Saturday, February 27, 2016

Coleco Chameleon Kickstarter Fails to Launch

Coleco Chameleon Retreats Into the Shadows

Failure to Launch
As expected the Coleco Chameleon, Retro Video Game Systems' cartridge based gaming console concept, failed to launched on Kickstarter.  As someone who has been covering the story since December 2015 I have voluntarily jumped on board of a very emotional roller coaster.  I cannot remember exactly how I was introduced to the Coleco Chameleon.  It may have been through a suggested link.  The article made me very excited though and I thought the idea of a brand new cartridge dedicated console sounded amazing.  As someone who weeps nostalgic over how much the world has changed, this seemed like a way to make life make sense again. But it was not to be.  The official announcement:

The Chameleon Coaster Takes a Plunge
The emotional uphill climb that led into the 2016 Toy Fair quickly reached its peak as this announcement was made.  That's right.  All of Retro Video Game Systems' prior announcements led up to another announcement that they would be launching the Kickstarter for the Coleco Chameleon.  When I first read this my heart sank.  I knew at that moment that the Chameleon would never be a real product.  So I started to dig.  Mike Kennedy, Retro Video Game Systems and the Coleco Chameleon has had a very long and murky history.  More details on the corporate side can be found here at Retro Video Game Magazine.  The more I read the more that I didn't like, and the more things started to make sense.  A while back we wrote an article high lighting exactly what we actually know about the Coleco Chameleon.  Absolutely nothing has changed. 

Here is what we were given by Retro Video Game Systems concerning the Coleco Chameleon:

  • We know that Retro Video Game Systems had established partnerships with Piko Interactive and Collectorvision.  That has been confirmed through our own interviews as well as other sources.
  • Retro Video Game Systems intended to use a modified InterWorks Pro U controller for the Coleco Chameleon.  This was never confirmed and we were never shown one working with the system.  We reached out to InterWorks and they were unable to share details about the controller.  
  • The Coleco Chameleon was intended to use its own SNES FPGA board but that board was never shown working in the system.
  • We were told that the system would play its own dedicated cartridge format but we were never given a finalized list of launch games for the system OR a look at a finalized working cartridge.

And that's it. 

We continue to do something very simple, but important, here at Nintendo Love Affair.  We put aside the coverage of the Coleco Chameleon that reeks of conspiracy theory.  We dig into the generic promotional babble from Retro Gaming Systems.  And we strongly stand against empty click bait articles from the likes of Engadget and Gizmodo.   The strange thing is, once you do all of this, you are left with a lot of empty promises from Retro Video Game Systems and nothing to really show.  

Nintendo Love Affair's Mission
As someone who wanted to believe in the possibility of the Coleco Chameleon, I know what it is like to almost be a victim of a good salesman.  We have recently reported on how the growing retro gaming market has become a stomping grounds for predators out to make a quick buck.  And this is what we want to point out as the real danger for casual consumers within the retro gaming market.  The hardcore retro gaming community will always be vigilant concerning the details of efforts such as Retro Video Game Systems' Coleco Chameleon.  They will be well informed.  They will see through a great sales pitch.  It is the casual consumer who may be swayed by loud promotion and poor coverage by the mainstream gaming media.  

We recently ran coverage on six crowdfunding projects that any retro gamer would love.  These projects deserve your time, and your money, far more than the Coleco Chameleon did.  If you want to jump into the retro scene, you can do it by supporting projects like these or companies like Piko Interactive and Collectorvision.  There are already plenty of ways to play old games.  And there are plenty of ways to play new games that feel nostalgic. 

What impact do you think RVGS and the Coleco Chameleon will have on the retro community?  Let us know in the comments! 

Mark Ball is the editor for Nintendo Love Affair.  He also spends his days teaching and adventuring while refusing to lose his childlike sense of wonder.  

Related Articles
Peek Inside Piko Interactive
6 Crowdfunding Projects Every Retro Gamer Will Love
Coleco Chameleon: SNES Mini Under Glass?
Coleco Chameleon: Predator in a Growing Market

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