In a move that begs someone to ask what year it is, the Intellivision brand relaunched yesterday as Intellivision Entertainment under newly named president Tommy Tallarico. With this relaunch and leadership change comes a new project as well: a gaming console.
Joining Tallarico for this endeavor is a team of company veterans such as Steve Roney (programmer since 1981, now chairman), Bill Fisher (programmer since 1981, now President of Technology), vice president Emily Reichbach Rosenthal heading up licensing, and vice president of product development Paul Nurminen. With them, Tallarico hopes to both reimagine the Intellivision for the 21st century while still recalling its legacy.
The original Intellivision was released by Mattel in 1979. It was notable in its time as the first game console to offer real-time human voices throughout gameplay and a directional thumb pad on its controller. The console was discontinued in 1990 after selling over three million units, but Mattel sold the rights to Intellivision and no follow-up consoles were produced. Since then, its legacy has been in its games, which appeared on a number of more modern consoles via various licensing agreements.
"I grew up playing Intellivision with my parents and younger brother," says Tallarico. "It was always my favorite system because the games were cutting edge, yet fun and simple to play so our entire family could enjoy them together. I find those important elements to generally be lacking from our industry with the current modern gaming consoles. Our goal is to change that by focusing on bringing all age groups and levels of gamers and non-gamers together while introducing new generations of people to the legacy success of the Intellivision brand."
Tallarico is best-known not for console development, but for composition. He initially rose to notoriety for his work on a number of 16-bit-era game soundtracks such as Disney's Aladdin and Earthworm Jim 2. Later, he launched Video Games Live, a series of concert events featuring popular video game music that is still touring today. With Tallarico as producer, the project has launched five albums with a sixth meeting a Kickstarter goal at the end of last month. He has also been a passionate advocate for the importance of video game music across multiple projects, having founded the Game Audio Network Guild and successfully lobbied the Grammys to include video game music in its instrumental composition recognitions.
Apart from a press release mention of continuing "the company tradition of 'firsts,'" there are scant details about what Intellivision's new, as-yet-unnamed console will be. Intellivision plans to announce details on October 1, 2018, and is encouraging those interested to sign up for updates on the website ahead of that date for the opportunity to purchase a Limited Edition of said unknown console.