ColecoVision: The Arcade Quality Video Game System

Coleco Industries, Inc.1982

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play
Rochester , United States

In the summer of 1982, Coleco Industries challenged market leaders Atari and Mattel with the release of the ColecoVision, their first cartridge-based home video game system. During the late 1970s the company had successfully entered the video game market with the Telstar line of Pong-style systems, selling millions of units in a number of different configurations. Witnessing the phenomenal sales generated by the Atari 2600 prompted Coleco to reenter the market with a cartridge-based system in the early 80s. The company scored a huge marketing success by purchasing the rights to Nintendo's arcade hit Donkey Kong and then including the cartridge, a "pack-in," with the console for a retail price of $199. In addition, they released numerous other popular arcade games such as Zaxxon, Q*Bert, and Popeye during the first year of production. Holiday sales in 1982 topped one million units and in the process vaulted Coleco to the top of the booming video game market. The system featured arcade-quality graphics which were clearly superior to both the Atari 2600 and the Mattel Intellivision. Atari released their next generation system, the Atari 5200, soon after ColecoVision hit the shelves and even the updated Atari system was no match for Coleco's product. The entire library of Atari 2600 games, including the popular home versions of Space Invaders and Pac-Man, could be played on the ColecoVision via an expansion module (prompting unsuccessful legal action on the part of Atari). An instant success but short-lived success, Coleco sold more roughly six million units in a brief three year production run before the video game market downturn of 1983.


  • Title: ColecoVision: The Arcade Quality Video Game System
  • Creator: Coleco Industries, Inc.
  • Date Created: 1982
  • Location: Amsterdam, NY
  • Subject Keywords: video game, electronic game, ColecoVision
  • Type: Console Hardware
  • Medium: printed cardboard, plastic, metal
  • Object ID: 116.7946
  • Credit Line: Gift of Raiford Guins

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