The KoalaPad

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The KoalaPad was a drawing tablet released by Koala Technologies for multiple 8-bit computers. Released in 1984, versions of the KoalaPad were released for Apple II, Atari, Commodore 64, IBM, and TRS-80 Color computers. I personally owned the Apple II and Commodore 64 versions.

The KoalaPad consisted of a 4″x4″ drawing area and two buttons. The KoalaPad also came with KoalaPainter, a relatively basic drawing program that allowed budding artists to draw basic shapes, swap colors, and load and save their creations. It was no PhotoShop, but for the time, it was pretty awesome.

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Prior to the KoalaPad, all the graphics I created were either done by poking them in one pixel at a time (an arduous task, to say the least), or scribbled poorly using a joystick (remember, this was long before the mouse was a standard input device). The KoalaPad, combined with KoalaPainter, allowed computer users (most for the first time) to draw whatever they could dream up.

Thanks to modern technology, lots of old computer artists have been able to convert their old artwork into web-friendly graphic formats. One such artist is Sean Huxter, who owned the Commodore version of the KoalaPad and has posted several of his drawings from the 1980s online. Here are a couple of Sean’s drawings.

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Thanks to Sean for posting his old Koala artwork online, and thanks to Koala Technologies for putting such an awesome tool in the hands of kids everywhere, including myself.

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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6 thoughts on “The KoalaPad

  1. John McCormick says:

    I have fond memories of the Koala Pad on my Commodore 64. I still have a Commodore 64 but no Koala Pad. I have a large Watcom tablet but it’s not the same as the first time I used a Koala Pad. It was like magic.

  2. Always fascinated by digital art in the early days and how the regular consumer could get their hands on this stuff. Really, the future was then!

    As for the Koala Pad, never thought about getting one, because it was not made by one of the big brands: Commodore, Coleco, Atari, etc..

    But maybe I’ll try to pick one up; need it for my C64 :)

  3. TheNikonKnight says:

    I had one of these. Being a youngster in the 80’s, I used to enjoy drawing naked ladies on my computer using this. I was a geek with hormones. HAHA.

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