Jump to content
opcode

The ADAM killed the ColecoVision

Recommended Posts

He did an interview with Next Generation around the time the Playstation 1 was launched. He claimed that the Saturn sucked and that the Playstation was a clear-cut case of dumping; an illegal act where a company sells a product for much less than it cost to manufacture it. Seems like dumping happens all the time now, laws be damned (the Playstation 3 was $600 when it was first released but cost Sony $800 to make one!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He did an interview with Next Generation around the time the Playstation 1 was launched. He claimed that the Saturn sucked and that the Playstation was a clear-cut case of dumping; an illegal act where a company sells a product for much less than it cost to manufacture it. Seems like dumping happens all the time now, laws be damned (the Playstation 3 was $600 when it was first released but cost Sony $800 to make one!).

 

 

That was actually Sam that did that interview -

 

http://www.geocities.com/archdukeadvice/atari.html

 

 

I was wondering the same thing that this guy did.

 

And I wish Jack had given one major interveiw or written a article or a book at some point....

 

Jack gave lots of interviews -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFGT4o7EmNU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9boeHRUeMPA

http://www.blip.tv/file/564449

 

http://www.commodore.ca/history/people/jack_tramiel_early_history.htm

http://www.atarimagazines.com/v3n10/JackTramiel.html

 

That's just a quick scan....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since I've lived near Amsterdam, N.Y., for the past 16 years, I've met quite a few people who used to work at Coleco.

 

Yeah, the ADAM was a disaster.

 

First of all, in those days, you had a good number of computers out there already. If you wanted to get anywhere, you had to have something GOOD- but the ADAM, with that ridiculous tape drive, oddball programming, and the like, just helped shoot it down. Compare it to a C-64, which had a superior set-up- just as the Ataris did. It wasn't even close.

 

It was also rushed out. This is why it had so many defects.

 

 

But all of the blame cannot be put on Coleco. They fell for that marketing/compunerd "video gaming was dead, computers were the wave of the gaming future" line. Had they stuck with the CV, they might have made it. Just as Atari should have stuck with the 5200. In a way, they never had a chance; the NES, had it been released with them, probably would have been doomed. It was not the market itself, but the folly of relying on theory and marketing "research" to make decisions, that doomed the third generation. Those particular years were slow poison for any home console, since the ones in charge believed that it was already over- something the SMS and NES didn't have to deal with. It was the prophesy fulfilling itself.

 

 

Note- As for "dumping"- who is to stop them? The Government? That pretty much ended with Reaganomics, didn't it?

Edited by CV Gus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He did an interview with Next Generation around the time the Playstation 1 was launched. He claimed that the Saturn sucked and that the Playstation was a clear-cut case of dumping; an illegal act where a company sells a product for much less than it cost to manufacture it. Seems like dumping happens all the time now, laws be damned (the Playstation 3 was $600 when it was first released but cost Sony $800 to make one!).

 

 

That was actually Sam that did that interview -

 

http://www.geocities...vice/atari.html

 

 

I was wondering the same thing that this guy did.

 

And I wish Jack had given one major interveiw or written a article or a book at some point....

 

Jack gave lots of interviews -

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ZFGT4o7EmNU

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=9boeHRUeMPA

http://www.blip.tv/file/564449

 

http://www.commodore...rly_history.htm

http://www.atarimaga...ackTramiel.html

 

That's just a quick scan....

 

Maybe someday Jack or Sam will do a retrospective interview.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But all of the blame cannot be put on Coleco. They fell for that marketing/compunerd "video gaming was dead, computers were the wave of the gaming future" line. Had they stuck with the CV, they might have made it. Just as Atari should have stuck with the 5200. In a way, they never had a chance; the NES, had it been released with them, probably would have been doomed. It was not the market itself, but the folly of relying on theory and marketing "research" to make decisions, that doomed the third generation. Those particular years were slow poison for any home console, since the ones in charge believed that it was already over- something the SMS and NES didn't have to deal with. It was the prophesy fulfilling itself.

How do you continue selling a product when nobody will buy it?

You want to talk about theory and market research but retailers were not buying. That was an undeniable fact!

Coleco went through a couple years of trying to sell the machine and finally had to dump them.

They could have continued to produce new games but even those were selling in limited numbers for companies, all the while dumping more money out the door for the game programmers.

 

Screwing up with the ADAM hastened Coleco's demise, but even without it they wouldn't have had much cash coming in.

And you can't continue to rely on an 8 bit system once the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM, Mac, NES, SEGA, etc... are on the market.

That means R&D money.

 

Coleco was in a bad place. They entered the cartridge console video game market late. Their own words were "moderately profitable" I believe.

They spent a lot of cash buying their way into that market. R&D on the console, a lot of games over a couple years, a huge advertising budget...

Bottom line is, they weren't in that segment of the market long enough to really suck enough money out to build cash reserves.

Coleco saw games shifting to computers and they were trying to jump in.

But other computer manufacturers had worked out most of the kinks in their 8 bit systems before the market got tight and they had already recouped their R&D costs. Most had already come out with cheaper to produce models on the low end and then there were the PC/Mac systems on the high end by the crash.

Look at the Mac. R&D started in the 70s. And the Tandy 1000 was "MS-DOS Compatible" and didn't require such a huge R&D budget since they didn't have to do the OS and it was mostly a PC jr clone.

 

Adam... introduced in June '83 with a tape drive.

The Tandy 1000 comes with a floppy the same year for just a little more money and it's reliable. Its also seen as a next generation 16 bit.

Mac is introduced in January of '84 and is also seen as the next generation and its reliable. It also fits in less space than the Adam printer.

And remember, The Tandy 100 portables hit the same year. Do you buy a Tank or an early laptop for the kid on the way to college?

 

Coleco entered the cartridge game console market late and they entered the computer market WAY too late.

Even without the tape erasing issues and defective units, the ADAM was obsolete as soon as it was introduced and it was too expensive.

When most other manufacturers were shooting for a $100-$200 price point for their 8 bits (except Apple) Coleco would have been lucky to hit a $500 price point. It was a last gen computer for nearly a next gen price. If it had been introduced in '80/'81 they might have had a chance but then that puts the Colecovision on the market in '79/'80... and both systems would have been much more expensive to produce.

 

As far as the Colecovision goes... they would have had to build a next gen system, computer or console, to stay in the market.

Instead of the Adam, maybe they would have been better off integrating components in the Colecovision to make it smaller and cheaper to produce.

I don't think they had a chance in the computer market unless the Adam had been under $200.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And you can't continue to rely on an 8 bit system once the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM, Mac, NES, SEGA, etc... are on the market.

 

...

 

As far as the Colecovision goes... they would have had to build a next gen system, computer or console, to stay in the market.

 

I think you are overstating things a bit (haha, pun). The "next gen" systems -- NES, SMS, and 7800 -- were all 8 bit systems. Many 8 bit computers were still used into the 90s, and software was still produced for them. People wanted good games and good software. I have no doubt that had Coleco continue to provide decent games for the ColecoVision, it would have stuck around much longer.

Edited by akator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And you can't continue to rely on an 8 bit system once the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM, Mac, NES, SEGA, etc... are on the market.

 

...

 

As far as the Colecovision goes... they would have had to build a next gen system, computer or console, to stay in the market.

 

I think you are overstating things a bit (haha, pun). The "next gen" systems -- NES, SMS, and 7800 -- were all 8 bit systems. Many 8 bit computers were still used into the 90s, and software was still produced for them. People wanted good games and good software. I have no doubt that had Coleco continue to provide decent games for the ColecoVision, it would have stuck around much longer.

Whether Coleco built a computer or a videogame console, they were at a disadvantage against those machines.

 

I think the computer differences are obvious. CP/M vs MS-DOS vs GEM vs AmigaDOS. At best CP/M could do similar things as MS-DOS... at worst it was much tougher to do and if you look at the Tandy 1000 they had an easy to use desktop to compete with GEM and the Amiga. Windows hit in '85.

Large memory models, faster clock speeds, standard floppy drive, hard drives... the Adam might not have been a flop but it never would have been a major player. Maybe if it hadn't bombed a cheaper followup model with built in floppy and other enhancements would have been possible but like the Colecovision it would have been "moderately profitable".

 

The other game consoles had more colors, sprites, tiles... something that gave them an advantage.

I don't think the 7800 fared that well outside of existing 2600 owners but the other two definitely drew a new audience.

Colorful/detailed scrolling backgrounds, more complex gameplay... typical of the NES and SMS.

The Colecovision would have been hard pressed to keep up in gameplay without some sort of enhancement. I think the existence of the super expansion module pretty much proves this.

<edit>

btw, I believe NES and Sega already had a following in Japan when they came to the west... western systems had little if any market penetration there.

Edited by JamesD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And you can't continue to rely on an 8 bit system once the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM, Mac, NES, SEGA, etc... are on the market.

 

...

 

As far as the Colecovision goes... they would have had to build a next gen system, computer or console, to stay in the market.

 

I think you are overstating things a bit (haha, pun). The "next gen" systems -- NES, SMS, and 7800 -- were all 8 bit systems. Many 8 bit computers were still used into the 90s, and software was still produced for them. People wanted good games and good software. I have no doubt that had Coleco continue to provide decent games for the ColecoVision, it would have stuck around much longer.

 

Akator, you make a good point. But I still think people were wanting better/upgraded graphics. A Supergame Module with an updated video chip, or a new "Super ColecoVision"/CV2 system would likely have been required to support the system. And the question would also need to be addressed of how well would Coleco have handled the shift away from Arcade licenses to original titles? Probably fairly smoothly, but still debatable as the biggest licenses I seem to remember from the mid-late 80's were typically NES exclusives, a big play in making them the console market leader IMO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well... I actually agree... Classic GI Joe walked all over the 4" action figures. :)

 

Knocking it off topic might have been the best thing I could have done for this thread. Seems like it needed a little lightening up, anyhow.

 

Cheers. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Colecovision was my first system, and I've just picked up a sparkling 'new' one...well, great used shape let's say!

As far as the economics goes, who can say what Coleco were thinking. So many things that could have gone differently, but in the end, the gaming crash took it all away.

 

The thing is...even at the time, having NO idea what took place until probably around 87 (when I found some old Computer Magic magazines which described the whole thing, month by month), I realized even as a kid that I LOVED VIDEOGAMES...and that there were NO new games to be had for my Coleco was terrible! We traded carts for years...ah, the myths that abounded back then! I still thought Dragon's Lair for Adam was a fake...just watched it on youtube. I love youtube!...in fact, it got me all nostalgic and I had to pick up the old black box again, even though I'm a much more avid NES and Atari guy now. But Coleco started it all for me back then.

 

When I first read about the NES in an issue of Boys Life, I couldn't believe it...and when I played one it was like the greatest thing I had ever seen. Mind you I still clung to my Coleco, but scores suddenly meant nothing...'finishing' games like Mario were the standard. The Sega Master System did this as well, although it was only years after I realized that the Sega paled in a lot of ways to the NES...I didn't care at the time though...Sega rules the arcades and I was a disciple!

 

Arcade games during the crash were also 'growing up'...for the Coleco to have competed it either would have needed a new console, something like the NES, or some kind of expansion. But that would have meant that Adam wasn't developed...and, even in the early 90's, I still wanted an Adam! Hell, part of me STILL wants a clunky old Adam!

 

Could Coleco have kept up in dominance? Perhaps...but look at how Nintendo fell during the reign of Sony...and in some ways, still does. Video games are a fickle thing...look at what happened to the Dreamcast! Still can't say what happened there.

 

All I know is that I still love retro systems, but I don't own a PS3. Why?...who knows. I've tried, it's just something about those older systems that are so much more satisfying to me than the endless first person shooters, driving, RPG or shooting games...I'd really like to get back into gaming but there's just nothing out there that speaks to me like the old school stuff. I'm sure I'm not alone!...rant over.

 

Edit: Wow. This video simply stuns me. Not in a good way. Perhaps I'm glad I don't own an Adam.

 

Edited by atarilovesyou

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry that my AdamCon video stunts you in a bad way, I like these meetings... and the joke at the end of the video. Think about it, since 1988 they do these meetings, and keep going, like an not-broken chain of life, keeping the Coleco Adam scene alive, not because there is something to do but because it's a social activity, an interrest, a passion, hobby, etc. The good part of the Coleco Adam is the community around that helped me and some other programmers into Coleco programming, they gives information to Marcel de Kogel to make AdamEm which is still one of the best Coleco emulators since 1997-1998.

 

We can't go back and "fix mistakes", but we can collect items and informations, make new hardware and software, and have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry that my AdamCon video stunts you in a bad way, I like these meetings... and the joke at the end of the video. Think about it, since 1988 they do these meetings, and keep going, like an not-broken chain of life, keeping the Coleco Adam scene alive, not because there is something to do but because it's a social activity, an interrest, a passion, hobby, etc. The good part of the Coleco Adam is the community around that helped me and some other programmers into Coleco programming, they gives information to Marcel de Kogel to make AdamEm which is still one of the best Coleco emulators since 1997-1998.

 

We can't go back and "fix mistakes", but we can collect items and informations, make new hardware and software, and have fun!

 

 

I guess I didn't look at it that way...I went with the automatic response of shock that anyone would be trying to use their Adam's in today's computing world. I think I spoke too soon; apologies if I offended you at all. For such a difficult to program machine, this group must have a wealth of information invaluable to homebrew prgrammers. It's just hard to fathom that groups like this still exist to this day; especially for a machine that had as many techinical issues as the Adam.

Edited by atarilovesyou

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say it but some of the problems that caused the Video game crash back in 83 could happen again!, The common things that happend then that are happening now are 1 Poor aconomy, 2 Huge Video game market, 3 added stuff to the game systems ( Like: DVD players, bigger memory, ect ) that raises the cost of the machines were most off us consumers cant aford, Systems cost too much, Games being sold at low prices in bins at stores!, It looks like the Video Game industry is vearing off from the Video games for other things for there systems wich could jepordize alot!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say it but some of the problems that caused the Video game crash back in 83 could happen again!, The common things that happend then that are happening now are 1 Poor aconomy, 2 Huge Video game market, 3 added stuff to the game systems ( Like: DVD players, bigger memory, ect ) that raises the cost of the machines were most off us consumers cant aford, Systems cost too much, Games being sold at low prices in bins at stores!, It looks like the Video Game industry is vearing off from the Video games for other things for there systems wich could jepordize alot!

 

Check this thread I started last April:

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/142853-will-history-repeat-itself/page__p__1732407__hl__history__fromsearch__1&?do=findComment&comment=1732407

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So maybe there were regional pockets of 7800 acceptance... eh... maybe it was just a dismal failure in Northern California... but man... 10 to 1 I encountered NES to SMS... and it would have to be 100 to 1 for SMS to 7800. They just... didn't sell.

 

You're talking about later in the market, and that would be correct - by late '87-'88 the 7800 was not selling well compared to the other two. As previously stated however, all three started on equal ground when they went national in '86. '87 is when the NES started hitting it's stride and entering the "golden years" for it that everyone remembers. SMB finally became a pack-in around then via the Action set (it was not a launch release or pack-in in '85 as is often erroneously quoted).

Are you sure it wasn't selling well compared tot he Master System in the US? (EU would be a totally different story, obviously)

Specifically, you mentioned this before:

Well guys, actually this is from the March 8th, 1988 Wall Street Journal article on the revival of the industry, enitled Video Games Revive -- and Makers Hope This Time the Fad Will Last:

 

Nowadays, marketers are working to prevent a glut by pulling older lines off the shelf as more games are introduced. Nintendo, for instance, is withdrawing 18 of its 36 games to make room for new offerings. Nintendo dominates the U.S. market with an estimated 70% share, followed by Atari Corp., with 16%, and Sega with 10%.

 

In an AP article later that year (November 17th) we have:

 

Nintendo spokesman Robert Lindner said the Redmond, Wash.-based company and its licensees anticipate garnering $1.7 billion of the total. Lindner said Nintendo estimates its current market share at 77.4 percent, with Atari at 13.3 percent and Tonka's Sega at 4.1 percent.

 

 

Or for example, Nolan did not design Spacewar or do half of the other stuff he claimed and in fact had Atari Inc. close to bakruptcy many times during his tenure.

Bushnell actually claimed to have created Spacewar! ? You're not talking about Computer Space? (that was Bushnell's right? or was Dabney more involved with that one?) Edited by kool kitty89

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deleted the other half, the quotes were screwy and I wasn't sure if you were asking me or Bill or both or what you were asking about.

 

 

Or for example, Nolan did not design Spacewar or do half of the other stuff he claimed and in fact had Atari Inc. close to bakruptcy many times during his tenure.

Bushnell actually claimed to have created Spacewar! ? You're not talking about Computer Space? (that was Bushnell's right? or was Dabney more involved with that one?)

 

Should read "did not design Computer Space". All the major circuitry was done by Dabney, and Nolan "strung it together" and packaged it to Nutting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Deleted the other half, the quotes were screwy and I wasn't sure if you were asking me or Bill or both or what you were asking about.

Fixed; that quote was yours alone, I screwed up when cutting out the nested quoes you'd originally replied to. (that's from the Atari Panther thread)

My point was that, based on those articles, Atari's market share stayed ahead of Sega in the late 80s (prior to Genesis), though that didn't show a breakdown of the 7800 specifically, so it may have been below the SMS in terms of share (though probably not massively). Sega was struggling rather like Atari in spite of their larger advertizing budget (or actually, it would have been Tonka, not Sega at that point I think), Nintendo blasted past bot of them obviosuly. (though not as extreme as many accounts would clain, lik a consistant 90% market share -"more than Atari at their height", when it seem more likely that it was more like 70-80% durring most of the NES's height in popularity -the Genesis came in by the time SMS and 7800/2600 popularity were seriously dropping, so even at that point the market should have been more distributed; 75% is still a huge chunk of the market though)

 

 

Or for example, Nolan did not design Spacewar or do half of the other stuff he claimed and in fact had Atari Inc. close to bakruptcy many times during his tenure.

Bushnell actually claimed to have created Spacewar! ? You're not talking about Computer Space? (that was Bushnell's right? or was Dabney more involved with that one?)

 

Should read "did not design Computer Space". All the major circuitry was done by Dabney, and Nolan "strung it together" and packaged it to Nutting.

Ah, OK, that's interesting to know. It's weird that I was thinking that might have been the case even though I hadn't actually read it anywhere I can recall. (maybe I just got that kind of impression from what I've read about Bushnell as well as his and Dabney's relationship -the latter also seems to have some parallels with Steve Jobs' and Wozniak's relationship)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the videogame business died largely because computers and VCRs dropped in price to where they were more attractive as the big family gift.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, I know some claim the video game market never died at all, but rather look from the perspective of the home computer market temporarily replacing it as th emain electronic game system of choice (namely the C64), being far closer in general than the computer game and "video game" specifc markets tend to be. (well, except for Eureope, where the 8-bit, and indeed 16-bit home computers to a large extented competed directly with dedicated video game consoles in the mid/late 80s and early 90s)

 

Also, if you look at the comments about the market, everyone thought the videogame market was dead.

I'm sure THAT is what killed the Colecovision.

Stockholders and the board of directors listened to what retailers/buyers were saying and they axed the Colecovision.

By "everone" do you mean market anylists, the media, and a fiar portion of retailers (the latter being strongly influenced by the former, in addition to the actual symptoms of problems).

I'm sure the average consumers in may areas were still quite interested, and there were tons who'd only recently gotten game systems, still hadn't gotten them (but would be looking for them, possible in favor over computers due to the shrply decling prices at the time), and general users who'd oly get new games on occasion. (say Atari/coleco users with 5-6 cartridges, plainning on getting a couple games a year -[robably influenced to get more with the dumpped prices)

 

Looking at Marty's (wgungfu) and curt's statements on the matter, the industry may have been in big trouble, but was in no way dead. Even in the heat of the worst part of the crash, the 7800 seems to have test marketed fairly well in 1984 in California. (of course, Tramiel's buying Atari changed things alot, so there's no way to tell how Morgan's plans may have gone given propper time -not to mention the multitude of other projects -like th e16-bit computers- which dissapeared with TTL's aquisition of Atari consumer)

Other compaines weathered the crash fairly well too, by 1985 at least, the market seemed to have been recoviering pretty well (remember 2600 Jr sales were such to influnce Atari corp to push harder towards that market as well). Intev apparently managed to sell as many consoles durring/post crash as Mattel had prior. (~3 million I believe) and that's with outdated hardware and a limited game library. (2600 was the former, but not latter, and had greater brand recognition)

 

If anything, the Adam was the only thing that might have kept them in the market but too many mistakes were made for them to recover.

They bet the farm on the data paks and on making it an expensive typewriter.

Data Paks in all their forms were unreliable. Exatron, Sinclair and who knows how many others found out the hard way.

Adam floppy drives came out too late.

Daisy Wheels were too slow and noisy to be very popular and the Adam printer was especially slow and noisy.

Plus, the built in word processor didn't really offer much of an advantage over the new smart typewriters.

To make things even worse, dual pass dot matrix printing came out around 1984 making the Adam look even worse.

Yes, goign for a home computer wasn't a bad idea in general, and neither was facilitating the upgrade for the CV, but the Adam was botched horribly. They should have goone with a simple, semi-moudular integrated form factor (built-in keyboard console design liek A800/XL/XE/ST/C64/MSX etc, etc). Simple, with external accessories (standard casette deck interface, floppy drives, printers, etc). Obviously aim at a much lower price point as well. (maybe ship with less RAM standard, with upgrades available, and a higher-end fully expanded unit as well)

 

How do you continue selling a product when nobody will buy it?

You want to talk about theory and market research but retailers were not buying. That was an undeniable fact!

Coleco went through a couple years of trying to sell the machine and finally had to dump them.

They could have continued to produce new games but even those were selling in limited numbers for companies, all the while dumping more money out the door for the game programmers.

See above, console still had a chance, and the ColecoVision had the advantage of being relatively strong an new on the market. (ie strong market share up to the crash and less porrly aging hardware by comparison)

 

Screwing up with the ADAM hastened Coleco's demise, but even without it they wouldn't have had much cash coming in.

And you can't continue to rely on an 8 bit system once the Amiga, Atari ST, IBM, Mac, NES, SEGA, etc... are on the market.

That means R&D money.

Having a good adam in addition to CV would have been best (probably droppign out with the CV somewhat durring the worst points of the crash), but I think not havign the Adam at all, and continuing with the CV would have been better even. (by comparison, the Adam was a flop and a money pit which diverted resourses which may have facilitated the CV riding out the crash)

 

But other computer manufacturers had worked out most of the kinks in their 8 bit systems before the market got tight and they had already recouped their R&D costs. Most had already come out with cheaper to produce models on the low end and then there were the PC/Mac systems on the high end by the crash.

Look at the Mac. R&D started in the 70s. And the Tandy 1000 was "MS-DOS Compatible" and didn't require such a huge R&D budget since they didn't have to do the OS and it was mostly a PC jr clone.

But the Adam was derived from the already established ColeCOvision (which istsself was largely off the shelf in design), so R&D costs shouldn't have been extreme, an dcould have been reduced much further had the Adam been simplified. (and had few accessories initially)

 

the ADAM was obsolete as soon as it was introduced and it was too expensive.

When most other manufacturers were shooting for a $100-$200 price point for their 8 bits (except Apple) Coleco would have been lucky to hit a $500 price point. It was a last gen computer for nearly a next gen price. If it had been introduced in '80/'81 they might have had a chance but then that puts the Colecovision on the market in '79/'80... and both systems would have been much more expensive to produce.

Yes, they needed am simpler machine that could be sold for under $300. (ie just a colecovision with expanded RAM and built-in keyboard plus accessory ports -posssibly have a baseline model with minimal RAM and expandability -MSX base models had only 8kB)

 

In fact, best case would have been getting involved with the MSX standard and persuading MS/MSoJ to build it aroudn the Colecovision's architecture (which was nearly identical, the I/O capabilities of the AY-10-xxx soudn chip would need to be replaced, compatibile cartridge slot and joysticks woud be necessary too) but otherwise it's extremely similar), I'm not sure how possible that could have been, but it seems like there would be mutually benefitial, and hell it might have also meant that Sega's SG-1000 could have been rolled into the standard as well, or been more popular due to its strong similarities at least. (with only 2 kB of work RAM the SG-1000 would have less than the baseline MSX or Colecovision -both with 8K iirc, so that would be an area of contention -still, Sega's later SC-3000 could have addressed this and supported cross compatibility with their SG-1000 adn the MSX)

 

Hell, maybe Coleco's involvement would have contributed for more of a push for the MSX in Europe before the other 8-bits had been fully established in that market. (namely C64, Speccy, and CPC)

 

As far as the Colecovision goes... they would have had to build a next gen system, computer or console, to stay in the market.

Instead of the Adam, maybe they would have been better off integrating components in the Colecovision to make it smaller and cheaper to produce.

I don't think they had a chance in the computer market unless the Adam had been under $200.

Hmm, would they really, why not continue to go off the shelf? Yamaha created the V9938 enhanced and compatible successor to the TMS9928 series, so why not use that? The MSX got it in 1985 with the MSX 2 and created something rather comperable to the NES or Master System with some advantages (namely the 3-3-2 RGB 256 color mode, and 9-bit RGB master palette for 16-color paletized mode and sprites, plus 16-color palettes like SMS rather than 4-color palettes as with NES). They could initially upgrade with a new computer (obviously they would if they managed to colaborate over the MSX standard) and come out with a less expensive game system a bit later (like '87), preferably enhancing the rather dated sound as well. (YM2413 probably being the best option, standard for th e1987 release of the SMS in Japan, and ad an add-on for the MSX, and was pretty much the cheapest FM synthesis chip Yamaha had to offer, plus didn't require an external DAC like may others) It would probably be advantageous to buy all the products from yamaha (perhaps even use them as the ventor for any custom chips necessary as well), Yamaha could address the standard sound chip with the YM2149, would have the new V9938 VDP of course, and would be the source for the YM2413.

 

 

One thing about the actual MSX though was that they kept the 3.58 MHz Z80 standard for a long time, they probably could have at least doubled that with the MSX2, then again they were competing in a somewhat different market, not just Japan, but not competing with the newer 16-bit computers whatsoever (PC clones started apearing more commonly in Japan, plus others liek the X68000, then the FM Towns in the late 80s) Still, having any relation to Coleco and/or significant places in the US and/or EU marketplace might have prompted more of a push towards that. (a 8 or even 10 Mhz rated Z80) I'm not sure why the Z800 wouldn't have been a viable option, but it seemed to gain little favor whatsoever on the market. (and the MSX eventually got the custom R800 witht eh Turbo R in 1990, but that was much later) If the Z800 was really not an option, there was certainly the Z180 and preceding HD64180 to go to. (other than simply using faster standrd Z80s)

 

 

The other game consoles had more colors, sprites, tiles... something that gave them an advantage.

I don't think the 7800 fared that well outside of existing 2600 owners but the other two definitely drew a new audience.

Colorful/detailed scrolling backgrounds, more complex gameplay... typical of the NES and SMS.

The Colecovision would have been hard pressed to keep up in gameplay without some sort of enhancement. I think the existence of the super expansion module pretty much proves this.

Again, there was the V9938 available by 1985 at least. (and it probably would have been OK to release the new console by mid 1987, though '86 would probably have helped a lot with competing against Nintendo -tehen again, any actual association wit the MSX would do so as well with all the Japanese development being doen for that platform)

Hmm, http://www.colecovision.dk/sem.htm this article on the Super Expansion Module mentions 1 kB of main RAM, I've seen this before (wiki used to claim that value), but every technical discription and FAQ I can find online lists 8 kB for ColecoVision RAM (albeit 8kbit =1 kB, but I don't think that's it as the 16 kB of VRAM are correctly listed and the B in KB is capital for both), plus I've seen refrences to a couple people who've opened their consoles and confirmed 8kB of RAM present (in addition to teh 16 kB for the VDP).

 

btw, I believe NES and Sega already had a following in Japan when they came to the west... western systems had little if any market penetration there.

Sega had a rather weak following in Japan, the SG-1000 (which was more or less identical to the CV other than the amount of RAM -and indeed dual compatible clones were available in Asia and North America), it was a pretty weak system to be released simultaneously with the Famicom (albeit it didn't suffer the reliability problems and recalls of the latter). The SMS/Mk.III fared a bit better, but the Mk.III wasn't released until 1985 and overall, I think the JP Mk.III and SMS barely broke a million units (I haven't seen hard figures to back up actual sales figures though, but basing it on comparisons to Famicom Sales and MD sales), it was even discontinued in Japan even before it was in the US (Sonic never made it to Mk.III/SMS). The MegaDrive was the first to really have significant market share, but was still a distant thrid place behind NEC and then Nintendo. (selling around 3 million units in Japan I believe -don't recall if that figure includes Asia or not)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, there was the V9938 available by 1985 at least. (and it probably would have been OK to release the new console by mid 1987, though '86 would probably have helped a lot with competing against Nintendo -tehen again, any actual association wit the MSX would do so as well with all the Japanese development being doen for that platform)

Hmm, http://www.colecovision.dk/sem.htm this article on the Super Expansion Module mentions 1 kB of main RAM, I've seen this before (wiki used to claim that value), but every technical discription and FAQ I can find online lists 8 kB for ColecoVision RAM (albeit 8kbit =1 kB, but I don't think that's it as the 16 kB of VRAM are correctly listed and the B in KB is capital for both), plus I've seen refrences to a couple people who've opened their consoles and confirmed 8kB of RAM present (in addition to teh 16 kB for the VDP).

 

It is indeed 1KB of RAM. It is mirrored 8 times and mapped to 8KB of RAM space, so the confusion.

About V9938 and Yamaha sound chips, check my thread about the ColecoVision2, I think you may found it interesting...

But basically we are designing a new console around the V9958+V9990 and YM2151 (one of the best Yamaha sound chips), and Z80 at 14MHz. Backward compatible with the CV, yet much improved. So your ideas here are pretty much in line with what I have in mind... :)

 

BTW, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote...

Edited by opcode

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is indeed 1KB of RAM. It is mirrored 8 times and mapped to 8KB of RAM space, so the confusion.

Why, if I may ask without derailing this thread too much? Was it something to do with the way addressing was set-up? (I could see using a larger RAM chip due to IC prices in a system with limited address space, but the Z80 has 64 kB of address space available, so even if less than 1/2 was alloted to work RAM, that still wouldn't make sense)

BTW, is it a single 8kB 8-bit DRAM chip used?

 

About V9938 and Yamaha sound chips, check my thread about the ColecoVision2, I think you may found it interesting...

But basically we are designing a new console around the V9958+V9990 and YM2151 (one of the best Yamaha sound chips), and Z80 at 14MHz. Backward compatible with the CV, yet much improved. So your ideas here are pretty much in line with what I have in mind... :)

I'll check out that thread. ;) And th eonly thing still lacking with the YM2149+YM2413 would be digital playback capabilities, using the AY/YM2149 is a bit awkward and inefficient (takes a good bit of CPU time for decent playback), one of the Yamaha chips with built-in ADPCM support would be nice for that, or the YM2612 (as the MegaDrive uses -among others) is pretty nice, 6 channel 4-op FM and built-in DAC, plus ability to disable channel 6 and directly write to an 8-bit linear DAC for PCM playback. (the problem on the MD was that, for whatever reason, neither the Z80 nor 68k had their int lines connected to the YM2612 to provide propper timing capabilities, so it took a lot more CPU resourse and tight coding to get good playback -kind of a fubar on sega's part not having either int line connected)

THe YM2413 would probably have been the cheapest though, the YM2612 shares the advantage with the 2413 of not needing an external DAC, but the 2413 is super cut down, possibly the cheapest Yamaha FM chip of that era. (or cheapest FM chip in general -not to many other companies specialized in FM synth chips)

 

 

And one thing I remembered that at least says something about the stock Colecovision's capailities is the korean Super Mario clone for MSX, not least due to the direct comparison to NES. (granted it is a pirate game, so th equality isn't all there, but it looks a lot better than the officially licenced "Super Mario Bros. Special" for a couple other popular JP 8-bit computers) There are other MSX games that show a bit more as well (like Thexder), but that one in particular really creates a direct comparison. The CV lacks the RAM though (and I'm not sure if that game runs on a bare minimum 8kB MSX), but the Adam would at least match the common 64 kB MSX standard, and the main point is the video hardware. (only 4 mono sprites, no hardware scrolling, vertical or horizontal, limited color palette and limited colors per character -stock TMS9928 here, original MSX, CV, TI 99/4A etc)

fHbZdczvl7Y

Edited by kool kitty89

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is indeed 1KB of RAM. It is mirrored 8 times and mapped to 8KB of RAM space, so the confusion.

Why, if I may ask without derailing this thread too much? Was it something to do with the way addressing was set-up? (I could see using a larger RAM chip due to IC prices in a system with limited address space, but the Z80 has 64 kB of address space available, so even if less than 1/2 was alloted to work RAM, that still wouldn't make sense)

The ColecoVision regroups everything (except VRAM) under the 64K adressing space: 8K for the system BIOS, 16K for future expansion (used by the ADAM mostly), 8K for RAM (only 1K actually used, the rest is mirrored) and 32K for the cartridge software and data. So there's no room in that addressing setup for more than 24K (16K expansion associated to an extra RAM chip, and the 8K of RAM with the mirroring system removed).

 

If I'm not mistaken, the ADAM was also bound to that same setup, except it offered the full 24K of RAM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is indeed 1KB of RAM. It is mirrored 8 times and mapped to 8KB of RAM space, so the confusion.

Why, if I may ask without derailing this thread too much? Was it something to do with the way addressing was set-up? (I could see using a larger RAM chip due to IC prices in a system with limited address space, but the Z80 has 64 kB of address space available, so even if less than 1/2 was alloted to work RAM, that still wouldn't make sense)

BTW, is it a single 8kB 8-bit DRAM chip used?

 

It is the way memory is decoded, 8 banks of 8KB. So the 1KB is mapped to 6000h-7FFFh, and since it is just 1KB, it is mirrored. They used two 4-bit SRAM chips, not DRAM, so no refresh necessary.

 

About V9938 and Yamaha sound chips, check my thread about the ColecoVision2, I think you may found it interesting...

But basically we are designing a new console around the V9958+V9990 and YM2151 (one of the best Yamaha sound chips), and Z80 at 14MHz. Backward compatible with the CV, yet much improved. So your ideas here are pretty much in line with what I have in mind... :)

I'll check out that thread. ;) And th eonly thing still lacking with the YM2149+YM2413 would be digital playback capabilities,

 

Remember that the ColecoVision doesn't use a YM2149/AY-3-8910. I uses the similar but inferior Texas SN76489AN. That is being corrected with our ColecoVision Memory Module though. :)

 

using the AY/YM2149 is a bit awkward and inefficient (takes a good bit of CPU time for decent playback), one of the Yamaha chips with built-in ADPCM support would be nice for that,

Yamaha solutions with ADPCM were kind of expensive to implement, because they required memory chips and lots of board space, like the Y8950. In fact the reason why the Y8950 (MSX-Audio) never become popular was because it cost almost as much as a full MSX2 system back then. PCM/ADPCM playback is fairly simple that you can use a CPLD to implement that today, and get more channels, DMA, etc.

 

or the YM2612 (as the MegaDrive uses -among others) is pretty nice, 6 channel 4-op FM and built-in DAC, plus ability to disable channel 6 and directly write to an 8-bit linear DAC for PCM playback. (the problem on the MD was that, for whatever reason, neither the Z80 nor 68k had their int lines connected to the YM2612 to provide propper timing capabilities, so it took a lot more CPU resourse and tight coding to get good playback -kind of a fubar on sega's part not having either int line connected)

 

PCM on the YM2612 takes almost as much CPU time as PSG PCM. There is no buffer, no DMA, the CPU must write data to the YM2612 in well timed intervals. That kind of solution would require a separate sound CPU, just like the MD, because it is too ineficient to interrupt the main CPU every scanline or so to do that.

 

THe YM2413 would probably have been the cheapest though, the YM2612 shares the advantage with the 2413 of not needing an external DAC, but the 2413 is super cut down, possibly the cheapest Yamaha FM chip of that era. (or cheapest FM chip in general -not to many other companies specialized in FM synth chips)

Being a old-time MSX user I can say, the YM2413 sucks. It was the cheapest indeed, in the bad sense. 2 operators per channel, and just a set of operators is programmable, meaning you can have a single custom instrument at a time, the rest must come from 15 built-in pre-programmed instruments.

The YM2151 on the other hand needs a DAC, but that is very small, it is stereo, it has 8 channels, it has 4 operators per channel, all of them are programmable, and it has a lot of features the YM2612 doesn't have. And the YM2151 was the most popular sound chip in arcade games during the late 80s, and also used in a few Yamaha keyboards, like the DX21 and DX100.

 

 

And one thing I remembered that at least says something about the stock Colecovision's capailities is the korean Super Mario clone for MSX, not least due to the direct comparison to NES. (granted it is a pirate game, so th equality isn't all there, but it looks a lot better than the officially licenced "Super Mario Bros. Special" for a couple other popular JP 8-bit computers) There are other MSX games that show a bit more as well (like Thexder), but that one in particular really creates a direct comparison. The CV lacks the RAM though (and I'm not sure if that game runs on a bare minimum 8kB MSX), but the Adam would at least match the common 64 kB MSX standard, and the main point is the video hardware. (only 4 mono sprites, no hardware scrolling, vertical or horizontal, limited color palette and limited colors per character -stock TMS9928 here, original MSX, CV, TI 99/4A etc)

fHbZdczvl7Y

 

I think there are some very impressive MSX1 games that show what the TMS9918/28 can do:

Gofer no Yabou - Episode II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z44AAriX70c&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpYEYN2i0Ls&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=funV2iv64mQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iSE5hrG1kM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOWKG5nMnLA&feature=related

 

Gradius 2

 

Penguin Adventure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to mention that I've a mixed feeling about what I'm reading here.

 

More I think about the Adam computer, and the context back then when the market for personal computers at home really started, more I think that the decision of making a computer wasn't a bad idea. A computer version of a successful game system sounds attractive. Well, for example, even Bit Corp. did a computer compatible with ColecoVision cartridges. Of course, we know that the delays and issues killed the enthousiam and the market crashed gradually for Coleco Industries. The ADAM computer is not a bad computer; weird to see the giant box and the printer as a power supply, but overall the computer has potential, simply didn't had chance. If the super game module was released as expected, probably the game system will have been in direct competition with the NES.

 

Even if I'm very excited about the new coleco homebrew projects going on, including a new console... I'm sad to read many times words like "corrected" while talking about the vintage hardware and software we enjoyed but should be considered as wrong, as mistakes to fix. I don't like at all this way of thinking. Instead, let's talk about doing something with new capacities, it's more positive.

 

I think of the good time, the great time I had and still have today with this vintage game system. I see the possibilities of the hardware and deal with its capacities to make new games. It's a challenge and a passion. My hobby and my way of thinking, my way to share my passion for the ColecoVision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if I'm very excited about the new coleco homebrew projects going on, including a new console... I'm sad to read many times words like "corrected" while talking about the vintage hardware and software we enjoyed but should be considered as wrong, as mistakes to fix.

 

Well, everybody is entitled to an opinion so, yes, it was a mistake indeed. The AY-3-8910 is a superior sound generator, was available in 1982 and was probably competitively priced, otherwise it wouldn't have been used in the Intellivision two years before the ColecoVision. And it had the advantage that it could handle the joystick ports with no need for extra chips. Have you seen how much space the joystick circuit takes on the CV board? It is almost 1/4 of the damn board! And with the AY you don't need to go the way Coleco went with the spinners, generating interruptions and such, that is the stupidest way ever to read a paddle.

 

I don't like at all this way of thinking. Instead, let's talk about doing something with new capacities, it's more positive.

 

Is that a suggestion or what?

 

I think of the good time, the great time I had and still have today with this vintage game system. I see the possibilities of the hardware and deal with its capacities to make new games. It's a challenge and a passion. My hobby and my way of thinking, my way to share my passion for the ColecoVision.

 

Eloquent verbose, almost melodramatic speech with no real significance to the topic being discussed...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I'm not mistaken, the ADAM was also bound to that same setup, except it offered the full 24K of RAM.

Huh, most discriptions I've seen give 64 kB or 80 kB for the Adam (for the 80 I'd assumed that included VRAM), but in any case that must mean it uses bank switching. (I'd already assumed that given the 32 kB allotted to cart ROM)

 

 

It is the way memory is decoded, 8 banks of 8KB. So the 1KB is mapped to 6000h-7FFFh, and since it is just 1KB, it is mirrored. They used two 4-bit SRAM chips, not DRAM, so no refresh necessary.

What was the reason for using the 8-mirrord banks decoding scheme though? (and it is indeed only 1 kB useful, bot 8x 1 kB banks/segments?) I assumed they used SRAM for speed, I would have though they'd have used DRAM to save cost given the Z80 has built-in refresh, and I seem to recall that the Z80 was picky about the block sizes it could refress but also recall that 8kB was one of the supported block sizes.

 

Remember that the ColecoVision doesn't use a YM2149/AY-3-8910. I uses the similar but inferior Texas SN76489AN. That is being corrected with our ColecoVision Memory Module though. :)

Yes, but the SN76489 still has similar digital playback functionality/exploits. (either PWM, or mor elikely combined square wave channels, especially exploiting the log based volume gradients -crazyace mentioned getting 8-bit resolution samples that way)

 

Yamaha solutions with ADPCM were kind of expensive to implement, because they required memory chips and lots of board space, like the Y8950. In fact the reason why the Y8950 (MSX-Audio) never become popular was because it cost almost as much as a full MSX2 system back then. PCM/ADPCM playback is fairly simple that you can use a CPLD to implement that today, and get more channels, DMA, etc.
Ah, I guess that would be similar for the YM2608 then? (used in later model PC8801) The YM2612 would still be a good option from that respect, simple 8-bit linear DAC to use (using the CPU), the Genesis got crippled with that due to the lack of interupt lined of either Z80 or 68k connected to the 2612. (again, I have no idea why, even if it had been a PCB flaw, it could have been corrected with patch wires as was done on many revisions of Sega hardware for various reasons, it's a pretty big oversight on their part)

 

PCM on the YM2612 takes almost as much CPU time as PSG PCM. There is no buffer, no DMA, the CPU must write data to the YM2612 in well timed intervals. That kind of solution would require a separate sound CPU, just like the MD, because it is too ineficient to interrupt the main CPU every scanline or so to do that.

From soem recent discussions on Sega-16 I got the impression that much of that has to do with the lack of intrupt line connected to the 2612 for more precise timing. (with the 68k being fine alone -with not Z80, had that been done, for simple single channel linear PCM playback at least -the Z80 also being included for SMS compatibility of course, same reson for a sizable chunk of the VDP's silicon being dedicated to supporting SMS video modes -Genesis modes sharind almsot nothing in common with SMS)

Still, if you doubled the speed of the Z80 (which would seem feasible for the MSX2 -or a CV successor for '86/87), you'd have as much added resourse as the MD did dedicated to Audio. (of course, that still means taking that added resourse away from the game itsself)

 

Being a old-time MSX user I can say, the YM2413 sucks. It was the cheapest indeed, in the bad sense. 2 operators per channel, and just a set of operators is programmable, meaning you can have a single custom instrument at a time, the rest must come from 15 built-in pre-programmed instruments.

The YM2151 on the other hand needs a DAC, but that is very small, it is stereo, it has 8 channels, it has 4 operators per channel, all of them are programmable, and it has a lot of features the YM2612 doesn't have. And the YM2151 was the most popular sound chip in arcade games during the late 80s, and also used in a few Yamaha keyboards, like the DX21 and DX100.

Yes, I know, 2-op FM like the OPL, OPL2, etc, opposed to 4-op of the 2151, 2612 (and optional for OPL3). Same for the limited programmability (single user defined instrument), still a lot of MSX and SMS FM stuff sounds pretty good, often better than the more mediocre (not to mention downright poor) Genesis or Adlib/SB based stuf (the former being 4-op FM of course, GEMS and EA's soudn engines in particular were weak, with exceptions).

The YM2413 is a cut down OPL2 if I'm not mistaken. (adding soem functionality the OPL2 gained over the old OPL, but generally being far more stripped down than the OPL, mainly the single user definined instrument) Persoanlly I like a lot of 2-op FM stuff on PC (very few things specifically catered to the OPL3's 4-op, and many which did underutilized it), a lot of OPL2 PC stuff isn't anywhere near as good as it could be, X-wing had a rather dramatic improvement fromt eh 1993 floppy version to the 1994 CD-ROM release, Adlib only comparison there. (enablign 4-op FM added slightly more complexity, but even plain adlib sounds awesoem on the CD-ROM edition, better than Sound Canvas midi or even MT-32, which I usually love -note I mean real MT-32, not crappy GM mapped emulation)

 

Perhaps the old OPL would have been a bit better choice than the OPLL, if not a full OPL2, but don't the OPL and OPL2 require external DACs. (I'm not sure if that explains creative using rather crappy analog circuits for their SB cards, very noisy and muffled, even wose that the worst sounding Genesis models -and those get pretty muffled)

 

I think there are some very impressive MSX1 games that show what the TMS9918/28 can do

Oh, I've seen soem of those, I'll check out the rest too. Interestign to note for the MSX2, it's still stuck with software scrolling horizontally, only the vertical scroll hardware support. (good for some shmups at least, and scrolling text -the latter particularly for buisness applications I'd immagine)

Edited by kool kitty89

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...