Intellivision Amico Presentation from Tommy Tallarico

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SchrodngrsFalco

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#1  Edited By SchrodngrsFalco

I don't know. Looks okay. Definitely presenting it as very a console for very simple games but the price point seems like it'll be hard to catch buyers, for what it is.

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bigsocrates

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I've been following the Amico reasonably closely and it seems like a bad project. I like Tommy Tallarico as a musician, of course, and I'm aware of Intellivision from the past, but what is the market for this thing? If you want a family friendly console with simple games...the Switch exists. It doesn't JUST have those things, of course, but it does have them. It also does a heck of a lot more.

The Amico, on the other hand, does those things but doesn't do the more. The only thing 'special' is the controller, and all that stuff can be done by linking cell phones like with Jackbox Party Packs.

The games all look horrible by modern standards and have old fashioned names like "Shark Shark" and "Astro Smash."

It's targeted towards old people who are scared by modern consoles, but how big is that market, really? How many people are afraid of the Nintendo Switch but want to drop over $300 on a console for their grandkids or whatever?

And how many of those Grandkids are going to have a Switch with them and just play that instead because the Switch games are so much better?

It's just a muddled mess of a console. For old people it doesn't have the franchises they know and might want to play, like Tetris or Pac-Man, and even if it did it's way more expensive than they'd want it to be. For middle-aged gamers it doesn't have any modern or mature games. For Kids it is too simple and old fashioned to be appealing.

One of its big launch games is an updated version of Fox 'N Forests, which was a mediocre 16-bit style platformer from a few years back.

In a world without a Switch this would kind of make sense, but when you're literally talking about online leaderboards in 2021 and emailing achievement certificates it's like...

If this was $100 or less, maybe, but with the touch screens that's not possible.

And the games just look so bad. This is the same cost as a Switch or a Series S.

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imhungry

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I'm not entirely sure what this console accomplishes that smartphones don't. Their objective of games that you can play with people who are intimidated by consoles is all well and good but that's literally what mobile games have been doing for years! Many of the games in that showcase extremely exist on mobile already.

Getting emailed a certificate for your high score is very funny though, definitely going to hang that on my wall.

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clintlandon

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Honestly, there’s ideas here that I like quite a lot. Maybe I’m just starved for anything new as we trudge into the third generation with basically the same games in terms of gameplay and series’s. I don’t think this thing has a chance, but I’d like to see it find a sustainable audience.

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bigsocrates

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@imhungry: The idea is that this is a way to play cellphone type games shared on your TV. Which is not a bad idea. A streaming box for $80 that used everyone's cell phone as their controller and then combined the inputs into software for the TV might have a chance.

@clintlandon: What ideas here do you like? Literally all the games they have are either new versions of ancient games or just versions of things already released on modern systems. Moon Patrol is not a new idea. "Trials HD, but bad and starring Eval Knieval" is not a new idea and I think the game was already released for cell phones.

There has been some innovation in the VR space recently and that's probably where the "new" ideas for games are going to be coming from. The Amico brings literally nothing new to the table.

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El_Blarfo

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#6  Edited By El_Blarfo

Isn't this... the Wii? Like... almost exactly? But with possibly even less third party support?

ETA: Oof, also, points off for the involvement of literal hatemonger Doug TenNapel on their new Earthworm Jim.

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bigsocrates

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@el_blarfo: No. The Wii could run 3-D games pretty well for the time. It wasn't at PS3/Xbox 360 levels of power and obviously had no HD output, but a lot of games were downported relatively successfully. This thing is further behind.

It also has screens on the controller. And no Nintendo support.

And I think even adjusting for inflation the Wii may have been cheaper.

They've said that Doug TenNapel was only involved in the concepting and has been pushed out of the project but yeah it's pretty bad that they even spoke to him.

"Family Friendly" console, but only for specific kinds of families.

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El_Blarfo

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@bigsocrates: I mean more that it's trying to occupy a similar niche to the Wii (Accessible! Cute! Motion controls! Fun for normal humans!), but yes, this thing looks like it doesn't have very much horsepower even compared to the Wii.

And yeah, if these are the actual games they intend to sell and not just tech demos, then there's almost nothing to recommend this thing.

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styx971

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#9  Edited By styx971

if it had a 75 dollar price point i could see the appeal for a family with really young possibly not 'big kid' console ready kids or extra old ppl who might not be good with alot of sticks and buttons. that said theres nothing about this that someone like me would need or want. i don't have friends that come over and game. i don't want kids and my niece and nephews already have a switch and the eldest boy ( 10 the other day) already is past the point of having interest in older looking games like you'd find on a snes and before so unless your shooting for alot younger of an age i can't see that being much different for alot of families. and frankly even at this point alot of older ppl are either savy enough to use tablets (possibly to the point the family trying to help them learn pulls their hair out) and such or are completely uninterested in technology which would only make me think would they even be interested in this? idk i think its all cool in concept but i just can't see this working well. that said ...i still think it won day 3 of e3 this yr cause man....what a rough day.

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@el_blarfo: I would say instead that it is trying to fill a niche that was filled by one aspect of the Wii. The thing about the Wii is that while it definitely was that mass market casual machine for playing Wii Sports Tennis, it also had a lot of other aspects. It had retro games through virtual console. It had everyone's favorite Nintendo franchises. It had hardcore games like Xenoblade Chronicles and Mad World. It had online multiplayer and TV streaming and lots of different stuff.

The Amico is like the Wii if all it had were Wiiware games. And don't get me wrong, I loved World of Goo. I finished that on the Wii. But I would not have bought a Wii just to play World of Goo. And the Amico doesn't have any games that look as good as World of Goo. Maybe the new Breakout from the Bit.Trip team. That's something I'd probably like. I enjoyed Shatter. 12 years ago. With higher fidelity graphics.

And yeah, these are the games, not tech demos. There's even a whole small community of "Amico fans" talking about how excited they are to play Finnegan Fox even though Fox 'N Forests was not a great game by any stretch. It's odd.

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El_Blarfo

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@styx971 said:

my niece and nephews already have a switch

And that's the other crazy thing about this-- The Switch already occupies the same niche that the Wii did!

The Amico really has strong "Grandma gave me the wrong console for Christmas, and I love her but it sucks" vibes.

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bigsocrates

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@el_blarfo: Grandma isn't buying this unless she's super religious and thinks that the Switch is a devil console because it has Shin Megami Tensei on it. Grandma knows the name Nintendo, and while this will be in some stores it doesn't have the marketing budget to compete.

This is a console that will only be bought by Weird Uncle Todd who firmly believes that gaming started sucking as soon as it got more complex than Moon Patrol. There aren't enough Weird Uncle Todds to make it a hit though.

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styx971

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@el_blarfo: exactly! its sad but i don't know what they're thinking here specially with the pricepoint. even if they're shooting for that wii vibe the issue is that was 'first' that was something new n cool and we didn't have motion controls and touch screens all over everything like we do these days. i mean touch screen phones weren't even popular in the sense till after the iphone came out ( not to say it was the first it by far wasn't) and that was in 2007 which was after the wii came out. if this was back then i could almost see ppl giving it more of a shot as a 2 in 1 idea with retro flare but indie gaming on literally any system these days being popular vs back then when lets face it virtual console was the other wii selling point but now its just ...idk why they did this, even moreso in a post ouya market.

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bobafettjm

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If this thing were $150 at most, I would be all over it. But for that price, no way.

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Shindig

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I hope they weren't planning on making a profit from this. Are they aiming this at people who've heard of Intellivision but stopped gaming for some reason?

Why is there a clear price difference between physical and digital? Do they think those games run up against download caps? Why the desperate grab for casual gamers? Do they think that market is still up for grabs despite nothing hitting the same heights as the Wii did 15 years ago? Do they really, really think Intellivision is a brand that can match Nintendo?

All that money spent on a surprisingly complex piece of kit, too. To play simple games. This has catastrophe written all over it.

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The hardware design and the games for this thing look like something between those Keno machines at Applebee’s and some kind of Dave and Buster’s reject. As many have already stated what market is this supposed to be going after? People who are old enough to remember the Intellivision and have kids that are either young enough or out of the loop enough that they don’t know the Switch exists?

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@shindig: The physical games probably cost more because it's very hard to make a profit selling physical games for $10. Just the cost of manufacture and getting stuff into stores would probably eat a lot of the profit margin for an outfit this small. There's going to be bonus stuff like stickers or whatever to try and justify it, but my guess is that it's just not practical at the lower price point. Plus you can gouge collectors. Always a plus.

The idea of this system was originally a low cost easy entry home console with very cheap games that would give people simple, accessible, experiences to share with their family. The problem is that manufacturing costs have spiraled so far out of control because of unnecessary design frills that now the only market left are Weird Uncle Todds.

Also the vast majority of the games look like shovelware trash.

This thing was never designed to compete with the Switch. And if it cost $130 it could make the argument that it's not. It just couldn't hit anywhere near that pricepoint.

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It seems like a small project that's trying to introduce a new spin on some old ideas. I scrolled down some youtube comments for it, and the people excited about it were older people with a fondness for the original Intellevision. Its got a niche appeal, but that's fine. If you don't get it, you're probably not the target audience.

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depecheload

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They've said that Doug TenNapel was only involved in the concepting and has been pushed out of the project but yeah it's pretty bad that they even spoke to him.

If you dig into some early press releases, it's pretty clear that they're lying and that dude was on the staff. Or they were lying then for some reason. Regardless. No excuses for hiring the Proud Boy pal.

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#20  Edited By bigsocrates

@depecheload: I don't think they're lying. He was on the project early when they were figuring out the concept for the game and doing some pre-production, and then he got pushed out. The game is far from finished, and they haven't even stated a clear concept, so this narrative might qualify as spin but not really a lie.

And I'm not making excuses for them working with him. It's been clear who he is for awhile and he's someone that no reputable company, especially not one aiming for a "family friendly" brand should work with. But it's also better to work with him and kick him off the project in response to outrage than to double down and condone his behavior.

It's bad and shows bad judgment, but people make mistakes (I'm talking about Tallarico here, not TenNapel, who has made choices rather than mistakes) and if they own up to them and try to correct them they deserve another chance.

I will say that Earthworm Jim is a strange property for this machine. It's closely associated with Tallarico, but they're pitching this as a game for families (Earthworm Jim had a lot of teen and adult humor) and for people who like simple pick up and play games (Earthworm Jim is really hard, especially 2, and many core gamers never finished it.)

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Three points:

  1. Doug f-ing sucks (obviously). Real turn off there.
  2. Glad the Echo the Dolphin guys are getting theirs.
  3. I wanna see Jeff G. play the new Burgertime game.

Bonus fourth point:

4. Those controllers look fun. Like the colours. 65-directions is enough to play Sinistar properly, so it's got that going for it.

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@shindig said:

I hope they weren't planning on making a profit from this. Are they aiming this at people who've heard of Intellivision but stopped gaming for some reason?

Yes, all 3 of them.

Seriously, my friend had an Intellivision when I was a kid and I remember thinking it was much more advanced than the Atari 2600 I had. Of course, this was back in the 80s. Now, I have no idea who this thing is for. Most of the people my age that I know play on PC or the current consoles.

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@bigsocrates: I guess playing to the smaller crowd does allow them to do some collectible stuff. You could imagine every physical game would be limited run. That would keep costs in check a bit.

You know what? I'm excited to see a teardown of the console and controllers. Also, did Atari or Intellivision every come into legal contest with Apple over the clickwheel concept?

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Doug TenNapel is one of my favorite people, so I hope it sells well and makes lots of money.

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GTxForza

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To me, it looks pretty good.

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jagerxbomb

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#26  Edited By jagerxbomb

What's with all the TenNapel hate? I liked Earthworm Jim when I was a kid.

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That thing looks like if ASIMO and a first generation iPod got married and had a baby. Except ASIMO fooled around a little on the side and isn't sure if the baby is iPod's or a Star Trek tricorder's.

@jagerxbomb: He pretty consistently said some awful anti-LGBTQ+ stuff and was/is a vocal supporter of Trump.

So he's definitely an ass-weasel. Of course, this means you are no longer allowed to like Earthworm Jim. These days no one is allowed to separate the person who made the thing from the thing that got made. That's definitely thoughtcrime among the Twitter crowd.

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Shindig

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Yep. I really, really wish society at large was better at that. Recognition of great art should be encouraged. It pushes the medium forward. You can also recognise people are pricks. Pricks are entitled to the fruits of their labour, just like everybody else.

I've just had horrible flashbacks to the TV Boy which was an Atari clone I had as a kid. This is not the Amico's future (there's too much tech involved and people but I do wonder where that console will go.

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Nothing against Tommy, but the work he does now is not composing, making sound tracks, or Mworking as lead music at a Developer. He could be a savvy businessman, but in that case I woudl have expected his composition and music writing credits to extend beyond 2012. More than half his resume was before 1999. And, let's be clear do you remember when Soulja Boy made a console in 2018...well that same year Tommy bought the Intellivision name.

Most of Tommy notoriety is appearing as himself in small documentaries about very old video games. So being CEO for what very much appears to be a side hustle in teh vein of Soulja Boy, is not impressing me.

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#30  Edited By AV_Gamer

I'm not going to dismiss this or attack it like both Jeff's did during the last wrap up E3 show, though I mostly agree with what they said. I see it like this, if Tommy really can get a bunch of classic legacy developers together and remake classic Atari, Coleovision, and even Intellivision games, as well as games from other platforms like Turbo-graphx-16, SNES, and Genesis, then I'm down for that. I would play a new Earthworm Jim game done in the 16-bit style of the classics with updated 2D graphics. I would play a new Ecco The Dolphin. I would play another Bonk, another Star Soldier shoot-em-up, I could go on and on. So if this system is a way to bring back classic games from legacy developers, then Tommy might have a winner on this hands.

The problem with Tommy, is that he comes off as a prick at times, and rubs people the wrong way. So a lot of people either don't take him seriously, or don't like him enough to care. But he did make some great gaming soundtracks. Can't take that away from him.

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@av_gamer: But are you also willing to put up $300 just to have the opportunity to play just those games? There is no reason that all those games you listed cant be sold on a PS4/Xbox/PC/Switch/Cellphone. They would have been better off starting a studio, get those games made, then release them on platforms with a much larger install base. All the features of this thing exist on most platforms already, and often in a superior manner. And any design philosophy that they wanted to follow like no DLC, couch co-op etc. could still be done on those platforms.

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csl316

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Tommy always feels like he genuinely believes in what he's doing, so I hope they succeed.

Also, Jeff's rant during the wrap up show had me in tears, man. Rooting for Dolphin Quest now.

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Shindig

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@av_gamer: But are you also willing to put up $300 just to have the opportunity to play just those games? There is no reason that all those games you listed cant be sold on a PS4/Xbox/PC/Switch/Cellphone. They would have been better off starting a studio, get those games made, then release them on platforms with a much larger install base. All the features of this thing exist on most platforms already, and often in a superior manner. And any design philosophy that they wanted to follow like no DLC, couch co-op etc. could still be done on those platforms.

Yeah, you've covered it. The Amico just looks so limited. Sure, the lower development costs up the probability of those games coming to market but it feels scond-rate compared to a hypothetically kickstarted effort for current/previous consoles.

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If it had every intellivision game on it and the touch screen emulated every keypad overlay, I might be interested.

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@therealturk: I don't see anybody saying that people can't enjoy old Earthworm Jim games. What I see people saying is that they don't want to support the current work of Doug TenNapel or people who would work with him. Those are very different things. You can enjoy the already existent works of Wagner and still not want to go to concerts put on by open white supremacists.

@monkeyking1969: Tallarico was also a longtime presenter on a Canadian TV show about games called Electric Playground. So he has a lot of industry experience and contacts. Whether that will translate into a successful console manufacture business is a different story, but he's done a lot in and around the industry.

@av_gamer: That's not what the Amico is. Yes it has a few "core" games announced like Earthworm Jim (which hasn't gone into production yet) and Jeff Gerstmann's future GOTY Dolphin Quest, but the vast majority of the games are simple casual things like Farkle, Cornhole, or simple arcade games like Astrosmash and Moon Patrol. It also has a lot of shovelware that is already out there, like an Evel Knieval take on Trials that's out for mobile phones, some freeware web games for very young children that are being repackaged as premium titles. This is not aimed at "core" gamers, it's aimed at people who like cell phone games and simple Wii party games, with a couple more "core" titles thrown in for good measure and to round out the library. That's why the price is so crazy. The Wii launced at $250 too ($333 in today's dollars) but that thing was innovative for the time and it also could play advanced 3D games AND launched with Wii Sports, arguably the greatest launch title of all time. The Amico is launching at a similar price point with less technical power than that 2006 machine, and it's launching with Farkle, Shark Shark, Cornhole, Skiing, and Astrosmashed packed in, and the rest of the library consisting of games like Finnigan Fox, which is a reskinned and updated version of a very mediocre game.

The idea of buying a $250 machine in 2021 to play what looks like an early XBLA version of Moon Patrol is...something.

Seriously! $250. LOOK AT THIS!

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AV_Gamer

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@av_gamer: But are you also willing to put up $300 just to have the opportunity to play just those games? There is no reason that all those games you listed cant be sold on a PS4/Xbox/PC/Switch/Cellphone. They would have been better off starting a studio, get those games made, then release them on platforms with a much larger install base. All the features of this thing exist on most platforms already, and often in a superior manner. And any design philosophy that they wanted to follow like no DLC, couch co-op etc. could still be done on those platforms.

No, I'm not willing to pay $300 for the Amico. Even if it was a platform that brought back, updated, and made new classic style games, the price is too high, and I don't trust Tommy Tallarico as a business man. He's got the whole used car salesman vibe going on.

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It's wish fulfillment on his part. He's old-school and wants those certain old qualities of games back. He could literally do anything else and expect to make more money than this. Making a console is really hard it turns out... but at least this one has got character and some interesting things going for. I like the idea that any phone can be a controller. I like the way they thought about game licenses - but in the end it'd be better to just create a platform on just that - phones. No need to design, sell and support hardware. It's crazy to see how far it's gotten into development already. The games are clearly very low budget... I wish him the best but w/e

And yes Doug T. sucks. I'm not emotionally invested in Earthworm Jim (not a fan of David Perry platformers, where you can't tell where you can go) but one bigot less in the industry the better.

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@monkeyking1969: Tallarico was also a longtime presenter on a Canadian TV show about games called Electric Playground. So he has a lot of industry experience and contacts. Whether that will translate into a successful console manufacture business is a different story, but he's done a lot in and around the industry

Yes, I do know who he was -we all know who he was. He did his hustle in the 90s, so good for him. But, now, what he is doing is buying an old name brand to produce e-waste around. This is Tallaricos version of Suzanne Somers' Thigh Master.

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#39  Edited By Leviathan_Dive

Going for the casual market. I think casual gamers would just rather play games on their phone. This would be a hassle for them.

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bigsocrates

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The new trailer they've put out is amazing.

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I absolutely love everything about this. The incredibly dramatic music while Tommy talks about playing games with the family. The dramatic and shaky cam zoom ins on a render of the console. The fact that all the games look like XBLA games, which is not a bad thing necessarily for the software (since there are a lot of XBLA games that are still great to play today) but is an insane pitch to buy a $250 piece of hardware in 2021. Tommy saying that people don't get together and play games anymore even though there has been an explosion of same-console multiplayer indies, many of which look better than the Amico games. Also the Nintendo Switch.

It's almost like a parody of a video game system trailer.

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