Nintendo showed there’s a market for retro-style game consoles with the launch of the popular NES Classic Edition and its follow-up, the SNES Classic. But Nintendo isn’t the only company hoping to cash in on the nostalgic gaming trends. A Linux-based Ataribox game console is set to hit the streets this year. And now it looks like Intellivision is coming back from the dead.
Intellivision Entertainment has announced that it has a new CEO and a new purpose. Musician Tommy Tallarico is taking the reins of the company. He’s a composer and sound designer for video games, and creator of the Video Games Live orchestra concert series, among other things.
He’s also, apparently, a long-time fan of the Intellivision console, and plans to launch a new one that will both run classic games and new titles.
The original Intellivision console was developed by Mattel, and it hit the streets in 1979 and competed against the Atari 2600. Intellivision devices continued to be sold through 1990 before being discontinued.
Later some of the original Intellivision games were ported to run on PCs and other game consoles, including the original PlayStation. And a few years ago a company called AtGames, which has a habit of making third-party game devices that can play classic games, released an Intellivision Flashback which shipped 60 Intellivision games preinstalled.
But that was basically the result of a licensing deal and emulation software that allowed old games to run on a newish device.
Intellivision Entertainment says that Tallarico and “original Intellivision team members” will develop a brand new console and software which means that for the first time in nearly 3 decades you’ll be able to buy an official, first-party Intellivision device… sort of. I mean, it’s kind of a new company with an old name, but that’s true of the new Atari too.
Intellivision hasn’t provided many details about the new console yet, but in interviews Tallarico has said the unnamed device will be less powerful (and less expensive) than high-end consoles from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Unlike the original Intellivision, the new model will support WiFi and SD cards, allowing you to download games to a memory card.
Tallarico also suggests the goal isn’t just to go after gamers who have fond memories of old titles, but to also bring back the style of games that were popular decades ago: simple titles that are easy to learn so that anybody can play without spending hours learning how to use complicated controls and strategies.
The company plans to hold a live Q&A session on Facebook at noon Pacific Time on May 31st, and more information will be revealed on October 1st.
You can also sign up at the Intellivision Entertainment website to get more info when it’s available.
Ah, nostalgia. It’s amazing how well we retain the fond memories while forgetting all the crap ones. My first “gaming system” was a BBC Micro Model B, which had some fantastic games — original and good quality arcade game copies — for the time, ignoring the lowres fuzzy TV screen graphics and the five minutes it took to load them off cassette.
Yeah, there was the simplicity of design back then, but there are dozens of retro games on Steam available for a couple of bucks each that do it much better, and much more conveniently.
It’s kind of like remembering watching Doctor Who from behind the sofa when you were a kid. Trying to recapture that nostalgic feeling by watch those old low-fi episodes again is doomed to failure and disappointment.
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