News – The Coleco Chameleon Is No More

And that’s the end of that. The Coleco Chameleon, formerly the RetroVGS, was quite an exciting project if you’re a fan of all things retro gaming like we are here at Rings & Coins. A brand new cartridge based console that would not only play all of your classic cartridges, but new games too. I mean what’s not to like?

Unfortunately for Retro VGS though, things didn’t really get off to a good start as the company failed in their attempt to crowd fund the project via IndieGoGo. Not only that, but despite the console’s future seemingly bright future, thanks to the rebranding as the Coleco Chameleon, things took a decided turn for the worse.  This drastic turn in fortunes came recently as part of a prototype reveal at the New York Toy Fair, something which we have detailed in full here.

Coleco NY Toy Fair
Retro VGS with the Coleco Chameleon at the New York Toy Fair.

Well following this scandal, Coleco stated that they would be sending a team to inspect the prototype. What’s more, if they weren’t happy with the results of the inspection, then they would removing all of their support for the Chameleon, including their name. Well, things haven’t gone well with this inspection, in fact it never even happened.

You see, upon arrival at Retro VGS, Coleco were informed that they would not be able to see the prototype, as what they had wasn’t sufficient enough for a demonstration. This seemingly confirmed all of the rumours that have been swirling around in the last week, and Coleco has taken action by terminating their association with the Chameleon project. This announcement came by way of Coleco partner Chris Cardillo who gave the following statement to Engadget:

Retro has decided that the work that they have created is not sufficient to demonstrate at this time. Consequently, we can no longer proceed with the project and the Chameleon project will be terminated. This separation is amicable. We wish Retro luck in the future.

COLECO Chameon
The planned vision for the Coleco Chameleon.

This isn’t all though, as following this announcement by Coleco, Retro VGS and it’s Founder Mike Kennedy have gone completely dark. Not only have they given no comment on this latest development, but they have also deleted their Facebook page and shut down their website. Their @RETROVGS Twitter page may still be working, but it’s nothing more than people discussing the various points of recent prototype scandal with no word from Mike Kennedy or his team.

Furthermore, Atari COO Todd Shallbetter has now also given comment, seemingly adding even more controversy to the debate. This comes via the following statement which indicates that Retro VGS never had any right to utilise their catalogue of games:

Atari does not have, and never has had an agreement with Retro VGS to release Atari 2600 games on their product.

Coleco Chameleon Capture Card
An image of the controversial prototype that was removed from their Facebook page.

All in all, this seems like a sad end for what promised to be the return of cartridge gaming, and a celebration of retro gaming in general. Nevertheless, the results and consequences of Coleco’s attempted inspection, combined with the recent scandal point to the fact that this project never was what it had promised to be. In fact, with no comment from Retro VGS, it’s hard not to feel cheated and duped.

Retro VGS’ intentions may have been genuine, but it looks like the reality may never have actually been real, with the company attempting to crowd fund the project without having a prototype at all. Ultimately, the fate of this project really is a shame, as if nothing else, the idea was promising. Nevertheless, for now, the Coleco Chameleon is well and truly dead.

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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