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Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?


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#7851 Cav OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 10:01 AM

Not posted yet?

 

http://www.geekade.c...-the-retro-cd-o



#7852 Gentlegamer ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 10:25 AM

Just a reminder- tomorrow is April 1st, so be on the lookout for any newly announced game consoles that use Jaguar cases. I'm hopeful a good hoax will appear!

 

It's actually a very easy target for April Fool's pranks. Mike is hiding out like Howard Hughes and most likely won't come out to dispute a news story, so if a hoax is well made it could probably travel pretty far before unraveling.

 

I guess FEKA wanted in.


Edited by Gentlegamer, Fri Apr 1, 2016 10:27 AM.


#7853 galax OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 2:03 PM

Today's special edition of Retro Gaming Roundup's had interview with a very special guest: http://www.retrogami...101_2016.04.php



#7854 Benheck OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 5:01 PM

 

Finally watched this and it is DAMN good. It's required viewing for anyone interested in where things went wrong and it could be very helpful to people thinking of taking a project to Kickstarter.

 

The only criticism I have of it is that his analysis was too much of a sobering take on what happened and that might be giving Mike and his team more credit than they ever deserved. I know he wanted his approach to be from an engineering standpoint but it comes at the expense of ignoring key events that had a massive effect on how things went wrong. I agree with him that planning and management mistakes made it almost impossible to get anything done but to me those are incidental compared to the final revelations of willful deception that killed the project.

 

But again, that's only a light criticism, his video is still extremely well thought out. While I wish he could have spent more time on the disastrous parts, I understand he can't help but work with the info he has and when the whole team has disappeared there's not a lot to analyze there.

 

Sadly, the whole part about "supporting developers" could easily apply to Nintendo as well.



#7855 RupanIII OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 1, 2016 7:36 PM

Did Carl announce he was ending his attempt to take over RETRO Media last night? I can't find what I read when was groggy last night and looked at the noisy thing on my phone, lol. 

 

Also, I need to check my mail box for my badge and send someone a contribution! 



#7856 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 2:01 AM

Not posted yet?
 
http://www.geekade.c...-the-retro-cd-o

Please tell me this is an April Fool's joke??? That bit about the Retro Mag being used solely to promote the CD-O kind of gave it away. Also getting his mitts on a 3DO shell... :lolblue:
 

Did Carl announce he was ending his attempt to take over RETRO Media last night? I can't find what I read when was groggy last night and looked at the noisy thing on my phone, lol. 
 
Also, I need to check my mail box for my badge and send someone a contribution!

Spoiler



#7857 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 2:13 AM

Yes, it's joke.



#7858 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 6:46 AM

Yes, it's joke.

 

But if it had been any other time during the year, would something like that be a suprise?



#7859 GoldLeader OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 8:40 PM

You know what all this reminds me of?

 

Famiclones!   You know how they always resemble a different system, but then play Famicom games?  I have one that looks like a pink and blue X-Box and one that's like white Playstation.



#7860 Osgeld OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 9:11 PM

I actually like the styling of that model of 3d0, if one were to find the molds for it I bet a SNES would fit in it nicely while still looking quite at place in a modern entertainment system (unlike the jag)



#7861 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 2, 2016 11:10 PM

I actually like the styling of that model of 3d0, if one were to find the molds for it I bet a SNES would fit in it nicely while still looking quite at place in a modern entertainment system (unlike the jag)

Anybody notice the 3DO looked errily similar to the lower half of an N64 with a DD attached? Pay close attention to the molded cylinders on the corners and placement of the drive slot. :grin:



#7862 StopDrop&Retro OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 7:20 PM

I hope today isn't April Fool's day in China because there's a company over there making a new game console and it might bring back some memories....

 

https://zhugeex.com/...osoft-in-china/

 

CT9TsPGW4AA1TbP.jpg?resize=500%2C375

 

2016-04-04_22-41-30.jpg?resize=500%2C315

 

 

THE LEGACY LIVES ON!!!!

 

 

 

For those who don't know about Fuze, which is about 99% of us here, their only claim to fame so far is that they are supposedly funding the development of Red Ash, the unofficial Mega Man Legends 3 game that Keiji Inafune brought to Kickstarter last year. It failed miserably for a variety of reasons, including not having a playable build (sound familiar?) but a few days before it did, they announced that they made a deal with Fuze to fund the development, so the game would be made after all.

 

We haven't heard a peep since. Fuze had plans to make their own game console back then and were supposedly making it a low cost Android-based set top box competitor. Now, today's information revealed that they're going to be much more ambitious and compete against Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo (sound familiar?).

 

Not only that, but they already want to start tacking on all kinds of complicated shit like VR. May I remind you- this is their first attempt at a game console (sound fam- ... oh, fuck it! IT'S THE RETRO VGS ALL OVER AGAIN!! OKAY?!?!?!!)

 

Let's see if this goes anywhere. I wonder if there's a Chinese Mike Kennedy. I really want to see their CEO!



#7863 triverse OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:12 PM

A clarification for those interested in what is going on with my involvement in taking over RETRO Mag.  It is a dead in the water deal.  The shareholders I was in talks with failed to meet a preset deadline (end of March).  I did not receive the necessary paperwork to confidently move forward with my purchase offer.  I made it public on the RGM Facebook page (on April 1st) and wished them the best of luck.

 

Early reports from those that received issue #10 are very poor, to say the least.  Fans are not happy with the quality of the content or the layouts.  I tried my best, I honestly did, to help turn that mess around but it simply was not meant to be.  If they go bankrupt (I cannot see them turning things around with the debt they carry and the lack of staff for at least two more issues) I will simply pick up the crumbs at that point.

This was, from day one, an attempt at taking care of the fans that will feel shafted when that mag goes down.  No matter what anyone thinks, RETRO IS THE FACE of retro publications in the United States.  I cannot say that the management have done anything to maintain that status and that is a shame.



#7864 toiletunes OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:31 PM

Hater!



#7865 Parrothead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:35 PM

 

A clarification for those interested in what is going on with my involvement in taking over RETRO Mag.  It is a dead in the water deal.  The shareholders I was in talks with failed to meet a preset deadline (end of March).  I did not receive the necessary paperwork to confidently move forward with my purchase offer.  I made it public on the RGM Facebook page (on April 1st) and wished them the best of luck.

 

Early reports from those that received issue #10 are very poor, to say the least.  Fans are not happy with the quality of the content or the layouts.  I tried my best, I honestly did, to help turn that mess around but it simply was not meant to be.  If they go bankrupt (I cannot see them turning things around with the debt they carry and the lack of staff for at least two more issues) I will simply pick up the crumbs at that point.

This was, from day one, an attempt at taking care of the fans that will feel shafted when that mag goes down.  No matter what anyone thinks, RETRO IS THE FACE of retro publications in the United States.  I cannot say that the management have done anything to maintain that status and that is a shame.

 

 

Carl.  I am the majority shareholder and the only one that matters.  Seems strange I never heard anything about this from you.  And, we've had lots of complements on issue #10. Issue #11 is going out this week and will be great as well.  So we are continuing to make good on our committments to all our subscribers.  And the magazine team is still in tact, less two.


Edited by Parrothead, Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:39 PM.


#7866 Parrothead OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:37 PM

Hello Everyone,

 

I hate to light this thread up any more but at this time I have made the decision that my reputation is worth protecting and wanted to come in here and break my silence and fill in some holes and answer some questions about the hardware “team” (term used loosely) behind the Coleco Chameleon.

This long winded response will explain:

  1. There were only (4) engineers (or people) EVER working on this project with Steve Woita and myself ( and in the beginning there were two working together) despite what Scott Schreiber has been spewing.  And none were EVER working simultaneously on the project.  And Scott had nothing to do with much of anything and was never considered to be “working” on this project.  Has he ever produced and shown anything he was working on?  Nope!
  2. It will for the first time reveal who the hardware person was that took over after the “John Carlsen” era.  And it will show that I paid him considerable amounts of money for what was essentially two fake prototypes.   One that I saw (Toy Fair unit) and one that I never saw in person (clear PC card unit).  I was not building that crap in my garage.
  3. It will also reveal the shady background of said hardware person so that he can be stopped and hopefully save anyone here from dealing with this guy in the future.
  4. And as a side note, Carl Williams IS NOT taking over RETRO Magazine nor has he ever talked with me about it.  And I am not selling it or giving it to ANYONE!  Carl? Explanation? 

To understand how this ended, I want to direct your attention back to the early times of this venture, early to middle 2014.  At this time, my first choice to design the system, Curt Vendel (who Scott Schreiber helped introduce me to thus ending his minimal involvement in the venture) decided he wouldn’t have the time to devote to this venture and opted out soon and never got started.  At this time I researched others that could step in and bring this product to fruition and that lead me to Clay Cowgill.  Clay really took this project under his wing from Nov 2014 to January 2015 and helped us (me and Steve Woita) define the hardware and its capabilities – this is when we were considering, at Clay’s recommendation, architecting something in-line with the Beaglebone Black. 

 

It was also at this time, that another person entered into the mix, Sean “LEE” Robinson.  Sean was a “acquaintance or colleague” of Clay’s and it just so happened that he had moved from Washington (state) back to Southern California.  He had heard that I was working with Clay on this project and offered to help.  Since he and Clay were colleagues, and the fact he was local and very close to me, it seemed like a good idea to have them partner up on the project, which they did to some extent.  Supposedly, Sean had a working prototype ( that I NEVER saw) playing Neo Geo games in Jan 2015.  This prototype was later used again when he rejoined the project explaining how we supposedly had a prototype so fast AFTER Carlsen left.  Read further . . . . .

 

In late January 2015, Clay alerted us that he was contracted by SONY and that he would be leaving the project.  At this time, Sean also decided to leave as well.  Enter in the John Carlsen/Steve Woita FPGA “era”.  Now I am not going to go into this part of the timeline because we know how all this worked out.  Fast forward to John Carlsen leaving the failed RETRO VGS project.

 

At the time of John’s leaving in September 2015, Sean “LEE” Robinson re-entered the picture and reached out to Steve and I.  He indicated he wanted to help us get this project back on track, but his condition was that he remained “behind the curtain” (his words) due to the mess he was inheriting from Carlsen.  At this time I agreed to that condition and also agreed to let him and Steve work together on this without my interference.  While I thought I had a competent hardware “team” working on this, and was being told early on by Sean we had games running on our hardware/software prototype and that our costs had dropped considerably, I felt confident to go ahead and continue building this venture, bringing a “go-to-market” team together and making the decision to launch this under the Coleco brand.  Things seemed to be coming together.  Chris from Coleco invited us to demonstrate a prototype at Toy Fair.  This did pose a challenge to Sean as it expedited the process a bit to try and make the show deadline.

 

This is where things started to take a big bad turn.  In mid-January, I had a lunch meeting with Sean and point blank asked him what he needs from me to spend the next 30 days working on the prototype full-time to get it prepared for the Toy Fair.  We agreed on $4,000, which I quickly got to him via a check that he cashed with me at my bank.  It was then a day before I was traveling to the show that he came over to my house with the Toy Fair “Prototype”, with his instructions to NOT SHOW the back of the unit no matter what.  But without any specific information as to why I shouldn’t show it, other than it used an aftermarket connector that was composite-out and that was used because he didn’t have the HD stable enough to get us through the show.  I believed him and went to the show with that unit.  My biggest concern at the time was getting this conglomeration through the TSA and on the plane.

 

During the show we were accused of not having that system even plugged in so I made the decision to take a photo of the back of the unit showing it was clearly plugged in.  If that was true about using the composite connector, I really felt people would understand why it was used and decided to show the pics.  I didn’t feel we had anything to hide.  Then all hell broke loose and it was identified that SNES mini parts or the whole PCB from an SNES mini was inside the console shell.   I was left in a terrible spot at this point and I had a decision to make that evening at the hotel. Do I take this thing apart and see what was in it and quit the show or continue on with the show, demoing the games that were going to be on the system, and then address this issue with Sean when we got back from New York.  Right or wrong, I continued on with Toy Fair and it continued to impress people and the games were very favorably liked (Thanks Eli! For stepping in with his SNES multicart in place of Sean’s glitching out SD card driven demo cartridge).  When I returned back home, I met Sean again and gave him the “prototype” back and he was still swearing that despite the SNES “parts” he used, the games were still running on the SNES FPGA software that he had constructed in a few short months.  Again, I believed him and we moved forward.  And he told me that during the Toy Fair he was preparing the next “prototype” board so I gave him the clear shells with explicit instructions from me to show “our” PCB inside the shell.  This was going to be used to show the “real” prototype.

 

Then in a move to extract more money from me he indicated that for $3,000 paid now (2/29/16), and $3,000 paid in 60 days he could wrap this up and have a production ready prototype completed.  So, again, I wrote him out a check he promptly cashed with me at my bank.  Soon after this he emailed me the images of the clear unit with the PC DVR capture card in it.  But, when he first emailed me the images, he indicated this was our prototype 100%.  I made a comment that it looked great (in the photos) and he responded by saying something like “this is what we can do when given the proper time.”  Keep in mind, these pictures were to combat the criticism of the “fake” Toy Fair prototype and were given to me by him to post on Facebook to show people the real “prototype”.  Sean even joked about how people online were trying to identify the board in our shell, laughing and telling me they won’t find it because it’s our original work.   He even made these comments through my car Blue Tooth speaker with my wife in the car and she heard everything.  Again, I believed him.

 

Let’s discuss the Kickstarter for a moment.  So, believing I was going to have a working prototype for Toy Fair, I told Sean and Steve I was going to move forward with the Kickstarter campaign and use Toy Fair as a launching point for the campaign.  A date was set.  Now to Sean’s credit, he played that this was not a good idea and didn’t agree with me scheduling the Kickstarter to begin during the campaign was a good idea.  But, at this point, I thought I had a real prototype playing games and was assured by Sean many times that our costs were now hovering around $100, so figured, let’s not wait any longer.  After it was learned that we essentially had a SNES duck taped in my console shell I decided to delay the Kickstarter because it was always my intention to show off the prototype completely in the campaign video, open it up and show it running and playing games from at least two different systems.  Then once I saw the clear unit was also a “fake” I made the decision to withdraw from a Kickstarter campaign altogether and reevaluate this venture.

Back to the clear shell prototype.  Since this all fell apart I have been trying to get Sean to explain to me why he would point blank lie to my face about that being “our board” and passing that two-bit PC board off as our prototype and he can’t give me an explanation that makes any sense, in fact I get no explanation other than that there was more going on in there than people can see.   He mentioned we had chips located underneath the board even and assured me that the cartridge was also plugged into our cartridge connector.   Something was just not adding up to me and I continued to lose sleep at night wondering how this all could have happened.  First, he never showed me anything in person, that he was working on.  I never went to his house, nor was ever given an address where he lives or works.  He subscribes to my magazine so I looked at the address the magazine is sent to – a UPS store PO Box.  I have paid this guy $7,000 and have nothing to show for it.  Oh, I also bought two FPGA cores from a “friend” of his (whom I never met in person) whose wife was having medical issues and needed to sell some things and just so happened his friend had made an Intellivision and Amiga FPGA core.  Sean told me his friend would sell them to me for $2,500 which I, again agreed to, and wrote Sean out another check which he promptly cashed at my bank and was going to give the cash to his “friend”.  Did I ever get any software cores?  NOPE!   So, in total, with a couple other smaller checks I wrote to him, paid him nearly $10K in January and February 2016.  Nothing to show for it except two fake prototypes and NO FPGA CORES!  And, he swindled out my Crystal Castles Commodore 64 prototype cartridge as part of a payment as well!!!!!!!

 

So, trying to make more sense of all this, I started Googling Sean and this is where things get super crazy.  I will just post the links that are online for all to see and you can all take it from there.  There is even more stuff you can uncover if you want to all look:

 

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.video.arcade/bs4zJtfa4oY

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.games.video.arcade/almightyarcade

http://www.megalextoria.com/forum2/index.php?t=msg&goto=297838&

http://compgroups.net/comp.sys.cbm/sean-robinson-founder-of-commodorecomputerclub.c/3039131

 

In addition, I have confirmed with the Riverside County (CA) Assistant DA, Sean was charged a few years ago for 7 counts of Felony Grand-Theft and served part of a one-year sentence in jail and then got out on probation which he evidently complied with and then he made a plea to have the prior conviction AND his admittance of guilt overturned.  A loophole that the DA mentioned drives prosecutors crazy.

 

At this point I can only hope  to recover any of my money paid to him, and can no longer live by my word to keep him “behind the curtain” while his deceit led to my defamation of character and demise of the company and opportunity and also I feel I was intentionally setup to take a fall.  Because why else would he give me the clear shell “prototype” photos to hang myself?  Seems strange as we both knew these photos would be scrutinized like crazy based on the last “fake” SNES prototype he gave me.

 

I also hope that you will also wonder why I would go to all this trouble surrounding this venture with guys like Ben Herman (he was a Rockstar at Toy Fair, and had tons of legit retailer interest in this thing) and Phil Adam, Paul Wylie and eventually Steven Rosenbaum.  Why would I go out and bring Coleco on board as a licensing partner?  All done and then just try and pass off fake prototypes?  This is just something that I would not intentionally or knowingly do.  I have way more integrity and respect for this hobby to pull that shit.  I did remain silent the past few weeks though while I put the pieces of this train wreck together and worked with my attorney to define my moves.  And I apologize for the delay.   Timed with the release of this statement here on AtariAge I have also emailed Sean a demand letter asking him to make arrangements to pay me back the money he scammed from me as well as a heads up I am going public with his participation in this deceit.  But at the same time, I wonder who he might have to take advantage of to get the money to pay me back.  That is the shitty part.  And I am still working with my attorney and local authorities to find out what my options are.

 

I want to apologize to all of you for the past few months.  The John Carlsen era was an honest to goodness list of I mistakes.  But there was never any intention to deceive or pull the wool over any of your eyes.  These past few months with these fake prototypes was inexcusable and I hope you can all understand a bit more about how this all happened and why I have remained silent the past few weeks.  It is not in my nature to trick people into anything.  My end game has always been to give back to this hobby that I love and respect and to make and do things that people will enjoy.  I’ve never taken one penny from anyone that wasn’t genuinely earned!

 

You will all be glad to hear that I am officially tabling the console venture for good.  I have negotiated with Albert (AtariAge) to take over the Jaguar tooling so we can all be assured it’s in good hands and won’t get destroyed or lost to time.  And I am sure Albert will do some very cool things with the console and cartridge shells.

 

I want to ask you all for some level of forgiveness and I hope you all understand that I would have never gone to Kickstarter with a blatant rip-off of a prototype.  That was never my intention.  And please, don’t let this mess carry over to the magazine.  I have a great team of people working on it.  We are pouring a lot of heart and soul and sweat equity into keeping the magazine going and it’s only getting better.

 

And, I want to thank those on AtariAge (and other public forums) for opening my eyes to the craziness of all this happening right under my eyes.  The fact that Sean indicated he wrote this SNES FPGA software in such a short time was questioned here and that opened my eyes.  Of course, the uncovering of the fake prototypes has opened my eyes.  You guys really go above and beyond to protect the hobby and it wasn’t until I have had the time to reflect back on this fiasco that I saw how you all came together and your alerts spread like wildfire across the internet.  Again it was never the intention of myself or those legitimate guys on my team to deceive or potentially defraud anyone.  In the end, I am the only one that has lost anything, money, potential opportunity and my reputation in this hobby.

  • Mike

     



#7867 StopDrop&Retro OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:38 PM

Edit: Oh shit! I've got some reading to do now!

 

 

 

Wait... wtf??! I was looking for Carl's Retro Gaming Magazine facebook page and it turns out the RETRO Magazine facebook page has been getting regular updates this whole time! I can't say for sure if it's Mike managing that Facebook page but it sure sounds like him.

 

Here's the relevant updates about RETRO's future, interesting parts in bold. Color me surprised, I thought they were dead!

 

3/17/16

Hello Everyone! We are working very hard to try and improve our customer service. In doing so, we have seen most problems arise from missing subscriber issues. With each mailing a small % go undelivered and that has happend with both printers we've used, who also do the subscriber mailings. So we have setup a new email address dedicated to tracking and addressing this problem: missingissue@readretro.com. We will monitor this email address daily and handle missing issue requests within 24 hours if the request comes in during the week. We can then mail you out a replacement issue. Please help us by providing your current address in your "missing issue" email and make sure we have updated addresses if and when you move in the middle of your subscription. Thanks to all of you for your patience as we continue to grow and publish more RETRO Videogame Magazines.
Now for the fun stuff . . . . . . . . . . . .
We are on time to deliver issue #11 to subscribers and retail in early April. This issue will be celebrating 30 years of Legend of Zelda among other great retro gaming topics. We are also putting the finishing touches on our first ever 200-page RETRO Replay: Best of Years 1 & 2. We are limiting the print run of these and they will only be available for pre-order for a limited time. Current and past subscribres will get a discount on this collectible issue. We will make sure you all know when it goes up for pre-order so you can make sure you get one for your collection. They will also be shipping in the month of April and feature a thicker stock cover with new artwork from Rob Duenas who created the awesome cover artwork for our Premier Issue (Mighty No.9), Issue #2 (River City Ransom) and Issue #10 (Star Wars).
We are also very excited to be participating in a Barnes & Noble stores videogaming endcap promotion in April. Look for RETRO #11 on these special gaming dedicated endcaps in most Barnes & Noble stores next month.
 
3/23/16
RETRO Videogame Magazine Issue #11 celebrates Nintendo's EPIC adventure series as well as a treasure trove of other in-depth RETRO features . Hitting mailboxes and retailers mid April.
 
3/24/16
Pre-Order RETRO Issue #11 now! Our most stacked yet. More retrospectives, more special features, more columns. MORE. Coming soon to a mailbox, retail store, and digital download service near you. Click below to see exactly what you will be reading about in a couple weeks.
 
4/2/16
The next issue of RETRO Video-Game Magazine is complete and heading to the printer this week. Not a subscriber? You can pre-order now and it will be mailed to you directly from our printer. Don't miss it! Or look for it when it hits the special video gaming end caps at your local Barnes & Noble later in April.


#7868 StopDrop&Retro OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:38 PM

ugh. double post. Plz delete.



#7869 shawnphase OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:46 PM

 

Hello Everyone,


  • Mike

     

 

 

 

tldr



#7870 Pipercub OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:48 PM

Go home Mike,  your drunk.



#7871 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:52 PM

Hello Everyone,

I hate to light this thread up any more but at this time I have made the decision that my reputation is worth protecting and wanted to come in here and break my silence and fill in some holes and answer some questions about the hardware “team” (term used loosely) behind the Coleco Chameleon.
This long winded response will explain:

  • There were only (4) engineers (or people) EVER working on this project with Steve Woita and myself (and in the beginning there were two working together) despite what Scott Schreiber has been spewing. And none were EVER working simultaneously on the project. And Scott had nothing to do with much of anything and was never considered to be “working” on this project. Has he ever produced and shown anything he was working on? Nope!
  • It will for the first time reveal who the hardware person was that took over after the “John Carlsen” era. And it will show that I paid him considerable amounts of money for what was essentially two fake prototypes. One that I saw (Toy Fair unit) and one that I never saw in person (clear PC card unit). I was not building that crap in my garage.
  • It will also reveal the shady background of said hardware person so that he can be stopped and hopefully save anyone here from dealing with this guy in the future.
  • And as a side note, Carl Williams IS NOT taking over RETRO Magazine nor has he ever talked with me about it. And I am not selling it or giving it to ANYONE! Carl? Explanation?
To understand how this ended, I want to direct your attention back to the early times of this venture, early to middle 2014. At this time, my first choice to design the system, Curt Vendel (who Scott Schreiber helped introduce me to thus ending his minimal involvement in the venture) decided he wouldn’t have the time to devote to this venture and opted out soon and never got started. At this time I researched others that could step in and bring this product to fruition and that lead me to Clay Cowgill. Clay really took this project under his wing from Nov 2014 to January 2015 and helped us (me and Steve Woita) define the hardware and its capabilities – this is when we were considering, at Clay’s recommendation, architecting something in-line with the Beaglebone Black.

It was also at this time, that another person entered into the mix, Sean “LEE” Robinson. Sean was a “acquaintance or colleague” of Clay’s and it just so happened that he had moved from Washington (state) back to Southern California. He had heard that I was working with Clay on this project and offered to help. Since he and Clay were colleagues, and the fact he was local and very close to me, it seemed like a good idea to have them partner up on the project, which they did to some extent. Supposedly, Sean had a working prototype ( that I NEVER saw) playing Neo Geo games in Jan 2015. This prototype was later used again when he rejoined the project explaining how we supposedly had a prototype so fast AFTER Carlsen left. Read further . . . . .

In late January 2015, Clay alerted us that he was contracted by SONY and that he would be leaving the project. At this time, Sean also decided to leave as well. Enter in the John Carlsen/Steve Woita FPGA “era”. Now I am not going to go into this part of the timeline because we know how all this worked out. Fast forward to John Carlsen leaving the failed RETRO VGS project.

At the time of John’s leaving in September 2015, Sean “LEE” Robinson re-entered the picture and reached out to Steve and I. He indicated he wanted to help us get this project back on track, but his condition was that he remained “behind the curtain” (his words) due to the mess he was inheriting from Carlsen. At this time I agreed to that condition and also agreed to let him and Steve work together on this without my interference. While I thought I had a competent hardware “team” working on this, and was being told early on by Sean we had games running on our hardware/software prototype and that our costs had dropped considerably, I felt confident to go ahead and continue building this venture, bringing a “go-to-market” team together and making the decision to launch this under the Coleco brand. Things seemed to be coming together. Chris from Coleco invited us to demonstrate a prototype at Toy Fair. This did pose a challenge to Sean as it expedited the process a bit to try and make the show deadline.

This is where things started to take a big bad turn. In mid-January, I had a lunch meeting with Sean and point blank asked him what he needs from me to spend the next 30 days working on the prototype full-time to get it prepared for the Toy Fair. We agreed on $4,000, which I quickly got to him via a check that he cashed with me at my bank. It was then a day before I was traveling to the show that he came over to my house with the Toy Fair “Prototype”, with his instructions to NOT SHOW the back of the unit no matter what. But without any specific information as to why I shouldn’t show it, other than it used an aftermarket connector that was composite-out and that was used because he didn’t have the HD stable enough to get us through the show. I believed him and went to the show with that unit. My biggest concern at the time was getting this conglomeration through the TSA and on the plane.

During the show we were accused of not having that system even plugged in so I made the decision to take a photo of the back of the unit showing it was clearly plugged in. If that was true about using the composite connector, I really felt people would understand why it was used and decided to show the pics. I didn’t feel we had anything to hide. Then all hell broke loose and it was identified that SNES mini parts or the whole PCB from an SNES mini was inside the console shell. I was left in a terrible spot at this point and I had a decision to make that evening at the hotel. Do I take this thing apart and see what was in it and quit the show or continue on with the show, demoing the games that were going to be on the system, and then address this issue with Sean when we got back from New York. Right or wrong, I continued on with Toy Fair and it continued to impress people and the games were very favorably liked (Thanks Eli! For stepping in with his SNES multicart in place of Sean’s glitching out SD card driven demo cartridge). When I returned back home, I met Sean again and gave him the “prototype” back and he was still swearing that despite the SNES “parts” he used, the games were still running on the SNES FPGA software that he had constructed in a few short months. Again, I believed him and we moved forward. And he told me that during the Toy Fair he was preparing the next “prototype” board so I gave him the clear shells with explicit instructions from me to show “our” PCB inside the shell. This was going to be used to show the “real” prototype.

Then in a move to extract more money from me he indicated that for $3,000 paid now (2/29/16), and $3,000 paid in 60 days he could wrap this up and have a production ready prototype completed. So, again, I wrote him out a check he promptly cashed with me at my bank. Soon after this he emailed me the images of the clear unit with the PC DVR capture card in it. But, when he first emailed me the images, he indicated this was our prototype 100%. I made a comment that it looked great (in the photos) and he responded by saying something like “this is what we can do when given the proper time.” Keep in mind, these pictures were to combat the criticism of the “fake” Toy Fair prototype and were given to me by him to post on Facebook to show people the real “prototype”. Sean even joked about how people online were trying to identify the board in our shell, laughing and telling me they won’t find it because it’s our original work. He even made these comments through my car Blue Tooth speaker with my wife in the car and she heard everything. Again, I believed him.

Let’s discuss the Kickstarter for a moment. So, believing I was going to have a working prototype for Toy Fair, I told Sean and Steve I was going to move forward with the Kickstarter campaign and use Toy Fair as a launching point for the campaign. A date was set. Now to Sean’s credit, he played that this was not a good idea and didn’t agree with me scheduling the Kickstarter to begin during the campaign was a good idea. But, at this point, I thought I had a real prototype playing games and was assured by Sean many times that our costs were now hovering around $100, so figured, let’s not wait any longer. After it was learned that we essentially had a SNES duck taped in my console shell I decided to delay the Kickstarter because it was always my intention to show off the prototype completely in the campaign video, open it up and show it running and playing games from at least two different systems. Then once I saw the clear unit was also a “fake” I made the decision to withdraw from a Kickstarter campaign altogether and reevaluate this venture.

Back to the clear shell prototype. Since this all fell apart I have been trying to get Sean to explain to me why he would point blank lie to my face about that being “our board” and passing that two-bit PC board off as our prototype and he can’t give me an explanation that makes any sense, in fact I get no explanation other than that there was more going on in there than people can see. He mentioned we had chips located underneath the board even and assured me that the cartridge was also plugged into our cartridge connector. Something was just not adding up to me and I continued to lose sleep at night wondering how this all could have happened. First, he never showed me anything in person, that he was working on. I never went to his house, nor was ever given an address where he lives or works. He subscribes to my magazine so I looked at the address the magazine is sent to – a UPS store PO Box. I have paid this guy $7,000 and have nothing to show for it. Oh, I also bought two FPGA cores from a “friend” of his (whom I never met in person) whose wife was having medical issues and needed to sell some things and just so happened his friend had made an Intellivision and Amiga FPGA core. Sean told me his friend would sell them to me for $2,500 which I, again agreed to, and wrote Sean out another check which he promptly cashed at my bank and was going to give the cash to his “friend”. Did I ever get any software cores? NOPE! So, in total, with a couple other smaller checks I wrote to him, paid him nearly $10K in January and February 2016. Nothing to show for it except two fake prototypes and NO FPGA CORES! And, he swindled out my Crystal Castles Commodore 64 prototype cartridge as part of a payment as well!!!!!!!

So, trying to make more sense of all this, I started Googling Sean and this is where things get super crazy. I will just post the links that are online for all to see and you can all take it from there. There is even more stuff you can uncover if you want to all look:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.video.arcade/bs4zJtfa4oY
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/rec.games.video.arcade/almightyarcade
http://www.megalextoria.com/forum2/index.php?t=msg&goto=297838&
http://compgroups.net/comp.sys.cbm/sean-robinson-founder-of-commodorecomputerclub.c/3039131

In addition, I have confirmed with the Riverside County (CA) Assistant DA, Sean was charged a few years ago for 7 counts of Felony Grand-Theft and served part of a one-year sentence in jail and then got out on probation which he evidently complied with and then he made a plea to have the prior conviction AND his admittance of guilt overturned. A loophole that the DA mentioned drives prosecutors crazy.

At this point I can only hope to recover any of my money paid to him, and can no longer live by my word to keep him “behind the curtain” while his deceit led to my defamation of character and demise of the company and opportunity and also I feel I was intentionally setup to take a fall. Because why else would he give me the clear shell “prototype” photos to hang myself? Seems strange as we both knew these photos would be scrutinized like crazy based on the last “fake” SNES prototype he gave me.

I also hope that you will also wonder why I would go to all this trouble surrounding this venture with guys like Ben Herman (he was a Rockstar at Toy Fair, and had tons of legit retailer interest in this thing) and Phil Adam, Paul Wylie and eventually Steven Rosenbaum. Why would I go out and bring Coleco on board as a licensing partner? All done and then just try and pass off fake prototypes? This is just something that I would not intentionally or knowingly do. I have way more integrity and respect for this hobby to pull that shit. I did remain silent the past few weeks though while I put the pieces of this train wreck together and worked with my attorney to define my moves. And I apologize for the delay. Timed with the release of this statement here on AtariAge I have also emailed Sean a demand letter asking him to make arrangements to pay me back the money he scammed from me as well as a heads up I am going public with his participation in this deceit. But at the same time, I wonder who he might have to take advantage of to get the money to pay me back. That is the shitty part. And I am still working with my attorney and local authorities to find out what my options are.

I want to apologize to all of you for the past few months. The John Carlsen era was an honest to goodness list of I mistakes. But there was never any intention to deceive or pull the wool over any of your eyes. These past few months with these fake prototypes was inexcusable and I hope you can all understand a bit more about how this all happened and why I have remained silent the past few weeks. It is not in my nature to trick people into anything. My end game has always been to give back to this hobby that I love and respect and to make and do things that people will enjoy. I’ve never taken one penny from anyone that wasn’t genuinely earned!

You will all be glad to hear that I am officially tabling the console venture for good. I have negotiated with Albert (AtariAge) to take over the Jaguar tooling so we can all be assured it’s in good hands and won’t get destroyed or lost to time. And I am sure Albert will do some very cool things with the console and cartridge shells.

I want to ask you all for some level of forgiveness and I hope you all understand that I would have never gone to Kickstarter with a blatant rip-off of a prototype. That was never my intention. And please, don’t let this mess carry over to the magazine. I have a great team of people working on it. We are pouring a lot of heart and soul and sweat equity into keeping the magazine going and it’s only getting better.

And, I want to thank those on AtariAge (and other public forums) for opening my eyes to the craziness of all this happening right under my eyes. The fact that Sean indicated he wrote this SNES FPGA software in such a short time was questioned here and that opened my eyes. Of course, the uncovering of the fake prototypes has opened my eyes. You guys really go above and beyond to protect the hobby and it wasn’t until I have had the time to reflect back on this fiasco that I saw how you all came together and your alerts spread like wildfire across the internet. Again it was never the intention of myself or those legitimate guys on my team to deceive or potentially defraud anyone. In the end, I am the only one that has lost anything, money, potential opportunity and my reputation in this hobby.
  • Mike

Quoted for historical porpoises.
 
 
Update
 
Number of users viewing this thread at 11:28 Eastern Time on 4/4/2016, Monday night:
 
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Spoiler



#7872 Kosmic Stardust OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:53 PM

Prodigal Mike returns. Glad to know you're still alive. ;-) :thumbsup:

 

EDIT: finished reading your post. So sorry to hear you got scammed to hell and back by this "Mr Lee."  :_( 



#7873 toiletunes OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 8:58 PM

Fool me three times, shame on Lee?



#7874 StopDrop&Retro OFFLINE  

StopDrop&Retro

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 9:27 PM

I just finished reading it and the links.
 
What a bunch of bullshit. It took him a month to come up with this?? No wonder his dream console never got anywhere off the ground.
 
His story makes no sense. If he had never met his engineer or even seen the last prototype in person (that they would use in the actual campaign), then why did he wait until the evening of launch day to delay the Kickstarter? If what he's saying today is true, then he would have had ample time to delay it earlier in the week when he didn't have the prototype in hand. 
 
The reason why he waited so long is because he knew he didn't have a prototype all along and planned to try to go ahead and fake it anyways. That is why he contacted BTB to do the voice-over even if he couldn't show the prototype to him. He didn't have a reason to delay the campaign until BTB rejected him because his plan all along was to fake the pitch video in the first place.


#7875 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 4, 2016 9:28 PM

Did you all hear that? What was that terrible "BUMP"??? Oh yeah, we've heard it before ... another "hardware guy" getting thrown under the bus.

My initial reaction: it's extraordinary to me that the guy in charge of a project to develop a game console could fail—on multiple occasions—to recognize something that was so obviously fake to so many of us who were watching at a distance. It's even more extraordinary that he would write checks worth thousands of dollars to a friend of a friend, over and over again, based on nothing but vague promises and without doing any kind of due diligence. If I were in that position, I would have at least insisted on visiting the guy's office and seeing FUNCTIONAL examples of his previous work, and I certainly wouldn't have waited until AFTER all that money disappeared to do a Google search on him.








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From: Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

By Serguei2 in Robin Gravel's Blog, on Tue Mar 8, 2016 9:32 PM

If only Coleco Chameleon was true, I would buy it
 
Unfortunately, it's seem it's a prank after all.
 
  
Source: Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

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