In the late 1970s and early 1980,, a company known for filling childhoods with fancifully designed toy cars and dubiously proportioned dolls took on what would become an iconic company of early Silicon Valley. In television commercials showcasing baseball and other games, sports commentator George Plimpton showed how Mattel's Intellivision's graphics were superior to those of the Atari VCS. Intellivision made limited inroads against the videogame juggernaut, but the graphics one-upping would heavily influence console competition for decades to come. Also: Honor exec says there's'no better time for gaming smartphones' Forty years later, in a tech market that has seen the broad licensing of retro tech brands such as Polaroid and RCA as well as the more recent resurfacing of mobile brands Blackberry, Nokia, and Palm, the current stewards of the Atari and Intellivision brands are launching modern consoles. This time, Intellivision Entertainment, as the company is now known, can't hope to compete with either the superpowered immersive visuals or the massive marketing budgets of Sony and Microsoft.
The Atari VCS, a new video game system that plays 100-plus games originally played on the '70s console, is due in spring 2019. Pre-orders starting at $199 begin May 30. The retro video game trend is gaining extra life. Just as a rebooted Atari is set to begin taking pre-orders Wednesday for a modern version of its classic '70s video game system, Atari's old rival Intellivision is re-emerging, too. Originally introduced in 1980 by Mattel, the Intellivision video game system battled it out in the market with the Atari 2600.
Intellivision, the video game maker that didn't survive the '80s, is back and ready to build something new on top of gaming nostalgia. After teasing the idea earlier this year, the company has announced plans for a new console called the Amico -- one part retro console and one part family-friendly modern gaming system. Intellivision plans to release it with a mix of classic titles and new originals in 2020. The Amico shares some similarities with the standard retro console release. It will supposedly play a slew of classic titles that '80s babies might remember playing through on their living room TV.
The Intellivision Amico will miss its October 2020 release window (via Polygon). Intellivision CEO Tommy Tallarico announced the delay during a livestream the company hosted on Wednesday to show off gameplay footage of games coming to the console. As you might have guessed, the delay is due to various challenges caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. "The impact on our company has been dramatic," he said. "The reality is that every single aspect of this process has been affected." Tallarico went on to say shipping the Amico in October would have forced Intellivision to compromise on quality and specific features.
A reimagined version of Mattel Electronics' Intellivision is scheduled to be released this fall. To help put the finishing touches on the Amico game console, Intellivision Entertainment -- a separate entity than Mattel that owns the Intellivision brand -- has hired J. Allard as the company's global managing director. Allard is one of the fathers of Microsoft's Xbox division, having served as chief experience officer and chief technology officer. He helped launch the original Xbox, Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade. Intellivision is hoping that the exec's success carries over to its family-friendly console.