In 1982 Coleco Industries released the ColecoVision video game
console. It quickly became one of the most popular game systems of the 1980's. The ColecoVision was an instant hit selling
over 500,000 units in it's first six months. It was widely praised for having near arcade quality graphics and a robust library
of games. The system was helped greatly by a roster of incredible titles that included Zaxxon, Jungle Hunt and Donkey Kong,
the latter of which became the killer app for the new console. Over the past several decades ColecoVision nostalgia has grown
to a fever pitch. It now has a large and dedicated fan community. New games are still being produced for the classic console
almost 35 years after it's initial release. Now one company has revived this legendary console and brought it back to the
living room where it belongs.
AtGames is well known for their popular series of plug and play video game consoles. The
company has produced Atari, Sega and Intellivision consoles as well as a series of handheld game systems. Their latest creation
is the ColecoVision Flashback. It's an ambitious attempt to recreate one of the most popular classic video game consoles.
As you can see the ColecoVision Flashback successfully captures
the look and feel of the original console. It's a sharply designed piece of video game hardware. The design plays on the nostalgic
feelings of those who loved it's legendary forefather. AtGames has done a great job in creating this modern update. The system
itself is lightweight and very compact.
Original ColecoVision Controller VS. ColecoVision Flashback Controller
Here we have an image showing the original ColecoVision controller
along side the new ColecoVision Flashback controller. As you can see the new controller is just a bit smaller than the classic
version. There are however some other changes that will be surely be noticed by hardcore fans. First, the joystick knob is
much lower on the new controller. The buttons also work differently than they do on the original controller. The original
controller has springy buttons that must be squeezed all the way in to fire. The Flashback controller has buttons that click
when pushed all the way down. I actually prefer the buttons on the Flashback controller. The new design makes rapid button
pressing a much easier task.
The system also includes several controller overlays that are
used with various games. These overlays fit over the keypad on the controller. They provide specific game related functions
for each title. I have always been a big fan of this concept. It allows for more complexity and depth within the game. It
also makes simple functions such as selecting the number of players and the level of difficulty a breeze.
Opening The Box: The Full Package
In this brief unboxing video we take a look inside the box and
show you everything you get in the full package. We also take a close up look at the hardware and accessories. Overall the
system includes the base unit, two controllers, an AC adapter, an instruction manual and a set of ten controller overlays.
The hardware connects to your TV using a standard yellow and white AV plug.
The ColecoVision was well known for it's great library of arcade
hits. The new system comes with 60 built in games. This includes dozens of classic arcade titles including Zaxxon, Jungle
Hunt, Choplifter and so many more. The most noticable absence is Donkey Kong, the most popular title for the original console.
I suspect that licensing difficulties probably had something to do with it's exclusion. The system also includes 8 new games
that were not released during the 1980's. Some of these "homebrew" games are surprisingly good quality. The two
stand out titles are Mecha-8 and Princess Quest. Both of these games make a great addition to an already outstanding collection
Original ColecoVision Games:
Bump 'n' Jump
Gateway to Apshai
Quest for Quintana Roo
Squish ‘Em Featuring Sam
Super Cross Force
The Dam Buster
Tomarc the Barbarian
Ms. Space Fury
Search for the Stolen Crown Jewels
the Stolen Crown Jewels 2
Search for the Stolen Crown Jewels 3
Pros and Cons:
The ColecoVision Flashback has many things going for it but there
are a few cons that need to be addressed. First up is the emulation quality of the games. This console is built around system
on a chip hardware. This is basically one computer chip that emulates all of the functions of the original hardware. While this
is a great solution for creating budget priced hardware it also means that sometimes games don't look or sound exactly
like the real thing. Games like Cosmic Avenger and Zaxxon are running a bit too fast. Zaxxon also has sound issues that hurt
the overall gaming experience. Despite these few exceptions most of the games are very close to the original version.
Another problem is with the controller itself. While it looks
and feels like the original controller it's functionality is somewhat limited. The buttons are great but the joystick leaves
a lot to be desired. The biggest problem is with diagonal movement. The joystick is very low compared to the original. You
must also push really hard to move diagonally. This can be a big problem in games that rely heavily on 8-way movement Casual
gamers will probably not notice the controller issues but hardcore fans will definitely take exception.
Despite it's flaws the ColecoVision Flashback is still a good
product. We truly hope that the system is a success as it's one step away from perfection. Hopefully if this unit sells AtGames
will consider making a new version in the future. The company has made several different variations of their Atari Flashback
line. There is always room for improvement. With any luck a new version of the ColecoVision Flashback will fix the minor issues
with gameplay and control. It would also be incredible if the company could license the ColecoVision version of Donkey Kong.
That last wish is a bit of a long shot but it's not outside of the real of possibility.
The Final Word:
Overall the ColecoVision Flashback is a good product sold
at a great price. With 60 built in games you really do get a lot of value for your money. ColecoVision fans and retro
gamers will definitely want to add this system to their collection. Casual gamers and people new to retro gaming will also
enjoy all the many classic arcade games bundled with the system. There are many familiar titles that will draw in those looking
for a classic gaming fix. If you loved the ColecoVision as a kid you will have lots of fun with the new ColecoVision Flashback.
If you're new to the system this is a great introduction to one of the best consoles of the 1980's.