Three and a half years ago, I made my first Retroist Video Podcast and it was on a subject I care very much about: The Coleco ADAM Computer. That particular computer was the first I have ever owned and like many firsts, I have fond memories of the device. The original Retroist audio podcast was published in 2011 and like all of the other episodes, it is very informative. If you have never heard of Coleco’s computer or you don’t know much about it, I would recommend you give it a listen. However, if audio isn’t your thing, then keep reading.
A few years back, the Retroist asked if I was interested in making video podcasts of the show and well, obviously I said yes. My original idea was to give the video podcasts a dated look so I went with the 4:3 aspect ratio. This would be great if you were watching these on an old CRT television set. Over time I realized I could take advantage of the increased screen real estate of modern televisions & monitors with a 16:9 aspect ratio. At some point (the A Christmas Story podcast may have been the first) I started making the video podcasts with the modern aspect ratio. Looking back at the video podcasts I have produced, it bothered me that the podcast I wanted to convert most was stuck in 4:3. Not anymore. I present the NEW Coleco ADAM Video Podcast in 16:9 and though the trend is 4K, I went with 1080. Hopefully I don’t regret that in a few years… With the exception of the commercials, I didn’t use much of the visuals from the original video podcast. Just about everything you see in this video podcast is new.
If you want to see the other Retroist Video Podcasts, click here.
I was reading a submission to the Retroist the other day about Richard Scarry’s cartoons on Netflix. That reminded me of a software title from 1984 for the Coleco ADAM computer called “Richard Scarry’s Best Electronic Word Book Ever!” The bit of software starred “Lowly Worm” driving in his apple-shaped car. You steer him to different locations in the town using the ColecoVision joystick. And while in the location, say the construction site, you drive to different points in the site like a bulldozer, press the joystick fire button, and you will see the word “bulldozer” printed on the screen along with a sound effect or music.
I have a photo of myself from 1987 using the Coleco ADAM computer. It looks as though I am using SmartLOGO, which is an art program in which you tell the turtle (cursor) to draw objects on the screen by commanding it to move forward 10, right 45, forward 25, left 60, etc..
So I thought I’d take a similar photo today of me using an ADAM computer. Sadly, it is not the same computer as in the original photo. On a good note, I have more Coleco ADAM stuff now than I did then =)
Microsoft Windows users just have to point to the “Start” button, click, and then scroll through until they find the program they want to use. Not so simple in 1983. The Commodore 64 and the Coleco ADAM both used 5.25 inch floppy disk to hold their applications. No hard drive. In the following video, you’ll see how things were done back in the early 1980’s.