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The Collectorvision Phoenix


RickR

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What is it?
It's a modern rendition of the classic Colecovision.  It has a cartridge port and will play all of the original cartridge games.  In addition, it has an SD card slot and can run Colecovision ROM files.  It also has an Atari 2600 core to run Atari ROMs.  Real Colecovision controllers work with it, and it also has a Super Nintendo socket to use a SNES gamepad.  And it has HDMI output for use on modern TV's.  It comes with the "super game module" built in -- so you can use the latest improved homebrew games with no issue. 

Willie at ArcadeUSA has a very good review up on Youtube, which I suggest you check out. 

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What do I think?
In the short time I've spent with the system, I can honestly tell you this thing is pure awesome.  I love that real cartridges work (why can't more "flashback" systems include a cartridge port?)  I haven't found any compatibility issues.  Even my "new-to-me" roller controller works fine.   It plays, looks, and sounds PERFECT.  I really like how they made the unit look like a tiny Colecovision.  The inclusion of the SNES port is genius.  No more complaints about the "just-ok" Colecovision controllers. 

Any issues?
Please know this:  this list is insignificant and nitpicky.  But an honest review must include some cons.

  • There are some HDMI compatibility issues.  I have one TV that won't play the sounds correctly.  And I've read on-line of some Samsung TV's not being able to display the picture at all.
  • The "core" slots for the SD Card are a touch confusing.  I haven't messed with it much.  My guess is that I'll set up the Coleco and Atari cores and try to never touch it again. 
  • I wish it had composite output to enjoy the system on an old CRT.  I know that I can buy a converter of some kind, and I think I may go ahead and do that. 

Overall Opinion?
It's a huge ball of awesomeness.  Congratulations to the Collectorvision team for producing such an incredible system.  I've heard talk of a third run of consoles, so get your name on their list if you are interested.  Highly recommended.  RickR gives this an A++++.

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Edited by RickR

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For this second-run unit, the price was $200 + $30 shipping (from Canada).  It has been a while, so I may be off plus/minus $10.  I believe it is a fair price, and I'm sure the creators do not make much per unit. 

 

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An addendum to my blog post with a bit more about me:

I never had a Colecovision in the 80's.  However, I drooled over them in the stores.  I remember being totally blown away by the pack-in game "Donkey Kong" on the demo unit at my local "Payless" store.  At the time, there was a choice for gamers for the latest system:  The Atari 5200 or the Colecovision.  As much as I love Atari, I would have chosen the Colecovision in a heartbeat.  It had more unique games and they looked great. 

My next system after my Atari 2600 was the Commodore VIC-20, which I loved. 

I did get a CV about 15 years ago when I started retro-collecting.  I was not disappointed.

What am I playing on the Phoenix?

My go-to on CV -- my favorite game -- is Frenzy.  It's fun.  It's challenging.  And I really like the sound effects and graphics.

I'm also revisiting a lot of the classic arcade games.  Looping, Ladybug, Donkey Kong, etc.  I like the games that don't take a ton of time investment. 

Next on my list will be some of the "Super Game Module" ROM files I have. 

 

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I never had a ColecoVision in the '80s either. I went right to the Atari 7800 which I would argue is a superior system. The ColecoVision wasn't on my radar until the early 1990s when I began collecting and would see them at garage sales and flea markets for around $30 with a few games. One time in the summer of 1994 I even ran into an older gentleman walking out of the mall carrying an open cardboard box with a ColecoVision and a bunch of games. I ran over to him, stopped him and asked about the ColecoVision. He had taken it into FuncoLand in our mall as a trade in, but they did not accept anything pre-NES, so he was returning to his car. He offered it to me for - guess how much - $30. I got his phone number, should've bought the system but never did.

To this day I have never owned a real ColecoVision. It's been a blind spot in my personal gaming culture. I have a lot of appreciation for the ColecoVision, and I agree with every one of your points @RickR -- that as much as I love Atari, I would have enjoyed the games on ColecoVision much more.

Between your blog post here, and what @Willie! has shown of the CollectorVision Phoenix in some of his videos, you are really selling me on this neat little system. Without the personal sentimental feelings of having grown up with the original unit, I would feel just fine having a CollectorVision Phoenix with modern connections under my TV to enjoy some of the best games the ColecoVision has to offer.

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It's been a while since I posted this, and just as an update -- I STILL love it.  I recently came across what I thought was an Atari joystick with two buttons and it turns out it's actually for Colecovision.  I'll make a blog post about that thing as soon as I get some time. 

 

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