Colecovision FAQ

Version 3.7

Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996   Joseph M. Huber and James Carter


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Additional contributions always welcome!  Please mail additional information,
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Last update: September 30, 1996.

JH) Joe Huber
JC) James Carter
01) Noel Tominack
02) Tony Mason
03) Jeff Lodoen
04) Jonny Farringdon
05) Sean Kelly
06) Gary Carino
07) Charles Cafrelli
08) Scott Marison
09) Greg Kam
10) Joshua See
11) Ralph A. Barbagallo III
12) Joey McDonald
13) Geoff Oltmans
14) Gregg Woodcock
15) Allan Liscum
16) Greg Chance
17) Tris Orendorff
18) Scott Stone
19) David Strutt
20) Jeff Coleburn
21) Lee Seitz
22) Jerry Greiner
23) Bill Loguidice
24) Norman Sippel
25) Kevin Slywka
26) Ben Lott
27) Ken Arromdee
28) Swampthing
29) Bruce Tomlin
30) Christian Puryear
31) Patrick Lessard
32) Matt Burback
33) Brad Ensminger
34) Thomas Farrell
35) Ken Kupelian
36) Blue Sky Rangers
37) Craig Pell
38) Chris Smith
39) Kevin Horton
40) Curtis J.
41) Bill Esquivel
42) Greg Hunter
43) Kyle Snyder
44) Roger Fulton
45) Phil Stroffolino
46) Daniel Stevans
47) Marat Fayzullin
48) The Piper
49) Frank Groeten
50) Dennis Brown
51) Lawrence Schick
52) Robert Merritt
53) Jason Weesner
54) Sam Etic
55) Stephan Freundorfer


1.0) What is ColecoVision?
2.0) ColecoVision and ADAM Specs
3.0) Hardware List
        3.1) Hardware known to exist
        3.2) Hardware believed -not- to exist
        3.3) Review of the Telegames Personal Arcade
        3.4) Hardware Tidbits
4.0) Cartridge List
        4.1) Carts known to exist
        4.2) Carts believed -not- to exist
        4.3) CBS product numbers
        4.4) Cartridge Tidbits, Tips, and Easter Eggs
        4.5) Cartridge Hardware Cheats
        4.6) ColecoVision and ColecoVision/ADAM catalogs
        4.7) The BEST cartridges
        4.8) The most popular cartridges
        4.9) Rare gems
        4.10) High scores
5.0) Internet sites
        5.1) Instructions
        5.2) Books and Periodicals
                5.2.1) ColecoVision Experience
        5.3) ColecoVision Homepage
        5.4) Coleco FTP Site
6.0) Stickers
7.0) Technical Details
        7.1) ColecoVision Memory Map
        7.2) ColecoVision I/O Map
        7.3) ColecoVision BIOS Details
        7.4) ColecoVision Video RAM Details
        7.5) Cartridge Slot Pinout
        7.6) ADAM Printer/Power Port
        7.7) ADAM Programming Tips
8.0) Separate Audio/Video Hack
9.0) Copying ColecoVision Cartridges
10.0) Repair Tips
        10.1) To fix a rolling picture/video problems:
        10.2) To avoid an automatic level select problem:
        10.3) To fix an automatic level select problem:
        10.4) To fix a broken roller controller:
        10.5) To fix a poorly responding controller:
        10.6) To fix a dead cartridge:
11.0) ColecoVision Dealers
12.0) ADAM Dealers, User Groups, and Bulletin Boards

1.0) What is ColecoVision?

Coleco (a contraction of COnneticut LEather COmpany) was the first
company to introduce a "dedicated chip" home video game system, with
the Telstar Arcade in 1976.  (The Magnavox Odyssey, based on Analog
technology, was the first home video game system overall, debuting
in 1973.)  Trying to build upon the enormous initial success of the
unit, Coleco decided to bring out nine different Telstar models.  But
within a year, 75 other manufacturers had introduced similar units,
and combined with with production snags, a shortage of chips, and a
push towards hand held games, Coleco skirted with disaster.  While
Coleco sold over $20 million of hand held games, it had to dump over
a million Telstar units, and the company lost $22.3 million in 1978.
With the introduction of units with games stored on interchangeable
cartridges, Fairchild and then Atari had eliminated any remaining
market for the simple pong games.

On June 1, 1982, Coleco re-entered the fray with the announcement of
its "third generation" video game system, ColecoVision.  Touting
"arcade quality", ColecoVision took aim at the seemingly unassailable
Atari 2600.  Coleco wanted "Donkey Kong", a very hot arcade hit, to be
their pack-in.  In December '81, they went to Japan to make a deal with
Nintendo for the rights to Donkey Kong.  The Coleco executive wanted to
return to the US to show his lawyers the contract before signing, but was
told to sign now, or risk losing Donkey Kong to Atari or Mattel, who were
currently going though channels to get the rights themselves.  Under the
pressure, the Coleco executive signed.

In April '82 Coleco and Nintendo were threatened with lawsuits from Universal
Studios who claimed Donkey Kong was an infringement on their King Kong.
Coleco had invested a fortune in the ColecoVision version of Donkey Kong
that was only 4 months from its premiere release.  Thinking that they didn't
stand a chance in court, Coleco decided to settle, agreeing to pay Universal
3% of all Donkey Kong sales.  Nintendo decided to fight it, and some time
later actually won.  Coleco then filed suit and got some of their lost
royalties back.

The bulk of Coleco's library, however, was comprised of overlooked coin-op
games such as Venture and Lady Bug.  With a library of twelve games, and
a catalog showing ten more on the way (many of which were never released),
the first one million ColecoVisions sold in record time.  In 1983 it topped
sales charts, beating out Atari and Mattel, with much of its success being
contributed to its pack-in, Donkey Kong.  The ColecoVision soon had more
cartridges than any system except the Atari 2600, and with the 2600
converter still today has more playable games than any other system.

The ColecoVision introduced two new concepts to the home videogame
industry - the ability to expand the hardware system, and the ability
to play other video game system games.

The Atari 2600 expansion kit caused a flurry of lawsuits between Atari
and Coleco.  After the dust cleared, the courts had decided that it was
acceptable for Coleco to sell the units.  As a result of this Coleco
was also able to make and sell the Gemini game system which was an exact
clone of an Atari 2600 with combined joystick/paddle controllers.

Coleco was also the first home videogame maker to devote the majority of
their product line to arcade conversions, using the superior graphics
of the ColecoVision to produce nearly arcade-quality games, albeit often
missing a screen or level.

Coleco truly shocked the industry by doing so well.  In a year, the stock
rose in value from 6 7/8 a share to 36 3/4.  The following items were
taken from Fortune or March 7, 1983:

"Six months ago, hardly anyone expected Coleco to ride so high.  [Company
 President Arnold] Greenberg was known in the industry as a  self-promoter
 overly sanguine about Coleco's prospects.  Says one security analyst:
 "He was always gilding the lily.  Wall Street developed a basic distrust
 of the company."  So did the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In 1980
 it charged Coleco with misstating financial results to mask troubles."

"But almost overnight Coleco's image has changed.  ColecoVision, the
 video game player introduced last August, is one of the most popular
 consumer products around.  The trade, paying homage to its technological
 advancement, has dubbed it "the third wave" - wave one being the Atari
 VCS, wave two being Mattel's Intellivision - and the most discerning
 critics, kids, love it.  The 550,000 game players Coleco made last year
 flew off the shelves by Christmas-time.  Coleco's sales nearly tripled
 from $178 million in 1981 to $510 million last year, and the net income
 shot up 420% to $40 million."

"Coleco's charge into the market last summer was well timed.  Atari and
 Mattel were engaged in a multimillion-dollar mud-slinging battle on
 television.  George Plimpton in Mattel commercials lampooned the graphics
 on Atari's VCS game player, while Atari blasted Intellivision's dearth
 of hit games.  Then Coleco suddenly arrived on the scene with the best
 of both: good graphics and good games.  With a greater amount of memory
 allocated to screen graphics, ColecoVision provided a much better
 picture than Atari.  Although ColecoVision at $175 was $75 more
 expensive than Atari's VCS, discerning video players were willing to pay
 a higher price for more lifelike graphics.  ColecoVision's pictures were
 also better than those of Intellivision, and the retail was $35 lower."

"To make ColecoVision even more attractive the company gave away with
 each unit a $35 Donkey Kong cartridge.  "Donkey Kong was a very
 serviceable gorilla," says Greenberg.  "Once we convinced the consumer
 of the merits of the hardware, Donkey Kong pushed him into buying.""

"Another popular feature has been ColecoVision's expandability.
 Accessories like the $55 Turbo module, a steering wheel, gas pedal,
 and gear shift used to play a road racing game, can be plugged into
 the console.  The company's $60 Atari adapter enables ColecoVision to
 play Atari VCS-compatible cartridges.  Atari doesn't approve - it's
 suing Coleco for $850 million, charging patent infringement - but game
 addicts do.  Coleco sold 150,000 Atari adapters in just two months.
 Coleco's latest add-on, the Super Game module, was shown at last
 week's American Toy Fair. It adds more memory to ColecoVision and
 provides additional play variations."

"Coleco's software approach was to go after licensed arcade games and
 to make cartridges for Atari's VCS and Intellivision in addition to
 it's own game player.  Although Coleco hadn't built a single
 ColecoVision when it was negotiating licensees in 1981, the licensers
 liked Coleco's plan to make products for all three leading game systems.
 Coleco reached agreements with five firms, landing nine hit arcade
 licensees. Last year the company sold eight million cartridges."

"Flush with last year's successful foray in video games, Arnold Greenberg
 predicts even more good news is on the way.  "We are a terror in the
 marketplace," he boasts.  Greenberg proclaims that Coleco will increase
 it's market share in video game players this year from 8% to 25%,
 supplanting Mattel as No. 2."

"Achieving such lofty goals may be difficult.  Coleco last year paid
 only $250,000 for the rights to Donkey Kong, but Atari later had to pay
 an estimated $21 million to license E.T. for it's coin-operated and
 home video games.  Late last year Coleco reached an agreement with the
 game maker Centuri for licenses to three arcade games: Phoenix,
 Vanguard, and Challenger.  Then just before the contract was to be
 signed, Atari won the license by making a higher offer.  Parker
 Brothers also outbid Coleco for the Popeye license.  "Coleco's position
 is still not assured," says Barbara S. Isgur, a security analyst at Paine
 Webber.  "They were helped last year by the phenomenal success of Donkey
 Kong.  What will they do for an encore?"

"Arnold Greenberg remains optimistic. He notes that Coleco has already
 signed license agreements to bring out 30 new games by year-end.  In
 January, Coleco made CBS the principal foreign distributor for it's
 products.  In return Coleco will begin developing and marketing for
 ColecoVision home video cartridges licensed by CBS from Bally, a major
 arcade game maker."

Unfortunately, the ColecoVision suffered the same fate as the rest in
the great video game shake-out of 1984.  Coleco's unsuccessful bug-ridden
ADAM computer only complicated the problem.  Some believe if it wasn't
for Coleco's Cabbage Patch dolls, they would have completely disappeared.
Even the Cabbage Patch dolls couldn't keep Coleco going forever, though;
the company went under for good a few years later.  Ironically, Mattel
(the producers of Intellivision) now own the rights to the Cabbage Patch

Coleco stopped production of the ColecoVision in 1984.  Their last few
titles (Illusions, Spy Hunter, Telly Turtle, and Root Beer Tapper) were
barely seen in stores.  Soon after that, Telegames bought much of
Coleco's stock and even produced a few titles of their own that didn't
reach the shelves before the shake-out.  As recently as 1991 a mail
order electronics store was known to sell ColecoVision motherboards
and joysticks.

When Coleco left the industry they had sold more than 6 million
ColecoVisions in just two years, even with the last year being troubled
by the shake-out.  Many in the industry believe if it wasn't for the
videogame crash of '84, that Coleco could have gone through the 80's as
the system of choice, especially with its proposed Super Game Module.  It
was clearly beating Atari and Mattel, but just didn't have the installed
base to last out the crash.


   Aug 1982 - ColecoVision released
       1982 - Expansion Module #1: Atari 2600 Converter released
       1982 - Module #2, Driving Controller released
   Feb 1983 - Super Game Module announced
       1983 - Super Game Module demoed (non-playable) at New York Toy Show
   May 1983 - Advertising of the Super Game Module starts; runs through July
   Jun 1983 - ADAM computer introduced
   Aug 1983 - Super Game Module schedule to go on sale
   Oct 1983 - Super Game Module dropped
  Fall 1983 - ColecoVision Roller Controller released
       1983 - ColecoVision Super Action Controllers released
Winter 1983 - The video game market begins to crash
Spring 1984 - The video game industry collapses. All production stops.
   Jan 1985 - Coleco drops the ADAM computer
       1985 - Telegames picks up where Coleco left off, putting out new titles
   Dec 1985 - Nintendo NES is test-marketed in New York City
       1988 - Telegames releases the "Personal Arcade" ColecoVision clone.

- JH, JC, 03, 07, 10, 13, 14, 25, & 50

2.0) ColecoVision and ADAM Specs


             Resolution: 256 x 192
                    CPU: Z-80A
                   Bits: 8
                  Speed: 3.58 MHz
                    RAM: 8K
              Video RAM: 16K (8x4116)
Video Display Processor: Texas Instruments TMS9928A
                Sprites: 32
                 Colors: 16
                  Sound: Texas Instruments SN76489AN; 3 tone channels, 1 noise
          Cartridge ROM: 8K/16K/24K/32K


             Resolution: 256 x 192
                    CPU: Z-80A
                   Bits: 8
                  Speed: 3.58 MHz
            Video Speed: 10.7 MHz
                    RAM: 64K (128K optional)
              Video RAM: 16K (8x4116)
                    ROM: 8K
Video Display Processor: Texas Instruments TMS9928A
                Sprites: 32
                 Colors: 16
                  Sound: Texas Instruments SN76489AN; 3 tone channels, 1 noise
          Cartridge ROM: 8K/16K/24K/32K
            Disk Drives: 2 * 160K (opt)
    Digital Data Drives: 2 * 256K
                  Modem: 300 Baud (opt)
                Printer: 120 wpm Daisy Wheel, 16K buffer
                  Other: Serial/Parallel Port (opt), Auto Dialer (opt)

What really distinguished the ColecoVision from other systems of the era
was its 32 sprite capability.  It made it easier to design sprite intensive
games like Slither.

Scrolling on the Coleco was sort of chunky because they did not have special
hardware for scrolling like the Atari units did - but some games (notably
Jungle Hunt and Defender) _do_ manage to scroll well, so there was a
software workaround of some kind.

All Coleco cartridges, and many third party titles, incorporated a
patience-testing twelve second delay before the game select screen showed
up.  One story commonly cited (and apparently mentioned in Electronic
Games magazine at the time) is the following: before ColecoVision reached
the marketplace, Coleco invested heavily in advertising for the system,
building up significant demand.  The problem was software support.  Few
programmers knew the ColecoVision's quirky assembly language, and there
wasn't time to train more.  So the engineers at Coleco designed an emulator
that allowed progammers to code in a far more common and well known
language, Pascal.  Coleco then hired programmers familiar with Pascal to
design software for the ColecoVision, and thus were able to provide
software to meet the demand.  The only problem with the scheme was the
twelve second delay the emulator caused while starting up.

As good a story as this makes, it's incorrect.  The real reason behind
the twelve second delay is a loop in the ColecoVision BIOS - the delay
was purely intentional.  The way companies such as Parker Brothers,
Activision, and Micro Fun avoided the delay was to simply bypass the
ColecoVision BIOS. - JC, 08, 10, 12, 27, 29

3.0) Hardware List


Manufacturer -
        AM) Amiga
        CB) CBS Electronics
        CE) Championship Electronics
        CO) Coleco
        HS) High Score
        PP) Personal Peripherals
        PS) Pusher Sales
        SU) Suncom
        SV) Spectravideo
        TG) Telegames
        WI) Wico

3.1) Hardware known to exist

Name                                   Manuf.   Number  Comes With...
Champ Adapter                              CE   CA-340
CBS ColecoVision                           CB           Donkey Kong
ColecoVision                               CO           Donkey Kong
Co-Stickler                                PS
Expansion Module #1 (2600 Adapter)         CO   2405
Expansion Module #1 Adapter                CO
Expansion Module #2 (Driving Controller)   CO   2413    Turbo
Expansion Module #3 (ADAM Computer)        CO           Buck Rogers
Grabber Balls                              HS
Joy Sensor                                 SU
Joystick, ColecoVision                     WI
Perma Power Battery Eliminator/AC Adapter  CO   2298
Personal Arcade                            TG           Meteoric Shower
Power Stick                                AM
Quickshot III Deluxe                       SV   SV103
Roller Controller                          CO   2492    Slither
Super Action Controllers                   CO   2491    Super Action Baseball
Super Sketch Pad                           PP   G2500   Sketch Master

3.2) Hardware believed -not- to exist

Expansion Module #3 (Super Game Module - wafer version) by Coleco.

  With 30K RAM and 128K "microwafers" shaped like miniature diskettes. The
  games were to have intermissions, high-score lists, and extra levels.
  It was to be packaged with Super Donkey Kong; later, that was changed
  to Super Buck Rogers and Super Gorf.  It could have been an excellent
  addition to the ColecoVision system allowing you to play your old carts
  and the new Super Games, but Coleco decided to turn it into the ADAM
  computer. - JC, 25

  Kevin Slywka submits the following:

  The following is a quote from the article, One million A.C.(after
  ColecoVision)  Brown, Michael William;  Electronic Fun: Computers and
  Games; June 1983

  -Note: The article contains several screen shots and a what appears to be
  a mock up of the Super Game and several game wafers.

  "...the Super Games are stored on mini-cassettes (which are about
   the length and width of a business card) called Super Game Wafers...
   the module has a magnetic micro-tape drive mechanism behind a slot in
   the front left panel.  Inside the wafers is approximately 50 feet of
   specially formulated magnetic tape about an eighth of an inch wide."
  (Brown p41)

  Brown claims to have played the system for 8 hours over two different
  days.  Load time for the wafers is clocked at about 10 seconds.  Super
  Games Brown tested:  Super Donkey Kong, Super Donkey Kong Jr., Super
  Smurf Rescue in Gargamel's Castle.  Brown further notes better colors
  and additional levels in all three games.  Planned titles included:
  Zaxxon, Buck Rogers Planet of Zoom, Time Pilot, Turbo and Sub-Roc.
  Brown also notes the ability to enter your initials for high score,
  which is then stored on the tape.

  In Video Games Magazine(Feb.'84) an article on the Texas Instruments
  Compact Computer 40(a peripheral for the TI 99/4A) mentions the tape
  wafers meant for the Super Games: "...this system uses the Entrepo
  floppy wafer system that is in use elsewhere, and was almost part
  of Coleco's Super Game Module and ADAM."

  The Super Game Module appeared to not have a realistic chance of
  success at Coleco Industries.  In an interview of Coleco president,
  Arnold Greenberg, by Steve Bloom (Video Games, Oct. '82) Bloom
  paraphrases Greenberg as saying, " is Colecos resolve to market
  a keyboard (Module #3) some time next year."   In Electronic Games
  (Jan. '83): Test Lab (Cohen, Henry B.) writes that, "...Coleco is
  working on a keyboard and Ram Cram for ColecoVision which should
  turn the system into a full-scale, high powered home computer system."
  Clearly Coleco intended to develop a ADAM-like computer all along,
  but the question remains as to why they decided to develop the Super
  system in the first place.  If the Super module had been released it
  likely would have insured Colecos success for at least a while longer.
  Although given the cynicism of magazine writers and consumers after
  the Super Module failed to appear it is uncertain if it would have
  been enough to save Coleco from its eventual fate.

  Description of the pictures in the Electronic Fun magazine article(kws):

  The module shown appears to be the real thing(although almost
  certainly a mock-up) with a slot for the super tape wafers on the left
  side of the module(even a small slot that corresponds to the door on the
  super wafer can be seen).  A small LED is near the super wafer door,
  probably to indicate a read\write or power light.  The "Expansion Module
  Interface" is on the lower right of the module.  The top of the unit has
  the ColecoVision face-plate and a reset button on the far right.

  Below the module three wafers are shown:  They have the appearance
  of micro-cassettes, they are all black and appear to have a door on
  the left rear of the wafer.  Super Donkey Kong, Super Donkey Kong
  Junior, and Super Smurf (in fine print: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle) are
  represented.  There is a game package which bears a striking resemblance
  to a CD jewel case(although it appears to be made of vinyl) has Buck
  Rogers Planet of Doom on the cover.  The by-line on the case states:

        "For use with ColecoVision Expansion Module #3"

  The vinyl game case carries a part number of "#2645" - 25

Expansion Module #3 (Super Game Module - CED version) by Coleco.

  A second Super Game module was also rumored.  It used a format called
  CED, using video records - vinyl records with much finer grooves,
  stored in cases so as to avoid contact save by the needle of the system.
  In an interview with Ralph Baer, who worked on this system, he said it
  was really zippy and in some respects better than CDROM. - 11, 34

  CED stands for Capacitance Electronic Disk system, and was pioneered
  by RCA.  RCA used this technology in all of there CED video disk players,
  which competed with the Laserdisc format until 1985 when RCA discontinued
  all of its players.  Coleco chose the CED format because RCA could create
  a computer controllable random access machine that was very affordable.
  The Coleco CED system would have come with two major components: the Coleco
  "controller" Module (#3) that plugs into the front of the system, and
  the RCA/COLECO CED player that connected to the Module and the T.V. set.
  Reportedly the price would be around $395-$495 for a complete set-up.
  Interestingly, the Coleco CED system would still play all of RCA's
  movie and music video disks, which was a big selling point for RCA.
  So you would have a Video Quality arcade system, and movie player - all
  in one.

  From Video Games and Computer Entertainment, June 1991:

  'Talk of the future reminds Baer of the aborted, ahead-of-its-time
   project he launched in 1982.  The ideal interface, the ColecoVision
   video game console and an RCA CED player.  "Things advanced to the
   point that RCA actually made a few CED peripherals.  Then along came
   the ADAM computer and ended it all.  What I'd like to see is not
   going to happen."  He'd like to see CED revived, instead of the
   industry going to CD.  He worries that CD will fail to deliver the
   full-motion video that people expect.' - 12

ColecoVision (THE ORIGINAL VERSION) by Coleco.

  Remember seeing the first "glimpses" of the ColecoVision system in
  Electronic Games magazine?  The first pictures of the system showed
  a much more attractive looking system than what we got as a final
  product.  The system itself had a white faceplate where the ColecoVision
  logo appears now and the controllers were very different.  They had blue
  side buttons, orange pound and star keys on the keypad, and the finger
  rollers that were later introduced on the Super Controllers.

  The finger rollers, which were to have been located between the keypad
  and joystick, were supposed to be available for use as either speed
  controllers, or as a paddle controller.  They were dropped at the last
  minute, though if you open up a controller you can see the schematic for
  it on the circuit board. - 07

  The finger rollers shown in Daniel Cohen's book "Video Games", page 57,
  are located beneath the keypad. - 24

Intellivision Adapter by Coleco.

  Coleco had plans for an adapter that would play Intellivision cartridges.
  Supposedly there are several working prototypes of this adapter that were
  shown at electronic shows. If Coleco would have only gone through with
  production, the ColecoVision would have been able to play Intellivision,
  2600, and ColecoVision cartridges! - JC

Modem by AT&T/Coleco.

  Not to be confused with the ADAM modem, which does exist.

  An article in Newsweek, September 19, 1983, on page 69 announced the

  'American Telephone and Telegraph Co. and Donkey Kong?  An unlikely
   combination, perhaps, but one that became a reality last week when the
   venerable communications giant hooked up with Coleco Industries, the
   videogame maker, in a join effort to make entertainment software
   available by telephone to 25 million owners of video games and home

  'Under the plan, AT&T and Coleco will develop a "modem", an electronic
   device that will connect a home computer or video game by telephone to
   a central data base.  Coleco will supply the software programs, such
   as Donkey Kong or two of its other popular video games, Smurf and
   Zaxxon.  The service will be offered sometime next year for about $20
   a month; the modem is expected to cost $100.' - 13

Sensory Grip Controller by Coleco.

   The Super Action Controllers were supposed to have a sensory feature,
   so that when (for example) Rocky threw a punch in Super Action Boxing,
   you would feel it in the handle. - 13

3.3) Review of the Telegames Personal Arcade            by James Carter


TELEGAMES produces and sells a ColecoVision compatible system called the
"Personal Arcade". The Personal Arcade was originally produced several
years after Coleco stopped production of the ColecoVision. It's very small
(12"x5"x1"), white, and comes with Nintendo-like gamepads. It uses a normal
sized power supply (6' cord) which is less than 1/2 the size of the
ColecoVision's ridiculously bulky one. It also comes with a game/TV
switchbox (10' cord) like the ColecoVision. It also contains two separate
expansion ports that were never taken advantage of.


The ads and box say "Compatible with over 100 ColecoVision cartridges".
TELEGAMES operators claim that it is compatible with 95% of all the
ColecoVision cartridges, but won't provide a list of which ones it won't
work with.  So far I've come up with 10 after testing it on 65 cartridges.
Actually, *all* the cartridges work, it's just that the "Personal Arcade"
uses different joystick wiring and any cartridge made specifically for
the Super Action Controllers, Driving Module, or the Roller Controller
will be unplayable, among others.  In fact, regular ColecoVision or Atari
compatible joysticks cannot be used on the Personal Arcade either.


The gamepads are 1 3/4" x 4 3/4" and nicely fit into the sides of the
unit.  The cables are 3 feet long and stiffer than normal.  A personal
grudge is the fact that the cables attach to the side of the gamepad
instead of the rear, making it harder to comfortably grasp.  They are
also slightly too small and cheaply made in my opinion.


A single keypad is built into the unit and the buttons are a smaller
3/8"  square, compared to the 5/8" square of the normal ColecoVision
controller. It is made of a thin membrane that works with the slightest
touch. The keypad has no frame like on the ColecoVision controller.
It looks like the following:
      1 2 3 4 5 *
      6 7 8 9 0 #
This changed keypad size and format means overlays cannot be used. It
also means it is very difficult to play keypad intensive games where
quick reflexes are needed.  Now you must take your hand off the gamepad,
and look down to press the right key, instead of the ColecoVision
joystick where you just move your thumb without looking.


The following are unplayable on the Personal Arcade due to controller problems:
  Fortune Builder (needs 2 separate keypads in 2-player head-to-head mode)
  Front Line (Super Action Controller game)
  Rocky Super Action Boxing (Super Action Controller game)
  Slither (Roller Controller game)
  Super Action Baseball (Super Action Controller game)
  Super Action Football (Super Action Controller game)
  Super Action Soccer (Super Action Controller game)
  Super Cobra (2nd button "bomb" doesn't work)
  Turbo (Driving Module Game)
  Victory (Roller Controller game)


The following do work perfectly on the Personal Arcade, but are difficult
to play because of the need for very quick keypad presses:
  Blockade Runner
  Mouse Trap
  Spy Hunter
  War Games


The Personal Arcade comes with a built-in game called "Meteoric Shower".
A decent shoot'em up game in which you have a ship in the middle of the
screen and you shoot waves of enemy ships that attack from above and below.

The Personal Arcade removes the famous multi-colored "ColecoVision"
opening screen from all of Coleco's cartridges, replacing it with a green
background and Japanese writing, with the words "1986 BIT CORPORATION".
Other publisher's opening screens are unaffected.



The best thing the personal arcade has going for it is the price. Only
$39.95 for a brand new system, with a decent built in game, and you get
to choose 1 brand new cartridge ($19.95 or less, about 40 to choose from)
also.  If you prefer gamepads, then that is a plus also.  The smallness
of the system makes it much easier to store and move around.


If you have a perfectly working ColecoVision there is really no reason
to buy the Personal arcade, unless you want a back-up system.  (...or you
have a burning desire to play Meteoric Shower. - JH)  The gamepads are
less than desired, and no other joysticks can be used in their place.
The fact that you can't use Super Action or Roller Controller games
(not to mention others) is a big thumbs down for those that already
invested in those controllers and cartridges.  The keypad on the system
may be great for choosing levels, but is a pain to use keypad intensive

NOTE: Telegames lost all of their Personal Arcade stock to a tornado
      in April, 1994.

3.4) Hardware Tidbits

Atari Touch Pad / Children's Controller / Star Raiders Controller -

    The following buttons and/or combinations of buttons correspond to
    various inputs on the ColecoVision:

      1          * position
      2          7 position
      3          1 + * + 7.  The 7 may not be necessary.
      4          1 + 4 + 7 + *.
      5          4 + 7.
      6          1
      *          4 + *
      0          1 + 4
      #          1 + 7
    Left button
    Right button 1 + 3, or 4 + 6, or 7 + 9, or * + #. - 20

CBS ColecoVision -

    Looks and operates just like my 'standard' ColecoVisions, but the
    metallic faceplates are different.  On top, it says "1 / 0" instead of
    "Off / On", and the front plate reads:

    CBS  Coleco   Video Game/Home Computer System     [expansion slot]   CBS

    CBS Electronics bought out the Coleco rights when Coleco bit the bullet.
    They marketed mostly in Europe. You can find most if not all of the Coleco
    games with a CBS label.  They are all or mostly all PAL games.  However,
    since the ColecoVision doesn't care, it doesn't matter.  Plug them in and
    they play like NTSC! - 20, 22

Champ Adapter -

    A near exact duplicate of the Coleco Keypad, minus the upper half that
    contains the joystick.  Instead it has a 9-pin slot so you can plug
    in your favorite joystick and still have use of the keypad.  It also
    can double as a joystick extension cable since the Champ Adapter cable
    is 6' long. - JC

Co-Stickler -

    Plastic "snap" on joysticks for the standard ColecoVision
    controllers. - JH

Expansion Module #1 -

    The following Atari 2600 cartridges are incompatible with the 2600

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre - JH
    Most Tigervision titles - 19 (but Miner 2049'er works - JH)
    All Supercharger games - 19 (will work, but only if cover of
        expansion module has been removed) - 26

Expansion Module #1 Adapter -

    This device plugs into Expansion Module #1 (2600 Adapter) to allow
    some Atari 2600 cartridges which have compatibility problems to be
    played.  Supposedly it was only sent through the mail to those
    customers who called Coleco with complaints of 2600 cartridge
    problems. - JC

Expansion Module #2 -

    The driving controller can be used to play Victory, which officially
    requires the Roller Controller. - 46

Grabber Balls -

    They're red balls of a stick that snap on the ColecoVision controller,
    making it more arcade-style.  Work *fantastic* when locked into the
    Roller Controller, and played with Robotron on the 7800. - JC

Joy Sensor -

    A lot like an Intellivision II controler.  Has a membrane kepad area
    and a membrane joystick, plus what appear to be rapid fire controls
    that might be variable.  Well made. - 41

Perma Power Battery Eliminator/AC Adapter -

    Replaces the batteries in Expansion Module #2 (Driving Controller) - JC

    This is a _weird_ device.  Since the only way to power the unit is with
    batteries (there's no alternate for a power source, so the connection
    is required), the "Battery Eliminator" is shaped like batteries. - JH

Power Stick -

    A great joystick for non-keypad, one button games.  Having the keypad
    and second button above the joystick makes it awkward for those games,
    though. - JH

Roller Controller -

    To use the Roller Controller on a game which doesn't require its use
    (such as Centipede or Omega Rage), leave the Joystick/Roller switch
    in the Joystick position. - JH

    Driving Module games can be played with the Roller Controller by
    doing the following:

        1) Switch the setting to "Joystick".
        2) Choose the game you wish to play.
        3) Switch the setting to "Roller Controller".
        4) Go.  The leftmost button acts as the accelerator.

    Direction can be changed using the joystick in some as-yet
    undetermined manner. - 24

    You can get very strange behavior by using the roller controller
    for joystick games?  Try wiggling it around while playing Smurf
    and you can move above or under the proper "ground" area
    so that none of the enemies can kill you! - 14

Super Sketch Pad -

    Came in a box with a black background and a horizontal rainbow across
    the top, marked "Super Sketch".  In addition to the ColecoVision
    version, there were Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, & TI 99/4A models.
    The ColecoVision version has a silver sticker on the top right corner
    that says Model G2500 For Use with Colecovision.  The Sketch Unit
    itself is white with a brown plastic piece used for the drawing.  One
    of the strangest things about it is that it does not plug into the
    joystick port.  The cable is attached directly to the right side of
    the cartridge.  The cartridge label is mostly silver with Super
    Sketch with the horizontal rainbow with it.

    The sketch unit it has 5 controls.  Two "Lift" buttons, one on each
    side, allow drawing to be turned off.  "Select" allows selection of
    colors and menu items on the left side of the screen; "Menu" brings
    the menu up and/or removes it.

    The program itself say Super Sketch while fluctuating through different
    colors upon power-up.  Just below that it says:

                Copyright 1984 Personal Peripherals, Inc.
                              By: Steve Roubik
                           Press MENU to proceed.

    The program really is nothing more than a doodle program.  Menu
    options are:


        (The 16 Colors)


    It comes with a large white envelope that says Super Sketch starter
    kit.  Inside is the owners manual, quick reference card, 6 drawings
    to trace with, and a warranty card. - 42

Telegames Personal Arcade -

   The Personal Arcades were originally made by the Bit Corporation, and
   marked as DINA units with a second cartridge slot for some unknown
   purpose. - 30

   The joypads that come with the Personal Arcade are 2600 compatible;
   they also have an irksome quirk for anyone used to the ColecoVision:
   they're reversed (i.e. right is left, left is right).

   Besides the games listed above, Smurf Rescue in Gargamel's Castle is
   incompatible with some Personal Arcades, and the 2600 Adapter will
   not work due to power and RF cable positioning.

   The pause switch is incompatible with ColecoVision cartridges, so
   it is apparently used by cartridges which go in the second slot. - 14, 52

   At least two different version of the Personal Arcade (with different
   power supplies) exist. - JH

4.0) Cartridge List


Name -
        (d) Demo
        (p) Prototype
        (C) End label notes the cart is for ColecoVision
        (CA) End label notes the cart is for ColecoVision and ADAM
        (C/CA) Both end label varieties are available
        (S) Came with Silver and Blue SierraVision label
        (W) Came with White SierraVision label
        (S/W) Both SierraVision label varieties are available

Manufacturer -
        20) 20th Century
        AC) Activision
        AT) AtariSoft
        BC) Bit Corp.
        BR) Broderbund
        CB) CBS
        CO) Coleco
        CV) ColecoVision Reverse-engineering Society
        EP) Epyx
        FP) Fisher Price
        FS) First Star
        IM) Imagic
        IN) Interphase
        KO) Konami
        MA) Mattel
        MF) Micro Fun
        OD) Odyssey
        PB) Parker Brothers
        PP) Personal Peripherals
        PR) Probe 2000
        SE) Sega
        SI) SierraVision
        SP) Spinnaker
        ST) Starpath
        SU) Sunrise
        SV) Spectravideo
        SY) Sydney
        TG) Telegames
        TI) Tigervision
        XO) Xonox

Yr - Year of Release

Number - Part Number

Cn (controller) -
        C)  Standard ColecoVision Controller _only_
        D)  Driving Controller
        Do) Driving Controller (optional)
        P)  Super Sketch Pad (Personal Peripherals)
        R)  Roller Controller
        Ro) Roller Controller (optional)
        S)  Super Action Controllers -only-
        So) Super Action Controller (optional)
        The default is Standard Coleco -or- Super Action Controller.

K (memory, in kilobytes) -
         8)  8KB ROM
        16) 16KB ROM
        24) 24KB ROM
        32) 32KB ROM

O (overlay) -
        X) Overlay Exists for Standard Controller
        Y) Overlay Exists for Super Action Controller