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Colecovision Vs. NES in graphics.

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Some facts...

 

- Eric Bromley meet up with Nintendo in late 1980 (3 years before the release of the Famicom)

- ColecoVision was the first console to have an Expansion Port. (Famicom is the 2nd)

- ColecoVision was expanded to Computer. (Famicom did that too... Kind of)

- ColecoVision had Donkey Kong as a pack-in game. (Nintendo title) (Nintendo did pack-in SMB later in America)

 

In my opinion, Nintendo did follow what Coleco was doing right and improved what Coleco was doing wrong

 

Wasn't the APF the first with an Expansion port? And expanded to a computer? Or the Intellivision?

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While I don't disagree, you have to remember how much time goes into some of these new titles.

Also, a lot of years of experience with the hardware has gone into these new titles.

Games used to be developed in 3 or so months. Providing games like we see now would be impossible in such a timeframe.

At the very least, Coleco would have had to drastically expand it's development staff to accommodate the longer development cycle and they would still be stuck with the existing hardware limitations.

Meanwhile NES developers aren't spending time working around limits of the console and are cranking out titles as fast as they can.

Coleco could definitely compete but in the end they would loose out to the NES.

*edit*

BTW, Sega had a problem with marketing in North America and Nintendo required companies that developed for the NES to not release titles for other machines which limited the number of titles for the SMS. The SMS actually sold fairly well in many parts of the world in spite of that.

Coleco would have had to attract North American and European developers.

 

3 Month to 6 month is enough to develop good game on coleco. After a while on the machine developper have their own tool , libraries etc... that really speedup the process. And Starting from 84-85 cross development on plateform like IBM PC , Atari St, Amiga would have been doable and that would speed up the development . In 82-83 development tool was no so good, painfull to use , Limited , testing - debuggins was extremely time consuming, Graphic was done on paper and then converted by hand to bytes.... With the progress of personnal computer thing become lot of easier.

Todays all the game i did , if i was working on 8hours/day , i would have produce them in less than one month. In 82 for the same games i guess i would need 6 months.

 

But I agree that at the end Nintendo could have win the battle , they have better weapons. But it is mainly more a question of marketting / Strategy than technics that does the success of a console.

 

Yes, the SMS did for instance very well in France for instance. Not as well than the NES , but it was very popular. Most of my friends had one and even few of them sold their NES to buy of SMS after having playing few great game on it. What was really missing to the SMS it is a killer App like Super Mario on NES.

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@ JamesD -

 

I can see what you are saying for the CV to OUTSELL the NES to the general public would need all those "upgrades". But I still think the stock CV could have competed well with the NES, with the NES only starting to outsell the CV by the late 80s.

Once you add extra graphics and sound chips, it is no longer the same system.

 

I have listened to the FM Yamaha soundchip. It's what I thought it was: cheap, tinny synth sound, typical of the 16-bit consoles. :| I much prefer the more basic "pure sound waves" soundchips of the 8-bit consoles. Pure square and triangle soundwaves just sound better to me (cleaner and fuller) for early video games than do cheap synth sounds, imo. I don't get all the "hype" I've seen for the FM sound - I guess because it's more "complex"? :roll: Whatev.

 

Same thing for the video/graphics chips. I could argue the "limited" 16-colors give a "cleaner" look graphically. The colors are bright and vibrant on the CV - moreso than on my other old consoles. Once you add lots and lots of color shadings, it can "dirty up" the graphics, imo. Smooth animation is also a big part of graphics, and the CV is able to do that well.

 

As I stated before, it is the "clean" look and "clean" sound of the CV that attracted me to it. The CV does "cartoony" games very well (Smurf Rescue, Monkey Academy, Rock N Rope, etc.) due to it's bright solid colors, smooth animation and rounded sprites :!:

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Cleaner? As opposed to dirtier? Is that anything like crisper?

"pure sound waves"? You mean sounds that don't exist anywhere in nature?

If you want to be an early 8 bit purest to your fond childhood memories, that's your right. I run into people like that all the time.

The question is, does everyone else think that way?

 

 

Lets be real here... Colecovision wasn't doing spectacular as it was and you think it would do ok against the Nintendo?

Most of their sales were in the first 2 years and then sales dropped so bad Coleco got rid of the games division.

It's estimated that the Colecovison sold a couple million machines total and that includes sales after it was discontinued.

Nintendo probably probably sold more that in it's first year.

 

The Colecovision wasn't going to last long enough to compete with the NES and the ADAM failure just accelerated their demise.

Even if they struggled along here is what they were up against (from the NES/Famicom wiki):

Despite the system’s lackluster performance outside of Japan and North America, by 1990 the NES had outsold all previously released consoles worldwide.

That includes the Atari 2600 which had been selling since the '70s.

The NES/Famicom's production run is the longest lasting of any video game console, spanning 20 years from July 1983 to September 2003, before being discontinued in Japan.

The Colecovision lasted 4 years and Coleco was bailing on it after 2.

The Colecovision would have been steamrolled by the NES in it's original form.

 

Here is the bottom line... if the ADAM fails... Coleco fails. That's why Coleco died. You don't seem to realize the ADAM was supposed to save Coleco. You do something that saves the ADAM or Coleco rapidly withers away into oblivion... unless there is a huge run on crappy patch dolls somewhere.

 

 

What is so bad with a backwards compatible system anyway? People even cry because the new XBOX or Playstation won't run their old games.

 

All you have with the original chipset is a fixed 16 color palette and colors look a bit pastel.

What you have with a new chipset is compatibility with the old stuff and a selectable 16 color palette. How is that less "clean"?

Game developers could have even written games that ran on both but just used a better palette when running on the new system.

Game developers being able to choose their palette? How horrible!

The 256 color mode would have only been through an upgrade so stuff not targeted at the computer would have probably been 16 colors, just better colors.

I noticed you ignored the improved sprite capability and the 80 column mode which would have been huge for the ADAM running CP/M.

And I believe there is some hardware scrolling... did the old chip have a blitter? The new one had a blitter.

 

The machine would still have the old TI chip square wave you think is so "clean" plus 3 more "clean" AY sound channels... just like the Super Game Module people are paying for now after 30 years. The new chip would just add other sound capabilities on top of that.

And more memory... people are paying for that with the Super Game Module so they can play better games. Why is it a good thing now but wouldn't be then?

 

I'm trying to figure out why it would be so horrible to have in game music like this:

Edited by JamesD

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Contrary to some of the info in this thread, the ColecoVision was doing very well even the year of the crash.

 

Coleco has 2 hits in 2 different markets, video game consoles and dolls.

 

Coleco management saw that while the ColecoVision was doing well, other video game companies were not. With cash desperately needed to increase Cabbage Patch Doll production, management decided to end production of a successful console before their luck ran out and they ended up like Atari and Mattel. Instead of making more of their successful console, Coleco would prevent losses by switching from video game to computer manufacturing.

 

Coleco was not an enormous company and did not have the finances to meet the insanely huge demands of the Cabbage Patch Dolls because they couldn't keep up with production demands. They had to make choices.

 

Coleco could not afford to increase Cabbage Patch Doll production, start manufacturing a computer, and still manufacture a console.

 

Coleco decided to make ADAM computers instead of their successful, still popular, and still profitable console.

 

Without funds to do everything, Coleco took a chance that the Cabbage Patch Dolls and ADAM computer were the future. If demand for Cabbage Patch Dolls had continued instead of being a fad, Coleco would have continued to be around for years. The bugs in the ADAM computer would have been fixed and Coleco might have even restarted console production.

 

Things didn't work out that way.

 

Coleco didn't die because of the ADAM or even the North American video game console crash.

 

Coleco died because they borrowed massive amounts of money to increase Cabbage Patch production, demand dropped, and the company went bankrupt.

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I think you'd better update the Wiki then.

 

Sales quickly passed 1 million in early 1983,[11] before the video game crash of 1983. By the beginning of 1984, quarterly sales of the ColecoVision had dramatically decreased.[12]

Over the next 18 months, the Coleco company ramped down its video game division, ultimately withdrawing from the video game market by the end of the summer of 1985.[13][14] The ColecoVision was officially discontinued by October 1985.[15] Total sales of the ColecoVision are uncertain but were ultimately in excess of 2 million units, as sales had reached that number by the spring of 1984,[12] while the console continued to sell modestly up until its discontinuation the following year.[16]

 

After reading the Cabbage Patch Kids Wiki, it's clear the dolls were selling well.

Edited by JamesD

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Lets be real here... Colecovision wasn't doing spectacular as it was and you think it would do ok against the Nintendo?

Most of their sales were in the first 2 years and then sales dropped so bad Coleco got rid of the games division.

It's estimated that the Colecovison sold a couple million machines total and that includes sales after it was discontinued.

Nintendo probably probably sold more that in it's first year.

I don't think it was a matter of the ColecoVision's sales slowing down so much as it was a matter of Coleco throwing everything (including the kitchen sink) into the development and production of the ADAM around early to mid-'83, which therefore lead to a shortage of CV systems to be sold in stores. As I'm sure you have heard, Coleco completely stopped production of the CV in order to convert over their manufacturing lines to handle the ADAM and they also switched all programming efforts from further CV game development to ADAM software development. They weren't the largest company around and had limited resources to handle both the CV and the ADAM, so since the ADAM was going to be a make or break endeavor for Coleco, the rug was basically pulled out from under the legs of the ColecoVision. That was a major blunder on behalf of management especially seeing how the ColecoVision put Coleco back on the map after nearly going bankrupt again due to the TelStar fiasco a few years earleir... pre-CV stock price of about $6 a share and post-CV release stock prices soaring to $35 a share.

 

With all the being said, there were still 6 million CVs manufactured during it's lifespan (Aug. '82 - Dec. '84), so there was a very large installed base. As far as the ADAM, I have heard from reliable sources that there were 950,000 systems (EM #3 and Stand-Alone) manufactured.

 

Seeing that the release of the NES was inevitable (Sega and Nintendo were taking matters into their own hands instead of licensing their games to the likes of Coleco and others), a simple solution to keep the ColecoVision a viale competitor to the NES would be the appropriate big pice cut for the system. A $100 CV system with a large installed base of games would give the NES a good run for it's money and then Coleco would have to get really agressive in acquiring the licensing rights to the latest and greatest arcade games that weren'y made by Nintendo or Sega. Further developement of original games by Coleco would also be needed.

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I'm simply regurgitating information I read from researched and vetted books that were published over the last 10-15 years. A search on Amazon for books about video game history will bring up many respectable options in the first few pages of results.

 

That said, I didn't intend to imply that the crash and the ADAM didn't contribute to Coleco's demise, but those were survivable wounds. Betting the company on continued Cabbage Patch sales was the fatal wound. Even if Coleco sold 5 million ColecoVIsion consoles in 1984 they wouldn't have survived the losses from unsold dolls.

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Well, when they talk about Cabbage Patch Dolls selling billions of dollars worth... I have to think the ADAM was a minor failure.

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In mid 80's , Coleco simply spent to much buying others companies.. (I.E. Selchow & Righter, TOMY Toys)

They also spent alot into liscencing stuff

 

From what I know, the Greenberg brothers were kind of exhausted to always try to save their company from bankruptcy

 

 

 

 

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..... I have to think the ADAM was a minor failure.

 

It was actually

 

Coleco simply abandonned both CV and ADAM and move foward with new shitty stuff

They close their Coleco Electronics "brand" in early 85

Edited by retroillucid

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In mid 80's , Coleco simply spent to much buying others companies.. (I.E. Selchow & Righter, TOMY Toys)

They also spent alot into liscencing stuff

 

From what I know, the Greenberg brothers were kind of exhausted to always try to save their company from bankruptcy

They must have hired a new CEO to take them to "the next level".

(hmmm... how many times have I heard that now?)

They just forgot to tell the CEO the level was up and not down.

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Some facts...

 

- Eric Bromley meet up with Nintendo in late 1980 (3 years before the release of the Famicom)

- ColecoVision was the first console to have an Expansion Port. (Famicom is the 2nd)

- ColecoVision was expanded to Computer. (Famicom did that too... Kind of)

- ColecoVision had Donkey Kong as a pack-in game. (Nintendo title) (Nintendo did pack-in SMB later in America)

 

In my opinion, Nintendo did follow what Coleco was doing right and improved what Coleco was doing wrong

 

 

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Just for the record... the Astrocade had an expansion port and they at least planned a computer expansion for it.

I'm not sure if they ever released the computer expansion module but a few collectors seem to have them.

They did release a BASIC cart that let you write, run, save and load programs on cassette.

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Check for what?

Well...

 

- either the store clerk, Greg Knight

- or the fact that Nintendo was possibly holding back delivery of games

- or J-F meant 6:38 and how Coleco was accussed of creating the CPK dolls frenzy by limiting quantities of the dolls delivered to resale outlets

 

Anyway you look at it, Coleco would have kicked Nintendo's ass all the way back to Japan... this thread is now closed!!! :twisted:

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Check for what?

A money quote on Coleco "holding back" cabbage patch dolls to increase "mystique".

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Or they just couldn't keep up with demand and a reporter wanted a story.

 

 

If there really was demand for the Colecovision, Coleco should have focused on production, they should have released the Super Game Module and a cheaper/easier to produce version of the Colecovision should have been designed with less plastic, smaller boards and possibly with the SGM upgrade built in. Then maybe release the upgraded model that could be turned into a computer. The game module lets them produce better titles, the cheaper to manufacture model should help production/profits and competition with cheap computers... and the upgraded model lets them one up the competition after the software/hardware is ready.

 

No matter what they did hardware wise, they would have had to ramp up software development and development cycles would have had to be longer to make games that compete with Nintendo. The best way to do that is 3rd party developers. I think the ADAM would have attracted 3rd party developers but they needed to release the developer info.

Frankly, if they had even released developer info for the Colecovision in '84, there would have been a bunch of new titles for the machine at the time of the NES release and it would be on like Donkey Kong.

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That's exactly why the computer enhancement to the ColecoVision needed to be done right. If the computer was a modular design that could be pieced together at the whim of prospective buyers, Coleco would have had all their bases covered...

 

- ColecoVision game system for those happy with just gaming

- ColecoVision with computer expansion module that provided only video, sound, memory enhancements, further expansion bays/slots, etc. to the CV for enhanced gaming to compete against future game systems

- Add a keyboard and storage option(s) to turn the CV with the above expansion module into a full-fledged computer that could then compete against the likes of Atari, Commodore, Apple, etc.

 

Then they could offer other accessories like printers, modems, memory expanders, hard drives, interface cards, etc. just like other companies did. Most importantly, make all the information about the system available to prospective software development houses unlike what they did with the ADAM.

I strongly agree, but the first thing Coleco needed to do, was to make sure their product had a reasonable level of reliability before they shipped it. The one very unique thing about the Adam, was that the letter-quality printer was built-in. They were hoping this value-add would differentiate them from other home computers like Apple, Atari, and Commodore. It's difficult to know for sure if the Adam might have succeeded if it hadn't quickly gained a reputation as a machine that was about to break, and that the customer could plan on returning for service soon after making the purchase.

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