ColecoVision (NTSC)
ColecoVision (NTSC)



Setname:  coleco   
Year: 1982
Manufacturer: Coleco
Status: good  works
Type: Game Console
Clones: ColecoVision (PAL),
SVI-603 Coleco Game Adapter
Emulation info
Overall emulation:  good   
Color emulation:  good  
Sound emulation:  good  
Graphics emulation:  good  
Savestates:  unsupported   

Tech info
Z80 ("maincpu")cpu 3579545 Hz
Speaker ("mono")audio
SN76489A ("sn76489a")audio 3579545 Hz
Screen ("screen")raster horizontal 280 x 216 @ 59.922738
Media devices
cartridge ("cartslot") cartridge cart rom, col, bin
BIOS options
original Original
thick Thick characters
Software lists

Show detailed info about 'Configurations' of this system

Port 1 Controller None
 ColecoVision Controller
 Super Action Controller
 Driving Controller
Port 2 Controller None
 ColecoVision Controller
 Super Action Controller
 Driving Controller
Extra Controller None
 Roller Controller

Romset info
ROM NameSizeCRC32SHA1Dump StateBIOS option
313 10031-4005 73108a.u28192 3aa93ef345bedc4cbdeac66c7df59e9e599195c778d86a92goodoriginal
colecoa.rom8192 39bb16fc99ba9be24ada3e86e5c17aeecb7a2d68c5edfe59goodthick


* CPU: Z80A 3.58 MHz
* Co-Processor: Texas Instruments TMS9928A (Video display unit), Texas Instruments SN76489AN (Sound generator)
* RAM: 8 KB
* VRAM: 16 KB (8 x 4116 memory chips)
* Graphics Modes: 259 x 192
* Colors: 16
* Sound: 3 tone channels, 1 noise (Texas Instruments SN76489AN)
* I/O Ports: Power in, Cartridge slot, Video output, Expansion connector, 2 x controller connectors
* Controllers: 2 controllers with joystick, 12-button keypad and two fire buttons
* Media: Cartridges (8K/16K/24K/32K)
* Number of Games: More than 170 (174?)
* Peripherals: Atari VCS 2600 adapter, Driving module, ADAM computer, Trackball, Super joysticks


Currently, MESS supports three variants of the Coleco hardware:

* coleco [Coleco ColecoVision]
* colecoa [Coleco ColecoVision (Thick Characters)]
* colecob [Spectravideo SVI-603 Coleco Game Adapter]

All of them support cart dumps in .rom, .col and .bin format, in the "cartridge" (cart) device.


ColecoVision standard controller features a Joystick, two fire button at sides, and a 12-keys keypad with
the following layout

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

* 0 #

Known Issues

None. MESS emulation runs most cartridges accurately.

Extra Controllers Info and Status

* Driving Controller (Expansion Module #2): It consist of a steering wheel and a gas pedal. Only one can be used on a real ColecoVision. The gas pedal is not analog, internally it is just a switch. On a real ColecoVision, when the Driving Controller is enabled, the controller 1 do not work because have been replaced by the Driving Controller, and controller 2 have to be used to start game, gear shift, etc. Driving Controller is just a spinner on controller 1 socket similar to the one on Roller Controller and Super Action Controllers so you can use Roller Controller or Super Action Controllers to play games requiring Driving Controller.

* Roller Controller: Basically a trackball with four buttons (the two fire buttons from player 1 and the two fire buttons from player 2). Only one Roller Controller can be used on a real ColecoVision. Roller Controller is connected to both controller sockets and both controllers are conected to the Roller Controller, it uses the spinner pins of both sockets to generate the X and Y signals (X from controller 1 and the Y from controller 2)

* Super Action Controllers: It is a hand controller with a keypad, four buttons (the two from the player pad and two more), and a spinner. This was made primarily for two player sport games, but will work for every other ColecoVision game.

History and Trivia

After the success of their Telstar pong systems in the late 70's, Coleco decided to re-enter the videogame market, inspired by the success of cartridge based systems like the Atari VCS and Mattel Intellivision.

As the ColecoVision was released later than these competitors, it was possible for the Coleco engineers to put more hardware in the box while keeping the cost acceptable. The ColecoVision is thus powered by a Z80A cpu running at 3.58 MHz. It has 8 KB RAM, 16 KB VRAM, three-channel sound and a powerful video display unit (Texas Instruments TMS9928A) offering 16 colors, 32 sprites and a 256x192 resolution. The result is that when the system was finaly released in summer 1982, it was immediately considered the most technologicaly advanced home console. The games simply had arcade-quality graphics!

But even with this technological superiority, Coleco had to face the competition of Atari big arcade hits licenses and Intellivision realistic sports simulations. Coleco did not have enough money to compete with Atari for big licenses, so they secured licenses for small games with strong followings like Mr DO, Lady Bug, Cosmic Avenger and Venture. And Coleco's good relations with Sega resulted in a Zaxxon cartridge that sported excellent 3D effects.

But the best was to come: one february 1, 1982 Coleco and Nintendo signed an agreement which gave six-months exclusive license for Donkey-Kong! Their excellent version was thus exlusively sold as a pack-in with ColecoVision as an incentive to purchase the system, and it worked! The ColecoVision was an instant success.

Coleco marketed different add-ons for their console. The Expansion Module #1 is an Atari VCS adapter wich enables the ColecoVision to play Atari cartridges! Coleco sold 150,000 Atari adapters in just two months... Atari sued Coleco for $850 million, but lost the case.

The Expansion Module #2 is a complete driving controller with steering wheel, acceleration pedal and gear shift. It was shipped with Sega's classic racing game Turbo. The Expansion Module #3 is the ADAM computer.

A rollet controller was also sold to play games like Slither. The Super Action joysticks, a massive and complete controller, was used to play sports games like Super Action Baseball and Rocky Super Action Boxing.

ColecoVision was a great success, selling over six millions units in just three years. 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, and Coleco stopped production of the ColecoVision in 1984.

Telegames purchased the rights to the system, and many of the manufactured games, and released a clone, The Personal Arcade, in 1988. It was later re-released by them, as the DINA.

(info from


* --
* ColecoVision FAQ --
* Norman G. Sippel's ColecoVision Page --
* ColecoVision at --

Other Emulators

* ColEm --
* MEKA --

Edit the History info for this game.


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