Coleco Vision

Now that’s an American hot rod of a system, ain’t it? I’ve always loved the look of the CV. It’s one of the only consoles of its era that I think still looks fairly modern, in the same way an old Ford Mustang still looks fairly modern (and anyway, what’s old is new again, right?). It just looks badass; I mean that’s not something that changes with the passage of time. There are no feminine curves, no “futuristic” sloping wedges, just a big, imposing, hard-edged, black rectangular box. The way game consoles were meant to be.

I always wanted a CV when I was a kid. I had an Intellivision system, which was great when it was new, but everybody back in 1982 knew about this system that came with a near-perfect port of Donkey Kong (the hottest arcade game of the day) and I sure wanted one as much as anybody else. A friend of mine (a girl, no less!) across the street from me got one, and I was over at her house practically every day – sometimes until very late at night – playing on that thing with her, and sometimes even as she slept. She even got an Adam eventually (the add-on version – hope she kept it!), which just meant more fun for all. She was nuts about that thing and so was I – it was almost like it was “our” system, though I really still wanted one of my own and unfortunately I never did get one.

So I retrobought this one a couple years ago, got a decent deal because it only came with the pack-in game and nothing else. But it did have the box and all accessories, so it was basically like buying one new! I haven’t bought any games for it since getting the system – CV games are often expensive and for some reason tougher to come by than other systems, even though it seemed like they were everywhere back in 1982. I’ve got a lot of other systems to collect for first.

I do know how much my system cost when it was new:

Obviously this system was purchased a bit later into its production run.

My system’s really not as dusty as it looks in the pic at the top – here’s another view:

Looks pretty nice, eh? About the only issue is that the metal faceplate on the top is peeling back a bit – I just need to glue it back down. The same is happening to the front face plate, although not that bad – this is a common cosmetic problem with old CV’s, but very easy to fix (the glue just goes bad after 20 years). Mine’s not bad at all though, good shape all around and good cosmetics:

Note that the actual name of the system is the Coleco Vision. It is not “Colecovision”. I used to make that mistake myself, until I finally realized “Coleco Colecovision” wouldn’t make any sense, and of course, there it is right on the box and the unit itself. It’s two words, company name first, no different than “Sega Saturn”, “Sony PlayStation” or “Atari Jaguar”. It’s the Vision system from Coleco. (I have never once heard anybody just call it “the Vision” and Coleco themselves were always careful to include the company name in any official documents, but that’s really what it is.)

The 5200 and Coleco Vision were competing systems in the early 1980’s, and they had similar style controllers. Coleco’s were really not much better than the horribly unreliable 5200 controllers, though; they were just awful in a different way. I remember some pretty severe hand cramps and some actual bruising from long sessions with the CV; those infernal discs would kill your fingers and the base of your thumb, and the fire buttons had far too much resistance and would wear out your finger muscles in minutes:

I’m a 6’4″ adult holding that thing, and it still looks big and beefy. Imagine wielding one of those as a 7 year old kid!

On the plus side, the controller storage worked well and actually looked pretty cool. I wish console manufacturers would still build this into their consoles – I’ve got controllers lying all over my apartment.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the back of the box, which has a whole bunch of game screenshots and other goodies on it:

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