Hey, remember the Intellivision Amico?
Game music maestro Tommy Tallarico announced a few years ago that he intended to bring back the classic days of the Intellivision with a new system called the Amico. It was supposed to launch in 2020, but then COVID came along and nixed those plans. It was then slated to arrive in 2021, but…didn’t.
And now, here we sit, wondering just what happened. Tallarico has since stepped away from the project due to personal reasons, with former chief revenue officer Phil Adam filling in his stead. But we haven’t heard anything since, leaving many that invested in the system – as well as its physical games, which are now practically useless – wondering what happened.
So what now? We decided to take a closer look and see what’s going on with the system, as well as what could happen if movement doesn’t get going on it. And, judging by the dormant nature over the past few months, we hate to say it, but it’s not looking good.
Stuck In Limbo?
Ever since the system’s delay past 2021, the Amico has been running into all sorts of trouble. The main office where the system was being tested has now been emptied out; Tallarico hasn’t said a word about the matter in months; and an attempt to raise even more money in 2022 to fund the Intellivision Amico’s creation was cut short, after realizing the company wasn’t going to get the funds it needed.
Trouble continued in 2022. Shortly following Tallarico’s departure, several pre-orders for the Amico were cancelled. Furthermore, several staffers on the Intellivision team were laid off, and several licensed IP were also taken away, including a big deal with Major League Baseball (MLB).
But the most disturbing news came in July 2022, when it was revealed that Intellivision abandoned the official trademark for the Amico. After it expired, the company opted not to renew it, leaving many wondering about the fate of the system. Shortly thereafter, it noted that it was renewed, but under a “brand new” label, in June 2022.
Now we sit. There hasn’t been an update in months, though Adam did note that it’s still in the works. But many fans are frustrated by the lack of movement and, more importantly, any word on their refunds. However, this leads to another big question – what about the games that were supposed to come out for it?
Will We See the Games Elsewhere?
Believe it or not, the Amico was actually supposed to get some good games lined up for when it arrived. This included remixes of the Atari game Breakout, along with new takes on Asteroids and Yars Revenge; new versions of classic Intellivision favorites such as Shark! Shark! and Astrosmash; and even big titles like a complete makeover for Moon Patrol and the long-awaited Earthworm Jim 4, which would take the series back to its 2D basics after whatever the hell Earthworm Jim 3D was.
And yet…there’s no word on any of these. So what’s likely to happen?
Well, first off, licensed IP are likely gone, so it wouldn’t surprise us if Atari’s licensed games went back to the company for some form of re-release on new platforms. The proposed MLB game is likely done, since they’ve got bigger fish to fry with licensed games like MLB The Show; and games coming from Irem and Data East would likely fizzle out, since they’re already available on consoles and iiRcade anyway.
Where does that leave the original games, however? Well, more than likely, Intellivision, in an attempt to recoup costs, will make them third party releases for current consoles. Moon Patrol still has appeal with retro fans, so would likely be a big hit; Skiing looks like a simple blast that players could enjoy for a mere $8-$10 or so; and Earthworm Jim 4 would obviously be a tremendous draw once it’s finished.
So the possibility is there that the Intellivision name could live on with third-party releases, keeping the brand alive and well. It just depends who would step up to publish them (Atari, perhaps?) and what kind of distribution they’d receive.
But the thing is…unless the company says so, these projects may be dead in the water like the hardware itself. And that’s sad, because a lot of these look like fun. We’ve included trailers for Moon Patrol and Astrosmash in this story to give you a good idea.
So Is the Amico Dead?
At this point it’s hard to figure out what’s going on with the Amico. The hardware is working and in certain spots, and there are the games to consider. However, with very little word from the official side of things, nor any word on when it can be expected to release (if it releases), it’s likely that the Amico could become vaporware any day now, if it hasn’t already.
It’s a bit sad. Tallarico and his team were tremendously excited to introduce this to the market, bringing a new style of play that related back to the classic days of the original Intellivision console while, at the same time, introducing simple downloadable games that everyone could enjoy. But then COVID hit and everything got thrown into limbo, along with questionable distribution circles, a lack of updates, and people wondering just what they poured their money into.
We hope, one day, that the Intellivision brand will live on in one form or another. But, for now, we can only assume that the Amico is pretty much finished, provided some miraculous update will land it on store shelves. At the very least, here’s hoping the games, at the very least, see the light of day. We’d definitely be down for some multiplayer Astrosmash.
Missing out on playing on an Amico? Don’t worry, we’re giving away a console to push past those blues!
It was a GIANT red flag the moment it was announced… That Tommy guy seems like a con man to me