have-gotten-it-in-1984 versions of those carts were available from Telegames (and for how long), or just the reprints.

 

And the converse for, say, Atarisoft titles: Telegames was known have sold them at least in the late '80s but I've only heard of a Telegames version for Jungle Hunt (and in case you're not familiar, it's pretty garish even for a Telegames cart :P ). Or Activision--I'm pretty sure I've only seen [the previously unreleased?] Alcazar in a Telegames label, while they sold several other Activision titles for many years. River Raid or/and Pitfall were even packaged with the DINA starting in 1999.

 

Did Telegames produce their own versions of the bulk of the back catalogs of Atarisoft, Activision, Imagic, and other former third-party publishers, or just select specific titles?

 

4.) Can anyone elaborate on the eColeco/Terry Fowler connection, if there is any? I've read assertions that he acquired Telegames stock after the '94 tornado and that he also created his own carts, but I don't recall if they were substantiated or not.

 

 

Trying to figure out Telegames is like smashing a vase, then smashing all the pieces, and then trying to glue the vase back together. :P  Thanks in advance for any help!  :)



#2 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:06 PM

Oh, also, in a somewhat related development, I was recently donated a fixer-upper ADAM system and software, including some original Telegames disk versions of Pitfall II and I think Rock 'N' Bolt and Boulderdash. There were three; I forget the titles exactly but I'm pretty sure those were it. Pitfall II was definitely one. Each has instructions, but it appears Telegames just used manuals from the cartridge versions.

 

I didn't even know Telegames published games in disk format for ADAM! Pretty awesome, I think. :)

 

Any info on those?


Edited by BassGuitari, Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:31 PM.


#3 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 2, 2018 11:14 AM

C'mon, now. Nobody? :P



#4 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Wed May 2, 2018 1:06 PM

That feeling when you're talking to yourself on a forum board. 



#5 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 2, 2018 5:59 PM

I'm interested in Telegames, but I have no info on them.

They seem like a small company; the frankencarts they made were probably cobbled together from what they had at the time; part of the last batch's parts; part of the next batch's parts; some left over Apollo parts they got cheap, etc. I doubt there was any reason besides keeping costs low, & I doubt anyone kept records. Why would they? Records don't pay bills.

Interesting they kept selling the DIANA so long; I thought it was made for them by Bit Corp. Didn't Bit Corp go bankrupt in the early 90's, a year or so after they produced the Game Mate? It's possible Telegames simply left it on their website too long; they list a lot of games there now which are no longer on their order form.

#6 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 3, 2018 3:32 PM

I heard a couple of palettes of Dinas survived the Tornado. Were coleco visions in toys'r'us in the later 1980s. That might tell you when original coleco vision stock ran out.

It would make sense that Telegames would first sell out the coleco stock and then source replacements. Each cartridge could sell out at different times. They probably had some spare parts stock from different sources that they put to use.

Like pacman000 said, telegames' website might have been out of date.

Edited by mr_me, Thu May 3, 2018 3:32 PM.


#7 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 9:03 AM

I heard a couple of palettes of Dinas survived the Tornado. Were coleco visions in toys'r'us in the later 1980s. That might tell you when original coleco vision stock ran out.

 

I personally don't recall ColecoVisions in any stores past 1985. I certainly don't remember them in Toys R Us. If I recall, the only pre-Crash stuff Toys R Us had post 1985 was for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, which I guess is not too surprising because those two were still actively supported.



#8 Flojomojo ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 9:59 AM

Me neither ... and I've never seen a Colecovision console on clearance either. My anecdote is not data but I have a feeling it wasn't produced in the numbers of Atari or Intellivision hardware. 

 

Tangential brainfart:

Remember when you'd walk into an Electronics Boutique and they had at least a small shelf for every wackadoo computer that existed at the time -- Atari, Commodore, Apple, etc? I was always into the tiny Mac section in the late 80s. Nowadays there's NEVER any PC software in GameStop, let alone "productivity software" like ElBo, Babbage's, and Software Etc used to carry. 



#9 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 2:54 PM

Yay, replies! I knew you guys had it in you. ;) :P

 

Interesting they kept selling the DIANA so long; I thought it was made for them by Bit Corp. Didn't Bit Corp go bankrupt in the early 90's, a year or so after they produced the Game Mate? It's possible Telegames simply left it on their website too long; they list a lot of games there now which are no longer on their order form.

 

My guess is the DINA systems that were still being sold into the early 2000s were simply remnants of old stock purchased from Bit Corp. years earlier, some of it perhaps having survived the infamous tornado. It's certainly possible (likely?) their price lists weren't necessarily up to date at the time, but the fairly regular price increases and updates to advertise the system being packaged with River Raid and/or Pitfall (first one or the other, then both) at different times within a short period in '99-'00 seems to indicate that at least the DINA was still current. Didn't Atari2600.com buy some of these as well?

 

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to determine when a DINA system was actually made. There's nothing on the board that appears to indicate date of manufacture as far as I can tell, and the serial numbers aren't much help without a reference to index them by. "Somewhere between 1986 and 1992" (when Bit Corp. went out of business, according to Wikipedia) is probably the best we can hope to do. [Wild, baseless conspiracy theory]Unless Telegames bought out Bit Corp's DINA and Coleco-compatible IP and production after they shut down, and produced some DINAs themselves in the '90s? [/Wild, baseless conspiracy theory]

 

As long as we're talking about the DINA, it's worth noting that there were at least two major hardware revisions, mainly concerning the VDP and power supply. The first(?) had that 5-pin DIN connector with three voltages. The second used an updated version of the video processor (IIRC), which simplified the chipset, required only one voltage, and ran much more coolly and reliably. This one has a standard barrel-type power connector like you'd find on a Nintendo or Odyssey 2 system. The DINA suffers a somewhat miserable reputation today, owing in large part to that triple-voltage power supply cooking the guts of many Version 1/DIN-connector DINAs, while the Version 2 systems generally seem much more reliable.

(If there are any vintage military/WW1 firearms afficionados here, it's like the difference between the M1915 Chauchat in 8mm Lebel that was cheap and imperfect but functional, and the M1918 "U.S." Chauchat that was poorly and incorrectly converted to .30-06, barely worked at all, and was immediately ditched for French M1915s when the doughboys got to the trenches. :P )

 

Systems with "DINA" labels came in both versions. I've only seen "Telegames USA Personal Arcade" labeled systems with the second, superior barrel-type power jack. I've never seen a "Chuang Zao Zhe 50" version (the original Taiwanese version; that text is actually what replaces "Colecovision" on the DINA's green BIOS splash screen), but if I were a betting man, it's the DIN-type.

 

*********

 

On a Telegames-related note, I just got a Telegames version of Flipper Slipper, which is a pretty interesting cart, it turns out...albeit for the wrong reasons.  :P  The ROM was hacked to remove all reference to Spectravideo, including the splash screen logo and copyright notice (the boot screen is a blank black screen with nothing but the text  "Presents Flipper Slipper"), and the game itself is glitchy as hell, to the point it's actually unplayable. I don't know if that's a side-effect of the ROM tampering, or that I'm playing the cart in my DINA, or a combination, but it's definitely interesting. Annoying, because I kinda actually wanted to play it, but interesting. :-D


Edited by BassGuitari, Fri May 4, 2018 2:57 PM.


#10 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 2:56 PM

I dunno, after my roomate found his box of coleco carts we went to radio shack and ordered one out of the catalog, that was 99-00 ish no big deal 



#11 Ikrananka OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 4:20 PM

On a Telegames-related note, I just got a Telegames version of Flipper Slipper, which is a pretty interesting cart, it turns out...albeit for the wrong reasons.  :P  The ROM was hacked to remove all reference to Spectravideo, including the splash screen logo and copyright notice (the boot screen is a blank black screen with nothing but the text  "Presents Flipper Slipper"), and the game itself is glitchy as hell, to the point it's actually unplayable. I don't know if that's a side-effect of the ROM tampering, or that I'm playing the cart in my DINA, or a combination, but it's definitely interesting. Annoying, because I kinda actually wanted to play it, but interesting. :-D

 

Yep, the Telegames hack of Flipper Slipper is a known thing and something I documented in my CV ROM Update Project.  Download the zip and check out the "ColecoVision ROM Update Project - Commercial Releases (1982-198x) - v1.2.pdf" for details.

 

Their rom does work normally so the problems you're having must be a Dina specific issue.


Edited by Ikrananka, Fri May 4, 2018 4:21 PM.


#12 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 9:29 PM

 

Yep, the Telegames hack of Flipper Slipper is a known thing and something I documented in my CV ROM Update Project.  Download the zip and check out the "ColecoVision ROM Update Project - Commercial Releases (1982-198x) - v1.2.pdf" for details.

 

Their rom does work normally so the problems you're having must be a Dina specific issue.

 

Only Telegames could acquire a game IP and [unintentionally?] hack it to be incompatible with their own system. :rolling:



#13 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 4, 2018 10:02 PM

I dunno, after my roomate found his box of coleco carts we went to radio shack and ordered one out of the catalog, that was 99-00 ish no big deal 

 

I used to look through those big ole' Master Catalogs Radio Shack used to have in their stores to look at the "classic" systems and games you could still order at the time (also in the late '90s and early '00s). I thought it was absolutely wild that you could still get that stuff, even though some of it seemed really expensive...especially the Coleco games that cost almost as much as some of the new PlayStation games that were coming out! :-o

 

Anyway, I could have sworn I saw the DINA system listed in the Coleco section, but in the years since I could never locate a scan of these in-store Master Catalogs to confirm (at least of the pertinent parts, anyway) and it's been so long now that I couldn't be certain it wasn't all a false memory. So thank you for confirming for me that you could get DINAs from Radio Shack at the Turn Of The Millennium and that I'm not going crazy.  :-D

 

Anecdote: I was pretty young yet in the late '90s--junior high age--and very, VERY new to classic gaming, and literally the only thing I knew about the Colecovision was the DINA that was pictured in an article about retro systems in a 1997 issue of EGM. I'd never seen an actual Colecovision, so in my mind, the Coleco-compatible DINA *was* the Colecovision as far I was concerned. And the fact it was still readily available new from Telegames, Radio Shack, and probably other sources (Atari2600.com?) really reinforced that. It also made it seem like, in the age of Dreamcast and Nintendo 64, that the Coleco was still a legitimate "current" system you could adopt. "You have PlayStation, GameBoy Color, and your old Super Nintendo? Nice! I have Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and I just got a DINA Coleco system. It plays really old games that I have to order, but it's cool as hell!"  That idea was way cool to me. And that it was all available only by mail-order gave it an aura of exclusivity and secrecy--always appealing to a teenager. :-D


Edited by BassGuitari, Fri May 4, 2018 10:57 PM.


#14 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2018 7:35 AM

Me neither ... and I've never seen a Colecovision console on clearance either. My anecdote is not data but I have a feeling it wasn't produced in the numbers of Atari or Intellivision hardware. 
 
... 

My understanding is that the Mattel stock of Intellivisions ran out around 1984/85. That's when INTV started making the black and silver Intellivisions and were able to keep toysrus and others stocked.


I personally don't recall ColecoVisions in any stores past 1985. I certainly don't remember them in Toys R Us. If I recall, the only pre-Crash stuff Toys R Us had post 1985 was for the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, which I guess is not too surprising because those two were still actively supported.

Were coleco visions available for Christmas 1985? Was there a time in the mid-1980s that Atari 2600s were not available?

Regarding Telegames and Dina, their increasing the Dina price probably indicates they had stock and it was diminishing. You can check IC chips for date codes. It won't tell you the exact manufacturing date but it won't be any earlier than the latest date code you find.

Edited by mr_me, Sat May 5, 2018 7:47 AM.


#15 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2018 7:54 AM

http://videogamecrit...=160604#p160604

 

The videogamecritic apparently bought one around '99.



#16 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 5, 2018 10:03 AM

http://videogamecrit...=160604#p160604

 

The videogamecritic apparently bought one around '99.

 

Very cool!

 

I'm not a forum member at VGC and I know that thread you linked is a couple of years old, but I have some information he may find helpful:

 

It appears he's having trouble with b/w video and static, and that he thinks it's the caps. I'm about 95% sure it's actually just that the RF modulator has drifted a little (common problem, it seems)--or possibly was never calibrated quite correctly in the first place?--and just needs a little tweak. My DINA does the exact same thing. When I first cold-start my system, the picture is B/W and staticy (sp?); I just re-enter "13" on my TV remote, and it comes in absolutely gorgeously. Now, it does fade back out after a while, and I'll have to re-enter channel 13 again, and this process will usually repeat three or four times before it "settles in" on a less beautiful but still pretty decent signal. The RF modulator just needs a minor tune-up (which I haven't done yet because I just got my new DINA a week ago and I can't stop playing Meteoric Shower :-D). It may also just work better on old TVs with manual tuners.

 

You might want to let him know the RF modulator probably just needs a very minor, simple adjustment before he starts digging into caps and heatsinks and AV mods and all that jazz (none of which are bad ideas anyway, but they shouldn't be necessary in this case), if he hasn't already.

 

We will never know how many perfectly good DINA or Personal Arcade systems have been discarded or written off as junk because people didn't understand their idiosyncrasies. :(


Edited by BassGuitari, Sat May 5, 2018 10:06 AM.


#17 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 6, 2018 2:01 PM

My DINA does the exact same thing. When I first cold-start my system, the picture is B/W and staticy (sp?); I just re-enter "13" on my TV remote, and it comes in absolutely gorgeously. Now, it does fade back out after a while, and I'll have to re-enter channel 13 again, and this process will usually repeat three or four times before it "settles in" on a less beautiful but still pretty decent signal. The RF modulator just needs a minor tune-up (which I haven't done yet because I just got my new DINA a week ago and I can't stop playing Meteoric Shower :-D).

 

I opened up my DINA last night and can confirm that the RF modulator was the culprit. :)

 

After a minor--and I mean minor (seriously, I barely touched the thing)--adjustment to the tuner, the problem is solved. Well, mostly. It still drifts back a little bit because the hot glue that was used to keep it in place was very cheap stuff and came loose at some point, so I'll have to touch that up. For now, I just "overtuned" it slightly so that when it slips back after a little while, as it's been doing, it's to more or less dead center instead of borderline off-channel/staticy/washed-out/b/w.



#18 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 10:15 AM

 

I opened up my DINA last night and can confirm that the RF modulator was the culprit. :)

 

After a minor--and I mean minor (seriously, I barely touched the thing)--adjustment to the tuner, the problem is solved. Well, mostly. It still drifts back a little bit because the hot glue that was used to keep it in place was very cheap stuff and came loose at some point, so I'll have to touch that up. For now, I just "overtuned" it slightly so that when it slips back after a little while, as it's been doing, it's to more or less dead center instead of borderline off-channel/staticy/washed-out/b/w.

 

To add to this real quick, in case anybody out there with a temperamental DINA sees this and is interested--the real culprit is heat from the voltage regulator + heat sink assembly that drags the RF tuning slightly out of whack (again, this is the later version of the system that has the separate power board that uses the standard 5V supply, not that 5-pin 3-voltage monstrosity).

 

As a test, I let my system run after I adjusted the RF modulator. Looked and sounded perfect for a while, then audio static started creeping in after maybe 15-20 minutes (picture was still crystal clear though), slowly crescendoing until it became intolerable (again, still crystal clear picture). I had the case open and noticed the voltage regulator/heat sink was very hot (to be expected); well, the RF modulator is less than an inch away from said heat sink, and seemed to be absorbing some of that heat. So I just blew on the RF modulator a couple of times, like it was soup that was too hot. The audio static was cured instantly. Naturally, though, as the modulator heated back up, the static came back same as before. Blew on it again--gone.

 

So...I'm thinking a heatsink on the RF box? Heatsinking an RF modulator isn't something I usually hear of people doing, but I don't see why it shouldn't help (provided I can fit it properly inside the DINA's tiny case). I'm also looking into various thermal insulation materials such as silicone pads--perhaps on the regulator itself? Or even on the heatsink?

 

The usual heat-related concern with DINA systems is the TMS9918 chip, but I must say the voltage regulator in this system does a great job of keeping the 9918 (or whatever variant) in this DINA remarkably cool and comfortable. Unfortunately some of the excess heat from the voltage regulator appears to be getting passed to the RF modulator instead, but I suppose some RF-related inconvenience and having to periodically re-tune the TV is still way better than a system that doesn't work at all. :P



#19 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 12:29 PM

so its been ages since I looked in one, is the regulator screwed down to the same ground plane as the RF box?



#20 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 1:47 PM

so its been ages since I looked in one, is the regulator screwed down to the same ground plane as the RF box?

 

Uh...maybe? I'm not sure--I'll check into that later if I get a chance tonight.



#21 frankodragon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 2:16 PM

I did try Alcazar and I did have a working Telegames Personal Arcade before that whole tornado mess.  However, the game glitched up so badly I had to exchange it for something else.  No word if the game glitches on the ColecoVision.



#22 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 4:56 PM

I did try Alcazar and I did have a working Telegames Personal Arcade before that whole tornado mess.  However, the game glitched up so badly I had to exchange it for something else.  No word if the game glitches on the ColecoVision.


I had Alcazar (in cartridge format) on my ADAM when I was a kid, and I played with it a lot. I don't recall any glitches during play.

#23 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 7, 2018 8:21 PM

I just ordered Strike It from classicgamesource.

 

It no longer appears on their website. :ponder:  :skull:

 

Re: Alcazar: it should run on a Colecovision (if it runs on an ADAM, it will run on a CV...right?). There seems to be a small handful of software incompatibilities on the DINA, Alcazar apparently and unfortunately being among them. That, and Telegames' own hacked version of Flipper Slipper. :P Whatever the cause of that is, I couldn't say. Incompatible variant of the CPU or some other chip? Something about the DINA's BIOS that Alcazar disagrees with?



#24 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 5:59 PM

Is this copy of Galaxian a Telegames cart?

 

s-l300.jpg

 

It's hard to tell from this pic but it looks like a Telegames shell (this is on eBay right now and there's a pic of the back, but I just yanked this one off Google). Something about the label looks a little janky even for Telegames, though.



#25 NIAD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 8, 2018 8:40 PM

Is this copy of Galaxian a Telegames cart?

 

s-l300.jpg

 

It's hard to tell from this pic but it looks like a Telegames shell (this is on eBay right now and there's a pic of the back, but I just yanked this one off Google). Something about the label looks a little janky even for Telegames, though.

That's a reproduction cart, not an original AtariSoft cart, but can't tell you who made it just from that one picture.. The original AtariSoft cart does not have a label that wraps over to the top... they are two separate labels.






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