Intellivision Amico: An ADHD-friendly game system

Photo courtesy of Tommy Tallarico, Intellivision Entertainment

First off, you may be asking, what the hell is Intellivision? Especially for the younger readers out there, it may be a valid question. Intellivision was the primary competitor for Atari. Released in 1979 by Mattel, it boasted significantly better graphics than Atari, but at a higher price point. At its peak, Intellivision held 22% of the video game market.

Intellivision had a diverse catalog of games ranging from educational titles to sports, action, adventure, arcade, etc. It was billed as a machine that would entertain the whole family. And I can say it did that well, as I grew up with one in my house, and we all had a lot of fun playing that machine. To this day there are ‘differing accounts’ as to who is the best at Intellivision baseball.

What is Amico?

Amico is a new console being released by Intellivision Entertainment later this year. The goal behind the console is to “pick up where the Wii left off,” says CEO Tommy Tallarico. He also pointed to a slogan that’s part of Amico’s branding, “Together Again.” The modern image of gaming is one person sitting alone in front of a screen with a headset on. Tommy’s vision is to bring the family back together around video games.

So how does he propose to do this? Amico is the video game console that isn’t targeting hardcore gamers. It’s meant for the billions of people who play casual games every day. Much like the Nintendo Wii did over a decade ago, Amico’s goal is to reach friends and family, bringing together generations from kids to grandparents who can sit and play casual games in the same room together.

ADHD and gaming

In one of my first posts, I shared how I had become addicted to a mobile game. It started out as simply a bit of fun to let off some steam, but the game was designed to keep you coming back and spending more and more time and money on it. Eventually I was spending over half of my waking time each day either playing the game or participating in chats about the game. And there was constant pressure to engage in microtransactions in order to compete at the highest levels. Meanwhile, I ignored work, family, and friends. Back then I didn’t know I had ADHD, but I knew I had a problem.

This wasn’t the first time that a video game had combined with my undiagnosed ADHD to spin my life well out of balance. I’ve had many video game fixations over the years, and while I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the time—and obviously I am still passionate about gaming—I now know I have to guard myself against my life getting out of balance. And I am really looking for ways to connect with my kids around things we all love.

So how is Amico ADHD-friendly?

First, Amico helps to counter some of the isolating tendencies of video game fixations. It is offering casual style, couch co-op games that are designed to be played and enjoyed by the whole family. I remember when the Wii came out it seemed like everyone had it. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, schools and nursing homes alike had all bought the system and would play right along kids and adults. I hosted Wii parties for staff after work. Even today if you ask coworkers if they want to play Wii, you will likely find several who still have that old system and will happily bring it in and play after hours. Why? Because no video game console has duplicated that experience.

Amico’s games will all be couch co-op compatible for up to 8 players. It’s the first console since the SNES to ship with 2 complete controllers. But even better, folks can jump in and play through a free smartphone app if needed. So no needing to spend a ton of extra money on more controllers. What’s great about all of this is that you can get involved in video games that don’t isolate you from your family and friends.

Impulse buying is also kept in check by Amico. There will be no loot boxes, no DLC, and no microtransactions. And the best part? Every game will be priced between $2.99 and $9.99 (you know, instead of the $50-$60+ you see everywhere else). Bottom line? They’re not engaging in the predatory practices that most of the gaming industry uses to exploit folks with addictive tendencies and low-impulse control. You don’t even have to spring for a second controller.

While you will still be able to hyperfocus on games—nothing will quite stop that particular super power—there is no game on Amico that will require you to play for 20 hours to complete it. Many ADHDers also experience time-blindness, where they can’t tell how much time is passing. This can be quite the 1-2 punch when you’re hyperfocused on an immersive game that requires hours or days to complete. The casual style games being developed for Amico are easier to play in short bursts and are more easily walked away from when things come up. So play being interrupted isn’t as big a deal as with some of the more engrossing titles from the hardcore systems.

I showed this gameplay trailer to my kids and they were over the moon about it!

I realize that this post is basically a huge pitch for Amico, but I fully believe in supporting and promoting products that are ADHD-friendly, and companies that intentionally avoid engaging in predatory and exploitative practices. I own at least five gaming consoles and have been playing video games as long as I can remember. But this is the first time in a while that I’ve been so excited about a new console. Intellivision Entertainment is bringing old-school fun into our homes and taking the high road by putting family fun first.

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UPDATE: Since the publishing of this post, some of the content featured here has been shared in the following YouTube video from a great retro gaming channel called “The Atari Creep.”

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If you are interested in more information or would like to pre-order an Intellivision Amico, you can do so at the Intellivision Amico website.

I am not paid or sponsored in any way through this post or the links I share. They are provided solely for the benefit of my readers.

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Like what you read? Did this help you? Please support Jamie on Patreon.

Author: Jamie

At 37 I went to therapy and after two hours she asked if anyone had ever talked to me about ADHD. Surprise! I'm @ADHDsurprise on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Intellivision Amico: An ADHD-friendly game system”

  1. I’m sure you’re right. Anxiety is a huge part of ADHD as well. I was just wondering today about what other neurodiverse groups might benefit from the Amico.

    Like

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