Colecovision Final Thoughts + New Additions

Time to wrap up my month spent playing the near arcade perfect Colecovision games in my collection. I had such a great time replaying my arcade favorites after so many years but an even more surprising outcome occurred as the month progressed. My kids loved the Colecovision! I have two young daughters that are only occasional video game players. From a modern gaming standpoint, they like the Wii/Wii U games such as Wii Sports, Let’s Dance, Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World. They’ve been introduced to all of the systems that I’ve played since starting this blog and while the Vectrex and NES had gotten a few plays, the Colecovision is the system they requested to play regularly! The simplicity of the controls has a lot to do with the appeal I’m sure, as well as the short duration needed in order to actually play the game. Like most elementary aged kids, attention spans are still fairly short so playing a game for 5-10 minutes is the perfect duration for them. Honestly, it works great for me as well if I find myself with 10-15 min to kill, I can easily pop in a few Colecovision carts and have some good old fashioned arcade style fun. If I break down what I like and don’t like about the Colecovision, the highlights would be:

Pros:

  • Near arcade perfect ports
  • Graphically superior to most 2nd generation consoles
  • Quality peripherals (e.g. driving wheel, roller controller)
  • Attractive looking console and packaging
  • Attachment that allows you to play Atari 2600 games

Cons:

  • No Pac-Man/Ms. Pac Man ports
  • THE CONTROLLERS

Seriously, ask anyone familiar with the Colecovision what its biggest weakness is and 10 out of 10 respondents will tell you “the controllers”. I personally have learned to live with it and use it but that’s largely because I don’t have any other options. I don’t have a Super Action controller or modded Atari and NES controllers to use. I’ve tried a Genesis controller but in order to select a game level or player 1 vs. 2 I end up just randomly hitting buttons until the game starts and too often I end up accidentally select 2 players. Also, the Genesis controller makes my Time Pilot game flip out after only a few seconds and it ends up going to black and looping a 10 second musical number over and over. Unfortunately, Time Pilot was the game I was most excited to play using the Genesis controller so the fact it didn’t work was just a major bummer. Hand cramps are just something a Colecovision player has to deal with and I just consider it a rite of passage for any fan of the system.

From a collection standpoint, second gen games are no longer as “hot” as many 3rd-5th gen games are currently so it’s not terribly hard to buy Colecovision games for reasonable prices, as long as you can find them. Most of the brick and mortar stores in my area will only have a handful of games at any given time and they are typically the most common ones. Every once in awhile they will have some interesting complete games or boxes, manuals and overlays I need so they are still valuable resources for adding items to my collection. As for new Colecovision additions for the month, I didn’t add any hard to find games or “heavy hitters” to my collection but managed to add quite a few cool things without spending much money.

Added to my collection:

  • Expansion Module #2 (Driving Wheel) manual
  • Victory – game, manual, box
  • Popeye – game, manual, box
  • Frogger – game (manual and box are en route)
  • Carnival – game, manual (box is en route)
  • Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle – game, manual (box is en route)
  • Qbert manual (box is en route)
  • WarGames overlay (manual is en route)


When I think about the quality of this console and its games and then remember that Coleco no longer exists in its original incarnation as a company, it makes me a bit sad. I usually don’t feel too bad when a video game system fails due to questionable marketing, bad games or some other factors that they could have controlled but for some reason, Coleco’s failure feels unfortunate to me. The games as a whole are high quality without the shovelware that plagued the Atari 2600 which helped usher in the gaming collapse. This ultimately doomed everyone in the video game industry, even companies that were only guilty by association. Colecovision, you should have been a superstar.

Overall Grade: A-

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