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The Vintage Console War is Heating Up

Updated: Jun 27, 2018

The Atari VCS has raised 2.9 million dollars over 11 thousand backers in less than 30 days all without a working prototype. It’s an impressive feat that no one really saw coming. That success doesn’t come without criticism however.

Atari has come under fire from several YouTubers and news outlets regarding their less than polite Facebook comments about said YouTubers and News outlets. Also they have been caught showcasing gameplay not on the actual system which is a huge deal given recent campaigns over the past couple years.

While Atari does seem to struggle with media outreach, they have a competitor who has entered the ring who also wants to return a once notable name into the modern spotlight.

His name is Tommy Tallarico and he’s the president of Intellivision Entertainment. Tommy is a very passionate person who is no stranger to the video games of the late 70s and early 80s. His claim to fame is being the creator of the concert series Video Games Live and also worked with Shigeru Miyamoto to develop music for Metroid.

Last night on the YouTube Channel Brian’s Man Cave, he gave a 2 hour live interview/conversation and spoke about what we can expect from the new Intellivision home console.

The first thing he wanted to do was wish the Atari VCS success so he could kick their ass.

But in all seriousness, he’s friends with the creators of the VCS and doesn’t think that they’re a scam like people have been saying. He is aware of their missteps and wants to make sure his project doesn’t fall into the same trap. That’s why he’s meeting with YouTubers and reaching out to other large ones like Pat Contri and Metal Jesus Rocks to correct the misconceptions about what the Intellivision console is going to be and to get the word out.

What is the new Intellivision console?

The biggest point that Tommy wanted to drive home is that the Intellivsion is not run by people who just bought the brand and are looking to cash in on people’s nostalgia. Intellivision Entertainment is actually the same company that brought the Intellvision to market in 1979.

The company will not being seeking crowdfunding or pre-orders to bring the console to market. This console will be fully funded by the company and will be released when its ready. They’re aiming for a price point “Well under $200” but I think based on the goodies that were promised, we can expect to spend about $120-$150.

The new Intellivison is not a classic console. It will be a console that is essentially a sequel to the original. Controllers will be easy to pick up and play but will still have that classic disc. Tallarico stated that there wouldn’t be any overlays to put on the controller but stopped short of revealing the full specs. We’re left to speculate that the overlays will change on the controller itself. Tommy promises renders of the controller will be unveiled in October at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. He doesn’t want to show a box that doesn’t work.

While the console is a good start, Tommy stated that people don’t buy a console just because it has a name on it. They buy it because of the games. Tallarico stated that all the games released on the Intellivison will be exclusive to the Intellivision and also be curated and QA’d before being sold. Similar to Nintendo’s Seal of Quality that helped propel Nintendo into the mainstream.

Don’t expect next generation graphics for $120 though. Tommy was very clear that the system would be capable of 2D and 2.5D games and nothing more. Imagine classic games polished for today’s audience. Updated graphics and sound but the gameplay stays the same. Local and Online Multiplayer will be available and leader boards. Think 1980s charm with 21st century comfort.

Tallarico made it very clear that this would be a closed platform. Games that you buy would be signed to the console with no ability to transfer to another console. At 3-7 dollars for new games, I can’t say I’m gonna complain too much about that.

Something that might upset some Intellvision fans looking for an HD remake: the console will not be able to play downloaded roms. Tommy is working to get licensing for classic games like Tron Deadly Disc and stated Disney wouldn’t bee too happy to see that piracy would be baked into the system.

Those looking to play original hardware are out of luck as well. The Intellivison will not come with a cartridge slot. Tommy Tallarico is open to the idea of a 3rd party creating a USB cartridge slot that works with the console but stated its not in their budget to create one themselves. They are releasing a ton of Intellivison games for free though.

Overall Tommy Tallarico is very passionate about this project and it’s easy to get swept up in the hype around this system. The best thing is that he’s not asking people to gamble on something until it comes to market. But to be clear; just like the Atari VCS, there is no working console available for people to see and even in October when we get the full details, we’ll just have renders.

I wish Tommy Tallarico the best of luck. I would love a modern Intellvision since that’s the first console that I remember having as a kid. My dad gave it to me and I still have it. I would love to show him an updated version or even give it to him for Christmas.

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