Announced back in December, the Coleco Chameleon is headed to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter next week. But a prototype was showcased during the annual Toy Fair event in New York City this week, and the biggest news was the company getting the rights to the entire Atari 2600 collection. Highlights of the 1980 Atari console include Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, and Pitfall! among others.
The Coleco Chameleon has also got the option to build new games based on the intellectual property it got from Atari, reports Engadget. The modern-day cartridge-based system is being made a company called Retro Video Game Systems (RVGS), and they have also managed to run games belonging to SNES, Intellivision, and ColecoVision on their new platform.
And because the Chameleon is ARM-based and runs on a FPGA (field-programmable gate array) circuit chip, it goes one step ahead of software emulators and “imitates the hardware” as well. As for the look of the hardware, it has been moulded after the Atari Jaguar, the patents to which have been part of the public domain since the 1990s after Hasbro Interactive bought out Atari.
The Coleco Chameleon will be equipped to play 8, 16, and 32-bit games, which the company believes is a growing genre in today’s gaming landscape. Games such as Jim Power, Apocalypse 2, and Legend were played by attendees at the Toy Fair. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first attempt by RVGS president Mike Kennedy to bring back the retro.
He has already undergone a highly unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in September last year, with the same hardware but without the Coleco branding. Asking for $1.95 million (approx. Rs. 13.4 crore) in funding, the campaign managed to raise just 4 percent of the total required, in part due to the high asking price of $299 (approx. Rs. 20,000) per system.
Promising better pricing – at $135 (approx. Rs. 9,300) for early backers and $150 (approx. Rs. 10,300) thereafter – and developing partnerships with companies of other famous retro devices, Kennedy and RVGS are hoping they will have better luck this time around. The Kickstarter campaign begins next Friday.