The brand new video game console, Coleco Chameleon, made its public debut at the New York Toy Fair this weekend. Although the system spent most of the convention behind a glass enclosure, it easily ran through short demoes of old classic games and new retro-style games created by indie developers.
The Coleco Chameleon—which was announced late last year—promises to take a stand against the proliferate downloadable content (DLC) racket by shipping non-upgradeable cartridge games just like systems from the 1980s and 1990s.
Downloadable content was once a hallmark of the absolute best online games. Back when video games were first connecting to the Internet, DLC was an easy way to extend the life of a game by adding new weapons and levels to a game long after it was released. Then game developers caught on. They started creating games with DLC planned right from the launch date, forcing hardcore gamers to shill out even more cash for basic gameplay. Not the Coleco Chameleon. Instead, people will buy fully developed cartridge based games that will never need an update or patch to unlock content.
For the uninitiated, the Coleco Chameleon was originally announced under the name Retro VGS in early 2015 after the creators acquired the originally tooling kit from the legendary 1990s gaming system, the Atari Jaguar. The Retro VGS project was later cancelled due to crowdfunding issues and complications that occurred while building the initial prototype.
Oddly enough, the short delay actually helped Retro VGS in the long run. Following its failed IndieGoGo campaign, the team was able close a licensing deal with the classic 1980s gaming company Coleco, which is best known for popularizing games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. Now, with the Coleco brand and the Atari Jaguar console casting, Retro VGS has built something that truly lives up to its retro roots—and they expect a lot of people to buy one.
The Coleco Chameleon will sell newly made cartridges for old classic games, many of which were never released in the United Sates, in addition to producing cartridges for brand new games created by indie developers. There’s no set number of titles that will launch with the console, but members of Retro VGS told us the number will likely be low, so that they can actually give people time to appreciate and discover some of the new indie games.
The system will also include 4 USB slots in the front of the machine, which lets people plug in their own USB controllers to play games. Players can also use a USB slot to plug in a keyboard—something you still can’t do on most modern systems.
There’s also an official Coleco Chameleon controller that ships with every console. The branded controller is essentially a third-party Nintendo Wii U Pro controller. But the team at Retro VGS emphasizes just how adaptable the new console is. The said someday the console might be able to read even cartridge types from other brands and historic gaming controllers. To start, though, the console bundles will remain relatively simple.
The Coleco Chameleon comes out the of the box with a bunch of different video outputs including HDMI, RCA, and 9-pin Mini-DIN. That means you can basically plug this system into any popular television—whether it was built decades ago or came off the rack this year.
In addition to showing the console in public for the first time at the New York Toy Fair, Retro VGS also used the occasion to announced its release date: “We are excited to announce the Coleco Chameleon Video-Game System Kickstarter campaign will begin the morning of Friday, February, 26th 2016,” said Retro VGS in a recent Facebook post.
One day later the team announced that the first Kickstarter reward will be sell for $135 and include the system, one USB controller, HDMI cable, AC adapter, and game. To see more live demos of the Coleco Chameleon from the 2016 New York Toy Fair, check out the videos below:
Top Image via Retro VGS