The ColecoVision was Coleco Industries’ second generation home video game console, and was released in 1982. It offered near-arcade-quality graphics and gaming style along with the means to expand the system’s basic hardware.
Approximately 145 titles in total were published as ROM cartridges for the system between 1982 and 1984. In addition, Expansion Module #1 made the ColecoVision compatible with Atari 2600 cartridges, giving the ColecoVision the largest software library of any console of its day.
All first-party cartridges and most third-party software titles feature a 12-second pause before presenting the game select screen. This delay results from an intentional loop in the console’s BIOS to enable on-screen display of the ColecoVision brand. Companies like Parker Brothers, Activision, and Micro Fun bypassed this loop, which necessitated embedding portions of the BIOS outside the delay loop, further reducing storage available to actual game programming.
Coleco licensed Nintendo’s Donkey Kong as the official bundled cartridge for all ColecoVision consoles, helping to boost the console’s popularity. By Christmas of 1982, Coleco had sold more than 500,000 units. The ColecoVision’s main competitor was the arguably more advanced but less commercially successful Atari 5200.
As a result of the video game crash of 1983, by the beginning of 1984, quarterly sales of the ColecoVision had dramatically decreased and over the next 18 months, the Coleco company ramped down its video game division, discontinuing the ColecoVision in late 1985.
The Nintendo Entertainment System’s design and technology was influenced by the ColecoVision. The two are very similar in specifications and hardware features such as tile-based sprites.