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The Intellivision Amico: The Future of Gaming?

Jan is a gamer who enjoys sharing the tips and tricks he knows with his readers.


The State of Modern Gaming

Modern gaming has strayed away from where things were in the '70s '80s and '90s.

Today's games are complicated, expensive, released incomplete, are riddled with microtransactions.

The mentality of video game makers now is to be first to market. It does not matter if the game has a lot of bugs and glitches. What is important is to release games quickly and help spruce up quarterly revenues.

The developers can just make patches for the game right?

The games are also full of microtransactions. After paying the full price for a game, you have to pay for additional characters, costumes and power-ups.

Games also now have in-game advertisements that interrupt gameplay.

To further compound this, games are hardly pick-up and play anymore. You have to master complicated button combinations and complicated gameplay just to even barely play games.

Enter the Amico

Tommy Tallarico got his first Intellivision console for Christmas in 1980.

He had older systems but this was the first system to blow him away.

The Intellivision was ahead of its time as it was the first 16-Bit system, the first system to use professional sports licenses, the first system to use voice and the first to launch an online service.

Tommy was a gaming enthusiast but did not have any new systems that he could play with friends and family as the new games were so solitary and complicated.

He thought of creating his own console which had new technology but was inspired by the Intellivision design. Thus the Amico was born.

Being of Italian heritage, Tommy used the Italian word for "friend" which is "amico."

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The Amico aims to bring back casual gaming where friends and family can gather together and have fun. The system is priced at a modest $249, which is the price of a typical smartphone.

It has two controllers and six full pack-in games.

The games are sold at their online store for $9.99 or less. Physical versions are also available but sold at a premium.

The Amico also has a smartphone application that turns your smartphones into additional controllers and it can support up to eight devices.

What Makes the Amico Unique?

The Amico is truly a unique system with some unique ideas behind it.

It is the first system to have a total of sixty-four LED lights. It has forty on the base unit and twelve on each controller.

It is the first system since the Super Nintendo to have two controllers out of the box.

Some may point out to the Nintendo Switch having two controllers but in practice, the two joy-cons are both used in a game as one controller but can be split into two for some games. We are talking about two full-sized controllers.

It has the ability to host up to eight players offline right out of the box without the need to purchase additional controllers.

The games are also mostly couch cooperative games where everybody can play at the same time.

Each game is also curated and they are all published by Intellivision to ensure strict quality control. Tommy Tallarico promises every game is at least a 7/10 and there will be no shovelware, no microtransactions and no broken games.

Aside from this, the Amico also has the ability for you to celebrate holidays with an application that will display special graphics on your screen and would give you a free game on your birthday.

The console was also the brainchild of avid videogame and comic book enthusiast Tommy Tallarico. He has been in the industry for 30 years and has more than 300 worked video games under his belt.

Tommy is known also for his massive Spiderman collection as featured in the channel of Smash JT.


It's Not About the Specs

The Amico, to be totally honest, is not the fastest or the most powerful of modern era systems.

While it does use Qualcomm Snapdragon chips and mobile phone components, it is not designed to compete with the newest Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft console.

What it is is an ample console that is good enough to play small games which are a few gigabytes in size.

What Tommy Tallarico promises, however, is that all the games will be fun. They will be curated by Intellivision and they will work with all the game developers to avoid shovelware.

Nintendo through its history has shown that it is about the games and not only the hardware.

Back when Sega was bragging about its 16-Bit system with Blast processing, the Nintendo Entertainment System with its 8-Bits was the king of the jungle. Back when the Sega Gamegear was colored and was like a portable 8-Bit Sega Master System, the Nintendo Game Boy with its Game & Watch-like screen was dominating. The same goes for the underpowered Nintendo Switch. It is in no way as good as a PlayStation or an Xbox but still has a third of the market.

It is also about the games. You can have the biggest and baddest system out there. But it is useless if you do not have good games.

The Games

A lot of games in the line-up are retro re-imagined games such as AstroSmash, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, Snafoo, Shark! Shark! and Cloudy Mountain.

Some are exclusive versions of existing games such as Care Bears and Sesame Street.

Others are totally new games such as Earthworm Jim 4.

Tommy Tallarico promises that thirty games will be available upon launch.


The (Affordable) Console of the Future

The Intellivision Amico provides good value for its $249 price point as it has two controllers and six full games right out of the box.

As a fair comparison, the Nintendo Wii sold for $249 back in 2005 with one controller and one pack in the tech demo. $249 in 2020 would be $336.69, so by this standard, the Amico is a steal.

It can host up to eight players and does not need a constant Internet connection.

There will also be no shovelware and in-app purchases.

Having games that are family-friendly and are $9.99 or less makes it attractive to families and casual gamers.

© 2020 Jan Michael Ong

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