The Cult of Coleco Adam

I have no idea WHY I still keep mine, but I still do. At it’s peak it had an external 10gb HD and 3.5 disk. Today I just have an external floppy and other such goodies.

I ned to just toss it in the trash, but being my second computer after the TI-99/4a, I just have some unbreakable bond to it.

I always just had a love for non-microsoft-os computers. After the Adam, I moved to the Amiga, then to OS X with annoying stints with Linux and BSD for good measure.


My first computer was an Adam, and it was of the ColecoVision expansion port variety. From the moment it was announced, I eagerly and agonizingly awaited its release. I begged my parents to let me spend my meager $400.00 worth of savings bonds (I argued that the money wouldn’t exactly pay for college) on real-life personal computer. Fortunately, although sometimes much to their dismay, they relented.

I remember many nights spent writing code until daybreak when I was a kid. I had to learn to type in the dark without making any noise, and I even got busted once when I accidentally hit Print… BANG, BANG, BANG, oops…

That printer may have been loud, but it rocked at a time when teachers gave extra credit for “hand-typed” reports. Never a misspelled word. Math problems? - bring them on, I could code anything the 6th grade teacher could dish out. At the time, I didn’t know anyone else who had a computer - it was like my personal secret weapon.

I remember a feeling of pure ecstasy upon receiving my spanking new 5 1/4" floppy drive after 9 months of suffering with those brutal tapes (for my parents, stuff like computer parts were left to the realm of Christmas gifts). And again when I finally got the CP/M assembler. I even wrote my own menu driven DOS. I too lament the loss of the days when one could do that sort of stuff on their own (that being said, I’m not giving up my Mac and Xcode!).

There really is something to be said for having to learn to squeeze a lot of power out of a small amount of code. Until I got CP/M, I had a mere 25k (25 pages of code!) with which to work. Man, that 40k expansion card sure felt good. Can you say 120k - put that in your sock, Commodore 64! Sorry, just a little time-warp smack-talk…

Even my Dad who had never touched a computer used that Adam for years. After I went to college (and got a Mac ;-), he put it together in the basement and did all of the accounting for his business with Calc. He did his checkbook, cash register, bookkeeping, tax forms, and even had a bowling secretary program. I couldn’t believe the day I went home to visit and saw it there - it was so easy to use that he didn’t even have to ask me anything about it. Well, he did ask if there was anything we could do about those damn tapes. Of course, I told him to go buy some 5 1/4" floppies and copy everything - twice… I think he went through a several floppy drives and tape drives before finally putting it to rest sometime around 1995. 12 years of somewhat faithful service for $400.00 - you just can’t beat that. Actually, I still have it and it works!


I have the following ADAM components, and will sell them, one piece, any or all, for any reasonable, economical offer. All are located in Abingdon, MD. One system, including CPU with two Tape Drives, Printer, Keyboard, Disk Drive, 12" Monitor, all connecting cables, and miscellaneous disc and cassette software was in occasional use until approximately 3-5 years ago; it has always been in a living quarters, not storage. Nevertheless, I am not able to try it out, so I cannot guarantee that it is operable. Other components have been in garage storage.

Other Components include:

(2) additional CPU’s

(2) " Printers

(2) " Keyboards

Please contact me by e-mail- Subject line ADAM.

I have never used an Adam, but I’ve owned a TRS-80, a TI-99/4A, a TS/1000, and two Commodores. My oldest computer now is a Tandy 286, which is still good enough for word processing, checking the weather forecast, reading e-mail, old games, and QBASIC. I think it’s great people are still using the Adam; most of these older computers (I don’t know much about the Adam in particular) do have some advantages that current manufacturers should aim toward - compact size, low electrical consumption, quiet, fast boot time, easy upgrades, etc.

I bought my ADAM from Gold Circle (Columbus, OH) in 1984 and still have the original box, modem and double tape drives. Over the years, I optioned to continue purchasing both hardware and software for the ADAM. It can even run ATARI 2600 game cartridges with the Expansion Module #1 I found on ebay. The spreadsheet program was both interesting and helpful. I used the ADAM when I was a Church Trustee in the early 80’s to do budgets and type minutes of various meetings. I still have some of the church monthly meetings stored on digital tapes. I purchased a dedicated color monitor for the ADAM when the better half began resisting my switching the living room TV to do computer “stuff”. It was difficult to not discard the ADAM during our last move, but I still enjoy powering it up and typing for a while. I suppose I should plan on its eventual retirement as I have little spare time for it - now that I am retired. Perhaps a computer museum would like a donation ??

ADAM was my first real pc. I rem the day in the 7th grade programing at night, on bbses there was a bbs in jax, fl that had 2 lines you could chat with the 2nd line. i remember getting busted on mine at 2 am also. That summer up 4 days/night writing bbs software and ran it for a yr till i went to a ibm laptop with 2 720k drives. Had a few girl friends on the boards finally met at bbs partys… had to beg parents to goto them… From Jacksonville, Fl alias was Petty or grim grimreaper 85 was petty’s race track then westside bbs later on in the 90’s running wwiv on a pc… miss them days and all the friends that came along with it…, i guess i miss all the friends and rem the adam was the tool that found the friends… Jeff

I remember my old adam well,…it wasn’t as bad as people said it was !
I can remember just when the c-64 started dying off, ( you know, no more new programs available)That I was still ordering new ones for my ADAM !! The graphics that I was producing on my Panasonic 9pin dot matrix printer from "CALANDER MAKER " was superior to what I was able to print on the same printer hooked up to a 486 DX 66 with the all great Print Master installed, and many other graghics progams still didn’t do what this program did on the ADAM. Although supper slow to print with this program, it did a great job.

When a lot of my friends were just entering graphics with their c-64’s -( special programs that printed graphics by overlapping characters on a print wheel), The ADAM community came up with a program called SIGN SHOP which did a superior job of the same thing.

It seemed the older the ADAM got,the more periffials that came out.

Does anyone remember a fax/modem available for the c-64 or 128 ??

For an 8 bit machine, this machine was fast…Its too bad COLECO got greedy and kept all the machine language a deep dark secret. This was the reason there wasn’t much software available for the ADAM when it was still viable.
Like I said, the older it got, the more software,/hardware came out for it…Imagine if COLECO would have opened the code - like comadore did,…Imagine the PROFESSIONAL progammers that would have jumped on board !

I still have my Adam today, even though I haven’t used it all that much despite owning 4 PC’s (three desktops and one laptop). All have the Adam Emulator on it. I even wrote a bowling management program on the Adam as I was league secretary where I worked back in 1984.

Adam is still my first computer I own and even though Coleco had it’s problems with the Adam. It’s still a good computer for writing letters, doing small spreadsheets, databases and of course, games. Coleco did a very good job in making most of the popular arcade games as close to the real thing.

I’ve attended nearly every Adamcon (only the first two and eight I missed). But, it’s the gathering of what’s left of us in the Adam community that’s keeping this computer alive and that’s what matters.

Guy Bona

I want to buy an unused or hardly used ADAM 5 1/4 disk drive. Please email me at if you have one. Thanks.

Oh, man. The Adam was my third computer – like you, I had one after the TI 99-4/A. First machine was a Sinclair ZX81 with 1k RAM. The Adam made sense at the time, since I had a Colecovision.
The Adam got me into BBSing, which of course set me up nicely for the internet … and got my geek years over early!
The only Adam holdover I have now is an AdamLink modem I bought on Ebay just to have it … and a folder full of Coleco Adam ads and news clippings I put together as a kid. I oughta scan some of that stuff and put it on my blog.

Wow, I didn’t know anything to do with the Coleco Adam still exists. I got one in around 1983/84 at Christmas just after they were released. A few months later after Coledo abandoned the platform I joined a club in Montreal and we pooled our software and began making copies of it. At the time it wasn’t clear if you could make copies or not, but because the computer was discontinued we didn’t care.

I ended up with about 60 games and programs for about $2 a game. Some of the games were really good, and better than anything available for Commodore 64. I got the super-action controllers and we had a blast playing with the thing.

Adam’s biggest problem was its marketing failure. Coleco at first wanted to keep the programming code to themselves so they could be the exclusive software developer. Commodore however, got everyone else to develop games for their computer. The result was a flood of games and programs for the Commodore, but a drought of software for the Adam. By the time Coleco realized the mistake it was too late, the competition was way ahead and deveolpers no longer trusted Coleco. Several did produce software though, and a lot of it was very good for the time. Few used the power of the digital data packs or the Adam disc drive.

We used to program games with the SmartBasic and that was fun, but it was tedious.

Anyway, my Adam is long gone, and so are the programs. It was fun at the time, but things moved ahead rapidly in the computer world and it really is an antique, like a gramaphone. It’s fun to see there are still enthusiasts around though who like to have fun with it.

Oh boy!

I hate being confronted with reality. :slight_smile:

I have been to 14 of the 17 Adam Conventions, and living where I do (Canada’s West Coast) I’ve probably spent more money than anyone else in the land getting to them. I still have 5 working Adam’s. They don’t see much active use these days, but I’m most reluctant to dispose of them. In fact, we of the “community” have sworn more or less in blood not to dispose of any of our Adam gear without reference to the the members.

Be that as it may, my interest in computers began with the Adam, and it still occupies a special place for me. Yes, we are now social, but… every now and then I learn something new about computers that I can carry to my newest Wintel or Linux or Mac box (I have 'em all in multiples).

We have in our group of 25 or 30 some who, having cut their teeth on Adam, now occupy professional positions in the computer industry, and who still manage to lead us into something new and interesting each time we get together.

I am one of those who would love to program, but somehow I never quite get a “roundtuit”. The days when I was churning out masses of spaghetti in SmartBASIC were exciting days for me. I felt like I was actually doing something useful with my computer. I have never really enjoyed the hobby quite as much as I did in those days.

I’m still more or less addicted. There are still half a dozen machines of various stripes sitting around here. There are Macs, Wintels, Laptops, even Windows in all its forms, and if all else fails, my Adam gear is not far away and can be setup in twenty minutes or less. I don’t get to that often enough these days.

I regret that.

But I will continue to go to Adamcons for as long as the money holds out and there are Adamcons to be gone to. I can’t think of any more rewarding way of spending my holiday money.

Ron Mitchell
Comox British Columbia

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I remember when I was in the fourth grade we bought an ADAM computer on sale at K-Bee Toystore…I loved that computer and was on it constantly. I remember being a little boy who was learning to type on that old machine and being so frustrated because I had o look for the letters. And playing Buck Rogers and MathBlaster…Unfortunately my house was hit by lightning and the next door neighbor and I were on the ADAM at the time playing video games…We both felt the strong shock come through the controllers and that was the end of my ADAM. It just amazes me how far computers have come since then. Now I just want to upgrade my old Dell so I can run Windows Vista. Wow looking back that was 22 years ago…Oooooh I’m getting old…

Criticizing a group of people who spend their spare time on a machine that touched them, as if the emotional response is irrelevant. You’re the in-human losers I’m search of a life!