Atari vs Colecovision Which was better? – Player One Start

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In this video I compare two legendary consoles of the early 1980s, the Atari (2600 and 5200) vs the Colecovision. Both companies rose to prominence in the early 80s, but died out with the video game crash of 1983. Lets take a look at the hardware and game play. Which will win?

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#atari #colcovision #playeronestart #retrogaming #8bit #gaming #gamer

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Viewing Guide:
Intro: (0:00)
Atari History: (0:55)
Coleco History: (4:38)
Which is better – Console Design: (8:07)
Which is better – Controller Design: (9:40)
CPU and Graphics: (11:40)
Sound: (16:32)
Game Play: (19:56)
Which is better?: (28:07)

50 Comments

  1. Money Bless on February 27, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    I owe my 80’s neighborhood fame respect and credibility to Coleco, Huffy Sigma, and Sega Master System’s 3D Missle Defense 🔥🔥🔥

  2. Rob on February 27, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Q-bert on the Coleco sounds virtually identical to the 5200.

  3. Ap Ap on February 27, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    Coleco vision was my first ever video game system the only thing I have left of it is a donkey Kong cartridge I have.

  4. Jack Schissler on February 27, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    I don’t care what anyone says. I had a Atari 2600. I had 70+ games for it. My neighbors had Atari as well and we would spend hrs playing. It was not the best system but it was pretty decent for its time. I even bought the wireless joystick 🕹 that came out for the 2600 which was nice.
    I wanted a Coleco with the exp pack for Atari games and the steering wheel but I was told no, my parents didn’t want to clutter up the room with all these consoles.

    Sadly. In 2003, I gave all my stuff to a friend to sell on EBay for debt I owed him for things I bought. Kinda wish I had it back

  5. John King on February 27, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    I had the atari 2600 first, I later upgraded to the Atari 5200. This is why I’m not understanding why there would be an adapter to play 2600 games. I’ve never heard of this before. It seems pointless in my opinion.

  6. starskie96yt on February 27, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    atari brought video gaming home, colecovision perfected it. i was the squirrel that dropped the nut and ran when the colecovision came out

  7. FunkadelicVideoGameTechnology Free2JoinFree2Play on February 27, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    ebay has all kinds of adam computer stuff as the ad on to coleco

  8. Team Ski on February 27, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    I’ll stick with my Intellivision. In 1980, that thing rocked! Sure, Colecovision brought in better graphics and ports, but that was pretty late in the game.

  9. Marc Ramos on February 27, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    You obviously had a leaning towards the colecovision, and im not saying your wrong, but it may be something you want to take notice of when trying to be objective. When you make a disparaging remark against colecovision, which you didn’t even seem to try to find and but when you did it was fluff, bet when you made a neg on Atari, you didn’t just make a negative remark, you kicked it to the curb, i never owned the 5200 but i did and still own a Colecovision, so i also am partial to it, but it just seemed to me that you were harder on the atari. just my opinion..

  10. Jason Bouskill on February 27, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Coleco vision is way better

  11. TX Beachbum on February 27, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    As a kid in the mid-late 80’s I can remember my neighborhood friend and I unplugging and re-plugging RCA type wires to the TV to play different games on his Intellivision and my Coleco Vision.. That was a great time… Plus 3 wheelers and go karts gained popularity… Then we moved on to to that.

  12. vcv6560 on February 27, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    I just want to add that the Colecovision was so impressive when it came out that even MTV series (about 2000 ish) I Love The 80s Strikes Back episode for 1982 the guest stars commented how it blew away the Atari VCS.

  13. joseph frank on February 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    They were made in the US back then now everything in China!

  14. Fit Fogey on February 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    Amazingly the 5200 had a joystick with a boot that wasn’t torn to hell.

  15. Bill Peters on February 27, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    I was in my early 20s when colecovision came out I loved Zaxxon played that forever

  16. Jude Law on February 27, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Coleco was to the home video game market in 1982 what Microsoft was in 2001 (using their big pockets to make the most power system at the time).

  17. Bill Dineen on February 27, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    I think every circle of friends had that one friend that had a Colecovision and would always be that annoying like gnat "Colecovison is so much better, come to my house, the graphics are so much better" but yet EVERYONE just loved Atari more . There was just something Atari that had this "magic" to it. it’s graphics didn’t need to be better the games were just more fun, it had so many quirky titiles, puzzle shoot em mishmash of games, Even games that weren’t one to one ports from the arcade had thier "magic" to them that had their own uniqueness to it LIke Space Invaders, Ms. Pacman, Centipede, Asteroids, weird crazy titles like Revenge of the Beefstake Tomatoes. It’s something colecovision fans could never understand, it was never totally about great graphics it was about great titiles , fun games,. It was a magic that Colecovision could never capture. Nintendo did but Coleco nope. and to date this still drives Colecovisions fans from the 80’s crazy. I mean Colecovision had an atari adapter that has to tell you something

  18. Theo Buunermond on February 27, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    The games and playability makes the machine 🙂 But there are a few things not correct. The 6502C wasn’t slower than the Z80A, both CPUs are different. But without diving in too technical things but the 6502c needed in lot of things less clockcycles for instructions. So at the end we can say it is about the same result, but.. the TMS9918A or TMS9928A (PAL or NTSC version) needed dedicated videoram. That makes a system a bit slower compared to a system which is using their system memory (like the Atari). So technically the Atari might be faster, but it all depends how well written the software is. Another thing is that TMS videochip isn’t a great scroller compared to the Antic (I have 3 MSX computers with the same videochip), because it didn’t had hardware scrolling and things had to be done in software and that was limited. The Antic was more flexible and you could even mix resolutions at you screen it is called ‘Display Listing Interrupt’.

    When it comes to hardware the atari wasn’t bad (except for the crappy joysticks) You could buy others, oh and there was an adapter to play 2600 games on it (the CX-55). In my opinion they never took advantage of the full potential of the machine, since the hardware is identical like an Atari 400 (without a keyboard) I can give you an example of what that machine could do, ‘crownland’. So I guess the lack of quality in sofware (and availability) killed the 5600 and I can’t blame the people who buyed the Colecovision. That is the same reason why I buyed a MSX computer (it has the same cpu, videoprocessor, and a soundchip which is comperable).

  19. Grace Olavere on February 27, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Collecovision wins IMO with better graphics, sound, controller and better games. Frenzy on Colecovision is better than the real arcade machine IMO.

  20. Michiel van den Koppel on February 27, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    Great video!

  21. Amanda Outlaw on February 27, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Nice Donkey Kong shirt! 😎

  22. Terry Robbins on February 27, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    It’s not really fair to say you like the Colecovision controller because you can swap it out for a Sega Genesis controller. First off, when Colecovision came out there was no Sega Genesis controller in fact, there was no Sega Genesis game console at all either. The Sega Genesis console didn’t come out until 1989 almost 7yrs after the Colecovison came out. It was just dumb luck that 7yrs later the Sega Genesis console happen to use the same kind of port for their controller. Colecovion designed the swappable controller for the Atari 2600 joystick controller so you could use it if you got the adaptor to play Atari 2600 games, which still amazes to this day that Colecovison didn’t get sued over this. Can you image the Sony PlayStation having an adaptor to play Xbox games?

  23. Bryan Knotts on February 27, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Awesome comparison/contrast video The Atari VCS/2600 was extremely prolific with a huge game games library for it’s day. Thus why almost everyone tried to include support for playing Atari VCS/2600 games on their own consoles back then. The Atari 5200 had three major issues. Beyond the controllers not self centering they also would have to be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled about every two weeks to keep them working. Back then it was advisable to keep them as spares while replacing them with third party controllers ASAP, and today it’s still a great idea to replace them with modern compatible controllers. This should have been the first, and simplest issue for Atari to address. The Atari 2600 adapter come out rather late in the Atari 5200’s main retail life, and although addressed the issue of support for playing the Atari VCS/2600 game library which hadn’t been originally included via backwards compatibility it was too little too late to have the impact it could have. Finally although the Atari 5200 was based on the Atari 400/800 home computer line no cross compatibility support for their games was included though Atari could have done that. It was still an impressive second generation home video game console despite all of this. The Coleco ColecoVision was definitely king of the second generation home video game consoles when it came to doing arcade ports. I forget name, but the person who did most of the development work on the ColecoVision insisted upon 2nd-5th tier arcade port licenses, and those 1st tier arcade port licenses Atari hadn’t already gotten after hearing that Coleco was originally planning to develop their own unique games for it, (a strategy which had fared poorly to counter Atari’s dominance for others already). Overall I think all three consoles have their strengths looked at in the proper context, and from the proper perspective.

  24. Chris D on February 27, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Pacman exists in homebrew form on Colecovision…..it kicks ass. I love both brands. But Coleco edges it out slightly for me. It had the best graphics. It had those weird but fun simulation games like Dam Busters, Fortune Builder, Its only Rock n Roll etc.

    Stock catalog back in the day, its arguable. With today’s homebrew scene keeping these consoles alive…….Colecovision has way better games. Coleco games are now entering the Genesis/TG16 era level of graphics. That Super Game Module is no joke. Atari homebrew though busy and consistent, is exactly what you would expect…..2600 games, still. The tools that make the games have gotten better, so there is an improvment, but still very much 2600 level stuff. I decided to say fuck PS5 this year. I bought a Colecovision with 15 games instead with brand new controllers. One of them is a sweet custom built ColecoVision game pad. Super Game Module is next.

  25. rangoononline on February 27, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Awesome video. I got a colecovision with a ton of games at a garagesale as a kid. This was during the nes era. I probably played the colecovision just as much as my nes. There were so many creative games.

  26. KingLord on February 27, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Mattel intellivision really was the most advanced game system and gave direction rest to follow. first to offer best graphics, first to offer simulation 3D effect sapce game, first to offer real sounds effect including voice baseball " yer out", first to offer true voice with voice addon, first to offer computer addon keyboard, world series base ball first to offer multiple in game live action screens including split "PIP" screen for players on base, first to offer 3D action bouncing baseball and player stats with play by play commentary. I liked disc controller, it was easy to slide finger around much better than stick. Have you seen inside of intellivision, pretty fancy engineering went into that.

  27. Greg's Game Room on February 27, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    The CV port of DK “looks” more like the arcade but the Atari 8-bit version plays WAAAY better. Plus it has all 4 stages.

  28. Mike S on February 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Well way back before internet—we still had video games competitions all over the neighborhood. Several people including myself had an Atari. Had a friend with an Oddesy and another with an Intellivision within about an 8 block radius. I was one of only two kids in my entire Junior High to have a ColecoVision. There have only been two times in the last 40 years I said wow when hooking up a new console. First time was playing Zaxxon on the Coleco. Second time was playing Mario 64.

  29. toasteee252 on February 27, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    After watching all these histories..im convinced that coleco caused the games crash in North America with underhanded business tactics..and what they did with donkey Kong.

    I kinda lost interest in my intellivision after buying the donkey Kong cartridge…and didn’t get interested again until my sega master system. Which Nintendo screwed a better system with their underhanded practices.

    Between the two…i just went to the arcade.

  30. Gardener Earth Guy on February 27, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    We waited months for Pac Man, only to be disappointed….

    That fueled celecovision.

    Got burned with hype, and only to get a crappy game.

    Never looked back, unless I plugged in my expansion module to play Demon Attack or River Raid.

  31. The Real on February 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I really enjoyed your video. I also grew up during this time and I can attest to the fact coleco was the king back in the day and anyone who had a 5200 spent most of their time trying to save money to buy replacement controllers

  32. TJ Acree on February 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I never believed the kid at school that sais his coleco used sega controllers and played atari games

  33. gorryman on February 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    You ever play , “ the heist” on Colecovision? , I see 3 gold cartridges thinking those are micro fun of which heist is one what are the others ? But the heist is definitely one of my favorites , what’s your favorite Coleco game?

  34. Edwin Quintanilla on February 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Mr. Do you know if there are better controls for the atari 5200?.

  35. Richard Adams on February 27, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Now, time for Colecovision vs Atari 7800….

  36. peter papadimitriou on February 27, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Great video and thanks for the memory, my younger brother Chris and I had the 2600 for Christmas that year it came out, it was okay and yes I had the et game and hated it very much look

  37. Daniel Qwerty on February 27, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    They way that coleco guy said “sorry Atari” sent me

  38. Walter Sobchak on February 27, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Good upload Tyler sir

  39. GraphicMonkey on February 27, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I still have my Coleco with the Atari expansion module. I think it still works but it hasn’t been turned on in 30 years.

  40. DragonChaserKev on February 27, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Video Game Crash… I still don’t think it happened… Atari Crash maybe but video games were PLENTY popular in 1984, 85, 86… including Atari. People were playing their home consoles and computers and the arcades were full. So this huge CRASH is kind of a joke that I think is greatly made up.

  41. Mark Lightfoot on February 27, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    Great comparison. Many thanks. Being an Atari 8-bit fan (I had two XLs back in the day) I have been desperately searching for games where the Atari bests the Coleco. There aren’t many, I admit 🙂 The Coleco was certainly a great console for its time. However, I’m going to say that Super Cobra looks a lot better on the Atari. That’s Youtube research only, I couldn’t say how it plays. Whilst agree that the Coleco might have the edge, I feel that the controller argument is a little moot. There were plenty of 3rd party self centering alternatives on the market if you weren’t happy with the Atari ones. Also, in your video, the Atari games look quite fuzzy compared with the Coleco ones. It makes them look worse. Presumably this is something to do with the video capture methods you were able to employ?

  42. Jamie Bilich on February 27, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    I had a colecovision I loved it donkey Kong smurfs mouse trap ladybug zaxxon burgertime. space panic

  43. B G on February 27, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Coleco was the better system at the time, but the reality is that neither machine was the best gaming device during this period. Smart gamers jumped straight to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 (which ironically the 5200 is modeled after), which offered a much bigger game library, better controllers (ie. the old joysticks we were used to), and all the advantages of being able to read/write to and from disk.

  44. Robbie Strike on February 27, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Great video, And I like the History Lesson, Learned a few things that I did not see in other documentary’s! I keep my Atari 8 Bit XE computer is is similar to the 5200 without the sucky controller.

  45. wlmmrtn4469 on February 27, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    Colecovision wins hands down. Hated the Atari consoles until the Jaguar.

  46. Biff Tannen on February 27, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    A typical Atari 5200 plays more fluently than a typical Colecovision game. The 5200 was the Colecovisions main competitor but those faulty 5200 controllers sunk what was a good console for the time.

  47. Richard Adams on February 27, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    FYI, on every Colecovision game I can recall trying it on, you can just leave the CV controller in Port 2 and still use it for single player game selection with an aftermarket controller in Port 1. Back in the day, you could get a keypad with Y-cable to use 3rd party controllers (Wico, IIRC). Or, best fix: get the Super Action Controllers.

  48. Michael Piziak on February 27, 2021 at 10:53 pm

    Loved the video!

  49. Scott Gul on February 27, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Colecovision destroyed both 2600 & 5200. every game on CV or 5200 was better on CV.

  50. Larry Royovitz on February 27, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    Great video but the music is too loud.

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