This was just posted on the AtariAge forum, where Tommy Tallarico has been holding court for the past year. I thought it would be smart to preserve it here. 

Yes, yes, official “hater,” here.

I have certainly not made any secret of my dislike of what Tallerico has brought to our forum (cronyism, white knighting, a lack of critical thinking). That’s probably not entirely fair… some of the Amico enthusiasm I’m sure is pure and genuine, but it really seems anything but the most mild criticism is met with insults, dogma and blinded thinking. I have stopped subscribing because of it (perhaps I’ll go back to subscribing when some of this silliness dies down; I obviously still use and mostly enjoy the site). I have stopped trusting certain AA staff because of it. My block list is much larger than it used to be. I know perfectly well that a certain CEO has gone after me at least a couple of times (I’m really not sure why as I haven’t done anything in his “official” thread and have limited most of my negative comments to YouTube… and even then, it’s generally been light snark, never anything as personal as some around here have become). I’ve never been banned or reprimanded on this (or any) forum.

I truly hope some of you can put that, all of that aside for a second. I want to appeal to your critical thinking caps for a bit.

I always said that I did like the idea of family friendly, casual gaming. I have too many video games to even list (I’m one of those dorks with literally thousands of games), and hardly any time to play them… so fun, small pick up and play experiences and multiplayer experiences that my significant other and I can enjoy are important to me.

I have also been consistent in my view that an Amico was unnecessary to have those experiences.

I don’t know that I’m a huge fan of any company or brand. I certainly have my expectations of certain companies, certain brands. When Nintendo releases a compilation of budget mini games, I have an expectation that they will be (for the most part) well thought out, buttoned up tightly and be mostly good value for money.

I don’t need to become a walking infomercial for the Switch. You probably already know if one is good for you and your family or whatever. I will say this… at this point, if you can’t see that Switch (really any console, but let’s put aside the really heavy hitters that cost a ton for a second) provides literally everything Tallerico has promised you so far… RIGHT NOW, then you are either not looking carefully enough or you’ve been blinded by the “science” of talking to Tommy. I get it; I thought it was super cool when he first joined the forum, too! I legitimately love some of his contributions to gaming. My thoughts of happiness curdled slowly at first and then more quickly as I saw how he conducted himself here and elsewhere. All too often criticism became a reason to personally attack others. All along, there seemed to be a burning desire to have the last word, which, in and of itself is obnoxious, but doubly so when he preaches “let’s agree to disagree” one time and then goes after physical appearances, relationships, mental states and other assorted nasty things on the other.

Putting aside my criticism of his behavior here for a moment, let’s talk about the product he is trying to bring to market.

Most of the skepticism in regards to the Amico has been, all along, that it wasn’t bringing enough DIFFERENCE to the table, particularly when Switch exists. Certainly, as the price of the console crept (continues to creep?) upward, the idea of a budget conscious console has all but flown out the window. “But what about the cost of games?” I hear some of you say. Well, sure, first party Nintendo games tend to be fifty or sixty(!) bucks… but how many wonderful indie titles come in under the 10 dollar mark? Hell, even the five dollar mark? “But the shop is too difficult to navigate; my mom can’t do it!” I dunno… if you are that concerned about your mom’s gaming habits, you help her with it? Just a thought. “But porn!” Sigh. You want to go after Nintendo (or any of the big guys) for charging an arm and a leg for controllers and peripherals… well sure, that’s absolutely true… they gouge us! But when Amico costs right under what Switch costs already… I don’t know how long you can hang onto that lifeline.

I think that the release of that trailer for 51 Worldwide Games today absolutely puts paid to the Amico and even the concept of it. You have 51 games, coming in at roughly forty bucks (what’s that… 80 cents a game? even if a third of them suck, you’d still be looking at over thirty games)… and almost everything on that comp is something that Amico has touted for themselves (and no, I don’t believe Nintendo is releasing this to undercut Amico somehow. This kind of dominance of casual gaming is WHAT NINTENDO DOES) as being an experience you can only have thru their machine. It just simply isn’t the case. You can prosthelytize about the revolutionary controller and couch co-op and everything else you want… but my biggest problem all along has been that rhetoric.

Couch co-op already exists. On every game platform.

Fun, pick up and play family games exist. On every platform.

Easy to use controls? I guess that one is debatable, but I feel like that’s more down to developers. I’m certainly not convinced that the Amico controller is some kind of paradigm-shifting wonder peripheral, anymore than I was about the Wiimote. The argument of “you have to hold one to see” simply doesn’t work unless you’re mailing one to those three billion people for a week so they can all give it the ol’ college try.

Another red flag has been the insistence that Amico “isn’t for us” (us meaning people who care enough about games to hang out on a board, I guess)… and yet, Tallerico spends a great deal of time here, preaching to the converted, and then making sure that every YouTube channel, big and small gets a personal checkup from him (or the faithful) if the word “Amico” is uttered. It’s not for “us,” but why is the drum being hit so hard on places that have “us.” Do you see the disconnect, there? This weird, grassroots marketing appeal loses a lot of it’s attractiveness when Tallerico has flat out stated that getting YouTube “influencers” onside was part of his strategy… and then suddenly skeptics have phone calls and interviews and free stuff. What are we supposed to think? What is anybody supposed to think? I can’t help but think of the part in the Wayne’s World movie where suddenly it’s Wayne and Garth shilling Nike and Motrin for five minutes. I get wanting to go after 3 billion casual gamers who just play freeimum games on their phone… but I honestly and truly believe that if Tallerico and his team wanted to do that, they should have developed a suite of unmissable, killer software for phones, Steam, Switch, PSN, Live Marketplace (or whatever it’s called these days), etc. under the Intellivision banner. Instead, they have gone this all but baffling route, designing an underpowered console from the ground up, couching it as some kind of budget solution and then watching as the price slowly grew. What is the end goal here? The stated goals of bringing back family gaming and so forth sound great… but they simply do not hold up to the light of scrutiny. Families never stopped gaming. Cheap, small games are within reach. I don’t like the proliferation of huge budget AAA FPS titles with lootboxes and all of the other perils of modern gaming either… but nor do I pretend that that’s all there is to gaming in this time.

Despite all of this, I don’t wish Tallerico or Amico ill. He saw his shot, and I guess he took it. I don’t think the Amico has much of a chance commercially, even being sold at non traditional retail channels. Very few will ever know about it; it will most likely be a blip on the radar. I do wish the never ending infomercial here at Atari Age would end. I do wish that some of you would realize that when you white knight for Amico, when you “stan” for it (as the kids allegedly say), you make the whole operation look bad. When you bash others for not liking an unproven, untried product… who are you actually doing harm to? The targets of your ire? I realize that this will kick up some stink, and I’m not particularly looking forward to it or looking for a fight. In fact, I won’t. I’ve stated my issues, reservations and concerns. I particularly expect anything to change. I already know who this message will resonate with and who will take it as a personal attack. I just wanted to get some of this off of my chest, particularly in light of that Worldwide games trailer. Let me get it out of the way; my name is Justin, I’m married and have no kids and the Amico isn’t for me and I have too many games and I’m  a manchild with toys on a shelf and etc. I’m a “hater,” remember. But the last thing I am is a bandwagon jumper.

I really hope that some of you don’t take this as some hate-filled screed… rather it’s an appeal. An appeal to not let yourselves get so caught up in something that criticism of that thing hurts you like you were attacked. An appeal to look below the surface, even slightly when a new product is announced. If there are things you want, your family wants… don’t be fooled by hype. Don’t fall in love with the IDEA of something to the exclusion of all else. Instead, look around to see if your needs can be met by other means. Do you need the better mousetrap? Will that better mousetrap actually BE any better? Please think critically.

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