Intellivision Amico: remixing retro gaming and AR.
Legendary video game hardware manufacturer Intellivision is making a grand return this year with the Intellivision Amico, a brand new console that promises to combine the nostalgia of late-70s gaming with modern technology.
Launching October 2020 for under $200, the Intellivision Amico includes two touchscreen controllers and will launch with around five games. These retro titles will be available at an affordable price ranging anywhere from $2.99-$9.99. Intellivision has thoughtfully designed every game on Amico to encourage group participation and teamwork through “couch co-op” style gameplay.
In anticipation of the Intellivision Amico launch, Intellivision is giving us a sneak peek as to what to expect with their new app, Amico Club, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This includes a unique feature that allows you to play a brief demo of Moon Patrol 2019, a modern reimagining of the 1982 Atari classic in augmented reality.
To play, simply launch the Amico Club app, point your camera at any Intellivision Amico logo, and watch as the app automatically generates the AR experience. Even if you don’t have AR support on your phone the app will run in full-screen mode without the need to point the camera at a logo. Intellivision will be making updates as they approach their 10-10-2020 launch.
According to Intellivision Entertainment, this is just the first of many AR experiences on the way from the long-dormant hardware manufacturer.
Moon Patrol was selected to be the first experience showcased in AR due to its legendary popularity among seasoned gamers. After receiving the rights for Moon Patrol, Intellivision teamed up with a collaborative developer to rework the classic title for modern audiences without losing the simplistic charm that made the original so great.
“One of the foundational Intellivision principles is group play. We want to be the best in the world at creating engaging group play experiences,” stated Nick Richards, COO/CFO of Intellivision Entertainment, during an interview with VRScout. “And when we say group play, we mean actual engagement with other human beings – not just online. We are currently exploring AR as one of the tools to enhance engagement. Voice-based engagement is another capability we are exploring.”
In case you’re unfamiliar with Intellivision’s incredible legacy, here’s a bit of history:
In 1977, Atari launched the godfather of modern video game systems, the Atari 2600. Originally called the Atari VCS, the system would end up pioneering the home console market. After continued success, in 1978 Atari released more games for the Atari 2600, including Breakout, which was designed by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell and engineered by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who would later go on to found Apple. Atari also launched Adventure, a revolutionary title most recently featured in the Steven Speilberg film, Ready Player One. In addition to being the first action-adventure video game ever release, it’s also one of the first games to contain an Easter egg or secret message.
By December 1979, Mattel Electronics launched the very first Intellivision video game console. Intellivision pioneered many “firsts” in the game industry, including the first directional pad on a controller (d-pad). Intellivision’s unique controller featured the first alternative to the typical joystick featured on most controllers up until that point. This unique design was centered around a rotating circular pad that allowed for 16 directions of movement by pressing it with the thumb (similar to the iPod that launched back in 2001). Intellivision was also the first console to allow players to “Pause” a game from directly from their controller.
With the release of the Intellivision came the first-ever “Console War.” Back then you would sign your allegiance to a console depending on which types of games you preferred; if you liked space games you were an “Atari fan,” if you liked sports you were an “Intellivision fan.” Both companies invested in an all-out advertising battle packed with ruthless comparison ads. Regardless of what gaming system was your favorite, it was through the combined efforts of both Atari and Intellivision that the video game industry established a permanent place within modern entertainment.
Fast forward to today, video game industry icon and CEO of Intellivision, Tommy Tallarico, and his team are still hard at work bringing families, friends, and generations back together with the Intellivision Amico.
“At Intellivision, our mission is to use technology to bring family and friends back together by delivering simple, affordable, family-focused entertainment to everyone,” states Tallarico.
Every game on Amico will be rated E for Everyone or E10+. Games will be family-friendly with no graphic violence or blood, no bad language, and no sexual content. The system is designed to be easy-to-use and will include positive-reinforcement parental controls. Intellivision Amico will offer an almost endless range of original titles, including retro, party, educational, and table games.
For additional content, the Amico Club app will provide the latest news, sneak peeks, discounts, and videos.
With Intellivision continuing to create extended play experiences beyond the Intellivision console, we can expect to see more sophisticated and fun AR experiences as we grow closer to the release of Amico. This week, Intellivision also announced that they will be bringing back Atari’s Breakout, reimagined exclusively for the Intellivision Amico. While Breakout will not include its own AR experience, the new redesign looks like some solid family fun.
Feature Image Credit: Intellivision