Toy manufacturer Coleco Industries released the ColecoVision in August 1982. Initially billed as "The Arcade Quality Video Game System," it would battle not only against the well-established Atari VCS and Mattel Intellivision, but Atari's next-generation Atari 5200 and GCE's Vectrex, as well. ColecoVision would become the video game connoisseur's choice in platforms.
Coleco wanted a blockbuster "pack-in" game to introduce its console to the market. The company needed a game that would be so attractive to players they would have to purchase the ColecoVision system just to play it. The game Coleco selected was Nintendo's 1981 arcade hit Donkey Kong. Before the end of 1982, 600,000 units had been sold.
Nine games were available for ColecoVision at the system's launch, most being converted arcade games. Coleco attracted considerable consumer interest by releasing a large number of arcade titles for play on their system. The ColecoVision system offered 48K of RAM (Random Access Memory) and was powered by an 8-bit Z-80A microprocessor. It was unique in allowing up to 32 sprites be displayed on-screen at any one time.
Later in 1982, Coleco announced the sale of the $60 Expansion Module #1. It inserted into the "Expansion Module Interface" slot located on the front of the console, allowing Atari 2600 games to be played on the ColecoVision. Ports for 2600 joysticks were located on the module.
Coleco subsequently released Expansion Module #2. It was designed for use with driving games. It consisted of a full-sized steering wheel and miniature dashboard. The Turbo game cartridge was included with the module.
Coleco also released the Super Action Controller for ColecoVision, featuring a gun grip with four firing buttons on the handle and a joystick at the top. There is an eight-button keypad on the top face of the controller for game selection. Coleco packaged it with the Super Action Baseball cartridge. Later, Coleco released the Roller Controller, a track-ball that came packaged with the Slither game cartridge.
In February 1983 Coleco announced the arrival of the Expansion Module #3 (also known as the Super Game Module). It was scheduled to be released in August 1983 and packaged with the Super Donkey Kong game cartridge. Coleco said it would provide an additional one million bits to their console. The module would read "Super Game Wafers," or thin micro-cassettes, that contained specially enhanced games.
These wafers could hold enough programming data to accommodate true arcade-level software. The "Super Games" played on the Expansion Module #3 would feature intermissions, additional levels and high score lists. It would also permit the play of original ColecoVision cartridges. The introductory retail price of the module was planned to be 120 dollars. In October 1983, Coleco canceled plans for release of the module.
By late 1983, Coleco invested all its energy into the Adam computer system. Instead of releasing Expansion Module #3, the manufacturer announced that for 400 dollars, ColecoVision owners could transform their console into a home computer. This would happen when a module was inserted into the system's expansion port. Included with the module would be a 75-key keyboard and a letter-quality printer. Plans for releasing the ColecoVision computer adapter were dropped in 1984. That year Coleco had sold fewer than 100,000 units of the Adam system and suffered losses of close to 80 million dollars.
Coleco discontinued production of ColecoVision in the midst of the videogame market crash in 1984. An estimated six million consoles were sold in two years. ~ Dave Beuscher, All Game Guide