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History of Compucolor Corporation

Compucolor Corporation was founded in 1976 by Mr. Charles A. Muench Jr in Norcross, Georgia. The original manufacturing site was located at 5965B Peachtree Corners East. Compucolor Corporation was an offshoot of Intelligent Systems Corporation located next door at 5935A Peachtree Corners East.

The primary design goal was to manufacture a low cost retail color home computer product called the Compucolor II. The product was a 13" General Electric (GE) television cabinet housing containing proprietary electronics.

Inside the cabinet was a custom digital logic board based on Intel Corporation's 8080 8-bit microprocessor, 13" RCA color delta-gun cathode ray tube (CRT) along with video electronics, and 5-1/4" custom Micro-floppy disk drive.

Three Compucolor II products were offered depending on the amount of User RAM that was installed. The Model 1 offered 8K RAM, the Model 2 offered 16K RAM, and the Model 3 offered 32KB RAM.

Three keyboard offerings were available; 1) 72-key (standard), 2) 101-key (expanded), and 3) 117-key (deluxe). The keyboard layouts were QWERTY in style and used full-travel Cherry brand keyswitches for an excellent feel and durability.

 

Mr. Charles A. Muench  
Mr. Charles A. Muench, Jr.
Courtesy of CAM
1981
  Original Compucolor II color home computer with standard 72-key Standard keyboard
1976

Compucolor II Sof-Disk Titles

Compucolor Corporation produced many Sof-Disk products during the course of the Compucolor II's product life. Many software titles were internally created along with submissions from independent programmer's and Compucolor II User Groups. The main titles were released like "albums" on 5-1/4" floppy media in a proprietary Compucolor Disk "CD" format at a retail cost of $19.95 USD each. Most of the game albums required the CCII Model 2 (16KB RAM) product.


1) Cubic Tic-Tac-Toe. A three-diensional version of the familiar game. You can select any of five levels of difficulty

2) Avarice. Combines skill, strategy and luck to beat the Compucolor will rolls of the dice.

3) Galaxy. A fantastic real-time high speed spacewar simulation. Shoot down the enemy ships with your three phasor ports and score points.

4) Space Lander. Land your spaceship on the space platform by calculating your angle of descent and fuel consumption.


1) Star Trader. Learn the principles of stellar economics in this intra-galatic buying and selling game.

2) Color Hunt. Muster all your logic to deduce the color code generated by the Compucolor II. The computer analyzes all your guesses and summarizes the resilts.

3) Decision-Maker. Enter information about the decision to be made, and the factors involved, and this program will make the choice for you.

4) Personal Calendar. Schedule your events a week, month, or year at a time. This system lets you keep up with your appointments and helps you remember important dates and commitments.

5) Concentration. A game for two players derived from the popular television game show.


1) Solitaire. What can you do when it's just you and your Compucolor? Play Solitaire! This program features three of the most popular games and even shuffles and deals the cards for you. There's only one problem. The Compucolor won't let you cheat! 


1) Chess. A great way to learn the game and improve your tactics. Program will allow smart moves and dumb moves, but not incorrect ones.

2) Acey Deucy. The Compucolor II plays the casino dealer and deals two cards; you bet on whether or not the next card will be between the first two.

3) Line Five. A challenging game for one or two players. Be the first to have five squares in a row.

4) Biorhythms. For true believers, or just for fun. Charts critical days and curves of your emotional, physical, and mental ups and downs.


1) Blackjack. Develop your own system. Let Compucolor II deal the cards. It will keep track of all bets, wins, and losses.

2) Roulette. Just like Monte Carlo. Bet on even, odd, or pick your lucky number.

3) Slot Machine. Set your wager, pull the handle and try to avoid the lemons.

4) Horse Race. It's post time! Get your bets in for the first running.

5) Drag Race. See who can turn the fastest quarter mile. 


1) Shoot. Be the first to knock out your oppoment's artillery. Both armies are down to their last cannon, so your decisions on firing angle and blast force are crucial to winning.

2) 15 Puzzle. This is a modern version of a 100 year old game. The object is to move the 15 numbers to arrange them in numerical order.

3) Hyper. You'd better act fast in this real time space game because the enemy has already engaged you. Try different degrees of difficulty by changing the number and type of enemy.

4) Seawar. Dive, Dive, Dive! Enemy ships have been spotted. Use your arsenal of torpedoes to destroy the enemy fleet. Be careful! Some of the ships are on your side.


1) Swarms. Your assignment is to rid the land of killer bees with the arsenal provided for you by the Compucolor II.

2) Human Reaction Time. Tests your ability for high speed instant recall.

3) Reverse the Number. Put your logic to the test with this number sequence game. You'll have to be able to visualize all possible combinations as you put the digits into their proper order.

4) Roulette. Just like Las Vegas! Bet on even, odd, red, columns, or pick your own lucky number. The Compucolor II will spin the wheel and record your winnings.

5) Capture the  Alien. Try to isolate the invader without coming too close. Actual contact could be deadly. 


1) Air Raid. This is no drill, you've got radar confirmation: enemy bombers carrying nuclear weapons are approaching with fighter escorts. Man the anti-aicraft gun - your country is depending on you to bring them down.

2) Race. Drive as fast as you can, but don't smash into the walls! Up to four players can compete, or race against the clock.

3) Quintominoes.  Fitting the pieces of this puzzle together is hard enough when you're playing by yourself, but when you've got an opponent to play against, good luck.

4) Rover Robot. Will Rover find a path to safety? He can provide limited information about the dangers that lie ahead, but it's up to you to decide his path - and fate! 


1) Bounce. Here's a real game of skill for one or two players. Score points by hitting targets in an adjoining court. Just getting into this court is a trick in itself! Pick as bouncy a ball as you want then throw it from as high - and as fast - as you want to. Careful, though - you lose points if your ball comes to rest on a penalty spot.

2) Battleship. Seek and destroy the enemy fleet! Challenge a friend to this computer version of a popular pen and pencil game, or try your luck against Compucolor's naval forces.

3) Slither. Can you out-maneuver your opponent's "creature" and score the most points? Slither into a yellow box and score points, or take your chances with a mystery box - you could win or lose points. Don't let your tail drag, though. You lose points if you run into your tail, the wall or your opponent. For 1 or 2 players. 


1) Sharks. Your midnight swim turns into a nightmare when you spot a shark's fin cutting through the waves. Frantically you swim for your life, but your splashing attracts even more sharks. The longer you evade the sharks in this interactive game the higher your score. There is no winning; just see how long you can survive.

2) Towers. Restacking the tower seems simple enough, but try it - it's a real challenge. Or watch Compucolor II play and "learn from the master".

3) Kalah. Planning ahead is what this ancient Indian game is all about. Originally played with stones and pits dug into the ground, you can play without getting your fingernails dirty! Play a friend or match wits with the Compucolor II.

4) Mill. A game of strategy for two players. If your motives are too obvious, you'll wind up losing. Outwit and capture your opponent by following one simple rule: play sneaky!


1) Maze Master. Can you escape from the maze before you run out of moves - or something worse happens? Remember, the walls are grass, so you'll be running into them left and right, wasting valuable moves. And the diabolical Maze Master (and his faithful assistant in the advanced game) are hot on your trail - if he catches you, you've had it! Hours of fun for the entire family!

2) Crossword Puzzle. Put your pencils away! This is a computerized word game. In addition to a general-interest puzzle, there's a crossroad that's designed to test your knowledge of computers.

3) Create Puzzle. Create your own crossroad puzzles! Use this program with the Crossword Puzzle program above and make your own fun! 


1) Lunar Lander. It's been three days since you left earth and it's time for your descent to the moon's surface. Unlike other lunar landing programs, this is a real time version. You don't have time to think - you must act now before your fuel is depleted. There's just one more obstacle; you need to land with enough fuel to take off again or you will be stranded forever on the moon.

2) Coalition. You are on your way to colonize a new planet and wish to set up a stable government as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the planning council, of which you are a member, is split into two coalitions. Your decisions could effect the winning coalition.

3) Linko. This intriguing game takes a little luck and a lot of skill. Try to form a link from one side of the screen to the other side.


1. StarTrek. A game exclusively played on computers, inspired by the TV series. It is up to you to rid the galaxy of the evil Klingons!

2) Lunar Lander. Land your module on the moon before your fuel supply is exhausted. Be careful, you might crash.

3) Shoot. Artillery game for two players. Each selects amount of gun powder and firing angle. Shoot!

4) Tic-Tac-Toe. a three-dimensional version of the familiar game. 


Many other software titles were developed without cover albums that included:

ANSI FORTRAN IV Compiler (a full Linker & Compiler), Intel 8080 Macro Assembler, Info-Link (a modem communications application).

Paq-Men (a game fashioned after the familiar arcade game), Comp-U-Writer (a word processor), Othello, Hangman, and others.

Compucolor II User Groups

Compucolor II User Group sites were quickly formed around the world to support the computer.

The most noteable sites were based in southern California, NE and SE USA, Calgary & Toronto Canada, general Europe, and Australia.

Compucolor II's Demise

In 1983, Compucolor Corporation ceased operations from it's Norcross location. Several design defiencies and competitive pressure led to the decision to shut down operations.

Two distinct design misgivings involving the 5-1/4" micro floppy disk drive and analog design led to the shutdown. The propreitary floppy disk drive serial interface method proved unreliable due to unstable motor spindle speeds. The analog electronics were prone to malfunctions due to a few problems related to the CRT5027 and power-on/off surges.

 

Beyond the CCII, Enter the ISC 3620 & 3650 Series

Although the Compucolor II home computer product with it's good and bad elements, new products were developed to move forward. The GE TV cabinet product had given way to a more modern and commercial computer cabinet design.

More on these products will be added later.