Re: [stella] 2600 adaptor for the coleco...

Subject: Re: [stella] 2600 adaptor for the coleco...
From: danboris@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Dan Boris)
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 08:12:19 -0500
> The Colecovision FAQ at has a
> quote from Fortune Magazine in 1983 saying that Atari did indeed sue
> Coleco for $850 million over the adapter, charging patent infringement. 
> According to the FAQ, Coleco won the lawsuit and aside from the
> Colecovision adapter, this also led to the Gemini clone systems by Coleco. 

The book "Phoenix: The Fall and Rise of Videogames" has a different story about this. According to Phoenix the Gemini came out before the settlement and Atari imeditly included it in the suit. Also according to Phoenix the out come of the suit was that Coleco had to pay a royalty to Atari to continue producing these systems. I also spoke to someone who is quite knowledgeable on videogame history and it's his feeling that probably nobody really knows the true story. There were probably some deal made "behind the scenes" with different information released to the public.

> > From what I remember, someone said that the whole 2600 was pretty much 
> > made with off-the-shelf components excepting the TIA.  Is this an 
> > accurate summation?
> Is the RIOT an off-the-shelf component?  It was my understanding that
> Coleco did indeed have to reverse engineer the TIA (which would explain
> why they had achieved a high but not perfect level of compatibility).  I
> don't recall where I read that, though.  My Colecovision and Atari adapter
> have worked fine for all the games I have tried, but apparently there are
> some that don't work.

The RIOT is an off the shelf component, but I believe Atari was the only company to call it "RIOT". It's actually a 6532 and was also used in a number of Atari and non-Atari arcade games. 

> This fuss over UltraHLE (a new freeware Nintendo 64 emulator for PCs) is
> kind of interesting.  The IDSA (the computer gaming industry's attack dog) 
> has said: 
>     "While some emulators are made by hobbyist programmers, that does not
>     mean that they are legal. If the sole purpose of an emulator is to
>     allow the playing of a console game on a PC, and the owner of the
>     copyrights in that console game has not authorized the performance,
>     display, or derivative work created when a console game is played on a
>     PC, then the creation and use of that emulator constitutes a
>     contributory infringement of the copyrights in the console game."
>     (see
> Bahh, that particular interpretation of copyright law is a stretch, in my
> opinion, but that's what they're claiming.  By this interpretation,
> stella, z26, and PCAE are also illegal, which makes all of us brazen
> criminals.

Not necessarily. There was an addition made to the copyright law a few years ago that made it illegal to produce software or devices which have the sole purpose of defeating encryption or copy protection. They could be looking at the emulator as violating this law in some cases.

Dan Boris

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