Blue Monkeys: The Era of Colecovision - A Vision of the Future or a Blast from the Past?By - Posted Aug 24, 2004
It’s Classic Games Week here at G4TV.com, so there’s been a lot of talk about Atari, Pac Man, Missile Command and the like. But one name that seems suspiciously absent from the tips of tongues amidst the din of idle chatter is the long forgotten, dark horse of the classic era of home video game consoles, the early ‘80s, the mighty Colecovision. Yes, Atari might have been among the first, and Intellivision might have been among the worst (A touch-pad controller for cryin’ out loud? Hello! Give me a friggin’ joystick!), but Colecovision was the baddest and boldest of the bunch. Which makes it all the more tear-jerking when considering its untimely demise.
Colecovision was unleashed upon the unsuspecting public in 1982, when the Atari 2600 and Mattel Intellivision were the titans of the in industry, and Playstation wasn't even a daydream in the coffee-addled mind of Ken Kutaragi. The graphics were leagues better than the competition's, with the look of arcade games holding true on your small screen at home. The system came with two detachable numeric keypad/joystick controllers, a plug, connection switch, and the Nintendo arcade smash, Donkey Kong. Colecovision owners will recall that the allure of the gaming system was that this Donkey Kong was, by far, superior to the Atari version, and the closest thing to the arcade game that you could get in your home. Plus, the controllers combined the best elements of their competitors, melding the joystick of Atari with the keypad of Intellivision. Suddenly, your 2600 seemed less like the wave of the future, and more like a steaming pile of crap.
Once let lose on the masses, a slew of games followed including the impressive translation of Zaxxon, the 3D spaceship flying game that was all the rage in ’83, and Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle, the video game companion to the animated Saturday morning juggernaught.
A quick aside regarding Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle: I was friggin’ obsessed with this game. As a Smurf diehard, I yearned to be swept away into the magical world of those loveable blue beasts, and despised the evil scientist gone awry (Gargamel and his bastard cat Azrael) with a passion. In the game, you could wander across the Smurfscape, leaping over ravines and logs along the way and dodging various creepy animals and insects, before arriving at Gargamel's Castle and doing battle with the madman himself. Oooh, the days I spent traversing that Smurfscape. Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle was more than just a game, it was a metaphor for society’s ills and the….eh, never mind, you wouldn’t get it.
During their two brief years of production, over 6 million systems were sold. Six million! I was number 4, 3601, sweetheart, and don’t you forget it.
So here are some brief facts (found at http://www.game-machines.com/consoles/colecovision.php) on the Colecovision phenomenon that you should be aware of, the kind useless knowledge that won’t get you girls, but will make you slightly cooler than your dorky friends.
Upgrades & Accessories:
Expansion Module 1
This unit, which attaches to the front of the system, allows Atari 2600 games to be played on the Colecovision system. Atari controllers can be plugged in the front.
Expansion Module 2
This expansion, which included the game Turbo, was a miniature dashboard and a full-sized steering wheel for driving games.
Super Action Controller
This controller was held in a way similar to holding a gun, with four "trigger" buttons, one for each finger. On the flat top is a larger joystick, and a numeric keypad, similar to the original controller. With these came the Super Action Baseball game.
Complete list of games (there may be a few missing, sorry) can be found at http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/List%20of%20ColecoVision%20games:
Artillery Duel/Chuck Norris
B.C.'s Quest For Tires
Bump 'n Jump
Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park
Cabbage Patch Kids Picture Show
Decathlon, The Activision
Donkey Kong Jr.
Dr. Seuss' Fix-Up the Mix-Up Puzzler
Dukes of Hazzard
Gateway to Apshai
It's Only Rock 'N Roll
James Bond 007
Ken Uston's Blackjack/Poker
Kung Fu Superkicks
Learning With Leeper
Lord of the Dungeon
Motocross Racer (Telegames)
Motocross Racer (Xonox)
Motocross Racer/Tomarc the Barbarian
Mr. Do!'s Castle
One on One Basketball
Quest for Quintana Roo
Robin Hood/Sir Lancelot
Roc 'N Rope
Rock 'N Bolt
Rocky Super Action Boxing
Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle
Squish 'Em Featuring Sam
Super Action Baseball
Super Action Football
Super Action Soccer
Tomarc the Barbarian
Tournament Tennis (by Imagic)
Tournament Tennis (by Telegames)
Up 'n Down
Wiz Math, The Wizard of Id's
...And don’t forget 2010: The Graphic Adventure!
Other sites about Colecovision worth checking out: