[Coladam] Super ColecoVision/ADAM

Joe Blenkle - Comcast jblenkle at comcast.net
Wed Oct 24 23:11:43 CEST 2012

Well, personally, I would be all for an improved ADAM...I currently have 
three ADAM stand alone consoles, but as I stated with the ColecoVision, 
someday they'll quit functioning and I would not be inclined to hunt down 
another one because it would probably meet the same fate and it might not be 
worth the investment.

A new machine, however, would be a different story. But then having said 

At this point in time unless someone suddenly jumps on the bandwagon to 
develop software, there hasn't been anything released for the ADAM since 
probably the late 80s.

I have two disk drives, two data drives, a modem, 64k expander card, 
parallel printer card, speech synthesizer and midi interface all hooked up 
to my ADAM. But except for playing occasional games, I seldom boot up any 
programs on my ADAM anymore unless its to re-live the good old days. And 
even then, it's much easier and faster to run programs and play games on the 
ADAM emulator.

The ADAM has a fond spot in my heart for some reason and I love collecting 
all the old programs for it. I love fooling around with it. It's the only 
computer I've ever actually opened up and worked on. Many years ago I 
replaced a dead sound chip on the motherboard. But other than for the 
memories of it, I just don't use it anymore...sad, but true.

Would I buy a new and improved ADAM...probably...but would I actually use it 
beyond what my existing ADAM is used for? Probably not. Am I going to use 
SmartWriter when I have Word and Word Perect? ADAMCalc over Excel?

So yes, a new ADAM would be nice...but what would it do for me? As far as 
software development goes, it's a dead machine. And most of the people who 
used to write software for it are no longer interested.

Possibly there would be more value in an ADAMNet SD card that could plug 
directly into the ADAM and be able to run disk, DDP and cart images. Disk 
drives are rare and subject to failure, as are data drives. Not to mention 
the old style 5.25" disks...again, they fail and are hard to find. Same with 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Eduardo Mello" <eduardo at opcodegames.com>
To: "Joe Blenkle - Comcast" <jblenkle at comcast.net>
Cc: "Jim Notini" <jnoti2 at comcast.net>; <coladam at adamcon.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 1:24 PM
Subject: Re: [Coladam] Super ColecoVision/ADAM

> Ok, but how about utilities, applications, even regular games....
> BASIC programs? I mean, anything would benefit from an slightly
> improved ADAM.
> Eduardo
> On Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 2:39 PM, Joe Blenkle - Comcast
> <jblenkle at comcast.net> wrote:
>> Don't tell you guys don't create new stuff for the ADAM? I mean, have you
>> been playing a half dozen Super Games for 30 years?
>> Yup, pretty much so...I don't think anyone has created a true super game
>> since Coleco dumped ADAM way back when...
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eduardo Mello" 
>> <eduardo at opcodegames.com>
>> To: "Jim Notini" <jnoti2 at comcast.net>
>> Cc: <coladam at adamcon.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 6:33 AM
>> Subject: [Coladam] Super ColecoVision/ADAM
>>> Jim,
>>> Well, it was you that proposed a new sort of ADAM in your original
>>> message,
>>> so I just expanded on the concept based on ideas I have for the CV2 or
>>> whatever we call it.
>>> Now, I understand your concerns, we have already discussed that and I
>>> think
>>> you are being very realistic and have pretty good points.
>>> However you might be super-estimating things a bit in some areas. Let me
>>> clarify.
>>> First, this isn't a 16 bit caliber console as you mention below. Not by 
>>> a
>>> long shot. As powerful as the V9958 may sound for example, it isn't an
>>> Amiga killer, neither is it more capable than let's say a Sega Master
>>> System. There is a 3rd chip in the V99 line, the V9990, now that is the
>>> Genesis meets the Amiga on steroid, but we are not talking about it 
>>> here.
>>> Second, you are forgetting that all the new stuff can be used optionally
>>> by
>>> new games, most of them with very little effort. The V9958 offers 
>>> hardware
>>> scroll, programmable color palette and 8 sprites per scanline. Those are
>>> all features seriously missing in the original TMS9928, and are features
>>> that could be used with little programming effort by any new game to
>>> create
>>> an enhanced experience if the hypothetical new console is detected for
>>> example.
>>> Sound stuff is another thing that can be used optionally. In fact
>>> nanochess
>>> is creating a new game that run on regular CVs and use the SGM second 
>>> PSG
>>> if it detected, for improved music.
>>> That said, let's review your points...
>>>> While I commend your incredible vision concerning this new and improved
>>>> CV
>>>> idea, I really do fear that there will be a VERY limited market for 
>>>> such
>>> an
>>>> item seeing as the retrogaming market for the CV, and especially the
>>>> ADAM,
>>>> is very small already. Even with full backwards compatibility with the
>>>> current CV library and controllers (Roller Controller with it's 
>>>> odd-ball
>>>> power adapter would have to be supported as well via an adapter or the
>>>> inclusion of a compatible port on the new CV that would act as a
>>>> pass-through to the new power supply), a greatly enhanced CV as you 
>>>> have
>>>> listed out would probably draw the interest of only the hardcore CV 
>>>> fans
>>> and
>>>> a small amount of casual CV fans... especially in the price range of
>>>> $150-$175.
>>> You kidding me. People are playing almost $100 to get their CV 
>>> refurbished
>>> by Todd. Lot's of people...
>>>> It's not so much that I am against the idea, so much as I would
>>>> be very fearful of the amount of time and money that you would have to
>>>> invest in such a project. It's a huge risk in my opinion, not the
>>>> development of it because I am sure that you could pull it off, and I
>>>> commend you for even considering it.
>>>> Some things that come to mind concerning all the suped-up specs of this
>>>> proposed new CV or CV2...
>>>> - while all the spec improvements are awe-inspiring, without a library 
>>>> of
>>>> games that take advantage of them and a group of programmers lined up 
>>>> to
>>>> pump games out, it could be a tough sell except for the fact that it
>>>> would
>>>> function as a perfect replacement to the aging CV.
>>> The big question how much it would cost to have an exact clone of the CV
>>> produced, versus how much to have all those improvements. If the price
>>> different is minimum, let's say, less than $50, then I don't see why 
>>> don't
>>> go with the improvements, if just because we can.
>>>> I know you would have a
>>>> couple game ready by the time of launch, but how many other programmers
>>>> would be willing to write games for it especially seeing as there has
>>>> only
>>>> been one programmer to date, besides yourself, willing to develop a
>>> MegaCart
>>>> game in all the years that it's been available although 2 more 
>>>> (Nanochess
>>>> and Mystery Man) are close to having their MegaCart games released.
>>> Actually CollectorVision Mario Bros is also a MegaCart.
>>>> Aside
>>>> for the fact that the CV2 would be backward compatiible with the CV, I
>>> would
>>>> be very weery of purchasing it with only one person supporting it with
>>>> new
>>>> games that take advantage of it's enhanced hardware features. Even 
>>>> then,
>>>> I
>>>> don't know how interested I would be in these "improved" games seeing 
>>>> as
>>>> they just wouldn't be the CV style and feel anymore, it would be more 
>>>> on
>>> the
>>>> lines of MSX2, Amiga, ST, Super NES or Genesis.
>>> We surely don't get as far as Super NES/Genesis capabilities. But again
>>> remember the enhanced features that can be used optionally.
>>>> - If I or someone else wanted a vastly improved gaming system, wouldn't
>>>> it
>>>> be more logical to just pickup a SuperNES or Genesis at ridiculously 
>>>> low
>>>> prices and then have access to either of those system's game libraries
>>> which
>>>> number in the 1000s. Most loose carts and even CIB can be had for dirt
>>> cheap
>>>> and then there is the option of using their versions of MultiCarts /
>>>> Everdrives. Again, because of the easy availability of all these "newer
>>> than
>>>> CV" retro systems, it could prove to be extremely hard sell for a CV2.
>>>> The
>>>> main advantage the CV2 would hold is compatbility with all existng CV
>>> warez,
>>>> which leads me to believe that a more simple design concentrating on 
>>>> the
>>>> improving the CV's main weaknesses of Video Output, Power Supply,
>>> Controller
>>>> ICs, overall aging of components, etc.would be the more feasible way to
>>>> go
>>>> either as a replacement board or as a new system.
>>> A valid point, but we get again to the matter of total production costs. 
>>> I
>>> checked with my sources in China for example, and they are some of the
>>> best
>>> out there, they can get you any NOS chip next day, and new V9958s are 
>>> now
>>> cheaper than TMS9928, actually half the price. Besides the V9958 has a
>>> much
>>> improved RGB video output. So why would I pay more for something when I
>>> can
>>> get some other that is half the price, has better video quality, more
>>> features? Even if I don't touch any of the new features, it is still a
>>> better buy option. Z80 is another example. It is much easier to get a 
>>> PLCC
>>> 8MHz Z80 today than look for NOS 4MHz DIP Z80. So why don't take 
>>> advantage
>>> of that and have the option to double the CV Z80 speed by software, even
>>> if
>>> it never get used. I understand your point if it was a matter of paying
>>> more for stuff you are never going to use, but how about paying less for
>>> stuff you are never going to use but still backward compatible?
>>>> One example that comes to mind is the F18A by Matthew Haggerty. I guess 
>>>> I
>>>> should re-read all the enhancements that it provides before using it as
>>>> an
>>>> example, but it seems to me that the only function it will ever provide
>>> when
>>>> installed in a CV or ADAM is improved video output via VGA. Will any CV
>>>> programmers support it and it's enhanced capabilities especially seeing
>>> that
>>>> maybe ten CV owners have purchased one and I know with 100% certainty
>>>> that
>>>> there will not be any ADAM specific software written to take advantage 
>>>> of
>>>> it's features especially seeing as I only know of one person, Tempest,
>>> that
>>>> has one.
>>> We are talking about a VDP replacement that costs as much as an ADAM
>>> itself, not a very good comparison I think. The cost/benefit ratio is 
>>> very
>>> low, as it solves a single problem at a very high cost.
>>>> As far as the listed ADAM enhancements,  very cool to even consider 
>>>> them,
>>>> but all of these proposed enhancements like 16Mb RAM, Ethernet, etc.
>>>> would
>>>> more than likely go unused. It's actually pretty awesome to even 
>>>> consider
>>>> having such things available on the ADAM, but again, when it all boils
>>> down
>>>> to it, the average person in the retro scene just want to play games on
>>> all
>>>> this old gear, not perform any serious computer tasks, and any
>>>> prospective
>>>> new hardware should focus on making this a possibility. So what the 
>>>> ADAM
>>>> World really needs most is an ADAMnet SD Drive like the one developed 
>>>> by
>>>> Else a couple years ago but that uses a menu program to control 
>>>> mounting
>>> and
>>>> unmounting of Disk/DDP Image Files versus Else's method of using DIP
>>>> Switches.
>>> Don't tell you guys don't create new stuff for the ADAM? I mean, have 
>>> you
>>> been playing a half dozen Super Games for 30 years?
>>> The V9958 80 columns text mode is exactly the same as the TMS9928, 
>>> just...
>>> with 80 columns. So applications can be easily ported. Don't you have
>>> DOSes
>>> or anything? CP/M stuff?
>>>> Whatever route you decide to take, I know the end result will be an
>>> amazing
>>>> product and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe I am just too cautious
>>>> when
>>>> it comes to matters like this or prefer to keep things simpler.
>>> Well, thanks for the kind words. Again, I understand your points, I 
>>> think
>>> they are valid concerns. But if we can produce something that is better
>>> for
>>> about the same price as it would cost to produce a clone (because no
>>> matter
>>> if it is V9958, TMS9928, 4MHz or 8MHz Z80s, this is all very old tech, 
>>> you
>>> know), then I think it is worth a shot.
>>> Eduardo
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> Coladam at adamcon.org
>>> http://adamcon.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/coladam
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