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Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
So there's nothing I love in the video game industry more than a shitshow, and the ongoing saga of the Intellivision Amico is by far the best one we've had in a long time.

So here's the Timeline (as well as I can piece it together anyway):

  • May 29, 2018: Noted shithead and Color a Dinosaur composer Tommy Tallarico announces that he has purchased the rights to the Intellivision brand, including its library of classic games, and intends to revitalize it with a new console launch.
  • October 22, 2018: Tommy Tallarico's Intellivision reveals a brand new console, with a projected $149-$179 price tag. The console's signature feature is a pair of wireless touchscreen-based controllers, with the option of using smartphones as additional controllers. Every game will be exclusive to the platform, rated no higher than E10+, and cost between $3 and $8 (later increased to $10). The launch date: October 10th, 2020
  • August 19, 2019: A trailer from Gamescom 2019 reveals the first fleeting glimpses of gameplay, including a new Breakout title from Bit.Trip series developer Choice Provisions which has since appeared less and less frequently in promotional material.
  • March 31, 2020: the Intellivision Amico becomes available for pre-order, starting at $250 with a refundable $100 deposit (though you can also pay the full amount). Special editions of the console go as high as $300. Approximately 6000 pre-orders are placed, none of which have been delivered as of this writing, and you can still pre-order the system today. The launch date at this point is still solidly October 10, 2020, a mere month before the launch of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5, a date chosen because it was the shared birthday of both Tallarico's late sister and the sister of former president of Intellivision Productions, Inc. Stephen Roney, both of whom coincidentally shared the name Karen as well as a birthday, which seems like a really normal and smart thing to plan a tech launch around.
  • April 17, 2020: The Amico launches a campaign on video game-focused crowdfunding platform Fig, raising a lifetime total of 7.1 million dollars as of this writing. I actually really encourage watching the video that goes with this because I really need y'all to see the two rooms they chose to film this in.
  • August 5, 2020: The Amico is delayed, with a new launch date of April 3, 2021. The video released to coincide with the announcement features several short gameplay clips, with particular attention paid to arguably the Amico's flagship title: a new Earthworm Jim game made with the involvement of series creator and far-right asshole Doug TenNapel. The trailer consists of approximately 28 seconds of Jim running along an unpopulated beach area. The game has yet to be seen since. One trailer confirms the suspicions of many after someone recognizes one of the highlight games, a Trials-esque Evel Knievel game, as being a mobile port released on Android and iOS five years prior with no mention of the fact.
  • February 18, 2021: The Amico is delayed again, this time until October 10, 2021. Nobody puts Karen in a corner.
  • March 2021: during one of several pitch videos aimed at angel investors (the videos are documented but not publicly available), Tallarico boasts about having former Xbox co-founder and Idle Thumbs talking point J. Allard as part of the Amico team. Allard had indeed joined the project in May of the previous year as Global Managing Director, and left that same summer after what he called "a brief stint." Making claims like this is strictly illegal and prompted a letter from the SEC requesting that Tallarico clarify Allard's position. Tallarico also does not disclose that the console is currently in its fifth month of delays and implies a partnership with The Walt Disney Company (which has yet to manifest) in the same video, and states in a different video that Intellivision's cut of third-party game sales revenue is "around 50 percent," one of the highest in the industry.
  • June 14, 2021: Intellivision releases another video to coincide with E3 2021. Similar to the Evel Knievel game mentioned above, several games highlighted are mobile ports, including a Care Bears kart racer and several freely-available Sesame Street browser-based Flash games. These games allegedly include minor adjustments meant to skirt around the Amico's exclusivity contract. Additionally, concerns that the games seem to perform badly, be of low graphical fidelity, and be of poor quality started to really pick up steam at this point and never really stopped. Ars Technica's Sam Machkovech (who, by the way, is like the #1 journalist covering the Amico even after four years so mad props to him) points out that the promotional images of families having fun playing with the Amico are in fact doctored stock images of people playing other consoles, which isn't illegal or anything, but is hilarious.
  • June ??, 2021: The Intellivision Amico developer portal is temporarily, accidentally made publicly available with no login information required. Along with concrete tech specs are also a series of guidelines for on-brand Amico development, including the second most hilarious infographic you'll see this week.
  • June 29, 2021: Machkovech again reports via Ars Technica that the Amico is based on a System on a Chip with specs comparable to a budget model smartphone from five years prior and that its signature touchscreen controllers have enough onboard storage to maybe render some text over a static graphic. The controllers also take numerous precautions to compensate for an extremely short battery life. A very generous estimated cost of the system's components puts the console's price tag as including an approximate $150 profit margin (Sony's Playstation 4, for comparison, had a $19 profit margin at launch).
  • June 29, 2021: Tallarico responds with legal threats and childish insults in a series of now-deleted tweets.
  • June 30, 2021: Twitter users notice that this is absolutely normal behaviour for Tallarico, citing his presence on the AtariAge forums, and also note that Tallarico sure follows a lot of white supremacists on his public twitter account. Like a lot a lot.
  • July 19, 2021: Okay so like I really wanna stress that 90% of the Amico's life as an entity is just videos of Tallarico talking about how great it is and showing off the same 10-15 second gameplay clips or occasionally showing off unfinished hardware at random events, and I can't possibly research all of them, but I do want to just highlight that one of the random lookie-loo types who appear in one of these videos, set at some kind of Crayola-themed pop-up event is confirmed to actually be a known investor, a fact which which was not disclosed at all.
  • August 8, 2021: The Amico is delayed again, this time until "end of year" 2021.
  • August 9, 2021: The Amico is delayed again, this time indefinitely. Yes they did these back-to-back like this.
  • October 11, 2021: Despite the lack of any concrete release date, physical Intellivision Amico games become available via Intellivision's website, described as RFID cards resembling original Intellivision cartridges that license a title to your system (as far as I can tell, no actual game code is stored on the card. The card is essentially a link to the game's store page, though the license is transferrable by tapping the card to a different Amico). The games are available in bundles of either four or eight titles in collector's edition packaging for either $79.99 or $149.99. In the video accompanying the launch, Senior Technical Director John Alvarado describes the cards as being "an RFID card that is also an NFT; that means this is tracked in the blockchain, this specific individual card," so that's something. Also this is just speculation on my part, but Tallarico really likes using a lot of tech buzzwords but seems to lack the technical knowledge to understand them and sometimes confuses them with one another, so I really think that when he says RFID, he specifically means NFC, and that he's confused the terms "NFC" and "NFT," which he's done before in material related to the Amico. This would be the funniest thing in the world and holy shit I hope it's true.
  • November 22, 2021: In yet another trailer/demo video posted by Intellivision (which has since been taken and reuploaded twice with revisions), a demonstration of a first-party title alternatingly referred to as Tank Battle and Battle Tanks features several art assets stolen from World of Tanks and other sources, which are quickly spotted by fans. Similar slip-ups are common, with the heavily-featured Moon Patrol remake literally having the opening text crawl from Star Fox 64 in it.
  • December 6, 2021: Tallarico's continued incendiary comments on the AtariAge forums get the Intellivision Amico subforum closed and discussion of the Amico banned.
  • February 7, 2022: Tommy Tallarico steps down as CEO while remaining as President of Intellivision Entertainment.
  • February 7, 2022: Intellivision launches another crowdfunding campaign via the Start Engine platform, this time aiming to raise an additional 5 million dollars. Though intended to run for three months, the campaign was closed just three weeks later on March 1st after raising just $58,001. Including campaigns aimed at angel investors, this was the fourth time Intellivision had started a fundraising campaign to support the Amico. The disclosures to investors that accompanied the campaign includes the information that the company has "generated no revenues" since its inception in 2018; cannot continue to operate past July 2022; cannot account for $1.35 million paid to Chinese electronic manufacturer Ark Electronics USA; and, most bizarrely, that Intellivision must pay $100 per unit sold to a single investor named Sudesh Aggarwal until their debt is repaid. The disclosures also claim that "there may never be a fully operational Intellivision Amico" and that the company is planning another investment whip-round for another $5 million concurrently with the Start Engine one, and that the resulting $10 million would "fund the company for approximately 7 to 9 months."
  • February 8, 2022: New CEO Phil Adam claims that the Amico and its associated software has a slim profit margin and will likely increase in price after release, saying “It’s not going to go up 500%, it’s not going to be $50, but it’s going to go up 50-100% in some cases"
  • March 22, 2022: Intellivision releases an unboxing video for the still-unreleased system. Viewers are quick to point out the obviously-staged nature of the video, including details like the box being the European EFIGS packaging but the system's power supply cable only having a standard North American NEMA connector plug, the system using American spellings of words like "favorites," and prices in the store being in USD.
  • April 7, 2022: Gamestop begins cancelling pre-orders of the Amico at Intellivision's request.

As a huge fan of the absolutely bonkers news cycle surrounding obvious scams and vaporware in the gaming industry, this whole endeavor has been the juiciest thing to come down the pipeline in the last few years. I greet every new detail with a huge glassy-eyed grin and an "uh-huh, and then...?" Currently I'd rank it as well above "the Coleco Chameleon is a capture card with electrical tape on the back" and rapidly approaching "the Gizmondo is a front for the Swedish mafia." Please @ me with all available Amico news please. Unless it's good. Then I don't care.
 
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muteKi

Ell eye ell why, ee ee ell why
Please @ me with all available Amico news please. Unless it's good. Then I don't care.
Well I have ironically good news for you, there's no way for a console being sold on being "the most powerful 2D console ever" or whatever their specific claim was makes any sense in 2022. 2d graphics tile memory just a big texture/frame buffer but worse
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
t4xJUox.jpg
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Noted shithead and Color a Dinosaur composer Tommy Tallarico

This is the best description of Tommy Tallarico there has ever been or will ever be. I think he made fun of Tomm Hulett's hairline either on the previous iteration of this forum or Twitter, and people were like, "Oh yeah, that is completely professional and not at all obnoxious behavior."

He was also on Reviews on the Run, where he dismissed Capcom vs. SNK 2 by squawking "Super Nintendo graphics!" over and over again like a parrot with poor eyesight. The realization that he usurped Intellivision from its previous owner Keith Robinson, the retro gaming world's answer to Santa Claus, is enough to make you slightly barfy.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Moderator
I don't really know or care about any of this drama, but I love the thread title, and I had to let you know.
 

Fredde

Let me rock you Chaugnar Faugn
As a Tron fan desperate for any new Tron content, I began following the news about the Amico since they had promised a modern remake of the old Intellivision "Tron: Deadly Discs" game. I was not expecting this wild ride.
 

Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
As a Tron fan desperate for any new Tron content, I began following the news about the Amico since they had promised a modern remake of the old Intellivision "Tron: Deadly Discs" game. I was not expecting this wild ride.
This would absolutely explain Tommy trying to pretend he has a working relationship with Disney.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Having a Disney Plus subscription doesn't count, Tommy.

EDIT: I take slight (ever so slight) umbrage at the statement that the Intellivision Amico is almost as much of a scam as the Gizmondo. We still don't have an Amico, and it doesn't look like one will ever materialize. The Gizmondo existed, though! I owned one once! I held it in my hands and played the lion's share of its games, even the prototypes! Even if it was a front for a scam, the Gizmondo was at least a tangible product.
 

q 3

here to eat fish and erase the universe
(they/them)
Not directly related, but a few minutes on Wikipedia has taught me that the #1 selling game on the Gizmondo was "Sticky Balls" and I feel like that shouldn't be overlooked.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
Yes! It was also the best game on that system! But it was already in development for the PSP before Tiger Telematics got the exclusive rights. I guess instead of being a small fish in a very large pond, Sticky Balls decided it made more sense to be a very large fish in a toilet bowl.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I'm not sure how anyone thought Tommy Tallarico could successfully run a game company. Even at his peak good will he was known as a composer, video games live frontman, and the wacky one to Victor Lucas's straight man, not a shrewd businessman/tech innovator.
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him + RT/artee)
If there's one thing I love about the whole idea of the Amico, it's that somebody looked at an Intellivision controller and said "Hmm... this feels good. Let's iterate on this idea!"
 

Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
The fact that you can sub in a phone several times more powerful than the entire system as just a controller is so funny to me.
 

Ludendorkk

(he/him)
This would absolutely explain Tommy trying to pretend he has a working relationship with Disney.

I see you missed the time Tommy described "Miyamoto-san" as a closer personal friend and mentor to him, based on him briefly providing outsourced sound effect work for Metroid Prime (said work was ultimately scrapped for low quality)
 

Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
I can't believe the man who created the Roblox oof noise would produce subpar sound effect work.
 

LBD_Nytetrayn

..and his little cat, too
(He/him)
I see you missed the time Tommy described "Miyamoto-san" as a closer personal friend and mentor to him, based on him briefly providing outsourced sound effect work for Metroid Prime (said work was ultimately scrapped for low quality)
...while simultaneously saying things about the Nintendo Switch that I'm not even sure I can -- or would want to -- repeat here.
 

Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
Important update: I saw an old guy wearing an Intellivison Amico shirt outside Spin-It. He did not look happy.
 

RT-55J

definitely not a robot
(He/Him + RT/artee)
it occurs to me that the name Intellivision Lives! could be reused for a horror film at this point
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Important update: I saw an old guy wearing an Intellivison Amico shirt outside Spin-It. He did not look happy.
I kind of want an Amico shirt to wear ironically now, but I also don't want to give Intellivision money for one...
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Not going lie; if I had the money to throw around to make a big man-child cave like in that first pic, I would. I wouldn't cut promos for my business in it though.
 

Tegan

𝑬𝑿▰▰▰▰▰▱▱▱
(She/Her)
The fact that it's specifically just Spider-Man is so good. The fact that these are the only two locations they filmed in is better.
 

Ghost from Spelunker

BAG
(They/Him)
Also, whenever they show any other part of Tommy Tallarico's house it looks like a hoarder who buys video game stuff from the 70's.
I wish I had some pics, but I remember seeing a pool table covered in stuff.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
If I was stinkin' rich I'd totally fill a room with Spider-Man toys. And I know my mom would definitely have her own Egypt room.
 
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