Gaming

Coleco jumps from Chameleon’s sinking ship [UPDATED]

[UPDATE 2016-03-10] Included an additional video at the end from Gamester81 who was also caught in storm through his association with bringing games to the RETRO VGS.

I suppose after recent events events this shouldn’t come as a surprise but Coleco has officially distanced itself from the RETRO VGS developed console that was rebranded as the Coleco Chameleon. As quoted from their Facebook page:

The Update that you were all anxiously awaiting: Retro VGS 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 them luck in the future. – We thank the gaming community for their continued support, input, vigilance and trust.

That last sentence makes me think the faked prototypes were a massive shock to Coleco when they were first discovered and it wanted an explanation that the RETRO VGS team was unable to provide.

Both the RETRO VGS website and Facebook pages are gone so it is unlikely we will see any form of response soon, if ever. And I think any attempts to resuscitate the project again from this point are likely to looked on with disgust.

Since my last post, a lot more info has come out about the whole sordid affair including news that David Giltinan, managing editor of RETRO Magazine (part of the RETRO VGS group) was leaving due to issues in relation to the console.

Only a couple of days earlier, Coleco had announced on Facebook that they were investigating the accusations thanks to the community’s work on the matter:

Chameleon Product: We are thankful to have a large group of passionate engineers and retro game enthusiasts who follow Coleco and other product lines. It has come to our attention that the community has certain concerns over the prototypes involving the Retro VGS model. The team at Retro remains confident that their product is developed to the extent as describe; HOWEVER, in order to confirm or debase these concerns, Coleco has demanded to inspect the prototype units within a seven day time frame. At which time, independent engineers will review their findings and determine if those units are up to our standards. We will report some or all of those findings to the community so as long as they do not interfere with proprietary information. We remain hopeful that the community’s concerns are merely speculations, but if there is merit to the concerns, then we have no choice but to abandon the project rather than release a sub-par product. During this time, we ask that the community allow us time to complete these inspections. Time extensions will only be granted if requested by the independent engineer. Time extensions and results will be posted here.

Perhaps the most remarkable news to witness was via Brian Thomas Barnhart’s Jag Bar on YouTube, where the story of the Chameleon’s intended Kickstarter video was told and how it went from something viable to a distortion of the truth. Credit has got be given to BTB for revealing the details and sticking to what he felt was right in walking away from the job.

This last video worth watching is from Gamester81 whose company CollectorVision Games was at one stage going to be releasing titles for the system but through this disaster became an unfortunate recipient of vitriol of a frustrated community. The allegations of faked prototypes were as much a shock to him as it were to everyone else but his business ties (now severed) were to make him a target. Credit to him too for trying to let everyone see the situation from his side.

After everything that’s happened here the real shame of it is that it could damage anyone else’s chances to come up with a similar product for the retro gaming community. However, if they take note of history and make sure they have a working product from the outset they might just win back the fans that RETRO VGS so convincingly lost.

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