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The ColecoVision (short for Conneticut Leather Company Vision), released in 1982, came into the market as a strong competitor to the almost infallible Atari VCS (2600). The company had been around since the 1930's, it made the ever-so-popular board game Scrabble, and had only gotten into the video game industry in 1976 with its Pong clone named Telstar. The Telstar was a hit mainly because of its low retail price of $50.

Coleco promised that its upcoming console would be far superior in both sound and graphics to the Atari 2600. Another great piece of news was that it would come bundled with Nintendo's Donkey Kong, which would bring the little jumping Mario to TV screens for the first time. After several delays, it was finally released in September of 1982 and indeed had the arcade-quality graphics it had promised. 12 titles were initially released for the console and hundreds more followed in the next two years.

Sales were exceptionally well upon release, eventually even beating those of Atari and Mattel, and Donkey Kong gained the system immense popularity. Coleco saw an opportunity and decided to release and expansion module (EM1) to allow Atari 2600 games to be played on the ColecoVision. Despite Atari's disgust and its filing of several unsuccessful lawsuits, the expansion module was a hit with players and greatly expanded the console's library of games, most of which were arcade ports. Other accessories included a steering wheel controller (known as EM2) and a Super Game module (EM3 -released in 1983) intended to increase the system's main memory.

The video game crash of 1984 brought Coleco down to its knees and eventually the company filed for bankruptcy. The ColecoVision retailed for $175 and over 6 million units were sold in both the US and Europe up until production stopped.

Technical Specs:

CPU: 8-bit Z80A (3.58MHz)
RAM: 8KB, 16KB Video RAM
Video Display Processor: Texas Instruments TMS9928A
Colors: 16
Sprites: 32
Resolution: 256x192 pixels
Sound: TI SN76489AN. Channels: 3-tone, 1-noise

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