The Intellivision Amico is Real and its Goals Are Commendable
In the shadow of next-gen consoles, the Intellivision Amico is attempting and may succeed in recapturing some of the Wii's magic.
The next couple years may hold some of the biggest shake-ups for gaming in years. Not only are next-gen consoles on the horizon, but several new competitors like Google Stadia, the Atari VCS, and the Intellivision Amico are entering the market as well. Things are about to get quite crowded, so every console is going to need a solid way to stand out from the rest. And from the look of it, the Intellivision Amico has the potential to do just that.
At E3 2019, I had the chance to see the Intellivision Amico behind closed doors a little over a year before it is poised to release. While the methodology behind the console is somewhat different than Sony’s PS4 or Microsoft’s Xbox One, I came away convinced that the Intellivision Amico is already a working console with a clear vision, which is something that can’t be said about some other upcoming platforms at this time.
Intellivision Entertainment CEO Tommy Tallarico stressed a lot of different aspects of the console during my meeting. The first was that the Intellivision Amico was a brand new game-focused console, not a retro system like the NES Classic or upcoming Sega Genesis Mini. Apparently, there has been some confusion; while the Intellivision Amico is unlike other mainstream platforms, it is most definitely a new console. It is poised to revitalize some old Intellivision, Atari, and iMagic franchises via updated recreations, so hardcore fans of the original console shouldn’t be worried.
One other point he wanted to stress is that the Intellivision Amico is already up and running. While controversial platforms like the Coleco Chameleon have been caught being just proof-of-concept empty hunks of plastic, the Intellivision Amico is up and running over a year before its intended launch. While Tallarico wouldn’t go into hardware specifics, he was sure to highlight that the system will be able to run a variety of enjoyable and accessible games. The main market the Intellivision Amico is aiming to tap into is that of the Wii. While the Wii opened up several avenues for many people to enjoy or get into gaming, Tommy feels like nothing has been able to fill that void and cater to those gamers since.
While leaning towards a more casual gaming audience may turn off some people, Intellivision Entertainment is hoping their console will appeal to a market that may not be buying games currently in order to be successful. Every game on the system will be closely monitored and improved by Intellivision as well, so hopefully, the bar of quality for the titles available will be high. We can only wait and see if that pans out, but the team is super passionate about the console. That E3 meeting room was filled with some gaming greats, and they were all lively and are eager to show off the Intellivision Amico to gamers old and new.
Surprisingly, they were already able to show off the console itself. I was able to see the console variations, one of which was running, hold a controller in my hand, and even use the compatible phone controller app, and it all worked. It was certainly unorthodox, but so were the Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia upon their respective reveals. Even though Intellivision stressed that everything was a work-in-progress, the console looked good and the controller felt decent ergonomically. While I’m not the biggest fan of the basic white design, there will be other variations of the console that look much more appealing.
As Intellivision has previously stated, the Amico’s launch lineup will be equally split between retro revivals, sports games, casuals games, and brand new IPs. None of these games will be more expensive than $9.99, and they will all have a rating of E10+ or under. As I’ve mentioned, Tallarico and co. are trying to recapture some of the Wii’s magic in exposing gaming to more casual, non-gaming audiences.
While Google is attempting to do something similar by letting gamers stream from anywhere, the Intellivision is attempting to do so by creating a more friendly environment. The fact that the console is couch co-op focused and that one’s phone can become a controller through a free app show that Intellivision is taking innovative steps to create an accessible game console instead of trying to directly compete with the juggernauts that are the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. While I’m still confused towards the appeal of what something like the Atari VCS is, the Intellivision Amico does not run into that problem, even if it doesn’t match up with some hardcore gamers’ tastes.
The Intellivision Amico’s goals are certainly commendable, but it will definitely live or die on the quality of its games. The Wii didn’t only succeed because of Wii Sports, but because it was able to maintain its momentum with great casual and hardcore games from the likes of Wii Party to Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. If the Intellivision Amico can capture the hearts of casual gamers with its more accessible games, Intellivision fans with the remakes, and more hardcore fans with the new games, I could see the Amico carving out a successful niche for itself, even in a market with next-gen consoles that are poised to be super powerful.
If you’ve fallen out of gaming recently or know someone that you would like to introduce to gaming, the Intellivision Amico seems like it will be a great console to do that with. With over a year to go until launch, the team is already dedicated and passionate with a working console and clear goals in mind. Even if what the Intellivision Amico is going for isn’t your cup of tea, the fact that the console is trying to make its way into an untapped market as expose more people to the greatness of gaming is commendable.
We’ll finally see how the Intellivision’s plans for the Intellivision Amico come to fruition when it releases on October 10, 2020. They plan on going all out next year at E3 2020 with a more public showing and presentation, so definitely keep an eye out as more details about the console surface.