Emulate Your 80s Gaming Experience with ColecoVision on PocketC.H.I.P.

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Pocketeer romanaThree knows video game history and knew it’d be worthwhile to get ColEm, a ColecoVision emulator, running on PocketC.H.I.P.. It’s a classic retro system and it’s easy to install and run on PocketC.H.I.P.!

Unless you’re a video game fanatic of the early 1980s like romanaThree, you may have only heard of the company Coleco from a troubled reboot attempt for the Coleco Chameleon game console.

The 1982 ColecoVision

The 1982 ColecoVision

A portmanteau of the Connecticut Leather Company, Coleco’s early days in the 1950s focused on refining shoe leather. In the late 70s, the company created the world’s first pong-clone know as Telstar and rode the wave of Atari’s video game success. They even bought the license to the Cabbage Patch Kids line of vinyl-faced dolls!

In 1982 Coleco moved to take Atari head on releasing ColecoVision, a more powerful console than the Atari 2600, boasting 12 launch titles including Nintendo’s huge hit Donkey Kong and the Atari classic, Pitfall. By early 1983 had sold over 1 million units and by 1984 the console had more than 145 games! Ultimately, the video game industry crash of the mid-80s killed Coleco, and by 1985, they were no longer making video games.

1. Install Dependencies

With PocketC.H.I.P. connected to the internet, tap the Terminal icon on PocketC.H.I.P. and type the following commands, each followed by pressing enter.

Update the list of packages available on PocketC.H.I.P.:
sudo apt update

Install the dependancies for the ColEm emulator.
sudo apt install build-essential zlib1g-dev libx11-dev libxext-dev unrar


2. Download ColEm Source Code

Download a copy of Marat Fayzullin’s ColEm source code using wget.
wget http://fms.komkon.org/ColEm/ColEm38-Source.zip


3. Unzip Source & Compile

Unzip the downloaded source code.
unzip ColEm38-Source.zip

Change your working directory to ~/ColEm/Unix.
cd ColEm/Unix

Compile the emulator using make.
make

4. BIOS & ROMs

Before you can get started gaming, you need to locate a BIOS file for ColecoVision. ColEm requires the BIOS file to be decompressed, titled COLECO.ROM, and placed in the same directory as the colem application.

Once you get the BIOS file in its proper place, you can load ROM files with the following syntax:
~/ColEm/Unix/colem PATHTOROMFILE.COL

Note: If you get Command not found error, make sure you are specifying the absolute path to colem or are in the directory ~/ColEm/Unix/ and running ./colem. As with all emulators, search engines are your friend!


5. Gameplay & Control

Screensize and buttons seem to automagically configure correctly for PocketC.H.I.P.! For the games that we’ve tested, the character controls map to the D-Pad, enter, m, and n by default.

For more information about colem, run the program with the -help argument or check out the online manual.
colem -help


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What is your favorite game console of the 1980s? Have you tried emulating it on PocketC.H.I.P.? Make sure to let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to share you screenshots with us on Twitter, Facebook, and join the lively conversation on the forum.

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2 Comments

I can get the COLECOVISION “TURN GAME OFF BEFORE INSERTING CARTRIDGE OR EXPANSION MODULE” to come up but no roms.

I have unzipped my rom set and have them in the UNIX folder. My roms are .col.

I have been messing with it for awhile but cant get it to go.

Any ideas? Any help would be awesome.

Thanks!!

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