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The ADAM killed the ColecoVision

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A couple things without searching for quotes all over the place.

 

In support of the modular, cheaper Adam idea...

 

If the computer were cheap enough, it could have replaced the game system entirely. People could have bought it as a game system without keyboard and drive, then they could have upgraded later with an add on package. I think that would have been much more attractive. Buy the game system for Christmas, then the keyboard, tape drive and added firmware/software (BASIC) for a kid's birthday. A lot of older game systems sold based on the idea, they just never followed through.

 

If the Adam had used external tape drives, Coleco could have blamed the tape erasing issue on the tape units and had people just return those. If it were an upgrade to the game system then only the upgrade would be returned.

 

The slow printer was ok for a one or two page paper, but it was just plain intolerable to people that wanted to print out program listings. It would have been better to support Epson codes and leave the printer choice up to the buyer. They could have offered their own printer or a printer interface that hooks a parallel printer to the Adam buss. The latter would be cheaper to produce.

 

Putting the word processor on tape instead of BASIC would have helped but Coleco would have had to spend more time debugging the BASIC before building it into the machine. If the OS and BASIC were on a plug in board I suppose that might have been the best option. It would have worked well for the upgradable game system idea. Just plug a cart or board that comes with the upgrade into the system and presto, a full blown computer.

 

More importantly, Coleco could have spent a little more time on the computer upgrade before releasing it and doing away with the separate game system reduces production issues/costs. One core system always in production instead of two.

And every game system sold becomes a potential computer upgrade. Too bad they didn't take that approach with the original game system from day one.

 

Clearly, Coleco took one of the most costly approaches to implementing the system.

 

<edit>

I do realize there was an upgrade to the game system. I just think it was done wrong.

There should have been a couple connectors for the serial buss on the unit itself and the upgrade should have been a plug in cart rather than a huge box.

Edited by JamesD

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However, as you said, MSX was the only architecture that evolved significantly, and were also the champion in number of different models, almost 100. The C64 was the best selling 8-bits, with the MSX sharing the 2nd spot with the Apple II (and ahead the A8).

I thought soem were still manufacturing the TurboR until 1995.

 

Anyway, I kind of excluded the Apple II, it did get expanded up a fair bit, though not as sequentially as the MSX.

 

 

not to state the obvious but MSX was a non player here in the USA. Heck hardly anyone owned a Tandy,another odd one mentioned here.

Which Tandy??? There were a bunch of incompatible/semi compatible Tandy computers, starting with the '77 TRS-80 (and succeeding Modle III and IV), then the higher-end incompatible Model II, then there's the CoCo line. (which I think sold well, but mainly as an entrance level home/consumer computer)

 

Are you sure? I was pretty sure that distinction was the Atari 800 series. Thought production had stopped 2 years prior to bankruptcy , Commodore declared bankruptcy on April 29, 1994. So sometime in early 92 was what I think I remember.

Actually I think it would be the Apple II, 1977 to 1992. (if you include the IIgs)

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Actually I think it would be the Apple II, 1977 to 1992. (if you include the IIgs)

 

Nope. Steve Jobs promised "Apple ][ Forever." I'm just waiting for the new model to be announced. I hear it's going to have a built-in WORM drive.

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I guess this video can be considered related to this discussion. What do you think about it?

 

 

Note : it's the first time I've seen this kind of video corruption within a crystal clear output.

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While I'll admit that most of the points about the Adam and it's failures have some merit, I don't believe they are forgone factual conclusions. And I also think that the PC/Home computer argument is faulty, too. In today's context, yes, PC does refer to IBM compatable for most people. But PC is simply short for Personal Computer which covers everything from the Tomy Tutor to the MacBook Pro. I know this is splitting hairs likely, but thought I should point it out anyway. (see http://xynext.com/Abbot-Costello-Whos-on-First-Computer-Joke/ if you need a smile after that!)

 

Pricing I think is the largest point being pinpointed by inaccurate memories.

 

So now, I pause and hit the resource room-- breaking out the Christmas catalogs of the 80's to lend some verifiable pricing, even if it's not bargain central. :)

 

In Sears 1984 wishbook, the Colecovision was $109. The Commodore Plus/4 was $299.99. C=16 was $99.99. A1541 Disk drive was $279.99. A C= 1526/MPS-802 printer was $349.99. A C= 1531 datasette was $74.99. The package price for the Plus/4, 1541, and 1526 was discounted to $869.97. They didn't list the C=64, or any other systems that year. By the 1985 catalog, the C=64 bundle with Commodore Monitor was $649. I add this for a reference point on pricing.

 

But I went one step further and checked the Montgomery Ward catalog from 1984 as well, and found they carried the Atari 800xl, C= and Adam systems.

 

A C=64, 1541, 1526 printer combo came up to $749.97. (That's with a $20 discount per item if purchased as a group) $549.97 if you chose the datasette instead. Joysticks were another $10 each. Basic is built in to the C=64. Add InstaWriter Cartridge for the cheapest word processing option at $44.99. Cheapest game to add is Gridrunner at $24.99.

 

An Atari 800XL, 1027 Printer and Datasette combo priced at $619.97 -- add $250 for a 1050 disc drive instead of the Datasette. No software except basic at that price.

 

Coleco Adam (pushed as 80k to C=64's 64k, and the printer as 120CPS to the 802's 60 CPS, 500k data packs compared to 160k floppies for the 1541 [inaccurate as the DDPs were 256k] and no storage info for C='s datasette, with Word Processing, Basic, Blank DDP, and Buck Rogers) is at $649, or $529 for the Expansion module #3. The $500 scholarship offer is also listed for the Adam, as well as the free ADAM Home Software Library by mail.

 

I'd suggest when used as directed (and I did so, never encountering a single issue) that the DDP units fall somewhere between the Disc Drive and the Datasettes. I don't believe the price of disc drives was NOT a realistic economic option at this point for inclusion. The cheapest electronic typewriter (no standalone word processors were in this catalog) was $219.99.

 

The Brother Correctronic 50 was a daisy wheel typewriter that doubled as a Letter Quality computer printer for $359, plus you'd need a computer adapter that would run another $35-$90 depending on the system. That is the cheapest of the Daisy Wheel "Letter Quality" options on printers in this catalog. And don't forget, at the time, "letter quality" was a buzz word, a sales tool. Most people I knew didn't want "those dotty printers", they wanted things to look professionally typed-- so that was a sales point for Adam in the marketplace.

 

For further reference, the ColecoVision system (with free CPK doll if you bought 1 add'l cartridge!) was $99, the 4 switch 2600 (w/ pac-man, 2 controllers, no paddles) was $59, Intellivison only offered games-- most of which were $3.99, and it was games-only for the Atari 5200 as well, most at 27.99 or 32.99.

 

Coleco's main sales perks were More Memory (80k), More storage (500k -- erroneous, but listed as such), Letter Quality Printer. Add on the promotional $500 Scholorship, and you had a pretty decent pitch to the general consumer, I think.

 

I'd also suggest reading the following link for a glimpse of at-the-time media coverage of Adam's launch. http://www.atarimagazines.com/creative/v10n4/132_1984_Winter_Consumer_Elec.php

 

So again, I know it failed ultimately, but I don't buy the argument that Coleco could have weathered the storm thru the crash. Could they have done things differently or better? Absolutely! But there was some logic to the path they chose. Even if it didn't pan out. I think even if Coleco made the changes discussed in this thread, they still fail in very scenario I can imagine for use of existing technology and industry limitations in 1985. The reasons they still fail after the crash are simple-- They are still known to most as a Toy company, and to some as a Video Game company. They never broke out of that public perception, and never truly left that business-- and therefore, the consumer lacked serious confidence in the name. Besides, who would want to admit their computer was built by the same company who made their big wheels, pools and sleds?

 

The Adam's best chance at survival in my opinion? If it were a Commodore or Atari and not a Coleco product. I think it would have at least been taken more seriously, and had a better shelf life.

 

Ok, I'm done. This only took about 90 minutes out of my life to write and research. :)

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Between renewed competition in the videogame sector, and what Commodore was doing to the home computer market, the Coleco was doomed. It wouldn't have mattered if the quality control was better, if the datapacks were perfect, if the printer wasn't noisy as hell, it was still doomed.

 

Sure, when it first came out, it looked great when you ran the numbers. Similarly configured machines from Atari, Apple, Commodore, Radio Shack and Texas Instruments were all more expensive, but within *months* TI was gone, Radio Shack was starting to focus on IBM compatibles, Apple was focusing on the Mac, Atari was reeling and Commodore was squeezing the market harder and harder (vertical integration was the key).

 

I owned an Adam. It was my primary computer at home for years (school and work was another matter). My biggest beefs were the printer and the damn SmartBASIC language (although I appreciated the typewriter quality of the daisywheel when I had teachers/profs who refused dot-matrix printouts).

 

I always wished that Coleco would have come out with a decent BASIC/Assembler ROM cart, and provided as much technical documentation as you could swallow, but that obviously didn't happen. It's a software base that keeps a system going after it's launch, and third-party support was pathetic.

 

I'm in Canada, and in 1989 I worked at the Burnaby Metrotown Compucentre. By then, Atari 7800 games were only brought in when I custom ordered them (I'd scan the price lists to see when they went on sale to beef up my private collection). Indeed, NES outsold SMS by about 10 to 1, but I was also there long enough to see the launch of the Gameboy, Lynx, Genesis, TurboGrafx, and NeoGeo. On the computer side, the C64 sold more than anything, and that included Macs, IBM PS2 machines, Compaqs, Atari ST's, Atari XE, and Amigas.

 

Damn, I miss those days.

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For as flawed and misguided as the ADAM was (my opinion), I still consider it a pretty remarkable piece of engineering by Coleco. Think about it -- here was Coleco, primarily a toy company, with absolutely no experience in the printer or storage business. And yet they designed and build both a printer and a *totally new* storage medium -- FROM SCRATCH! It was a very gutsy move, and they almost pulled it off. Love them or hate them, Coleco was a company that wasn't afraid to take chances, that's for sure....

 

(Note that I do consider the tape drive fundamentally flawed -- since you can only use preformatted tapes. The tape drive mechanism provides no way to format blank tapes. This was a very big oversight.)

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I'm writing something here to see your reaction.

 

So far, it appears that my friends and the people I've meet several times in retrogaming conventions and expo did play with a Commodore 64 one time or another, and many of them did own a Commodore 64 but none of them talked about Commodore printers. My uncle did have a Commodore 64 with a monitor, a disk drive and a tape drive, but no printer... and this configuration seems to be common. Does it mean that a printer for a 80s personal computer is not necessary? I think it is, and that's why if the printer is sold separately it gives an option the consumers appreciate rather than being forced to get a printer if they don't need it.

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I think a lot of us who were young teenagers around 1980-84 wanted computers so we could play games and program our own games. Printers were secondary. But for the adults at the time, printers were a necessity. At least that was my experience. All my friends whose parents bought computers primarily for their own uses, had printers. But most of my friends and I who had computers for our own reasons only got printers later on, or only got 40 column printers at first to print program listings.

 

For the Adam specifically, I only knew one person who had one. His dad bought it primarily for writing the church bulletin/newsletter on, so the printer was a pretty important part of it. The all-in-one aspect was important as well, because it resolved the problem for an unsophisticated user of choosing among all the peripherals available; he bought one box, and was all set.

 

Totally anecdotal, I know, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

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If the computer were cheap enough, it could have replaced the game system entirely. People could have bought it as a game system without keyboard and drive, then they could have upgraded later with an add on package. I think that would have been much more attractive. Buy the game system for Christmas, then the keyboard, tape drive and added firmware/software (BASIC) for a kid's birthday. A lot of older game systems sold based on the idea, they just never followed through.

So you're saying that they should have stuck with the colecovision alone and simply offered the expansion module? (well, not exactly the historical one, but a simpler one still, with additional accessories separate)

 

If the computer was indeed cheap enough, they could have discontinued the CV altogether, but even with something like a $50 price difference, that could still be significant. (and i would more likely be closer to $100 difference with the CV dropping closer to $100) Though during the crash in North America, it would make more sense to put more emphasis on the computer. (going for the expansion unit alone would simplify things in terms of the number of products they were supporting though -but so would dropping the CV entirely in favor of a low cost, integrated computer)

 

Looking past the NA market, an integrated computer would probably have been even more significant in Europe, especially if there was a shift to games on tape. (being far cheaper than carts and the dominant medium for 8-bit computer games in that region iirc) 8-bit computers were mainly game consoles foremost there, and both printers and disk drives were less important. (from what I understand, it was tapes then carts in terms of media popularity for 8-bits, at least in the UK -disks not becoming popular until the 16-bit computers)

 

It wouldn't be as late in that region either. (assuming they pushed for a quick launch in EU after US)

Europe would certainly be the longest tangible market if they could get established. (emphesis could have switched back to game consoles by the late 80s in NA)

 

If the Adam had used external tape drives, Coleco could have blamed the tape erasing issue on the tape units and had people just return those. If it were an upgrade to the game system then only the upgrade would be returned.

True, but additionally, any erasing issues should be less likely in general is standard cassettes were used rather than the high-speed data packs.

 

 

One other note on the possible partnership idea I mentioned before: Other than possibly getting on on the MSX standard (attempting to standardize it with the CV as the base design), or using the V9938 on a later console or computer (regardless of any involvement with MSX as that VDP was off the shelf), perhaps Sega could have been a viable partner instead.

Sega's SG-1000 was almost identical to the CV other than having 2 kB configured for main memory and cartridges mapped to 48 kB of Z80 space. (with the CV addressing that extra 16 kB to the expansion port) The SG-1000 never saw a proper release outside of Japan anyway, so any partnership would more likely occur later, the Master System being the point of interest. (should have been possible to configure for CV compatibility fairly easily, the controllers possibly eing a point of contention -no keypads, but that would be a problem in any case of a successor to the CV; maybe just make the old controllers mandatory to play old games)

They could have either used a simple passthrough adapter, or modeled the cart slot to accept CV carts but with added pins on newer carts (kind of like the 7800), the JP and western SMS had different cart slots anyway.

 

The SMS VDP is better suited to many popular games from the late 80s and early 90s than the V9938 is (no horizontal hardware scroll for one) and the 9-bit RGB palette (and 8-bit RGB mode) aren't that advantageous for a game console.

Had Coleco still been a major player in the video game/consumer electronics business in '85/86 (even if focusing on computers), I'd imagine it would have been an attractive prospect for Sega. (after all Sega did approach Atari Corp in 1988 for such with the Mega Drive)

Edited by kool kitty89

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While I'll admit that most of the points about the Adam and it's failures have some merit, I don't believe they are forgone factual conclusions. And I also think that the PC/Home computer argument is faulty, too. In today's context, yes, PC does refer to IBM compatable for most people. But PC is simply short for Personal Computer which covers everything from the Tomy Tutor to the MacBook Pro. I know this is splitting hairs likely, but thought I should point it out anyway. (see http://xynext.com/Abbot-Costello-Whos-on-First-Computer-Joke/ if you need a smile after that!)

If you're talking about my previous statements about the "home computer" market, I wasn't talking IBM/compatibles explicitly, though in NA that would generally be the case. I was just pointing out that the traditional "home computers" in general were most popular from the early to mid 80s and started declining by the late 80s (overtaking game consoles for a time, or displacing them rather, but by '86 that consoles were once again pushing hard, with nintendo moving to the forefront -initially the 7800+Jr, SMS, and NES were fairly equal ~fall '86 is when it really started to shift I believe)

 

Computers at that point were still gaming oriented, but the market (in NA) had by far started pushing more in favor of the PC compatibles (and MAC had its part in the market), indeed PCs were becoming increasingly more game oriented as well. (the Tandy 1000 was at the forefront of that in the mid 80s for affordable PCs, EGA became common on lower end units by the late 80s, Adlib and Sound Blaster appeared in the late 80s, and VGA finally became popular for games starting ~1990 -faster processors becoming more common all the time as well) The 8-bits lasted far longer in Europe, and the 16-bit successors to those home computers became popular in preference to IBM compatibles in Europe (namely ST and Amiga -which were more generally "serious" computing oriented than preceding home computers). Still, game consoles (MD and SNES) were becoming more prominent relative to computers for that market in Europe in the early 90s and with the decline of the ST and Amiga in the early 90s as well, home computers in general declined. (and PCs finally overtook them -and the MAC became more significant as well)

 

This is really wordy, but my main point was that (in the US), the market for a home computer was only strong for a relatively short time before game consoles again became preferred for that purpose, and unless Coleco would have 2 options by the late 80s (assuming their computer had done fairly well), push for a more advanced computer, more competitive with 16-bit contemporaries, or drop back to game consoles chiefly. (again, EU would last much longer for 8-bit computers) Of course, any involvement with MSX could take things in other directions entirely.

 

In Sears 1984 wishbook, the Colecovision was $109. The Commodore Plus/4 was $299.99. C=16 was $99.99. A1541 Disk drive was $279.99. A C= 1526/MPS-802 printer was $349.99. A C= 1531 datasette was $74.99. The package price for the Plus/4, 1541, and 1526 was discounted to $869.97. They didn't list the C=64, or any other systems that year. By the 1985 catalog, the C=64 bundle with Commodore Monitor was $649. I add this for a reference point on pricing.

A C=64, 1541, 1526 printer combo came up to $749.97. (That's with a $20 discount per item if purchased as a group) $549.97 if you chose the datasette instead. Joysticks were another $10 each. Basic is built in to the C=64. Add InstaWriter Cartridge for the cheapest word processing option at $44.99. Cheapest game to add is Gridrunner at $24.99.

Remember though, that a large portion of buyers wouldn't be getting a printer, a monitor wouldn't be entirely necessary, and even disk drive less important if games continued to be produced on cart. (far more so int he EU market, again, 8-bit computers were effectively sold as dedicated gaming machines there, so if Coleco managed to break into that market, a bare bones console computer would be best, and tapes followed by cartridges would likely be the dominant media for games)

For further reference, the ColecoVision system (with free CPK doll if you bought 1 add'l cartridge!) was $99, the 4 switch 2600 (w/ pac-man, 2 controllers, no paddles) was $59, Intellivison only offered games-- most of which were $3.99, and it was games-only for the Atari 5200 as well, most at 27.99 or 32.99.

Remember that Sears isn't a good choice to look at for game sales, they were increasingly inching away from the video game game market entirely, followed by home computers later on. (unless I'm getting remembering that wrong)

 

Coleco's main sales perks were More Memory (80k), More storage (500k -- erroneous, but listed as such), Letter Quality Printer. Add on the promotional $500 Scholorship, and you had a pretty decent pitch to the general consumer, I think.

Does the Adam really have 80 kB of main memory or does that include the 16 kB of VDP DRAM? (leavign a nominal 64 kB of main RAM)

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(Note that I do consider the tape drive fundamentally flawed -- since you can only use preformatted tapes. The tape drive mechanism provides no way to format blank tapes. This was a very big oversight.)

 

They touted the "256K high speed digital data pack" idea as a viable alternative to a 160K disk drive and faster than an audio tape player. They also wanted you to buy the formatted tapes at a premium over the off the shelf audio tapes. To me this seemed almost like arguing in pre-CD days that an 8-track tape was better than the cassette tape for music on the go.

You couldnt format ADAM tapes digitally with the existing hardware until Syd Carter came out with his after market Megacopy device to digitally format tapes. (anyone remember that one?, it was a device that went between drive 1 and 2 and copied the digital format off an existing ADAM tape onto a regular cassette.)But many users made analog tapes copied in common tape recorders and they seemed to work fine once you drilled the extra holes in the audio tapes so they'd fit on the data drive alignment pins.

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(Note that I do consider the tape drive fundamentally flawed -- since you can only use preformatted tapes. The tape drive mechanism provides no way to format blank tapes. This was a very big oversight.)

 

They touted the "256K high speed digital data pack" idea as a viable alternative to a 160K disk drive and faster than an audio tape player. They also wanted you to buy the formatted tapes at a premium over the off the shelf audio tapes. To me this seemed almost like arguing in pre-CD days that an 8-track tape was better than the cassette tape for music on the go.

You couldnt format ADAM tapes digitally with the existing hardware until Syd Carter came out with his after market Megacopy device to digitally format tapes. (anyone remember that one?, it was a device that went between drive 1 and 2 and copied the digital format off an existing ADAM tape onto a regular cassette.)But many users made analog tapes copied in common tape recorders and they seemed to work fine once you drilled the extra holes in the audio tapes so they'd fit on the data drive alignment pins.

 

I'm gonna guess that Coleco had an inkling that Tapes were more or less a potentially unsafe medium for data storage overall and likely made the call to go with proprietary tapes not so much to keep a strange hold on accessories (although, after reading about their 3rd party vendors and licensing policies, I think that may have factored in!), but to keep tabs on the quality of tape used. I can imagine the headache from Coleco if people were to start using the 2/$1 house brand tapes from K-Mart that barely recorded music at a reasonable quality to save things on the Adam. All audio tapes are NOT created equally IMO-- not even close! So I don't think it was an oversight as much as it was likely a safety net. Again, this is just my guess, nothing to back it up other than experience in making my own DDP's. (Which by the way, was always a fan of the Sony HF-60's for that! :) )

 

While I never used Syd's Megacopy, I do recall hearing about it. I also remember 'Flippys' being sold-- flippable DDP's with 128kb on each side. Novel idea, but never really saw the point, practically speaking. :)

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They also wanted you to buy the formatted tapes at a premium over the off the shelf audio tapes.

 

Do you have actual evidence to back this up? It seems equally likely to me that in the rush to get ADAM to market, they just ran out of time and decided to throw the formatting feature overboard.

 

Whenever there's a question of a conspiracy versus incompetence, I tend to believe the latter. :)

Edited by else

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They also wanted you to buy the formatted tapes at a premium over the off the shelf audio tapes.

 

Do you have actual evidence to back this up? It seems equally likely to me that in the rush to get ADAM to market, they just ran out of time and decided to throw the formatting feature overboard.

 

Whenever there's a question of a conspiracy versus incompetence, I tend to believe the latter. :)

 

We could both be incorrect in our assumptions, I was more leaning towards ensuring quality tapes made to spec were used so buy em from us rather than "lets corner the market on data tapes". The problem with the argument that it was incompetence that prevented Coleco from building in some kind of formatting hardware/software solution OR that it was on the original spec but dumped due to time constraints is perhaps that you just cant plunk in an audio tape outa the box, you have to drill holes in it. I am no engineer but it occurs to me that to get a reliable read on a block on a tape and also have the tape whip back and forth from directory to read/write block at the speeds it does would require the extra pins where they put them to hold the darn tape in place. So what do you use instead of extra pins, maybe some friction clip device but then how easy does it become to insert and eject tapes? And the medium used was thicker than many audio tapes since tape stretch would ruin it. So what would be a viable solution that Coleco could have provided to the end user? "Well here we have the Accessory kit including cordless drill, bit, handy drill template AND now you too can format your own high speed digital data packs!" Small print - make sure you use high quality Sony HF60 tapes because otherwise your gonna come back to us with problems

Or I could be totally out to lunch on this. All I remember is that in 1984 when I got the ADAM I was pretty ok with the fact that the tapes were faster than my buddy's computer that used audio tapes but this got old within a year once I saw what my disk drive could do even though I paid thru the nose for it.

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It's not like Coleco couldn't have sold their own high-quality statacasettes had they used th estandard compact cassette medium. Even with a propritary format, it would have been better to include it separately, especially as that would allow impreoved models and upgrades. (but, realistically, standard compact casettes along with floppies would seem the better option, an the indusrty standards) Compact cassettes were relatively slow and could be problematic if low quality ones were used for data storage (as above), but were common, and a standard used on almost every 8-bit computer (especially in Europe -and Asia to sme extent -especially with MSX in combination with cartridges)

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I knew there was something wrong here. I'm running up against this guy and he is rattling off dates and timelines as if he is a history major seeking a PhD in the era of 70s and 80s console gaming...

And sure enough...

My experinece - Sacramento, California, about 45 minutes from San Jose. When I say I never saw the 7800 "in the wild", I mean, no one BOUGHT them. I saw TONS of them in boxes at Kay Bee. I saw an SMS in the wild... a few. I saw tons of of NES consoles. I never saw a single 7800 in the wild, in this sense. It was a *failure*.

Wgungfu... I *am* a history major, so I know enough to say *this* for certain...

 

 

I grew up in Sacramento and still live here. If the 7800 didn't sell, it wouldn't have been carried by KB or Toys R Us. Toys R Us and KB at all Sacramento area locations carried the 7800 [all the way up to the debut of the Lynx]. So did Federated even before the Atari buyout. Sears carried it in their catalogs rather prominently when it was released.

 

Sure, the 7800 was nowhere near as popular as the NES on the playground. And possibly the SMS had more owners but it did sell. There were 2 other people in my 7th grade class that had them besides me.

 

If you want to talk about Atari computers being sold [1985 and beyond] in the Sac area, again, not only were they at Federated but also Computer Time in Citrus Heights, Computer Warehouse in Fair Oaks [and later Howe Avenue], CompuClub, and I'm forgetting a couple of places besides that. In Woodland in the later 80s, there was Safari Computers, and after that closed, there was Steve's Computers.

 

We also had 2 Atari user's groups in Sacramento.

 

 

 

Cobra Commander?!?!? How can anyone take a guy who wears a teapot on his head and who's voice sounds like he's screaming because his nuts are in a vise --- how can you take him seriously!?!?

 

 

The Daleks look like over grown salt & pepper shakers [or as the Brits say "pepper pots"] and they are the scourge of the galaxy...

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The Daleks look like over grown salt & pepper shakers [or as the Brits say "pepper pots"] and they are the scourge of the galaxy...

I always associated them with Yoplait yogurt containers personally. :D

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I was checking some New York Times articles and I found this very interesting piece of information:

 

... Coleco, at a news conference, also said it halted one month ago its United States production of Colecovision, the company's popular home video game, to make room for production of the Adam, which is Coleco's first computer. But the company said it planned to resume production of Colecovision early next year.

 

The production halt for Colecovision surprised analysts. For the last six months, it has outsold other home video games. Coleco has been the only major video game manufacturer to avoid losses as demand has fallen sharply for the games. About 500,000 of the $150 video games were sold last year.

 

Morton E. Handel, Coleco's executive vice president for investor relations, said sales of Colecovision remain strong. But he said production of the game had to be halted so the company could focus its manufacturing efforts on Adam. Because of Coleco's limited production capacity, Mr. Handel said, the company is using the same production lines for Adam that it has been using for Colecovision.

 

''This was a plan we had set up in the second quarter to accelerate production of Colecovision and stockpile the machine to accommodate our needs in the third quarter for Adam,'' Mr. Handel said. ''We simply didn't have any other space.''...

 

ADAM, you bastard, you killed Kenny, I mean, the CV!! :x

 

Seriously, I still have to find a trustable piece of information saying that Coleco was loosing money with the ColecoVision, and now I found this, which would confirm that perhaps they never did. So I suppose they just panicked like the rest of the market about video games being a fad and risked everything with the ADAM without actually having a good reason for that... What bunch of dumb heads...

 

EDIT: BTW, the article was published on September 7, 1983.

 

WOW! Misguided youth at it's finest! Talk about holding a grudge when one does not even know the details/truth, just taking other people's word for it.

 

If you really want to understand where Coleco lost focus and started heading in the wrong direction (and that refers to the upper management and CEO of the company) then you have to look squarely at the Super Game Module and the huge investment in research and development Coleco incurred during it's ill-fated attempt to create this hardware add-on as well as the countless hours and dollars invested in the development of the Super Game line of games that were originally to be made available on wafer tape. Most importantly, they let the cat outta the bag early by announcing the S.G.M. and it's Super Games to the world instead of progressing along further with the development to the point that it was stabilized in one way, shape or form.

 

Coleco had this wonderful console that had been in the pipeline for close to three years before they officially released it and when it did finally hit store shelves in 1982, it took the home market by storm... but was based on old/outdated technology and they knew this (or should I say the Eric Bromley's of the world knew this). So how do you protect your investment in the ColecoVision and to make sure that huge stocks of CV systems don't end up hitting the discount shelves at your local store... you either create hardware expansion units like they tried to do with the S.G.M. or better yet, in my opinion, you develop the CV2 that would/should be backwards compatible. While they had the most advanced home videogame system (and my favorite of all time) on the market, they also knew the clock was ticking and I give them credit for making the effort to find ways to maximize the CV's life expectancy.

 

Then you got the likes of Atari systematically destabilizing the entire videogame market, perhaps unknowingly but I doubt that. I think they knew exactly what they were doing and just figured since they were the big boys on the block that they could weather the storm that they played a large part in creating, especially if it meant the end to their competitors, Coleco and Mattel. That Nolan Bushnell is still so highly regarding and referred to as the father of the videogame industry just does not make sense to me. He did more to damage and destroy the industry and steal credit away from those that truly deserved it. Unfortunately Arnold Greenberg was the CEO of Coleco at this time and he didn't have a finger on the pulse of the industry and basically crapped in his pants, therefore sending Coleco on the course of entering the home computer market with the ADAM... of course it had to be an Expansion Module for the ColecoVision to continue maximizing profits. Remember, Coleco had productions lines for every facet of the CV built in numerous locations, but by this time production costs should have been at their lowest and profits on the sale of systems at their highest.

 

I'll continue on my take of this situation concerning the ADAM shortly (if anyone cares!)...

Edited by NIAD

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Then you got the likes of Atari systematically destabilizing the entire videogame market, perhaps unknowingly but I doubt that. I think they knew exactly what they were doing and just figured since they were the big boys on the block that they could weather the storm that they played a large part in creating, especially if it meant the end to their competitors, Coleco and Mattel. That Nolan Bushnell is still so highly regarding and referred to as the father of the videogame industry just does not make sense to me. He did more to damage and destroy the industry and steal credit away from those that truly deserved it. Unfortunately Arnold Greenberg was the CEO of Coleco at this time and he didn't have a finger on the pulse of the industry and basically crapped in his pants, therefore sending Coleco on the course of entering the home computer market with the ADAM... of course it had to be an Expansion Module for the ColecoVision to continue maximizing profits. Remember, Coleco had productions lines for every facet of the CV built in numerous locations, but by this time production costs should have been at their lowest and profits on the sale of systems at their highest.

 

Your take on Nolan Bushnell is off. He was out of Atari completely by 1979, so he had no influence on their practices into the '80's. As for stealing credit, that again has nothing to do with market factors. Whether Baer or Bushnell is considered the father of videogames is irrelevant to the market and commercial factors. Both Baer and Bushnell did their fair share of "damage" to the industry, but neither had a hand in the industry's decline, which is commonly referred to as the "crash".

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Then you got the likes of Atari systematically destabilizing the entire videogame market, perhaps unknowingly but I doubt that. I think they knew exactly what they were doing and just figured since they were the big boys on the block that they could weather the storm that they played a large part in creating, especially if it meant the end to their competitors, Coleco and Mattel. That Nolan Bushnell is still so highly regarding and referred to as the father of the videogame industry just does not make sense to me. He did more to damage and destroy the industry and steal credit away from those that truly deserved it. Unfortunately Arnold Greenberg was the CEO of Coleco at this time and he didn't have a finger on the pulse of the industry and basically crapped in his pants, therefore sending Coleco on the course of entering the home computer market with the ADAM... of course it had to be an Expansion Module for the ColecoVision to continue maximizing profits. Remember, Coleco had productions lines for every facet of the CV built in numerous locations, but by this time production costs should have been at their lowest and profits on the sale of systems at their highest.

 

Your take on Nolan Bushnell is off. He was out of Atari completely by 1979, so he had no influence on their practices into the '80's. As for stealing credit, that again has nothing to do with market factors. Whether Baer or Bushnell is considered the father of videogames is irrelevant to the market and commercial factors. Both Baer and Bushnell did their fair share of "damage" to the industry, but neither had a hand in the industry's decline, which is commonly referred to as the "crash".

 

He might have been gone in the sense of the word, but his influence over Atari was always there (including the years under Tramiel) as can be seen by the fact that Bushnell was brought back to run Atari time and time again. Kinda like having George W. Bush as the president of the U.S. for eight years when Dick Chenney, George Sr. and all there co-horts and crownies were really pulling all the strings.

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He might have been gone in the sense of the word, but his influence over Atari was always there (including the years under Tramiel) as can be seen by the fact that Bushnell was brought back to run Atari time and time again.

 

What are you talking about? He was never brought back to run Atari time and time again. He was in fact never brought back to run it again at all. There was a brief period Tramiel worked with Nolan's Axlon, who he had produce two games for the 2600. And he's currently joined the board of Infogrames SA (now Atari SA) which is no different than any of the other outside people that typically belong on a board or are on this board - i.e. they're like advisors to the company. For example, Apple's Board currently consists of CEO's and Chairmen from Intuit, J. Crew, Gementech, Avon, and even a former VP of the US.

 

The Chairman of the Atari SA. board is still Frank Dangeard, the CEO of Atari SA is still Jeff Lapin, and Atari Inc's President and CEO is still Jim Wilson.

 

And I would hardly call the Colecovision "outdated" by the time it made it to market, and promoting the idea of the expansion system being done as an afterthought to try and bring it up to date is completely irresponsible. The Chicago firm that redesigned the system did so to *specifically* provide these sort of expansion capabilities. They wanted it as more of a general purpose computer architecture rather than console specific to provide that ability. Adam was pursued because of the age that constant pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the industry chased after throught the late 70's through mid 80's - turning a console in to a computer.

Edited by wgungfu

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He might have been gone in the sense of the word, but his influence over Atari was always there (including the years under Tramiel) as can be seen by the fact that Bushnell was brought back to run Atari time and time again.

 

What are you talking about? He was never brought back to run Atari time and time again. He was in fact never brought back to run it again at all. There was a brief period Tramiel worked with Nolan's Axlon, who he had produce two games for the 2600. And he's currently joined the board of Infogrames SA (now Atari SA) which is no different than any of the other outside people that typically belong on a board or are on this board - i.e. they're like advisors to the company. For example, Apple's Board currently consists of CEO's and Chairmen from Intuit, J. Crew, Gementech, Avon, and even a former VP of the US.

 

 

From the AtariAge News - April 20, 2010:

 

In a somewhat surprising move, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell has been appointed to the Board of Directors for present-day Atari SA. Online business veteran Tom Virden has also been appointed to the board, while Phil Harrison and David Gardner have resigned their positions. Nolan Bushnell is most famously known for his association with Atari and launching the wildly successful Atari 2600 game console. He is also responsible for founding the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain and has started numerous other companies since then (most of which have not been successful).

 

Bushnell made the following statement regarding his appointment, "I am very excited to be reacquainted with Atari at a time when it is poised to make interesting strides in key growth areas of the games industry. The company and its iconic brands have always been important to me, and I look forward to further guiding them at the board level."

 

I mis-spoke when I said to "run Atari", but he (Nolan Bushnell) was brought back numerous times in one way, shape or form to Atari in high level positions or as a puppet figure to conjure up memories of good times past.

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And I would hardly call the Colecovision "outdated" by the time it made it to market, and promoting the idea of the expansion system being done as an afterthought to try and bring it up to date is completely irresponsible. The Chicago firm that redesigned the system did so to *specifically* provide these sort of expansion capabilities. They wanted it as more of a general purpose computer architecture rather than console specific to provide that ability. Adam was pursued because of the age that constant pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the industry chased after throught the late 70's through mid 80's - turning a console in to a computer.

 

From my original message:

While they had the most advanced home videogame system (and my favorite of all time) on the market, they also knew the clock was ticking and I give them credit for making the effort to find ways to maximize the CV's life expectancy.

 

 

And yes, by the time the CV units appeared in stores across North America, there were better and faster versions of the z80 and definetly improved TI VDPs. This was due to Coleco execs holding up the production of the system for years due to their indecisiveness in entering the videogame market and Eric Bromley had to fight touth and nail to get them to proceed forward!

 

What would have been ideal at the time was for Coleco to split into two factions, one being the toy company faction that continued on with toy pools, etc. and a new faction that dealt strictly with videogame systems and eventually computer development. Basically as it was, their were too many cooks in the kitchen and the right voices were not heard or became so buried in development that they didn't have time for anything else.

 

This, of course, is just my opinion. I could be wrong, I could be right or I could be somewhere in between.

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*repost of news announcement simply repeating what I just stated, deleted*

 

I mis-spoke when I said to "run Atari", but he (Nolan Bushnell) was brought back numerous times,

 

No, he was not. He was "brought back" once - that was recently. As clearly explained, his previous stated association with the brand in the late 80's was briefly when Jack had Nolan's company Axlon do two games. He was not at Atari itself, and he was not brought back to it. He held no position at it. That's like stating Jay Miner was "back at Atari" becuase Warner and Atari Inc. struck up a business arrangement with Amiga in '84.

Striking up a business deal with someone's company is far different than bringing them back to the company. Approaching someone to have his company do two games for Atari and having him slap his picture on the boxes for those two games does not imply "coming back".

 

in one way shape or form to Atari in high level positions or as a puppet figure to conjure up memories of good times past.

 

He's "come back" once, and that was recently as one of several board members, i.e. advisors. He has not had any previous "high level positions" nor other positions at "Atari" since leaving in 1978. There have been no previous "positions" in the plural as you're reading it. There's been the current position as a board member (i.e. advisor) and that's it.

Edited by wgungfu

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