Brendan's Classic Tandy Color Computer Series

Go back to Brendan's Classic Computers page.
Go to the Color Computer 3.
Browse offsite links to more about Tandy/TRS-80 Color Computers.

Tandy Color Computer 2        (CoCo 2)

The Color Computer 2 was the first computer I had that was all mine to do with as I pleased - it was our family's second "real" (meaning not a video game console) computer. I used to drool over this little machine in the old Radio Shack catalogs and show Dad how cool they were! Little did I know just how cool they really were.

I remember getting this machine from one of the Radio Shack dealers in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For those who have lived there for a long time (or long ago), this was the one inside the Loretto Mall, which of course is long gone. We wanted (or rather, Dad thought I should have) one with 64k RAM and Extended Color Basic (ECB - more about that later). When we got home, we discovered that it wasn't ECB, but only the standard Color Basic. After some discussions and negotiations, Radio Shack replaced/upgraded it (I can't remember which).

My early-model version had a keyboard that was a little bit of a cross between the "chiclet-style" of the CoCo 1 (with its somewhat short travel and rubbery feel) and the later CoCo 2 keys. I really liked this keyboard, since the keys had little "wells" into which my little fingers fit so nicely. It also had a cartridge slot on the right side into which you could insert ROM-based "Program Paks" or other compatible expansion hardware. Across the back were a power button, a reset button, two analog joystick ports, a cassette drive port, and a serial port.

This little machine had such an incredibly powerful basic interpreter that I was completely absorbed by the included "Getting Started with Color Basic" and "Going Ahead with Extended Color Basic" tutorial books. They were very well written and clear enough, even, for a 4th grader to understand (although I continued to read and refer to it through 8th grade). Over time, I became incredibly glad that Dad had pushed for the ECB upgrade, since I was able to utilize the high resolution graphics mode as well as the additional single-voice sound capabilities in various and sundry games, applications, and demos.

Later, this was also the machine with which I "cut my teeth" on assembly language programming. (This was about the same time as I began using the Microcomputer Trainer, too.) The beautifully orthogonal instruction set of the little Motorola 6809 made it easy. I was able to concentrate on various new concepts such as bases 2, 8, and 16, registers, and addressing modes, and not concern myself with any architectural oddities. I poured much time into my little book written by William Barden, Jr., "Color Computer Assembly Language Programming", on road trips in the camper from Washington through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois.

It was in Washington state, in fact, where in 6th grade I made a good friend, Steve, who happened to have a similarly equipped CoCo 1. He introduced me to the CoCo-only Rainbow Magazine, which had tons of program listings, the occasional easy hardware project, ads for peripherals, and more. He and I spent many a day writing little programs utilizing all of the various peripherals we had.

Peripherals that Dad (or later, myself) upgraded my little CoCo 2 with included:

Various software that that Dad provided me with or I puchased later on came in multiple different forms: Program Paks (ROM cartridges), cassette tapes, and floppy disks. Here are my software-only Program Paks:
Various other software titles:

Go to my home page.
Go to the home page.