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Computers and the videogame crash of the 80's.

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1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

First year but sales were trending upward in 1985 by the second half of the year as purchases increased and more players on the industry side were pushing output, and don't forget that $800 game system that came out that same year because they though it was an ideal time. RDI something.

Have not seen quarterly sales figures for 1985.  Irrespective, who the hell would push an $800 game system in the 80s?  Was this a home gaming system?  That is nearly $2,000 in 2020 money!

 

1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

Also the NES didn't release in 1985 it was test marketed in 1985, and a couple sources said it was lukewarm while some said it did well. Regardless it was test marketed by 1 state I doubt the NES was a facotr, also the same year as RDI machine, Ghostbusters video game iirc, and 1 million 2600's sold with no marketing.

 

I turned up a better article on Wired detailing the release strategy.  Released in New York in October 1985, expanded to other large cities in February 1986, the nation-wide by the end of 1986.  That pushes skepticism on Nintendo's numbers that 3/4 of 1986's sales were the NES.  F-ing marketing droids.  At $79.99 each, 1 million Atari 2600s would push figures of $79 million.  That would mean, if Nintendo's numbers are correct, Atari, in just 2600 sales, would have gobbled all but $50 million of non-NES numbers for the year, not including games sales.  Still only a fraction of figures prior to the crash.

 

1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

Your skipping ahead a year. Coleco actually had money in 1985, and thinking they ould be scared to share a pie for Atari in 1986 based on an ASSUMPTION doesn't make sense.

The ASSUMPTION (emphasis unnecessary) does make sense when you speculate on the future.  Again, taking Nintendo's retro-facing analysis for face value, I would expect that if Coleco's projections into 1986 showed a further slipping sales, they would have to consider production and logistics costs.  If what I find is true, that the ColecoVision sold around 2 million units and most of that at the beginning of its life, it was on a down-ward trend in a foundering market and facing competition from two Atari consoles.  Atari was an electronics company; Coleco was a toy company.

 

1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

NES would be riding Coleco's wave not the other way around, they were the leading console at the time. Also the NES came out in nationwide in Sept 1986. Adam is a major part of why the CV was discontinued because of a general company shift they didn't "give up on it".

While I may have bad conclusions from what I can find of the industry numbers, I cannot reconcile your statement with this:

 

"Coleco's Consumer Electronics segment generated sales of
$56.2 million for 1985 and incurred an operating loss of $38.5 million,
nearly all attributable to ColecoVision. During the course of the year, all
ADAM and ColecoVision inventory was sold, completing the discontinuation
of those product lines."

 

Coleco Industries, Inc. Annual & Quarterly Reports: 1981 to 1986

From the 1985 annual report.

 

The 1984 annual report is even more damning: continually slipping sales, selling ADAMs at below cost, consumer electronics sales of $98 million versus $404 million in the previous year.  The ADAM gets a lot of flak, and indications are its sales were only increasing due to the price cuts which put it out of balance against its production costs, but the ADAM was not the only loss for the year and is actually listed as a separate loss.

 

A toy company saw its toys selling over $650 million, a substantial increase from the prior year in an industry at $8 billion, and its consumer electronics division not only losing 3/4 of its $404 million sales from the previous year, but suffering loses ($140 million PLUS the ADAM's $118 million loss) which almost completely devour its toy profits and push them into a loss of $79 million.  In 1984's market analysis, the ADAM is specifically mentioned, but numbers indicate the ADAM was not the only issue.

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The CV was ultimately a failure as it, too, succumbed to the video game crash.  Granted, a lot of Coleco's problems did stem from the Adam computer, but the CV eventually didn't do so hot either after being a pretty good for success for the first year or so after its release.  How long the CV could have lasted if Coleco didn't have the addition anchor of the Adam weighing the company down who knows.  Regardless, the CV would have gotten trounced at some point by Nintendo and NES.

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11 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Have not seen quarterly sales figures for 1985.  Irrespective, who the hell would push an $800 game system in the 80s?  Was this a home gaming system?  That is nearly $2,000 in 2020 money!

 

 

Excuse me I got mixed up, it wasn't $800, it was $2000 with rebate.

 

Er, of course there were other cheaper consoles out to, LJN had a console out thinking they could grab the kids market.

 

16 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

Again, taking Nintendo's retro-facing analysis for face value, I would expect that if Coleco's projections into 1986 showed a further slipping sales, they would have to consider production and logistics costs.  If what I find is true, that the ColecoVision sold around 2 million units and most of that at the beginning of its life, it was on a down-ward trend in a foundering market and facing competition from two Atari consoles.  Atari was an electronics company; Coleco was a toy company.

 

We actually don't know the real Coleco LTD, you're making an assumption that 2 million is 100% solid. However Coleco was working on several games and add-ons for the CV before Adam made that an issue, including the Super Game Module which would have been a cheaper way of doing the NES MMC chips increasing power to the console and a possible sucessor. So this belief that they "gave up on the CV" doesn't fly and considering they were in prime position with their competition shaken out it makes even less sense.

 

20 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

A toy company saw its toys selling over $650 million, a substantial increase from the prior year in an industry at $8 billion.

 

You are confusing losses for total profit losses. 

 

Adam was THE reason why Coleco left Electronics and went to CBK, I think I already mentioned this, this isn't new information. What you're attempting to do is act as if CV would have still been discontinued if the Adam didn't fail which is highly unlikely based on what Coleco was preparing for the system and the fact they basically would have been in charge of the market. 

 

It's most likely that without an Adam crash or with an Adam moderate success, the CV would have had it's successor, it's various features that were planned, and it's SGM. Atari still would have been in the process of being brought out so the 7800 still would have been delayed and Nintendo still would have likely attempted to join due to Atari rejecting the system distribution.

 

The difference is the Coleco would be the lead consoles when Nintendo came in, with a ton of games, new games coming, and an add-on to increase graphical capabilities until the likely successor and since the crash wouldn't force a partial resetlike between the 7800/NES/SMS in 1986, the Nintendo would be considered entering the market 4 years late.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Hwlngmad said:

The CV was ultimately a failure as it, too, succumbed to the video game crash.  Granted, a lot of Coleco's problems did stem from the Adam computer, but the CV eventually didn't do so hot either after being a pretty good for success for the first year or so after its release.  How long the CV could have lasted if Coleco didn't have the addition anchor of the Adam weighing the company down who knows.  Regardless, the CV would have gotten trounced at some point by Nintendo and NES.

No it wouldn't have, this notion that the NES would have trounced a market leader four years late doesn't make sense, especially with the SGM and a successor on the way that likely would have leap frogged the NES. There wouldn't have been a "mid-gen reset" if Coleco stayed int he race which is what most people talking about the NES think of in such a scenario. That only happened because Coleco left which made 986 the reset year with the nationwide launches of the 7800/SMS/NES.

 

Not to mention Atari wouldn't even be a competitors because the delay with the 7800 still would have happened.

 

The fact Coleco still had software during the crash when other people didn't (though less but Coleco can't force third-parties) as well as 95 shows the crash wasn't an issue, support caved after the Adam disaster and they discontinued the CV to shift strategy months later.

 

 

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With the best figures I can find, the ColecoVision sold 6 million in its three-year life, while the Atari 2600 sold over 30 million in the same period.  While a great product and, arguably, a better system, this hardly makes the ColecoVision a market leader.  There had to be winners and losers.  The ColecoVision lost.  The picture painted by both sales and profit loses and operating loses paint the same picture: Coleco's consumer electronics, even with ADAM excluded, was costing the company money, thus making it a failure.

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2 minutes ago, OLD CS1 said:

With the best figures I can find, the ColecoVision sold 6 million in its three-year life, while the Atari 2600 sold over 30 million in the same period. 

Atari took 15 years to sell 30 million systems (1977-1992). Like I said you seem to not be understanding the time period we are discussing and now it seems you are using Wiki/AVGN talking points which have cause a lot of confusion when talking about gaming history. 

 

Coleco was the clear market leader it was outselling the Atari and gobbling up marketshare. Yes the "total" sales would be higher as the 2600 released in 1977 and the Coleco launched in 1982, but aligned the Coleco was stealing marketshare quickly and would have continued to do so, especially if it stayed in longer, Atari (main competitor) wouldn't even get its new console out which was made to fight the colecovision (7800) until 1986, and already pissed people off not trying to salvage the 5200.

 

This was also a symptom of Mattel which seemed like they had no issues dragging the Intellivision out without a successor.

 

But regardless, I don't blame you for that, it's time consuming to go over all this stuff so the cliffnotes would be what I would have went for as well, but to help out:

 

1. Atari was released in 1977 Coleco was in 1982

2. Atari had the 5200 in 1982, Warner decided it wasn't worth salvaging once the issues piled up extending the 2600's lifespan.

3. Coleco has a console in 1982, ads campaign massive, takes over mindshare quickly over the outdated VCS.

4. 1982 onward was the "third generation" of gaming consoles back in the day, this was changed by Wiki and some others many years later due to articles talking about pre-NES systems being "4-bit" and such. Of course these journalists weren't in touch with gaming but that fud spread to the generational format that's known today. (thought thius might help with clarity)

 

As for failure, CV wasn't a failure it was the best selling machine on the market before the crash from all sources I can find gobbling up marketshare and it was the only one left standing and as far as financial reports goes I don't see anything that indicates the operating losses for the CV (which have to be looked at in context) in 84-85 took over the profits that were made before so based off that they still had positive cash with those losses, so at the very least I would say they weren't a commercial failure with the CV. 

 

But when talking about a hypothetical scenario you have to understand all the things Coleco had planned for the CV happened during the crash and the Adam implosion. If such an implosion didn't happen it's very likely that everything would have continued as scheduled for the CV.

 

 

 

 

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Unfortunately we are just playing the "What if" game.  While it is fun and (very) debatable as to what the CV could and/or couldn't have done if it was able to survive the video game crash, the fact remains that it didn't and was yet another victim of the crash.  I still think it would have gotten trounced by Nintendo and the NES even if it had survived, but that is, admittingly, just speculation on my part.  Besides, going back to theme of the thread, computers in and around the time of the CV had its number to a degree as well as machines like the C64 and/or A8 were just as capable as the CV gaming wise and offered a lot more beyond just playing games.  This is in part why such good/great gaming machines as the CV took massive hits because home computers like the C64 and/or A8 being able to trump it in terms of capability and sometimes games themselves.

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The best selling video game system in north america from 1984-86 was the commodore 64.  It took over from the colecovision in 1984 selling millions of units.  None of that counts in video game sales when people talk about the industry crash; and a lot the video game software was pirated anyway.  There was plenty of video game activity none the less. 

 

The 2M colecovisions was through 1984q1.  That report indicated 1984q1 colecovision sales was less than 1983q1.  So it wasn't expected to match the 1M+ they sold in 1983 and colecovisions were out of the catalogs in 1985.  Lifetime estimates put colecovision at more than 2.5M consoles but less than 3M.  The thing with coleco was that they weren't really a videogame company.  Colecovision was getting good third party developer and publisher support by 1983-84 but their first party cartridges were mostly dependent on arcade licenses, and that well was dry.  They seem to be creating some interesting technology for Adam but their graphics chip was not much better than a 1979 TI-994.  Their cancelled super game module was nothing more than a tape drive that was soon made redundant by falling ROM prices.  The graphics chip had a natural successor in 1985 for a possible colecovision ii, but even that still lacked features that other older systems had like hardware horizontal scroll.

2 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

With the best figures I can find, the ColecoVision sold 6 million in its three-year life, while the Atari 2600 sold over 30 million in the same period.  While a great product and, arguably, a better system, this hardly makes the ColecoVision a market leader.  There had to be winners and losers.  The ColecoVision lost.  The picture painted by both sales and profit loses and operating loses paint the same picture: Coleco's consumer electronics, even with ADAM excluded, was costing the company money, thus making it a failure.

That six million number comes from the fact that coleco did ship six million donkey kong cartridges.  However, the six million includes millions of atari 2600 and intellivision donkey kong cartridges.  People mistakenly made the assumption that they were all colecovision pack-ins.  I wouldn't say the colecovision was a loser.  They beat Atari to be the number one video game console in 1983. 

Edited by mr_me
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On 9/4/2020 at 12:40 PM, Leeroy ST said:

Atari took 15 years to sell 30 million systems (1977-1992). Like I said you seem to not be understanding the time period we are discussing and now it seems you are using Wiki/AVGN talking points which have cause a lot of confusion when talking about gaming history. 

Not sure what that is, but the table I was looking at, to my misunderstanding, is showing Atari sales as cumulative at each year, so the period of ColecoVision sales of 6 million (see below) is actually vs. Atari 2600 at 10 million.  My mistake on that.  I have to dig back through my history to find it, but ISTR it is a fandom page.

 

On 9/4/2020 at 3:11 PM, mr_me said:

They seem to be creating some interesting technology for Adam but their graphics chip was not much better than a 1979 TI-994.

Similar to the TI-99/4 (TMS-9918,) but identical to the TI-99/4A (TMS-9918A, really the 9928A in the ColecoVision) the latter which includes a bit-map mode not present on the former.  I would like to know how many games on the ColecoVision actually used bit-map mode as most of them seem to use graphics mode. 

 

On 9/4/2020 at 3:11 PM, mr_me said:

That six million number comes from the fact that coleco did ship six million donkey kong cartridges.  However, the six million includes millions of atari 2600 and intellivision donkey kong cartridges.

If the 2.5~3 million ColecoVision number is correct, and if the numbers I found for the Atari 2600 are correct, the ColecoVision only sold one-quarter of what the 2600 did over the same period.  Nonetheless, after reviewing that source and poking around a little more, not only can I not find definitive sales figures, but others have decried the same problem of lacking good source numbers.  Sales figures notwithstanding...

 

On 9/4/2020 at 3:11 PM, mr_me said:

I wouldn't say the colecovision was a loser.  They beat Atari to be the number one video game console in 1983.

It started out strong.  But it did not make it out of the crash, for whatever reason.  Coleco's own documents say it was losing the company money and selling for less than it cost to produce, so it was unsustainable.  Meanwhile, the same year it was discontinued the Atari 2600 is known to have sold a million units and survived the crash.  Not exactly a winning story, IMNSHO.

 

On 9/4/2020 at 12:57 PM, Hwlngmad said:

Unfortunately we are just playing the "What if" game.  While it is fun and (very) debatable as to what the CV could and/or couldn't have done if it was able to survive the video game crash, the fact remains that it didn't and was yet another victim of the crash.  I still think it would have gotten trounced by Nintendo and the NES even if it had survived, but that is, admittingly, just speculation on my part.

Indeed.  We could imagine a number of scenarios had the ColecoVision survived, but the base NES is far more capable than the base ColecoVision, and my speculation agrees with yours.  I think the ColecoVision just showed up late in life-span of its console generation.  That said, a stronger US market with a better-performing ColecoVision and still high sales of the Atari 2600 might have convinced Nintendo to not bring the NES here.  Again, speculation and who the frig knows.  But, oh man, I remember the "NES vs. Commodore 64" wars that raged on BBSes around my neck of the woods!

 

I was disappointed at the time to see the ColecoVision die out.  I could tell it had the same video chip as my home computer, and that was confirmed to me much later and it seemed to me the ColecoVision's games represented what could have been for the 99/4A.

 

Not to mention the crash as a whole since it changed the face of retail outlets to which I had grown accustomed: Sears removed its Tele-Games section, and the several aisles of video games akin to that of a shoe store disappeared; K-Mart's computer and electronic section was reduced to nothing but computers; Target started filling bins all around the store with cartridge titles for cheap, as did Montgomery Wards and others.  Toy-R-Us shifted to more Cabbage Patch Dolls (Target had an immense section,) model trains, and more action figures, Transformers, and Star Wars appeared where the games used to be.

 

 

Edited by OLD CS1
The 9928A is a different chip than the 9918A, having YPbPr outputs, but the same graphical engine as the 9918A.
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In 1983-84 the atari 2600 was selling at less than half the price of a colecovision; they weren't really competing with each other.  Colecovision competed against the new wave of systems that came out in 1982; the Atari 5200, Vectrex, and the Commodore 64.  Vectrex was a little different, but the C64 clearly had the best technology to compete against the nes but most parents weren't going to buy computers and floppy drives for their eight year old kids.

 

And Mattel started planning their next generation console based on an M68000 cpu as early as 1981.  They even had an improved intellivision planned for 1983 as a stop gap to compete against colecovision but it was cancelled summer 1983.  If the north american video game industry didn't give up in the mid 1980s you might have seen consoles far more advanced than the nes.  And I'll throw in a consolised Amiga as well.  Nintendo might have found a niche as a budget console for the kids.

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8 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

If the 2.5~3 million ColecoVision number is correct, and if the numbers I found for the Atari 2600 are correct, the ColecoVision only sold one-quarter of what the 2600 did over the same period.  Nonetheless, after reviewing that source and poking around a little more, not only can I not find definitive sales figures, but others have decried the same problem of lacking good source numbers.  Sales figures notwithstanding...

 

 

We didn't know actual Coleco sales, and the same "time frame" would be 1982-1984 which Coleco was clearly established even in the media as the new big name and was gobbling up Atari's marketshare and it didn't help that the 5200 failed/was abandoned, which was my entire point. Coleco was the big name at the time, Warner was forced to keep selling 2600's until they created the 7800 which was locked out of the market due to a legal dispute.

 

9 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

It started out strong.  But it did not make it out of the crash, for whatever reason.  Coleco's own documents say it was losing the company money and selling for less than it cost to produce, so it was unsustainable. 

 

 

It literally did make it out the crash it was discontinued in spring in 1985, you are trying way to hard to downplay the CV's performance and I don't know why. You are also assuming that "losses" and "profits" are the same, the whole industry side fell, but consumers were still buying hardware and software despite popular belief spread by Youtube and Wikipedia years ago. So as developers started coming back and the industry slowly regained footing (and 1 million 2600's were sold in 1985 btw) revenues and profits would have shot back up and Coleco was wella ware of this due to the many things they had prepared to add-on to the colecovision among other plans, plans you are outright ignoring in your analysis while throwing out words like "unsustainable" which doesn't make any sense, and as far as financial record go, again, I don't see anything that suggests the short-term crash losses that Coleco sailed through somehow overtook the profits it made before, and considering this is the computer and video game industry we are talking about you are going to have periods of losses, as most consoles since the mid-90's would show you. You are equating any loss of money to doom without a basis.

 

9 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

Indeed.  We could imagine a number of scenarios had the ColecoVision survived, but the base NES is far more capable than the base ColecoVision, and my speculation agrees with yours. 

 

 

This really just shows your ignorant of the famicoms based specs and the games the two had as they were clearly in the same class of consoles with advantages and disadventages, if you think that the Colecovision was a "late" 2600/intellivision entrant and was closer to those consoles than you know as much about gaming history as the AVGN.

 

9 hours ago, OLD CS1 said:

That said, a stronger US market with a better-performing ColecoVision and still high sales of the Atari 2600 might have convinced Nintendo to not bring the NES here. 

 

 

Again, Colecovision was quickly eating Atari's marketshare. The only real hypothetical that matters is what Coleco would have done if the Adam didn't fail. Considering it survived the crash, Nintendo likely still would have entered but would probably be a second place to a console that already was a big name in the market and was about to upgrade its machine.

 

Considering any path were Coleco is still in the market removes the 1986 soft reset so that would mean that Coleco would have 85 and chunks of 86 to itself while the 780-0 was locked out until summer/spring 86 and Nintendo wouldn't be a thing until September 86.

 

8 hours ago, mr_me said:

In 1983-84 the atari 2600 was selling at less than half the price of a colecovision; they weren't really competing with each other. 

Some of the commercials and marketshare comments in the press kind of disagree with this. Maybe not direct competitors but it was blowing some shade on the side. 

 

8 hours ago, mr_me said:

Vectrex was a little different, but the C64 clearly had the best technology to compete against the nes but most parents weren't going to buy computers and floppy drives for their eight year old kids.

Coleco could compete with NES, they even had shared game titles, the mappers and MMC's were what were becoming the norm when the NES launched in NA as those games wouldn't have been possible prior and Coleco was working on their own version of something similar.

 

As for the C64, they did release a console version of the device but barely marketed it for some reason. Might have done a lot better in the market if they took it seriously.

 

8 hours ago, mr_me said:

And Mattel started planning their next generation console based on an M68000 cpu as early as 1981.  They even had an improved intellivision planned for 1983 as a stop gap to compete against colecovision but it was cancelled summer 1983.  If the north american video game industry didn't give up in the mid 1980s 

 

If it was cancelled by Summer 1983 as you said that wouldn't be due to the impact of the crash as that would become an issue later, so was there a reason stated by Mattel or staff why it was cancelled?

 

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Losses at Mattel Electronics in 1983 were massive.  That summer new management was brought in and they cut about 660 jobs.  The intellivisionlives website also talks about feature creep delaying things.  It was a stop-gap solution so probably a good idea to cancel it anyway.  The MC68000 based system was technically never cancelled but top management had enough of home electronics and Mattel Electronics was closed.  It was a similar story at Atari.  Signs of trouble were seen as early as late 1982.

 

Regarding previous generation competing with current generation.  There's always a bit of competition at first when the new system's small library is compared to the mature library of the previous generation and developers haven't yet hit their stride with the new platform.  Also keep in mind that Atari licensed the atari 2600 hardware to Coleco who were making a clone system and Atari made money off each one sold.  Coleco also made good money with Atari 2600 and Intellivision cartridges but notice they didn't produce cartridges for their competitors the Atari 5200 and c64.

Edited by mr_me
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1 hour ago, Leeroy ST said:

This really just shows your ignorant of the famicoms based specs and the games the two had as they were clearly in the same class of consoles with advantages and disadventages, if you think that the Colecovision was a "late" 2600/intellivision entrant and was closer to those consoles than you know as much about gaming history as the AVGN

There really is a technological leap in the 1983 famicom compared to the colecovision.  The cv graphics and audio are based on 1979 technology where nintendo invested in significant improvements.  Key differences include multidirectional pixel scrolling, multicoloured sprites, double the sprites per scanline.  The cv only had 15 colours total compared to the many dozens of colours on an nes.  The single coloured flickering sprites were evident on colecovision.  Not that nes didn't have flicker but it could do twice the sprites each with more colours compared to cv.  The reason "mapper" cartridges are effective on nes/famicom was because the graphics bus was extended to the cartridge.  On colecovision the graphics bus is trapped with limited access by the cpu.  And the nes sound chip is another advancement in technology.  The colecovision was based on old technology that was surpassed by the commodore 64 which came out the same year.
Edited by mr_me
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58 minutes ago, mr_me said:
There really is a technological leap in the 1983 famicom compared to the colecovision.  The cv graphics and audio are based on 1979 technology where nintendo invested in significant improvements.  Key differences include multidirectional pixel scrolling, multicoloured sprites, double the sprites per scanline.  The cv only had 15 colours total compared to the many dozens of colours on an nes.  The single coloured flickering sprites were evident on colecovision.  Not that nes didn't have flicker but it could do twice the sprites each with more colours compared to cv.  The reason "mapper" cartridges are effective on nes/famicom was because the graphics bus was extended to the cartridge.  On colecovision the graphics bus is trapped with limited access by the cpu.  And the nes sound chip is another advancement in technology.  The colecovision was based on old technology that was surpassed by the commodore 64 which came out the same year.

Except we are comparing base systems and the architectural desing of the base famicom isn't that much stronger than a ColecoVision/MSX.

 

It's possible the SGM if it was released could have solved some of the other issues you mentioned making it an alternative to Nintendo cartridge enhancement strategy.  From the demos we have now I'd say that would be the case. Sure still wouldn't be as strong as some of the later chips but by that time Coleco would have put out a new machine anyway in this hypothetical. The SGM would really just be from 85-87. As that would give Coleco time to make a new platform and would give a year before the NES nationwide launch and heavy adoption of cartridge graphical asistance.

 

However, I find that saying the CV was closer to a 2600 than a base famicom or a 7800 a bit too ridiculous, which is what the other user was implying. 

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1 hour ago, mr_me said:

Regarding previous generation competing with current generation.  There's always a bit of competition at first when the new system's small library is compared to the mature library of the previous generation and developers haven't yet hit their stride with the new platform. 

What's this in reference to? The Coleco and NES? Because base famicom was capped and this has been proven with several titles including ballblazer which even the 5200 has an advantage over the base famicom and other similar pseudo-3D fast titles which require quick sprite resizing and manipulation.

 

Sure once you factor in the enhancements it was clearly a more capable machine but there's really nothing from the base console releases earlier that really show a major gap between the two (other than the sprites for obvious reasons.), same when you compare the base console to a MSX.

 

Early Coleco smashed the 2600 and the Intellivisions "then" later games and that was with some of the games being lazy ports using the 2600 as the primary development platform. 

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53 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

Except we are comparing base systems and the architectural desing of the base famicom isn't that much stronger than a ColecoVision/MSX.

 

It's possible the SGM if it was released could have solved some of the other issues you mentioned making it an alternative to Nintendo cartridge enhancement strategy.  From the demos we have now I'd say that would be the case. Sure still wouldn't be as strong as some of the later chips but by that time Coleco would have put out a new machine anyway in this hypothetical. The SGM would really just be from 85-87. As that would give Coleco time to make a new platform and would give a year before the NES nationwide launch and heavy adoption of cartridge graphical asistance.

 

However, I find that saying the CV was closer to a 2600 than a base famicom or a 7800 a bit too ridiculous, which is what the other user was implying. 

What I described on the famicom is the base system.  Super Mario Brothers scrolling is done with a basic cartridge of 32 MB plus 8MB of graphic patterns and nothing more.

 

I don't mind repeating myself if it helps you but the unreleased colecovision super game module was nothing more than a tape drive, that was made redundant by falling rom prices and large capacity cartridges.  It's not physically possible to add hardware pixel scrolling, improve on the severe sprite limitations, or add colours to a colecovision, nor can you have full access to graphics ram.  What you could do is just replace it all like expansion module #1, but then it's no longer a colecovision.  If you want to see what SGM games would have looked like, look at the super games on Adam.

 

Since you brought it up I will add that intellivision has multidirectional hardware scrolling can put double the sprites on a scanline and can directly address more cartridge memory compared to colecovision.  The Atari 2600 can put up 128 different colours on the screen compared to 15 on the cv.

 

The commodore 64 really does come close to nes capability.  The nes has a bit higher resolution which always stands out visually.

45 minutes ago, Leeroy ST said:

What's this in reference to? The Coleco and NES? ...

The next sentence that got cut off from the quote tells you what it is.

Edited by mr_me
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37 minutes ago, mr_me said:

What I described on the famicom is the base system.  Super Mario Brothers scrolling is done with a basic cartridge of 32 MB plus 8MB of graphic patterns and nothing more.

Actually it does have some tricks in the cart, it's also not the best example of an earlier base game, and considering people have ported SMB to the MSX this is an iffy statement. There's a difference between a SMB cart and Antarctic Adventure for example. Then you have homebrews further showing differences (non-SGM ones)

 

I'm not saying the Colecovision is "stronger" than the base famicom (which was inspired by the CV) but it was competitive and the base system wasn't that big of a gap, the sprites would be the biggest difference since the famicom wouldn't need software workarounds to have multiple colors per sprite. But otherwise the CV was closer to a base famicom than a 2600. Which was the entire point of the discussion.

 

The gap between 1982 2600 games and what was on the CV in its first year was a much bigger gap than CV games in 1983 compared to the Famicoms first year. That should be clear as day just looking at the game screens/vids. The fact the CV even had similar looking shared games in the first place should throw that belief out the window.

 

37 minutes ago, mr_me said:

It's not physically possible to add hardware pixel scrolling, improve on the severe sprite limitations, or add colours to a colecovision,

I said was improve the graphics. Also it would help with workarounds for some of the issues you mentioned which Coleco was already doing for other games, but I never said anything about direct improvements to the hardware. I even mentioned in a hypothetical if Coleco stayed in the market it would likely only last from 85-87 at the latest before a new console was released.

 

37 minutes ago, mr_me said:

The commodore 64 really does come close to nes capability. 

 

Ok?

 

Edited by Leeroy ST
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Super Mario Brothers on nes uses nrom mapper 0.  It's the most basic mapper, doesn't even have bank switching.  If you're thinking of super boy ii on msx, that's an example of coarse scrolling.  You can see how chunky the scrolling is.  You can do smooth one directional scrolling on colecovision but it takes a lot more code, memory, cpu, and your limited by how much data you can move to graphics ram per frame.  It's essentially tile animation which is what you're seeing in Antarctic Adventure; which also has chunky animation and the details are sparse due to limitations to video memory access.  Commodore 64 can do hardware multidirectional scrolling, so can Intellivision and I believe Atari 5200 but the c64 has some additional scrolling tricks it can do.  The only thing the colecovision had going for it are the higher resolution, close to nes, which makes static screen shots look good, and the donkey kong pack-in cartridge.

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6 hours ago, mr_me said:

Super Mario Brothers on nes uses nrom mapper 0.  It's the most basic mapper, doesn't even have bank switching.  If you're thinking of super boy ii on msx, that's an example of coarse scrolling.  You can see how chunky the scrolling is.  You can do smooth one directional scrolling on colecovision but it takes a lot more code, memory, cpu, and your limited by how much data you can move to graphics ram per frame.  It's essentially tile animation which is what you're seeing in Antarctic Adventure; which also has chunky animation and the details are sparse due to limitations to video memory access.  Commodore 64 can do hardware multidirectional scrolling, so can Intellivision and I believe Atari 5200 but the c64 has some additional scrolling tricks it can do.  The only thing the colecovision had going for it are the higher resolution, close to nes, which makes static screen shots look good, and the donkey kong pack-in cartridge.

 

Again scrolling isn't graphics, and I never said Colecovision was "stronger" again, never said that, I said it was competitive and it was based on earlier games and that it was closer to the NES than the 2600.

 

I don't see the controversy in that. I also have no idea why you keep bringing up the C64 I never said it wasn't able to do things, I never even brought it up. 

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12 hours ago, Keatah said:

Scrolling is graphics.

 

Eh, no? Scrolling is moving the graphics at best. 7800 is an example of a system that has advantageous over the NES in other areas that scrolling that directly relate to the graphics themselves. Scrolling (which was old by the NES anyway) isn't something you would use in screenshots to friends.

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To us kids scrolling was graphics. We'd be awed everytime we saw and Apple II game move large parts of an image or use large sprites. We knew it was a programming feat from the get-go because Apple didn't have any graphics chips. It was like, "AWESOME!! Check out those graphics!! Check out that scrolling!!" And so scrolling is living moving graphics. Intrinsic to action graphics.

 

In reality the Apple II would fool us by just moving the edges, of, say, a large square. Not refilling anything, just drawing and erasing the edges.

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The amiga, genesis, snes, saturn, all increased the number of scrolling tile planes for advanced graphics effects.  Then the focus shifted to 3d graphics.  Only the atari 7800 took a different approach and nothing wrong with that.  Good to have different ideas on video game graphics technology.

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On 8/24/2020 at 5:12 PM, Keatah said:

We all like to discuss and cheer for our favorite platforms. And brag about what made them so special, so successful, so memorable.. What were some of the deciding factors in determining if a system was successful? And what might have caused them to fail?  I believe presence/absence of documentation and quality build materials were both big issues in what enabled (or not) a system to survive the crash.

 

You'll note that the successful platforms of yesteryear had great official factory documentation. It was rather complete including stuff like Monitor ROM listings, DOS code, in-depth reference manuals.. all from the manufacturer. Rather complete I say, because, there were naturally gaps in coverage and that made for a whole 3rd party industry of books that filled those gaps and expanded upon the mfg docs. These gaps bought fresh and varied talent into an ecosystem.

 

I believe too many of the low-cost consumer & department store computers projected the aura they were just "me-too" experiments. Not a whole heckuvalot went into supporting them. Or documenting them. Or, heaven forbid, creating an infrastructure around which they could grow. If the manufacturer isn't excited about their wares - how can we expect the general consumer to do the same? It's not hard to spot a product that has honor and pride behind it.

 

Looking at IBM PC, Apple II, MAC, and to a lesser extent the Amiga, they all had comprehensive reference materials. And so did the Atari 400/800, Vic-20, and C64 - if you're counting lower cost computers. Yes you can have a cheap computer and have it succeed.

 

And not only that, but there were efforts to make industry standards. Some being invented on "the" platform, othertimes outside standards would be bought in via a software or hardware upgrade. It's like right now, the PC platform is on the cusp of accepting yet another upgrade to PCIe. Behaviors and actions like that are sure to keep a platform at the forefront of performance and innovation.

 

While 8-bit machines mostly don't exchange file formats with each other directly(aside from text), most all have some sort of Flash-based storage device and comprehensive PC-side utilities and emulators that do enable sharing of data. The most common being text & graphic files - like converting them back and forth between the platform's native standard and gif/jpeg.

 

It seems to me that Atari 8 bit programming docs were a bit slow coming at launch.  At least that's the complaint I remember.
If you look at the copyright dates of books for it, documentation lagged a little after the release.
Atari was a little protective of their machine at first.
The Tandy machines have pretty decent manuals.  I've heard a lot of people say how they loved the Color Computer manuals because they were well suited to beginners.

Real keyboards mattered in the US.  Odd keyboards received somewhat negative reviews, and any machine that came with a bad keyboard ended up migrating to a better one.
I realize that many of these machines failed for more reasons than their keyboard, but I think it was a major factor.
The TI-99 chicklet keyboard was replaced with a real keyboard on the TI-99/4a rather quickly.
The Tandy Color Computer chicklet keyboard was replaced with the melted (sort of like laptop keys) keyboard, then a regular keyboard.
That Atari 400 probably sold better than all but the TI-99/4a, and maybe the CoCo 1.  But it was replaced with the XL line.
The TS-1000 sold a lot due to price, then sales tanked.  The 1500, what they probably should have sold to begin with, was a flop.
The 2068 didn't sell well.
The VZ200 hit closeout discounters like COMB as soon as it was introduced.
The Aquarius was a flop.
The Panasonic JR-200 flopped.
The MC-10 was a flop, but then it should have come out in 81 or sooner, not 83, and the keyboard wasn't it's only flaw. 
But in 81 they could have sold a lot of them.  That might be said of several of these machines.
etc...
Oddly enough, the NEC Trek had a real keyboard in the US, but the PC-6001 in Japan (same machine) had a chicklet keyboard, but it failed in the US, and was a success in Japan.
But then it was slow due to the design, the 6847 was too limited for a new machine at that time, and it was expensive. 
Even if they had isolated the video RAM so the CPU didn't have so many wait states, it's still likely it would have failed. 
If it had come out in 1980 it might have sold well, as it was more similar to the Model I than the Color Computer was.
 

One other thing that mattered was BASIC. 
It wasn't just important to have a BASIC in the US, being somewhat compatible with Microsoft BASIC guaranteed better reviews.
Atari caught hell over it's BASIC in review after review.  About the only advantage I remember mentioned in reviews, was the ability to GOTO the contents of a variable.

And finally, certain software titles sold machines.
D&D series, Wizardry, Atarisoft games, Ultima, ... support from companies like EA, Broderbund, Avalon Hill, Sierra Online, Infocom, etc... mattered.
For business/productivity... Visicalc, Print Shop, Wordstar, Lotus 1 2 3, dbase, etc...

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On 9/4/2020 at 12:57 PM, Hwlngmad said:

the fact remains that it didn't and was yet another victim of the crash. 

Except this isn't a fact because it survived after the crash and only started it was the Adam that eventually led to it's demise:

 

Intelligencer Journal 1985

c3.thumb.png.82d7c463a9ca1c8c09744d4e0f786a70.png

 

Asbury Park Press 1985

 

c2.thumb.png.430742ed29e5e7188d132854d6ee8f9b.png

 

Daily Spectrum 1985

c1.thumb.png.e6fb35cf117aeb2d82161f489bec24f2.png

 

 

All these were in 1985, the ColecoVision was still "marginally profitable" and while the Adam was being drawn down and inventory sold to a "retailer" the ColecoVision would go on several more months until the electrons portion of Coleco was marginal. Already by this time Adam crashed the electronics industry revenue and profits to be around 10-12% of Colecos bottom line, losses that would be very hard to make back with only ONE major product bringing in money into that division, which was the CV. Which had already been around for years and had price cuts on hardware and games before the "Adam bomb" so even if the CV sold 3 million consoles in 1985 with decent software attachment it wouldn't make up for the Adams staggering losses, probably not even a 4th of it.

 

Adam was the issue, not the crash. Tons of stories and articles show this. It forced Coleco's hand to jump all in on the "toy" craze led by the deceptively long lasting fad that was the Cabbage Patch Kids, which would make Coleco one of the largest Toy Makers in the country in 1986, 

 

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