It’s a crowded market for gaming devices these days, as anything with a screen can be used as a gaming device in some way. That said, it doesn’t mean that we have to relegate all of our gameplay to the purvue of mega-corporations (Sony, Microsoft, MNintendo, Google, Apple). There are some names that are known from gaming past that have been making strides, and not just as “Mini Classic” devices.
One of those is Intellivision. The modern version of what used to be Mattel’s game console division is back, and they’ve been teasing a new contender in the game console space for some time now called the Amico. While it was at E3 2019, the info about it was kept under wraps. Today, thanks to Gamescom 2019, we have this trailer, where INTV’s Tommy Tallirico explains what the console is, and at the end shows a line-up of Amico-exclusive titles that are in the works for the machine:
The only thing I don’t like about this as a reveal trailer is that the music just doesn’t fit for a family-fun/casual console. Other than that, I’m very intrigued by what I saw there.
Now I’ve made no secret that I’m an Atari fan…I have all of their consoles, a solid collection of the carts for them, and I have a couple of the Flashback devices that have been released in recent years. But I’ve had many issues with how Atari has behaved in more recent years, and there’s little nice for me to say about how they’ve gone about handling the Ataribox, aka the Atari VCS.
As the headline says, just this trailer makes the Amico feel more like an Atari throwback than the VCS has been. While I haven’t posted much on this blog in a while, not much has really changed over in Ataribox-land. They still haven’t announced anything game-wise for the system, over a year after they started asking for money to fund it. All we know is it will have Atari Vault (which is already on Steam), maybe Tempest 4000, and some Atari 2600 ROMs like Centipede that you can grab. Otherwise, they can’t figure out the messaging on it, doing silly things like calling it an unconsole and implying that a “Netflix mom” is going to buy and attach an external HDD, access the Sandbox mode, load up Linux and install Steam and other Linux compatible software to enjoy her retro gaming experience.
Yeah, no. If you’re aiming this at a casual audience, then it needs to have an intuitive interface. Sandbox modes will grab attention of some hardcore gamers, but then they’ve ended up botching the message that it’s really just a Steam Machine. But other than the Atari logo on it and Atari joystick, it doesn’t really offer much that you can’t easily find on any other platform.
Only once have I played an Intellivision, I think it was the Intellivision II at a retro gaming party. On my street back in the 80’s, nobody had the console. I used to encounter them at thrift stores once in a while, but I was mainly on the hunt for Atari stuff at the time, so I never grabbed one. Thus, I don’t know if any of the games shown in that trailer were reboots of classic INTV stuff.
They do have various games that interest me and my retro tastes, as they are. Seeing Moon Patrol come back was a surprise, and the game right after it looks kind of like Sopwith, one of my favorites from the ol’ days of CGA DOS. For Atari reboots, they’ve got Missile Command, Asteroids and Breakout, Asteroids being my favorite of the three (I never could get into Missile Command, aside from Missile Command 3D on the Jaguar). There is one game there that looks like Combat, but the presence of the helicopter with the tanks makes me believe that it’s actually Armor Attack, a great arcade game that never got enough love.
I know that the console will also have a new Earthworm Jim, although I never did get a chance to play EJ very much back when it was a thing.
Overall, I like what the Amico is offering so far and I think that they’ve done a much better job at presenting what it is, along with the games, than how Atari keeps stumbling with their crowdfunded VCS. The Amico is not using crowdbegging to get the console out, although I’m not sure where their money is coming from at this point (licensing INTV IP out, perhaps?). I have a game idea that I’ve been slowly chipping away at that I think would be a great fit for the Amico, although I would need to get me little team of game makers to really start getting somewhere before I’d even think of approaching INTV with it.
What do you think about it, from the trailer above?