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Coleco Chameleon Prototype #3 Proven Fake by Community of Retro Gaming Sleuths

Okay, this is getting a little long in the tooth.  The Coleco Chameleon as we know it now started life, publicly, about a year ago.  During the last six months we have seen the team behind this console go from no prototype to now their third “prototype”.  I put prototype in quotation marks because each version has been proven fake by the community of retro gaming sleuths over on the AtariAge forums.  It seems that just being honest is not something RETRO Video Game Systems Inc can be to their potential customers.  This is a shame as the community they are lying to is the same community that could have made this “console” a major success.  The term “liar liar, pants on fire” is quite quaint in this situation.  Mr. Kennedy is still silent on the matter.  Someone with control of the RETRO Video Game Systems Inc Facebook page has proven they are awake and watching AtariAge quite closely though.

Within minutes of AtariAge forum member, 5-11under, discovering the exact digital video capture device that is under the clear casing- that single, particular, picture was removed from Facebook.  The other shots of the new “prototype” are left up and readily available here.  This is interesting.  The ONLY picture they made available that shows the “board” has mysteriously been deleted from their Facebook account.  For those interested, that picture is below (strategically placed watermark intact).


This is disheartening for many reasons.  The community, quite understandably tore this system apart around the time they were going for funding on IndieGoGo.  It was torn apart then.  The IGG campaign was not successful, and funnily enough, they could not cancel it for various reasons according to the rules of IGG.  They had to let the campaign run its course.  Then later we watched as the people that currently own the Coleco brand were announced as new partners with Mr. Kennedy and his attempt at launching a console.  This was, for many, a dumbfounded moment.  Coleco, a competitor of Atari back in the day, now owned by a new company, was partnering with another new company that had purchased the molds for the Atari Jaguar.  From my understanding, not the rights to the design of the console- not sure if that would impact them being used in a gaming device or not.

Anyhow, Mr. Kennedy asked the gaming community around this time to give them another chance that they turned over a new leaf.  Too bad that leaf had the same game plan as before- just swapping out the “prototype” and trying again to fool people.  From day one, the members of AtariAge have been critical of this project, and now they are justified in their concerns.  I have been personally attacked by Mr. Kennedy for covering his “system” so closely, so have others such as YouTube members that make critical videos.

That second chance was floundered at the much ballyhooed New York Toy Fair event.  Keep in mind that the New York Toy Fair is a closed to the public event.  This in and of itself limited the audience that would be able to see, let alone test, the Coleco Chameleon.  It is baffling that, if this was a REAL prototype that Mr. Kennedy would not have wanted to show it at any of the myriad retro gaming conventions that happen all over the United States.  For Mr. Kennedy to choose an event that was across the country from him, similarly north for his biggest 3rd party publisher, rather than a retro gaming event closer to California, it is just wildly obvious something was wrong.  Mr. Kennedy claimed for quite a while that he would show a working “prototype” at the Toy Fair.  What he showed ended up being what was proven, as best as possible, to be a Super Nintendo in black Jaguar case (though Mr. Kennedy has shown, and sold, many clear cases, one was apparently not available for this event).  The console was shown in extremely low resolution video only (phones 10 years old can produce higher resolution video than what was provided to fans).

What was shown in those videos and some PR staged photos, was the Coleco Chameleon playing some games.  All of the games shown were Super Nintendo, and running off of an SD2SNES flash cartridge.  It was quickly proven that the “prototype” shown was a Super Nintendo as the cartridge slot was that of an SNES, the backside of the “prototype” was exact to that of an SNES Mini (picture below) and it used SNES style aftermarket controllers.


Yet, Mr. Kennedy insisted it was not a Super Nintendo but refused to open the case to prove it was not.  It was quite telling that the “prototype” was assembled in such a manner that it would break if opened- why not just use a clear case (like was produced for the THIRD prototype)?  Mr. Kennedy has proven he has them available.  Another thing is, why didn’t Mr. Kennedy just show pictures of that board from the Toy Fair?  Surely, if this was as fragile as he claimed he would have pictures for insurance purposes.  After all, if this was that fragile, how did he transport it across the country, twice, without breaking it?  Sounds like a durable “prototype” to me, considering Nintendo built a variation of it 25, or so, years ago.

Thanks to AtariAge forum member, PlaysWithWolves we have this wonderful comparison picture to enjoy.


As you can see, the HICAP50B CCTV DVR Capture card lines up perfectly with “prototype #3”.  The distinctive chip layout is there, so are the round doohickeys (I am not a technical person), this is a match of a good 80%- this would be a conviction in the court of law in just about any court in the world if this was a criminal case and this was the suspect versus a photo of the crime.

Toiletunes on AtariAge brings up a great point.  “It takes minutes to delete the FB pics, but it takes DAYS to explain how it wasn’t a SNES. Except he didn’t explain.”  He is referring to whomever is in control of the RETRO Video Game Systems Inc Facebook page deleting the photos of this latest “prototype”, at least the one showing a top down view, minutes after the news broke on AtariAge.  These same people have told anyone that was not deleted/banned on that same Facebook page to wait for the Kickstarter (supposed to have started on February 26th, 2016) to have it all revealed.  What was revealed was that the Kickstarter is being delayed and that they might not have to go the crowdfunding route anyhow.  That is when these wonderful “clear” top pictures first appeared.  Now the key photo is removed (something that happens a lot on the RETRO Video Game Systems Inc Facebook page).

It needs to be noted that recently Piko Interactive have distanced themselves from the Coleco Chameleon project.  It is unclear as to why they did, other than focusing on current platforms.  CollectorVision has also come out and distanced themselves from the Coleco Chameleon.  This is after I had a very public fight with their owner, Jean-Francois Dupius over the legitimacy of the console on Facebook.

It seems that the Coleco Chameleon is a sinking ship (did it ever really leave dry dock?).  Everyone is distancing themselves from this console.  How long before Coleco Holdings, the owners of the Coleco name, say enough is enough and pull their license with Mr. Kennedy and end this series of fiasco after fiasco?

I do want to state, publicly, that if Mr. Kennedy or anyone from his team, Coleco Holdings, or anyone else directly connected with this console wishes to talk with me, I am available anytime.  Just contact me through the contact page at the top of the page.  If you wish to remain anonymous, all precautions possible will be taken to protect your identity.

Everyone else, what are your thoughts on this?

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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7 Responses to “Coleco Chameleon Prototype #3 Proven Fake by Community of Retro Gaming Sleuths”

  1. James Parkinson says:

    Whats also interesting is that if you look at the USB ports, now that I have seen some larger versions, the ports literally go nowhere. The terminate into a chip and some form of IO header. It’s funny how the expected this “working” prototype to not be scrutinized.

  2. Brad Silvia says:

    Mike Kennedy is one of the biggest scam artists out there trying to tap into a market that he forgot is consisted of very intelligent people that can see through his lies. I hope this bankrupts him and his scam outlets Game Gavel and Retro Gamer cease to give him anymore revenue.

    • Carl Williams says:

      It will be interesting to see how his magazine and auction site are treated by gamers, and by Mike himself, now.

      I tried using GG over the years but never sold anything there. Took the same items that were on GG for quite a long time and put them on Ebay and they sold within days of posting. That is just my experience though.

  3. PlaysWithWolves says:

    I believe the round doohickeys are capacitors. Thanks for the shout-out!

    • Carl Williams says:

      Lol. You are welcome! Thanks for the correction- I am leaving doohickeys in though, it fits within the context of this saga somehow.

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