Grab your weird-looking remote control and pack your walkman; we’re heading back to 1982 to check out the best Colecovision games of all time!
The Colecovision dropped into our lives in the year of ’82 and flittered into a distant memory by ’85. It hardly caused a gaming revolution or changed lives in a huge way, and with under 2 million sales, the Atari 2600 still remains the console of the decade.
Still, with 145 games to its name, picking the best Colecovision games is no easy feat. In fact, we had a hard time battling out to decide which games should make an appearance in this list.
So much so that it was originally just going to be the best 10, but we couldn’t come to a decision!
We’ve picked our favourite launch titles, arcade ports, and classic games for this retro console. Hopefully, these best Colecovision games might be appearing in your collection real soon too!
Check out our list below, and happy scrolling!
Ladybug kickstarts this list of the best Colecovision games of all time in style. It’s very similar to Lock ‘n’ Chase in the sense that players can move gates in the game field to change routes and open up/close off areas.
It’s based heavily on Pac-Man, a game that you all know you’re going to see somewhere down this list at some point.
The system is foolproof; eat all the objects in a set amount of time while avoiding enemies.
Ladybug isn’t a revolutionary idea on paper, but the gate manipulation factor is a real game changer and makes it different from many of the other screen-clearing puzzlers of the time.
Many people consider it as ‘Pac-Man 2.0’, and the Colecovision port went on to beat the arcade cabinet in terms of customer popularity,
It’s bright, it’s vibrant, and it uses a system that’s easy to pick up and play. Simples!
Popeye is the reason that I started eating spinach as a kid. It never gave me super strength, but there’s still time…
The cans of spinach in each of the levels in the Popeye video game do turn our favourite sailor into an invincible machine, however, giving him the ability to knock back enemies and chase after his darling Olive Oyl.
Remember Brutus, the antagonist of this game? He was such a tough dude to fight against. Knock him off the screen and BAM, he’s back again ready for more.
Talk about relentless.
Popeye must collect different tokens dropped by Olive Oyl on each level while trying to stay alive. He can’t jump or attack Brutus in normal play, with his only action punching flying projectiles.
I’ve got to admit that I never realised this was a Nintendo produced game until this moment; everyday is a school day!
Pac-Man doesn’t need any introduction or explanation. You’ve all played it, you know it’s ace, and you know how addictive it is.
But, I’ve got a word count to meet, so I’m gonna do my best to talk about it for… a… little… bit… longer (full stops count as characters… right?)
Move around iconic mazes, eat little pixelated dots, and stay away from the fast-moving ghosts that try to take you down.
When anyone says the word ‘arcade’ I think of this game. It’s insane to think that this simple title is not only one of the best computer games of all time, but Pac-Man is also a legendary cult figure.
He’s appeared in films, on jumpers and lunchboxes, and even mentioned in songs.
Yep, it’s safe to say he’s one of the most famous gaming characters of all time. Not bad for something that looks like a half-eaten wheel of cheese.
BurgerTime takes the 12th spot on this list of the best Colecovision games of all time. It’s also one of the only games that makes me hungry while playing…
… to be fair, I’m always hungry, so that could just be a coincidence.
Listen, remember when your parents told you not to play with your food? Did you realise that it was because Mr Hot Dog, Mr Egg, and Mr Pickle would come and try to kill you?
I hope I haven’t scared anyone for life there…
BurgerTime is a culinary ride back to the golden age of gaming that sees players taking on Mario’s Cement Factory-style gameplay, building burgers by walking over bread buns, pattys, lettuce etc.
The three enemies I mentioned above are all trying to stop the player as they try to complete said burgers. If part of a burger falls and squashes an enemy, then that’s basically a double win!
If you never played this game, then ‘ketch-up’ with the times and grab a copy now.
Pitfall! takes the Number 11 list in this list of the best Colecovision games of all time. It’s a game we’ve all played before in some form or format and a real credit to any console.
Seriously, the graphics on this game were considered legendary back when it first came out. It was like seeing the PS5 in action for the first time.
Even so, Pitfall! still attracts gamers old and new even though it looks super old-skool now, and it’s considered of the greatest games of all time by pretty much anyone with a brain.
Fans of the run ‘n’ jump smartphone version need to go back and check out where the adventure first began.
Following a 20-minute timer for those true arcade cabinet vibes, gamers take the iconic Pitfall Harry through a series of 32 side-scrolling levels.
As the name suggests, falling in pits is one of Harry’s occupational hazards. Add man-eating animals and killer creepy crawlies into the mix as well as fire and and sinking sand, and Harry seriously has his work cut out for him!
10. Bump ‘n’ Jump
Let’s keep those fast paced retro thrills going with Number 10 on our list of the best Colecovision games; Bump ‘n’ Jump.
Anyone who’s bought the Micro but Many compendium from Bitmap Books should definitely check out this top-down racing title. It’s pure micro madness where bumpin’ and jumpin’ are the keys to success.
The thing I love about this game is the continual uncertainty that players experience. Without a map or a view from behind the car, it’s physically impossible to anticipate when the next bump or obstacle might appear…
… unless you know the course off by heart, that is.
The only thing to do is to wait for the exclamation mark on the screen and hope you’re fast enough on the buttons. Grab points by smashing everything up and landing on opponents. It’s every player for themselves in this game!
Listen, it’s hardly F-Zero X or Mario Kart 8, but it’s a neat little title for anyone starting their Colecovision collection.
9. Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle
Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle is the ultimate title for anyone who loves the zany blue perils themselves. It’s basically an interactive cartoon episode jam-packed with Smurfy shenanigans.
What’s not to love?
This side-scrolling game sees players taking a Smurf from the Smurf Village to Gargamel’s Castle to rescue Smurfette. Gargamel’s kidnapped her, and it’s your job to save her.
The main problems to overcome are usually based around jumping over something, with failure bringing about an instant, swift, Smurfy death.
It’s not quite as unforgiving as Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, but it’s not far off!
Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle is one of those games that kids and grownups love equally. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 7-and-a-half or 75, this vibrant title is sure to put a smile on your face.
8. Spy Hunter
Spy Hunter takes the 8th spot on this list of the best Colecovision games of all time, bringing high-octane chases and thrilling spy antics to living rooms across the globe.
‘How does this game work?’ I hear you cry. Well, it’s based on speedy car chases in futuristic vehicles. The aim of the game is to intercept enemy vehicles and to blast them to smithereens with James Bond-style weapons.
Spy Hunter follows a top-down forward scrolling style, the same used in Bump ‘n’ Jump. It’s proper ‘good guy chasing down bad guy’ stuff, which gives me an enormous sense of pleasure and makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the community.
Destroy enemies and see your score fly sky high. Weapons can be switched in and out to mix things up, and there are tonnes of obstacles to steer clear from including enemy fire and bombs dropped by a helicopter.
Not the best time to be out on the freeway by the sounds of it…
Galaxian might look a lot like Space Invaders… and that’s because it is. It’s Namco’s answer to Taito’s wonder game and a real winner on the Colecovision.
In Galaxian, players pilot the aptly named Galaxip Starfighter in a bid to save the Galaxy from alien invasion.
The aliens drop down in incremental waves but also fly down at random intervals on kamikaze missions. It’s a little more unpredictable than Space Invaders but just as addictive.
Destroy all of the aliens, clear a screen, move onto the next level. It’s not rocket science, but it is fun to play.
One thing that separates it from Taito’s epic title is the use of vibrant RGB colour. It’s actually a nice game to look at and the Galaxip spaceship looks like something you might find in an early Star Wars drawing.
Here’s a little known fact – the enemies in Galaxian were originally going to look like Tie Fighters. That would have been awesome. Still, the looming Galaxian Flagship at the top of the screen looks cool enough, though just imagine if it had been a Star Destroyer!
Kermit’s best mate Frogger takes the next spot in this list of the best Colecovision games of all time!
Kermit might be an advanced critter, but his buddies still need help to cross roads and get around on a day to day basis. In this case, players need to avoid cars and alligators as they take frogs from a street to their lillypad homes.
Sounds like a piece of cake… right?
Lorries and diggers are pretty scary as it is, but after the halfway point, players must avoid lots of water-dwellers who enjoy gobbling up frogs.
Seriously, how did these frogs get over to the road in the first place?
By jumping forward one spot at a time, gamers must get a certain number of frogs across ‘the dangerzones’ and back to their cosy river homes.
It’s ridiculously hard; if the cars don’t get you, then the alligators will. It’s one of those games that you keep playing till 1 in the morning just to try and finish a pesky level.
GIMME ONE MORE MINUTE, I KNOW I CAN DO IT!!
Q*Bert is one of those games that has a special place in my heart as being one of the first mobile titles I downloaded on my old Sony Ericsson phone.
I didn’t really understand what to do at the time, but It killed time while riding on the bus or hopping around on trains.
For those that haven’t played it before, it uses something called an axonometric third-person perspective to make it appear as though it’s 3D.
That’s something you can tell your mates at parties now!
Q*Bert needs to land on every square on the screen in each level to turn it into a specific colour. Lots of other enemies are trying to change the colours back, and some of them want to kill Q*Bert too…
… ok, they all want to kill Q*Bert.
Avoid Ugg and Wrongway, Coily the Snake, and Slick Sam as you complete each screen and move onto the next. Hitting an enemy or falling off a level are things you should DEFINITELY try to avoid.
It’s a puzzler, no doubt about it, but it’s a great game to give that brain some exercise.
Zaxxon takes the 4th spot in this list of the best Colecovision games of all time. It’s a game that Sega developed and, like Q*Bert, uses some clever trickery to create the illusion of being 3D.
Get ready for the science spiel…
It’s an isometric shooting game that uses axonometric projection. Before Retro Dodo, I might have guessed that this was something from Back to the Future.
Anyway, that’s why it’s called ‘Zaxxon’. Not sure what the Z is for… probably just because Sega are too-kool-for-skool…or zkool, in this case.
What all that jargon above means is that while Zaxxon is essentially a side-scrolling shoot-em-up, it looks ahead of its time and boasts 3D-esque graphics.
It’s a simple title with bells and whistles to make it look better, but it’s one we love all the same.
What do players do in Zaxxon? Get from one end of a level to the other without dying while zapping everything that moves… that’s about the long and short of it!
3. Miner 2049er
Imagine Donkey Kong with more levels and a miner dealing with nuclear mutated animals – that’s Miner 2049er in a nutshell!
Yep, Miner 2049er is incredibly similar to Donkey Kong, which probably accounts for it’s great success and why we like it so much.
It follows Bounty Bob, a miner who fearlessly travels into Nuclear Ned’s mines while trying to find Yukon Yohan.
Alliteration is fun no matter how old you are!
While travelling through Nuclear Ned’s dangerous mines, Bounty Bob has to keep clear of dangerous nuclear animals that want to turn him into a walking geiger counter.
Let’s hope his hat is lined with lead…
Like Q*Bert, players need to take Bounty Bob across every inch of a level to proceed to the next stage. It sounds simple, but it’s a tough cookie to crack!
Expect jet speeders and sneaky matter transporters along with pickaxes and other weapons to wield through these ten exciting levels!
2. Antarctic Adventure
Antarctic Adventure is one cool adventure… and not just because it’s about a penguin racing through the snowy plains of the antarctic.
Ok; that’s the main reason, and I know you saw what I did there.
I’m a huge fan of this game because A) – I love penguins, and B) – it’s a great take on a time conscious racing game with a difference.
The difference being there are no cars in sight and players race with a penguin!
Players take Penta the Penguin from research station to research station, upping their time whenever they successfully reach the next checkpoint.
Penguins are normally pretty fast creatures, but Penta has sealions and cracked ice to contend with along the way.
Talk bout inconvenient.
This is a family-friendly game and a fun one at that. It also has great replay value as the game gets harder and harder whenever it’s completed. A great one to chill back with.
1. Donkey Kong
It had to be Donkey Kong, if only for that epic retro cover. Mario is actually a dude wearing overalls and Donkey looks exactly like King Kong.
We’d buy that and frame it in an instant!
Yes, Jumpman and Donkey Kong take the top spot in this list of the best Colecovision games of all time. It’s a timeless game and probably the most addictive title ever, right after Tetris and Flappy Bird.
This game hardly needs an introduction. It’s probably the most famous arcade game of all time and a must-have addition in every gaming collection, no matter what console you own.
It’s one of the best MAME games, the best Atari 2600 games, and the inspiration for countless other games besides.
This is the first time the iconic K.O hammer made an appearance in a game too, the very bane of my existence whenever I play my mates at Super Smash Bros!
If you’ve never played Donkey Kong before, then the aim of the game is to save Jumpman’s lady-friend by avoiding barrels and climbing ladders and levels to the top of each stage.
It’s because of Donkey Kong and games like Mario Bros that Nintendo are such a household name to this day. It’s a great game for the Colecovision and the perfect title for creating those arcade feels in your living room.
How Many Colecovision Games Are There?
There are 145 Colecovision games for the system.
Many of these are arcade ports, providing all the fun of the arcade hall in your living room without carrying around a pocket full of quarters.
When Did The Colecovision Come Out?
It lasted for three years and then production stopped…
… not exactly a game changer then!
Who Made The Colecovision?
The clue is in the name!
Unfortunately, it couldn’t keep up with the other systems of the time such as the mighty Atari 2600.
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.