Intellivision Entertainment announced yesterday that it will ship a new video game console called Amico. But it won’t debut until late 2020—two full years from now—and it isn’t designed for original Intellivision titles.
“Most every game being made for the home consoles these days is created with only the hardcore gamer in mind,” Intellivision president Tommy Tallarico said. “We see a world where everyone is interested in playing at home and with friends, but this isn’t currently possible because the barrier to entry is nearly impossible for a non-gamer due to the complexity of the controllers, intricacy of gameplay, expense of the hardware and software and steep learning curve with an unbalanced fun factor for the beginner.”
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Mattel’s Intellivision was first introduced in 1979 as a rival to the original Atari Video Computer System, or VCS, which was later renamed to the 2600. Like a later entry from Coleco, it offered superior graphics and sound, and curiously complicated controllers with number pads, a directional disc, and multiple buttons. And while many of the games were direct rip-offs of Atari classics, some were truly inspired originals, including Utopia, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Shark! Shark!, B-17 Bomber, and many others.
Too, Intellivision users could choose from a variety of innovative peripherals, including a voice adapter, an Atari 2600 adapter, a music keyboard, and even a computer. But when the video game industry crashed, Mattel dropped Intellivision, and the brand essentially disappeared (though later attempts to resuscitate it, like INTV, saw limited success).
Given the new era of video game nostalgia, it’s perhaps not surprising that Intellivision Entertainment is trying again. But the Amico is not designed to play Intellivision classics from the 1980’s. Instead, it is a new console that is aimed squarely at families and the violence-adverse. All of the games the firm plans are family friendly and rated “E for Everyone.” This will include some “built-in reimagined Intellivision Classics,” the company says.
Given how far out this thing is, I won’t make any predictions about its viability. But as a major contributor to the Intellivision community back in the mid-1990’s—the original Intellivision was my first video game console—I am indeed curious.
<p>I imagine they'll avoid using a 10-bit instruction set like the original <span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Intellivision</span>. </p><p><br></p><p>This seems to be aiming at a market well covered by the Nintendo Wii. I doubt that they can make it cheap enough to get many people to buy it and as others have pointed out, they're unlikely to attract developers.</p>