The Coleco Gemini
was an Atari 2600
The Atari 2600 is a video game console released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. It is credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor-based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in...
clone manufactured by Coleco
Coleco is an American company founded in 1932 by Maurice Greenberg as "Connecticut Leather Company". It became a highly successful toy company in the 1980s, known for its mass-produced version of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls and its video game consoles, the Coleco Telstar and...
- Processor: 8-bit 6507
- CPU speed: 1.19 MHz
- RAM: 128 bytes
- Resolution: 160x200, 128 Colors
In 1982, Coleco released Expansion Module #1 for its ColecoVision
The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries' second generation home video game console which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered arcade-quality graphics and gaming style, and the means to expand the system's basic hardware...
video game system using off-the-shelf components, that enabled the ColecoVision to be compatible with the Atari 2600. Atari
Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. It is currently owned by Atari Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA . The original Atari, Inc. was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. It was a pioneer in...
sued Coleco for patent infringement, however a court ruled that since Coleco used off-the-shelf components and not the same components found inside an Atari 2600, the Expansion Module #1 did not infringe on Atari's patents for the 2600. With this ruling, Coleco decided to make a stand-alone Atari 2600 clone and named it the Gemini.
Gemini vs. 2600
The main difference between the Coleco Gemini and the Atari 2600 is the controller design. The Coleco Gemini controllers featured an 8-way joystick and a 270-degree paddle on the same controller (the joystick was at the top of the controller, and the paddle was at the bottom of the controller). To play paddle games, a Y-connector was used to connect two controllers to the controller jack at the same time.
The Gemini was much more compact than the large faux-woodgrain consoles sold by Atari at the time. The Gemini also had a different game included with the system. Atari was still including the Combat
Combat is an early video game by Atari for the Atari 2600. It was released as one of the nine launch titles for the system in October 1977, and was included in the box with the system from its introduction until 1982...
game released in 1977. The Gemini most commonly included Donkey Kong
is an arcade game released by Nintendo in 1981. It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles. In the game, Jumpman must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady, from a...
, but at some point also included Carnival
Carnival is a fixed shooter arcade game created by Sega in , and has the distinction of being the first video game with a bonus round.- Gameplay :...
and Mouse Trap. Sears also offered a version of the Gemini with both Donkey Kong and Mouse Trap included as separate cartridges.
Coleco struck a deal with Columbia House
The Columbia House brand was introduced in the early 1970s by the Columbia Records division of CBS, Inc. as an umbrella for its mail-order music clubs, the primary incarnation of which was the Columbia Record Club, established in 1955. It had a significant market presence in the 1980s and early...
to start a video game club similar to its record club. Columbia sold the Coleco Gemini as the Columbia Home Arcade through the Columbia House Video Game Club. In Canada, CBS Electronics sold the Gemini under the Columbia Home Arcade name.