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 containsa 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 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.


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 2600, 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 a kind of "forever".
There was earned big money up around the 80's on these Arcade machines, just like the old fasion slot machines. and the Pinballs.

A big part of these arcade machines was build up around the CPU Z80A, and the same CPU chip is build inside of the ColecoVision.
Zilog's popular CPU Z80A, was an 8 bit prossesor that saw the day of light back in 1976, with around 4 MHz. of speed.
Z80A are close to Intel 8080/85.
A good thing was that the Z80A could generete own RAM signals.
The first Z80 = 2,5 mHz. Second version Z80 A = 4 mHz. Third version Z80 B = 6 mHz. and Z80 H = 8 mHz.
The popular Hitachi HD 64180 was also close to Z80A, 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 is filled with chips from inside 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 back in the day compared to today.

Even on the ColecoVision game box 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 Family Computer had the core and was close to SpectraVision 318, and both 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 home computer like ColecoVision and the ADAM Family Computer System.

The differents was Coleco's own restrictions.

They made ColecoVision as cheap as possible, so no easy multicolor or vector, and flicker in the games 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 in many games, and the logical gameplay was sometime changed.
ColecoVision could not in many cases 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 or vector 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 the 3rd Party companies like Imagic and AtariSoft, with their games like: "Nova Blast", "Defender" and "Moon Patrol".

Differents in many 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 a Coleco employer to take a break and think deeper.
Coleco released a lot of games, so they decided in 1983 to outsource some of them to other companies.

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

Today 128 K. for the first homebrew Pac-Man Collection, and 256 K for Dragon's Lair and now even up to 512 K for Wizard Of Wor is not uncommon today.
MegaCart1 from Opcode Games can provide up to more than 1 mb., and the new one MegaCart2 can even handle a Savegame feature.
But only in connection with the Opcode Super Game Module 1 and 2, or the Phoenix VGS.

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 card reader.
You can also add a F18A Graphic Card with VGA out, and newest MK II can handle HDMI.
Alternatively there is also a new TMS RGB version.
New is also Super games that can store settings and save high-scores in the cartridge without batteries.
Others have made Pause, Slowmotion, LED, Surround new Power supply and other things.

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 the U.S. for the MSX platform.
Homebrewers in USA, Brazil, Mexico, France, Canada and other countries can now, -thank god, converted many of these MSX games so they can be played on ColecoVision today.

Companys like Konami, Namco and Activision is still 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.

Fortunately, more emulators have been made and new consoles like the ADAM+ and CV-NUC+ are on the way.
And remember there will still be produced ColecoVision games even today.

This is one of the original Coleco Brand from the former company Coleco Inc.
The Brand is not the oldest.

CBS Electronics...
Games and ColecoVision consoles in Europe was licensed under CBS Electronics.
The common name was ColecoVision.


My serial for my 1st. one.

And # 2.

And here number 3.

My # 4.

This is from july 19th 2010.

And the newest from October 02, 2018.
  All my CBS Consoles are made in Hong Kong/China.  


Promoted advertising: CBS ColecoVision Europe.


When Coleco Industries introduced their ColecoVision in U.S.A. in August 1982,
was it with one of the most popular game 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 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.

The Official Instructions book for Europe.
The Official Instructions book are including 10 languages.


The originally power supply was big and heavy as a rock.

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

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


It's said that the 60 Hz. U.S. version of the power supply easily can break.
Maybe because they have a plug in version.
In relation to the EU and maybe Canada do the U.S. power supply 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.


Originally CBS / ColecoVision Technical 1982 / 83 :

CPU Zilog Z80A 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 and a Hardware card.
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 2 channels RF Coaxial / F - Connector for U.S., and 2 channels HF Coaxial / DIN Connector for Europe. Direct RGB Scart connector for France.

The ColeVision console had a 12 seconds delay that irritated many people in USA, and people were irritated about having to wait so long for a game to start up.
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 12 seconds was appropriate for the copyright.
Some companies like Parker Brothers, Activision, Micro Fun and allmost all newer 3rd party companies avoided this delay by simply bypassing it in the Bios.

In Denmark, Australia and other contries in Europe we don't have the 12 seconds delay, only around 4 seconds.

On the right do you see my very own box from 1983 / 84.
I found the box far behind in my storage room, 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.
The receipt was finally found in November, 2020.

And now uploaded to ColecoVision.dk in July 2022.
We have it in Denmark late 1983 for a price of 2.495,- DKR.
Few months later in February 1984 then the price was reduced to 1.795,- DKR.
And there I struck.

This is my very own and 1st. CBS ColecoVision on this picture.
The adhesive wood effect (Hazelnut) is placed by me in 1984.
And was inspired from the 70's Atari VCS 2600 and the 80's Intellivision.

My very first and brand new ColecoVision was a CBS revision printed 1983 with a U.S. board inside.
Then after, 3 ColecoVisions in various revisions, and finally end up with the French version.
So my 5th board is a French REV. B # 91209 from 1983.
And my 6th French ColecoVision board from October 2018 is a REV ?.
It's the best ColecoVision on the market at all. ( 9929A + RGB ).
The adhesive wood effect is still on my ColecoVision, I just change the upper half plastic case every time I got 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 old 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.
Scart was not known was not known in wider circles in U.S. at that time.

The French standard was originally designed in the 70s, under the name
U.S. call it EIA interface, and many europeans call it Euro-connector, 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 AV in for example in USA. The french CBS ColecoVision version with Scart output was the last production and primarily intended for the French 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, and even with white controllers.
But the French version should be all original.


The official French instruction
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 40 years old !
A true collector, very rare in France.
It worked well in the world, around 6 million copies, huge for the time, but it was sold only six months in France.


With RF on LCD.

With RGB on LCD.

With HDMI on LCD.

(Left) Look at these Palms in Road Fighter with RGB on a old catode color Tv., it flows out.
And Bump 'n' Jump with RF on LCD, and with RGB and last, HDMI on LCD.

Last 7 updates:

February 12, 2023.
12, 2022.
July 17, 2022.
June 13, 2021.
August 23, 2020.
October 02, 2018.
September 28, 2018.