Gemini was an Atari
clone made by Coleco, the same company that was making the ColecoVision
. The game came about after Coleco made a $60 adaptor for its ColecoVision game and sold 150,000 converters within three months. Coleco figured, then, it was a simple matter to make its own free-standing clone. How many of those would it sell? Atari promptly sued. Coleco counter sued with a $500 million anti-trust lawsuit.
It was going to get ugly and expensive. Atari itself was on the way down and was never actually cash rich. Coleco, with huge cash flow from the Cabbage Patch doll craze, was in a better position to wage a legal battle. Further, the Atari 2600 was built with so many off-the-shelf part
s that it was questionable if Atari had any patents that it could enforce. Atari got Coleco to settled out of court. Coleco could make both its ColecoVision emulator
and its Gemini clone if it paid a royalty.
The Gemini itself was a compact black unit, sans faux wood grain. It came with an innovative dual joystick/paddle controller. It was bundled with the Atari 2600 version of Donkey Kong
(also made by Coleco) and Mouse Trap
Coleco co-branded its Gemini clone for distribution by Columbia House
as the Columbia Home Arcade system.
(Curiously even Atari got into the Atari 2600 cloning game by releasing a "clone" under its dummy corporation Kee Games
, which had been used several years before to hoodwink arcade owners.)