Update: The makers of Intellivision Lives! have erased the Facebook note referenced in this post, and Gamestop now lists the game on its website. A new statement from the makers apologizes “for jumping the gun” by talking about who will and will not be carrying the game, and promises to “shut up till [publisher Virtual Play Gamse] releases official info.” Thanks to commenter Mike Dougherty for pointing this out. Original story continues below.
Classic video game compilations strike me as easy money makers, created on the cheap and sold on pure nostalgia. But for Intellivision Lives!, Gamestop wants no part of that formula.
In a news posting on Facebook, the makers of Intellivision Lives! for Nintendo DS said Gamestop declined to sell the game. “They say that the 30-somethings that shop there ‘may find it appealing’ but apparently they don’t feel it is for their target (younger) clientele,” the news post said.
As Gamertell points out, Gamestop isn’t categorically opposed to classic game compilations. The retailer already sells Retro Atari Classics and Namco Museum DS for the Nintendo DS, in addition to countless other compilations for other game consoles. And according to the Entertainment Software Association, the most frequent buyers of video games are 40 years old on average, so there goes the theory about pandering to younger clientele. I suspect that Gamestop’s decision has more to do with Intellivision than it does with a refusal to accommodate 30-somethings or nostalgia.
Intellivision might’ve been memorable as a credible threat to the Atari 2600, but it just doesn’t have the same cultural cache. The console was late to the party, arriving just three years before the infamous 1983 video games industry crash, and more importantly, it lacked ports of iconic arcade games.
These games — Pac-Man, Lunar Lander, Asteroids, Galaga — are the very ones you find in compilations from Atari and Namco. They’ve got serious, mainstream nostalgia value. Intellivision’s best-known games, such as Astro Smash and Night Stalker, don’t compare in terms of name recognition, and primarily appeal to folks who actually owned an Intellivision. While I’m sure the sales potential exists, the trade-in and resale value looks slim, and that’s where Gamestop thrives.
Fear not, Intellivision fans. The game will likely be sold in other stores, or at the very least, through online retailers. Frankly, I think a compilation like this is best-suited as a downloadable product, because virtual storefronts don’t have shelf space constraints, and because old, simple games are best enjoyed in small doses between larger, cartridge-based games. It’s too bad Nintendo already threw out that idea for DSiWare.