Built by the company that created the Colecovision game console and Cabbage Patch Dolls, the Adam was supposed to be the ultimate home computer, offering a complete package at a low price. The Adam was a good value, and it developed a loyal following. However, reliability issues and poor technical support kept that following smaller than Coleco had hoped for. Owners came to rely on grassroots support groups rather than the company for troubleshooting information. Coleco also tried to control third-party software development for the Adam, which only slowed the growth of the Adam software library.
All Colecovision game cartridges work with the Adam, and Coleco provided an option that allowed the Adam to use all Atari 2600 cartridges as well. Adam SmartBASIC is partly compatible with Apple Basic. Adams that you find today are often incomplete or not working. The printer in particular was troublesome; it was designed for the Adam and cost-cutting efforts resulted in a weak print mechanism.
Complete working systems bring higher prices than many of the Adam’s contemporary peers. The Adam needs the printer to run, because the computer shares the power supply housed in the printer. Keep in mind, however, that the Adam does not hold up well and repairs will be difficult.
Coleco Adam (June 1983, home computer)
Original Retail Price: $700
Base Configuration: Z80A CPU, three internal and one Colecovision expansion slots, Colecovision ROM cartridge slot, 80K RAM (144K max), proprietary data pack storage, TV and composite video ports, integral keyboard, Adam-Net port, SmartBASIC and SmartWriter in ROM, Buck Rogers game, two game controllers, daisy-wheel printer, setup instructions, owner’s and software manuals
Video: 256 x 192 graphics, 16 colors
Size/Weight: 18.75 x 10.37 x 4.12 inches
Important Options: Personal CP/M, expansion module, 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, 80-column upgrade, SuperAction controllers, modem