Coleco Lends Name to Retro VGS Cartridge-Based Console

The Coleco brand name returns to video games with a new console.

News by Mike Williams, .

Retro fans may have fond memories of the Colecovision home console from the 80s, but for newer gamers the name doesn't mean much. That may be changing soon, as Coleco is coming back with a brand-new home console launching in early 2016. The Coleco Chameleon is a console being developed in partnership with Retro Video Game Systems.

The hook here is that the Coleco Chameleon will play 8-, 16-, and 32-bit games on physical cartridges. According to the press release, "all game cartridges will include high quality, plastic clamshell cases with illustrated instruction manuals and game developer liner notes." This is a play for those that remember the good old days of gaming.

If you've followed the Retro gaming scene, then you'll probably notice that the shape of the Coleco Chameleon is rather familiar. This is a rebranded shot at the Retro VGS, a proposed console that took its shot at a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in September. The campaign asked for 1.95 million to make the console a reality, but the funding drive closed at only $81,158. And the Retro VGS itself was going to use Atari Jaguar shells to house its hardware.

"It's clear, in its current state the Retro VGS Indiegogo campaign is dead in the water and thusly will be shut down early," the folks behind the console said at the end of the campaign. "The good news is we aren't giving up and have made some adjustments to our hardware team, which includes the involvement of... other hardware gurus who were part of our venture in the very beginning."

"We will also be lowering the price while maintaining most of the cool features you all want. We will be back in the near future with a prototype Retro VGS system, front-and-center playing our games on our cartridges and with our USB controller."

The Coleco Chameleon represent this second shot at a retro console. The new console will be shown off at Toy Fair New York 2016 on February 13-16.

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Comments 12

  • Avatar for orient #1 orient 2 years ago
    Still interested in this if the price is right. It's not something I'd gamble on through crowdfunding, but I'd happily buy it online if gets made. The Coleco branding does nothing for me, as I'm sure is the case for 90% of gamers nowadays, but what can I say? I like the idea of buying cartridges, and games without pre-order content, paid DLC, micro-transactions etc. Gaming has come a long way since the late '80s - early '90s, but some things were better back then, too.
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  • Avatar for Daikaiju #2 Daikaiju 2 years ago
    I'm going to want to see this in action playing each format before getting excited.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows 2 years ago
    Well I never thought I'd hear that name again. The dead are rising from their graves, surely this is the end-times?!
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #4 KaiserWarrior 2 years ago
    As much as I love the idea of a return to the days of carts, substantial packaging, and actual manuals that people spent time on and poured love into... I just can't see there being a significant market for this. Same deal as the last time it was brought up -- although it might appeal heavily to me specifically, clearly the general gaming audience has no desire to return to those days. The indiegogo campaign results pretty solidly prove that.

    With such little support for the idea of the console, I can't see very many developers at all getting on board with the thing, and the rather radical costs involved with producing such elaborate packaging -- especially compared to publishing on Steam, the platform-du-jour for games of this stripe.
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  • Avatar for niconillo24 #5 niconillo24 2 years ago
    I love reading news about the travels of the Retro VGS. It's such a Quixotic adventure with crowdfunding instead of windmills.Edited December 2015 by niconillo24
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  • Avatar for nathanphillips99 #6 nathanphillips99 2 years ago
    If they make it. I will buy it.
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  • Avatar for Mikki-Saturn #7 Mikki-Saturn 2 years ago
    I've often wondered whether there would be sufficient demand/interest in a retro cartridge system to support one. I know I would be interested. I'm especially salivating over this part: "all game cartridges will include high quality, plastic clamshell cases with illustrated instruction manuals and game developer liner notes." The decline in ordinary game packaging (expensive special editions not withstanding) has been very disappointing to me, as I always found that to be a significant part of the enjoyment of a game - reading the manual and scrutinizing the box and what not. Of course I'd like it to look good on the shelf, to be a visible part of the collection as well. I admit I'm pretty old fashioned in this way.

    I'll be very curious to see if enough people share my sensibilities to make this a successful niche product. Here's hoping!
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  • Avatar for unoclay #8 unoclay 2 years ago
    Wow, this is interesting. Wondering if it will come to fruition. I played SO much Coleco back in the day...such fond memories. Still hope to get back to it sometime, but i need a bigger house for more retro systems.

    I was a little unclear from the article--the games for this proposed system will be entirely NEW games (not old Coleco carts)?
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  • Avatar for link6616 #9 link6616 2 years ago
    This seems like a project that if it couldn't get through crowd funding, I really question if it can succeed at all. But it is going for a very boutique market, so maybe a very small market, and possible carts on demand style manufacturing will make it viable.
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  • Avatar for Dodecamancer #10 Dodecamancer 2 years ago
    Getting the price down is going to be key here. I love me some retro gaming, but there was no way I was going to pay $300 for that machine.
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  • Avatar for metalangel #11 metalangel 2 years ago
    I loved my Coleco (I still have it and it still kinda works, the connectors badly need a clean) but this idea seems doomed. Running the old games is great, but the cartridge idea is foolish. Make it an option, where we can either download the games or buy them on cartridge as special limited runs, and it might stand a chance. Otherwise this is just another Ouya, or if we want to take another classic brand name, those Commodore-branded gaming PCs.
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  • Avatar for jgoreham #12 jgoreham 2 years ago
    @orient I feel the same way, I don't mind buying into a correctly-priced "boutique" new cartridge console.
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