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Are the ColecoVision and Intellivision flashback consoles worth getting?

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My girlfriend is interested in playing some CV and INTV with me, but alas my CV is at my parents' house until I have my own place after grad school. I've always been interested in dabbling my feet in Intellivision; Rev from the INTV boards here sent me a console a while back out of the goodness of his heart that worked for a bit, but after much trial and error, it just went kaput. :( It did light a spark for love of the INTV though, for which I'm grateful! I'll get one eventually...

 

My question is: for casual playing with my girlfriend, are the CV and INTV flashback consoles a good way to get one's feet wet for relatively cheap? I'm looking for something I can fit into a small space (tiny apartment) and can carry with me with relative ease during my travels.

 

I know this may sound like heresy on these forums where it's the real deal or nothing (which is how I feel about my 2600), but I'm looking for cheap, fun, and at least somewhat resembling the original models. Many thanks for your insights, as always!

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The CV flashback is missing Donkey Kong.

 

You would be better off spending the money on an AtariMax SD cart for your actual CV. You could play Mario Brothers with the GF, and Pac Man Collection, and Frogger, and Q*Bert, and Galaxian, and a whole bunch of games not included on the Flashback.

 

The only advantage of buying the flashback is that it has Mecha8 and Princess Quest pre loaded on it. It would be cheaper to get the flashback to play these games then it would be to track down the CV home-brews.

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I've never used an INTV Flashback, but I do have a Colecovision Flashback and I don't think it is as bad as people say it is. If you can get a good deal on one, they are certainly good enough to mess around with and see if you are interested in getting a "real" CV.

 

Pros:

-Relatively inexpensive

-Includes some newer homebrew games along with the originals

 

Cons:

-The emulation and controllers are not the best

-Missing some key games such as Smurfs, Turbo, and Burgertime, presumably due to licensing issues.

 

Just don't expect the the world from it and you'll be fine.

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The CV flashback is missing Donkey Kong.

 

You would be better off spending the money on an AtariMax SD cart for your actual CV. You could play Mario Brothers with the GF, and Pac Man Collection, and Frogger, and Q*Bert, and Galaxian, and a whole bunch of games not included on the Flashback.

 

The only advantage of buying the flashback is that it has Mecha8 and Princess Quest pre loaded on it. It would be cheaper to get the flashback to play these games then it would be to track down the CV home-brews.

 

That's the long-term plan for my CV at home!

 

Thanks for all of your inputs.

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My question is: for casual playing with my girlfriend, are the CV and INTV flashback consoles a good way to get one's feet wet for relatively cheap? I'm looking for something I can fit into a small space (tiny apartment) and can carry with me with relative ease during my travels.

 

Yes, absolutely they're worth the asking price (you can get them for less than $30) because they're cute, the controllers are "close enough," and there are lots of games to try out on them.

 

They're not perfect, but they're awesome for two-player fun. I don't have any retro systems older than Gamecube currently hooked up so these things are my closest ties to real classic hardware. They're not crap and they're definitely worth a look.

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You can get either Flashback for $20-$30 if you wait until the prices go down.

 

The flashbacks are pretty limited quality, and the game selection is limited. However the price is low, so its worth a try to get which ever one you want. If you get one and like it, then you should get the other one.

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The CV flashback is missing Donkey Kong.

 

You would be better off spending the money on an AtariMax SD cart for your actual CV. You could play Mario Brothers with the GF, and Pac Man Collection, and Frogger, and Q*Bert, and Galaxian, and a whole bunch of games not included on the Flashback.

 

The only advantage of buying the flashback is that it has Mecha8 and Princess Quest pre loaded on it. It would be cheaper to get the flashback to play these games then it would be to track down the CV home-brews.

 

If it had the fabled Super Donkey Kong then it would be awesome and a must have! I got one (CV) for Mecha8 and Princess Quest and a few other earlier games that I find entertaining. I think you can use original controllers and I like those better than the repros with this system. I wish that I could play Mecha8 and Princess Quest with something like a NES pad or Genesis pad rather than the funky phone pads and mushroom sticks.

Edited by Papa
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Absolutely. I have both a CV and Inty systems, and I'm a big fan of them. I've owned an Inty since 1981 (the family's first console), and I've had CV's on and off for 20+ years. These two Flashbacks are great.

 

First, the controllers are near perfect. Better than the originals because they're new, responsive and smooth. Every old/original CV controller I've ever used in the last 20 years has been horrible. I would pretty much only play CV with super action controllers. The Flashback's are so good it completely changed my opinion of the CV controllers - "oh, this is what they're supposed to be." Playing Space Hawk on my old Inty 2 was a little painful due to the Inty 2 pad and sticky disc, but with "new" Inty controllers it's a joy. They nailed it.

 

Second, the emulation is excellent. As noted, I grew up with the Inty and I don't notice any big differences. I'm sure it's not 100% perfect, but pretty darn good. Nothing obviously bad sticks out. I'm not sitting there A/B'ing games.

 

The selection of games in each unit is pretty good. Yes, there are high profile games missing due to licensing, but each unit has a lot to like. More than enough good games to justify the cost, and some nice surprises (Gateway to Apshai on the CV).

 

What could be better? The instructions are too brief, especially for the Intellivision Flashback. If you haven't played some of these games before you might be lost, so be prepared to get the instructions online. Similarly, my Inty flashback only came with a handful of overlays. I believe some locations had a full set, or at least additional inlays, but it's too bad they didn't all have every one.

 

The menu system is a little clunky. It works fine and there aren't that many games, but it could be better.

 

I love the Inty & CV Flashbacks - in fact, I don't even have either original system hooked up at the moment.

Edited by BydoEmpire
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As a quick first introduction. Yes probably. Longer term you'll want original hardware or a well-setup emulation rig.

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As a quick first introduction. Yes probably. Longer term you'll want original hardware or a well-setup emulation rig.

 

I don't consider the ColecoVision Flashback a good introduction to the ColecoVision. It's too different in both quality of emulation and controls to offer an equivalent experience to the real hardware. The Intellivision Flashback is roughly as authentic as an inexpensive consumer device like that can get. However, considering both can now be had for about $50 and they're not going to make anymore, it's probably not a big deal to get them both, as long as the limitations of the ColecoVision Flashback experience are kept in mind.

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What could be better? The instructions are too brief, especially for the Intellivision Flashback. If you haven't played some of these games before you might be lost, so be prepared to get the instructions online. Similarly, my Inty flashback only came with a handful of overlays. I believe some locations had a full set, or at least additional inlays, but it's too bad they didn't all have every one.

 

Intellivision Productions, under their own separate initiative, offered a full set of missing overlays (they might still). There were only a handful of extra overlays included in the special editions of the Intellivision Flashback (the ones with the extra two player original baseball game).

 

Because the ColecoVision Flashback controllers are smaller than the originals, the overlays from one will not fit in the other, unlike with the Intellivision Flashback.

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Intellivision Productions, under their own separate initiative, offered a full set of missing overlays (they might still). There were only a handful of extra overlays included in the special editions of the Intellivision Flashback (the ones with the extra two player original baseball game).

 

Because the ColecoVision Flashback controllers are smaller than the originals, the overlays from one will not fit in the other, unlike with the Intellivision Flashback.

Exactly. Would have been nice to have the full set included in every box, but not that big a deal.

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<sarcasm>

How about the up and coming (maybe) Coleco Chameleon? It has been promised to play both (maybe).

</sarcasm>

Those jokers made lots of promises. I would not hold my breath.

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I thought I'd write up a set of bullet points about the CV and INTV FB systems to summarize high and low points for each ('+' = pro, '-' = con):

 

ColecoVision Flashback

 

+ 60 games (plus a 61st game, Antarctic Adventure, in the Dollar General edition), including the most third-party + homebrew representation of any legally produced plug-and-play game system in history, at least until the 1000-game ZX Spectrum Vega was released; search for "colecovision flashback" in my Retro Plug-n-Play Video Game System Contents page for the full list of games, including notations on which games come with overlays--in both the standard and Sam's Club editions--and which games are homebrews.

 

- CV FB controllers do not accurately replicate the CV controller--most significantly, the stick is shorter, almost like a thumbstick--and are not backward compatible with the ColecoVision (nor can they be easily made so; the CV FB's motherboard is the same as the INTV FB's motherboard, and its controller logic was designed to work similarly to the Intellivision's, not the ColecoVision's). Some AA members improved their CV FB joystick experience by replacing the hat with a ball top, in a group purchase project.

 

- CV FB controllers have the side buttons reversed, relative to the button logic of the original ColecoVision (but Bill L.'s game descriptions in the CV FB manual use the correct orientation). This is not too hard to fix, if you open up your controllers and manually swap the buttons. Due to tight fit, though, that can be a chore.

 

- The CV FB runs The Heist at about half its proper speed. Also, Squish'Em Sam on the CV FB has no speech.

 

Intellivision Flashback

 

+ 60 games (plus a 61st game, the original, 2-player Baseball, in the Dollar General edition); search for "intellivision flashback" in my Retro Plug-n-Play Video Game System Contents page for the full list of games, including notations on which games come with overlays--in both the standard and Sam's Club editions.

 

+ The INTV FB controllers are well-liked by the AA INTV community. They're detachable like Intellivision II controllers but are more comfortable to use (the side buttons in particular), leading to many owners wanting to use them with their original systems. With an adapter cable to rearrange the ordering of the signal lines, the INTV FB's controllers are compatible with both the Intellivision I (requiring opening up the case) and the Intellivision II.

 

+ The INTV FB has had "aftermarket" support from Intellivision Productions. At their online store, a full supplemental set of overlays was available (certain buyers did have negative experiences with order fulfillment, however), though currently sold out, and the store just recently began offering replacement INTV FB controllers and adapter cables to use them with original Intellivision systems (the adapter cables are made by AA member nurmix, who has been making/selling them here at AA for a while).

 

- The INTV FB runs Tower of Doom without any enemy encounters.

 

Generally speaking, the INTV FB is a more successful execution than the CV FB. However, since I'm not a purist myself, I find both systems to be pretty satisfying.

 

onmode-ky

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I live in the same town as dollar general HQ and distribution, I found the coleco flashback at a overstock / scratch n dent / last year's model type of store for 30$, but it had been sitting so long the date on the tag put it at 75% off

 

it was well worth the 8 dollars I paid for it, and now I dont even have it hooked up

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I like both of them very much, especially as a casual gamer or someone without experience in these systems wanting to get a general feel of the games and the controllers.

 

I have never had the opportunity to try the originals so i got both and i like them very much myself and would recommend them to anyone who is a casual or newcomer to these systems as they are cheap and easy to use. Probably not the best thing for a hardcore purist though.

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I picked up the Intellivision one. Why not for $20 and I want to put something together as a resource for those that want to play older games, and ahem... don't want to get diverted by shenanigans.

 

It's nice to have a more modern hook up, and if I want to include any game play, this is a heck of a lot easier to hook up to a gaming PVR. I still hate the disc.... so I may make a few modifications like I did with my original console. At least with these controllers, you fingers are ruined and bleeding with the side buttons.

 

I see someone sold more overlays at some point. Probably no chance of getting then at this late date. If the originals fit, I might have some of them

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I picked up the Intellivision one. Why not for $20 and I want to put something together as a resource for those that want to play older games, and ahem... don't want to get diverted by shenanigans.

 

It's nice to have a more modern hook up, and if I want to include any game play, this is a heck of a lot easier to hook up to a gaming PVR. I still hate the disc.... so I may make a few modifications like I did with my original console. At least with these controllers, you fingers are ruined and bleeding with the side buttons.

 

I see someone sold more overlays at some point. Probably no chance of getting then at this late date. If the originals fit, I might have some of them

 

That someone is Intellivision Productions, and yes, the original overlays fit and vice-versa. The original Intellivision controllers (the non-removable ones) are actually really nice. It was the Intellivision II controllers that were dreadful, and the INTV System III ones were no picnic either. My absolute favorites are the Sears Super Video Arcade controllers, which are the same as the Intellivision I controllers, just removable. The Intellivision Flashback controllers are a close second for me.

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That someone is Intellivision Productions, and yes, the original overlays fit and vice-versa. The original Intellivision controllers (the non-removable ones) are actually really nice. It was the Intellivision II controllers that were dreadful, and the INTV System III ones were no picnic either. My absolute favorites are the Sears Super Video Arcade controllers, which are the same as the Intellivision I controllers, just removable. The Intellivision Flashback controllers are a close second for me.

 

I can't seem to type a correct sentence these days. The flashback controller side buttons are much better. My first exposure to the INTV was back in the day when my cousin had one. The disc has always been hard for me. I puttered around with the INTV II, and you are right... those controllers are awful.

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I bought the Intellivision FB as a present for my uncle who had an Intellivision I in the 1980s. We hooked it up to his 72" rear-projection TV and had a blast for a few hours with it. Basically all of his favorites from yesteryear were there. He liked the controllers a lot and thought they were pretty close to the originals.

 

I would recommend it, considering its low cost versus the original hardware these days.

 

I have no experience with, and no opinion on the Colecovision FB.

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Maybe this is because I didn't have an Intellivision back when, but I have a terrible time with Flashback control 'disc.' Maybe I'm just not used to it, but doesn't feel very responsive. Perhaps if I put more time in it I'd get used to it.

Edited by Zookeeper

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Maybe this is because I didn't have an Intellivision back when, but I have a terrible time with Flashback control 'disc.' Maybe I'm just not used to it, but doesn't feel very responsive. Perhaps if I put more time in it I'd get used to it.

 

I think that's what it was. By today's standards, it was incredibly slow and awkward. The Flashback controls are quite faithful to the originals, and they feel good if you grew up with the old thing.

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