History of video games/Platforms/Chameleon





The Chameleon was a retro themed console themed after the Atari Jaguar that would have used cartridges and would have cost $300 at launch.[1] Despite featuring casing from a former Atari product, the console was briefly marketed under the Coleco brand, which had famously been a rival to Atari with their ColecoVision console about a decade before the Jaguar was launched. Thus despite heavy anachronisms, the console had serious retro theming.

Initially conceived as the Retro VGS and later as the Coleco Chameleon, the project was launched on Indiegogo where it raised $81,158 out of a $1,950,000 goal.[2] The Chameleon was supposed to be launched on Kickstarter, though the Kickstarter page launch was delayed due to the lack of a working prototype.[3] Unusually, the case of the console was decided on before the console electronics.[4]

A number of suspect photos and demonstrations in early 2016 caused the system to be mistrusted online, and Coleco pulled the right to use their name to the console makers.[1][5]



Chameleon development stopped in April 2016.[6] The system is mainly remembered as a high-profile example of one of many crowdfunding projects that never materialized.[7]


A late run SNES motherboard, similar to that claimed to be in the Chameleon.[8]

The Chameleon went from being designed around an FPGA to being designed around an ARM processor.[1]

One demonstration unit appeared to be an New-Style Super NES inside an Atari Jaguar case.[6]

External Resources

  • YouTube - Demonstration at the 2016 New York Toy Fair.


  1. a b c "Crowdfunded Game Console Is Made Out of Tape, Cardboard, and Fake Circuits". www.vice.com. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  2. "RETRO VGS". Indiegogo. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  3. "Coleco Chameleon Kickstarter over before it even begins (update)". Engadget. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  4. "Coleco Chameleon Book Kickstarter - Mike James Speaks Out!". YouTube. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  5. Frank, Allegra (8 March 2016). "Coleco severs ties with alleged 'duct-taped' console maker". Polygon. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  6. a b Purchese, Robert (5 April 2016). "Coleco Chameleon boss: "I am officially tabling the console venture for good"". Eurogamer. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  7. "Failure To Launch: The 15 Biggest Kickstarter Fails". TheGamer. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
  8. "Coleco Chameleon at New York Toy Fair – SNES Mini Under Glass?". Retro Gaming Magazine. 23 February 2016. https://retrogamingmagazine.com/2016/02/22/coleco-chameleon-at-new-york-toy-fair-snes-mini-under-glass/.