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    Intellivision Amico

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    A console that's intended to be a reimagining of the Intellivision brand.

    Intellivision has started selling the rights to its games, essentially putting an end to even the pretense of Amico

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    bigsocrates

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    #1  Edited By bigsocrates

    BBG Entertainment announces it has bought the rights to some Amico games like Astrosmash and Shark! Shak! to be put out on actual platforms that exist.

    This is somewhat redundant to yesterday's news about how these games would be coming to other platforms, but a full transfer of rights means that Intellivision has basically given up on publishing these games itself. Because these two games were supposed to be launch pack ins with the system this only makes sense if they've given up on the system altogether. Monday's announcement had some mealy-mouthed stuff about still wanting to put out a console and I think they'll maintain that line for legal reasons as their official intent, but it's over. It has been over for awhile now, but it's TRULY over.

    The Amico project was poorly conceived, filled with lies, an outright scam that took millions of dollars from clueless investors and wasted it on self-dealing and hubris, and possibly the biggest vaporware console in industry history. It also fascinated and in some ways delighted me. The video game industry used to be weird and full of bad ideas. The 32X. The SuperGrafx (a souped-up PC Engine that only had 5 games ever released.) The Virtual Boy. I never owned any of this stuff but I delighted in learning about it and even seeing it in action both during and after the fact.

    That's gone now. The best we get in terms of true weirdness is either intentional, very small scale (like Paprium), or quickly fixed. The Amico promised to bring back the truly dumb free spirit of video games in a system that was poorly conceived and incompetently marketed. I was excited for that. I feel bad for those scammed and angry at those responsible but mostly I just feel disappointed that this thing never got off the ground so we could all really point at it and laugh.

    Anyway I doubt anyone who has followed the saga actually thought they'd put a console out after all the delays and staff firings and such but now even if they did they wouldn't have games to put on it.

    Though in a way that would be the most perfect ending of all...

    ETA:

    It looks like Intellivision did retain the rights to put Shark! Shark! and Astroblast on the Amico should that ever launch, but I don't think that really matters. Imagine putting out a console where your launch pack in games have already launched on other platforms. And these were two of their most heavily promoted games. I still think this is the end of any chance for the console, which actually ended some time in 2021.

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    Undeadpool

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    The bigger embarrassment: this or the "Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft Killer" Ouya?

    Bearing in-mind that the Ouya WAS a punchline in a Homestar Runner 'toon, and I was active in forums when people were genuinely saying it was going to disrupt the entire console and PC market, I know where my bread's buttered.

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    bigsocrates

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    @undeadpool: It's Amico and it' not close.

    The Ouya released, at a reasonable price point, launched the career of at least one major indie dev via Towerfall, and still has fans to do this day. There's an Ouya community out there sideloading their hearts out. Yes it failed due to piracy and the fundamental flaw of trying to sell a console to only play cheapo games on, but it shot its shot and it was basically the promised product.

    The Amico took in a lot more money, never made a console, is only now releasing a few games via third party, and was a much worse idea from the start. Tommy Tallarico talked a lot about not wanting to end up as the Twouya and guaranteed that they wouldn't, and they only didn't because at least the Ouya made it to the starting line.

    I agree the Ouya had more hype and a bigger pre-launch fanbase, but that just proves that there were people who were interested in it and thought it was a good idea. The only reason the Amico got less attention was because the only people who cared about it were a small cadre of 40-60 year old Intellivision fans and Youtube clout chasers.

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    Shindig

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    The Ouya was a much easier sell. Here's an android box with a controller. Easy enough to manufacture and develop for. For Amico to have succeeded, it needed an approach similar to the Playdate. Here's a novelty and we'll manufacture these to order rather than a proposed retail launch.

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    bigsocrates

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    @shindig: The Playdate was designed like the Gameboy, out of cheaper parts to make it economical to manufacture, but with the crank to make it stand out. The Amico was designed as a series of fantasies with weird expensive features that never made any sense (a bunch of LED ights on the console, as i that wouldn't be super annoying.) The problem is that if Amico had been designed more like Playdate it really would have been the Twouya. There was no reason for it to exist without the bells and whistles but the bells and whistles made it totally impractical and didn't make the games any better.

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    glots

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    Amico walked and fell over, so that The Polium One, the upcoming NFT console, could, uh, run and step on a rake?

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    cozmicaztaway

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    @glots: oh gosh, I had completely forgotten about that one. I suspect most people have.

    The Amico at least felt like it *tried* to be a real thing, or pretend to be one.

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    bigsocrates

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    @cozmicaztaway: The Amico was 'real' in the sense that we had some idea of what it would have been if it had come out. There were test units made, software developed, people have played on prototypes of those controllers etc...

    Whether the hardware was ever actually finalized we don't know and many think it never was, but it got pretty far into development.

    This thing just seems like vaporware on the level of the Mad Box. Just an idea and a name.

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    cozmicaztaway

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    @bigsocrates: thanks for putting it in better words than I could.

    I don't think we'll see the weird big swings for consoles like we did back in the day (RDI Halcyon, you sounded totally bonkers in the best way!), dev budgets are too high for games if you want to compete with the big three and also have a unique selling point. I think stuff like Playdate might be it, little niche things for the niche enthusiasts. Or Evercade, that just packages old games in a nice way now. Time to get into Jaguar emulation, I guess?

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    bigsocrates

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    @cozmicaztaway: I want to get that Atari 50 thing when it goes on sale. It appears to have some Jaguar games!

    We're definitely not going to see incompetent big swings again. Gaming is too big and there are too many platforms already (Let's not forget that IOS/Android are basically the true dominant platforms so there are 6 majors if you include all PC OSes as 1 platform). We may see another Google Stadia like attempt by a huge company to make something, but Google Stadia for all its faults was too professional to be interesting to me. Plus it totally vanished, unlike something like the Jaguar or 32X, which you can still get your hands on today.

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    Ginormous76

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    @cozmicaztaway: I want to get that Atari 50 thing when it goes on sale. It appears to have some Jaguar games!

    I have been stalking that, waiting for it to go on sale, mostly to be able to play Food Fight again. I have not played that in about 30 years

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    bigsocrates

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    The floodgates are opening in terms of footage of Amico games.

    This is actually kind of better than I could have hoped for. It's literally like Wii shovelware complete with amateurish voice acting, stock music and sounds, etc...

    I cannot imagine actually playing this game. It makes the infamous Carnival Games look like Wii Sports Resort.

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    mach_go_go_go

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    Well and truly amazing...

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    Ben_H

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    I was not prepared for a video of someone who is not only a True Believer™ but willingly wears an Amico hat in public.

    That guy's "Ask me about the Intellivision Amico" energy is off the charts.

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    bigsocrates

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    @ben_h: DJC is a legend. He has a video podcast called Amico Forever that has done over 75 episodes...with the console not yet out (And it started over two years ago but went on hiatus.)

    There are a lot of characters like him on the fringes of the Amico. It's part of what makes it so fascinating.

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    ElectricViking

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    #17  Edited By ElectricViking

    Just the simple statement "This is an Intellivision Amico game" is an incredible one. The console exists in prototype form only. Absolutely astonishing. Nevermind the grown men bowled over by the site of scooting little LCD screen assembly forward in a jerking off motion to throw a dart at a screen, matching the non-Motion Control Plus Wii feature set nearly two decades late.

    The icing on the cake is the Ghostbusters poster, because why be a part of just one awful 80s pop culture cargo cult?

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    bigsocrates

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    We finally have extended footage of the Amico's killer app Cornhole.

    It turns out that comparing this to Wii shovelware may have been...a little too generous.

    The fact that they animate a hand just sitting on screen holding a bag and than it just lets go and the bag flies is just...I mean...why even have the hand there? You could just animate the bag flying in from off screen and it would look much better. Maybe the game's unfinished and that's placeholder art. It seems likely to be honest. On the other hand what does it say that it's 2023 and a console due to launch in 2020 that never got finished because of chip prices has one of its launch games in this state?

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    bigsocrates

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    And now we've seen a playthrough of Astrosmash.

    Painfully generic is all I can say. I bought a game called The Bug Butcher for $2 on Switch during a sale, and it's not like the best but it has 10 times the flavor of this thing with similar gameplay.

    Listening to DJC talk about how great the music is as painfully generic tunes played made me feel almost sad for him. Watching him play a mediocre round and then crow about a "no death run" made me think this game is balanced so it's not at all like the original Astrosmash, which gave you lots of lives but was pretty challenging, making for a better rhythm.

    I don't know what I was expecting but every game for this thing is the Great Value version of a game nobody wants in 2023 anyway.

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