Photo: John Howard (Getty Images)
At the recent Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Intellivision president Tommy Tallarico had news. In a room full of arcade lovers, Tommy announced his intent to release a new type of game console. Dubbed the Intellivision Amico, this is a system defined more by what it doesn’t do than what it does. It won’t play 3D games, instead focusing on getting a ton of 2D sprites on screen. Ports and DLC will not be possible, as every Amico game must be designed from the ground up for the system. There is even a blanket ban on any games that rate higher than E10+ by the ESRB.
It won’t try to compete with the big boys on price either. With games running between $3 and $8 a pop and the system itself under $200, the Amico is pitching itself to families and lapsed gamers who miss the good old days. To that end, Intellivision is planning on remaking all sorts of retro classics from their library as well as hits from Atari, iMagic, and Data East. Their trailer announces updated versions of ToeJam and Earl, Miner 49er, Lode Runner and BurgerTime in addition to 20 new games at launch.
As for the controller, the Amico updates the classic Intellivision design. You still have the positional disc, but the numpad is replaced with a color touchscreen. The controllers are wireless with Bluetooth and come packed with rumble, an accelerometer, a speaker, and a microphone. The console unit comes with a string of LED lights that can sync up with games as you play.
While this seems like an interesting prospect, we’ll all have to see if it pans out in the long run. Plans currently anticipate the Amico for an Oct. 10, 2020 release. A lot can happen in tech and games in two years. We’ll have to see if an arcade-inspired system aimed at families makes any more sense then.