Welcome! Thank-you for visiting my humble blog dedicated to one of my all-time favourite computers: The Coleco ADAM aka The ColecoVision Family Computer System!
When Adam was originally announced by Coleco in June 1983 it generated a lot of excitement. It was the talk of the industry! This was partly due to Adam’s impressive price tag but also because its “everything you need in one box” promise included a letter-quality printer. Coleco already had a successful gaming system in the ColecoVision so Adam would have an amazing library of games right out of the gate. Unfortunately most of the positive buzz dissipated when Coleco missed several launch dates and raised the price substantially. When they finally did ship Adam many of the original machines arrived in customers hands with serious flaws and some didn’t work at all. Sadly, Adam was never able to fully shake the “unreliable” stigma after its rocky start and by the time Coleco corrected most of the issues people had largely stopped paying attention. Sadly, Coleco discontinued the Adam in January 1985 – less than two years after it was announced. However, Adam was such a fascinating and capable computer that during its short time on the market it established a loyal user base which carries on to this day!
I was a goofy 13-year-old kid back in 1988 when my parents surprised me with a used Coleco Adam. I was blissfully unaware of Adam’s checkered past and I couldn’t wait to open up that wonderfully huge box! The Adam represented a serious upgrade from my beloved VIC-20 in terms of specs and peripherals. The Adam’s packaging boasted that the system had 80KB of RAM (compared to my VIC’s 5KB), a high-speed tape drive (I used a standard Commodore tape recorder with my VIC)… and it had a printer! Yes, the SmartWriter printer was noisy and slow but honestly that didn’t bother me in the least. I loved it. I loved the whole system and it never gave me any problems. The previous owner had included a bunch of software, blank data packs, and documentation. So much to explore! My favourite thing to do was write SmartBASIC programs. I spent a lot of time typing in programs. I remember writing one that tricked some of my grade 8 friends into thinking that I had actually hacked into a bank right before their eyes! Good times. It wasn’t long before I bought myself a 300 baud AdamLink modem and went online for the first time, dialling into local BBSes. It was just incredible to me. With my Adam it felt like the possibilities were endless! After a couple of years though I eventually boxed up my Adam and moved to a PC to keep up with the industry but the time I spent with my Adam all those years ago had solidified my ambition to become a computer programmer.
I followed through on my ambition and today I am a professional computer programmer (although we are referred to as software developers these days). In the summer of 2019 I found myself craving some of that old 8-bit magic so I dug my Adam out of storage (in its original box) and hooked it up. I didn’t even know if it would still work but when I turned it on and heard that legendary printer hum to life for the first time in decades and saw ADAM’S ELECTRONIC TYPEWRITER beaming from the screen I knew I wanted to spend some quality time getting reacquainted with my old friend. Since then I’ve been enjoying the journey of learning new things and re-learning some old ones. It’s been a blast so far!
This blog is where I’ll be documenting my Adam thoughts and adventures. Please enjoy! If you prefer to follow along on Twitter, I’m cross-posting content from this blog to @Coleco_Adam.
Jeff // Joltguy