The Retro VGS was revealed a while ago and met with a mixture of excitement and skepticism. The system was hyped as an all-in-one solution for games collectors who had become disillusioned with the move towards digital games, and as a bonus it would be able to emulate pretty much any hardware from the past 30 years thanks to its FPGA chip. However, the subsequent IndieGoGo campaign faltered and was cancelled before the machine reappeared with a new name: The Coleco Chameleon.
By aligning itself with such a famous name in the games industry, the Retro VGS team seemed to get a shot in the arm, and even demoed a prototype unit at the recent New York Toy Fair. A Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the Chameleon was due to begin on February 26th, but this was delayed to make improvements to the system:
Last week during Toy Fair in New York, we had the opportunity to demonstrate the Coleco Chameleon to the industry, gamers and retailers for the first time. Their response was beyond anything we'd imagined. Major retailers provided feedback on the product and expressed real interest in carrying the product for the 2016 holiday season. And, very importantly, major game companies expressed interest in providing games for our system, which meant we'd need more time to solidify those partnerships and maximize the content.
Our team's overriding goal has always been to deliver the best possible system and experience for gamers. If there's ever anything we can do to enhance the product, we believe the extra time is worth it. Therefore, we have decided to delay the pre-sell, i.e. Kickstarter, campaign in order to finalize our prototype and work with developers on having the best possible content. This delay will not affect our overall launch date for the Coleco Chameleon.
There has also been a whirlwind of interest, speculation and curiosity regarding the insides of the Chameleon. We are delighted by this and happy to confirm that we will be releasing photographs of the system now on our Facebook page, and we'll focus on turning our prototype into a production-ready product.
As soon as the system was shown off there were claims from some parts of the internet that the console was actually a Nintendo SNES Jr. inside a Chameleon shell (which, in turn, is based on the Atari Jaguar's case design):
To counter such claims, images were posted to the project's Facebook page which claimed to show the working prototype, only for some eagle-eyed individuals to spot that inside the console is a Hicap50B CCTV DVR capture card:
The image was later removed from Facebook, seemingly proving such claims.
So, to recap - a SNES Jr. was used to "demo" the system at the New York Toy Fair (presumably in an attempt to fake the console's proposed SNES emulation) and then when evidence was called for to disprove this theory, the Retro VGS team shoved a capture card into a prototype shell and tried to claim it was the real deal.
The entire project has now been put on hold pending an investigation by Coleco into the Retro VGS prototype:
We are thankful to have a large group of passionate engineers and retro game enthusiasts who follow Coleco and other product lines. It has come to our attention that the community has certain concerns over the prototypes involving the Retro VGS model. The team at Retro remains confident that their product is developed to the extent as describe; HOWEVER, in order to confirm or debase these concerns, Coleco has demanded to inspect the prototype units within a seven day time frame. At which time, independent engineers will review their findings and determine if those units are up to our standards. We will report some or all of those findings to the community so as long as they do not interfere with proprietary information. We remain hopeful that the community's concerns are merely speculations, but if there is merit to the concerns, then we have no choice but to abandon the project rather than release a sub-par product. During this time, we ask that the community allow us time to complete these inspections. Time extensions will only be granted if requested by the independent engineer. Time extensions and results will be posted here.
Even more interesting is this video, posted by Brian Thomas Barnhart, host of The Jag Bar. Brian was going to assist the Retro VGS team with making a video for the Kickstarter campaign, but pulled out over concerns with the validity of the prototype:
Will this system ever see the light of day? Let us know what you think by posting a comment.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 3rd March, 2016.
This here people is what you call a "Cluster F*** of Epic Internet Proportions". CFEIP for short.
wow... just wow.
Yeah and the head behind the project has threatened several YouTubers for calling them out for this like ReviewTechUSA and Pat the NES Punk.
To expand my previous comment.
If you get caught out, then try BSing your way out of it and get caught AGAIN. Just hold up you hands and confess. Honestly this news has probably killed the device outright.
Video game mess shows are some of the best mess shows
You guys thought you could COLECO CHAMELEON outta this one huh? Sad to say that ya didn't CAMOUFLAGE outta this scam. Now make like a CHAMELEON and disappear!....COLECO!
Well, at least it has rather good-looking controller. But it probably has a Pro Controller ducktaped inside...
@KoopaTheGamer I believe they said the demo unit used a repainted third party Wii U Pro Controller.
@NIN10DOXD Pat and Ian's podcast coverage of this debacle has been solid gold entertainment.
I wish the guy who is running this and the Read Retro mag would just let this go (can't think of his name right now, Mike something?).
It's an overall terrible idea and now disaster of mega proportions!
oh boy that's just messed up 0.o
That's crazy. Oh well, I guess I won't be getting the one ring to rule them all....
I still don't get why they even make those retro-consoles.
Have they never heard of PC's, smartphones and old consoles?
You can play all the old games on a PC emulator, a smartphone emulator, the Wii U's virtual console or just buy the old original console for a few bucks on ebay.
Why would anyone want such a retro console anyway? I don't get it.
I was cautiously optimistic about the original concept, but I avoided the original crowdfunding campaign over my personal reservations. I'm now convinced this will never happen. Too bad.
Such chameleonic qualities.
Been following this disaster through the CUPodcast. It was an interesting idea so shame they had to go and screw it up this badly.
The system would just be a major flop anyways. Coleco should just stop with the colecovision and intellivision and not bother with this crap.
Meaning, like the Smach Zero, these guys never had a working prototype and are just trying to make money by showing off a SHELL.
Sounds like just another normal day for KickStarter: dream up something that might not work, oversell based on misleading claims and/or marketing, then deal with the consequences later.
Glad they got called out for lying.
Their controller is just a wired Interworks Wii/Wii U controller, so these guys were just recycling anything they could scrounge up. Even if they did release this, people would be getting an extremely crappy controller.
The console could be anything! It could be a SNES! It could be a PCI card!
It could even be a boat!
@KingMike You know how much I wanted one of those!
I understand the demand for an all-in-one retro console that you can plug into a TV and enjoy multiple systems' worth of games without cluttering your entertainment center with boxes and wires, but come on, man. Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.
whelp, thier either screwed (by being sued) or there Kickstarter gets shut down, and thus they well have to refund their money to the people who back it up
@NIN10DOXD Well, look at that! I'm almost correct even when I'm just joking!
My boyfriend told me he used to play a Colecovision. I really don't know anything about it.
Good on Coleco for being a good holding company and making sure these hack jobs don't drag their (once) proud name through the mud.
Well... fudge muffins. I was really looking forward to seeing what retro-esque offerings this system brought to the market and I was planning on picking one up the day they received a retail release, but I'm pretty sure that all this deception on the part of the hardware developers has completely killed any chance the Chameleon had of ever coming to market. Rat frazzles!
@Yorumi What's terrible about the Wii U's VC? I actually think it's the best emulator I've ever seen. It has state saves, graphical enhancement and the controls are perfectly mapped. No need to set up the controls like with regular emulators.
Still, if someone isn't happy with emulators, they should buy the old consoles, not a retro-console.
Yikes...people should know better than to try to fool the internet these days. All it takes is one person to catch on and BOOM. The whole world knows within minutes.
It's simple dumba** bought the Jaguar mold and thought hmmm how can I make a profit out of the retro crazy, just like any other retro scalper out there. This is just sick and I hope nothing comes out of this from this idiot.
@Yorumi: Ok, that sounds more like a hardware defect, because I never noticed any lag whatsoever. Have you tried it on a different Wii U?
When I got my Wii U from Amazon WHD, the streaming between console and gamepad was totally screwed up, the image was distorted etc.
Anyway, there shouldn't be a noticeable lag, so I'd say it's not normal but a hardware issue...
@shani Wii U VC is great emulation? Terrible more like it.
Yes games are playable but I always point to the likes of Donkey Kong 64. The 16:9 mode and Dolby surround in game options clearly work in game however Nintendo have them disabled. Mario Kart 64 broken TT ghosts, unoptimised controls, all games emulated darker, needless bilinear filter/deflicker blurring over all SNES titles... Slow loading times.
I've recently had the chance to extensively test and play on an Nvidia Shield TV with the latest Mupen build installed - the 1080p experience for N64 games is breathtaking. Bright punching colour like the original system, instantaneous loading, few glitches, automatic artwork download, 99% compatible with N64 titles, mods and the with the options of using higher resolution textures.
I would advice you to do some research before blindly defending Nintendo's overpriced, pathetic excuse of a retro gaming platform.
Nintendo have no respect for retro gaming, maximum profit, minimum effort is their agenda.
Sounds like like a case of karma (for the) chameleon.
Nintendolife is worse than Nintendo itself with censorship. #fact
This is why people need to be careful what they support on Kickstarter. Perhaps these guys really do intend to create a legit product, but if they created a fake prototype in order to mislead backers into thinking that they are much further ahead then they actually are then I would say this news has pretty much killed any chance of this product getting off the ground.
@Yorumi: Ok, that's strange because up until now I never had heard of that issue (not saying it doesn't exist, after reading your and liveswired's posts). I admit, I don't play VC titles regularly on Wii U and yeah, I don't own my old Nintendo systems anymore. But in my understand the lag has to be noticeable without comparison to the original to really have an impact, right? I mean, if the lag is so small that you can only notice it by comparing, it shouldn't make a difference. But you are saying it does make a difference, so I wonder why I didn't have any input lag while playing Wave Race 64, for example, or SMW or the original Mario Kart.
I'll try to focus on it next time I play a VC title though, because now this issue has caught my interest.
And it reminds me of a similar, now-outdated debate regarding input lag with wireless mice and gamepads. A long time ago, many people said they would never play with those because of the input lag. Of course, nowadays everyone plays with a wireless XB360 pad and wireless gaming mice, because there is no relevant lag! But when I read this about the Wii U Gamepad now, I wonder if it's maybe something not every human is biologically able to notice, like your senses are sharper than mine or something. Because I never noticed any lag.
@liveswired Ok first of all, I didn't buy DK64 VC because I think DK64 is a a rather cheap game compared to the other entries of the series (the same goes for MK64). But that's not the point here, of course.
But I can't concurr with all the points you mentioned:
-unoptimised controls: Are you kidding me? I mean, obviously I haven't played all VC games, but let's take Mario 64 VC as an example: I started the game and the controls felt immediately right, everything was exactly where I expected it. I actually found the button layout ingenious. Why? Because every time I wanted to play N64 games on an emulator (for example Ocarina of Time with HD textures, AA and 1080p - so beautiful!), it took me ages to set up the controls, I constantly had to change them and was never happy with them. So in that regard, I think Nintendo really did a great job with the VC controls.
-all games emulated darker: That's actually something that I've read a lot. I never noticed it myself and I even wonder how one is supposed to notice it without comparing with the original (and if you have the original, why would you get the VC version? doesn't make sense to me). Also: Who cares? It doesn't make a difference to me if the game is a bit darker or brighter. It doesn't change the gameplay or the graphics. Just set your TV's brightness higher if it's really annoying you (which again, isn't possible without comparison).
-needless bilinear filter/deflicker blurring over all SNES titles: What?! Are you for real? I love that filter and I'm so grateful that Nintendo included it. Without it, the SNES/GBA titles look terribly edgy, especially on a projector screen (but also on the gamepad). They would be a pain to watch without the filter. A lot of emulators also had these filters but they never looked good, never even came close to the filter of the Wii U.
-Slow loading times: Hadn't noticed any... but if so, it's probably because of the slow Wii U memory or because emulation isn't that simple and can get messy sometimes.
@GraveLordXD: I'm sorry, but that argument sounds nonsensical to me. You're telling me that there are some people who don't like emulators or buying extremely old hardware, but they buy a retro-console which is basically both (an emulator and old hardware combined)? If they don't like emulators, they shouldn't like retro consoles that emulate old games. If they don't like old consoles, they shouldn't buy retro consoles that use old console hardware.
Also, I don't get your point of not wanting to have 4 consoles hooked up to your TV. First of all, this is not a problem at all, you can either use a cheap switch to hook them all up or - which makes sense anyway - just hook them up with a AV-Receiver.
In the end, you can't have everything. You always have to compromise.
Either you buy the old consoles and live/deal with their shortcomings (although I wouldn't know which those would be, just connect them to the TV, play a game and be happy?).
Or you use an emulator and live with that. I don't what the shortcomings of an emulator would be if you have a decent gamepad. On the contrary, an emulator lets you play with better graphics. But using emulators for recent games is not only illegal, but also immoral (in that light, it's great that Nintendo does HD remakes).
Or just use the VC and live with the fact that it has some issues that no one cares about as long as they don't compare them to the original (because if you have the original, you can just play the original!).
Or buy a shitty retro-console and be unhappy forever. I don't know, I'd rather do a GC/N64 mobile mod than buy a retro-console.
This is really disappointing news to me. Despite the failed Kickstarter and poor general planning, I still held out hope that the device might see the light of day. It looks like it was never even close to what we were promised.
Yeah pat the nes punk covered the goings on pretty closely its pretty crazy.
@Yorumi I know what you mean and I think it's stupid of those people to think that way. Although some games back then did use cheap tricks to make games harder, that hardly did apply to all games. At least the way I remember it, most games that I played in my childhood were far from being terrible buggy messes.
And don't get me wrong, I don't want to discuss about right and wrong, I want to understand. Because obviously you're onto something, I just don't get why I don't notice the lag.
I'll try to compare it the next time I have the opportunity, because it just really interests me.
So just to understand: You're saying that there is a lag that messes up the players performance (in comparison to the original, like instead of 3 tries, you need 10 tries?) but the game is still beatable?
Anyway, it's interesting how everyone has different preferences regarding emulation. For me, it's more important than anything else combined that the controls feel great (and that's why the VC is superior for my preferences - and because I don't notice the lag or the darkness, of course). After that, the second most important thing for me is a graphical filter that makes the games look less ugly. Because to me, most games from my childhood look ugly today - that's why I'll never get why so many indie games go for the pixel look.
What a bunch of hacks.
No respect? Oh, please... So recent examples of Pokemon R/B/Y preserving all the original missingno glitches, which they easily could have removed, added wireless trading AND Pokebank support is "disrespectful"?
What about Super Mario Advance 4? All the extra E-reader levels were includ ed at no extra charge. Easily could've ignored those, but they put them in.
The VC is far from perfect, I recall the whole controller pak/Rumble pak absence from N64 games, but damn, stop overreacting and give credit where it's due.
Another failed hardware just like the PSP Go, PlayStation Move, PlayStation TV, Apple Pippin, Ouya, Tiger Game.com, OnLive microconsole, Kinect, Gizmondo, N-Gage, Tapwave Zodiac, Wii Vitality Sensor, and Analog Nt.
It doesn't seem like Retro VGS intended to sell anything. Get the Kickstarter / IndieGogo / Coleco cash and split before anyone caught on.
Ouya worked on crowdfunding because they clearly invested time and money into the hardware.
It's just too bad for Coleco, getting dragged into this faeces fest.
I guess the lesson here is inspect THEN invest.
That's hilarious (and shameful) that they put any old random circuit board under the console shell hoping they would fool people! lol
Bad pun, but I had to.
@Yorumi that lag you're referring to is due to your HDTV. I've tested several titles on Wii VC against they're original console versions (hooked up to different, but same model CRT tvs) and they are virtually identical.
@Yorumi To those believing the lag they are experiencing on VC titles is due to Nintendo's hardware: I encourage you to hook your Wii or Wii U up to a CRT tv using composite or component cables. You will find the games played like they did on their original hardware.
@Yorumi here's a test I did regarding input lag using a Wii u controller and a Samsung HDTV, if you care to take a look:
You want lag? Try playing PS Vita remotely ha ha that's like 10 minutes lag appreciate Nintendo's lagless or virtual lagless, whatever it is.
Here's the same test on a Sony HDTV with Gamemode turned on:
Finally here is the same test with a CRT:
Notice this test produced virtually no lag and the CRT actually outperforms the Wii U gamepad display
That's interesting but you're comparing a wired N64 controller to a wireless Wii u gamepad. I would like to see the same test using a wired Wii u controller (perhaps with the GameCube adaptor).
@Yorumi Thanks for elaborating on that! Now I understand what you mean. And I even think I unknowingly witnessed those issues too, because I had the same problems with flying when I played SMW on VC. I constantly flew up and down although I'm sure on my SNES in the old days I flew smoothly. On VC, I never managed to do that, which confused me at first and made me believe that I'm more rusty than I thought. ^^
The silver lining is that the NX can move forward and assume Chameleons launch date!
@Yorumi I gotta admit, I just watched the video you posted to @Peppy_Hare and I was barely able to notice the lag in full speed. With 25% speed of course, it was visible. Now I wonder if @Peppy_Hare could be right if you use a CRT and only wired controllers?
Well apart from the lack of certain games, it wouldn't be enough to motivate me to rebuy the old consoles instead of downloading a VC title. I mean yes, after seeing that video, there is a lag, but it's so tiny (although relevant for some games) that I can put up with it if it means I can just play those games as a download title on my Wii U.
I sometimes think about buying a N64 or SNES again (and it wouldn't be the first time that I'd rebuy them), but mostly to play games like ISS Deluxe or ISS64 which aren't available for Wii U.
@Yorumi Yeah I can definitely imagine that, especially after realizing that I had lag on SMW. I still wonder if it's because of the wireless connection (although I didn't think it was possible), but since the Wii U doesn't have wired controllers by default, you're still right, there is a lag. But I can put up with it.
@Yorumi haha I'm aware you can't use GameCube controllers with the Wii u VC son. But your "%100 proof positive" claim that the Wii u lags is specious. You can argue with me all you want, or you can take my advice by picking up an old CRT tv on Craigslist, and test it out yourself as I did (evidenced from those videos I made).
A lot of people just adapt to lag and fail to notice it. Rockband taught me a lot about lag perception.
@Yorumi Yeah I was also always generally of the opinion that the wireless controllers don't have a lag, so I'm not sure what to think. I wonder though why only the VC lags, could it be a software problem? If so, why haven't they patched it yet.
@GraveLordXD: Well you didn't mention you already had the games. One could stack up even four consoles without taking too much space, but I get where you're coming from. Still I would prefer the original over a retro console, but if I had not enough space for the SNES and the NES (which I can't imagine and it's not like I have tons of space either ^^), I would definitely tend to use an emulator (including VC, if there are VC versions of those games).
I genuinely can't believe the apparent audacity of the creators, did they really think they'd get away with this with all the meddling kids on the internet?
Loling @ NIVIDIA SHIELD IS BETTER. We get those returned all the time in Best Buy, but do we ever get a returned WiiU? No. If it is better, we still get about 20 unhappy people a month.
@AlexOlney I would have gotten away with it if is wasn't for you meddling kids and dog. Sorry man I had to your reply reminded me of Scooby Do lol.
Greed will lead people to make bad decisions. This is a full on embarrassment.
Wow, that's a pretty nasty con job. I bet they were just going to take all the Kickstarter money and retire to a Carribean island or something.
I have a currently supported cartridge based system built on newer technology already. Its called a 3DS.
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