Terry Stewart's (Tezza's) Classic Computer Collection

EACA Colour Genie

Your move!(Note: I also describe this machine in a YouTube video)

The Colour Genie is a somewhat out of place in my collection for the the notable and famous, as it is neither of those. However it is a model I have some connection with and is now hard to find.

This computer is from EACA, the same Hong Kong-based family as the Dick Smith System 80/Video Genie etc. It was introduced in 1982 with the hope that its full-stroke keyboard, Z80-driven colour, sound and extended BASIC (similar to the Level II BASIC of the TRS-80 Model 1) would win hearts and minds.

It didn't.

Setting aside the fact that anyone who vaguely had anything to do with electronics was starting to crowd the market with home computers of their own, EACA was never wealthy and did not have the financial resources to promote the Colour Genie in western countries to any extent. To my knowledge it never appeared in North America, and in Britain it was totally eclipsed by the likes of the home-grown Sinclair Spectrum and the two Commodore home computers, the VIC-20 and C-64. The hardware was adequate but the design conservative. For example there was no cartridge slot, the machine was large for a home computer and disk drive expansion was cumbersome and expensive.

History was to consign the Colour Genie to the status of "also-ran". It's fun to drag out and play with though.

The unit I have (pictured above) is in good condition and works just fine. Also housed with the computer is a small collection of tape software I've rescued to PC hard drive, much of it of German origin? Oddly enough, the Colour Genie seems to have cultivated a small but loyal following in that country. This is probably due to the local distributor Trommeschlager Computer GmbH (TCS), who did a good job promoting the unit as they had the Video Genie before. The two original manuals and a book completes the package, along with some interesting club newsletters.

I remember seeing a Colour Genie in a shop in 1982 and thinking it looked quite sexy compared to the Tandy Colour Computer it was sitting next to. I even considered it briefly as a natural upgrade to the System 80. In hindsight, not buying it was a good call. However, I am glad I now own a couple of these rare models. They came in handy when assisting with an emulator.

Want to know more about this micro? Google is your friend, but I'd start with my own Colour Computer information page.

This page last edited 25th July, 2015

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