Intellivision World

 

Mattel Intellivision FAQ

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Version 7.0

Maintained by David Harley
http://beeslife.com/faq.htm

 

 

Table of Contents

1.0 - General Information.. 3

1.1 - Brief History of the Mattel Intellivision.. 3

1.2 - Timeline. 4

2.0) Technical Information.. 5

2.1 - General Hardware Specs. 5

2.2 - Processor Specs. 5

2.3 -Graphics Specs. 8

2.4 -Operating System Specs. 9

3.0) Hardware Descriptions.. 10

3.1 - Intellivision Master Component.. 10

3.2 - GTE / Sylvania Intellivision.. 10

3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision I 10

3.4 - INTV System III 10

3.5 - Sears Super Video Arcade. 10

3.6 - Intellivision II 11

3.7 – Keyboard Component / Computer Adaptor.. 12

3.8 - Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module. 12

3.9 - Entertainment Computer System... 12

3.10 - Music Synthesizer.. 13

3.11 - System Changer.. 13

3.12 - Joystick Substitutes. 14

3.13 - Compro Electronics Videoplexer.. 14

3.14 - PlayCable. 15

3.15 - Intellivision Tester (MTE-100) 17

4.0) Cartridge Listing.. 17

4.1 - Released Titles. 17

4.2 -Unreleased (or rumored) titles for the Intellivision.. 20

4.3 –Unreleased / Announced titles for the ECS. 21

4.4 -Software announced for the Keyboard Component/Computer Adaptor.. 22

4.5 -Easter Eggs, Cheats and Tips. 22

4.8 -Information regarding Unreleased Titles & Hardware. 52

4.9 -Information regarding Label & Box Variations. 54

5.0) Vaporware, Trivia, and Miscellaneous.. 56

5.1 - Intellivision III 56

5.2 - Intellivision IV.. 57

5.3 - World Book Tutorvision.. 57

5.4 - Bandai Intellivision Japan.. 58

5.5 - Digiplay Intellivision South America.. 61

5.6 - INTV Corp. Games. 62

5.7 - Trivia and Fun Facts. 62

5.7 - Competition Cartridges. 65

6.0) Electronic Resources.. 65

6.1 -Internet Resources. 65

7.0) Repair Tips and Information.. 67

7.1 - Hand Controllers. 67

7.2 - Cartridge Problems. 68

7.3 - Console Disassembly.. 68

7.4 - General Troubleshooting.. 69

7.5 - Pinouts for INTV Controller.. 70

7.6 -Fixing INTV II Controllers. 72

7.7 - Intellivision 2 Controller Modification.. 73

7.8 -You've really messed up and are wondering what to do... 73

7.9 -Hooking your Intellivision to a Modern TV.. 74

8.0) Programmer Interviews.. 74

8.1 - Daniel Bass. 74

8.2 - Ray Kaestner.. 76

8.3 - Patrick Jost.. 78

9.0) Intellivision Emulators.. 80

9.1 - Commercial Emulators. 80

9.2 - Non-Commercial Emulators. 81

10.0) Credits.. 81

 

 

1.0 - General Information

1.1 - Brief History of the Mattel Intellivision

At the end of 1979, Mattel Electronics (a division of Mattel Toys) released a video game system known as Intellivision along with 12 video game cartridges. Poised as a competitor to the then king of the hill Atari 2600, Mattel Electronics called their new product "Intelligent Television", stemming largely from their marketing plans to release a compatible computer keyboard for their video games console. Mattel's marketing was anything *but* intelligent and almost destroyed the company by 1984. In one sense the system was very successful, with over 3 million units sold and 125 games released before the system was discontinued by INTV Corp. in 1990.

 

The original Master Component was test marketed in Fresno, California in late 1979. The response was excellent, and Mattel went national with their new game system in late 1980. The first year's production run of 200,000 units was completely sold out! To help enhance its marketability, Mattel also marketed the system in Sears stores as the Super Video Arcade, and at Radio Shack as the Tandyvision One in the early 1980's.

 

1980 was a turbulent year for the Intellivision. Mattel announced that an "inexpensive" keyboard expansion would be available in 1981 for the master component to be dropped into. This was to turn the system into a powerful 64K home computer that could do everything from play games to balance your checkbook. There was a great deal of marketing money and press coverage devoted to this unit; a third of the box for the GTE/Sylvania Intellivision describes the features of this proposed expansion. Many people bought an Intellivision with plans to turn it into a computer when the expansion module was released. Months, then years passed. The original expansion keyboard was released only in a few test areas in late 1981. With the price too high and the initial reaction poor, the product was scrapped in 1982 before being released nationwide.

 

1982 saw many changes in both the videogame industry and the Intellivision product line. A voice-synthesis module called Intellivoice made sound and speech and integral part of game play, through the use of special voice-enhanced cartridges. The Intellivision II was also released this year, which one company spokesperson described as "smaller and lighter that the original, yet with the same powerful 16-bit microprocessor". The new console was more compact than the first, and its grayish body made it look more like a sophisticated electronic device than the original design.

 

1983 brought more promises from the folks at Mattel, the most significant of which being the Intellivision III. This was shown off at the January 1983 CES show, and lauded in the videogame magazines for many months afterwards. In June of 1983 at the Summer CES show, Mattel announced it was killing the Intellivision III and including most of its high-profile features into their long-awaited computer expansion, the Entertainment Computer System.

 

Probably the most ambitious effort the Intellivision team had undertaken, the Entertainment Computer System was comprised of a computer keyboard add-on, a 49-key music synthesizer, ram expansion for the keyboard add-on to expand it to a full 64K RAM and 24K ROM, a data recorder to store programs, a 40-column thermal printer, and an adapter which would allow you to play Atari 2600 games on your Intellivision. The RAM expansion modules never saw the light of day. The data recorder, and thermal printer were released as components for the Aquarius computer. The music synthesizer had but one software title to take advantage of its capabilities. While the 2600 adapter greatly expanded the library of available games, much of the steam this generated had already been stolen by Coleco's own expansion module.

 

1984 would spell the end of the original Intellivision as the world knew it. Terry E. Valeski, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Mattel Electronics, along with a group of investors, purchased the assets, trademarks, patents, and right to the Intellivision in January of 1984 for $16.5 million dollars. The purchase was backed by financing from Tangible Industries, a division of Revco Drug Stores, The newly formed company was originally called Intellivision, Inc., and later renamed INTV, Inc., after Valeski negotiated all rights from Revco in November of 1984. During the next two years, the new company would lie dormant while plans were being made for a re-emergence.

 

In the fall of 1985, the INTV System III (also called the Super Pro System) appeared at Toys 'R Us, Kiddie City, and in a mail order catalog sent to owners of the original Intellivision direct from INTV. The new console was of the same general design as the original master component, except it sported a fresh black plastic shell with brushed aluminum trim. Several new games accompanied the release of the new system, and 1985 would register over $6 million dollars in sales worldwide, indicating that INTV Corp. had indeed revived the Intellivision. INTV continued to market games and repair services through the mail with great success. Between 1985 and 1990 over 35 new games were released, bringing the Intellivision's game library to a total of 125 titles.

 

Many more changes were to come during the final six years of Intellivision's life. In 1987, an improved master component called the INTV System IV was shown at the January CES, which sported detachable controllers and a timing device. Unfortunately, this never saw the light of day either. In the fall of 1988, INTV re-introduced the computer keyboard adapter through their mail order catalog on a limited quantity basis. In 1990, INTV discontinued retail sales of their games and equipment and sold them only through the mail channels.

 

The change in marketing was due to agreements with Nintendo and Sega to become a software vendor for the NES, Game Boy and Genesis. In 1991, INTV sold out its stock of Intellivision games and consoles, and the company, along with the Intellivision, gradually faded away.

 

1.2 - Timeline

1979 - Intellivision is test marketed

1980 - Mattel Intellivision released nationally, Computer Expansion announced

1982 - Computer Expansion Module scrapped due to high cost and poor response

1982 - Intellivoice released

1983 - Intellivision II released

1983 - Entertainment Computer System released many peripherals. Announced

1983 - 2600 System Changer released

1983 - Intellivision III announced

1983 - The videogame market begins to crash

1983 - Intellivision III dropped

1984 - The videogame market bottoms out

1984 - Mattel sells the Intellivision rights to VP Marketing T.E. Valeski and investors, forming INTV Corp.

1985 - INTV III released, along with new Intellivision titles. Aggressive marketing adds $6 million sales

1987 - INTV IV announced, to be scrapped later

1990 - INTV Corp. discontinues retail sales, markets through mail only

1991 - INTV Corp. sells off its remaining Intellivision stock

 

2.0) Technical Information

2.1 - General Hardware Specs

Intellivision Master Component (these apply to the clones as well)

 

CPU: GI 16 bit microprocessor

Memory: 7K internal ROM, RAM and I/O structures, remaining 64k address space for external programs.

Controls: 12 button numeric key pad, four action keys, and 16 direction disc

Sound: Sound generator capable of 3 part harmony with programmable ASDR envelopes.

Color: 16 colors

Resolution: 192v x 160h pixels

 

2.2 - Processor Specs

GI 1600, running at 894,886.25 Hz (NTSC) and 1MHz (PAL/SECAM). Processor has 16 bit registers, uses 16 bit RAM, and has 10 bit instructions. Intellivision cartridges contain ROMs that are 10 bits wide. Ten bits are called a decle.

 

The CPU was strange. For example, if you did two ROTATE LEFT instructions, followed by a ROTATE RIGHT BY 2 (rotates could be by one or two), you did not end up with the original word. The top two bits were swapped!

 

Ken Kirkby also has this to add: "The GI CP1600 was developed as a joint venture in the early seventies between GI and Honeywell. One of the first commercial uses of the CP1600 was its incorporation into Honeywell's TDC2000, the first distributed control system, and prototypes existed in late '74 I think. Honeywell's then Test Instrument Division also incorporated into a Cardiac Catheterization system called MEDDARS which was released for sale about 1979. The CP1600 was definitely a 16 bit chip."

 

John Dullea dug this information up during a stroll at his local library:

 

“In the Penn State Library I found a book called "An Introduction to Microcomputers, Vol. 2: Some Real Microprocessors", By Adam Osborne, Osborne & Associates, Inc., 1978. ISBN: 0-931998-15-2. Library of Congress catalogue card #: 76-374891.

 

It has lots of info on the CP1600/1610 CPU in the Intellivision. Chapter 16 has the pinouts of the CPU:

 

 

D0-D15

Data and address bus

Tristate, bidirectional

BDIR, BC1, BC2

Bus control signals

Output

(PHI)1,(PHI)2

Clock signals

Input

MSYNC

Master synchronization

Input

EBCA0-EBCA3

External branch condition addr lines

Output

EBCI

External branch condition input

Input

PCIT

Program Counter inhibit/software

Input

 

Interrupt signal

 

BDRDY

WAIT

Input

STPST

CPU stop or start on high-to-low

Input

 

transition

 

HALT

Halt state signal

Output

INTR, INTRM

Interrupt request lines

Input

TCI

Terminate current interrupt

Output

BUSRQ

Bus request

Input

BUSAK

External bus control acknowledge

Output

VBB, VCC,

Power and ground

 

VDD, GND

Power and ground

 

 

The logic board in the Intellivision unit (original model 2609) reveals a number of (important) chips:

Sound AY-3-8914 40-pin

ROM RO-3-9503-003 40-pin

ROM RO-3-9502-011 40-pin

Color AY-3-8915 18-pin

 

And there is the cartridge ROM:

ROM AY-3-9504-021 28-pin

 

In addition, there are three 40-pin chips that have heat sinks with epoxy on top. Now, you may try this, but be EXTREMELY careful (or just listen to what I found): I carefully removed the three heat-sunk chips and looked at them; they have designations on the bottom!

 

STIC AY-3-8900-1 40-pin

RAM RA-3-9600 40-pin

CPU CP-1610 40-pin *

 

Having the CPU location and pin outs, one can use an ohmmeter to map the pins to the cartridge pins:

Looking AT the cartridge, not the Intellivision unit: you probably should double-check this, but I obviously can't accept any responsibility for any damage to your Master Component. (I'm not 100% sure about the assignments for VCC and GND)

 

 

All *x pins are connected; cartridges have a loop on the top row connecting them, and the connector in the Intellivision unit connects the top row *x pins to those on the bottom row. Internally, *x pins are connected as follows:

 

*1 STIC pin 7

*2 STIC pin 6

*3 STIC pin 8

 

There may be other connections to them as well; I don't know why they connect to the ROM pins. However, considering the system changer's ability to route in external video, having pins going to the STIC seems to make some sense. I suspect that they may switch the ROM from address write mode to data read mode (like the three bus control lines on the CPU, maybe).

 

Mapping this to the ROM pinouts, you get:


 

Please note that the chapter mentioned above has all opcode and register info, as well as timing information for the CP1600/1600A/1610 CPUs.

 

2.3 -Graphics Specs

160x92 pixels, 16 colors, 8 sprites (they were called "moving objects" rather than sprites) 8x8 in size. Sprites could be linearly doubled.

 

Graphics is character based. The screen is twelve rows of twenty characters. Characters either come from Graphics ROM (GROM), which contains the usual alphanumeric symbols and a bunch of other things meant to be useful in drawing backgrounds (256 characters in all), or Graphics RAM (GRAM), which the program can use to build pictures needed that aren't in GROM (like sprite images). GRAM can hold 64. The pre-designed sprites located in ROM were a big help in speeding up game play. Eight of the colors are designated as the primary colors. The other eight are called the pastel colors.

 

There were two graphics modes: Foreground/Background, and Color Stack. In F/B mode, you specify the colors for both the on and off pixels of each card ("card" is the term for a 8x8 block on the screen). One of these (the on pixels, I think) could use any color, but the other could only use the primary colors.

 

In CS mode, you can give the chip a circular list of four colors (pastels and primaries are both allowed). For each card, you specify the ON bits color from any of the 16 colors, and the OFF bits color comes from the next color on the circular list. You can also tell if the list is to advance or not. Thus, in CS mode, you only get four colors for the OFF bits, and they have to be used in a predetermined order, but you get to use the pastels. Most games used CS mode.

 

A sprite could be designated as either being in front of or behind the background, which determined priority when it overlapped the ON pixels of a background image.

 

You could tell the graphics chip to black out the top row or the first column (or both) of cards. You could also tell it to delay the display by up to the time of seven scan lines, or to delay the pixels on each scan line by up to seven pixel times. Using these two features together allows for smooth scrolling.

 

For example, a game that is going to scroll a lot sideways could black out the first row. Now, to scroll the background to the right by one pixel, you just have to delay by one pixel time. This moves everything over. The black part is NOT delayed --that is always displayed in the first 8 screen pixel locations. The net result is that you now see one pixel that was previously hidden under the black strip, and one pixel on the other side has fallen of the edge, and everything appears to have moved over. Thus, to scroll, you only have to move the screen memory every eighth time, when things need to be shifted a full card. There is no need for a bitblt-type operation.

 

The hardware detected collisions between sprites and other sprites or the background.

 

GRAM and screen memory could only be manipulated during vertical retrace. At the end of vertical retrace, you had to tell the chip if it should display or not. If you weren't done, you could keep manipulating by not telling it to display, but then you end up with a flicker which was unacceptable.

 

2.4 -Operating System Specs

The operating system did several things:

 

It allowed the program to specify a velocity for each sprite. The OS would deal with adjusting the sprite position registers for you and cycling through your animation sequence.

 

For each pair of sprites you could specify a routine to be called when that pair of sprites collided. For each sprite, you could specify a routine to be called when that sprite hit the background or the edge of the screen.

 

It maintained timers, and allowed you to specify routines to be called periodically.

 

It dealt with the controls. You could specify routines to be called when the control disc was pressed or released, or when buttons were pressed or released. It provided functions to read numbers from the keypad. The calling sequences for these were a bit strange. When you called these, they saved the return address, and then did a return. You had to call them with nothing after your return address on the stack, and they return to your caller. When the number is ready, they return to after where you called them, but as an interrupt. In generic assembly, it would be like this (I've long since forgotten 1600!):

 

jsr        foo

bar

:..

....

foo:      ;do some setup or whatever

jsr        GetNumberFromKeypad

spam:  ...

 

GetNumberFromKeypad returns to bar immediately. When the number is read, spam will be called from an interrupt handler. If you didn't know that a routine did this, reading code could get rather confusing!

 

3.0) Hardware Descriptions

3.1 - Intellivision Master Component

The original, the one the started it all. It has a brown molded plastic case with gold trim on the top. Two controller wells are recessed in the top for housing the two hard-wired controllers. The controllers are also brown molded plastic, with a 12-key numeric keypad, two fire buttons located on each side, and a gold disk centered in the bottom third of the controller which is used to control your on-screen persona. The power and reset switches are located on the top of the unit, in the lower right hand corner.

3.2 - GTE / Sylvania Intellivision

This console is identical to the original Intellivision except for the brand name. The box has a very detailed description of the Keyboard Component/Computer Adapter that was never released... Rumor has it that these were given away for free with the purchase of a Sylvania television.

 

3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision I

This console has faux wood-grain paneling in the place of the INTV I's gold panels. Otherwise, this unit is totally identical to the INTV I.

 

3.4 - INTV System III

In 1984, the vice president of marketing for Mattel Electronics bought the rights to the Intellivision and formed a company called INTV Corp. The result of this venture was the release of the INTV III, or Super Pro System. This redesigned unit is physically identical to the original INTV I, except that it has a black plastic case with silver plates, and also has a Power LED indicator between the Power and Reset switches. The controllers are black with silver discs, and the keypads were either silver with black lettering or black with silver lettering.

 

3.5 - Sears Super Video Arcade

Up until recently, if you wanted to market your product through Sears, it had to have their name on it. Much like Atari with the Tele-Games Video Arcade, Mattel created a clone that was similar yet different to the INTV I. Functionally identical, this unit has a cream-colored case with a wood-grain front, and removable controllers that rest in the center of the console. The power and reset switches are circular in shape and about an inch in diameter:


3.6 - Intellivision II

In 1982, Mattel decided that they needed to spice up the design of the Intellivision, as well as attempt to shave some costs; the Intellivision II was the result. Some key differences include:

 

- A much smaller footprint

- Grey plastic case with a thin red stripe circling the unit

- External power supply (not standard by any means)

- Detachable controllers

- Combination Power/Reset switch (you have to hold the switch for 5 seconds in order to turn the unit off)

- Power LED Indicator



This unit contained a revised ROM which was necessary for the System Changer (more on that later), but also caused incompatibilities with certain Coleco games (Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, and Carnival) and some Mattel games (Word Fun, Shark Shark).

 

This unit also used a non-standard AC Adapter, making it near impossible to find a replacement at your local Radio Shack. For those who are handy enough to construct their own, here are the specs:

 

Input: 120V 60Hz 25 Watts

Output: 16.7V AC 1.0A

 

The INTV II Power supply can also be substituted by the following power supplies: Atari 1050 disk drive, Genesis I, Atari Jaguar. Use at own risk!

 

3.7 Keyboard Component / Computer Adaptor

This unit only saw a limited test marketing run of less than one thousand units in late 1981. It was color-keyed to match the INTV I, and the entire game console fit into the top of the unit. It sported a full-stroke 60-key keyboard, built in cassette recorder, and brought the total memory capacity of the Intellivision to 64K. A modem expansion module was also planned. Due to its high street price (around $700, versus an announced price of $150), the plans to market this unit nationally were shelved.

 

3.8 - Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module

This module attaches to the cartridge port of your Intellivision, and through the use of special voice-enhanced games, your INTV could talk. There were 5 games released to take advantage of the unit's capabilities (Space Spartans, B-17 Bomber, Tron Solar Sailor, Bomb Squad, and World Series Major League Baseball (also requires the ECS) ). The module has a dial on the front to control the voice's volume. Voice games will work without the adapter, but since the voice was made to be an integral portion of the game, they're extremely difficult to play.

 

Underneath the plastic Mattel Electronics logo on the top is an expansion connector.

 

3.9 - Entertainment Computer System

Spurred on by the increasingly popular home computer market and lawsuits, Mattel introduced the Entertainment Computer System along with the INTV II in 1983. This unit plugs into the cartridge port of the INTV II, and has its own cartridge slot, two additional controller ports, a cassette interface, and a balance dial for controlling the output level of the ECS's three additional voices.

 

 

The unit requires an additional power supply. Here again, Mattel used something completely different from the rest of the industry:

 

Output: 10.0 VAC, 1.0 A

 

The ECS came packaged with a 49-key chiclet-style keyboard, power supply, and a well-written manual describing INTV BASIC. Upon returning your registration card, you would receive "The Step-By-Step Guide To Home Computing", which included a very detailed BASIC Tutorial, and some more in-depth study of the ECS's abilities. The unit sported an additional voice chip (bringing the grand total to 6), 10K of ROM and 2K of RAM for programming purposes.

 

This unit comes in two flavors, the grey mentioned above, and also a dark brown color (sold in the European market) keyed to the original Intellivision. Functionally, the units are identical except for the 220 volt power supply. The dark brown variety is extremely difficult to find. Expansions announced for this unit includes a 16K RAM, 8K ROM expansion, a 32KRAM, 12K ROM expansion. None of these peripherals ever made it to market.

 

3.10 - Music Synthesizer

This was an add-on for the ECS, a full 49 key piano style keyboard. It has 6 note polyphony (for you non-musicians, can play 6 notes at once), and plugs into the controller ports on the ECS via a dual 9 pin connector. Melody Blaster was the only program released by Mattel to specifically take advantage of this component. This unit also came molded either in light gray or dark brown plastic (European market). Although they are both pretty tough to find, the brown variety is extremely rare.

 

3.11 - System Changer

The Atari 2600 had the biggest library of games at the time, and Mattel added the capability of playing 2600 carts to the INTV II with this module. This unit also interfaces with the INTV II via the cartridge port. It has a 2600 cartridge port on the top of the module, Game Select and Reset keys flanking the two difficulty and color/BW switch. The controller ports are located on the front of the module, and any of your favorite 2600 compatible controllers work just fine. If you don't happen to have Atari controllers lying around, you can use the disc controller attached to the INTV II in lieu of them. If you happened to own an original Intellivision, sending in your Master Component and $19.95 would get you a main board modification that was required for this unit to work with the older equipment.

 

3.12 - Joystick Substitutes

For the masses that couldn't stand to use the Intellivision's awful disc controllers, there were a couple solutions:

 

- INTV Corp. released a set of clip-on Joysticks which snapped onto the lower half of your controller, these are of questionable quality and value:

 

- A couple of other companies released sticks that either glued onto the existing discs, or replaced the disc entirely, with a shaft that screwed into a hole drilled into the center of the replacement disc. One of these add-ons also came with oversized fire buttons that clipped over the existing buttons.

 

3.13 - Compro Electronics Videoplexer

Tired of switching between your 8 favorite games? Get a Videoplexer! Similar to the RomScanner for the Atari 2600, this unit would store 8 Intellivision games and allow you to switch them on the fly via a touch panel on the front of the unit. The unit plugs into the cartridge port of the base system, and on top there are slots for up to eight cartridges. At the base of the Videoplexer, there are 8 buttons for switching between the cartridges.

 

3.14 - PlayCable

The idea of beaming videogames through Cable TV is not new; a company called PlayCable created an adapter for the Intellivision that plugged in to the cartridge port, and the service had a selection of 20 of the most popular games available every month.

 

Steven Roode and his brother were fortunate enough to have this service, and what follows is his description of the hardware and the service provided:

 

“When you signed up for PlayCable, you were given a box which would plug into the Intellivision's (INTV's) cartridge port. The box had the same color scheme as an INTV I, and its dimensions were the same height and depth of the INTV I, with the length of an INTV II. It had a power cord coming out of it. Additionally, you were given a RF box which had a coaxial in, a coaxial out, and two RCA outs. One RCA out was connected to the INTV, and one was connected to the PlayCable unit.

 

For about $4.95 a month, the cable company would transmit 20 games (Although for the first few months, there were only 15 games). When you turned on the INTV, a sort of 'boot screen' would come up and you would hear a sound that sort of sounded like a clock ticking. After a couple of seconds, you would hear 4 long beeps and the PlayCable title screen would pop up. There would be one of four different songs in the background (I know that one was the victory song in checkers, one was The Entertainer, one was Music Box Dancer, and I forget the other one). Each screen listed 5 games (I think, it may have been 4), and you could cycle through the games lists by pressing the disc. When you found the game that you wanted, you would press the number next to it, and press enter. A title screen of the game would pop up, and again you would hear ticking. After a couple of seconds, you would hear the same 4 long beeps and the game would be ready to play”

 

The following are excerpts from a PlayCable-specific game manual describing the game loading process:

 

HOW TO SELECT YOUR FAVORITE GAME FROM PLAYCABLE:

 

- Set the PlayCable TV/Game switch to GAME.

 

- Turn on your television and turn to Channel 3 or 4. (The same setting as the switch on the bottom of the Mattel Electronics Master Component.)

 

- Turn on the Master Component; push the RESET button.

 

- The screen will read, "PLAYCABLE CATALOG." The screen will then change to: "PLAYCABLE PRESENTS INTELLIVISION. PUSH DISC."

 

- Push the directional disc (the big, round button on either hand control) to see each page of the catalog. The series will start again automatically as you keep pushing the disc.

 

- To call up a game, find the page on which the game appears. Press the number of the game on your keypad, and then press ENTER. Wait about 10 seconds. When the four rectangles in the upper left hand corner of your screen turn white, your game is ready.

 

- Push the disc again and the game will appear.

- To select a new game, push RESET. The catalog will re-appear.

One of the neater aspects of PlayCable was that they would rotate out about half of the games every month. When they did, you would get instruction books and overlays for each new game in the mail (and all of the overlays were attached with perforations; so you would have to sort of tear them apart).

 

PlayCable tended to have some pretty decent games on it. You would always have a couple of the 'classics' every month (i.e., I don't think Baseball and Astrosmash ever came off!), and you would get some pretty recent games as well. Once in a while they were slow in changing the games. They were supposed to be rotated out on the 1st of each month. Believe me, my brother and I would fake sick to stay home from school sometimes on the 1st! If by noon they weren't changed, we would call the cable company and by the end of the day they were updated (One other neat little side note: When they changed the games out, the system would still be up. First, all game choices would disappear. Then, two by two, new games would pop up. You could actually see them appear!)

 

We had PlayCable for about two years (I think 81-82), and our cable company was big into promoting it. They had INTV playathons at some of the local malls, giving away free INTVs to high scorers in certain games. During one promotional weekend, the cable company showed nothing but people playing INTV and the announcers commenting on how realistic the game play was. I think we even have one PlayCable T-shirt lying around somewhere!

 

Finally though, our cable company stopped carrying PlayCable, and unfortunately, we had to surrender the box. I would like to have kept it to see how it worked. All in all, our family has a lot of fond memories of PlayCable... I think it helped to enhance the uniqueness and mystery of the Intellivision.

 

3.15 - Intellivision Tester (MTE-100)

This is a large metal briefcase that appears to be a portable diagnostic unit for testing Intellivision cartridges and the removable chips from malfunctioning systems. It consists of two controllers mounted onto the top of the unit, zero insertion force (ZIF) sockets for testing chips, and various other controls to test the chips under different operating conditions. To run the diagnostics, the system uses an integrated MTE-201 test cartridge. Internally, the system appears to be a modified 2609 motherboard along with an alternative power supply circuit. It is interesting to note that the controllers mounted on the top of the unit match the layout in the controller test section of the MTE-201 tests, which means they are reversed -i.e. the left controller is mounted on the right. This unit was not sold to the public, and it is unknown if more were produced. At the time of this writing, the history of this unit remains shrouded in mystery.

(Thanks to Steve Orth for the info)

 

4.0) Cartridge Listing

4.1 - Released Titles

 

Overlay Key:

Yes = has overlays

No = No overlays

L/R = has different overlays for the left and right controllers

 

Notes: Any interesting tidbits, such as additional hardware required, release notes, and compatibility.

 

Manufacturer

Title

Part #

Overlay

Notes

Intelligentvision

4-Tris

9111

Yes

J. Zbiciak released in 2001

Mattel

ABPA Backgammon

1119

Yes

Sears #49 75214

Mattel

AD&D Cloudy Mountain

3410

Yes

 

Mattel

AD&D Treasure of Tarmin

5300

Yes

 

Mattel

Armor Battle

1121

Yes

Sears #49 75211

Mattel

Astrosmash

3605

Yes

Sears #49 75229

Imagic

Atlantis

700006

Yes

 

Mattel

Auto Racing

1113

Yes

Sears #49 75205

Mattel

B-17 Bomber

3884

Yes

Intellivoice

Activision

Beamrider

M-005-02

Yes

 

Imagic

Beauty & the Beast

700007

Yes

 

Interphase

Blockade Runner

80100001

Yes

 

INTV

Body Slam! Super Pro Wrestling

9009

No

 

Mattel

Bomb Squad

3883

Yes

Intellivoice

Mattel

Boxing

1819

Yes

Sears #49 75221

Mattel

Bump 'n' Jump

4688

Yes

 

Mattel

BurgerTime

4549

Yes

 

Mattel

Buzz Bombers

4436

Yes

 

Coleco

Carnival

2488

No

Non-Intv2

AtariSoft

Centipede

70254

No

 

Dextell

Championship Tennis

8200

Yes

 

Mattel

Checkers

1120

Yes

Sears #49 75215

INTV

Chip Shot Super Pro Golf

8900

No

 

INTV

Commando

9000

No

 

Sega

Congo Bongo

006-06

No

 

AtariSoft

Defender

70252

No

 

Mattel

Demo Cart 78'

1682-0950

No

 

Mattel

Demo Cart 78' Revision

5032-0710

No

 

Mattel

Demo Cart 83'

5853-0210

No

 

Mattel

Demo Cart International

5859-0410

No

 

Imagic

Demon Attack

700005

Yes

 

INTV

Dig Dug

9005

No

 

INTV

Diner

8800

No

 

Coleco

Donkey Kong

76257

No

Non-Intv2

Coleco

Donkey Kong Junior

76376

No

 

Imagic

Dracula

700018

Yes

 

Imagic

Dragonfire

700010

Yes

 

Mattel

Electric Company Math Fun

2613

Yes

 

Mattel

Electric Company Word Fun

1122

Yes

Non-Intv2

Imagic

Fathom

7205

Yes

 

Mattel

Frog Bog

5301

Yes

Sears #49 75234

Parker Brothers

Frogger

6300

No

 

Activision

Happy Trails

M-003-04

Yes

 

Mattel

Horse Racing

1123

Yes

Sears #49 75209

INTV

Hover Force

8500

No

 

Imagic

Ice Trek

710012

Yes

 

Mattel

Jetsons Ways With Words

4543

Yes

ECS

Mattel

Kool-Aid Man

4675

Yes

 

Coleco

Lady Bug

2483

No

 

Mattel

Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack

2611

Yes

Pack-in / Sears #49 75222

Mattel

Las Vegas Roulette

1118

Yes

Sears #49 75208

INTV

Learning Fun I

9002

No

 

INTV

Learning Fun II

9006

No

 

Mattel

Lock'N'Chase

5637

Yes

 

Mattel

Loco-Motion

4438

Yes

 

Mattel

Major Leage Baseball

2614

Yes

Sears #49 75202

Mattel

Masters of the Universe - The Powers of He-Man

4689

Yes

 

Mattel

Melody Blaster

4540

L/R

ECS / Piano

Imagic

MicroSurgeon

720013

Yes

 

Mattel

Mind Strike

4531

Yes

ECS

Intelligentvision

Mine Hunter

9113

Yes

 

Mattel

Mission X

4437

Yes

 

Mattel

Motocross

3411

Yes

 

INTV

Mountain Madness: Super Pro Skiing

9007

No

 

Coleco

Mouse Trap

3411

Yes

Non-Intv2

Mattel

Mr. Basic Meets Bits'n Bytes

4536

L/R

ECS – 3 sets of overlays

Mattel

NASL Soccer

1683

Yes

Sears #49 75206

Mattel

NBA Basketball

2614

Yes

Sears #49 75203

Mattel

NFL Football

2610

Yes

Sears #49 75201

Mattel

NHL Hockey

1114

Yes

Sears #49 75204

Mattel

Night Stalker

5305

Yes

Sears #49 75236

Imagic

Nova Blast

700022

Yes

 

INTV

Pac Man

8000

No

 

AtariSoft

Pac Man

70251

No

 

Mattel

PBA Bowling

3333

Yes

Sears #49 75223

Mattel

PGA Golf

1816

Yes

Sears #49 75207

Mattel

Pinball

5356

Yes

 

Activision

Pitfall!

M-002-04

Yes

 

INTV

Pole Position

9004

No

 

Parker Brothers

Popeye

941519

No

 

Parker Brothers

Q*Bert

6360

No

 

Mattel

Reversi

5304

Yes

 

Activision

River Raid

M-007-03

Yes

 

Mattel

Royal Dealer

5303

Yes

 

Imagic

Safecracker

710025

Yes

 

Intelligentvision

Same Game & Robots

9114

Yes

 

Mattel

Scooby Doo's Maze Chase

4533

Yes

ECS

Mattel

Sea Battle

1818

Yes

Sears #49 75213

Interphase

Sewer Sam

8010002

Yes

 

Mattel

Shark! Shark!

5387

Yes

 

Mattel

Sharp Shot

5638

Yes

 

INTV

Slam Dunk Super Pro Basketball

9001

No

 

INTV

Slap Shot Super Pro Hockey

9003

No

 

Mattel

Snafu

3758

Yes

Sears #49 75228

Mattel

Space Armada

3759

Yes

Sears #49 75226

Mattel

Space Battle

2612

Yes

Sears #49 75212

Mattel

Space Hawk

5136

Yes

 

Mattel

Space Spartans

3416

Yes

Intellivoice

INTV

Spiker! - Super Pro Volleyball

9102

No

 

INTV

Stadium Mud Buggies

9100

No

 

Activision

Stampede

M-001-04

Yes

 

Mattel

Star Strike

5161

Yes

Sears #49 75231

Parker Brothers

Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back

6050

No

 

Intelligentvision

Stonix

9112

Yes

 

Mattel

Sub Hunt

3408

Yes

Sears #49 75225

Parker Brothers

Super Cobra

941505

No

 

INTV

Super Pro Decathlon

9008

No

 

INTV

Super Pro Football

8400

No

 

Imagic

Swords & Serpents

720009

L/R

 

Mattel

Tennis

1814

Yes

Sears #49 75218

Mattel

Test Cartridge IMI-v10

n/a

No

 

Mattel

Test Cartridge MTE-201

n/a

No

 

Activision

The Dreadnaught Factor

M-004-04

Yes

 

INTV

Thin Ice

8300

No

 

INTV

Thunder Castle

4469

No

 

INTV

Tower of Doom

8600

No

 

Mattel

Triple Action

3760

Yes

Sears #49 75230

INTV

Triple Challenge

8700

No

 

Mattel

TRON Deadly Discs

5391

Yes

 

Mattel

TRON Maze-A-Tron

5392

Yes

 

Mattel

TRON Solar Sailer

5393

Yes

Intellivoice

Imagic

Tropical Trouble

700017

Yes

 

Imagic

Truckin'

710023

Yes

 

Coleco

Turbo

2473

No

 

Parker Brothers

Tutankham

941509

No

 

Mattel

U.S. Ski Team Skiing

1817

Yes

Sears #49 75219

Mattel

USCF Chess

3412

L/R

 

Mattel

Utopia

5149

Yes

Sears #49 75232

Mattel

Vectron

5788

Yes

 

Coleco

Venture

2477

No

Non-Intv2

Imagic

White Water!

720024

Yes

 

INTV

World Championship Baseball

5789

Yes

 

Dextell

World Cup Soccer

8100

Yes

 

Mattel

World Series Major League Baseball

4537

L/R

ECS / Intellivoice

Activision

Worm Whomper

M-006-03

Yes

 

Coleco

Zaxxon

2487

No

Non-Intv2

                                                                                                                         

4.2 -Unreleased (or rumored) titles for the Intellivision

Manufacturer

Title

Notes

Mattel

All-Star Baseball

Prototype exists; INTV released as WC Baseball

Imagic

Beezor

 

Sega

Buck Rogers Planet Of Zoom

 

INTV

Choplifter!

Prototype exists

Coleco

Cosmic Avenger

 

INTV

Flight Simulator

 

Coleco

Frenzy

 

Atari

Galaxian

 

Parker Brothers

G.I. Joe

 

Mattel

Go For the Gold

Prototype exists; title screen only and complete

Mattel

Illusions

Prototype exists; 100% complete

Parker Brothers

James Bond 007: Octopussy

 

Parker Brothers

Jedi Arena

 

INTV

Karateka

Never started

Mattel

Land Battle

Prototype exists; released on INTV Lives CD

Coleco

Looping

 

Parker Brothers

Lord of the Rings:Journey To Rivendell

 

Activision

Master of the Lamps

 

Imagic

Moonsweeper

 

INTV

Ms. Pac-Man

 

Mattel

Mystic Castle

Prototype exists. INTV released as Thunder Castle

Mattel

Party Line

Space Cadet, Hard Hat, Blow out; all exists

Coleco

Pepper II

 

Parker Brothers

Reactor

 

Parker Brothers

Return Of The Jedi:Death Star Battle

 

Parker Brothers

Return Of The Jedi:Ewok Adventure

 

Coleco

Rocky

 

Mattel

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Prototype exists; 100% complete

INTV

Sea Battle II

 

Imagic

Shootin' Gallery

 

Coleco

Smurf Rescue

 

Coleco

Smurf

 

INTV

Speed Freak

 

Mattel

Space Shuttle

Prototype exists; Intellivoice; not completed

Parker Brothers

Spiderman

 

Sega

Star Trek

 

Parker Brothers

Strawberry Shortcake

 

INTV

Super Pro Auto Racing

Never started

INTV

Super Pro European Bike Rally

Never started

INTV

Super Pro Horse Racing

Never started

INTV

Super Pro Pool/Billiards

Prototype exists; released on INTV Lives CD

INTV

Super Pro Soccer

Prototype exists; contains advertisements; 100% done

Coleco

Time Pilot

 

Mattel

Tower of Mystery

Prototype exists; INTV released as Tower of Doom

Imagic

Wing War

 

Mattel

Yogi’s Frustration

Prototype exists; 100% completed

Activision

Zenji

 

 

4.3 Unreleased / Announced titles for the ECS

 

Manufacturer

Title

Notes

Mattel

Game Factory

Released on INTV Lives CD

Mattel

The Flintstones Keyboard Fun

Prototype exist; game is playable but not complete

Mattel

Number Jumble

Released on INTV Lives CD

Mattel

Program Builder

 

Mattel

Song Writer

 

Mattel

Super NFL Football

Prototype exist; game is playable but not complete

Mattel

Super Soccer

Released on INTV Lives CD

 

4.4 -Software announced for the Keyboard Component/Computer Adaptor

These programs were all to have been provided on cassettes

 

Manufacturer

Title

Notes

Mattel

J.K. Lasser’s 1980 Federal Income

 

Mattel

Chartcraft Stock Analysis

 

Mattel

Jack LaLanne’s Physical Conditioning

Released

Mattel

BASIC

Released as cartridge for Keyboard Component

Mattel

Guitar Lessons & Music Companion

 

Mattel

Spelling Challenge

 

Mattel

Geography Challenge

Released

Mattel

Jeanne Dixon Astrology

 

Mattel

Family Budgeting

Released

Mattel

Crosswords 1

Released

Mattel

Crosswords 2

Released

Mattel

Crosswords 3

Released

Mattel

Speed Reading

 

Mattel

Conversational Spanish

 

Mattel

Conversational French

Released

 

4.5 -Easter Eggs, Cheats and Tips

 

4-TRIS

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: If you press 6+9 on either controller and press RESET, you’ll get a “hello” message from Joseph.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: If you press RIGHT on the LEFT controller, and 5 on the RIGHT controller and press RESET, you'll get PONG instead.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

             

 

 

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Cloudy Mountain

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the RIGHT controller, hold 0 + either upper side button + disc position 7, then press RESET.  When the title screen appears, push the disc or any button and you’ll see the map screen (see picture).  Both halves of the crown will be assembled on top of your party and you immediately win the game!  {Carl Mueller}

 

 

BUG: Move so that a slow-moving monster (on early levels, this is all of them, but blobs work best) is above you in a long vertical passage.  Walk downwards until the monster is just barely off the top of the screen, and then quickly return.  The monster will often be cloned or disappear; with blobs, you can get up to three at once from one original. It takes some practice to get the timing right.

 

BUG: On the map screen, you move your party around using the number pad on the controller.  If you move your party to the upper-left corner of the screen, you can press the up/left diagonal and move off the screen.  Keep moving in that direction, and you'll appear in the middle of the map. Once you're in the middle, you need to make one more "move" before you can return to moving normally.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Treasure of Tarmin

 

Increasing HP: When you start off, collect as much food as possible. When you fight, use only your bow and arrows. Make sure you rest after each battle. Collect whatever weapons you can, but repeating spiritual weapons like scrolls (and books) are great to have. If you cannot find any, just pick up whatever is available. Okay...you've fought a couple of times, and now you're out of arrows. KEEP THAT BOW RIGHT THERE! Go find another monster, and attack him with the bow. You'll get the ever-popular "RAZZ" sound, but the monster will attack you anyways. Keep repeating this until your HP gets as low as you want to go. The lower they go, the stronger you will become. When you're tired of letting the monster pummel you, get one of the other weapons and finish him off. Then rest. VOILA! Your HP will skyrocket! Normally, this affects your War HP faster than your spiritual HP, because you are using a war weapon. Your spiritual HP can also go up if you are being hit by spiritual weapons. Another way to get more Spiritual HP is to get the Spiritual knowledge book and then continue the method. This will raise your Spiritual HP faster. In order to get the most out of this, you must do the following: (1) Find ALL food, (2) Fight as often as you can, (3) Do NOT get arrows, and (4) Get all of the War and Spiritual skill books (to allow your HP to go above normal limit). Some other tips- keep a spare bow with you at all times in case your active one breaks. Also, fight the weakest monsters the longest. You can sit there and get hit 300 times by a skeleton, then kill him once and get back 50 HP, even though you only lost 4. This trick also works with scrolls, but since you never run out of ammo, just use the light blue scroll against a stronger opponent. Note: only do this if you are really strong!  {Jason Sinclair}

 

Ever wanted to see what was behind a wall or a door without the sight book? I did this on an Intellivision II, so I'm not sure if it works on a I or III... Go to a "hall of doors" - doors that line up on either side of you. Put an object down, and then GLANCE left or right. When you glance, if there is anything behind the door, the object you put down may blink for an instant. If it does, that means that an object is one or two spaces away in the direction you glanced. When you return back to your original direction, it may blink again. Sometimes, when it blinks, it momentarily turns into the object (or part of the sprite) that was hidden. For example, if a spear is behind the door, the item may briefly become a spear, and then return to whatever it was. It becomes easier to see if you glance one way, and then hit the other glance the other before you come back to your original position.  To try this in a more surefire way, find an eyeball mural that has a closable door beside it. Go through the door and then turn around to face the door. The eyeball mural will be on the other side. Put something down in front of you, and glance both directions. Notice the object you put down- it will blink, and if you're fast enough, it'll turn into an eyeball! The reason this may only work on an INTV II system is because there is a slight timing maladjustment inherent to all INTV II's, that I's and III's supposedly don’t.  If that is indeed true, then this works because the timing misfire actually causes the correct sprite to be in the wrong place due to the screen changes. {Jason Sinclair}

 

 

ARMOR BATTLE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the LEFT controller, press and hold 0 + either upper side button + disc position 7, and then press RESET.  You’ll then see a title screen with “D.E.I.” under the name, followed by the infamous crowd cheering sound.  Note- this only works on the fast (later) tank version.  {Carl Mueller}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the LEFT controller hold 3, on the RIGHT hold 9, and then press RESET.  The title will change to “D.E.I.”, followed by the infamous crowd cheering sound. Also, the copyright will say 1984.  Note- this only works on the slow (original) tank version.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

The initials DEI that show up in all the different APh games stand for "Dabney Eats It".  More info on this can be found at: http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/dei/  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

2 versions exist! The later release has a faster rotational speed on the tanks.  {Carl Mueller}

 

BUG: Drive a tank to the bottom of the screen, and then inactivate it.  Then take another tank (yours or enemies) and shoot it once or twice to make it move down.  Then re-activate the tank, turn it so it points straight down, and drive forward for a minute or two.  The tank will appear from the top of the screen and the tank will gain some "ghost tank" powers.

 

 

ASTROSMASH

 

BUG: There's no check for the score overflowing -- beyond 9,999,999 points, the scoring routine starts displaying negative numbers, letters, and other ASCII characters. (Ironically, the catalog description promises "Unlimited scoring potential.")  {BSR}

 

BUG: Astrosmash started out as a clone of the arcade game Asteroids, called Meteor!. The game wasn't very big, so John Sohl used the extra room in the cartridge to come up with a variation called Avalanche using the same graphics and sound effects. At the last minute, afraid of a lawsuit from Atari, the Mattel lawyers killed the Asteroids-like Meteor!. Rather than risk introducing bugs by deleting code, John simply put a branch around the opening-screen menu straight into the Avalanche! variation, which was released under the name Astrosmash. Very rarely, when there's a glitch hitting RESET, the Asteroids version will show up on screen. (This would be a dandy Easter egg if it was intentional or reliably repeatable, but it's neither.)  {BSR}

 

 

AUTO RACING

 

2 versions exist!  A change was made to make the steering easier (more realistic instead of intuitive).  {BSR}

 

Press 1+6+9 on either keypad to switch to “real” steering (and vice-versa).  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

The 5 race courses were created as a “globe” - you can go 'off the course' and onto other courses at many places in the game.  Anywhere where there's daylight in between trees is explore-able, and often 'hidden' areas (like the "Drag Strip", a long horizontal area) not mentioned in the manual can be found.

 

Select track 1. On the last long strip (before the sharp right turn), drive the car in the grass underneath the road. The car will never hit an obstacle!

 

B-17 BOMBER

 

BUG: Start a game in practice mode and keep bombing targets over England.  The score will eventually roll over and start displaying text, graphics, and even some bonus items from Lock ‘N’ Chase!

 

BUG: If your altitude is high enough, and you’re hit with enough enemy fire, you can rack up so much damage before you hit the ground that the damage counter will roll over, giving you instant repair!  {BSR}

 

BUG: Dropping a bomb to the far left of the screen from just the right altitude will crash the game.  {BSR}

 

BUG: Flying into flak features some great perspective animation; the rear view, however, doesn't look quite right. They ran out of time to debug it. By the way, they also ran out of room for a flak graphics picture. Instead, the program grabs some of the Executive ROM program code and graphically displays it. This random jumble of bits passes as flak.  {BSR}

 

BUG: When the game starts, the bomber faces east. When you return from a mission, the bomber faces west. When you start the second mission, the bomber is still facing west, so you can easily end up halfway to Bermuda, trying to figure out how the English Channel got so wide and where the German fighters are.  {BSR}

 

 

BEAMRIDER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: By holding down 6 on the LEFT controller and 8 on the RIGHT controller when pressing RESET, you will get the following message as part of the title info scroll “A Cheshire Game! By David Rolfe Thanks to Chris, Kevin, Larry & Tom L and Will & Shal!”  {Carl Mueller}

 

 

 

BEAUTY & THE BEAST

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Get to the point where the ape falls off the building, and press 3 twice on either controller.  The designer’s initials, “WB” (for Wendell Brown), will appear atop the building.  {Gilbert Prince}

 

 

 

BODY SLAM: SUPER PRO WRESTLING

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 (zero) on either hand controller while the title screen is displayed.  {BSR}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Both controller button combinations must all be done simultaneously, then press RESET - on the RIGHT controller, hold 2+3.  On the LEFT controller, hold 2+6. Programmer Steve Ettinger's message to his family will appear.  {BSR}

 

 

 

BOMB SQUAD

 

BUG: Depending on the level (Level 3 is the worst), you cannot take a part, with pliers, to extreme ends of the circuit board when the fast (top action) key is pressed. Once the key is released, you can. It is most noticeable when you release a part and you need to pick one up at the top level.  {BSR}

 

BUG: If the wrong part is cut, Frank will say, "wrong part: re-solder!" and there is a sound associated with it. If Boris is talking when this happens, his voice overrides Frank's. Frank won't say "wrong part: re-solder," but the associated sound still occurs.  {BSR}

 

BUG: When you have correctly soldered a part, it will not move like the others so that you know what you have replaced. However, if you solder that piece again, it will start moving.  {BSR}

 

 

BOXING

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the LEFT controller, press the 2 lower action buttons and push RIGHT (actually wheel direction #7).  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

 

BUMP ‘N’ JUMP

 

BUG: It is possible to jump off the left side of the screen and land safely on the right on a “secret” road, or vice versa. If you jump and position yourself so that only the left half of the car appears on the right edge of the screen (give it a few tries; the position has to be precise!), you will land safely off the screen and don't have to do anything for the rest of the level -- you don't even have to jump at water hazards! There are only two disclaimers: (1) you will crash if you jump again (it turns out that the car positions itself one pixel to the left when jumping); and (2) you have to jump back onto the roadway at the end of the level, because the car automatically drives toward the center of the screen at the end and will crash if you do not return.  {David Foulke}

 

 

CHECKERS / DRAUGHTS

 

2 versions exist! The bug in the original version was fixed. Also, the "fixed" version has different sound effects.  The "ting" was replaced with a deeper "gong", the “RAZZ” was shortened, and I think the “computer" sound was shifted down in pitch.  The old version sounds "tinnier" overall. {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

BUG: The original version had a bug where it appeared that one of the counters could overflow, and a check was added to prevent it from doing so (in the later version).  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

CHIP SHOT: SUPER PRO GOLFER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed. {BSR}

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Both controller button combinations must all be done simultaneously, then press RESET - on the RIGHT controller, hold 2+3.  On the LEFT controller, hold 2+6. Programmer Steve Ettinger's message to his family will appear.  {BSR}

 

2 versions exist! They differ with their spelling of the word caddy (or caddie).  {Ian Holbrough}

 

 

DEMON ATTACK

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press North + Lower Right Button on the right controller just before you take off to blast the Mother Ship and you'll notice something different. According to the BSR site, the game was written by <G>ary <K>ato.  {Arnauld Chevallier}

 

 

 

DEEP POCKETS: SUPER PRO POOL AND BILLIARDS

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed. {BSR}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: If you press 1 on the RIGHT controller, 2 on the LEFT controller, and press RESET you’ll get a message from Steve Ettinger to his family.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

 

DEFENDER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the RIGHT controller, holding 1+5+9+ENTER and pushing the disc UP+LEFT and pressing RESET causes the following garbled screen to appear. PDF are the initials of programmer Peter Farson.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

DIG DUG

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Another Mattel programmer, Dave Warhol, put together his own private version of the game, TRON Deadly Discs, replacing the enemy warriors with the hot dogs from Burgertime. He called the result Deadly Dogs. If you want to play it, it's hidden in the INTV Corporation release of Dig Dug: press 4+7 on both hand controllers and press RESET. The Deadly Dogs title screen will appear.  {BSR}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE:  On the RIGHT controller, holding 1+5+9+ENTER and pushing the disc UP+LEFT and pressing RESET reveals the message, “Programmed by Mark Kennedy”.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

DONKEY KONG

 

BUG: You can walk inside of Donkey Kong himself! Just go up to DK on the top of the second level, running into him until you can't run anymore, then push towards him and jump. If you are lucky, you will jump inside of him! When you want to come back out, you actually walk backwards. It’s also possible to avoid enemies by hiding inside DK.

 

 

DRACULA

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Select 1 player, Easy level. Finish day 1. On day 2, run right to the first set of buildings. Run left and you should see a victim. Get him! Run back to the town and press the "1" button. The letters "AS" (Alan Smith programmer) appears where the eyes were. You can display it multiple times. {Simone Razzauti}

 

 

 

DRAGONFIRE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the bridge screen, press “1” and cross the bridge. The letters “AS” (Alan Smith programmer) appears as a treasure. {Arnauld Chevallier/David Harley/Simone Razzauti}

 

 

 

FROG BOG

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Both controller button combinations must all be done simultaneously, then press RESET - on the RIGHT controller, hold 0+5.  On the LEFT, hold 3+5.  The title screen will appear as “TAS & ASN & PK present Froys  DEI ©1982” (picture #1).  TAS is for Tom A. Soulanille and PK is for Peter Kaminski. Anyone know what ASN stands for?   Also, the graphics will be different (picture #2 - Aph’s “mascot”?).  {Carl Mueller}

 

 

 

 

HORSE RACING

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 6+9 on both controllers and press RESET.  The color bars will turn into horse heads, and you'll get the programmer's initials, CH (for Chris Hawley), at the top of the screen. {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

 

HOVER FORCE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed. {BSR}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Both controller button combinations must all be done simultaneously, then press RESET - on the RIGHT controller, hold 2+3.  On the LEFT controller, hold 2+6. Programmer Steve Ettinger's message to his wife (born on October 23) and twins (born on November 26) will appear.  {BSR}

 

 


In the game, the island of New Seeburg derives its name from programmer Steve Ettinger’s initials -  SEE.  {BSR}

 

The 2nd difficulty level, “RANGER”, is named after the Blue Sky Rangers.  {BSR}

 

 

LAS VEGAS POKER & BLACKJACK

 

2 versions exist! The copyright on the title screen has been changed from 1978 to 1979.

 

 

 

 

LAS VEGAS ROULETTE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 1+2+3 on the RIGHT controller and 1+3 on the LEFT.  The screen below will then appear.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

 

LEARNING FUN II

 

BUG: While enhancing the game Crosswords, Dave Warhol (the programmer) accidentally left off a prefix that indicated a number was supposed to be base 10 instead of base 16. As a result, the computer only selects words beginning with letters A through T instead of A through Z.  {BSR}

 

 

LOCK ‘N’ CHASE

 

2 versions exist! Turning corners was made easier; and animation of thief collapsing into his hat was added.  The early version is 6K while the latter is 8K.  {BSR}

 

 

BUG: If you stand in one of the tunnels (easiest with the upper) and move continuously back and forth while partway off the screen, eventually your thief will travel off the screen and disappear altogether.  After a minute or two, he will reappear on the other side.

 

BUG: When you enter a tunnel and move the disc up and down really fast you can enter a strip that lets you ring up points quickly, but you'll also be trapped there forever. If you wrap around the screen a few times you'll hit a "wall" and sometimes be suck there forever and have to press the reset switch.

 

BUG: If you have cleared all the coins in a maze, lock a door directly under the top exit.  Run into this locked door from above; you will stick to it. Then press up: the level will instantly end without your actually having gone out the exit.

 

BUG: You will often receive a bonus (sometimes several thousand points) if you are picking up a coin, vault $, or other bonus when you lose your last life at the same time.

 

 

MAGIC CAROUSEL

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Connect the twinkling stars above the carousel on the title screen to get SEE and JAF – the initials of Steve Ettinger and Joe Ferreira.  {BSR}

 

 

 

MICROSURGEON

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: The programmer’s first name, “rick” (for Rick Levine) can be found in the dark area below the jaw.  {Rick Levine}

 

MIND STRIKE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: David Warhol's favorite number is 47 (it's a thing amongst Pomona College alumni), so board 47 reads "DAVE".  {BSR}

 

MINEHUNTER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the menu, press [1] and [7] simultaneously to see Ryan’s message.

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On the menu, press [2] and [8] simultaneously to hear a music tune. Press [3] and [9] simultaneously to hear “Row, Row, Row your boat”.

 

 

MISSION X

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 6 on the RIGHT controller and 9 on the LEFT and hit RESET to bring up programmer John Tomlinson's name on the title screen.  {BSR}

 

 

 

MOTOCROSS

 

BUG: The Mattel release does not work on European PAL systems. You can not get past the map screen. The Intv (white label) fixed the bug.

 

NOVA BLAST

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 1 on both controllers, and then press RESET.  You'll get a screen that says, “W. BROWN ENGINEERING PRESENTS HYPERBEAM”.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

 

PBA BOWLING

 

TIP: Chose a 16lb ball, 0 slickness, a left-handed bowler, then press the disc at the 7 o’clock position.  As the dot becomes whole, release the disc and score a strike every time! {BSR}

 

 

PGA GOLF / GOLF

 

2 versions exist!  In the later version, if you press ENTER you’ll get the par and distance of the hole.  It’s unknown if this feature is documented in the manual.  {Ian Holbrough}

 

 

ROYAL DEALER

 

BUG: The following steps lead to the problems with Royal Dealer.  They occur in all four games.  You are rearranging your cards and have a card out of the deck. Then one of the players lays down her final card and that round ends.  The new round starts and you hit the disk. The card from the last hand appears. Depending on how you rearrange and throw your cards, different errors can occur. (If you hit rearrange first, the game will progress normally, and the errors never occur.) The errors that occur are:  {BSR}

 

(1) You can rearrange the blank cards that are displayed. If you rearrange enough times, the program gets confused and the screen blanks out. You have to hit reset to start over.

 

(2) Sometimes when you lift up a card to rearrange, you see it where the card was. This usually occurs if this is one card by itself.

 

(3) If you have to draw 15 cards and they are all in a row, it usually will not let you pass. The result is that you have to hit reset to start over.

 

(4) In Rummy, if you win the round, the music plays and the card screen comes up. The screen doesn't show "GIN" by your hand and a card shows up in your final hand that wasn't there before.

Results are that you can't continue to the next hand, and you have to hit reset to start over.

 

(5) If a gap appears between your cards, you cannot get to the cards on the left side of the gap. The gap will go away if you can discard your cards on the right of the gap. If you need a heart, for example, and you draw until you have 15 cards, you may have to pass. If there is a heart on the left side of the gap, you cannot get to it, the program sees the heart, and will not allow you to pass. The result is you have to hit reset to start over.

 

Because of this bug, the following errata slip was added to the packaging:  {BSR}

 

 "Please correct your instruction booklet on Page 2 to read: You can only rearrange your cards each time it is your turn before playing or discarding a card from your hand. Once you have played or discarded, you must wait until your next turn before rearranging your cards."

 

 

SLAM DUNK: SUPER PRO BASKETBALL

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed.

 

 

 

SLAP SHOT: SUPER PRO HOCKEY

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Credits roll automatically if you leave the title screen up long enough

 

 

BUG: Go behind your opponent’s goal and hit the puck toward the back of the center portion of the goal.  You’ll hear the puck quickly bounce back and forth and sometimes you’ll score a point!

 

 

SPACE ARMADA

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Both controller button combinations must all be done simultaneously, then press RESET - on the RIGHT controller, hold the lower fire buttons.  On the LEFT, hold either 4+6 to get “SPAZ ARMADA”,

 

 

or hold CLEAR+ENTER for “SPACE BEASTIES” – both by “JWB” (for John W. Brooks).  These alternate game variations only seem to work in ‘practice’ mode.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

 

SPACE BATTLE

 

2 versions exist! The game was speeded up for more challenging game play.  {BSR}

 

BUG: Kill all of the aliens except for one.  Next, lose all of your ships except for one, and time it so that you kill each other.  The total alien count should then roll over to 99+ aliens and you will have to fight them all ("infinite fighting").  {Steve Craft}

 

 

SPACE HAWK

 

BUG: While testing the game, Bill Fisher (programmer) came across a bug: every now and then, the game would, seemingly at random, hyperspace you. He and his boss, Mike Minkoff, went over the code with a fine-tooth comb before realizing what the problem was: the Intellivision hand controllers encode button presses in such a way that an action (side) key pressed at the same time as particular directions on the disc will be interpreted instead as a numeric key being pressed. There was no software way around this; shooting while moving would occasionally be interpreted as pressing 9 -- the hyperspace button.  After several days of puzzling over a solution, the bug was ultimately "fixed" by including the following note in the instruction manual:  {BSR}

 

"Every once in a while, your space hunter will move near a 'black hole,' and the computer will automatically put him into HYPERSPACE. This will cost you the same number of points as if you had pressed the HYPERSPACE key yourself. On the other hand, it will save your hunter."

 

 

SPACE SPARTANS

 

BUG: The level counter is not checked properly -- it allows you to reach one higher level than it's supposed to. On that "level," you can reposition the alien bases as if they were your own.  {BSR}

 

 

SPIKER: SUPER PRO VOLLEYBALL

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed. {BSR}

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: If you press 1 on both controllers and hit RESET, the game menu will be renamed "Kyle & Russell's Menu" {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

 

STAR STRIKE

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 1+9 or 3+7 on the LEFT controller.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

2 versions exist!  The later version corrected a bug, which sometimes made the ship hard to steer with the left controller.  {BSR}

 

BUG: Hold down the left controller disk in a single position while simultaneously pressing one of the top action keys. The fighter will soon remain in a fixed position on the screen. Release the disk to unfreeze the fighter.  {BSR}

 

 

STAR WARS: EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

 

2 versions exist!  In the US and Canadian versions, the Star War theme sounds when “the power is with you” and when the snowspeeder is invulnerable. In the European version, there is no music in the title screen and a weird, ugly sound when “the power is with you”.

 

 

SUB HUNT

 

Presssing CLEAR+0+ENTER and pointing the disc to “west-north-west” on the RIGHT controller causes the screen to shake and all the letters “fall off” the screen.  {Joseph Zbiciak}

 

 

 

STONIX

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Access hidden levels by holding down [7] on the left controller and [5] on the right controller when the “Arnauld Chevallier Presents” appears on the screen. The following screen appears shortly after.

 

 

 

HIDDEN FUNCTION: Enter pass code of 250775.  The "ACCESS DENIED" message will flash. Go back to the main menu with [Clear] or enter a valid pass code.  During game play, press [Clear] to go to next level, [0] to go directly to level 100, or [9] to set number of lives to 9.

 

 

SUPER PRO FOOTBALL

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed.

 

2 versions exist! The bug described below was fixed in the later version.  {Ian Holbrough}

 

BUG: The cartridges were manufactured before anyone tried the game in an Intellivision II – and discovered that the quarterback didn’t appear on the screen until after the ball was hiked.  An errata slip had to be included with the (already-printed) instructions.  {BSR}

 

 

SWORDS & SERPENTS

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Walk around the interior of the dragon's lair and avoid getting killed by the black knights and evil wizards. The initials of the programmer, Brian P. Dougherty, will eventually appear.

 

 

THE ELECTRIC COMPANY WORD FUN

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: Press 43210 during word rockets mode.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

BUG: The game won't work when plugged into an Intellivision II, since it uses its own copyright routine. A feature to keep early Coleco-produced Intellivision cartridges from working in the Intellivision II inadvertently keeps it from working also. Marketing didn't feel the game was important enough to hold up release of Intellivision II to fix the problem. {BSR}

 

 

THIN ICE

 

You can play as either of two different characters- Duncan or Voochko (there was a plan to have an ‘Olympic’ version of this game made, with either of these as the game’s mascot, but this idea was shelved).  To switch between them, hold ENTER on the LEFT controller, CLEAR on the RIGHT controller, and press RESET.

 

 

 

TROPICAL TROUBLE

 

Steve De Frisco’s initials can be found in every screen. When chasing down the gorilla, the handkerchief will drop. Pick it it up for “SD” points.

 

 

When crossing the bridge, you need to touch the gorilla, as he is falling, press [2] & [3] on both controllers. The initials will show up at the bottom of the screen. {Simone Razzauti}

 

 

 

THUNDER CASTLE

 

The game will cycle through all 3 levels if no key is pressed.

 

Look closely at the splash screens prior to level 2 and 3. You will see many “CG” images. Connie Goldman programmed her initials into the screens. On the second splash screen, the staff handle spells out “Connie”.

 

 

 

 

TOWER OF DOOM

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE:  By typing 1-1-2-6-5-6, a “ticker-tape” style message from programmer Daniel Bass will appear (but since he didn’t do the final programming for the game, this was removed).  {Daniel Bass}

 

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: To display the credits, press 0 on either controller while the title screen is displayed. {BSR}

 

 

TRIPLE ACTION

 

BUG: In Biplanes, horizontal-flying bullets headed directly at the narrow spot on the upper half of the tower sometimes fly right through it, as if the tower wasn't there.

 

BUG: Although the game ends when one player reaches 15 points, bullets in the air at that point are allowed to score. It's possible, therefore, to have a game with a 15-15 tie, or to win with 16 points.  {BSR}

 

 

TRON DEADLY DISCS

 

BUG: There is a trick that pretty much lets you rack up unlimited points, as first pointed out in a letter Mattel received November 3, 1982 from Steven M. Little, an Intellivision owner in Minneapolis: "Once you are able to open the top left and top right doors, which enables you to go in one door and out the other...just step out the right top or left top door and stay there...90% of the enemy discs go through you and your man is not hit or destroyed. If you stay at that position, you can reach a score of 1,000,000 very easily by just breaking the enemy's discs and throwing your disc just enough to keep only one enemy on the board at all times. Once you reach close to a million points, don't destroy any more warriors. Just hold your disc in the block mode and break discs. If you do get hit just go back and forth for repair. (Never throw disc to destroy warrior for you may get a replacement that carries the stick.) I went from 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 with no problem."  {BSR}

 

 

TRON Maze-A-Tron

 

Pause trick: Deactivate a Recognizer near a Flip-Flop, and then enter the Flip-Flop. The screen will keep changing direction and no enemies will come your way as long as the deactivated Recognizer stays on the screen.

 

 

TRON SOLAR SAILER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: When you enter the access code on track one, append Keith Robinson's birthday -- 991955 -- to the code before pressing enter. He'll wish you luck before the next phase of the game.  {BSR}

 

 

 

TRUCKIN’

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: If you are driving in Northern California, in the San Jose area, there’s a hidden highway that goes to Imagic.  Basically, you have to find the path to the old Imagic HQ in Los Gatos, CA.  Having a road map (such as Rand McNally) helps, since the route does not show up on the map in the instruction booklet.  If not, the following directions will suffice: {Rick Levine}

 

(1) From the title screen, press 1-1-8-1.  This takes the defaults and gives you a full tank of gas, heading northbound out of San Diego.  A no-load, timed contest.

 

(2) Accelerate, but stay below 24 MPH, in order to make the necessary turns.

 

(3) Make the 1st left onto I-10, heading eastbound to LA.

 

(4) Keep going east, straight towards the coast.  I-10 will end and you will automatically be turned north to Hollywood (HO) on US#01 (actually 101).

 

(5) Stay due north through Santa Cruz (SZ).

 

(6) As soon as you approach San Jose (SJ), look for the 1st left.  Turn here.

 

(7) You are now on Route 9 eastbound.  A little ways on this road and you’ve found it!  The road will show the Imagic sign off into the horizon.  The SJ city code will change into “RL” (for Rick Levine).  You can also see this coming from the opposite direction.

{step-by-step info by Al Backiel}

 

 

 

U.S. SKI TEAM SKIING

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On both controllers hold either 4+8 or 5+7, and then press RESET. The finish line banner will then read “PENDRAGON”.  {from Chris Hawley’s “Copyright Kludge” file}

 

 

BUG: Face your skier horizontally and ski into the edge of the screen while the timer is on the screen.  Allow the game to remain at this screen to force the timer to eventually roll over the numeric characters and begin to display text and graphics blocks.  {John F. Ayo}

 

 

USCF CHESS

 

Russ Ludwick (programmer) tested the program by playing countless games against the cartridge at all levels. He found that when playing at the highest levels, the cartridge was good, but slow. He got in the habit of making a move, then going home and letting the Intellivision think about a response overnight. Because of this, three features were added:

(1) the normal Intellivision time-out feature was disabled,

(2) a feature letting you switch to an easier level in the middle of a move was added, and

(3) a warning that moves at higher levels could take hours, or days, was put into the instruction book.   {BSR}

 

 

UTOPIA

 

BUG: On the right island, there is a two-by-three rectangle at the upper left.  Just to the right of this block is a one-square bottleneck with water directly above and below it.  Sail a boat (fishing or PT) as if to sail directly into this bottleneck, and 'push' against the resisting sandbar until you're as far as you can go.  Dock (press 0), move the cursor towards the land until the minimum needed to control the boat is within the cursor, and select the boat again. You should be able to sail directly over the land and come out on the other side.  Note: in this mode you will not be able to park your boat anywhere and you will not get your cursor back. The only way to resume normal boating is to travel the reverse path. The diagram below illustrates the approximate path:

 

 

VECTRON

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: With the right combination of maneuvers with the energy block, you can get Mark Urbaniec's name to appear on screen, with the message, “MARK H. URBANIEC SEZ TO WATCH YOUR AIM”.  Since Mattel forbid hiding names in games, Mark made sure that the combination was so complicated that no one would stumble across it by accident. Well, he did such a good job hiding it, that he can't quite remember anymore how to do it. {BSR}  Luckily, Joseph Zbiciak managed to “decipher” the method:

 

(1) For # of players, press 9.  This will start a single-player game.

 

(2) End the first 7 levels with your "energy block" in the following positions.  Positions are counted from left to right, with the left-most being 0, and the right-most being 8: Level 1 – 0, Level 2 – 5, Level 3 – 1, Level 4 – 5, Level 5 – 5, Level 6 – 8, Level 7 – 7.

 

(3) At the game summary screen (where it shows you how you did), it waits for you to press a key to continue.  Press the number on the keypad that cooresponds to the same sequence above. That is, after Level 1, press 0.  After Level 2, press 5, etc.

 

(4) If you complete this long, crazy sequence, you’ll get the following screen:

 

 

According to the instruction book, if you beat the top level, #99, you will be rewarded with "a special little visual treat." The treat? Due to space constraints, there was only room for a message reading "Congratulations. You are very good." The difficulty increases so much, though, that it is thought to be impossible to beat level 99. {BSR}

 

 

WHITE WATER

 

HIDDEN MESSAGE: On any game version, at the start, go up the river to the next beach, disembark, and go to the forest screen. “DOUG” (for programmer Douglas A. Fults) will appear in the upper-left corner.  It will then be on every forest screen, and also on the river screen when the game ends.  {Todd Rogers}

 

 

 

4.8 -Information regarding Unreleased Titles & Hardware

Most of the information provided here was posted to the general net populace courtesy of the Blue Sky Rangers and Keith Robinson. For more information, screenshots, etc. check out http://intellivisionlives.com.

 

ALBUM CARTRIDGES

- due to the falling prices of RAM, more games could be fit on to one single cartridge. This spawned the Album Cartridges which where generally collections of old or simple games. There were 3 known Album Cartridges: Happy Holidays, Go For the Gold, and Party Line; none were released.

 

ADVENTURES OF TRON

- Unreleased version of the 2600 title. Prototype exists

 

AIR RAIDERS

- The Intellivision's version of the 2600 title.

AIRSTRIKE

- A side-scrolling game of bombing enemy sites. Unfinished but playable on the INTV Lives CD.

 

BASKETBALL II

- An update of NBA Basketball with one more player per side.

 

COMPUTER CORRIDOR

- An attempted merger of two developing games, Moon Corridor and Computer's Revenge. Shelved before completion.

 

DIG DUG

- Dig Dug was programmed at Atari, but it was still being debugged at the time they discontinued releasing Intellivision games. It was debugged and released first through INTV. (#9005)

 

FLASHLIGHT

-Basic development only

 

GO FOR THE GOLD

- After spending millions of dollars to secure the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics licensing, they repackaged old sports titles and threw on a title screen.

 

GRID SHOCK

- Unreleased but playable on the INTV Lives CD.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

- Three holiday-inspired games in one: Santa's Helper, Easter Eggcitement, and Trick-Or-Treat.

 

HYDRO PLANE

- A speed racing-planned game based off of a graphical effect of racing on a lake.

 

HYPNOTIC LIGHT:

- From a neat graphical effect, a puzzle game was to be born, alas it wasn't.

 

ILLUSIONS

- Same as the Colecovision title, but never released. Prototype exists.

 

MASTER OF THE LAMPS

- In development at Activision, the game did eventually get released on the Atari 8-bit and C64 computers.

 

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE II:

- Engine reincorporated into Diner, and later released by INTV. Prototype exists.

 

MAGIC CARPET

- Pilot a magic carpet. Basic design only.

 

OFF THE WALL

- An arcade-type game to save the humans and kill the green enemies scaling the walls.

 

PARTY LINE

- Another Album cartridge. Space Cadet, Hard Hat, and Blowout.

 

PIZZATIME

- The planned sequel to BurgerTime before Mattel closed.

 

ROCKY & BULLWINKLE

- An unreleased Mattel game, prototype exists.

 

SAILING

- A planned game that fell apart in the transition to design due to creative differences. Basic design only.

 

SCARFINGER

- A spy movie-story with game play; incomplete.

 

SPACE SHUTTLE

- Mattel did a Space Shuttle Intellivoice game that was unfinished when shut down in Jan '84. Only the prototype exists.

 

SPEED FREAK

- Neither Mattel nor INTV did this as an Intellivision game (INTV may have included this in a list of "upcoming"games, but no work was ever done on it). Mattel did do a handheld version.

 

SPINA THE BEE

- Control the bee to collect the pollen. It was judged unappealing and canned. Prototype exists.

 

SUPER NASL SOCCER

- In the works at Mattel for the Entertainment Computer System when closed; the game was completed for INTV and released as a regular Intellivision cartridge under the name World Cup Soccer.

 

TARGET ANDROMEDA

- A space version of Dungeons and Dragons that never saw the light of day.

 

YOGI'S ADVENTURE

- A Hanna Barbera licensed title that remained unreleased. Completed.

4.9 -Information regarding Label & Box Variations

There are 4 main "distributors" of the Intellivision games though we tend to call them manufacturers. For instance, Atarisoft manufactured the INTV versions of the Atari titles as well as the Atarisoft release versions.

 

The 4 "distributors" are:

- Mattel, the original "manufacturer" of the Intellivision.

- INTV, the company that was formed and bought out the Mattel rights to Intellivision products.

- Sears/Telegames which distributed Intellivision games and systems under their own names.

- Telegames, which is still in business and which owns many of the rights (if not all) to the Intellivision games. Their games are most likely manufactured by CBS Electronics in Italy, though not all are.

 

The games originally manufactured to be distributed by Mattel have a © MI or © MEI on the label. These are the only types of labels known to have been sold by Mattel.

 

Sealed INTV boxes (yes INTV boxes were different, though, like the cartridges, they also used the leftover Mattel boxes) have been found (frequently) with 3 types of labeled games in them:

1. © II, white label

2. © MI

3. © MEI

4. no copyright or country of origin, colored label

5. no copyright but with a country of origin, colored label

6. no copyright or country of origin, white label

 

The © II is the closest thing to being a "regular" INTV release, but not complete proof.

 

Sears/Telegames released games in specially designed boxes which are quite easy to identify. They are a dark reddish brown and clearly say "Sears/Telegames". The labels on the games sold by Sears/Telegames are of several types:

 

1. no copyright or country of origin, colored label

2. no copyright but with a country of origin, colored label

3. © MI

4. © MEI

 

Telegames releases are in a variety of boxes, most commonly in a box clearly identified as "Telegames". They can still be purchased from Telegames, UK. There are a variety of labels on these games, but the most common, and the closest to "official" Telegames releases are a white label with no copyright or country of origin on them. The following labels have been found in Telegames boxes.

 

1. no copyright or country of origin, white label

2. All of the above varieties.

 

There may be a way of telling the White Label, no © , no country of origin INTV games from the White LabelTelegames in some cases as there tends to be two distinct styles and sizes of lettering used.

 

The bottom line is:You can't tell who sold or manufactured the games themselves in most cases except:

 

-If it is © MI or © MEI it was manufactured for Mattel

-If it is © II it was manufactured for INTV

 

The boxes were manufactured for the company (one of the 4 above) and can be identified as they are clearly marked. They were not necessarily sold by the same companies.

 

Keith Robinson had this to add on the subject of labels and boxes:

 

Q: I recently came across a pile of Intellivision carts with white labels only and was wondering if anybody out there knew the scoop on them. Are they any rarer than the colored versions? The manuals also are in B&W only, not like the ones I already have. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!!

 

Pretty cheesy, huh? I was in charge of printing those; Terry Valeski contracted with me to provide all the packaging for the INTV Corporation releases. He wanted costs as low as possible, so overlays were eliminated where possible (Mattel's policy was that every game had to have overlays, even if they weren't really needed, such as for Pinball; Valeski got rid of them), manuals became black & white (folded, not stapled) and labels were printed on whatever stock my printer had leftover and would give me a price break on. That's why you'll find different size labels on different copies of the same game.

 

Of course, INTV didn't invent this cost cutting. Mattel's Intellivision packaging went downhill quickly, too. The original boxes opened like a book and had a plastic tray the cartridge fit into. Manuals were all full color. The plastic tray was the first thing to go, then the manuals went to two-color, then the boxes simply became boxes (some games, like BurgerTime, were released in both versions of the boxes).

 

At INTV, we printed the boxes on an even cheaper grade of cardboard, but at least Valeski wanted them to be colorful. I designed most of them with an art budget of about $800 per box. A painter named Steve Huston did the Super Pro sports covers and I did most of the cartoony covers (Thin Ice, Learning Fun I & II). Other artists and photographers did individual titles. I had Joe Ferreira, who did the graphics for Hover Force, do the artwork for the box. And if the cover art for Thunder Castle looks more threatening than the cute graphics in the game, it's because that artwork had been commissioned by Mattel for the Tower of Doom cartridge. Valeski had it used for Thunder Castle since that game was already completed when he bought the Intellivision rights; Tower of Doom was incomplete. He had Tower of Doom finished later and I had to come up with new art for its box.

 

(By the way, look for the number 47 on the INTV boxes; that number is how Pomona College alumni sort of say "hello" to each other. Dave Warhol, the Pomona alum who produced these games, asked me to slip a 47 into the art whenever possible. Trivia: another Pomona Alum got onto the staff of Star Trek, which is why the number 47 pops up in most episodes of Next Generation and Voyager, and TWICE in the movie Generations.)

 

Sorry that I can't answer your real question though, namely which labels are worth more. That's a question for the collectors. But remembering how quickly some of this stuff was slapped together, it amuses me today to hear people pondering their value.

 

Q: The boxes do not open like the colored ones right? These games were reproduced by the INTV corporation after they took over from Mattel.

 

Mattel had already switched from the book-cover boxes to standard boxes by the time INTV took over. INTV used up Mattel stock, then made up new batches of the most popular games. In these cases, the INTV boxes are identical to the Mattel boxes (printed from the same negatives) except the Mattel Electronics name is deleted and the INTV name and address is added on the back. Major League Baseball also underwent a name change to Big League Baseball, since the Major League trademark either expired or wasn't transferable.

 

All of the INTV games were released in full-color standard boxes, except for a brief period where they tried to get away with no boxes – sending out mail orders with the cartridge and instructions simply sealed in a plastic bag. Consumers complained --loudly --and boxes were quickly reinstated.

 

5.0) Vaporware, Trivia, and Miscellaneous

5.1 - Intellivision III

Atari wasn't the only company with plans to introduce a "next generation" video game system; Mattel spoke of it's soon-to-be released Intellivision III for well over a year before the idea was dumped. Here are some of the specifications for this unit:

 

-Built-in Intellivoice

-320 x 190 resolution

-Unlimited colors-Onscreen sprites move at twice the speed of the original Intellivision-Six channel sound with RCA outputs

-Remote controlled joysticks

-Four controller ports

-Plays original Intellivision titles as well as Aquarius titles

-12k ROM - 10k RAM

-Able to manipulate 64 sprites onscreen at once

-6-8 titles announced including Air Ace -a flight simulator

-Scrapped for fears of not being able to introduce it before ColecoVision and the Atari 5200 had too strong a grip on the "next generation" market.

-Projected price: $300

 

Please note that this unit is COMPLETELY different from the INTV III which was later released by INTV Corp in 1986.

5.2 - Intellivision IV

(History taken from http://www.intellivisionlives.com)

 

After the Intellivision Keyboard Component was canceled, Mattel was to begin work on a brand new Master Component, the Intellivision IV. Intellivision III had been rushed into development simply as a stopgap product to compete short-term with ColecoVision. Intellivision IV, was to introduce the next generation of video game systems.

 

It carried the codename Decade, since it was to be the cornerstone product of Mattel Electronics for the rest of the eighties, Intellivision IV was developed from mid-1982 to mid-1983 secretly in an unmarked building a mile away from Mattel headquarters. Being away from the daily whims and pressures of marketing and administration, the design group was able to create freely.

 

The system they created was based on the MC68000 processor, the CPU later used in the first Macintoshes and the Amiga. Video was handled by a custom chip named Magic. Screen resolution was 240 by 192 pixels (40 by 24 4-color 6x8 cards) with a programmable 16-color palette, 16x16 4-color sprites and hardware scrolling. Onboard software supported 3-D graphics along with music and speech synthesis. The Combo chip coordinated peripheral devices, including a built-in modem: a point-of-view two-person tank battle played over phone lines was talked about as a typical Intellivision IV application.

 

Unlike the other hardware in development in 1983, the Intellivision IV had the potential of being a significant step forward; after Intellivision III was canceled, many people saw Intellivision IV as the last hope for the company. The hope didn't last long. Most of the hardware people were soon laid off, including those working on Intellivision IV. The shift didn't help; January 20, 1984, Mattel Electronics was shut down.

 

Would they have succeeded in creating a super game machine at an affordable price, or would it have been another Keyboard Component? With all the secrecy surrounding the project, it's not known how far along the system really was. We do know it never reached the stage of actual game development.

5.3 - World Book Tutorvision

(Special Thanks to: Ted Brunner for finding the Tutorvision and providing this information)

 

The World Book Tutorvision is a NR Intellivision. Apparently, World Book, the makers of the encyclopedia line, licensed the Intellivision hardware from INTV corp in order to release a line of educational software for it. This was sometime in the late eighties. However, the deal fell through, the system was scrapped before it ever hit production and INTV corp and World Book even went to court over it.

 

 

From Keith Robinson, spokesman of the Blue Sky Rangers:

"INTV Corp. made a deal in the late eighties with World Book to release an orange Intellivision with special educational software. The entire deal fell apart with both companies suing each other. Dave Warhol of Realtime Associates, the company that wrote the special games, has always maintained that neither the system nor the games were ever released."

 

However, a prototype model has been found. Concerning special cartridges for the system, Keith writes:

 

"Again, since we didn't think they were released, we don't know what they looked like if they were. However, it's doubtful that INTV would have spent money on new molds, so they probably would look just like regular Intellivision cartridges, although possible in the same color as the master component. We've been trying to put together the complete list of the World Book games, but so far Dave Warhol can't find his files from the project. He seems to remember they were to be packaged as two sets with six cartridges per set. One of the programmers who worked on the games recalls that two of the titles were 'Story Stopper' and 'Zoo Review.'"

 

On the inside there of the Tutorvision, there were some changes from the old Intellivision model I: the 'brains' are all on one chip, and the boardset is now just a single board, instead of a motherboard and a power board. The board also ran off a single 5v voltage, instead of 5 different voltages. Most interestingly, the chips were all dated 1988-90, the board was dated 1988. Furthermore, the system has a power on LED, just like the INTV III. The buttons on the keypad are bubble-style and not flat like the INTV III. The system however, plays normal Intellivision cartridges.

 

It appears that this is an interesting mix of INTV models. What we are not sure of now is whether the new motherboard layout is the same as the INTV III or different, and even more so, whether or not the content of the chips has changed at all.

5.4 - Bandai Intellivision Japan

Although released domestically in 1980, the Intellivision's Japanese debut was over two years later, on July 10, 1982. However, Mattel did not market or distribute the system in Japan. Instead, they turned to Bandai, a trusted name in electronics to handle the system in Japan. Thus the Bandai Intellivision was born.

 

Bandai had been in the electronic game business for many years in Japan, starting off with a very successful electronic hand held Baseball game in the 70's. In 1977, Bandai released its own electronic video game system, the TV-Jack series (a video game console with burnt-in games and no cartridge support). The system was successful, spawning multiple upgrades, but it was abandoned after its final release (TV-Jack Supervision 8000) in 1979.

 

This deal to distribute and market the system in Japan between the two companies was the first of its kind for Bandai, and arguably the first sophisticated (especially 16-bit) console release in the Japanese market. From a certain standpoint, it was successful enough and impelled Bandai to forge similar deals for the Emerson Arcadia (March 1983) and Vectrex (July 1983) in Japan. Interestingly enough, this meant that Bandai was simultaneously distributing and marketing three video game systems in Japan.

 

Marketed as a game system that had the 16-bit power of a personal computer, it had a considerable power advantage over the other Japanese systems at that time. Take a look at the similar releases at that time:

 

1979/10 Epoch Cassette Video Game (8bit) 57,300 yen retail *

1981/07 Epoch CassetteVision (4bit) 13,500yen retail

1982/06 Bandai Intellivision (16bit) 49,800 yen retail

1982/09 Magnavox Odyssey 2 (8bit) 49,800 yen retail

1982/10 Tomy Pyu-Inu Computer (16bit computer) 59,800 yen retail

1982/11 Takara Game Computer (8bit) 59,800 yen retail

1982/11 Yamagawa Dynavision (16bit) 34,800 yen retail

 

The bigger names would come in the next year. 1983 saw the introduction of the true Japanese console video game systems, and Atari International also re-released the 2600 as the Atari 2800 in May. Although the Atari 2600 saw a limited released in 1977 as the Epoch Cassette Video Game*, Atari distributed the 2800 itself this time. However, it was too little too late for either of them, as Sega and especially Nintendo had quickly became incredibly popular and controlled most of the video game market. Here is a look at the major releases for 1983:

 

1983/3 Bandai Arcadia (8bit) 19,800 yen retail

1983/5 Atari 2800 (Atari International Japan Inc.) (8bit) 24,800 yen retail

1983/7 Nintendo Famicom (8bit) 14,800 yen retail

1983/7 Sega SG-1000 (8bit) 15,000 yen retail

1983/7 Epoch Cassettevision Jr. (4bit) 5,000 yen retail

1983/7 Bandai Vectrex (8bit) 54,800 yen retail

 

Mattel's own problems back in America and the collapse of the American video game market probably led to the abandonment of greater support for the Intellivision. Moreover, the Intellivision had difficulties competing with the new, cheap and powerful Nintendo and Sega systems.

 

In the end, although Mattel had helped increase the awareness and popularity to start the first generation video game console market in Japan, it did not last once the large homegrown Japanese companies took hold. Since Bandai was also busy marketing the Emerson Arcadia and Vectrex in Japan, it left little support for the flagging Intellivision. There was a large number of systems--too many for the flowering market. In the end, none of these foreign systems (including the Intellivision) made a large footprint in the video game industry in Japan.

 

Marketing / Distribution of the Bandai Intellivision

As stated before, Mattel did not handle the marketing and distribution of the Intellivision in Japan. It was handled by Bandai, who drummed up support for the system in all the standard media. There were even some television commercials produced for the Intellivision in Japan. A young actor named Beat Takeshi (who later became a very popular TV and movie actor) was used in the commercials. They advertised the console with the slogan "Same 16-bit power as a computer, but no loading times".

 

Similar to the Atari distribution in Japan, the games themselves were untouched. But, in the case of Intellivision, even the boxes remained completely in English. On these boxes, the franchise rights were removed. So, Major League Baseball became Baseball, etc. Of course, a Japanese instruction booklet was provided to inform the customer the basic controls and how to play. The overlays were also identical to the American ones and remained in English. Slits were cut in the back of the boxes for the Japanese instructions. So, if the customers flipped over the box, they saw the front page of the Japanese instructions.

 

The box for the base console in Japan was remade completely. It had the pictures of all the games with a picture of a happy couple playing the Intellivision in the right hand corner. On the back, it described the system and showed pictures of Baseball, Space Battle, etc. Inside the box, there was an instruction manual, warranty card and two promotional catalogs. The first catalog showed the launch titles, while the second one listed the games that were coming soon. The box and all of its contents were in Japanese.

 

It is generally assumed that Bandai was skeptical at the start, and didn't want to invest a large amount of money in translating and re-printing the boxes especially since this was their first time at distributing another company's system. But, in the end it was just another nail in the coffin for the system. The popularity of the games was limited. The low-cost approach of distribution left customers anxious over a system with games almost completely in another language.

 

The retail price of the system was 49800 yen ($210, in 1982 US$). The games themselves cost from 4800-5500yen ($21-23 in 1982 US$). However, for a 16-bit system at the time, Bandai thought that it was an attractive price. Plus, the lineup of games at the start was large (including many sports titles). There were 17 launch games, most of them sports and popular titles from America. However, the price ended up being too steep for the base console, and it never became very popular--a key to success in Japan. Similar to North America and Atari, the Intellivision had the power to compete at the start with the other consoles, but failed to remain on top. But, in Japan, it was priced the same as a personal computer. Since it lacked the additional functionality of the computer, it never really caught on. In a way, Bandai's slogan of comparing it to a personal computer only highlighted its faults.

 

The Intellivoice module nor any other hardware upgrades were ever released. Furthermore, no Japanese specific software was ever released. In total, only 27 (Mattel only) known titles were released in Japan. Overall, approximately 30,000 units of the base system were sold in total and two years after it was born, Bandai abandoned the system and the Bandai Intellivision faded into obscurity.

 

Bandai Intellivision Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How did the properties and rights to NHL, NBA, MLB, NASL, etc. transfer to Japan?

A: It is an interesting question. Since the rights to the games were not transferable when Mattel sold the rights to the INTV Corporation, it is doubtful that they were transferable to Bandai. But, it is unknown whether there was any real infringement or legal action taken by any of the respective companies. All of the boxes in Japan did not carry any franchise rights, except for PBA bowling. But, there seemed to be some confusion because on the back of the box, and in the game catalogs, many of the games appear with licensing. Even the cartridges and the manuals have licensing.

 

Q: Any plans for any specific software titles for the Japanese market?

A: Doubtful. The Intellivision did not last a significant amount of time. The time and costs involved in developing Japanese specific titles would have been significant. Furthermore, Bandai did not have a large software division, nor did it see the gains necessary to invest in one for the Intellivision. Other software houses in Japan, especially Sega and Nintendo were concentrating on their own launches. It seems that Bandai didn't court any other software companies to produce games for the Intellivision.

 

Q: Any plans for INTV to re-enter the Japanese market?

A: Highly doubtful. By the time that INTV re-assembled the Intellivision name, and started selling software again, Nintendo and Sega were dominating the Japanese market. Any attempt to re-enter would have been futile. Furthermore, the secret to INTV's short success in North America was through significant cost-cutting and completing Mattel's unfinished games. They would require substantial capital to re-start the Intellivision engine in Japan.

 

Q: I look at the list of games, and I don't see Astrosmash, what gives?

A: Yes. It never made it here. Probably because it debuted in 1982, the Space Invaders craze was over by then. Bandai didn't want to promote an older game, and concentrated on the more unique titles. Furthermore, they already chose Space Armada as a launch title. As for why Space Armada was chosen over Astrosmash, who knows?

 

Q: Can I play US games in a Bandai Intellivision?

A: The games released in Japan are identical to the American ones. There is no region lockout because there is only one region. Therefore, the Bandai can play games from any regional market, just like any Intellivision.

5.5 - Digiplay Intellivision South America

Not much is known about Digiplay, other than they initially seemed to be the Brazilian distributor for Mattel. Most of the original Mattel games localized for the Brazilian market had fully localized boxes, manuals, and even cartridge labels and overlays; much more than was done in Japan with Bandai.

 

Not only were the games localized, but so was the Master Component. Their variation of the original 2609, the 5368, even had localized text on the top of the unit, but was still tagged as being from Mattel Electronics. The documentation listed Digiplay as the distributor or some such, I think. The Intellivision II was also produced by Digiplay and even had the Digiplay logo on the front of the unit in place of the Mattel logo.

 

It seems that Digiplay was not interested in doing things halfway. The boxes, manuals, labels, and overlays were almost always completely translated into Portuguese, and the manuals were even done up with full color covers. All of the boxes I've seen were also book-style boxes even for games that Mattel delivered in cheaper kinds of boxes. Later releases, like Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man doesn’t bear the Mattel logo at all. In fact, my He-Man lists "TM -IMAGIC" on the back of the manual.

 

My guess is that initially, Digiplay had an agreement to distribute the Intellivision system and worked out some sort of deal with Mattel. The deal involved a requirement to localize the games for the market. Then, a few things happened. The market started to soften in the U.S.A. in 1983, but, as things tend to operate in global markets, the crash didn't hit the Brazilian market yet. It probably lagged by several months or even a year or more. Digiplay also picked up permission to deliver Activision and Imagic games. Later, back in the U.S., Intellivision, Inc. / INTV Corp. kept the Intellivision alive as well, and Activision bought out Imagic.

 

Why is that relevant? Well, there is one thing that's odd to me about the overlay situation here. Most of the original Mattel games released by Digiplay seem to also come with localized overlays. However, some seem to come with overlays that could have come from the Intellivision, Inc. era as well. By this, I mean that many copies of the original Mattel games came with overlays that had the Mattel Electronics copyright removed. Well, most of the Digiplay versions of the older Mattel games came with localized overlays produced on materials that are clearly very different from standard overlays. However, some later ones, like Reversi, come with overlays that are in English, but have no copyright date on them. Similarly, the Activision releases also have no copyright date on them.

 

The Digiplay variants are sought by collectors often for these overlay variations, as well as their packaging differences. The ROMs are identical to those sold in North America. (contributed by Steve Orth)

 

Psycho Stormtrooper also sheds some light on Intelli games – rare, rental bootleg versions of original Intellivision games that were only available in South America:

The Intelli Games were made by a small company in Rio de Janeiro. The initals "VLS" are on the back of the game carts, which does not say much of anything else. The games were made to be rented at local video stores all over South America. Whether this idea was realized, or the company went out of business, is unclear to me. The company then contacted the video stores to offer the games at low prices. Since the American versions of the games were much more expensive, many were bought by locals in the region. The games did not come with overlays or a box, but did come with a set of typed instructions. These game carts are much larger than the regular sized Intellivision shell. They are even bigger than the Coleco style game carts. There are 4 Intelli Games that are known to exist. They are Utopia, Skiing, Bowling and Labirintos II (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin). The intro splash screens seem to be the same as the regular titles as does everything except the case.

5.6 - INTV Corp. Games

INTV enhanced many of the early Mattel titles by adding new features and making them a 1 or 2 player game by adding a computer opponent. Below is a list of the original and enhanced cartridges:

 

ORIGINAL MATTEL CARTRIDGE                                 ENHANCED INTV CARTRIDGE

PGA Golf                                                                                 Chip Shot Super Pro Golf

Math Fun                                                                                 Learning Fun I

Major League Baseball                                                World Championship Baseball

NASL Soccer                                                                         World Cup Soccer

NBA Basketball                                                                      Slam Dunk Super Pro Basketball

NFL Football                                                                          Super Pro Football

NHL Hockey                                                                          Slap Shot Super Pro Hockey

Tennis                                                                                      Championship Tennis

US Ski Team Skiing                                                                Mountain Madness Super Pro Skiing

Word Fun                                                                                Learning Fun II

Backgammon/Checkers/Chess                                      Triple Challenge

5.7 - Trivia and Fun Facts

Have you ever wondered...

 

...what would happen if you plugged two Intellivoices together and then plugged in an Intellivoice game?? Greg Chance did, and the result goes something like this:

 

"Someone had asked about daisy-chaining two Intellivoices together, i.e. plug one into the other, and then a speech cart into the 2nd one. Ok, I did this with Space Spartans. The 2nd speech synthesizer kind of canceled stuff out. It said, "Welcome to (bleeeeehahah)" and then there wasn't any voice during the game. So that's the answer. It doesn't quite work."

 

...what would happen if you tried "frying" your Intellivision??

 

The author wasn't brave enough to try this out on one of his own machines, but Matthew Long relates this childhood memory:

"I did something like it in the early years. I was playing Star Strike. I reset the machine. I then pulled out the cartridge. The screen began flashing through the character ROM. Was really neat when I was 12!"

 

...who that strange guy in all of those old Intellivision ads was?

 

That was George Plimpton, ex-athlete and the Intellivision's paid spokesperson between 1980 and 1983. During 1982, Mattel spent in excess of $50 million so that Mr. Plimpton could lampoon the "unrealistic" features of the Atari 2600... Little did Mattel know that Coleco would burst their proverbial bubble with the introduction of the Colecovision in June of '82.

 

...how Mattel produced a large portion of their game library?

 

Many of the original Intellivision games were programmed by college students as part of their computer programming classes. Cheap labor?

 

...what would happen if you plugged your 2600 System Changer into an un-modified Intellivision I?

 

An unmodified Master Component (unmodified meaning sans video upgrade), when turned on with this unit plugged in, reads "M-Network" on the title screen. You can hear all the sounds from the 2600 game you have inserted, but no video is displayed, other than this title screen. Ever try playing Blind Combat?

 

...the best way to store your boxed Intellivision games?? Shane Shaffer has a great suggestion:

 

"For your boxed games (unopened), try the Multi-Purpose Storage Chest from Metro Corrugated and Packaging Corporation. Style No. 20000 has ODs of 21" x 12 1/4" x 8 1/4", and fits 2 rows of boxed video games perfectly. I forget how many fit in each box, but the height is just big enough, and the width is perfect. I store my 2600, 5200, 7800, and Intellivision boxes in it, and others of the same size will also fit. It comes in 3 colors, Blue, Green, or Red. The fit is absolutely perfect for your boxed games."

 

...what the heck INTV stands for??

 

Common misconception: INTV is NOT an abbreviation for Intellivision as many people seem to think. INTV is the name of the company that bought the rights to the system and all its games from Mattel when they decided to leave the market in late 1984. Mattel NEVER referred to its system as INTV.

 

...why your Intellivision is prone to overheating??

 

The chipset which provided the guts of the Intellivision, manufactured by General Instruments, was extremely failure-prone. During the initial production runs, there were sometimes failure rates as high as 50%!!

 

...what the most popular Intellivision game was?

 

Major League Baseball was an instant "classic" and one of the most popular games for the system. The only "problem" with this and many other Intellivision games was that they were for 2-players only.

 

...just how many positions the Intellivision controller can detect?

 

Yes, it is 16 positions! This control disc was "revolutionary" for its time, allowing for greater control with sports titles, but is also one of the reasons Intellivision never did catch up to the Atari 2600.

 

...if INTV Corp. produced NES titles?

 

Yes, as William Howald found out when he posted this question, answered swiftly by our friend Keith Robinson: In 1989, INTV planned to move into NES production and distribution so they commissioned Realtime Associates (who developed most of the original INTV games) to produce both an Intellivision and NES version of "Monster Truck Rally."

 

When the game was finished, though, INTV had run out of money and credit to manufacture cartridges, so they sold all rights to the NES version to another company, who finally distributed it in 1990 or 91. So as to give that company an "exclusive" on the title, INTV changed the Intellivision version to "Stadium Mud Buggies."

 

"Monster Truck Rally" was the only NES title done by INTV. Since INTV turned around and sold the game to another company before securing the rights from Realtime Associates (i.e. paying them), litigation ensued and the INTV/Realtime relationship fell apart. INTV released no more product after "Stadium Mud Buggies" (and "Spiker, Super Pro Volleyball," released at the same time). INTV filed for bankruptcy in 1991.

Realtime Associates, however, is doing great. They've gone on to produce many NES, SNES, Sega, and GameBoy titles, including “Bug" for Saturn.

 

...if there were 2 or more different versions of the Intellivision II??

 

Galen Komatsu wondered this, and here are his thoughts on the matter:

 

"Just noticed differences between the two Intellivision II units I have. We'll call one Ernie and the other Bert.

 

- On the front nameplate, Ernie has a more bolder looking black surface, Bert is a bit dulled looking

- Bert has the ® symbol after 'Intellivision' and 'Mattel Electronics'.

- Ernie has a red stripe around the perimeter of the unit, Bert, none.

- Ernie's casing has square corners; Bert's corners are more rounded.

- The button squares on Ernie have a matte finish while Bert's squares have a more "glossy" finish though the areas surrounding the buttons are matte.

- Looking at the underside labels, the bright orange "IMPORTANT!" has "2609-0090-G1" in the upper corner, Bert has "2609-0090" ... both labels mention eligibility for FREE CARTRIDGE if the unit requires servicing.

 

5.7 - Competition Cartridges

A possible competition cart has been found in Brazil. Here's how it was found: (courtesy Super Sergio)

“I bought this Astrosmash cart on www.mercadolivre.com.br (the Brazilian E-bay affiliate) and, after that, I asked the seller some questions, trying to find out how this cart came to Brazil. He said that he got it with other cartridges that someone sold him (he already had an Astrosmash cartridge, but he didn't realized that this one was different). There are rumours that this is the "Astrosmash shootoff competition" version, but no one knows why Mattel had manufactured this version on a cartridge (there is no label on it, and the identification on the chip says that it was manufactured in 1984).”

This could either be a cartridge from an Astrosmash Competition, or possibly even from one of the POWW or PIXX game shows. For more info, check http://www.intellivisionlives.com/

 

Here are some screenshots from the cartridge:

 

6.0) Electronic Resources

6.1 -Internet Resources

 

World Wide Web pages:

 

- Blue Sky Rangers Website

http://www.intellivisionlives.com/

If anything could be considered an "official" source of information on the Intellivision, this is as close as it comes.

 

- INTV Funhouse

http://intvfunhouse.com/

There's a ton of screenshots of rare things, reviews, listings, etc.

 

-The Intellivision Zone

http://www.intellivisionzone.com/

Another great site for rarities, info, reviews, and everything Intellivision related.

 

-Intellivision Exhibition

http://www.hotcom.com/intellivision

Overlays and screenshots from over 100 games.

 

-Intellivision Gumbo

http://home.earthlink.net/~classic-videogames/intellivision

At this site you'll find a tasty Intellivision stew, with pictures of rare Intellivision hardware, games, catalogs and fanzines!

 

-Intellivision Library

http://spatula-city.org/~intvlib/inty/index.html

News, reviews, downloads, music, basic stuff and more.

 

-Intellicart

http://www.schells.com/intellicart.shtml

Information on the Intellicart, a cartridge for your Intellivision to download games from your computer.

 

-Intellivision Gaming Network

http://intvgn.roarvgm.com/

Easter eggs, downloads and tons on the emulators for the Intellivision.

 

-Psycho Stormtrooper's Intellivision Hotspot

http://www.intellivision.org/

Brand new overlays for your Intellivision games and a nice history site too.

 

Newsgroups:

 

- alt.games.video.classic

Discussion of classic (pre-crash) game systems and software. This group may not be available on all sites, and this group does not have very much traffic.

 

- rec.games.video.classic

Discussions about any classic (pre-crash) game system are fair play here... If you have a question (and ask nicely), one of the 40 or so people who lurk about regularly will be happy to help you.

 

- rec.games.video.marketplace

If it's a video game, and someone is selling it (or looking to purchase it), you can probably find it here. Please note that this newsgroup is intended for posting of items for sale or items wanted ONLY; discussions should be kept to rec.games.video.classic. This newsgroup is not limited to the classic systems.

 

- rec.games.video.intellivision

Some ISP's support this, most don't, so I would recommend sticking to rec.games.video.classic... However, kinda nice to see a group for my favorite system.

 

7.0) Repair Tips and Information

Most of the information provided here has been taken from the book "Repairing Your Home Video Game: How To Save A Buck While Your Kids Drive You Insane", by Gordon Jennings, or has come from personal experience. Excerpts taken from the book are enclosed in quotes.

 

!!!!!DISCLAIMER!!!!!

Contained in this FAQ is repair information that may damage yourself or your beloved Intellivision.I WILL NOT accept any responsibility for what these instructions. I've tried them, and had no problems.But please don't blame me for ANY problems these plans may cause. Experiment at your own risk!

7.1 - Hand Controllers

Let's face it, I don't know a single person would that they prefer the Intellivision hand controllers over a standard joystick with a straight face, but you're stuck with them if you own an INTV I or III, as they are hard-wired into the unit. There WILL come a time when they will fail. Fortunately, there are some simple steps short of totally disassembling the main console you can take to fix controllers.

 

"Inside the controller is a plastic sheet with a circuit painted (or silk-screened) on it. This is called the Membrane Printed Circuit Board, or MPCB for short. Often, pieces of the circuit chip off and cause the controller to short out. This can be repaired by opening the controller and cleaning out the MPCB with a soft cloth"

 

"To gain access to the MPCB, loosen and remove the four small screws on the back of the controller. With the controller facing up, lift off the top cover. Remove the round control button and the spring beneath it. There should also be a white plastic spacer, sandwiched between two sections of the MPCB directly beneath the spring (Note its position. It must be placed back between these two sections when you put the controller back together)"

 

"Slide out the black side buttons (When reassembling the controller, these are useful in holding down the MPCB, which tends to pop out). Remove the gold numeric pad and the clear sheet (static shield) beneath it."

 

"Remove the MPCB. Visually inspect it to see if it's still in good condition. Hold it up to the light; if you see any holes or breaks in it, it should be replaced."

 

To reassemble the hand controller, follow the above instructions in reverse order. "Note that the MPCB, static shield, and numeric pad have two small holes in each of them. These holes interlock with the two pins protruding from the bottom cover of the hand controller, making it easier to align and adjust the MPCB into its proper position." If your MPCB's require replacement, a great source of spare parts are those totally trashed, $2 INTV consoles you pass up at the flea market. Not only are the hand controllers usually in working order, but you get a whole slew of other spare parts, such as logic boards, transformer assemblies, power supplies and switches.

7.2 - Cartridge Problems

Help!! I've turned on my console and all I get is a black screen!! What do I do??

 

First off, follow the teachings of one of my favorite sci-fi authors, Douglas Adams: "Don't Panic!"

 

Secondly, ensure that the cartridge is properly inserted. Not inserting the cartridge far enough, or even inserting the cartridge too far can cause the console not the read the game.

 

Dirty contacts on the cartridge itself may also cause a problem; use a cotton swab and some denatured alcohol to remove any corrosion from the gold contacts (the swabs used for cleaning VCR heads work best, as they are lint-free). I STRONGLY recommend against using a pencil eraser, as is so popular in many PC repair circles. Not only does the rubber build up a static charge in the cart, potentially damaging the ROM's, it also removes some of the gold plating on the PC board. Too many treatments of this manner could result in a useless game.

 

If you know the problem is not with the cart, all is not lost. If you're handy with a volt-ohm meter, you can usually pinpoint the problem to one of the major components inside the console.

 

Here's some helpful information on opening Intellivision carts:

Mattel had four different designs in their cartridge casings. The first two had screws holding it together, and the final two didn't. The first design uses a common Philips bit. The second uses a triangular bit. Here's some info on making your own bit to open those “second generation cartridges: courtesy of Ryan (TokenGamer)

 

Take a robertson bit/screwdriver of similar size. Borrow an angle grinder and roughly but carefully grind down 2 sides to make the square into a triangle. Use rough to fine sandpaper to do the fine grinding. Tape the sand paper on a flat table surface and rub the bit on it untill you have the right size triangle. If you need to round the corners or reduce the diameter of the bit/shank: put the bit in a power drill, put on a thick glove and pinch the sand paper around the bit as you run the drill at full speed. it gets hot so if you don't have a thick glove you'll have to do it in stages to let it cool down. The other method is to try the “pen method” which is only temporary and doesn't last very long. Get a plastic pen and take out the ink core. Use a lighter to soften the plastic but don't burn it, go slow. When it's nice and pliable, jam it into the head of the bit and let it cool completely. When it cools it will form into the shape of the screw head and you can use it until it breaks. It doesn't usually last long. the bic pen method is more for desperate measures.

7.3 - Console Disassembly

For those of you, who have seen the inside of an Intellivision before, skip to the next section. What follows is a basic description of all of the Intellivision's major components.

 

The system is comprised of four major components. "First is the transformer assembly. The assembly itself is made up of smaller component; the AC Power Cord, the ON/OFF switch, and a small plastic connector."

 

"The next major component is the power supply board. It receives AC power from the transformer assembly, and transforms it into several different DC values. Not only does it convert the voltages, but it also stabilizes them for the logic board."

 

The third sets of components are the hand controllers.

 

"The final unit is called the logic board. This board is the brains of the Intellivision."

 

Okay, so with Phillips screwdriver in hand, you're ready to rip apart your Intellivision. First off, as with any electronic repair work, be sure that your work area is free of static electricity. I personally use a wrist grounding strap clipped to some metal portion of your work area.

 

"Unplug the unit from the wall and from the television. Remove any cartridge from the machine. Turn the power switch to the ON position to drain any stored up voltage. Place a soft cloth on your work area. Turn the console upside down and place it on the cloth. Using a Phillips screwdriver (some units may require a nut driver), remove the six cover retaining screws."

 

"Turn the unit back over and gently lift off the top cover. The small brown cover for the ON/OFF switch will come off at this point. Weave the hand controllers through the holes in the top cover."

 

"The insides of the Intellivision are now exposed. You should be able to identify he four major component groups. There is a brown plastic plate covering and securing the logic board, transformer and power supply board. Remove the six screws holding down the plate, and place them aside." Be CERTAIN to see how the controllers are placed in this plastic plate, as they must be replaced in the exact same fashion in order for the top cover to fit securely.

7.4 - General Troubleshooting

Some of the procedures listed here will require the use of a volt-ohm meter. All of this material has been taken from the aforementioned reference.

 

Problem: When you turn the game on the screen clears, title comes on, but game will not play when hand controllers are pushed.

 

Repair: This normally indicates that on or both of the MPCBs must be cleaned or replaced. Sometime you can open up the hand controller, clean it off, put it back together and it will work. (See 7.1 for info.) If you have cleaned or replaced both MPCBs and the problem still exists, then you may need a couple of new hand controller cables or a new logic board.

 

Problem: When you turn the game on, the screen clears (turns dark), but game title does not appear on the screen.

 

Repair: With the power switch in the OFF position, take the cover off the unit. Unplug the transformer assembly from the power supply board. Place the power switch in the ON position. Using your VOM, test the following voltages:

-The first readings you'll need to take are on the plastic connector of the transformer assembly. They are AC voltage readings. If the voltages do not read as follows, then replace the transformer assembly, it cannot be repaired.

 

Yellow Lead

Blue Lead

Green/Yellow Lead

Green Lead

Green Lead

 

Yellow Lead to Blue Lead -18 VAC

Green/Yellow lead to any Green -9.25 VAC

Green Lead to Green Lead -18.5 VAC

 

-Turn the unit off. Reconnect the transformer assembly to the power supply board.

 

-Turn the unit ON. The next sets of voltages are DC voltages and should be read from the other end of the power supply board. They can be taken right off the cables leading to the logic board. There are two sets of leads; a small two prong lead near the top of the board, and a flat five prong lead near the bottom right corner. Place the black clip of your volt-ohm meter on the lead from the two prong clip farthest from you (if looking down, the lead closest to the upper right hand corner). Place the other lead of your meter into the holes for the 5 prong lead each in turn, and note the voltages. They should read as follows:

 

+ 5 VDC

+ 12 VDC

+ 16 VDC

+ 0 VDC-2 VDC

 

 

If any of the voltages are not present, the power supply board should be replaced. If you want to attempt to repair the board, most of the problems are associated with the two voltage regulators, one being a 7805 and the other being a 7812, or the two larger capacitors.

7.5 - Pinouts for INTV Controller

(Thanks to Jay Tilton for the info)

The original Master Component used a single-row pin header. The Sears Super Video Arcade and Intellivision II use a 9-pin D-Sub connector. To make this page more understandable, the pin numbering of the 9-pin D-Sub connector will be the standard reference. The pair of graphics below show how pins correspond between the different connectors. The colors of the wires of the Master Component connector are shown too.

 

 

Pin 5 is ground. All other pins are normally high unless a controller input pulls them low.

 

Directional disc

 

 

Keypad:  Keypad buttons are labeled with a "K" prefix, i.e. K1, K2, etc.

 

Side Buttons:  Top side side buttons are S1, bottom left side button is S2, and bottom right side buttonis S3. The top button on the left and right side are functionally identical. This chart tells which lines are grounded for the given controller input.

 

x = pin pulled low by controller

Pin

 

1

2

3

4

6

7

8

9

 

Direction

D1

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

D2

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

x

D3

 

x

x

 

 

 

 

x

D4

 

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

D5

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

D6

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

x

D7

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

x

D8

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

 

D9

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

D10

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

x

D11

x

 

 

x

 

 

 

x

D12

x

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

D13

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D14

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

D15

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

x

D16

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keypad

K1

 

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

K2

 

 

 

x

 

x

 

 

K3

 

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

K4

 

 

x

 

x

 

 

 

K5

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

 

K6

 

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

K7

 

x

 

 

x

 

 

 

K8

 

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

K9

 

x

 

 

 

 

x

 

Clear

x

 

 

 

x

 

 

 

K0

x

 

 

 

 

x

 

 

Enter

x

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

Side Buttons

S1

 

 

 

 

x

 

x

 

S2

 

 

 

 

 

x

x

 

S3

 

 

 

 

x

x

 

 

 

7.6 -Fixing INTV II Controllers

(This little bit of hackery was provided courtesy of William Moeller)

 

I just finished refurbishing an Intellivision II unit so I would have a matching Master Component to go with my ECS. I have found quite a few units, and they all have the same problems. They are missing the power supply, and the hand controllers are inoperative. On the original unit, the mylar keypad is held onto the controller wires by pressure from two screws. When a hand controller on the original Master component stops working correctly, usually taking them apart, cleaning and putting them back together, making sure the screws are tight does the trick. On the Intellivision II controllers, there are no screws! I ended up breaking one apart to see how they worked (it was trashed already of course). The knowledge I gained allowed me to carefully take apart a few controllers to cobble two together to go with my II Master Component.

 

The first thing that needs to be done is the top piece has to be taken off. This is the piece that the disc is flush with. It is held on by little plastic "hooks". These "hooks" are located in five spots. The first is in the center at the bottom of the disc. The next two are located on both sides, right where the top of the disk ends, and the keypad begins. The other two are right at the top, where the overlay slides in.

 

Use a small screw driver to press the plastic at the correct location, and pry each of the hooks out in an upward motion, being sure not to break them. This part is very important and cannot be broken. Be sure to look for the four teeth that slide into the hand controller and rest behind the four buttons. These cannot be broken. Their purpose is to press the mylar when the buttons are pressed against them. The buttons push on these plastic teeth, which in turn puts pressure on the mylar. Take the disc, disc spring, and plastic cover and put aside.

 

Now comes the tricky part. Getting the cover off of the base is difficult. Examine your controller and see if the bottom of the controller has a crack in it, or if the buttons are broken. If it is obvious the buttons are broken, try and save the cover... if the bottom and buttons are good, CAREFULLY press the bottom part of the controller.

 

Usually, I start on the right hand bottom side, and end up breaking the hooks there. Then getting the other hooks to let go is a little easier. Breaking one set of hooks is not that serious, because one can glue the controller closed on re-assembly. Make sure that the buttons do not get broken off when sliding the top cover off! Once this step is done, replace the wires/mylar pad/keypad numbers as required. It is then time to reassemble. Make sure that you do not forget the circular plastic piece between the mylar. That is it! Put together the controller the exact opposite order. Happy repairs!

7.7 - Intellivision 2 Controller Modification

(Compliments of Barry Laws Jr)

 

Does everybody agree with me that the Intellivision 2 controller is worse than the original INTV controller? Hell yeah! The keypad feels ultra-cheap. Well, I performed a simple mod to my Intellivision 2 controllers, and while Intellivision controllers suck, I actually improved my INTV2 controllers! Here's what you need:

 

Intellivision 2 controller

Intellivision 1 controller

Phillips-head screwdriver

Scissors or Utility Knife (to open up the INTV2 controller)

 

Turn the INTV1 controller upside down and remove the screws. Turn the controller right-side-up and remove the top case. The gold controller disc may possibly lift up as well.

 

Remove the INTV1 keypad and set it and the gold controller disc aside for now. Using the scissors or utility knife, open your INTV2 controller. Be careful not to break the plastic hooks which keep the controller together. Set the top case of the INTV2 controller aside. Remove the flimsy INTV2 keypad and throw it away. You can also remove the black controller disc if you want to.

 

Using a pair of scissors or a utility knife, cut off the top clear plastic from the INTV1 keypad, and cut the clear plastic side flaps, but don't cut the sides off completely.

 

Position the INTV1 keypad in the INTV2 controller, and make sure that the keypad buttons are aligned correctly. If you decided to replace the black controller disc with the gold controller disc, then remove the black controller disc but leave the small spring in the controller. Place the gold controller disc on top of the spring.

 

Put the top case of the INTV2 controller back on, and VOILA! You have an INTV2 controller with a much better keypad.

 

Another way of replacing the controller is replacing the INTV1 controller plug with a standard 9-pin female plug, and/or modifying a Colecovision controller or a Jaguar controller for use on the INTV2. If you would rather go one of these routes, then more power to you, and there are probably instructions on the net and the newsgroups for these mods, but if you want a simple no-frills mod which combines the look and feel of the INTV1 controller with the outer shell and 9-pin plug of the INTV2 controller, then go with this mod.

7.8 -You've really messed up and are wondering what to do...

One of the most asked questions we get at the Blue Sky Rangers is "Where can I get my Intellivision repaired?" Well, the official Intellivision repair service (i.e. the one Mattel still refers people to when they call) is:

 

J.H.C. Electronics Service

901 South Fremont Avenue #108

Alhambra, California 91803

Phone: 818-308-1685

Fax: 818-308-1548

 

J.H.C. is owned by James Hann, the guy who ran the repair service for INTV Corporation. While their primary business is special controllers for newer videogame systems, they still have the equipment to test and repair Intellivisions and are (amazingly) still willing to do it.

 

They advertise: "J.H.C. Electronics will repair any Intellivision video game system, no matter where or when purchased, for one low price! Complete overhaul, thorough testing, no-charge return shipping to you - only $49.95."

 

J.H.C. can also repair Intellivoice and computer modules. Call for prices.

 

Note: They do NOT have Intellivision II power supplies. They get asked that all the time, and they looked into having some made, but the minimum order is 500. J.H.C. has 100 people on a list now, and if they get 400 more commitments they'll have a batch made up. We wouldn't hold our breath, unless someone wants to pay $3,000 for the first one to get the ball rolling. Still, if you want to be added to the list, e-mail us at Tech@intellivisionlives.com; we'll pass them along to James if a significant number of people write.

 

Finally, if you've visited the Blue Sky Rangers website lately, you'll have noticed we posted the instructions on how to modify your Intellivision or INTV Master Component to work with the System Changer (only the Intellivision II works with the System Changer as is). For those of you who don't want to mess with doing this yourself, J.H.C. says they'll do the modification for $20. Cheap insurance not to destroy your Intellivision, your house, or yourself.

7.9 -Hooking your Intellivision to a Modern TV

If you don't have a switchbox, or want to hook your Intellivision up to a modern TV, I would suggest using a Coaxial (F-type) to Female RCA Adapter, Radio Shack part #278-276. It should cost you about $5 and it will save you many worries. It connects right on the end of the cord that would normally go to the switchbox and modifies it so that it will fit into your coaxial (cable) inputs in your TV or VCR. You will probably notice a much clearer picture as well. You can also buy new switchboxes from some Radio Shack if you are interested in buying a new switchbox.

8.0) Programmer Interviews

The two following interviews were conducted over Internet with a couple of ex-Mattel Electronics employees by Sean Kelly.

8.1 - Daniel Bass

What was your line of work before you became an Intellivision programmer?

I joined TRW right out of grad school, I was working there as a software engineer. I had started in Feb. 1981, just as the Reagan Administration came into office. The job I was supposed to work on was frozen, and there was an enormous delay in getting any kind of security clearance, so that limited what projects were available to me. As a result, I spent my first year there not accomplishing very much on a variety of small projects.

 

How/Why did you come to work at Mattel?

In the spring of 1982, I heard on the radio of an Open House / Job Fair at Mattel Electronics, and I thought it would be a fun way to spend the afternoon -playing with their latest games and gadgets. I was not very happy about my job at TRW, but I wasn't looking to go anywhere. When I got there, I started talking to one of the managers about Dungeons & Dragons, a personal passion of mine. He was looking for some people to develop a D & D style game for the Intellivision Keyboard, the big keyboard. One thing led to another, and in a few weeks I was on board at Mattel Electronics.

 

Exactly which games did you personally program?

Loco-Motion was the only game I programmed start to finish. I also programmed Tower of Doom but I only had the game about 80% done when Mattel Electronics went out of business. I had concentrated on the special effects and mechanics, but I hadn't put in the game play and strategy that I had had in mind. A few years later, one of the guys was contracting out with whoever it was that had bought up all the Intellivision property (was that INTV?) to finish a bunch of the games that were in development when M.E. went under. Tower of Doom was one of those games. I had since moved from California to Massachusetts, and so had not the equipment, nor time to do the completion. He got one of the other programmers to finish it up, but he didn't add any game play either, he just tidied up the loose ends so that the game had an ending and wouldn't crash.

 

Were you involved in programming any other games?

Most games were developed by a single Game Designer, with the help of certain "specialists." There were a few graphic artists who designed most of the graphics for most of the games, a few sound people who developed most of the sound effects. However, the total game development and integration was done by a single engineer.

 

There was a lot of testing, feedback, and reviews amongst the game designers. A significant portion of our work week was assigned to playing other people's games to find bugs, cite improvements and offer suggestions. To this end I worked on several games, but that wouldn't qualify as programming.

 

I also worked on several projects that just didn't go anywhere, and were dropped. The whole big keyboard project (for which I had been hired) was dropped not long after I started working there. It was deemed to be to expensive to produce, so that it would be un-saleable. Subsequently it was redesigned, and code-named "LUCKI" [pronounced 'lucky'] for Low User-Cost Keyboard Interface. I started developing a Stock Market game for the LUCKI, when, one day, the arcade version of Loco-Motion turned up next to my cubicle. I watched and played several games, and I was hooked. Literally overnight I had developed an Intellivision prototype of the arcade game, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

What was it like working for Mattel?

It was an absolute blast! The people there were all a bunch of overgrown kids, and management encouraged us to work on having fun as hard as get-ting product out. The result was an atmosphere of great teamwork and camaraderie. Some examples:

 

The annual office party would be held by renting out a local video arcade and providing Pizza / Deli / Beer / Sodas and unlimited video games to all the staff and their families.

 

The arrival of a new piece of equipment would often lead to the impromptu creation of a new game, using the packing materials in the hall. Several of the managers in particular were particularly creative in constructing these games.

 

Numerous arcade machines lined the walls of the work areas, and people were encouraged to take breaks to study the games and improve our hand-eye coordination.

 

All of Mattel Electronics and families were invited to Disney Studios for a private pre-release screening of "Tron" .

 

Can you fill us in on any 'unfinished' projects that may have been in the works when Mattel Electronics went out of business?

I'm afraid that I can't be much help here. So I'll answer a different question. Things started turning down for the entire video game market around the beginning of 1983. I finished Loco-Motion, and in the summer, started working on Tower of Doom. It was originally supposed to be a voice-optional game, and by the fall I was putting in many long hours focused on getting that going. Around October, Mattel had its first round of layoffs. About 1/3 of the staff was gone over-night. The atmosphere had become quite depressed, and I coped by becoming ever more involved with working on Tower of Doom, and blocking out what was going on around me.

 

In November we had the second round of layoffs, and another third of the staff was gone. It seemed like there was no hope left for the few of us that remained, but I kept plugging away at T-O-D, hoping that I'd have enough time to finish the game. Unfortunately, in January 1984, Mattel Electronics went out of business, and that was that.

 

So, about all I remember from that time period was how depressing things got, and how desperate I was getting, hoping that I'd be able to finish T-O-D.

 

As game collectors, one of the biggest problems we have is finding out exactly what games are out there to be had. Do you know of any games that may be in existence that are not listed on the 'complete' listing I sent you?

I doubt I can help you here. While I enjoyed playing the games, I was never a 'walking encyclopedia' on them.

 

Do you still own an Intellivision system?

Yes, although I never use it. Now my son Aaron (9 years old) uses it.

 

What was/is your personal favorite Intellivision game?

Now you're going to have me make enemies of all people whose games I don't mention! :-)

 

Well, leaving aside a personal bias for Loco-Motion and Tower of Doom, I really like Thunder Castle for its graphics and music. It is such a pleasure to look at and listen to, that you can forgive it its simple game play.

 

There was a Pinball game I liked, but I was always more into pinball machines than Arcade Video games. Buzz Bombers and Thin Ice were both cute. My favorite game when I was on mental overload was Shark! Shark! I found that the colors, sound, and pace of the game was generally restful and relaxing, unlike most video games which leave you all keyed up and strung out.

8.2 - Ray Kaestner

What was your line of work before you became an Intellivision programmer?

I came to Mattel straight out of school. I was a EE major. Initially, I hired on at Mattel to do handheld games, such as electronic football, basketball, etc. then moved into the Intellivision group after a couple of years.

 

How/Why did you come to work at Mattel?

After graduating from UCLA in 1978, I did a lot of interviewing. Most of the local companies in Southern California were defense oriented and I wasn't particularly interested in going down that path at that time. I also talked to a number of chip companies in Silicon Valley. By far, the most interesting job was the one at Mattel. I had my doubts about Mattel's long term stability, since they had recently completed some litigation about how they were running the business and also since the toy industry in general tends to follow boom and bust cycles. However, in the final analysis, it came down to that sure sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

 

Exactly which games did you personally program? Were you involved in programming any other games?

In Intellivision, my games for Mattel were BurgerTime and I also did about half the programming on Masters of the Universe. After Mattel got out of the business, I worked on Diner (a BurgerTime sequel) and Super Pro Hockey for INTV, who took over the Intellivision business from Mattel. I also worked on the concept development for Super Pro Football, though I didn't do any of the programming. In handheld games, I wrote Computer Gin and World Championship Football. In addition, I also worked with a championship chess player on Computer Chess.

 

What was it like working for Mattel?

It was a blast! The best part by far was the team that we had put together. There was lots of diversity the talents and interests of members of the group and that added a lot to the quality of the games. In fact, every year there is the annual layoff reunion party, where everyone gets together to reminisce and network and all those sorts of good things. Next year is the 10th anniversary, so there may be some special festivities planned.

 

Can you fill us in on any 'unfinished' projects that may have been in the works when Mattel Electronics went out of business?

When things went under at Mattel, I was working on a sequel to Masters of the Universe with a lot of Escher-looking screens. After a few mutations and change in characters and story line, I was able to finish that game as Diner, a sequel to BurgerTime done by INTV. When INTV bought out the rights to Intellivision, they bought the right to all the work in progress at the time. Much of the work that was fairly far along was later published by INTV, so you can see what was happening at that point. After a while, we ran out of pre-existing work, and so we ended up doing some new work and other sequels to existing games, especially the sports titles.

 

Do you still own an Intellivision system?

Of course! Since the machines tended to breakdown every so often and since I suspected that it would become increasingly difficult to get them fixed, I made sure to store away 3 or 4 Intellivision in the attic to make sure that my kids would be able to see what I had done at Mattel. So far, I have only lost one machine, so they were a lot more reliable than I thought they would be.

 

What was/is your personal favorite Intellivision game?

Of the work that I did, I would probably rank Diner as my favorite, followed closely by BurgerTime. I would also rank Night Stalker pretty highly. I also played a lot of Sea Battle and would count that among my favorites.

 

What is your line of work now?

After Mattel went under, since there was so little commercial work around the area and no video games work anywhere at the time, I went to TRW to work on defense systems. Fortunately, I was able to get involved with some pretty fun projects using early versions of Sun Workstations and so I was able to have some fun, learning lots about GUI and all those things that are still increasing in popularity. I even designed a paint program for a government project, probably one of the only paint programs ever done specifically for the government.

 

Since then, I've moved over to the PC business and am doing Windows work for first for Software Publishing Corporation on Harvard Graphics for Windows. I also worked on their Info Alliance project, which was one of the first GUI database projects available. Unfortunately, though the market was ready for such a product, SPC was not and the product died an unfortunate death. Currently, I am at Borland working on future versions of Paradox for Windows.

 

Lastly, Dan said I had to ask you about your "Cheeseburger Birthday Cake". What gives???

Dan's wife was taking a cake decorating class and one day they surprised me and brought in a birthday cake shaped like a giant hamburger. Obviously the connection was BurgerTime.

8.3 - Patrick Jost

(Former Intellivision speech developer)

 

How did you come about working with the Intellivision, and what role did you play in its software/hardware development?

In 1981, I'd been working for Pacific Telephone for about a year and a half. This was my first real job after leaving graduate school. I'd messed around with the music industry, done a little "international consulting", some of the typical things one does when one does not know what to do.

 

Anyway, Pacific Telephone was fun... I was working with electronic switching, international testing (I got to call Lybia once), programming custom services, various things. They had lots of UNIX machines to play with, so it was also a sort of immersion course in Unix computing...

 

I started to get bored. I'd gone to most of the schools; I'd worked on various interesting projects. I was spending a lot of time and money at Opamp Technical Books in Hollywood (still in business, still a great place), and I was beginning to want to do something more --well --interesting.

 

Mattel was running huge ads in the paper. At the time, my main concern was the commute. I lived about 10 minutes from the Pacific Telephone facility in Hollywood, Hawthorne seemed far away. After a while, I got over this concern, and went to one of Mattel's job fairs (back in those days, LOTS of companies were having them). I got along with the people right away. Intellivision was an established product; they wanted to do more with it. They wanted to add voice synthesis. They were looking for someone with a linguistics background (that's what I majored in!) and who understood computers (thank you, Pacific Telephone).

 

This was Saturday. They asked me to come back Monday. I talked with some more people, and filled out the application. They were talking good money, and it sure sounded interesting. By the time I got back to Hollywood, I had a message on my machine; they offered me the job that day.

 

I gave notice at Pacific Telephone, gave myself about a week off, and started to work. My first day was Monday... and already things were getting interesting. I had to fly to New York the next day to help with the speech for the first game. This game grew up to be Space Spartans, but, at the time, all anyone knew was that it was a space game of some sort. It was supposed to be a short trip; it turned out to be several weeks. I recall that due to the short notice I got to fly first class, and sat right behind Count Basie and a member of his band...

 

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain how speech was made for these games. Along with the game idea, a script was written. I transcribed the script (into phonetic transcription) and made sure there were no critical words that would be "transformed" too badly by the speech synthesis process.

 

After the script was written, auditions were held. I used my contacts in the music industry to find good agents and a good recording studio. We looked for good voices, good acting, and actors that could work with some of the odd requirements of speech synthesis --not too many 'hissing' ess [s] sounds, no loud popping p's and so on. I finally developed a pretty good ear for which voices would synthesize well...

 

After the recording, the voices were sampled. We used a Hewlett-Packard 1000 series machine with the ILS signal processing package and a large amount of custom software.

 

The sampled speech was fed to the synthesis software for the Intellivoice speech synthesizer, the General Instrument SP-256.

 

Synthesized speech could be generated quickly. The problem is that automatically generated speech took up a lot of space (that could be used for more speech or game code). This was a big problem! The other problem is that the automatic speech synthesis didn't always sound that good... some of it was actually pretty bad.

 

The solution to both problems was manual editing of the original waveform before the speech was synthesized. This was done with a good, but somewhat primitive editor. Segments to be used for synthesis could be marked, and speech could be deleted. The resulting files could be submitted for synthesis; the results were usually speech that took up less space that the automatic speech and that sounded good.

 

For the first six months or so, I did everything --work on scripts, transcriptions, auditions, recording sessions, speech editing. I did almost all the speech that you hear on "Space Spartans" and "B-17 Bomber."

 

By the time "Bomb Squad" came along, Mattel wanted to be more organized. A formal speech group was set up --I trained the editors, largely on what you hear in "Bomb Squad!" The last speech game was "Tron: Solar Sailor", I did not have much to do with that one.

 

I went on to work on some other things for Mattel: consumer musical productions, and advanced technologies for the games, specifically a rapid prototyping environment. For a while Mattel was also very interested in entering the European marketplace, so I worked on Spanish, German, French, and Italian versions of "Space Spartans." That ROM is out there somewhere...

 

I've heard that Mattel had a "laid back" environment: it was a fun place to work. Would you say the same?

Fun place to work? Sure, especially if you liked video games. I didn't, and still don't. But remember, this was during the time when it seemed like there was a Pac-Man machine everywhere.

 

Mattel had some very good people. Most of us were about the same age... late 20s, early 30s, I guess. Many common interests apart from the games. I played Geddy Lee style bass in an informal group called the Redi Spuds (named after a sign on a nearby building) that played sort of a new wave rock; yes, a total mismatch of styles, but fun... I shudder to think of what it would sound like now, with my more Percy Jones influenced style.

 

You could always find someone interesting to talk to, even though I don't think they planned it, there was quite a lot of synergy. In speech, we were doing things with audio on minicomputers that are commonplace now in this age of samplers... but we solved the problems years ago.

 

Laid back? Well, the games programmers didn't work on much of a fixed schedule. I was interested in seeing what could be done with natural language processing technology. I should also say that I'm probably NOT a very laid back type of person! I was never really all that happy in California, and my lack of laid back inclinations may explain why I'm one of the few people I know of who moved from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

 

Would you know of any unfinished hardware or software that Mattel may have been working on (besides the previously mentioned foreign ROM)? Video game collectors just love this kind of thing.

Unfinished games... there were probably lots and lots of them; things came crashing down pretty fast. ROMs? I don't know, probably not many of them had been made into ROMs yet.

 

There was a thing called "Decade" which was a 68000 based system that could have been Macintosh like, had they completed it. There were prototype wireless remote controls for Intellivision. There were plans for all sorts of interfaces... Apple II, IBM PC, and so on.

 

You may have seen the Synsonics drums, four touch pads and some buttons with some rudimentary programming/memory capability. There were also a Synsonics guitar, with "strum bars" for your right/picking hand and a neck full of switches for your left/fretting hand. I don't think this ever saw production, but I've seen things like it in the COMB and DAMARK catalogues.

 

Thanks for the interview, Patrick. I appreciated it.

No problem...

 

9.0) Intellivision Emulators

The Intellivision lives on, albeit in a different form. Now, the Intellivision can be emulated by the functions of the PC, PS, or whatever. Please support the commercial emulators wherever possible! The Intellivision can live on, let's not piss on its grave.

9.1 - Commercial Emulators

Intellivision Rocks / Lives

Intellivision Productions, Inc. offers several games for download as well as commercial emulators for the PC and Mac. Check out the Blue Sky Ranger's site for more. Intellivision Lives! It was also later released in late 2003 for PS2, and early 2004 for Xbox. Sixty games were on the console versions.

 

Intellivision Classic Games

This was released for the Playstation on 9/29/1999. It's 30 classic Intellivision games emulated fairly well on the Playstation. The controls are a bit troublesome, and their choice of games could have been better, but not bad for those who want to play the classics and don't want to mess around with their PC.

 

Intellivision to TV

Now you can play your favorite Intellivision games without a console or computer! Just plug Intellivision 10 or Intellivision 25 into your TV set and away you go! Each unit is a complete video game system -with games -built into a hand controller. An 8 foot cable from the controller plugs into the video and audio jacks found on the front of most modern TV sets. A menu displayed on your TV screen lets you choose from any of the games in the unit. The suggested retail price in the United States for Intellivision 10 is only $14.99. Intellivision 25 is only $24.99! Each requires 4 AA batteries (not included).

9.2 - Non-Commercial Emulators

Nostalgia - http://www.shiny-technologies.com/

This is the newest Intellivision emulator, it has many features including ECS, Intellivoice, and CGC support. Additional features include network play, menu system, box/overlay display and text manual reader.

 

jzINTV - http://spatula-city.org/~im14u2c/intv

The best emulator for Windows, i686/Linux, and MacOS X.

 

Bliss Emulator - http://bliss.kylesblog.com/

This is an Intellivision/Atari 5200 Emulator for the PC. In development.

 

**Please note that the Non-commercial emulators require ROMs of the games to play. It is illegal to own the ROMs and not the original cartridges! Do not e-mail me or anyone listed here asking about them. If you want to play the games, then go spend the money on the commercial emulators, or play the originals.**

10.0) Credits

 

FAQ Version 6.3 maintained by Ryan Amos.
FAQ Version 5.5 and earlier maintained by Larry Anderson, Jr. .

 

The people below, either knowingly or unknowingly, helped contribute information to this FAQ:

 

John Bindel

Sean Kelly

David Tipton

Jeff Bogumil

Ken Kirkby

Paul Thurrott

Ted Brunner

Galen Komatsu

Keith Robinson

James Carter

Barry Laws Jr

Steven Roode

Greg Chance

Ralph Linne

Joe Santulli

Jeff Coleburn

Matthew Long

Laury Scott

John Dullea

Doug M

Lee K. Seitz

Clint Dyer

William Moeller

Chris Williams

Jerry Greiner

Steve Orth

Scott Williams

Allan Hammill

Craig Pell

Ryan (TokenGamer)

Ed Hornchek

William Howald

Joe Huber

Chris Neiman

Russ Perry Jr.

Robert Poniatowski

Jay Tilton

David Harley

Jeremy Wilson

Super Sergio

Roger Mathews (Pycho Stormtrooper)

 

All right reserved.  This document may be copied, in whole or in part, by any means provided the copyright and contributors sections remain intact and no fee is charged for the information. Contributors retain the copyright to their individual contributions.  The data herein is provided for informational purposes only.  No warranty is made with regards to the accuracy of this information. Images in this document are rights of their respective owners.

 

Copyright © 1995, 1996 Larry Anderson, 2004 Ryan Amos, 2006 David Harley

 

Intellivision, Blue Sky Rangers e i marchi associati sono proprietà di Intellivision Productions, Inc. Intellivision Productions, Inc. detiene i diritti in esclusiva sui videogames per Intellivision pubblicati da Mattel Electronics, INTV Corp., Activision e Imagic. Per maggiori informazioni consulta la pagina relativa alle informazioni di Copyright.
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