The CoCo still has a small
but active user community.
Most CoCo fans did (and still do) complain loudly of the perceived lack of support from Tandy. Indeed finding anyone at a Radio Shack store who knew more than the price of the computer was pot-luck. However, we must also remember that the department and toy stores that sold Commodores and Ataris were probably no better or worse. Despite the lack of corporate support for the system, a very active third party community evolved, supported mainly by CoCo-related periodicals, most notably The Rainbow ,The Color Computer Magazine and Hot Coco..all have since perished! Coming soon the new Rainbow!!
Even today, a few individuals and small companies still support the CoCo and are actively developing hardware and software for it. Companies such as Cloud-9 have taken the CoCo 3 beyond what many thought possible, with such things as SCSI and IDE hard drive controllers, memory upgrades to 512K and AT Keyboard interfaces. Other recent hardware development includes RGB-to-VGA Converter that allows connecting a Coco3 to a standard VGA compatible monitor.
User-driven support for the Color Computer has continued since production stopped in the '80s, hosted on various web sites and forums
Emulation of the CoCo hardware has been possible on x86 PCs since at least the mid '90s. MESS is capable of emulating the CoCo; however, the most popular emulators are Jeff Vavasour's CoCo emulators (see external links). Mocha is a web-based emulator written in Java that can emulate a CoCo 2 inside a web browser.
Most of these emulators require a dump from the CoCo ROMs. Instructions are usually provided with the emulators on how to get a ROM dump from a CoCo. A ROM might be found online, which may be from a Brazilian CoCo clone.
Utilities exist to transfer data from a PC to a CoCo. If one does not have compatible disk drives for the PC and CoCo, data may still be transferred by using special PC CoCo utilities to create a .wav audio file of the data. Hook the CoCo's cassette interface cables directly to the line out of a PC's soundcard, initiate the CLOAD (or CLOADM) command on the CoCo, and then play the sound file from the PC.
Early production notes for the CoCo 3 specified it would have a 256 color mode. A former Tandy employee once involved with the Color Computer product line has stated that this mode did make it in production CoCo 3s, but was never documented to avoid competition with the Tandy 1000 series of PCs. For years, several CoCo hobbyists have tried to confirm if this mode exists. The technical reference manual for the CoCo 3 as sold by Tandy had some clues to the existence of this mode, or at least showed where it may have existed but was removed before production.
A pseudo-256 color mode could be done using a page flipping technique which caused the screen to flicker badly, but was able to display 256 color graphics. This was used in some video screen capture software for the CoCo as well. There was also an OS-9 program that allowed viewing of 256 color graphic files.
Nickolas Marentes, a long time Color Computer programmer, has done some investigation into this "secret" mode and has come up with some interesting information. Chris Lomont has produced a "256 Color Demo".
A group of computer hobbyists continue to develop new hardware and software for the machine. Each Spring, the Glenside CoCo Club in the Chicago area hosts an annual CoCoFest gathering. At the 2007 event, the arcade game Donkey Kong was ported from the original Z80 code to the CoCo's 6809 by CoCo programmer John Kowalski. Using code translation and emulation techniques, the end result was the actual Donkey Kong game running on a 512K CoCo 3. Other recent hardware releases include a SuperIDE from Cloud-9 Tech, which enables using modern drives on the CoCo, including Compact Flash cards. And now the SDC!! SD card on the Coco!