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Blue Monkeys: The Era of Colecovision - A Vision of the Future or a Blast from the Past?
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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.

 

Anyway, Colecovision was discontinued by “THE MAN” during the game industry crash of 1984, known to gaming insiders as “The Dark Years,” and to many others as “The Game Industry Crash of 1984.”

 

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.

 

 

O:P> 

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.

 

 

 

Top Games:

Pac Man

Donkey Kong

Q-Bert

Time Pilot

 

Complete list of games (there may be a few missing, sorry) can be found at http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/List%20of%20ColecoVision%20games:

 

 

A:

Alphabet Zoo 

Amazing Bumpman 

Antarctic Adventure 

Aquattack 

Artillery Duel 

Artillery Duel/Chuck Norris

 

B:

B.C.'s Quest For Tires 

Beamrider 

Blockade Runner 

Boulder Dash 

Brain Strainers 

Bump 'n Jump 

Burgertime 

 

C:

Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park 

Cabbage Patch Kids Picture Show 

Campaign '84 

Carnival 

Centipede 

Choplifter! 

Chuck Norris Superkicks 

Congo Bongo

Cosmic Avenger 

Cosmic Crisis 

 

D:

Dam Busters 

Dance Fantasy 

Decathlon, The Activision

Defender 

Destructor 

Donkey Kong 

Donkey Kong Jr. 

Dr. Seuss' Fix-Up the Mix-Up Puzzler 

Dragonfire 

Dukes of Hazzard 

 

E:

Evolution 

 

F:

Facemaker 

Fathom (Imagic)

Fathom (Telegames)

Flipper Slipper 

Fortune Builder

Fraction Fever 

Frantic Freddy 

Frenzy 

Frogger 

Front Line 

 

G:

Galaxian 

Gateway to Apshai

Gorf 

Gust Buster 

Gyruss

 

H:

H.E.R.O. 

Heist, The

 

I:

Illusions 

It's Only Rock 'N Roll 

 

J:

James Bond 007 

Jukebox  

Jumpman Jr. 

Jungle Hunt 

 

K:

Ken Uston's Blackjack/Poker

Keystone Kapers 

Kung Fu Superkicks 

 

L:

Lady Bug 

Learning With Leeper 

Linking Logic 

Logic Levels 

Looping

Lord of the Dungeon 

 

M:

Make-A-Face 

Memory Manor

Miner 2049'er 

Monkey Academy 

Montezuma's Revenge 

Moonsweeper 

Motocross Racer (Telegames)

Motocross Racer (Xonox)

Motocross Racer/Tomarc the Barbarian 

Mountain King 

Mouse Trap 

Mr. Do! 

Mr. Do!'s Castle

 

N:

Nova Blast 

 

O:

Oil's Well 

Omega Race 

One on One Basketball 

 

P:

Pepper II 

Pitfall!

Pitstop

Popeye 

Power Lords 

 

 

 

 

 

Q:

Q-Bert 

Q-Bert's Qubes 

Quest for Quintana Roo 

 

 

 

 

 

R:

River Raid 

Robin Hood 

Robin Hood/Sir Lancelot 

Roc 'N Rope 

Rock 'N Bolt 

Rocky Super Action Boxing 

Rolloverture

 

S:

Sammy Lightfoot 

Sector Alpha 

Sewer Sam 

Sir Lancelot 

Skiing 

Slither 

Slurpy 

Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle

Space Fury 

Space Panic 

Spectron 

Spy Hunter 

Squish 'Em Featuring Sam 

Star Trek 

Steamroller 

Strike It 

Subroc 

Super Action Baseball 

Super Action Football 

Super Action Soccer 

Super Cobra 

Super Crossforce 

Super Sketch 

 

T:

Tank Wars

Tapper 

Tarzan

Telly Turtle 

Threshold 

Time Pilot 

Tomarc the Barbarian 

Tournament Tennis (by Imagic)

Tournament Tennis (by Telegames)

Turbo 

Tutankham 

 

U:

Up 'n Down 

 

V:

Venture 

Victory 

 

W:

War Games 

War Room 

Wing War 

Wiz Math, The Wizard of Id's 

Word Feud 

 

 

 

Z:

Zaxxon

Zenji

 

 

 

 

 

...And don’t forget 2010: The Graphic Adventure!

 

Other sites about Colecovision worth checking out:

http://www.colecovision.com/

http://www.classicgaming.com/vcoleco/

http://www.colecovision.us/

http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~ngsippel/cv.html

 

 

 

 

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