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Retro VGS - Back to the Past


#1 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 21 September 2015 - 04:51 PM

Retro VGS Indiegogo Campaign

 

I stumbled across this proposed retro video game system through a series of coincidences. A few guys who are into retro video games got together, and decided it would be neat to create a new retro system. That is to say, a system that incorporates relatively modern technology with designs and models that were prevalent during the 80's and 90's. And instead of focusing on raw rendering power, instead incorporate hardware that would be both flexible, and focused on supporting retro styles and programming techniques.

 

What these guys are proposing is actually pretty neat. The primary caveat is that what they are proposing could never be a mainstream-hit system. It just couldn't. The hardware isn't going to be subsidized by software sales, so it will be comparatively pricey to more mainstream products, and always will be. Because of it's more retro focus, the graphics will always be much, much less than what most modern hardware can handle with ease.

 

At the same time, there is a niche audience that may actually find this intriguing. Game collectors are facing a bit of a crisis with the expansion of digital distribution. As digital distribution becomes more and more popular, physical releases are becoming less likely. This is especially true among smaller indie titles. Some of those games never even get physical releases. For any game that would fit into the Retro VGS's hardware specs, the archival nature of its media would be a boon for classic game collectors.

 

Also, I found it a little humorous that they got their hands on the original molds for the Atari Jaguar. It's a means of cutting costs, but it's also going to be really funny to see the Jaguar form-factor see the light of day again after so many years. (if they are able to meet their rather ambitious funding goal)



#2 KillerRamen   OMG Lilac PSP! CAGiversary!   3649 Posts   Joined 9.4 Years Ago  

Posted 27 September 2015 - 06:03 PM

I feel sorry for the Atari Jaguar. Hasn't the system suffered enough? First it failed as a poorly designed system, then it had an even shittier add-on and finally it lived on as dental equipment. In the immortal words of the Simpsons, just stop it! It's already dead!

 

The system they're proposing is using phone parts, android as the OS and they're bringing back one of the worst cartridge designs ever. They are also trying to charge $300 for a system they claim is the first cartridge based home system in 20 years, which isn't really true. The PlayStation TV is also a  home system that uses phone parts and it uses cartridges. It is also the only way to play TxK (that Tempest 2000 game made by the guy who made the Jaguar classic Tempest 2000).

 

I just don't get what they're trying to accomplish. Wouldn't it be better just to make new old games for the NES, SNES, Genesis, Dreamcast or NeoGeo like people already do? Pier Solar (a game they say will be made for the system) was a new old game for the Genesis and is being made for the Dreamcast and those bullet hell games they claim as supporters were originally new old games made for NeoGeo and Dreamcast. Heck people occasionally make games for the Atari Jaguar and Atari Jaguar CD.



#3 tangytangerine   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   3961 Posts   Joined 13.1 Years Ago  

tangytangerine

Posted 30 September 2015 - 02:18 AM

When I listened to the two videos below that discuss it, it becomes clear the creators have no idea how to build a retro console.  Which they are basically now just creating a Ouya knockoff(if it even comes out).    Just listen to how it could've played retro games, but caused the guy that created the tech to leave and take that with him.

 

Part 1:

 

Part 2:



#4 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 30 September 2015 - 04:08 PM

Yeah, it's sad. Apparently there was some drama behind-the-scenes, and a lot of the team behind the Retro VGS started letting their ambitions for the device get out of control. You have to keep a device like this laser-focused. You can't try to turn it into a new media platform, or the bulwark for some sort of economic enterprise. A device like this lives and dies on the enthusiasm of the community surrounding it. You can't attempt to make a platform like this more than what it needs to be.

 

If they want to re-launch their funding drive, they will have to take a long hard look at what they're trying to achieve. And they're going to have to get a prototype board up and running to really nail down the technical specs of the system. One of the biggest strengths of a retro platform is a fixed spec that can be maintained long-term.

 

The podcast guys seem to be focused on the Retro VGS being focused on collectors as being a negative element. I think they're missing the point. There's nothing wrong with a console being focused on a collector market as opposed to just a general consumer market. Platforms like the PS4, XBone, WiiU, and Steam all have the general consumer market covered. Modern gamers are frankly spoiled for choice as to where and how they get their gaming fix. Attempting to cater to a broad market like that is a waste of time.

 

The Retro VGS should be doubling down on the collector market.



#5 KillerRamen   OMG Lilac PSP! CAGiversary!   3649 Posts   Joined 9.4 Years Ago  

Posted 10 October 2015 - 11:42 PM

Making physical games is more expensive than making digital games. Making custom cartidges is even more expensive. For a developer to make a new retro game there has to be some kind of market for it. The Watermellon Games guys made Pier Solar for the Genesis because there are a lot of people with Sega Geneis consoles along with alternate ways to play it, like with a clone console.  Here, I just don't see hardly any people ever buying this console for what they're asking.

 

The NG:Dev Team made their first run of Last Hope for the Neo Geo AES with 60 Units and they cost over $700. They made another run for the Dreamcast, but I just don't think these guys are really thinking this all through. The economics of this console just doesn't make sense and I don't think they really understand how limited the market for this kind of a console would be. I just can't imagine anyone wanting to make a game that only a handful of people would buy or have the system to play it on.

 

For a console or games to be collectable it has to be more than just rare. The Atari Jaguar had an extremely limited run with between 100,000-250,000 consoles. At the time Atari went backrupt (again) they had sold about 100,000 consoles with the rest in inventory. I'm not sure how many of them are actually still around or if they were ever able to sell the remaining inventory. So that means all of the Jaguar games are pretty rare and I seldom see them around, but they never command that a high price, especially for how limited of a run it had.  I know I didn't play much to buy a complete copy of Tempest 2000 or Alien vs Predator.

 

For a developer to make a new retro game, there are options. Even if they want to make it a physical game. You can still make a NES game (they do) and get it put on a cartridge (they do) if you really wanted. Although, I think the Dreamcast is probably the best option since it's a disk based console that runs Windows NT.

 

If the Shovel Knight guys or whoever wanted to put their games on the Dreamcast, they totally could and it would definitely sell better than putting it on something like the Retro VGS. However, the truth of the matter is most of the indie developers are primarily interested in making the most money possible. That means digital on Steam or modern consoles.



#6 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 23 October 2015 - 04:47 PM

Although, I think the Dreamcast is probably the best option since it's a disk based console that runs Windows NT.

 

If the Shovel Knight guys or whoever wanted to put their games on the Dreamcast, they totally could and it would definitely sell better than putting it on something like the Retro VGS. However, the truth of the matter is most of the indie developers are primarily interested in making the most money possible. That means digital on Steam or modern consoles.

 

Well, a big issue with Dreamcast distribution is the piracy issue. This was an issue with the Dreamcast back when it came out, and it still holds true today. The Dreamcast did not have effective copy protection for its discs. (a common trait among almost all of Sega's disc-based systems) Once the internet became more common-place, Dreamcast software piracy became rampant.

 

Now, this is only somewhat of an issue. Any modern indie developer is probably going to have to take piracy as a given anyway, so it's not like porting their game to the Dreamcast would change their situation. So yes, the Dreamcast would still be a feasible legacy system to develop for.

 

Personally, I've always wondered why no one bothered to make a clone Dreamcast. Perhaps due to needing to license Windows CE?



#7 Stanley the Bugman   CAG Veteran CAGiversary!   134 Posts   Joined 7.0 Years Ago  

Stanley the Bugman

Posted 29 October 2015 - 05:24 PM


Personally, I've always wondered why no one bothered to make a clone Dreamcast. Perhaps due to needing to license Windows CE?

Once the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube launched demand for the Dreamcast was more than met by the available supply as interest simply plummeted.  By the time I bought mine (two years after launch?) they were bundling it with three free games.  There was never any money to be made in cloning the Dreamcast by the time it became feasible to do so. 

 

I'm more suprised that there's not a popular TG-16 clone out there.  It seems to me that now is the time to move in on that market.  



#8 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 29 October 2015 - 06:08 PM

There was never any money to be made in cloning the Dreamcast by the time it became feasible to do so. 

 

I'm more suprised that there's not a popular TG-16 clone out there.  It seems to me that now is the time to move in on that market.  

 

No, I mean cloning it NOW. In the past few years, we've seen a bunch of "clone" systems coming out for legacy video game hardware.  The patents on the original Dreamcast have probably expired by now, and the cost of throwing an inexpensive DVD drive in a system are probably minor at this point. If someone wanted to, they could probably create a "clone" Dreamcast system for very low production costs at this point.

 

The Dreamcast is one of the primary legacy systems that games still get developed for and released on. It would make sense to use it as a resurrected platform on the cheap. I do agree about the TG-16 though. It's high time that we saw a quality clone of that system as well. Preferably, I'd like to see it in the form-factor of the original Japanese model, the PC-Engine. That system had a really nice, small footprint.



#9 Stanley the Bugman   CAG Veteran CAGiversary!   134 Posts   Joined 7.0 Years Ago  

Stanley the Bugman

Posted 30 October 2015 - 05:42 PM

No, I mean cloning it NOW. In the past few years, we've seen a bunch of "clone" systems coming out for legacy video game hardware.  The patents on the original Dreamcast have probably expired by now, and the cost of throwing an inexpensive DVD drive in a system are probably minor at this point. If someone wanted to, they could probably create a "clone" Dreamcast system for very low production costs at this point.

A working Dreamcast with controller is pretty easy to come by and will cost you around $50-$60 right now.  I can see where the demand might drive sales of a clone if it could be manufactured and sold for under $30.  But you're probably right that no one wants to spend the money to develop it until to be blocked by Microsoft's team of lawyers over Windows CE. 



#10 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:55 PM

But you're probably right that no one wants to spend the money to develop it until to be blocked by Microsoft's team of lawyers over Windows CE. 

 

It's not just a matter of the price comparison. The Dreamcast has been one of the cheapest legacy systems to pick up for quite some time. But the hardware is dated enough that it could easily be replaced with a cheaper, quieter, more stable model that would cost very little to produce. And the Microsoft angle could be cut out of the equation thanks to the current progress on Dreamcast emulators. (which is quite extensive)

 

The Dreamcast would be a good stepping stone between older hardware like the SNES, and more modern systems. And the still-existing indie development scene surrounding it would help to give it a little more fresh content. Also, a project like this would be able to replace some of the failings of the original hardware. Specifically, the Dramcast's original controller was garbage, and the VMUs would be improved by the integration of flash storage.



#11 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 18 December 2015 - 07:37 PM

Holy crap! They're at it again. After the initial funding campaign for the Retro VGS went down in flames, they apparently managed to find an alternative funding source. What was the Retro VGS is now going to be dubbed the Coleco Cameleon. I didn't know Coleco still existed! Apparently a company out of Chicago picked up the Coleco brand and has been using it since 2005. And apparently this company has decided to back the efforts of the guys who were working on the Retro VGS. This whole thing is getting a bit bizarre.



#12 tangytangerine   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   3961 Posts   Joined 13.1 Years Ago  

tangytangerine

Posted 02 March 2016 - 03:26 PM

Wow, this sounds like it isn't going to go well.  First they show a "prototype" at NY Toy Fair last month that turns out to be a SNES Model 2 board stuck in their Jaguar shell.   Then when they got caught doing that, they "delayed" the kickstarter.  Now they've shown another "prototype" that only has a DVR Capture Card(which doesn't even have a power source) in a clear shell.  Now that they got caught doing this, the Retro VGS team pulled the most damning pic off their facebook page and deleted the comments calling them out on it.

 

It's all because they're trying to bypass Kickstarter's rule for stuff like this.  Which states that you have a working proof of concept to even get a kickstarter going(their way of preventing fraud).  So the team is sticking electronics in that shell they bought, passing it off as proof of concept to get funding to build the actual prototype.  Which who knows if they'd even get one out eventually?  They could just take the money and run off with it.

 

Videos explaining the two "prototypes"

 

SNES Model 2:

 

DVR Capture Card:



#13 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 02 March 2016 - 04:58 PM

It's all because they're trying to bypass Kickstarter's rule for stuff like this.  Which states that you have a working proof of concept to even get a kickstarter going(their way of preventing fraud).

 

Hmmmm...this all seems very unfortunate, and disappointing. They need to come out with an actual functioning prototype in order to spur this thing forward. A few changes to their proposed "plan" also wouldn't go amiss either. As it stands, I can't see this making any decent headway. You can't build something like this off of just enthusiasm. It is a technical project, and needs technical expertise.

 

I would still be interested in a more "indie" cartridge based system. I'm just not confident that this particular attempt will be successful. It just doesn't seem that they're going about it the right way, or with the right priorities. Here's hoping that someone will be able to come up with something comparable eventually.



#14 KillerRamen   OMG Lilac PSP! CAGiversary!   3649 Posts   Joined 9.4 Years Ago  

Posted 02 March 2016 - 05:36 PM

The best cart based system for sale today is the Genesis Firecore. It has 100 built in Sega games and can play most original Genesis games with the original controllers along with any indie/homebrew carts.

This project suffers from a lack of purpose, technical experience and credibility. For example, the new ZX Spectrum handheld has 1000 preloaded ZX games and it's backed by Mr Sinclair himself. Which is why that project is getting backed and this one can't get off the ground.

#15 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 02 March 2016 - 06:41 PM

For example, the new ZX Spectrum handheld has 1000 preloaded ZX games and it's backed by Mr Sinclair himself.

 

Huh, I could be into that ZX Spectrum handheld. It's looking pretty good.



#16 Captain Wrong   ... CAGiversary!   657 Posts   Joined 13.7 Years Ago  

Captain Wrong

Posted 03 March 2016 - 11:57 PM

This project suffers from a lack of purpose, technical experience and credibility.

 

Yes, yes and yes. I'm exactly the demographic for this (a retrogamer who has probably bought his last "modern" console because at 40 years old, I just don't have the time or money to devote to what modern video games have become) and I just never could care about this. I have enough different ways to play retro and indie games, I don't need another and hell, I'm still not even sure what exactly this thing is supposed to have played. The funny thing is, slapping the Coleco name on this thing (a ghost brand that hasn't actually existed for decades) smacks of the ultimate in cynical marketing to me, and I'm saying that as someone who wanted a ColecoVision more than anything else in my 9 year old life back in the day. At first, I was amused and curious why they were making this and wished them luck but now the whole thing either seems like they got way over their heads or they're just shady as all Fuck



#17 tangytangerine   CAGiversary! CAGiversary!   3961 Posts   Joined 13.1 Years Ago  

tangytangerine

Posted 06 March 2016 - 06:40 PM

Seems enough crap has been called on this that the rights holder for Coleco has told the Retro VGS team to send them a prototype within 7 days for review(to see if they actually have prototype).  As the rights holder has seen the complaints and are considering taking the Coleco name license back.  Although some people are thinking this is just the company's way of CYOA and bailing on the project before it tarnishes the Coleco name further. 



#18 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 06 March 2016 - 07:32 PM

Although some people are thinking this is just the company's way of CYOA and bailing on the project before it tarnishes the Coleco name further. 

Hey, nothing wrong with that. When you have a brand, you have to do what you can to keep it strong. Associating with a project that is falling apart, or that people suspect might be a scam, is a risky move. Sending someone in to investigate is a prudent move. Nothing wrong with a little ass-covering. It the RetroVGS/Chameleon turns out to be just a paper system in its current incarnation, it would make sense for the Coleco brand holders to pull out.

 

It could just be a matter of the team not having a presentable prototype. Perhaps all they have at present is some in-development circuit boards. It's entirely possible that such an arrangement can't be squeezed into the old Jaguar shell. Of course, if that was the case, than they shouldn't have attempted the ruse they resorted to. They should have just brought what they had, and showed that off, even if it didn't look slick. The deception they went with has torpedoed their credibility. And it's done this in the minds of the very people they are trying to market this device to. The general public at the Toy Fair didn't need to see a near-finished prototype. Companies need to get wise to the fact that their primary audience is the internet these days.



#19 detectiveconan16   Delicious! CAGiversary!   7117 Posts   Joined 11.9 Years Ago  

detectiveconan16

Posted 06 March 2016 - 10:31 PM

Well, I'm not reading Retro anymore.



#20 KillerRamen   OMG Lilac PSP! CAGiversary!   3649 Posts   Joined 9.4 Years Ago  

Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:22 PM

AtGames is probably a little upset with them. The failure of the Chameleon hurts their Colecovision Flashback and the possibility of a Flashback 2.

#21 Captain Wrong   ... CAGiversary!   657 Posts   Joined 13.7 Years Ago  

Captain Wrong

Posted 07 March 2016 - 05:18 PM

AtGames is probably a little upset with them. The failure of the Chameleon hurts their Colecovision Flashback and the possibility of a Flashback 2.


That's more what I'm thinking. What else have they used the Coleco name or IP on in the last decade or so? Does the Coleco name even have that much currency to begin with?

#22 KillerRamen   OMG Lilac PSP! CAGiversary!   3649 Posts   Joined 9.4 Years Ago  

Posted 07 March 2016 - 05:27 PM

That's more what I'm thinking. What else have they used the Coleco name or IP on in the last decade or so? Does the Coleco name even have that much currency to begin with?


There was a handheld with Game Gear / Master System games called the Coleco Sonic in 2006, a PC collection in 1997 and the Colecovision Flashback in 2014 / 2015.

The AtGames Flashback console has been the most successful. I'd argue the Intellivision has more name recognition today.

#23 Richard Kain   The Kaiser CAGiversary!   2643 Posts   Joined 11.6 Years Ago  

Richard Kain

Posted 08 March 2016 - 09:02 PM

So sad to see all of this controversy and drama around a project that on paper, I quite like.

 

Now it has been confirmed that the owners of the Coleco brand have pulled out of the proposed project. They sent some engineers to take a look at the project that the Retro VGS team had been working on. And the engineers came back with a big "thumbs down." On that vote of no confidence, the Coleco brand owners are withdrawing their support, and will instead be on the look-out for other opportunities to resurrect the Coleco brand. The short-lived "Coleco Chameleon" is no more, relegated to the perpetual status of "proposed" hardware.

 

A turn of events like this essentially terminates any hope that the Retro VGS had of seeing the light of day. The rights-holders for Coleco are a company with a history of dealing with "revival" consoles. They were one of the best bets possible for getting support for this project. With the failure of the indiegogo campaign, the departure of the Coleco brand, and no viable prototype to start a Kickstarter with, this project is dead in the water.



#24 soonersfan60   Longing for retro CAG... CAGiversary!   4386 Posts   Joined 13.4 Years Ago  

soonersfan60

Posted 08 March 2016 - 11:56 PM

Did the initial group have any money at all? They could always bring in a consultant who has experience in the game industry to resurrect the project and bring them back some credibility. (I've worked on projects like that before.)



#25 Captain Wrong   ... CAGiversary!   657 Posts   Joined 13.7 Years Ago  

Captain Wrong

Posted 09 March 2016 - 12:52 AM

There was a handheld with Game Gear / Master System games called the Coleco Sonic in 2006, a PC collection in 1997 and the Colecovision Flashback in 2014 / 2015.

The AtGames Flashback console has been the most successful. I'd argue the Intellivision has more name recognition today.

 

Oh God. I forgot about the Coleco Sonic. That branding never made any sense to me at all. 

 

 

As for the RetroVGS, stick a fork in that sucker. It's done. (If it was ever realistic in the first place.)