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Why did Coleco Scrap the original SGM in favor of the ADAM?

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The TI version had all the girders as well, with the exact same video specs. as the Adam.

It is really a programming talent thing. 

 

I was not a fan of the Adam Donkey Kong.  However, I was not a fan of the Multiple C64 versions either.

Maybe because it was the machine I dropped the most quarters in BITD and held it to a higher standard?

 

Galaga and Q*Bert are most likely the next most played in arcades.  It is hard to find a functional Q*Bert around these days...

 

I am hoping the Legends Arcade will allow full mapping by game at some point.  I may buy a second system to try rotating a controller for Q*Bert and adding the Tron Controller for the second player.

Of course.... I have yet to find/buy a first system!  Did they make <50 of these or something!

 

I did put a lot of time into the pack in version of DK.  I liked climbing ladders fast.  I like being able to get barrel points from above you, I like grabbing prizes from the girder below on the rivet screen.

Strange, BITD I didn't notice how badly Zaxxon Scrolled on the CV.  Now, it drives me crazy.  LOL.

 

As for DK Jr.  I never got into it in the arcade.  I have played a little of the home versions.  But try as I might, I just don't like the game very much.

 

DIIK for the Intellivision gets some love!  Would like to have this as a full arcade cab!

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The ColecoVision/ADAM used +12 volts DC, -5 volts DC, and +5 Volts DC and never used -12 volts DC like someone mentioned. -12 volts DC was something needed on the Amiga computer. Also when comparing the Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior on the ADAM, the ADAM was better then the ATARI computers and Commodore 64/128 versions offered in the 20th Century. One of the reasons why the ColecoVison/ADAM is still popular today is because of its classic 80's quality graphics and sound quality.   

 

It was not just Coleco that had their production problems back in early 1983 with the ADAM, that were fixed in 1984. Commodore had there own production problems with the Amiga computer in 1985 that were not fixed until 1986. The Amiga 1000 with 7.16Mhz 68000 Motorola CPU was more powerful then the ADAM and was Commodore's first computer with detachable keyboard and a separate memory console like the ADAM.

 

quote

" The Amiga 1000 was released in July 1985, but a series of production problems kept it from becoming widely available until early 1986. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became one of the leading home computers of the late 1980s and early 1990s with four to six million sold."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga

Edited by HDTV1080P

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1 hour ago, HDTV1080P said:

The ColecoVision/ADAM used +12 volts DC, -5 volts DC, and +5 Volts DC and never used -12 volts DC like someone mentioned.

Yes, I stand corrected -- I just checked the tech manual.  What I was mis-remembering is that the Adam has two separate +12v signals, one for the printer and data drives, and one for the logic.  I'm sure this was done to separate the noisy induction motors from the quiet logic needs.  It does make me curious though what would happen if a person tried to power an EM#3 with only a single drive from the Colecovision's supply, thus creating a true "Super Game Module" :)

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7 hours ago, mr_me said:

Both versions of Commodore 64 donkey kong in the 1980s had all four screens.  So did the Atari 8-bit version.  They also had the correct number of girders.  And they're only 16KB.

I remember getting good at all three screens of DK and DKJr, only to find out later that there were actually 4.  Even more annoying, being good at the CV version did not translate to being good at the arcade for either game.  CV didn't have the blue barrels in the first level of DK, so no fire thingy to chase you up the levels.  Nor did it have the barrels that haphazardly bounced down if Kong threw while stomping.  It was also possible on the arcade for your hammer to miss a barrel if it rolled into you while you were on the upswing, while CV was completely forgiving about that.  Things like that left me wanting.

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6 hours ago, else said:

Yes, I stand corrected -- I just checked the tech manual.  What I was mis-remembering is that the Adam has two separate +12v signals, one for the printer and data drives, and one for the logic.  I'm sure this was done to separate the noisy induction motors from the quiet logic needs.  It does make me curious though what would happen if a person tried to power an EM#3 with only a single drive from the Colecovision's supply, thus creating a true "Super Game Module" :)

Everything will work as normal with the ADAM using the CV power supply until you try to use the Data Drive... not enough power is supplied ti run the drive.

 

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On 12/29/2019 at 9:32 PM, NIAD said:

Everything will work as normal with the ADAM using the CV power supply until you try to use the Data Drive... not enough power is supplied ti run the drive.

Is this true even with the two +12v lines on the EM#3 jumpered together?  (just wanted to make sure....obviously if they aren't the data drive definitely won't do anything)

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On 12/27/2019 at 7:04 PM, Pixelboy said:

I had an ADAM when I was a kid, and I mostly used it for playing ColecoVision games and ADAM Super Games because, let's face it, it wasn't all that great for anything else unless you had connections with the "underground ADAM community", which I only heard about mere months before I got rid of my ADAM to make room for my first PC.

 

Looking back, I think Coleco did just about everything wrong where the ADAM was concerned. The Digital Data Packs were nice but too proprietary and stressful to use, the daisy-wheel printer was outdated right out of the box, the floppy drive was expensive, Coleco's software offerings (aside from games) was rather poor and uninteresting... You could tell Coleco got in over their heads from the start with the ADAM. They didn't have the developer framework in place to support it, and the ADAM "community" formed despite Coleco's lack of effort to promote the ADAM with proper technical documentation, compilers and other development tools (although to be fair, I was too young at the time to program in anything but SmartBASIC anyway, but I would have liked extra documentation on SmartBASIC to code more advanced programs).

 

In my humble opinion, they should have just gone with a simpler and cheaper computer expansion module: Something smaller, shaped like the original Super Game Module, with some ports for a keyboard, an optional stand-alone printer and a DDP drive (sold separately, so also optional but recommended as the minimum peripheral for getting the most out of the computer module) or floppy drive. Software like BASIC, Logo, etc. would have been on cartridge, DDP or floppy. RAM should have been limited to 64K with no possibility for memory expansion, because at the time, the need for more memory wasn't all that necessary for those kinds of early "family computers". A computer expansion like that would have had a better chance of surviving the video game crash of '84.

 

Just my 0.02$ on the subject.  :)

 

 

I guess we''ll have to agree to disagree. My dad was a master's student at the time the ADAM came out. We didn't buy one but a friend did. Letter quality printing was a necessity for him (many professors wouldn't accept printed papers printed with a 9-pin dot matrix in NLQ), so much so that he spent $300 on an equally slow Silver Reed daisy wheel printer for the Commodore 64. That put the Commodore 64 over the cost of the ADAM system handily. Our friends bought one also to do word processing with. 

 

The built in word processor was good, ADAM Calc was a good alternative to Visicalc, SmartLOGO is lauded as one of the best ports of LOGO, and you had a CP/M machine to boot. The Super game ports are good. On top of this unlike a lot of other home computers, you had the complete 64KB memory space to work with without a bunch of memory mapped peripherals in the way, expansion slots to upgrade, a REALLY good keyboard, a DMA controller for the peripherals on ADAM net. All in all it was a thoughtfully architected machine.

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Look, I love the Adam... but the software WAS quite buggy (I've always felt the hardware was pretty solid).

 

SmartWriter: The fact that anyone could print out a decent looking paper on the Adam is nothing short of a miracle.  The blank-line-prints-as-a-line-and-a-half bug always caused my papers to come out looking horrible -- each page always got progressively worse, and pretty soon pages would start spilling off the paper and lines would get lost.  As a kid I had no idea what was going on, and assumed I was doing something wrong.  Of course, now I know otherwise.  The fact that Coleco never offered a fix for this bug is particularly egregious in my opinion.  Something as simple as a blank line is broken! (my solution at the time was to go back to using AppleWriter at school)

 

SmartBasic: Again, very buggy.  I forget all the bugs, but the one I do remember is that each time a program was LISTed, a blank space was added to any/all DATA statements.  Eventually they'd grow long enough to exceed the maximum line length and get dropped.  So I was constantly having to retype those lines to fix them.  Even as a kid, I knew this was a bug.  Something as simple as LISTing a program is broken! (my solution at the time was to go back to using Applesoft BASIC at school)

 

I don't think Coleco was prepared for the jump in quality and testing that needed to occur when moving from games to apps.  It's one thing to screw up a player's high score in a game.  It's a very different thing to screw up a term paper or BASIC program.  People will forgive the former, but not the latter.  This is why I think they should have initially just released the EM#3 base as the Super Game Module for Christmas '83, and delayed the release of the keyboard and printer another year....to give themselves more time work out all the software bugs.

 

P.S.  I do think Coleco attempted to step up their software quality with the later releases such as AdamCalc and SmartLogo, but by then it was too late...

 

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I had/have a ColecoVision and an ADAM from childhood.  My Mom really bought the ADAM for herself as the first computer in the house.  She used computers at work and was an accountant so used SMARTCalc a lot I know.

 

Our ADAM, so far as I ever knew, was flawless, and still works flawlessly to this day.  It is my ColecoVision.  I have the ColecoVision still, but it died a slow and eventual death.  I had it refurbed, but I never use it.  I keep it just in case, but I want to be able to play the Buck Rogers, DK, and DKJ Super Games packs.  I guess if I ever want to play Defender again, I’ll need to swap it in.

 

I was always fascinated by the SGM from when I first read about it (long after the days of the ColecoVision and ADAm, in 1997/1998 in college when I had the internet).  But the more I read here the more I am convinced we didn’t miss anything.

 

 

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On 1/4/2020 at 9:28 AM, else said:

Look, I love the Adam... but the software WAS quite buggy (I've always felt the hardware was pretty solid)......

 

Very true on all counts. There were workarounds to almost all of the software bugs, but one either had to figure them out or be lucky enough to be supplied the information by a user-group, magazine article, etc., etc.

 

The easiest fix for the SmartWriter 1 1/2" line feed bug was to break off a character from the print wheel that was never used and then type that character on the blank line instead of just pressing return. I am pretty sure that SmartWriter was programmed In-House, so Coleco owns this one and they actually did fix the issue in the Prototype SmartWriter Revisions (81 and 84) that were found in the early 90s and are available now. I know, too little... too late.

 

SmartBASIC was developed by Lazer Microsystems and they own that travesty in my mind although Coleco is ultimately responsible. The DATA/REM spacebump bug you mentioned occurs each time you save the SmartBASIC program. Again, this and numerous other bugs were fixed with patches by end users by 1985, but you had to be in the know and there were far too many ADAM owners who were on an island when it came to all this stuff. It's amazing that Lazer Microsystems is the same company that developed the outstanding ADAMCalc program, but then again, having the necessary time to develop and debug software makes all the difference in the world.

 

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Oh how I wish I had known how to get around the SmartWriter blank-line-prints-as-a-line-and-a-half bug back then.  It would have changed everything.  But 13 year old me barely understood what a bug was, let alone how to work around one.  I remember feeling quite bad that I couldn't figure out how to print out a paper for school that wasn't all goofed up, as I had given my parents the hard sell about how awesome the Adam was (never mind that it could play Super Games, ha ha).  We didn't have a lot of money so it was a big purchase for them at the time.

 

It's hard to understand how such a simple and obvious bug somehow slipped through, when many much more complex features like cut / copy / paste seem to work pretty well.  The only think I can think of is that the word-processor team and the printer team were working independently, and they didn't have time to test the two pieces together until it was too late.

 

You're spot on that each Adam owner was largely an island back then.  I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, and was the only person I knew that had one.  I did subscribe to Family Computing, as that seemed to be the only magazine that supported the Adam, but I didn't join any user groups (don't know why).  Anyhow, I'm not trying to disparage the Adam -- I love it otherwise I wouldn't be here.  Just sharing my experiences with it as a kid....

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On 12/23/2019 at 11:04 AM, mr_me said:

Why would someone design a video game that required a keyboard, unless it's a text adventure.  I don't know what the capacity of those exatron tapes might have been but I suppose eventually it would have been exceeded.  That still wouldn't prevent games from being distributed on them had it worked.

 

I wouldn't doubt coleco was working with CED.  Just saying the next group trying to do this chose VHS.  With VHS you can also write data to tape if needed.

 

Although people tried to create add-on peripherals again and again, it was proven from the beginning that video game add-on peripherals don't sell.

I'm currently doing a video documentary about Coleco 

Here's the informations I have gathered.

 

The (original) SuperGame Module was going to have a keyboard available later separately 
They demoed the SuperGame Module at Toy Fair in February 1983

Behind the scenes though (1st quarter of 1983), Coleco were already working on what will become the ADAM 
This ADAM prototype is still using the very same Entrepo drive. 
As NIAD said, Coleco quickly discovered how unreliable the wafer tape were. 

From a marketing point of view, it make sense for Coleco to sell both the Expansion Module#3 and a standalone unit.  
 

Coleco re-designed the ADAM to use the Exaltron Drive
Coleco presents their 2nd prototype ADAM at CES in June of 1983

Coleco did very good at CES, journalists and consumers were excited by the ADAM

 

Initial release date for the ADAM was September 1, 1983
However, Coleco realized the Exaltron tape were not much efficient than the Entrepo one
So, the release date had to be pushed, and Coleco had to re-designed their ADAM once again
This time, they went with the Digitial Data Drive.


Coleco finally officially release the ADAM on October 1983

Edited by retroillucid
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Exatron and Entrepo were the same company (or one was a division of the other or some such thing).  See Video Games magazine, June 1983, page 49....  "Last February the Exatron Corporation changed its name to Entrepo (meaning "a storage place")."  So I don't see how / why there would have been any redesign.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exatron

 

http://www.trs-80.org/exatron-stringy-floppy/

 

Exatron is still around, by the way....

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8 minutes ago, else said:

Exatron and Entrepo were the same company (or one was a division of the other or some such thing).  See Video Games magazine, June 1983, page 49....  "Last February the Exatron Corporation changed its name to Entrepo (meaning "a storage place").  So I don't see how / why there would have been any redesign.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exatron

 

http://www.trs-80.org/exatron-stringy-floppy/

 

Exatron is still around, by the way....

Really?
I wasn't aware they were the same company,

I really thought they were completely different ones.

 

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31 minutes ago, else said:

...  So I don't see how / why there would have been any redesign.

 

 

Well, that's what happened still 

Here's the 1st ADAM and 2nd ADAM prototypes:

1st one is using the Wafer Drive/Tape (just like the SGM) 

 

2nd one is using the Exaltron Drive/Tape

 

(Images shown are the Expansion Module #3, I also have the standalone ones) 

ColecoVision Computer Module.png

Image88.png

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Of course there were two designs.  One with the Exatron/Entrepo, and one with the Coleco-developed DDP.  I never said otherwise.  All I said was Exatron and Entrepo were the same company, so no redesign there.  This is true.  Your post said there were three designs....Exatron, Entrepo, and Coleco.

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10 minutes ago, else said:

I'm well aware of those. Different case mock-ups don't constitute redesigns in my book, but it's a matter of semantics I suppose....

Those are not mockups but rather actual units
 

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Exatron and Entrepo were the same company, thus no redesign took place between them because again, they were the same company.  Dispute me all you want.  I'm done.

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40 minutes ago, retroillucid said:

Well, that's what happened still 

Here's the 1st ADAM and 2nd ADAM prototypes:

1st one is using the Wafer Drive/Tape (just like the SGM) 

 

2nd one is using the Exaltron Drive/Tape

 

(Images shown are the Expansion Module #3, I also have the standalone ones) 

ColecoVision Computer Module.png

Image88.png

How do you know the second one is using entrepo/exatron tape drives?

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I don’t think J-F was disputing anyone, but I do sense a slight communication breakdown. 

 

I also am aware that Exatron renamed the company to Entrepo, and I’ve seen a few of the “stringy floppy” drives on eBay over the years. I never bothered to purchase one, but I believe that their products were commissioned for Apple and Tandy. I recall seeing a drive with interfaces for at least one of these. 

 

Exatron article.

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9 minutes ago, mr_me said:

How do you know the second one is using entrepo/exatron tape drives?

You can clearly see in the first prototype it uses the Entrepo drive

As why I'm sure the 2nd one is using the Exaltron, this very same prototype has been shown in CES in June 1983

There's various photos showing the 2nd prototype along with Exaltron tape
The initial release date was September, 1983

Why would Coleco had re-designed the ADAM and posponed the release in October?

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2 minutes ago, phattyboombatty said:

I don’t think J-F was disputing anyone, but I do sense a slight communication breakdown. 

 

I also am aware that Exatron renamed the company to Entrepo, and I’ve seen a few of the “stringy floppy” drives on eBay over the years. I never bothered to purchase one, but I believe that their products were commissioned for Apple and Tandy. I recall seeing a drive with interfaces for at least one of these. 

 

Exatron article.

The Wafer tapes from Quick Data Drive (C64) have the name Entrepo on them
Hence why I called them Entrepo Drive/Tape

The Exaltron Drive/Tape are indeed ''stringy floppy'' 

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3 hours ago, retroillucid said:

The Wafer tapes from Quick Data Drive (C64) have the name Entrepo on them
Hence why I called them Entrepo Drive/Tape

The Exaltron Drive/Tape are indeed ''stringy floppy'' 

Interesting! I’m quite certain the spelling is Exatron (unless they were dba something else in Canada). Regardless, I was under the impression that the stringy floppy and our favorite *wafer* nomenclature were one in the same. 😎

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3 minutes ago, phattyboombatty said:

Interesting! I’m quite certain the spelling is Exatron

😎

hahah, you're right 
I misspelled it for some reason 😜

 

Here's ads for both Entrepo Wafer Drive/Tape and Exatron String Drive/Tape
 

351035010_3FsDU-X2.jpg

quick_data_microwafer_advert.png

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35 minutes ago, phattyboombatty said:

... I was under the impression that the stringy floppy and our favorite *wafer* nomenclature were one in the same. 😎

A Wafer tape is about the size of a Gameboy Advance cartridge, just a little bit ''bigger'' 
while an Exatron String tape is about the same size as a Digital Data Pack / Regular cassette 

Here's pictures of both the Entrepo Wafer Tape and the Exatron Stringy Floppy from Coleco:
 

Wafer.png

Stringy Floppy.png

Edited by retroillucid
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