Update: ColecoVision has reported via their Facebook page that they have terminated the relationship with RetroVGS.
Their statement reads:
“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.”
I reported last month that I went hands-on with the Coleco Chameleon, but I started to notice something was up when I had several people approach me with concerns about the hardware itself. It turns out that those people’s concerns were more than legitimate.
The team that did most of the detective work (at least that was brought to me in the comments section) is the Completely Unnecessary Podcast. They looked over pictures taken by a journalist at New York Toy Fair and came to the conclusions that the prototype that the Coleco people were putting forward as a new console wasn’t what they claimed. (This is a video of the podcast where the CUP team breaks it all down in great detail.)
It turns out that the device I went hands-on with appears to have been a Super Nintendo Jr. strapped into the Coleco Chameleon case using electrical tape.
This news has been spreading wildly through the retro video game community ever since then and it has only gotten worse.
- The team was forced to delay their Kickstarter campaign indefinitely after word spread about their Toy Fair slip up.
- They posted a new image of their hardware with what was purported to be a motherboard and chipset inside, only to have the retro video game community identify it as a DVR video card for a PC (and thus force them to take the image down).
- David Giltinan, a major team member, has quit. He said the following about his departure: “It’s not a big shocker to admit that everything going on with the Coleco Chameleon is a major reason why I have to separate myself from everything associated with it,” he said. “I am not aiming to throw anyone under the bus for why things went south with the project. The blame is shared by all on the team, including myself. With that, I apologize for any ignorance on my part for not fully following through with my desire for the truth when speaking about the console. Instead I allowed myself to become a vessel for misinformation, and for that I am again sorry.”
- And lastly, Colecovision themselves has stepped in to indicate that they want to have a second look at the project. They made the following statement on their Facebook page: “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.”
Needless to say, things are not going well for the Retro team. I will continue to report on the matter as news develops.