Image: Intellivision

Daniel Ibbertson - known to his YouTube followers as DJ Slope of Slope's Game Room - has been keeping track of the Intellivision Amico saga more closely than most people. He's created what must rank as the definitive video account of the entire Amico story - and he's here to tell you all about it.

The Intellivision Amico – a name that carries a lot of unwanted hatred with it in 2023, yet, to the average passerby, it may be hard to understand exactly why that is.

To better get to grips with why the family-friendly name of Intellivision has been left beaten and bruised in the 2000s, it's best we go back to the beginning – back to when video game industry veteran Tommy Tallarico, who was a fan of the earlier system in his younger years, decided that his next big business venture within the world of gaming would be to take on the Intellivision name after the sad passing of Keith Robinson, who was the former CEO.

According to interviews with Tallarico, the idea was to create a new family-friendly console – something pair had spoken about privately for many years prior to Robinson's tragic passing. Even at Robinson's funeral, this idea was apparently pitched to other members of Intellivision, and eventually, Tallarico would become CEO of Intellivision Entertainment.

Ever since the Amico's first official public reveal in October 2018 at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Tallarico not only became the CEO but also the public face of the company, providing his own personal blend of PR by going on as many interviews as possible within the retro video game scene.

These interviews would quickly become somewhat formulaic; anyone that has ever had a background in the more hardcore side of telesales will quickly pick up his consistent use of the same sales pitch within almost every interview.

As an example: “Are your parents still alive?" Regardless of your answer, Tallarico is going to provide a system/solution that takes you back to those early days of playing 2-player couch co-op with your folks who, at the time, could actually play on a fairly level playing ground with you.

It's just one of many examples that Tallarico has pitched over and over again, and in almost every single instance, the nostalgia-filled interviewee is practically brimming with glee (and, in at least in one example, actual tears) at the thought of reliving that long-lost time with their now-elderly parents. On top of this, that solution brings with it an opportunity for you to play with your children. And thanks to the “Karma Game Engine” (another Tallarico creation), your youngsters are able to compete with you on an even level.

Tallarico did many of these interviews a day, leading to hundreds of interviews over time. He would quite often speak to YouTube channels that briefly mentioned either his own name or the Amico name; usually, these were channels with less than 1000 subscribers.

With such a legendary status behind him, (working on titles such as Earthworm Jim, MDK, Disney’s Aladdin and The Terminator), it was incredibly easy to not only get these interviews, but to also build a hardcore fan base behind him. This was proven even more effective when Tallarico started the Q&A thread on the popular retro gaming forum AtariAge in February 2019. The AtariAge forums became ground zero for the absurd amount of attention afforded to gaming's biggest salesmen.

For the next 4 years, Tommy Tallarico doubled down on this formula, conducting various interviews each day and “wouldn’t that be something” to every single nostalgia-driven question that came his way. When asked if he can get Konami to bring back Contra to the Amico, he replied “We are talking to them, How about a 4-player Contra, how about that?”

Castlevania, Tetris, WORMS, R-Type, Q*Bert, Elevator Action, Pac-Man, Earthworm Jim, ToeJam & Earl, PONG, TRON, Gauntlet, Frogger… pretty much every classic game you can think of has been teased by Tallarico with his iconic yet cryptic “Wouldn’t that be something?” response, leaving his loyal fans more and more excited with every Amico update.

Whilst all this was going on online, Intellivision was expanding at a dramatic rate, opening several lavish offices in America, Dubai and Europe, and also teasing an Amico presence in China and Japan, too. All this for a console that was still years away from release.

And as you know, that release never came; four rounds of “crowdfunding” (or "investing" if you ask Tallarico & co) simply wasn’t enough to carry the company as those endless amounts of interviews and claims not only brought with them hardcore fans, but plenty of sceptics, too – sceptics who quickly found that the vast majority of what was said was heavily fabricated.

Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and to get the full story, you really need a well-edited, four-hour-long documentary showcasing everything in a timeline manner - which is exactly what I have spent the last four months of my life working on. Enjoy!