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

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7 minutes ago, christo930 said:

Is this going to be on YT by yt I mean free?

 

Oh yeah, definitely!
Blu ray / DVD version are going to be available as well 

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36 minutes ago, 128Kgames said:

Not me man, I was 15 in '82!  

 

This might help: when was the Super Action controller set released?  Cause I remember that at the same show as the SGM and I don't think it was released yet.  The SGM was the only "add on" I bought for the Coleco other than the driving controller.

 

AFAIK SAC was released in 1983. So you not only saw the original SGM, you also bought it! You must have been a pretty big investor... :)

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1 minute ago, opcode said:

 

AFAIK SAC was released in 1983. So you not only saw the original SGM, you also bought it! I must have been a pretty big investor... :)


Yeah, seems more like early 83 
I would be it was in February 83

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25 minutes ago, opcode said:

 

AFAIK SAC was released in 1983. So you not only saw the original SGM, you also bought it! You must have been a pretty big investor... :)

Yeah, sorry about that, I meant I bought the SAC, glad you knew what I meant.  Damn phone fills crap in sometimes when I type.

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3 minutes ago, 128Kgames said:

Yeah, sorry about that, I meant I bought the SAC, glad you knew what I meant.  Damn phone fills crap in sometimes when I type.

 

I figured out, but was still hopeful it wasn't just a typo.... 😞

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6 hours ago, christo930 said:

286 PC were not family computers.   I suppose I should have been more precise.  By family computer I generally mean the 8 bit computers minus the Apple II, which was far more prosumer than family.

Writing a book on a 286 is nor far fetched and you are not spreading it across multiple discs and a new file every few pages (most books are between 4-500,000 and a million characters long).  The book is going to be professionally formatted and printed by a publisher using appropriate equipment. With the exception of the Apple II, they couldn't really be upgraded to an 80 column screen or with additional RAM.

Aside from an Apple II, which word processing software are you talking about?

Granted that. The first 8088/8086 and 286 rigs weren't exactly home systems. But they did start showing up in the home more frequently than realized. Once people saw the 8-bit toy systems weren't cutting it they looked to something more sophisticated - early MACs and early x86 machines.

 

I kept my Apple II in productive use till the early 1990's. And despite it being 8-bits, it wasn't a toy. The key think that threw it into the "big leagues" was 80-column hardware. It was initially difficult to set-up. And to kids that meant "professional". I had to learn what an RF modulator was. And I had to buy expensive software to do anything till I discovered wArEz.

 

When I think of early word processors I think of Magic Window and the text editors in ASCII Express and ProTerm. That on the Apple II. And eventually AppleWorks.

 

On the PC there was WordPerfect and WordStar. 2010 was written on a Kaypro and also used a lot of modem time for cross-country collaboration. And George R.R. Martin was a fan of WordStar. Still is I believe.

 

CP/M had word processors going. And TRS-80 had Scripsit.

 

In the early-mid 1990's I got into PC full throttle and blasted outta the gate with MS Word for Windows. Windows 3.1, and DOS 5.0. This was a natural evolution away from Apple and into a 486 for me.

 

 

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Compared to what was available in Japan, the computer landscape in the US past 1983 was... sad. The fun stuff from Atari and Commodore didn’t have much chance because Tramiel insisted in price wars, dragging the whole 8 and 16 bit hobby market to levels that weren’t sustainable. That is why the first thing I would do with the DeLorean would be to convince IBM to not allow MS to sell their PC-DOS to 3rd parties, thus no “PCs”. Every time I see a PC I can’t help but think of Buzz Lightyear: “you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity” :P 

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Posted (edited)

Someone would have made a non infringing compatible DOS; just like they made a non infringing compatible bios.  PC-DOS was a non infringing clone of cp/m to begin with.  A lot of the no name ibm pc clones were sold with pirated copies of pc-dos anyway.

Edited by mr_me

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On 6/26/2020 at 3:24 PM, opcode said:

 

Exactly, the crash was not about people stop buying games, which in fact sold more in 1983 than in 1982. Instead it was the retail channel getting clogged with dead stock because there were too many of them for the market size at that point. If games aren't selling, they don't make space for new games and so on. So retailers stop buying them. For companies that means that: 1) your new game doesn't sell as much, because fewer retailers are placing orders. 2) a lot of dead stock was being returned. Thus massive losses. The NES probably worked because by 1985/86 retail had already got rid of most of the dead stock.

The videogame crash of 1983 was a huge recession in videogames and some home computers between the years 1983 to 1985. There is a possibility that in the years to come for the 21st Century there might be another bigger and larger bubble that might burst with a much larger videogame and computer crash (recession). The next videogame recession would most likely not only effect modern computer and videogame systems but also those companies that support classic videogame and computer systems from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. If another videogame/computer crash does happen hopefully it would only last a few years. Under the right conditions a videogame and computer crash could last 10 years and become a videogame and computer great depression.   

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7 hours ago, HDTV1080P said:

The videogame crash of 1983 was a huge recession in videogames and some home computers between the years 1983 to 1985. There is a possibility that in the years to come for the 21st Century there might be another bigger and larger bubble that might burst with a much larger videogame and computer crash (recession). The next videogame recession would most likely not only effect modern computer and videogame systems but also those companies that support classic videogame and computer systems from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. If another videogame/computer crash does happen hopefully it would only last a few years. Under the right conditions a videogame and computer crash could last 10 years and become a videogame and computer great depression.   

This is highly unlikely to happen, especially with the internet and with video games being so well integrated into our culture. People will always want to play games on their TV, or on the go.

 

But there's always the possibility of big companies going under because of bad management, or a string of bad games that sink the company's reputation to the point where they drown in debt. First-person shooters are bound to (finally) go out of style at a certain point, and I can only imagine what the video game landscape will look like once that point is reached.

 

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17 hours ago, Keatah said:

Granted that. The first 8088/8086 and 286 rigs weren't exactly home systems. But they did start showing up in the home more frequently than realized. Once people saw the 8-bit toy systems weren't cutting it they looked to something more sophisticated - early MACs and early x86 machines.

 

I kept my Apple II in productive use till the early 1990's. And despite it being 8-bits, it wasn't a toy. The key think that threw it into the "big leagues" was 80-column hardware. It was initially difficult to set-up. And to kids that meant "professional". I had to learn what an RF modulator was. And I had to buy expensive software to do anything till I discovered wArEz.

 

When I think of early word processors I think of Magic Window and the text editors in ASCII Express and ProTerm. That on the Apple II. And eventually AppleWorks.

 

On the PC there was WordPerfect and WordStar. 2010 was written on a Kaypro and also used a lot of modem time for cross-country collaboration. And George R.R. Martin was a fan of WordStar. Still is I believe.

 

CP/M had word processors going. And TRS-80 had Scripsit.

 

In the early-mid 1990's I got into PC full throttle and blasted outta the gate with MS Word for Windows. Windows 3.1, and DOS 5.0. This was a natural evolution away from Apple and into a 486 for me.

 

 

I think the thing that separated the Apple II from similar computers like the C64, Vic 20 and Atari 8 bit was due to the expansion bus, which among other things enables 80 column displays (as you mentioned).  But it brought more than that.  It brought RAM expansion, which is another thing these other 8-bits lack. The expansion bus brought a slew of upgrade cards for it including the ability add different processors for running CP/M and even DOS.   I also think the fact that it was built to stack helped too along with the internal power supply.  Green screen monitor probably helped too.  The Apple II has a lot more in common with the CP/M machines than the family 8-bit computers.  Plus it looks like a real computer and you couldn't buy one at Toys R Us and Kiddie City. Of course, they were a lot more money.

 

I am not really aware of any decent word processor for the Atari or Commodore or Coleco 8 bit computers. I do know they existed for Apple IIs.  I used speedscript, a 4k type in program from a magazine (I was a teen and more time than money), but I am not aware that one even existed.  I know there were some and there were a couple of 80 column solutions. There was one that had a software 80 column mode, but you really couldn't use it on an RF signal. There was at least one hardware 80 column solution for the 64, but it had no support. Like the 128, you couldn't even view the VIC II video on the 80 column monitor.

 

When I got my first PC, a Compaq luggable in the 90s, I used Word Perfect and I think I had Wordstar too.

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12 hours ago, opcode said:

Compared to what was available in Japan, the computer landscape in the US past 1983 was... sad. The fun stuff from Atari and Commodore didn’t have much chance because Tramiel insisted in price wars, dragging the whole 8 and 16 bit hobby market to levels that weren’t sustainable. That is why the first thing I would do with the DeLorean would be to convince IBM to not allow MS to sell their PC-DOS to 3rd parties, thus no “PCs”. Every time I see a PC I can’t help but think of Buzz Lightyear: “you are a sad, strange little man, and you have my pity” :P 

If it wasn't DOS it would be something else.  The industry is a natural monopoly.  Having 6 different standards which are not only incompatible software wise, but whose disks you can't even read is undesirable. If Gary Kildall actually went and worked out a deal with IBM, we would probably all be using a Digital Research OS today.   Had IBM been able to stop DOS, we would probably not be using the children of the 5150.  All of the "me too" computers probably couldn't have happened at least not the way it did. But I don't think we would really be in a better position if all this had happened in some other way.  Look at what happened with the phones.   There are things worse than microsoft.

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It's a real shame what happened to Gary Kildall; he was a good man.  Not that Bill Gates isn't a good guy; but my impression is that Digital Research had better programmers than Microsoft and things would have been different in many ways.  He was further along than microsoft with a gui os but he also believed that the company doing the operating system should not compete with companies doing the applications.

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I have my own experiences with Intel and Digital. While contracting with Acorn/ARM I was assigned to Digital to work on the StrongARM. At the time the Intel lawsuit was mid-stride, and the end result was that Intel ended up owning the StrongARM IP and an ARM license. Ironic that Intel sold off that IP to someone else and let go of the biggest ever market advantage they ever had.

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On 6/28/2020 at 6:23 PM, christo930 said:

If it wasn't DOS it would be something else.  The industry is a natural monopoly.  Having 6 different standards which are not only incompatible software wise, but whose disks you can't even read is undesirable. If Gary Kildall actually went and worked out a deal with IBM, we would probably all be using a Digital Research OS today.   Had IBM been able to stop DOS, we would probably not be using the children of the 5150.  All of the "me too" computers probably couldn't have happened at least not the way it did. But I don't think we would really be in a better position if all this had happened in some other way.  Look at what happened with the phones.   There are things worse than microsoft.

 

There was a similar thread on vcfed.org, along the lines of "What would the world be like if Microsoft hadn't happened?".  I personally think that clones would have happened with or without IBM, it just would have been a clone of whatever worked best for the cloners.  Before IBM, Taiwanese cloners were making tons of Apple ][+ clones.  Apple sued, but I don't think that did any good... the only reason those went away is because they could make more money cloning 5150 boards instead.  And if CP/M hadn't taken over as the Numero Uno OS, then something else would... maybe a CP/M clone.  Or something completely different and original. 

 

I read somewhere that prior to IBM coming onto the scene in 1981 that the actual #1 computer company was Tandy (I was shocked too!) that we'd be working on machines evolved from the TRS-80 Model 4 machine with a 64-bit GUI based on LDOS instead.  Actually that sounds more interesting than what we ended up with.

 

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I am retro-impressed with how professional and extensive Tandy's software lineup was. Apple themselves didn't do nearly a fraction of what Tandy had going. And, yet, all my buddies had all other micros. Anything but TRS-80's.

 

TRS-80 software seems consistently packaged and very well documented. It was more than ready for business usage especially beginning with Model II and III.

 

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Getting back to the original question of the thread and what I think is the most obvious reply...

 

The SGM would have drastically cut into the sales of the ADAM. If one is considered expanding a videogame system into either a supercharged videogame system for say roughly $150 or a complete computer system with printer for $500 (EM#3) or $700 (Stand-Alone), I’d say most would go down the road of the SGM especially considering that we are dealing with a toy company.

 

Coleco made a huge investment into the development and production of the ADAM that started much earlier than most even realize, so why shoot yourself in the foot with a somewhat competing product? You don’t, so the SGM was axed and this led to only one possible choice for the consumer to play the enhanced Super Games.

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Posted (edited)

If the SGM itself was upgradeable with a keyboard and printer, then it could have been a path to an adam compatible computer.

Edited by mr_me

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46 minutes ago, mr_me said:

If the SGM itself was upgradeable with a keyboard and printer, then it could have been a path to an adam compatible computer.

I think Coleco's point was that it was the ColecoVision that was upgradeable with a keyboard and printer to make it an ADAM computer.  Why would having to buy a ColecoVision AND an SGM to have the same upgrade path been better or more attractive to consumers?

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36 minutes ago, Ikrananka said:

I think Coleco's point was that it was the ColecoVision that was upgradeable with a keyboard and printer to make it an ADAM computer.  Why would having to buy a ColecoVision AND an SGM to have the same upgrade path been better or more attractive to consumers?

It was probably simpler than that. By early 1983 it was clear that the console market was crashing, Wall Street was panicking, and everybody was moving to home computers. So they quickly adapted  from “you can upgrade your CV to become an entry level home computer” to “we offer a home computer that can play CV games btw”. 

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55 minutes ago, Ikrananka said:

I think Coleco's point was that it was the ColecoVision that was upgradeable with a keyboard and printer to make it an ADAM computer.  Why would having to buy a ColecoVision AND an SGM to have the same upgrade path been better or more attractive to consumers?

They could have sold an SGM, keyboard, and printer bundle if they wanted. It would have been the same thing.  Once they had the adam expansion design it made the sgm redundant.  And like Opcode pointed out, the perception at the time was that videogames were dead and computers were the future.

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17 hours ago, opcode said:

It was probably simpler than that. By early 1983 it was clear that the console market was crashing, Wall Street was panicking, and everybody was moving to home computers. So they quickly adapted  from “you can upgrade your CV to become an entry level home computer” to “we offer a home computer that can play CV games btw”. 


By March 1983, Coleco were manufacturring their 1.5 millionth ColecoVision system
They just had signed a deal with CBS for the Europe distribution 
Coleco was on a roll! ... It was not the ''end'' or game crash just yet

Of course, later that year, things changed ALOT and by the late 1983, the video game crash happened 

And like NIAD mentioned, the developement of the ADAM started way earlier than most people might think
 

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Coleco also was not solely video games, they made other toys, big wheels, and educational electronics.  They didn't have many programmers on staff at all, so to them, like Mattel, shifting away from console gaming was not that different from any other toy they felt wasn't going to sell.  I have to imagine that the ColecoVision/ADAM had a short leash as a result.

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Do we know how many video game programmers coleco had internally?  I know they contracted out Atari and Intellivision programming.  Mattel Electronics on the other hand had 110 video game programmers in house with offices in France and Taiwan dedicated to video game development including those for atari, colecovision, PC, and Apple.  In 1983 they probably had the second largest team of video game developers in the world after Atari.  Mattel quit their home computer early and their pivot in and out of video games cost hundreds of millions of dollars and nearly bankrupted the parent toy company.  Coleco seemed to operate more conservatively.  My understanding is that their demise and Adam's demise was blamed on the 1980s banking crisis.  Coleco always went to the banks to finance their products and the banks were in crisis at that time.  Had they secured that financing they probably would have persisted with the Adam.  The shift from SGM to Adam expansion may have had something to do with the banks who wanted nothing to do with video games in 1983.

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On 12/28/2019 at 7:22 PM, HDTV1080P said:

In the 20th Century the best home version of Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior (5 screen), and Buck Rodgers was on the ADAM computer. I remember playing Buck Rodgers the Supergame on Digital Data Pack back in 1983 and was amazed of how awesome the quality was compared to any other system. Some of those first ADAM games used almost the entire 256K of space like Richard Scary's Best Electronic Workbook Ever. The ADAM was ahead of its time. The Amiga and NES in late 1985 were better if a programmer would have made the exact same games. The problems with comparing 20th Century videogame and computer systems is that one always needs to compare the same game titles to get a real world performance measurement. Many computer and videogame systems have their plusses and minuses when it comes to specs. I love the detachable ADAMNET keyboard with the ADAM. So many companies like Commodore had the memory console built into the keyboard, unlike the ADAM that placed the memory console in a separate box just like modern 21st century desktop computers. The ADAM had 4 expansion module slots (3 internal and 1 external) plus up to 16 devices could be connected to ADAMNet like a disk drive, and keyboard. The Coleco ADAM was a real computer with a lot of expansion modules and options. That is why the computer system had some dedicated third party support for around a 10 year period, which is good for a system that only sold around 500,000+ ADAM computers.

 

Lots of comments here about Donkey Kong, the ColecoVision, the ADAM, and ports for competing systems.

 

I love Donkey Kong and it is one of the many reasons I got into not just ColecoVision (I got mine when I was 5), but also other systems: I became fascinated by the idea of the "arcade" version and ports.  I remember thinking at the time that this process was similar to movies: Arcade:Home Console::Movie Theater:Home Video.  Of course, 5-9 year old me could never have envisioned what would happen to arcades going forward, but I think the analogy from the time held.

 

I got a Commodore when I was older, though I never had DK for it, or any game that I also had the ColecoVision version of.  Indeed, unlike it seems most in the C64 scene, I thought of and wanted my C64 to be a productivity machine, a "real" computer, not a games machine.

 

This is perhaps why my first true "retro" purchase was my 2004 acquisition of a Commodore 128.  The 128 was everything I wanted my 64 to be back in 1993-1994 (I was late to that party, clearly).

 

And that opened the floodgates.  A Commodore Plus/4.  A Tandy CoCo2.

 

But what I really wanted was to try different ports of DK.  I had a Wii so could play the Nintendo port when I desired.  Still like the look of the Coleco one better.

 

But I acquired an Atari 800XL and TI-99/4A to try their ports.  No point in bothering with a 2600 (though I'd played it) or an Intellivision, I knew they couldn't hold a candle.  Some day I'll try a 7800.  Through NIAD on this site, I got the DK Jr. and DK super game packs.

 

Still haven't much played the 64 version, but I will say the following things:

 

1.  For my money, for sheer look and accuracy, the actual best port I have played/seen is the one for the TI-99/4A.  I like the Atari 800XL one for its idiosyncratic gameplay, but it's not as "arcade accurate."

 

2.  The ColecoVision DK and the ADAM Super DK are both very pretty to look at, but the play is just OK compared to the arcade or even the TI-99/4A. 

 

3.  However, at this point, I actually really prefer the differentiated ports of this or any game to "arcade accuracy," which of course like most of you is the standard I wanted back in the 80s.  But today you can get arcade accurate in the home with no problem.  When I play the ColecoVision DK, or the ADAM Super DK, or other Coleco/ADAM ports, it's because I WANT to play the Coleco versions, not the arcade versions.  I can do that too if I want, and I see no special reason to do so on the DK.  Indeed, when I found out that Mario Bros. had been ported in the homebrew scene to the ColecoVision, I was excited, but then disappointed to learn it was done to look more like the arcade version than, say, as a continuation of the ColecoVision interpretation of the Mario universe, that aesthetic.  THAT'S the aesthetic I want when I play Coleco.  Not "How can I use every modern trick in the book to make this as arcade-realistic as possible," but "What would this have looked like if Coleco had ported it from 1982-1984?"  Still would love to see DK 3 that way.

 

4.  DK Jr. and the Super DK Jr. on Coleco/ADAM were best for their times.

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