You'd be forgiven for missing it amid all of the other E3 presentations, but Intellivision's Amico-focused video event was pretty interesting, because it gave us a look at what it shaping up to be a surprisingly Nintendo-like games console (something which should perhaps come as no surprise, given that a trio of ex-Nintendo executives are involved).
While the Amico certainly isn't going to challenge the likes of the PS5 and Xbox Series X (and industry veteran Tommy Tallarico, who hosts this video, is pretty honest about that), it's a console which seems to have a lot of Nintendo-like ideas.
Take the controllers, for example; not only do they house a touchscreen and offer Wii-style motion controls, they also allow you to carry access to your entire game collection around with you – so if you visit a friend's house you can dock your controller in their Amico base system and play all of your games, too.
Then there's the fact that the Amico's controllers have their own displays, which allows for asymmetric multiplayer, just like the Wii U – the difference here being that every player has their own screen, rather than it being limited to just one person. An example of how this could be used is shown in the video above, where the player in last place is given special hints on their controller's screen to help even the odds. You can even link smartphones to the console and get more than two people involved, if you so wish – as Tallarico points out, the focus of the Amico is local multiplayer, and recreating the thrill of getting a roomful of people involved, rather than playing with some stranger thousands of miles away.
Another neat touch is the inclusion of RFID, which means you be given a gift card with store credit on it and unlock that credit simply by tapping it on the console – much easier than having to type in a code off the back of a scratch card. The system also offers an LED light show (something we're worried could become annoying after a while) and will support both digital and physical game releases. There's even an achievement system built into the Amico which will result in physical rewards, such as an official certificate if you get the highest score on a particular game in a certain month.
While the Amico is looking more and more promising the more we see of it, the stumbling block appears to be software. The games – which are admittedly cheap, costing no more than $10 for digital titles and $20 for physical – look rather basic when compared to what's available on Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft's platforms, comparing more favourably to free-to-play smartphone games. Quality software is always going to be required to shift hardware in high volume, and Amico's apparent lack of AAA content has been an issue for a while. Still, it's getting Earthworm Jim, as well as a new title from the team behind Ecco the Dolphin, so it could find a niche – although it would seem that the involvement of Doug TenNapel in the former title isn't helping the Amico attract developer talent.
After a year-long delay, the Amico will finally launch on October 10th this year, with a starting price of $250. Will you be giving it a chance? Let us know in the comments below.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Fri 18th June, 2021.