Though it may have been a long way since your gaming time, a lot of people have fond memories of Mattel’s Intellivision. Back in the 80s, it provided an interesting twist on gaming between its offered titles and its somewhat oddball control scheme. Still, for years, the legendary Keith Robinson tooted the horn of the system and even sold both variations of the original hardware (the Intellivision Flashback, for instance) and collections (like Intellivision Lives).
However, following the passing of Robinson, video game musician and Video Games Live! producer Tommy Tallarico decided to try something different. This April, he’ll be bringing back the Intellivision, but in a way that no one could’ve ever imagined. Say hello to the Intellivision Amico.
Initially introduced in late 2019 for an October 2020 launch, the system has seen a slight setback due to COVID-19, now slated to arrive on April 15th. But the wait certainly looks to be worth it, thanks to a handful of revised classics and original games that will bring together the whole family to enjoy. That and the stuff that’s on the horizon – including the long-awaited return of Earthworm Jim.
So what can around $200 buy you? Well, an interestingly designed console that packs a punch with its many titles.
Bringing people together
Whereas game consoles these days are working more towards trying to bring people together online, the purpose of the Amico is to make experiences that people can play together locally. While that may pose a challenge with COVID, that means friends and family can eventually enjoy affordable favorites, from dice games to good old fashioned sack toss to reimagined arcade hits, including the spiffy-looking Moon Patrol.
Tallarico and his team have an emphasis on bringing together family gamers, so the Amico won’t be home to mature-rated fare. Instead, it’ll focus on a number of categories, as follows:
Original new games
Sports and recreation
Kids & Edutainment
What’s more, the system will come with a unique control scheme, blending elements of the past with those of the future. The controller features include:
3.2″ color touch screen
Integrated speaker and microphone
Two shoulder buttons on the top and bottom of the controller
64-position rotating disc
And the system will come with two controllers, as well as the ability to play some titles with the help of your mobile device. They’re also easily rechargeable right into the unit, or using a USB-C cable.
Games, games, games
On top of that, the Intellivision Amico will automatically come with a handful of included games, right in the unit – with room for more. Already confirmed on the system are favorites like Astrosmash!, Skiing and Shark! Shark!, along with the previously mentioned sack toss game Cornhole and the family fun game Farkle. As far as the sixth, that’s a title shrouded in mystery – but gamers should expect a lot of fun.
Storage isn’t too bad, with the games taking about 300MB to 1GB, depending on the download. So about 30 to 40 at a time can be stored, not bad at all. And you can always re-download with ease, or find new favorites for no more than around $7-$8 a pop. These include resurrections of classics like Breakout, Moon Patrol and Night Striker, along with other forthcoming hits and new, original titles. You can also buy titles physically via physical game cards, though a release schedule hasn’t been provided just yet.
Intellivision also has a number of partners for licensed fare, including Major League Baseball, Evel Knievel, Sesame Street and even some Atari favorites. Yes, you can enjoy some Atari games on an Intellivision system, like Missile Command. That’s a bit of a surprise, considering the existence of the Atari VCS, but the Amico will have special versions that shouldn’t be missed.
And of course, there’s more games to come, like the innovative platformer Finnegan Fox, as well as Battle Tanks and Nitro Derby. And with development easy to come by, others should be jumping on board as well.
It might take quite a bit of effort for the Intellivision to break back into the busy gaming market. But if anyone understands it, it’s Tallarico and his star-studded team – and they should be able to put the console on the map and make it joyous again. All that’s missing is George Plimpton’s classic adverts, like the one below. Maybe Tommy can get someone to fill in that void once April rolls around. (Check out one of the best ones below!)