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Official ColecoVision FAQ 4.1
Who's the people behind ?

 
 
         



Coleco stands for: COnnecticut LEather COmpany.
The Company was founded by an Russian Shoemaker immigrant (Greenberg) back in 1932 in New-York, USA.
In the beginning he sold leather supplies to shoemakers.

Greenberg's first son Leonard was fascinated by manufacturing, so he made his own factory in the back of his father's shop.
Leonard designed and build a plastic forming machine, to production of swimmingpools.
Those swimmingpools outcompete in the 60's he's fathers leathercompany.

After some good years in the swimmingpool industry Greenberg then sold the entire pool manufacturing to Lomart.
Lomart was a big player on the market, and was owned by Doughboy, after that the pool then became half Coleco and half Doughboy.

Then began Greenberg's second son Arnold to looking for new investment.
Investments in for example Dolls, and Tabletop Hockey games.
Arnold began his career in Law, but joined in 1966 his father and his brother.
After a great sale in the 60's do they not earning much in the 70's, and it resulting in a close bankruptcy already in 1978.

colecovision.dk know Coleco Inc. doing much other toys including The E.T. Power Cycle.
ColecoVision.dk will try to concentrate on the video game console and the electronics close to it.

In 1972, created Nolan Bushnell via Atari a Videogame called "Pong", it was a great game in the right time.
Ralph Bear (Philips) had worked on Pong for Atari since late 60's.

Coleco decided to bring out a home version of this game, but the development was a bit to slow.
In 1974 began Atari marketing "Pong" for themselves to the big market out there.

In 1975 began Coleco production of a videogame called "Telstar" and sold it for less than the Atari version.
Riding this way of succes, Coleco designed 9 additional Telstar products for release in December 1977.
But everything went wrong.

Coleco could not finish the Telstar, because they have problems with the FCC rules # 15.
So Ralph Bear
informed Coleco that if they would sign Magnavox' Licensing Agreement, then will their team help with the production line problems.

 Shortage of chips from Asia and a East Coast dock strike meant that the games didn't make it.
In addition the market was changing and Coleco hadn't changed with it.

In 1978, the company lost $ 22.3 million and ended up scrapping over a million Telstar units.
Telstar was near fault in that Coleco went bankrupt in 1980, when interest in Pong-based consoles died out in the end of the 70's.
But once again, Coleco managed to rise up again from the ashes.

In 1980 and 81' began Coleco to check out the market for a real videogame that could beat Atari and Mattel from the market of Videogame for home consumer.
Alongside Coleco also started a production of small different electronic Table Tops.

Former Bit corporation in Hong Kong and Coleco Industries USA make a big deal.
Coleco and the Hong Kong company designed a several sketch for promotion, but finally in 1982
Coleco was proud to present their new "baby" called: ColecoVision for a Street price of : $ 175.
Different Coleco related products were produced in several places in the world.
E.g. USA, Canada, England, Ireland (ADAM), Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Actually had Coleco planned to launch their first game Cosmic Avenger for ColecoVision, but that was not to go.
Under a trip for Eric Bromley in Kyoto, Japan, fate would Bromley meet with Nintendo's president Hiroshi Yamauchi about the rights to Donkey Kong.
Yamauchi demanded to Coleco within 24 hours to pay $ 200.000,- and $ 2,- for each sold game in royality.
Bromley called home and Greenberg said: "If the game really is that good as you say, then let us go for it".
The money was transferred in the last minute, and the contract was in the house right in front of Atari.
It must be said to be fortunate for Coleco.

And thus ended Coleco up being packed with the extremely popular Donkey Kong game.
At already in December 1982, only 4 month after, Coleco had already sold 500,000 units.

In the year of 1983 sales quickly passed 1.000.000 units, a very big sale at the time.
Total sales of the ColecoVision in 1984 are uncertain, but were ultimately in excess of 2 million units.
And the company had sold more than 6 million ColecoVisions in just three years.

And as for the sale of games so could Coleco Inc. and CBS Electronics in just two years sell a total of 8 million games for various dealers worldwide.
You can still today find brand new games in their seal.  -impressive.

Coleco would in the beginning not allow 3. party games, they would only sell those games which they themselves had negotiated.
It was expensive for Coleco Industries to do it that way.
So Coleco decided in 1983 to allow 3. party games for the ColecoVision system, and many companies had looked forward to this day.

It was especially a man named Mike Livesay, because he had initially been rejected by Coleco via Micro Fun.
Livesay wanted to produce Miner 2049'er for the ColecoVision system when it was released in 1982.

And in 1983 got Livesay an ok from Micro Fun and four months later was Miner 2049'er a reality for ColecoVision.
Livesay had also room to throw in an "extra impossible to get to" 11th level.
Livesay were the first 3. party developer for the Coleco, "actually we were the only one for good amount of time".


Coleco released an Atari module, that could play all Atari games on ColecoVision.
Coleco made a several prototypes, and ended up with a finished version of the Gemini 2600 clone, and later The well known Expansion Module #1.

Atari was furious and Atari defendant Coleco, but Atari had forgot to patent their system, and Coleco defendant Atari back.
But, as with all succesful products, the market quickly heated up and the competition came on strong.

A very young Drew Barrymore...

Coleco go marketing in Films for some advertising, this is a scene from the movie Firestarter.
A very young Drew Barrymore plays Slither with the Rollerball Module. (Roller Controller).

Coleco had not spent too much on their ColecoVision.
Especially their video chip and RAM were inferior.
Moreover, they had problems with flickering when several of the simulated sprites were passing each other on the same scanline.
So therefore announced Coleco in 1983 that they would release a new ColecoVision, named Super Expansions Module.
This Super Expansion Module should resolve the problem and that it had potential for high scores and all scenes, there was now no limits for the games.

Coleco said: You have to play those games, before you could believe those detailed games.
But as so much earlier, Coleco run into troubles.
Problems this time was a so-called intern Wafer Module, which should load the game on tape in a loop.
And if you missed a bit, you'll have to wait until the tape has running out, before you could start again.
They also find out in their prototypes, that the tape could stretching, and thereby change the frequency range, which could get the tape to fail fatally.
So Coleco decided to drop the SGM Module.

Coleco announced then that they would coming out with a $ 200 module that would turn the ColecoVision into Computers.
Coleco believe it would be comparable to Atari 400, Texas 99/4A or even Commodore.

But once again, however. Although the promised computer module and peripherals were developed and advertised under the name ADAM, Coleco was unable to deliver on it's promises.

Chrismas 1983 came and went and ADAM didn't make the stores.
Other small computers were already on the market.
Coleco Industries had great problems with ADAM, they had been produced too quickly, and was filled with faulty hardware from the factory.
And not only that, it cost Coleco expensive to repair the defective again.
Many also found out that if you forgot a tape in the vicinity of the Memory Module, it could in extreme cases remove the data on the tape.

ADAM computer and had another weird patent, namely that it had opted to place the power supply in the printer, which meant that they were inseparable.
Many also thought that Adam was clumsy, and filled a lot on the table.

The video gaming industry for cartridges experienced it's first major growing pains.
Why pay much for a cartridge when you could copy a tape for free to each other's C64.

In August 1982, same time like ColecoVision, the Commodore 64 was released to the public.
It found initial success, because it was marketed and priced aggressively.
It had a BASIC programming environment and advanced graphic and sound capabilities for its time, similar to the ColecoVision console.
C64 was easy and straight to go to, and filled only at a fraction of an ADAM.
And with sales of just 17 million units, it is said to be an extraordinarily success for Commodore.

C64 was the most popular home computer of its day in the U.S. and many other countries incl. Denmark and Germany.
And it was the best-selling single computer model of all time internationally.

At around the same time, the ZX Spectrum was released in the UK and quickly became one of the most popular home computer in most of Western Europe.

After years of success fall throughout the game industry together due primarily inflated ambitions.
Coleco was never able to recoup the lost sales, and in 1984 they withdrew ADAM from the market and ended it's brief foray into the home computer market.
Losses were recorded at $ 80 million.
Still hurting from the financial hit, Coleco turned it's attentions back to the toy market.
An once again Coleco managed to come up with the right idea at the right time.



Coleco bought in 1983 the rights and got a license to produce Xavier Roberts dolls, "Little People".
Those little Pudgy-faced dolls was renamed Cabbage Patch Kids.
Parents stood in long lines outside the store, trying to get one of the dolls for their child's christmas present,
and it was all crazy.

And once again, Coleco was unable to produce the amount of products as promised.
Coleco produced 2.5 millions dolls in 1983, but could not keep up with the huge sale.
Then the production get to a higher level, and in 1984 alone, 20 million dolls were bought.
Coleco went on to record sales of $ 600 million in 1985.

In 1986 sales of Cabbage Patch dolls fell, and Coleco lost $ 111 million.
Hasbro was taking over the OAA Inc. from Coleco, and by 1999 95 million dolls had been sold worldwide.


But also in 1986 coleco industries had permission from Lorimar Telepicture Licensing Group,
to production of the famous doll from the TV series: Alf.

    
 

Alf was a funny little Alien-doll, who could tell stories via a build in cassette-player.

In 1987 the company lost another $ 105 million.

In 1988, the conditions for a bankruptcy was a reality.

In June 1989 Coleco lost it's battle to stay in business.
Strapped for working capital and unable to pay its debts, Coleco Industries Inc. of West Hartford, Conn., has filed for U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection from its creditors.
And Coleco sold its assets to Hasbro Inc.
Hasbro Inc. announced that they now had buy out Coleco for $ 85 million in cash.

Also e-coleco buy up a lot of things, especially ColecoVision and ADAM stuff and a lot of accessories.
They was particularly interested in Memory Expansion Cards, Printer Interface Cards and Floppy Disk Drives.

TeleGames was most interested in the games themselves, and bought virtually all remaining stock of games.
They also got licens to produce and publish those games that was finally to release, which was not possible to sell because of the "Black Friday", and Coleco's Bankruptcy.
TeleGames could then sell its games.

But also Palan Electronics had plans, they would resell the ColecoVision game console again for 50 .
And they also bought all the old Imagic and Activision games for rerelease, but now with a mysterious white label.

Many stores around the world now had plenty of great games that suddenly could not be sold.
This including Sunrise in Europe, they had hundreds of games which now lay on the stock.

That company that made it all possible was not able to handle its own succes, and is now a name in the history.

Coleco ended up with debts of $ 540.3 million.
And total, it faced 2,500 workers jobless.

Shortly after, Coleco sold all its assets in North America.
Closed its factories in Amsterdam, New York and other cities, and never turned back to the videogame market.

Colecovision still sells, but it is a shadow of its former self.
Cause of bankruptcy: Chapter 11: not liable.

 

        
Former Coleco Buildings.

"US Amsterdam experienced another economic blow in the 1980's when Coleco, a toymaker that had taken over former Carpet Mill Buildings."
"Made bad investment decisions after the success of the Cabbage Patch doll."
"The local people were angry over the performance of Coleco, which came to Amsterdam in 1968."
"The company boomed in 1983 with the Cabbage Patch doll, only to face bankruptcy in 1988 with the ill-fated production of the Adam Computer."

Also in Canada was it big, at their address: 4000, St. Ambroise street, Montreal, Quebec.

"Coleco manufactured toys and pong-like consoles there."
"Coleco employed 800 people and closed its doors in 1987."

The Brands "Coleco", "ColecoVision", "Head 2 Head" and "Zaxxon" is now owned by: River West Brands.
They are owner of the brand in U.S., but has nothing to do with the former Coleco Inc., ColecoVision, nor even the ColecoVision games.

RWB make electronic games based on Sega, and use the familiar name for marketing.
RWB is willing to share the name for people who do care for it.

And that's exactly what Eduardo Mello at OpCode Games do, he have now a right to use the name "Coleco" for his new Module.
The Module called: SGM is an expansion for ColecoVision released in 2012/15 to use for more complex games.

So after the U.S. game crash in the mid-80s, was it Nintendo NES 8 bit. who took over where Coleco left off.
From 1985 until 1995, (2003 for Japan) sold Nintendo Intertainment System around 62 million consoles worldwide.
Another interesting thing is Atari 7800.

The crowded market for game went down the United States and withdrew Europe down, but certainly not for the Japanese.

Coleco Industries was for people in america as what LEGO is for the Danes.
They both got their ups and downs.
LEGO lives yet, the same does Coleco... -in our minds.

Who was the people behind it all in 1982 ?.

And, -is Coleco and ColecoVision still alive ?.

Updates will continuously be corrected, last updated: August 19. 2014.