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Coleco Phoenix vs. Chameleon

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By tygerbug   |   Watch
Published: November 8, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 tygerbug

Promotional art for the Collectorvision Phoenix, a modern remake of the Colecovision console from the 80s, whose Kickstarter ends today.


Partly because Colecovision wasn't super popular at the time, it's harder to find one that's in working order now, and "new" Colecovision games tend to require extra hardware anyway to expand RAM. (Plus you want HDMI output anyway these days.) So that's why the Phoenix was created, and why I was rooting for it.

Colecovision gets lumped in with Intellivision (my first console!) but Inty is limited and hard to program for (most people now use BASIC), while Coleco was built with very standard hardware for the time. Programmers like it because it's easy to port MSX, SG-1000, some arcade games and the ADAM.

I do a lot of cover art for both Intellivision and Colecovision releases, being done by retro-game programmers now and sold as cartridges, and I learned quick that Coleco is the much better system for homebrew developers, sometimes outdoing the NES versions of things.

If you look at what Team Pixelboy or Collectorvision have done for Colecovision recently, the ports are really good. The Thexder port for example is spot-on and much more accurate than the NES port.

I drew a simple and more complex version of the Phoenix (and might do a "medium" version inspired by the best of both). I was asked to show it burning a Chameleon. That was a previous system, and the Collectorvision Phoenix has nothing to do with the Chameleon (Retro VGS), which failed.

The Chameleon did use the Coleco branding (and Atari Jaguar casing) but was a whole mess.

The Phoenix is made by well-known Coleco retro developers Collectorvision, intended to replace and improve on the 80s console.

The art was sketched digitally using the Cintiq, with further work on the Phoenix done with pencil on paper, then everything was inked on about eight or ten pieces of paper and assembled. Further changes, fixes and line weight variations were done digitally using the Cintiq.

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