Intellivision Amico

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Intellivision Amico
Intellivision Amico.png
Render amicoWhite 3quarterRight NoBG 2K 2021 06 11D highres.png
Concept rendering
DeveloperIntellivision Entertainment
ManufacturerCal-Comp (formerly Ark Electronics)
TypeHome video game console
Introductory priceUS$249 (Graphite Black & Glacier White)
US$279 (Woodgrain)
US$299 (Galaxy Purple)
MediaDigital downloads
Operating systemCustom Android/Linux operating system
System on a chipOcta-core Snapdragon 624 @ 1.8 GHz[1][2][3]
Memory2 GB RAM[1]
Storage32 GB flash memory, 1x microSD[1][2]
DisplayHDMI (1080p)[1]
Controller inputIntellivision Amico controller,[1] Android/iOS device, Bluetooth controller
ConnectivityBluetooth, Wi-Fi, RFID, wireless contact charging, 1x USB-C[1][2]
Power12V DC barrel plug[2]
Online servicesAmico Game Shop
Dimensions11 × 9.5 × 2.5 in (279.40 × 241.30 × 63.50 mm)[1]
Websitewww.intellivision.com

The Intellivision Amico is an upcoming home video game console being developed and marketed by Intellivision Entertainment. It was originally slated to be released in October 2020, but repeated delays followed, and the console is currently indefinitely delayed.

The Intellivision, which was a home console in the 1980s that sold 3 million units, was produced by Mattel. Tommy Tallarico, a video game composer, bought a stake in the company that owned the branding for Intellivision, and then in May 2018, announced a planned relaunch of the Intellivision (which would later be named the Amico). The console is planned to target families, and is set up to only allow family-friendly games in its library. Intellivision Entertainment is working with developers (including people who made games for the original Intellivision) to create games for the console. The Amico features touchscreen controllers that dock into the console itself for charging, and can be played using an app downloaded on phones. After initially facing supply chain issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the console has continued to see repeated delays, and has faced criticisms from some journalists.

History[edit]

Console revealed[edit]

In 2017, Tommy Tallarico, best known for creating the concert series Video Games Live, bought a stake in Intellivision Productions after the death of its former owner, Keith Robinson.[4] Tallarico announced in May 2018 that he planned to relaunch the Intellivision, a home console from the 1980s that sold 3 million units in the early to mid-1980s, as a new, retro branded console.[4][5] Tallarico noted to Venture Beat that the target audience was "the non-gamer, the family" and that he wanted "simplicity."[4] In December 2018, the new Intellivision Entertainment company that Tallarico had founded announced a planned October 2020 release date, and revealed more proposed details about the console.[6] The console's wireless controllers would have a touchscreen on them, and would allow smartphones to be used as controllers for games.[6] Games would be required to have a maximum rating of E10+ on the ESRB ratings scale, meaning that games would be completely focused on targeting families.[6] The console would have an RFID system in it that allows for payments from credit cards to be easily processed for new game purchases and allows easy sharing of games between consoles and friends.[7] Tallarico announced that the company would be licensing Atari games for the console. An exclusive new Earthworm Jim game was also revealed to be in development for the console, and Intellivision Entertainment was paying a number of studios for exclusive games for the console.[6] At this point in the development process, the price was expected to be priced between $149 and $179.[6][8] At a conference in Dubai in 2019, Tallarico revealed that the company was launching a Dubai office and was planning on releasing the console at the same time in the Middle East as it was going to in the rest of the world.[9]

Development stalls[edit]

Pre-orders were opened in April 2020, and Intellivision Entertainment revealed that it had sold over 10,000 pre-orders of its "VIP edition" of the console; it was priced at $249 for black and white versions and $279 for a woodgrain version.[10] The console received a further $5.5 million from a campaign on crowdfunding site Fig.[11] An October 2020 release date was announced.[10] Tallarico noted that the company had to stop taking retail purchase orders because of supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and had to make development kits by hand in California instead of the planned manufacture in China.[10][7] Customers were required to place a refundable $100 deposit in order to reserve the consoles.[10] IGN Middle East's Mufaddal Fakhruddin previewed an alpha version of the console in May 2021 and felt that the games "featured sharp visuals but they would be nothing your mobile phone would not be able to handle."[12] Fakhruddin further noted that the touchscreen software seemed somewhat laggy and unresponsive when playing the game Shark! Shark!, which according to a local representative of the company, was fixed in firmware updates for the retail builds.[12] Fakhruddin felt that the console and its games were "fun and engaging", but "came away less than impressed with the controller", and questioned the Amico's price point at $250.[7] In an interview with the author, Tallarico noted that he had "never experienced the slight delay issue on the controller screen menu of Shark! Shark! like you showed in your preview article," and emphasized that the console was still a work in progress.[7]

In May 2020, it was announced former Microsoft executive and Xbox co-founder J Allard had joined Intellivision Entertainment to serve as the company's global managing director, assisting the company in launching the Amico.[13] He left months later and said the role was "not a good fit."[14] Despite this, Tallarico noted the hiring of Allard during an investment call in March 2021 even though Allard had already left. This led to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to send a letter for clarification to Intellivision Entertainment to clarify when Allard had left the company.[15]

The console was delayed in August 2020 to a new release date of April 2021 because of issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] In February 2021, Tallarico announced a further delay to October 10, 2021, because of continued supply chain issues.[16] In 2021, it was revealed that Intellivision Entertainment had hired a number of the original creators of the Intellivision to remake their games for the new console.[17] At an appearance at E3 2021, Tallarico announced a number of the games that would be coming to the console, and noted that although the pandemic had forced a delay of the console's launch, it also gave the company a chance to increase the amount of games available for the console.[17] Ars Technica's Sam Machkovech called the reaction to Tallarico's presentation a "resounding thud."[18] The presentation showcased games that were already available as free web games, like a series of Sesame Street edutainment games.[18] Eurogamer's Digital Foundry noted that a presentation by Intellivision Entertainment a couple of weeks later at Gamescom was extremely similar to a 2019 console reveal trailer the company had already released.[18][19]

Added delays and new criticisms[edit]

In 2021, Ars Technica's Sam Machkovech noted a number of issues with the Amico.[18] They noted that older presentations had shown large amounts of lag and that photos of people playing the Amico at Tallarico's E3 presentation had all been photoshopped stock photos.[18] Machkovech accessed the internal development portal for the Amico, and noted that the hardware specs for the console appeared to be especially weak compared to other consoles in the market (and the console itself was as powerful as a budget smartphone).[18] The portal held game-design guidelines called the "Intellivision 10 Commandments of Game-Design" and Machkovech felt that the commandments felt more like a "Game Design 101" manual instead of anything specific to the Amico.[18] Game pricing guidance in the internal portal limited the price point to a maximum of $10 per game, with no downloadable content allowed.[18] After publication of Machkovech's piece, Tallarico attacked him directly on Twitter, alleging that Ars Technica and Machkovech had violated copyright law by posting the article based on private development information; Tallarico later deleted the tweets and apologized.[20] Games were later announced as costing up to $20 per game in their physical versions.[19]

The Amico was further delayed in August 2020, with a new release date announced for April 3, 2021.[21] It was then delayed again until the "end of the year" 2021, Intellivision said part of the problem was the global chip shortage.[22] In 2021, Kotaku's Zack Zwiezen noted that a number of the games being released were not exclusive games, but instead iOS and Android game ports for the console.[19] During a 2021 fundraising call, Tallarico announced that the company would take around 50% of revenues from third-party sales, much higher than the 15-30% Apple takes from developers on its App Store.[19]

In November 2021, it was revealed that the Amico game Tank Battle featured assets that were taken from the game World of Tanks and other 3rd party sources.[23][24] A build of the console's operating system was released at the end of 2021, which Ars Technica's Machkovech felt had significant flaws, including combining users' owned games and store options.[24] Machkovech and Zwiezen begun to speculate that the console would not be able to release the necessary number of devices to reach its pre-order capacity; Intellivision reported 6,000 pre-ordered units at the time.[19][24] Despite the console being unreleased, a pack of four physical games was released at US $79.99 (for the collectors edition US $149.99).[25]

In February 2022, Tallarico stepped down from his role as CEO of Intellivision, remaining on board as the company's president and largest shareholder. He was replaced by the company's former chief revenue officer Phil Adam. In a statement provided to IGN, the company said the management shift was to better align its resources to face the new challenges of commencing production of the Amico.[26] That same month, Intellivision began its fourth round of fundraising, acknowledging that the company has had zero revenue since 2018, and would require further investment to operate beyond July 2022. A proposed total of US $10 million would allow for "7 to 9 months" operation.[27] Though it was planned to run for three months, Intellivision Entertainment closed three weeks after its commencement. A total of US $58,001 from 54 investors was raised.[28] Machkovech said that Intellivision's decision to close the campaign early was "... as bright and red a flag as it gets in the world of unreleased tech hardware."[28]

In April 2022, some pre-orders of the Amico were cancelled, including some ordered via GameStop.[29] In June, Intellivision cut staff and licensed IP, both aimed at keeping the project viable, with the company stating that it still aims to launch the console.[30]

On July 4, 2022, publications reported that the Intellivision Amico trademark had been abandoned.[31][32] On July 7, 2022, an update by Nintendolife to its July 4 article stated that the Intellivision Amico trademark was renewed, "rather than request a further extension on the existing trademark, Intellivision has instead opted to file for a brand new one as of June 30th, 2022."[33]

Hardware[edit]

Console[edit]

The console is based on an 8-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 624 system on a chip with an Adreno 506 GPU.[3] The system supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RFID, HDMI out, a microSD card slot, a charging cradle for two Amico controllers on the top, passive cooling, and one USB-C port on the back for accessories and expansions.[1][34][2] The body also features a built-in LED ambient lighting system with 40 independently controlled LEDs[2] that can change pattern and color in response to gameplay, known as Interactive Guidance Lighting.[1][35] The console will launch with five available colors: Glacier White, Graphite Black, Vintage Woodgrain, Galaxy Purple and GTO Red.[36] The system has 32 GB of internal memory storage,[1] and utilizes a custom Android/Linux operating system developed in-house.[37]

Controller[edit]

Intellivision Amico controller.

The system comes with two controllers, designed to be ambidextrous for right or left handed preference. The controllers charge in the cradle on top of the console, or via a wired USB-C connection. They charge in 2 hours, and can run for 4–6 hours on a full charge.[2] They feature Bluetooth, speakers, a microphone, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and haptic force feedback. They also feature a 3.2 in (81.28 mm) color capacitive[38] touch screen, a home button and a 64-way pressure-sensitive directional disc. Four oversized buttons are placed as two shoulder buttons each for right handed or left handed orientation.[1][39][40] Each shoulder button features an LED light, and the disc is surrounded by a ring of eight LEDs. These LEDs, in addition to the LEDs on the console, have brightness settings, or can be turned off.[2] The controllers come with wrist straps[1] to prevent them from flying away during game action if not held securely. Two additional Amico controllers can be connected, and mobile devices emulating Amico controllers, using a free smartphone app, can connect through WiFi for a total of eight connected controllers.[38]

Developer information obtained by Ars Technica showed that the controller's touchscreen would operate at a framerate of "15-30+" frames per second, and any given game's content on the controller would be coded in SparkAce, an HTML/CSS hybrid with support for the PNG8 and Ogg Vorbis formats, and fit within 1 MB, which the document said was intended to reduce transfer times between the controller and console.[3] Published specifications list the controller memory as 8MB RAM and 32 MB flash.[41]

Accessories[edit]

Announced accessories include a bag to hold the console, a sleeve to protect the controller and ten themed packs of three controller skins.[42]

Games[edit]

According to Tallarico, all games for the Amico will be both single player and multiplayer, with local cooperative play.[43] Six games will come included with the Amico, and more than 20 additional games are expected to be available at launch.[43] Five of the six included games have been announced as Skiing, Astrosmash, Shark! Shark!, Cornhole, and Farkle, with the sixth game being a party game.[41] Digitally downloaded games will generally be priced at $9.99 (€8.49) or less, while physical copies of games will be available at retail for US$19.99 (€17.99).[25][42] In July 2021, the first 50,000 run of physical game products for both Europe and North America were manufactured.[44]

Title Developer Source
10 Yard Fight [34]
ACL Cornhole [45]
Archon React Games [34]
Asteroids [34]
Astrosmash Rogue Rocket Games [34]
B-17 Bomber [34]
Back Talk Party [41]
Bad Dudes⁑ [34]
Baseball [34]
Beauty and the Beast [46]
Biplanes WastedStudios [43]
Blank Slate [47]
Bomb Squad International Headquarters [41]
Bowling [34]
Boxing [34]
Brain Duel BBG Entertainment [43]
Breakout Choice Provisions [34]
Bump 'n' Jump [17]
Caveman Ninja [34]
Care Bears Care Karts PlayDate Digital [19]
Cloudy Mountain* Other Ocean [34]
Darts [41]
Demon Attack [34]
Dolphin Quest Playchemy [17]
Dracula [34]
Dragon Fire [46]
Dynablaster BBG Entertainment [43]
Earthworm Jim 4 Intellivision Entertainment [48]
Emoji Charades GameCake [49]
Evel Knievel Barnstorm Games [43]
Farkle Spaceflower [42]
Finnigan Fox Bonus Level Entertainment [43]
Flying Tigers [17]
Frog Bog [34]
Horse Racing [34]
Hot Wheels Colossal Crash [47]
Ice Trek [46]
Incan Gold / Diamont [47]
Jungle Hunt [41]
Kung-Fu Master [34]
Liar's Dice The Bitmap Brothers [47]
Lode Runner Tozai Games [46]
Math Fun [50]
Miner 2049er [34]
Missile Command Stainless Games [43]
MLB Baseball [46]
Moon Patrol: The Milky Way Chronicles WastedStudios [43]
MotoRace USA [34]
Night Driver [34]
Night Stalker Other Ocean [17]
Nitro Derby Chicken Waffle [47]
Pong Way Digital Studios [41]
Pool Pool Legends IVS [41]
R-Type [34]
Rigid Force Redux Enhanced com8com1, Headup [47]
Sesame Street games [47]
Shark! Shark! Neobird, Bonus Level Entertainment [34]
Skiing Aesir Interactive [17]
Snafoo Thera Bytes [34]
Space Strikers Couch in the Woods Interactive [47]
Spades* Concrete Software [41]
Spelunker [34]
Soccer [17]
Super BurgerTime [50]
Tank Battle Lost Mesa Entertainment [24]
Telestrations [47]
Tempest [34]
A Toejam and Earl title [50]
Tron Deadly Discs[51] Other Ocean [34]
Tropical Angel [34]
Utopia [41]
Warlords Stainless Games [41]
Yar's Revenge [34]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Meet Amico - Hardware Design". Intellivision Entertainment. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
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  25. ^ a b Phillips, Tom (October 11, 2021). "Intellivision Amico boxed games go on sale, for console still without launch date". Eurogamer. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
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  28. ^ a b Wales, Matt (March 1, 2022). "Intellivision cuts latest Amico fundraising campaign short, setting alarm bells ringing". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  29. ^ "Amico preorders quietly cancelled by retailer as mystery continues". Mega Visions. April 11, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
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  31. ^ "Trademark For Intellivision Amico Has Been Abandoned". Nintendolife. July 4, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  32. ^ "It looks like the Intellivision Amico trademark has been abandoned (for now)". Game Developer. July 4, 2022. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  33. ^ "Intellivision Amico Trademark Is Live Once Again". Nintendolife. July 7, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
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  35. ^ Santa Maria, Alex (October 26, 2018). "It's Game On For Intellivision's Forthcoming Amico Console". mandatory.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  36. ^ "Intellivision Entertainment website". Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  37. ^ Takahashi, Dean (June 21, 2019). "Intellivision Entertainment prepares for its rebirth on 10-10-20". VentureBeat. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  38. ^ a b Adams, Robert. "Intellivision Amico Controller Detailed, First Pack-In Game Revealed | TechRaptor". TechRaptor. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  39. ^ Battikh, Rany (August 23, 2019). "Intellivision Amico Gamescom 2019 Trailer". retrorgb.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  40. ^ Diaz, Jesus (October 23, 2018). "What the Hell Is the New Intellivision Console?". tomsguide.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "FAQ — Intellivision Entertainment". Intellivision Entertainment. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  42. ^ a b c "Intellivision has announced more details on the Amico's launch titles". VGC. May 25, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  43. ^ a b c d e f g h i Scullion, Chris (October 11, 2021). "Amico games are available now, despite the console not having a release date". VGC. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  44. ^ "Intellivision Amico Physical Game Boxes Revealed". TheHDRoom. July 29, 2021.
  45. ^ Stein, Scott (August 6, 2020). "Intellivision Amico vs. Atari VCS: Comparing two baffling retro consoles". CNET. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  46. ^ a b c d e "Press Release - October 22nd, 2018". Intellivision Entertainment. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g h i Takahashi, Dean (August 5, 2020). "Intellivision delays launch to April 2021 and unveils 20 new games". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  48. ^ Plunkett, Luke (August 10, 2020). "Oh No, Earthworm Jim". Kotaku. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  49. ^ "Intellivision Entertainment Announces Amico Roadshow and Tour". Intellivision Entertainment. August 26, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  50. ^ a b c Stevens, Colin (October 22, 2018). "Intellivision Amico Console Revealed With Exclusive Games, Coming in 2020". IGN. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  51. ^ "Intellivision Amico". Edge Magazine (355): 102–103. March 2021.

External links[edit]