ColecoVision FAQ 4.1
What Is A ColecoVision ?



The New Generation Video Game Computer System.

CBS ColecoVision  Video Game / Home Computer System - Expansion Module Interface
CBS ColecoVision Ordinateur Multi-Services - Interface Pour Modules Additionnels

Arcade Quality Sound And Graphics.

CBS ColecoVision has the power and capability to produce the superb sound and graphics only experienced before
in genuine electronic arcade games.
Good sound and graphics are essential features which make arcade games so challenging and enjoyable to play.
Now these outstanding features are available in your own home with CBS ColecoVision Video Game Computer System.

Top quality on-screen detail is made possible through the powerful microchips inside the CBS ColecoVision Console;
the 32 K Rom Micro processor is more powerful than any other video game system and more powerful than most
basic home computers.

A Wide Range Of Super-Charged Games.

CBS ColecoVision has lot of challenging game cartridges which are faithful copies of the arcade favourites.
The games are so close to the arcade originals in sound, graphics and gameplay because each cartridge contains
a super-charged' chip, ranging from 8K Rom to 16K Rom (Donkey Kong cartridge) with Turbo and Zaxxon cartridges
containing the ultra powerful 24K Rom chips.

Couple the power of the game cartridges with the power of the CBS ColecoVision console and you have the realism,
detail and challenge in every cartridge which will test the most skillful video game expert.

CBS ColecoVision have already tested thousands of players because they are exclusive games developed by the
arcade game experts for the original arcade games.

To get the best from each game you need fast, responsive easy to handle controllers.
The CBS ColecoVision console has controllers which include an 8 direction, fingertip control joystick,
2 independent fire/action buttons and a 12 digit push button keyboard for game selection.

Expansion Capability For The Future.

The Expansion Module interface is a unique feature for the CBS ColecoVision console: It allows the console to be
expanded to perform other uses.
At this time two expansion Modules are available with the third, a powerful home computer, close to completion.

Expansion Module No. 1 allows you to play all Atari VCS compatible cartridges on the CBS ColecoVison console.
This unique adapter gives access to the widest range of video game cartridges available.

Expansion Module No. 2 is a driving unit which includes steering wheel, dashboard unit and accelerator pedal, and
comes with the Turbo video game cartridge.

Expansion Module No. 3 is a sophisticated Home Computer keyboard unit which harnesses the power of the
CBS ColecoVision game console (32K Rom;16K Ram) and converts into a powerful home computer.

These Expansion Modules are just the beginning; through the unique Expansion Module Interface it is possible
to expand the CBS ColecoVision console to fulfil many future needs.

The first ColecoVision Prototype presented by: ColecoVision.dk

The whole adventure began above.
The very first prototype.
Note the spinners, the blue push buttons, on/off and reset (horizontal).
The and # are presented in orange color.


Commercial from 1982.

Colecovision was in the 1982 until around 1985 the biggest gaming console ever.
ColecoVision was an Arcade machine just for your home, designed by Texas Instruments and manufactured both in USA., Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The Colecovision is essentially a stripped MSX1 and very close to SpectraVideo 318.
ColecoVision is related to all home computers and consoles with the environment around Z80 and the graphic chip 9928.
ColecoVision has a cartridge slot, 16 kb video RAM, up to 32kb ROM and 1kb RAM.
So games written for the colecovision could easily be ported to the MSX, but the other way around proves to be more difficult (but is certainly possible as well).
Atari, Mattel and Philips do not have the same high resolution graphics like ColecoVision.
Intellivision was even better than Atari 2600, and Atari better than Philips/Odyssey.
But what was it there could make ColecoVision so popular back in the 80's ?.

Popular movies at the time was: Scarface, Starwars, WarGames, Flashdance, Trading Places Jaws 3, Superman 3, Christine, Dirty Harry and many more.
-But these video games you played on your local Arcade in the early 80's, for your hard working money,
was so you could play your favorite games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Pole Position, Qix, Popeye, New Rally-X and maybe Lady Bug.
These games was in that time very popular and the people there played on these machines was completly obsessed.

You was "a kind of obsessed", -maybe you could make a record, and then get your initials on the screen for the rest of the day, or even "forever".
There was earned big money up around the 80's on these Arcade machines, just like the old fasion slot machines.

A big part of these arcade machines was build up around the CPU: Z 80 A, and the same CPU chip is build inside of the ColecoVision.
Zilog's popular CPU Z 80 A, was an 8 bit prossesor that saw the day of light back in 1976, with around 4 mHz. of speed. Z 80 A are close to Intel 8080/85.
A good thing was that the Z 80 A could generete own RAM signals.
The first Z 80=2,5 mHz. Second version Z 80 A=4 mHz. Third version Z 80 B=6 mHz. and Z 80 H=8 mHz.
The popular Hitachi HD 64180 was also close to Z 80 A, and had even MMU.

A coin-up for an arcade machine fill around 40 x 40 cm.

E.g.: "Moon Patrol" 3 pieces of a PCB: 37 x 42 cm.
+1 piece of: 37 x 16 cm.
This game PCB filled with chips was in an Arcade machine way back in 1985.

-But a cartridge for ColecoVision is only around 10 x 8 cm. and include a PCB with only 2 or 3 chips.
Remember an arcade machine could have the same CPU, for data, but it could also have it for working sound.
 Arcade games had also a very large and a different way of chipset to be able to run such a game of this size.
So limited chips for a ColecoVision game had therefore some limitation in the gameplay for ColecoVision.

Even on the ColecoVision game pack was a textnote:   -"Just like the real arcade game"-   Well, you most realize that it was a different game you played, but many are close to.

ColecoVision and the Adam had the core, and was the precursor for the later MSX adventure.

Why are they so close and yet not anyway, since MSX, as we know came straight after.
SpectraVideo 318 was an unfinished MSX homecomputer like ColecoVision and the ADAM Computer.

The differents was Coleco's own restrictions.
They made ColecoVision as cheap as possible, so no easy multicolor and flicker was a big problem.
Coleco's gamedesigners was reminded to remove all unnecessary things that could prevent the game to fill to much.

Characters og backgrounds was simple, and the logical gameplay was changed, and we know now we can blame the ColecoVision graphic chip for that.
Coleco would and could not get close to an arcade machine, neither on memory, 80's resolution and colors.
A ColecoVision Graphic chip could only handle 15 colors, 1 transparent and had in no way a scrool generator built in.

Also the design inside on the PCB, components, and the way the console are built are a limitation in itself.
Coleco's own graphic designers was not even able to program a nice smooth scroll for Colecovision.
But it could the people from 3rd Party companies like Imagic and AtariSoft, with their games like: "Nova Blast", "Defender" and "Moon Patrol".

Differents in the games design was that, allmost all the arcade machines had a vertical monitor, while a tv screen is horizontally.
So it was a big work for the graphical designers at Coleco to redesign it all from scratch, and there was no time for aa Coleco employer to take a break.
Coleco released a lot of games, so they decided in 1983 to outsource some of them to other companies.

A cartridge for ColecoVision was before up to 32 K. ROM and in the 80s was those chips very very expensive.

Today 128 K. for the first homebrew Pac-Man Collection, and maybe up to 256 K. for the upcoming Castlevania Redux from OpCode Games.
But "MegaCart1" from OpCode can provide up to more than 1 mb.

ColecoVision is today more powerful than ever.

You still have your old 80's ColecoVision if it still works.
But you can now add a Super Game Module with extra RAM and one more Sound chip.
You can also add an very avanced AtariMax SD Cartridge with a SD reader.
You can also add a Graphic Card with VGA out, and newest is HDMI.
New is also Super games that can store settings and save high-scores in the cartridge without batteries.

After Coleco say stop for further games in 1984 and the game market general in U.S. failed in mid 80's, was there still many unreleased ColecoVision games on the market.
Many games was hastily completed, and the last hit the market in 1986, but the screen says 1984.

Konami Industry has short after a big sale outside U.S. for the MSX platform.
Homebrewers in USA and Canada can now, thank god convert these games so they can be played on ColecoVision today.

The company Konami is around, but not our beloved ColecoVision, it will only die slow.
The problem with our ColecoVisions is the lifetime, it's limited by the range of components which many of them have left the world.

If only there could be build a "New" ColecoVision, a CV2, perhaps, an improved and stronger version.

It could possibly be emulated, I think this will keep alive the many games around the world quite.
And remember there will still be produced games even today.

This is one of the original Coleco brands from the former company, but not the oldest.
In USA and Canada was ColecoVision released under Coleco Inc.

In Europe under CBS Electronics.
The common name was ColecoVision.


My serial for my 1st. one.

And for the second one.

And here number 3.

My serial for my second newest, # 4.

This is from july 19th 2010.

All my CBS Consoles are made in Hong Kong/China.


Promoted advertising: CBS ColecoVision Europe.


When Coleco Industries introduced their
ColecoVision outside Europe i 1983,
was it with one of the most popular games
the world known, namely Donkey Kong.
One of Nintendo's biggest hit ever.

In Denmark and large parts of Europe and Scandinavia
was ColecoVision not necessarily came with Donkey Kong.

It was also released with the game Mouse Trap
A Pac-cheese look-a-like game was included instead.
And in Denmark an Italy was Mouse Trap included.

Click to enlarge... The Official Instructions book for Europe.
The book are including 10 languages.


The power supply was big and heavy as a rock.

110-130 V ~ 19 VA 60 Hz.
220-240 V ~ 19 VA 50 Hz.

pin 1 +5v 9A
Pin 2 -5V 1A
Pin 3 +12V 3A
Pin 4


it's said that the U.S. version of the power supply easily can break.
They have a plug in version.
In relation to the EU and maybe Canada do U.S. not have a lead at each end of the power supply.
Some of the first games released for ColecoVision was:

Cosmic Avenger - Donkey Kong - Mouse Trap - Lady Bug - Smurf - Venture - Turbo
Zaxxon - Space Panic - Carnival - Gorf - Looping - Pepper II - Space Fury.


This is the original aerial splitter
For Europe. (DIN).

2 x female and 1 x male.

Click to enlarge...


CBS and ColecoVision Technical 1982/83 :

CPU Zilog Z 80 A 8 Bit 1 K System RAM
Resolution Graphic mode 1 256H x 192V
Adress-system 16 Bit
Speed 3.58 MHz for NTSC and 4.43 for PAL
Bios RAM 8 K RAM
Video RAM 16 K RAM (8x4116) or (8x8326)
Graphic Processor, 8 bit. 10,7 mhz. TMS9918A 60 Hz. NTSC. No RGB.
Only Video Out.
TMS 9929A 50 Hz. with Y Pb Pr for RGB encoding.
For PAL up to 313 lines per frame. French version has RGB output via Scart connector.
Sprites up to 32 Simulated, max 2 moving sprites per scanlines, flickering.
Colors 15+1 transparent. ColecoVision Colors...
Text on screen 36 characters a 24 lines, and 80 characters for the ADAM Computer with a Monitor.
Soundchip Internal, SN76489AN 3 channels, 5 oktavian and 1 white noise,   Dual Mono
Cartridge ROM 8 K -16 K -24 K -32 K as standard.
Output signal RF Coaxial signal / F - Connector for U.S., and HF Coaxial / DIN Connector for Europe. RGB Scart connector for France.

The ColeVision had a 12 seconds delay that irritated many people in USA, and people were mad.
The real reason behind the 12 seconds delay is a loop in the ColecoVision Bios, the delay was purely intentional.
Eric Bromley at Coleco felt that it was appropriate for the copyright.
Some companies like Parker Brothers, Activision, Micro Fun and all newer companies avoided this delay by simply bypassing it in the Bios.

In Denmark, Autralia and other contries in Europe do we not have the 12 seconds delay, only 4 seconds.

CBS ColecoVision Mouse Trap sticker...  My very own original CBS ColecoVision-box. There's alot of boxesversions on the market, maybe 8-10...
On the right do you see my very own box from 1983.
I found the box far into my cellar, which I also found the box for the Roller controller.
The Mouse Trap sticker up left is fallen of over the time.
On the picture left, you'll see where the label would have to sit.

When and if I find the receipt on the purchase of my CBS ColecoVision, will also that be posted.
(Still not found, July. 2016.)

My Very Own, has RGB Out via Scart...
This is my very own and 1st. CBS ColecoVision on this picture.
The adhesive wood effect is placed by me in 1984.
I have had different versions of ColecoVisions motherboard.

My first ColecoVision was a CBS revision printed 1983 with a U.S. board inside.
Then 3 ColecoVisions in various revisions, and finally end up with the French version.
My newest and 5th board is also a French REV. B # 91209 from 1983.
It's the best CBS ColecoVision on the market at all. ( 9929A + RGB ).
The adhesive wood effect is still on my ColecoVision, I just change the upper half every time I get a new ColecoVision.
Many out there have tried to emulate it with varying results.
But this one, is the one and only.

The French version.

Official Coleco Péritel or SCART TV cable, allows you to get the better quality of sound and picture through the RGB signal.
It also allows you to connect the console to any CRT, LCD or plasma TV, as long as it has a SCART connector,
Scart avoiding much more interference or noise, typical of the RF-Antenna/RCA/F lead connection.
Very few CBS Colecovision consoles were sold including this SCART lead, because in that time the SCART Connection had not become a standard on ColecoVision yet.

The French standard was originally designed in the 70s, under the name
U.S. call it EIA interface, and many europeans call it the Euroconnector, but Scart is a kind of common name.
This standard is more than common in Europe than in the rest of the world, in which commonly used the famous yellow RCA phono plug.
Therefore, these may well become confused about what is AV in Europe and what is the AVin for example in USA.

The french CBS ColecoVision version with Scart output was the last production for the market.
In U.S. and Canada was the production already stopped, but the stock end was still crowded.
As Coleco sold out of their units were surplus of perhaps some boxes from the CBS production, therefore, the last consoles sold with different body content and various manuals.
But the French version should be original.


Click to enlarge...

The official French
with Scart connection.
The Original RGB DB 15 male Connector
for the French CBS ColecoVision.
The original RGB plug with
Coleco logo printed in.
The Original Connector in the French
CBS ColecoVision main board.

"This console is almost 30 years !
A true collector very rare in France.
It worked well in the world 6 million copies, huge for the time, but it was sold only six months in France."


With RF on LCD.

With RGB on LCD.

Look at these Palms in Road Fighter with RGB on a old Tv.
And Bump 'n' Jump with RF on LCD, and with RGB on LCD.

Last updated: July 31. 2016.