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Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

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Sure you've had enough? Coming to a crowdfunding site near you.

 

http://www.specnext.com/

 

 

Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

 

That thing is fucking hideous!!! Look at its graphics and tell me with a straight face that you'd rather be playing games ported to that rather than any other platform out there. I don't get the appeal, why do people want to bring it back??

 

I'm serious, I've tried to work out the possible explanations in my head so please tell me if I'm any closer to figuring this out:

  • It's just a purely British thing, like Marmite or Dr. Who, so I shouldn't worry about not getting it
  • It's an early PC that was super easy to code on it (but if that's true, then why do all the games still look like ass??)
  • It was cheap at the time, so people back then forgave the graphics and that's why I can't understand it now
  • The software just became public domain (or something?) and that's why we're seeing so many clone projects all of the sudden
  • It's all an inside joke that they're perpetrating on Americans like me

 

I'm truly baffled by the influx of 'Speccy' interest all of the sudden. It used to just be "that British early PC thing" I'd see scattered around Retro Gamer mag and I wouldn't pay any attention to it. But now these projects are popping up, isn't one good enough? I'm truly baffled by it, I can't understand the market forces or demand that's going to float these ventures.

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I think the Coleco Chameleon has been around long enough that it needs its own Flashback console. All the games ever released for it, built right in. It'll be a solid plastic block with nothing inside it, just like the original.

This is what the Chameleon Flashback is presumed to look like. Sadly it will fail as a doorstop.

 

wedge%20doorstop.jpg

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Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

As a fellow American, I share your confusion about the ZX Spectrum. I can only say that I would have been all over the Amstrad brand instead if I had been in the UK during the 1980s and 90s. According to the wiki, Amstrad improved the ZX Spectrum after acquiring it. Maybe the Amstrad models were better? I know the CPC was / is awesome.

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According to the wiki, Amstrad improved the ZX Spectrum after acquiring it.

hahahaha. no.

 

 

:)

 

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Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

 

I'm serious, I've tried to work out the possible explanations in my head so please tell me if I'm any closer to figuring this out:

  • It's just a purely British thing, like Marmite or Dr. Who, so I shouldn't worry about not getting it

 

I'm convinced it's this. It was a British thing, cool name, quirky and underpowered, but an awesome looking piece of kit for the time. Like a British sports car of the era plus or minus a decade or two.

 

It's a miracle it could put anything on the screen, but that was just a bonus, really.

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I'm still baffled why Kennedy would charge $10 shipping when there are faster, less expensive options. It seems like such a boneheaded thing to do. First, I took it as evidence that he's a bonehead, but now I wonder. He could just be trying to look stupid on purpose so we'll believe he was dumb enough to fall for Mr. Lee. Could this be a dumb as a fox move to salvage something of a reputation? Is it better to be thought of as a fool or a crook? Should I get more sleep? Yes, that's probably it.

 

There are discounts to retail USPS pricing if you buy it online through PayPal, eBay, etc... Even if he had gone with the cheaper option (such as a flat rate priority mail), there is a discount. But the discount would be less net money on a lower cost option like the $6 priority mail flat rate. So I'm guessing he wanted to capture the biggest "spread" using the discount, hence picking the higher retail option, in order to pocket $2-3 per transaction on the actual shipping vs. retail amount.

 

That said, I generally don't consider doing something like that a horrible thing. eBay sellers do it all the time. After all, there ARE real "handling" costs that consumers are very averse to seeing itemized, and you can recover a little of that by pocketing the discount. Of course in this context, and considering the product, I totally understand the complaints...

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Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

I can't speak for the UK experience as I wasn't there, but growing up I knew somebody who had a ZX Spectrum (the only one around).

I loved a lot of the quirky games it had, like Attic Attack, Pssst, Jetpack, or Manic Miner. The graphics were simple but they made the most of it.

 

If I'm not mistaken the ZX was one of the cheapest options in the UK back then,

and the simpler hardware made it easier to program (at least any books/articles on the subject applied to all models).

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Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

 

That thing is fucking hideous!!! Look at its graphics and tell me with a straight face that you'd rather be playing games ported to that rather than any other platform out there. I don't get the appeal, why do people want to bring it back??

 

I'm serious, I've tried to work out the possible explanations in my head so please tell me if I'm any closer to figuring this out:

  • It's just a purely British thing, like Marmite or Dr. Who, so I shouldn't worry about not getting it
  • It's an early PC that was super easy to code on it (but if that's true, then why do all the games still look like ass??)
  • It was cheap at the time, so people back then forgave the graphics and that's why I can't understand it now
  • The software just became public domain (or something?) and that's why we're seeing so many clone projects all of the sudden
  • It's all an inside joke that they're perpetrating on Americans like me

 

I'm truly baffled by the influx of 'Speccy' interest all of the sudden. It used to just be "that British early PC thing" I'd see scattered around Retro Gamer mag and I wouldn't pay any attention to it. But now these projects are popping up, isn't one good enough? I'm truly baffled by it, I can't understand the market forces or demand that's going to float these ventures.

 

And this is why I won't be answering any more questions. Just for the record.

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The spectrum got a lot of people into programming into the UK. It came out at a time when the BBC were promoting computing, and had the BBC micro going into schools.

Cost of BBC micro was about 3 to 4 times that of the spectrum and so lots of parents bought them. This in turn meant a massive bedroom development culture on the very limited hardware. It also meant lots of potential sales for software and so companies sprung up to cater for them.

 

I had a spectrum for about 2 months, along with the Atari 400, if you could buy 1 Atari game for 20 plus quid or 10 spectrum games for the same price, some of which were real classics, then you can understand the interest.

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The Spectrum wasn't really underpowered, it just lacked custom chips. 3.5MHz Z80 and 48K RAM was pretty decent in 1982. It was also really really cheap, about 1/3 or 1/4 the price of most rivals, and Amstrads didn't appear until 2 years later. There was a thriving market in budget games that cost just £2 or £3, console cartridges could be 10 times that or more.

 

The graphics were a decent resolution: none of the blockiness of some of the C64's modes for example, and with vivid colours. Also the strange graphics layout meant that all graphics were effectively 1 bitplane, and the CPU could throw large chunks of screen data around with ease.

 

All early '80s computers and consoles look like garbage if you compare them to arcade machines from a year or two earlier (or to later home machines) so arcade conversions are usually a bit disappointing. Most of the Speccy's charm wasn't with conversions but the unique and strange things people were cooking up for it in their bedrooms. What 12 year old cares about the graphics when they can enter their enemies and teachers' names into Skool Daze, shoot them with a catapult, and write obsceneties on the blackboard?

 

 

It has a similar place in UK hearts to the 2600 in the US; the first affordable and succesful games machine that almost everyone's parents, not just a few rich kids, could afford. Yes of course it's a computer but nearly everybody just used it for playing games- imagine typing on that keyboard.

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There's a thread in Classic Computing about the Spectrum Next. I had the same question. I think it's one of those things where you had to be there (in the UK, in the early 80s, and ready to play weird looking purple and blue games, on cassette, for cheap)

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/252112-yet-another-repro-spectrum/

 

Reminds me of playing games on a CGA monitor.

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jaybird3rd,

 

That's Awesome!

 

Seeing it so much, I think I might just want a regular Jaguar now...Never had one.

 

On a side note someone should sell COLECO CHAMELEON stickers don't you think?

 

If the C.C. adventure has done one thing right its sold a few Jaguars. Before this I never even considered the idea now I own one and 20 games it really is an under rated fun system in my estimation with a much better library then it gets credit for. We owe the Chameleon so much its given us laughs, horrible YouTube videos, great YouTube videos, and even helped in some small way move a few real game systems.

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By the end of this, AtariAge will have pulled in a better profit than Retro.

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Sure you've had enough? Coming to a crowdfunding site near you.

 

http://www.specnext.com/

 

Interesting note about this presentation was their sense of humour in that they joked about showing off their prototype and let people look at their board.

 

 

 

Okay, I really need to ask because I like to think I have a good grip on what consumers are generally attracted to, but can someone please explain what the appeal of the ZX Spectrum is??

 

It was cheap and was the main rival to the C64.

 

Graphically it had issues but had more games available. It could also do games that the C64 would struggle with such as The Great Escape and The Land That Time Forgot.

 

I was always on the C64 side but the Spectrum does have some real gems in its library.

 

....and the simpler hardware made it easier to program (at least any books/articles on the subject applied to all models).

 

I don't think it was easier to program and certainly not when you start typing on its rubber keys.

 

The later Amstrad versions improved the keyboard but it did get a lot of people into home computing.

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The Spectrum wasn't really underpowered, it just lacked custom chips. 3.5MHz Z80 and 48K RAM was pretty decent in 1982. It was also really really cheap, about 1/3 or 1/4 the price of most rivals, and Amstrads didn't appear until 2 years later. There was a thriving market in budget games that cost just £2 or £3, console cartridges could be 10 times that or more.

 

The graphics were a decent resolution: none of the blockiness of some of the C64's modes for example, and with vivid colours. Also the strange graphics layout meant that all graphics were effectively 1 bitplane, and the CPU could throw large chunks of screen data around with ease.

 

All early '80s computers and consoles look like garbage if you compare them to arcade machines from a year or two earlier (or to later home machines) so arcade conversions are usually a bit disappointing. Most of the Speccy's charm wasn't with conversions but the unique and strange things people were cooking up for it in their bedrooms. What 12 year old cares about the graphics when they can enter their enemies and teachers' names into Skool Daze, shoot them with a catapult, and write obsceneties on the blackboard?

 

 

It has a similar place in UK hearts to the 2600 in the US; the first affordable and succesful games machine that almost everyone's parents, not just a few rich kids, could afford. Yes of course it's a computer but nearly everybody just used it for playing games- imagine typing on that keyboard.

 

Was Spectrum as mass market in UK as Atari VCS in USA?

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Was Spectrum as mass market in UK as Atari VCS in USA?

 

Yes, along with the C64. Both were huge, with the Amstrad range a little way behind them and the BBC range seen as a more serious computer than a gaming machine.

 

Atari was big here too but computers were generally bigger than consoles until the NES/Master System era.

Edited by UKMike
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Yes, along with the C64. Both were huge, with the Amstrad range a little way behind them and the BBC range seen as a more serious computer than a gaming machine.

 

Atari was big here too but computers were generally bigger than consoles until the NES/Master System era.

 

Could you buy Spectrum and C=64 games in the check out line of the grocery store?

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Pretty sure the UK was the same as the US, as their was a ton of computer makers with different OS's in the 80's

 

Just that IBM PC's won out in the 90's

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It was cheap and was the main rival to the C64.

 

I thought the ZX Spectrum's rival was tha Acorn?

 

As a side note, the new ZX Spectrum (have they mentioned the specs yet?) looks like a nice PC to have in case of emergencies... but only that, since I'm not British or was around in them' pre-IBM days.

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