Three Oddly Retro Announcements from E3 2021

E3 2021 has come and gone and, well, it definitely wasn’t the best E3 in recent memory. Sure, there were some highlights, like the official announcement of Elden Ring during Summer Games Fest, Microsoft showing some impressive gameplay from Forza Horizon 5, getting to play as the villains of the series in Far Cry 6 and a whole lot of good stuff from Nintendo as a whole. But, overall, I did feel there was a noticeable lack of some heavy hitting reveals to get the entire gaming world abuzz for what’s to come.

Like the E3 shows that came before, most of the reveals were there to entice gamers all over the world to go out and buy the most brand spanking new hardware so you can play these hi-tech games. You can say the Forza Horizon 5 gameplay reveal was to tempt people to go out and shell out hundreds of bucks for a new Microsoft Xbox Series X. You know that teaser for Metroid Dread nudged some people to go get a Nintendo Switch in preparation for the release of that one game.

But while mostly everyone were trying to shill their new tech, there were several announcements made during E3 that were more focused on tugging on our nostalgic heartstrings. I’m not talking about games like the upcoming Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp or Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters which are basically the old games with better production values. I’m talking more about the products that were made with the gamer who have decades of experience under their belt or the ones who only played games when they were a kid and just want to relive their past.

So, with that in mind, let’s go look at three strangely retro announcements that were made during this year’s E3!

#1 The Intellivision Amico

Okay, this isn’t exactly a new announcement as the Intellivision Amico was actually announced way back in 2018, if you can believe that. But that didn’t stop Tommy Tallarico from plugging this seemingly featured filled love letter based on the old gaming console.

To be fair, the Intellivision Amico does have a lot of modern video game conveniences. The controller is wireless, has a touch screen and haptic vibration as well as motion controls. You can actually sync your mobile phone to the Amico and it’ll work as a separate controller. The system is going to use HDMI and you can download new games to it and the graphics, even for the older games, are going to get HD facelifts.

So, why am I including the Intellivision Amico as a retro announcement? Well, it’s because it’s Intellivision! While many younger gamers may be at least familiar with the name Atari, I’m not so sure how many know about it’s competitors. There were a lot of them, including the Magnavox Odyssey, ColecoVision and the Fairchild Channel F, to name a few. But Atari’s biggest rival, in my opinion, anyway, was the Intellivision. The mere fact they’re bringing out a new system today bearing the Intellivision name is more than a wink to retro gamers.

#2 Devolver Digital’s NFT

Each and every E3, you can bet Devolver Digital will have some incredibly insane presentation that, while publishing games themselves, calls out the gaming industry on unsavory practices and insane trends. I am rather sad for the abrupt end of the entire Devolver Digital cinematic universe we’ve had since 2017. However, it still had the chaotic energy of the previous shows.

As usual, the Devolver Digital’s show may not have had the most hype game announcement but it was the most entertaining E3 presentation. They once again poked fun at industry trends, like the entire “games as a service” subscription thing. But they also branched out to making fun of other trends, such as cinematic universes and, more importantly the weirdly lucrative non-fungible token market. Basically, non-fungible tokens or NFTs are basically digital media that people can own. There’s a whole lotta stuff to entangle regarding what an NFT is and how can someone own something without really owning it… which does make it ripe for parody!

So, in this year’s E3 show, Devolver Digital created their own version of the NFT… but not in the way it’s normally used. Their NFT stands for Non-Fuckitable Tape; they actually recorded their entire E3 2021 press conference on a VHS tape and created only one copy. And since they removed the copy tab off the VHS tape, the proud owner shouldn’t be able to record over it. And, yes, someone actually bought it for a whopping $1,000!

Hope the guy still has a player for this!

So, yes. Devolver Digital did one of the weirdest things yet. They actually put out a VHS tape, something kids probably have no idea regarding how to use, and sold it for an extremely high price because it’s a collectible! How much more retro can you get?

#3 The Legend of Zelda Game & Watch

There was a lot of Legend of Zelda announcements during Nintendo’s E3 show this year. They revealed that they’re releasing a remastered version The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Switch and even showed a quick teaser for the Breath of the Wild sequel. While I am eagerly awaiting both games, there was one Zelda package I really, really, really want to get.

That would be the Game & Watch that has the first three Legend of Zelda games as well as that ridiculous revamp of the retro Game & Watch game Vermin!

For all those youngsters out there who grew up spoiled with your Nintendo 3DS systems and PlayStation Vitas, the Gaeme & Watch were the first real successful portable gaming systems! Sure, they were very limited as they could only play one game each and the graphics (if you can call them that) were just simple LCD icons which hardly moved. But I can personally attest that they were the bomb then! So, putting not one, not two but three retro 8-bit Legend of Zelda games in something that looks like a Game & Watch is just so cool on so many levels.

This isn’t the first time Nintendo gave us a retro Game & Watch with old 8-bit games packaged in it. There was the Mario Game & Watch system some time ago but, in all honesty, the Legend of Zelda package seems like a much better deal.

Any other retro announcements that were made during this E3 that I missed? Let me know what they are in the comments section below!

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