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Coleco Chameleon, Coleco Holdings and the Real Coleco

I have covered the development of the RETRO Video Game System for quite a while.  I interviewed the former team that were running things.  I spent over 20 hours transcribing that interview into text for those that prefer to copy/paste when sharing rather than share time stamps in an audio file.  They had a failed IndieGoGo campaign, mainly fingers were pointing at lack of a playable prototype.  Now, the people behind the RETRO VGS have partnered with Coleco Holdings and rebranded the RETRO VGS.  We now have the Coleco Chameleon to talk about.  You may have been seeing stories popping up stating that Coleco was back, resurrected or whatever.  You have been lied to.  The Coleco that took on Atari is still very much dead.

You see, Coleco as we knew it, the company that went toe to toe with Atari in the 80’s, the makers of the Cabbage Patch Kids, is dead.  That Coleco went out of business in 1988 and their assets were sold to Hasbro and Canada based SLM Action Sports.  You see, the “Coleco Holdings” that is working with the RETRO VGS team is not the original company we knew and mostly loved.  No, it is a revitalization firm that holds the rights to a lot of brand names.  They hold the rights to many companies in areas such as coffee, snacks, baked goods, undergarments, apparel and hair care among the rights to the Coleco name (they started licensing that out in 2006).

In 2006 River West Brands/Coleco Holdings released the Coleco Sonic (no information on who produced it).  One key thing that River West Brands did with this release is also create “Coleco Holdings”, a subsidiary as best I can tell of River West Brands.  This device was a portable that played many Sega games.  The other “Coleco” item you may be intimately knowledgeable with is the ColecoVision Flashback, produced by AtGames.  The ColecoVision Flashback is a plug and play device that features 60 ColecoVision games.

Coleco Release

They are purporting that this is Coleco re-entering the gaming market as a partner of RETRO Video Game Systems, Inc.  I guess, that could be true as River West Brands owns the rights to the name “Coleco” but I am not too terribly sure they are licensed to operate under that name, rather they only license it out to “partners”.  The ColecoVision Flashback is not advertised as AtGames PARTNERING with Coleco, rather it is licensed as an AtGames product (if their name is mentioned at all).  This has to be where everyone is getting the idea that Coleco is back in gaming.  This is untrue.  They are no more back in gaming than they were with the AtGames Flashback.  Their name is but the company that created that name is long gone.

We see a bit of clarification on the “partnership” here on AtariAge.  Basically, this is a licensed product, much like the AtGames product.  This is the Collectorvision owner, Jean-Francois Dupuis posting under his AA account, “retroillucid”.


Someone named Chris Cardillo is mentioned as a “partner in Coleco”.  That is true.  Mr. Cardillo bought into Coleco Holdings back in November of this year.  His past success stories include his self-proclaimed “largest G.I. Joe action figure collector” and two books (both published through his own book imprint “Cardillo Publishing”.  One book is on G.I. Joe action figures and the other is on Nintendo games- both “collecting guides”.  Source-

As you can see in the quote from Mr. Cardillo, he understands the difference between Coleco Holdings and the original Coleco brand.

The Coleco Chameleon is planned to be shown at the New York Toyfair early next year.  I just hope they bring a working prototype to show potential stores prior to purchase or this could be even more embarrassing than the failed IndieGoGo campaign.

The Coleco that we knew, the one that started in the 1930’s is dead.  Hasbro was there in 1988 with cash in hand for the bones of their former toy competitor.  The “Coleco” we see today is Coleco in name only, much like Atari is no longer the Atari we grew up with.

For more on the Coleco Chameleon read my article on it here on Retro Gaming Magazine.

Click here to read more on the RETRO Video Game System.

Miss Colecovision and the games you played as a child?  Check Ebay out to relive your chidlhood.

Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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13 Responses to “Coleco Chameleon, Coleco Holdings and the Real Coleco”

  1. I’m not sure whether I should be angry, sad, amused by this.

    • Carl Williams says:

      Please keep a browser tab open (I know I certainly can, lol) here on Retro Gaming Magazine as I am doing my best to cover this as it develops, much like the first time around.

  2. cappington says:

    Thanks for staying with this story. You’re the only reporting actual facts.

    • Carl Williams says:

      Thank you for reading. Me and the rest of the team here are trying to bring credibility back to gaming journalism. It is not an easy road but someone has to take it. I just wish other sites would take a few seconds and do some research before they proclaim a dead company is all of a sudden “back”.

  3. MaximumRD says:

    Thanks for clearing that up! Too much hype and misinformation currently doing the rounds regarding this. Seems these guys merely latched on to the name in order to give the appearance to long time videogame fans that the Coleco they knew and loved was behind this when in fact it is nothing more than a name / IP.

    • Carl Williams says:

      You are welcome. Thank you for your support. That is true, their use of the name is just that, use of a name. This is not Coleco that we knew, this is not the “people that released the Colecovision” or anything of the sort. It is people that bought the rights and are now licensing it out to anyone that has the money.

  4. […] my other article I detail the current Coleco naming cluster and this new Coleco Chameleon console.  Basically, the Coleco that is licensing out the name is […]

  5. […] Chameleon is volgens Coleco een moderne kijk op de klassieke gameconsole. De console is dan ook voornamelijk bedoeld om […]

  6. […] Chameleon is volgens Coleco een moderne kijk op de klassieke gameconsole. De console is dan ook voornamelijk bedoeld om […]

  7. […] the Dreamcast 2 console.  The headlines that you are reading around the web are on par with the “Coleco is Back” bull crap that RETRO Video Game Systems Inc is trying to hand out.  This is a fan project that […]

  8. […] Follow the development of the ColecoVision and MSX versions specifically on the AtariAge forums.  CollectorVision’s website is available here so you can check out the other titles they are working on.  For more information on the Coleco Chameleon please start with this article here on Retro Gaming Magazine. […]

  9. […] Previous coverage of the Coleco Chameleon: USB Controllers, ColecoVision/Intellivision Compilations and exclusive controllers “Prototype” shown at New York Toy Fair Revisionist, 1984 style, censorship and the Coleco Chameleon Mike Kennedy talks Coleco Chameleon while 3rd party devs stops talking to RGM Goodbye RETRO Video Game System, hello Coleco Chameleon RVGS becomes Coleco Chameleon Coleco Holdings, Coleco Chameleon and the Real Coleco […]

  10. […] de sus productos adquiridos hace años por Coleco Holdings, tal y como nos cuenta en detalle Retro Gaming Mag en este excelente artículo de […]

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