The ColecoVision story begins a few years before 1982 when, in 1976, Coleco entered the video game market with its line of Telstar consoles. Sales of the Pong-like console were initially strong but eventually, consumer interest dried up and Coleco would take a $22 million dollar hit on the Telstar system.
Unlike the Atari which was a plain black box with a woodgrain front, the ColecoVision hardware had a much different personality. Still a black box, but unlike Atari, ColecoVision cartridges were added to the right side rather than Atari’s choice to use the middle of its hardware.
One of the contributing factors that could have led to far greater success for the ColecoVision if it had time on store shelves was its hardware expandability.
In today’s gaming world, the thought of building an expansion pack to play the games of your biggest competitor would be unheard of. While the expansion module would drive Atari to sue Coleco, the expansion unit would give ColecoVision the largest software library on the market.
Part steering wheel, part gas pedal, the driving controller was a brilliant expansion pack Coleco would include with the purchase of Turbo.