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Intellivision history (very long read)

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Mattel Intellivision Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Well, after a few months of being absent, you one-stop source for information

about the Intellivision is back, with some additions, subtractions and

revisions... We even have a new interview from a gentleman who did some work

on the Intellivoice hardware and games!!


Items that STILL need help are:


- More historical information: Dates, people, places, etc...

- A list of dealers and/or private parties that regularly sell Intellivision

games/hardware (***STILL NEEDED!!***)

- Ratings and reviews for games - these may not be included in the FAQ, but

are needed for another project.

- More information regarding the people responsible for forming INTV Corp, as

well as dates and the like.

- More game tips and easter eggs!!

- Internet resources (web pages, FTP sites, and video game related BBS's)

- BBS's that may have video-game related information

- Catalog numbers for titles released under the Sears Tele-Games label

(still need a #'s for quite a few of the titles...)

- Catalog #'s for Parker Bros. Super Cobra and INTV Triple Challenge


If you have any additions, corrections, comments, flames, or pats on the back,

please mail them to me at [email protected] Contributors will get their

names immortalized in the credits, as well as a warm and fuzzy feeling =)




Table Of Contents:


1.0) General Information

1.1 - A Brief History of the Mattel Intellivision

1.2 - Timeline


2.0) Technical Information

2.1 - General Hardware Specs

2.2 - Processor Specs

2.3 - Graphics Specs

2.4 - Operating System Specs


3.0) Hardware Descriptions

3.1 - Intellivision Master Component

3.2 - Sears Super Video Arcade

3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision One

3.4 - Sylvania Intellivision

3.5 - Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module

3.6 - Intellivision II

3.7 - INTV System III

3.8 - Computer Adaptor

3.9 - Entertainment Computer System

3.10 - Music Syntesizer

3.11 - System Changer

3.12 - Joystick Substitutes

3.13 - Compro Electronic Videoplexer

3.14 - PlayCable


4.0) Cartridge Listing

4.1 - Released Titles

4.2 - Unreleased (or rumored) titles

4.3 - Unreleased (or rumored) titles for the ECS

4.4 - Unreleased titles for the original Computer Exp. Module

4.5.1 - Easter Eggs, Cheats and Tips

4.5.2 - Information regarding Unreleased Titles & Hardware

4.6 - Information regarding Label & Box Variations


5.0) Vaporware, Trivia, and Miscellanea

5.1 - Intellivision III

5.2 - INTV Corp. Games

5.3 - Trivia and Fun Facts


6.0) Electronic Resources, Books and Magazines

6.1 - Internet and BBS Resources

6.2 - Books

6.3 - Magazines


7.0) Reapir Information

7.1 - Hand Controllers

7.2 - Cartridge Problems

7.3 - Console Disassembly

7.4 - General Troubleshooting

7.5 - Pinouts for INTV Controller

7.6 - Fixing INTV II Controllers

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


8.0) Programmer Interviews

8.1 - Daniel Bass

8.2 - Ray Kaestner


9.0) Dealers



1.0) General Information:


1.1 - A 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 it's 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 and 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 gameplay, 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 mags 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, data

recorder, and thermal printer never made it past the drawing board, and 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

useful 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 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 thier 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 into black.



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 periphs. announced

1983 - 2600 System Changer released

1983 - Intellvision 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

+ investors, forming INTV Corp.

1985 - INTV III released, along with new Intellivision titles. Agressive retail

and mail marketing result in $6 million worldwide sales that year

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 available for external programs.

Controls: 12 button numberic key pad, four action keys, 16 direction disk

Sound: Sound generator capable of 3 part harmony with programmable

ASDR envelopes.

Color: 16

Resolution: 192v x 160h pixels



2.2 - Processor Specs


(Author's note: Most of this information was captured off the net two

years ago, would the original author please speak up and maybe help me

clean up this info?? =) )


GI 1600, running at something like 500KHz. Processor has 16

bit registers, uses 16 bit RAM, and has 10 (yes, 10) bit instructions.

Intellivision cartridges contain ROMs that are 10 bits wide. Ten

bits are called a decle, and half that is a nickle. There were 160

bytes of RAM, I think (general purpose RAM -- there is also RAM used

by the graphics chip for character bitmaps and to tell what is where

on the screen).


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, prototypes existed in late '74 I think. Honeywells then Test

Instrument Division also incorporated into a Cardiac Catheterisation system

called MEDDARS which was released for sale about 1979. The CP1600 was

definitely a 16 bit chip."


John Dullea ([email protected]) 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 in chapter 16

(If you want a photocopy of the chapter, e-mail me). Here are the pinouts of

the CPU:


+------------------+ ____

EBCI ---+ 1 40 +--- PCIT

_____ | |

MSYNC ---+ 2 39 +--- GND

| |

BC1 ---+ 3 38 +--- (PHI)1

| |

BC2 ---+ 4 37 +--- (PHI)2

| |

BDIR ---+ 5 36 +--- VDD

| |

D15 ---+ 6 35 +--- VBB

| |

D14 ---+ 7 34 +--- VCC

| |

D13 ---+ 8 33 +--- BDRDY

| | _____

D12 ---+ 9 32 +--- STPST

| | _____

D11 ---+ 10 31 +--- BUSRQ

| |

D10 ---+ 11 30 +--- HALT

| | _____

D9 ---+ 12 CP1600 29 +--- BUSAK

| CPU | ____

D8 ---+ 13 28 +--- INTR

| | _____

D0 ---+ 14 27 +--- INTRM

| |

D1 ---+ 15 26 +--- TCI

| |

D7 ---+ 16 25 +--- EBCA0

| |

D6 ---+ 17 24 +--- EBCA1

| |

D5 ---+ 18 23 +--- EBCA2

| |

D4 ---+ 19 22 +--- EBCA3

| |

D3 ---+ 20 21 +--- D2



D0-D15 ............... Data and address bus ................ Tristate,


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


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, VDD, GND ... Power and ground




Now...Looking at the logic board in the Intellivision unit (orginal 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, of course, there is the cartridge ROM:


ROM ............... AY-3-9504-021 ............ 28-pin


In addition, there are three 40-pin chips that have heat sinks epoxied 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 <----- hello!


Having the CPU location and pinouts, 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)



















NC D14

*1 D1

*2 D0

*3 D15

*3 *3

*2 *2

*1 *1



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:




VCC ---+ 1 28 +--- STIC pin 7

| |

NC ---+ 2 27 +--- STIC pin 6

| |

NC ---+ 3 26 +--- STIC pin 8

| |

D15 ---+ 4 25 +--- D0

| |

NC ---+ 5 24 +--- D1

| |

D14 ---+ 6 23 +--- D2

| |

D13 ---+ 7 22 +--- NC

| |

D12 ---+ 8 21 +--- D3

| |

D11 ---+ 9 20 +--- D4

| |

D10 ---+ 10 19 +--- D5

| |

NC ---+ 11 18 +--- NC

| |

D9 ---+ 12 17 +--- D6

| |

D8 ---+ 13 16 +--- D7

_____ | |

MSYNC ---+ 14 15 +--- GND





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). I don't recall the sprite size -- I think it was

16x16. Sprites could be drawn with oversize pixels (I think they could

be linearly doubled or quadrupled, but again, memory is hazy).


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 predesigned sprites located in ROM were a big help in speeding up

gameplay. (Now that I think about it, maybe sprites were 8x16 -- I

don't recall them taking up 4 pictures in GRAM -- but two seems



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 character 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.


I seem to recall that a sprite could be designated as either being in

front of or behind the background, which determined prority 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 eigth time, when things need to be shifted a full card. There is

no need for a bitblt-type operation.


The hardware detected collisions bewteen sprites and other sprites or

the background.


GRAM and (I think) 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. Unacceptable.



2.4 - Operating System Specs


The operating system did several things:


- It allowed the program to specify a veloc 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 sequence for these

were a bit strange. When you called these, they saved the return

address, 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




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:


(Top View)


_||_ _|_

Power Cable -->|| |<-- RF Cable

|| |


| ||

| ---------------------------- ||

| /\ .... | | .... /\ ||

| \/ .... | | .... \/ ||

| ---------------------------- ||

| [ ][|] ||


^ ^> Power Switch

|> Reset Switch



3.2 - Sears Super Video Arcade


Up until recently, if you wanted to market your product through Sears, it had

to have thier 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



(Top View)


_||_ _|_

Power Cable -->|| |<-- RF Cable

|| |


| ||

| ---------------------------- ||

| |... |... | ||

| |... |... | ||

|__________| /\ | /\ |_/-\_/-\_||

| | \/ | \/ | \-/ \-/ ||


^ ^> Power Switch

|> Reset Switch



3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision I


Yet another clone, this console has faux wood-grain (what was it with

videogames and woodgrain in the early eighties??) paneling in the place of the

INTV I's gold panels. Otherwise, this unit is totally identical to the INTV I.



3.4 - GTE / Sylvania Intellivision


Still another clone, this console is identical to the original Intellivision

except for the brand name. The box has a very detailed description of the

Computer Adapter that was never released... Rumor has it that these were given

away for free with the purchase of a Sylvania television.



3.5 - 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 Seires 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. Everyone pop the cover off and make sure it's there? =)



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 (although the fire buttons on these

controllers are nearly impossible to use, and darn uncomfy =) )

- Combination Power/Reset switch (probably the most annoying feature

of all, you have to hold the switch for 5 seconds in order to turn

the unit off)

- Power LED Indicator


(Top View)



| || ... || ... ||

| || ... || ... ||

| || ... || ... ||

| ___ || ... || ... ||

Power LED Ind.-->| * | | || /\ || /\ ||

| |___| || \/ || \/ ||


^> Power / Reset Switch


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 and some Mattel games (Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, and Carnival DEFINITELY

do not work, Chess is a maybe).


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



3.7 - INTV System III (Model #3504)


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.



3.8 - 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 it's high street price (around $700, versus an announced price of

$150), the plans to market this unit nationally were shelved.



3.9 - Entertainment Computer System


Spurred on by the increasingly popular home computer market, 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 pacakged 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. For the techies, the unit sported an additional voice chip

(bringing the grand total to 6), 10K of ROM and 2K of RAM for programming



This unit comes in two flavors, the grey mentioned above, and also a dark

brown color keyed to the original Intellivision. Functionally, the units are

identical. The dark brown variety is extremely difficult to find.


Expansions announced for this unit include a 16K RAM, 8K ROM expansion, a 32K

RAM, 12K ROM expansion, data recorder, and a 40 column thermal printer. 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.

Although they are both pretty tough to find, the brown variety is extremely




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

cartridge port on the top of the module, Game Select and Reset keys flanking

the two difficuly and color/BW switch:


(Top View)


| _____________ | Legend:

| | _ _ | |

______| |_____________| | 1 - Game Select

| | 2 - Left Difficulty

| <--- To INTV | 3 - Color / BW Switch

|_______ ___________________ | 4 - Right Difficulty

| | 1 |2|3|4| 5 | | 5 - Game Reset

| |_____|_|_|_|_____| |



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 ROM upgrade that was required for this

unit to work with the older equipment.



3.12 - Joystick Substitutes


For the masses who 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:


/ \

|-------| ________________________

\_______/ | |

| | | _________ |

| | | / \ |

| | (Side View) | ( (INTV) ) |

| | | \_________/ |

___________| |___________ | |

| _________| |_________ | |_______________________|

| | ____| |____ | |

| |_ ----------- _| | (Top View)

|___| |___|


- 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 exisiting buttons.



3.13 - Compro Electronics (CEI) 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. (Anyone ever seen one of these???)



3.14 - PlayCable


The idea of beaming Junior videogames through Cable TV is not new; a company

called PlayCable created an adapter for the Intellivision that plugged into

the cartridge port, and the service would have had a selection of 20 of the

most poular 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 it's dimesions were the same height and depth of

the INTV I, with the length of an INTV II. It had a power cord comming 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. The setup looked roughly like this:



Cable In

| |


| ----+ | <= RF Box



______________| T |

| V |

| |


| || |

| ---------------------------- || ------------- |

| /\ .... | | .... /\ || |

| \/ .... | | .... \/ || |

| ---------------------------- || ------------- |

| [ ][|] || |


Intellivision Playcable Box



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:






- 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



- 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, 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 perferations; 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 sidenote: When they changed the games

out, the system would still be up. First, all game choices would

dissapear. 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 gameplay was. I think we even have one Playcable T-shirt

laying around somewhere!


Finally though, our cable company stopped carrying Playcable, and

unfortunately, we had to surrender the box. I would liked 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.



4.0) Cartridge Listing:


4.1 - Released Titles


This list contains information from VGR'S Giant List of Intellivision games,

Sean Kelly's list, Paul Thurrott's List, and some information I have gleaned

from personal experience.


Manufacturer's Key:

MA = Mattel IM = Imagic PB = Parker Bros. IN = INTV

SE = Sega AT = Atarisoft AC = Activision CO = Coleco

SU = Sunrise IT = Interphase 20 = 20th Century Fox CB = CBS Electronics

ST = Sears Tele-Games


Ovr? Key:

Yes = Has overlays No = No Overlays ?? = No clue =)

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



Any interesting tidbits, such as additional hardware required,

release notes, and compatibility. Please note that the compatibility

issue varies from person to person, e.g. two people have told me that

Chess works in their INTV II's, but it freezes in mine.


Title Mfg. Part # Ovr? Notes


Advanced Dungeons & Dragons MA 3410 Yes

Advanced D&D Treasure of Tarmin MA 5300 Yes

Armor Battle MA 1121 Yes

Astrosmash MA 3605 Yes

Atlantis IM 700006 Yes

Auto Racing MA 1113 Yes

B-17 Bomber MA 3884 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)

Backgammon MA 1119 Yes

Baseball ST 49 75202 Yes (Mattel Baseball)

Beamrider AC M-005-02 Yes

Beauty & The Beast IM 700007 Yes

Blockade Runner IT 8010001 Yes

Body Slam Wrestling IN 9009 No

Bomb Squad MA 3883 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)

Boxing MA 1819 Yes

Boxing ST 49 75221 Yes (Mattel Boxing)

Bump 'n Jump MA 4688 Yes

Burgertime MA 4549 Yes (INTV II Pack-In)

Buzz Bombers MA 4436 Yes

Carnival CO 2488 No (INTV I/III Only)

Centipede AT 70254 No

Championship Tennis IN 8200 Yes

Checkers MA 1120 Yes

Chip Shot Super Pro Golf IN 8900 No

Commando IN 9000 No

Congo Bongo SE 006-06 No

Defender AT 70252 No

Demo Cart MA ???? No

Demo Cart II MA ???? No

Demon Attack IM 700005 Yes

Dig Dug IN 9005 No

Diner IN 8800 No

Donkey Kong CO 2471 No (INTV I/III Only)

Donkey Kong Jr. CO 24?? No

Dracula IM 700018 Yes

Dragonfire IM 700010 Yes

Draughts MA 1120 ?? (Eng. ver. of Checkers)

Dreadnaught Factor AC M-004-04 Yes

Electric Company Math Fun MA 2613 Yes

Electric Compnay Word Fun MA 1122 Yes

Fathom IM 7205(?) Yes

Football ST 49 75201 Yes (Mattel Football)

Frog Bog MA 5301 Yes

Frogger PB 6300 No

Happy Trails AC M-003-04 Yes

Horse Racing MA 1123 Yes

Hover Force IN 8500 No

Ice Trek IM 710012 Yes

Jetson's Way With Words MA 4543 Yes (ECS Required)

Kool Aid Man MA 4675 Yes

Ladybug CO 2483 No

Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack MA 2611 Yes (Included with system)

Las Vegas Roulette MA 1118 Yes

Learning Fun I IN 9002 No

Learning Fun II IN 9006 No

Lock 'n Chase MA 5637 Yes

Locomotion MA 4438 Yes

Major League Baseball MA 2614 Yes

Masters of the Universe MA 4689 Yes

Melody Blaster MA 4540 L/R (ECS Required)

Microsurgeon IM 720013 Yes

Mind Strike MA 4531 Yes (ECS Required)

Mission X MA 4437 Yes

Motocross MA 3411 Yes

Mouse Trap CO 2479 Yes (INTV I/III Only)

Mr. Basic Meets Bits & Bytes MA 4536 L/R (ECS Required, 3 O/L)

Mountain Madness Skiing IN 9007 No

NASL Soccer MA 1683 Yes

NBA Basketball MA 2615 Yes

NFL Football MA 2610 Yes

NHL Hockey MA 1114 Yes

Night Stalker MA 5305 Yes

Nova Blast IM 700022 Yes

Pac Man IN 8000 No

Pac Man AT No

PBA Bowling MA 3333 Yes

PGA Golf MA 1816 Yes

Pinball MA 5356 Yes

Pitfall AC M-002-04 Yes

Pole Position IN 9004 No

Popeye PB No

Q*Bert PB 6360 No

Reversi MA 5304 Yes

River Raid AC M-007-03 Yes

Royal Dealer MA 5303 Yes

Safecracker IM 710025 Yes

Scooby Doo's Maze Chase MA 4533 Yes (ECS Required)

Sea Battle MA 1818 Yes

Sewer Sam IT 8010002 Yes

Shark! Shark! MA 5387 Yes

Sharp Shot MA 5638 Yes

Slam Dunk Basketball IN 9001 No

Slap Shot Hockey IN 9003 No

Snafu MA 3758 Yes

Space Armada MA 3759 Yes

Space Battle MA 2612 Yes

Space Hawk MA 5136 Yes

Space Spartans MA 3416 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)

Spiker! Volleyball IN 9102 No

Stadium Mud Buggies IN 9100 No

Stampede AC M-001-04 Yes

Star Strike MA 5161 Yes

Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back PB 6050 No

Sub Hunt MA 3408 Yes

Super Cobra PB No (European Release)

Super Pro Decathalon IN 9008 No

Super Pro Football IN 8400 No

Swords & Serpents IM 720009 L/R

Tennis MA 1814 Yes

Thin Ice IN 8300 No

Thunder Castle IN 4469 No

Tower of Doom IN 8600 No

Triple Action MA 3760 Yes

Triple Challenge IN No

Tron Deadly Discs MA 5391 Yes

Tron Maze-a-tron MA 5392 Yes

Tron Solar Sailer MA 5393 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)

Tropical Trouble IM 700017 Yes

Truckin' IM 710023 Yes

Turbo CO 2473 No

Turbo CB CI241303 No (European Release)

Tutankham PB 6340 No (European Release)

USCF Chess MA 3412 L/R (INTV I/III Only??)

US Ski Team Skiing MA 1817 Yes

Utopia MA 5149 Yes

Vectron MA 5788 Yes

Venture CO 2477 No (INTV I/III Only??)

White Water IM 720024 Yes

World Championship Baseball IN 5789 Yes

World Cup Soccer IN 8100 Yes

World Series Major League BB MA 4537 L/R (ECS Required)

Worm Whomper AC M-006-03 Yes

Zaxxon CO 2487 No




4.2 - Unreleased (or rumored) titles for the Intellivision:


Title Mfg. Notes


9 to 5 20

All-Star Baseball MA (#5789)

Beezor IM (#7613)

Blueprint CB (#80031)

Buck Rogers Planet Of Zoom SE (#005-007)

Choplifter! IN

Cosmic Avenger CO (#2684)

Domino Man CB (#80131)

Fall Guy 20

Flight Simulator IN

Frenzy CO (#2675)

Galaxian AT

G.I. Joe PB (#6920)

Glacier Patrol SU (Based on Atari 2600 title)

Go For the Gold MA

GORF CB (#80011)

Illusions MA

James Bond 007: Octopussy PB (#6110)

Jedi Arena PB (Based on Atari 2600 title)

Karate Champ IN (Picture of box seen in catalog)

Karateka IN

Land Battle MA (#5302)

Looping CO (#2672)

Lord of the Rings: PB (#6950)

Journey To Rivendell

Madden Football CB (#80121)

M*A*S*H 20

Meltdown 20

Moonsweeper IM (#7207)

Ms. Pac-Man IN

Mystic Castle MA (Released as Thunder Castle)

Omega Race CB (#80091)

Party Line MA

Pepper II CO (#2673)

Reactor PB (#6330)

Return Of The Jedi: PB (#6060)

Death Star Battle

Return Of The Jedi: PB (#6065)

Ewok Adventure

Rocky CO (Based on CV Title, #2670)

Rocky and Bullwinkle MA (#4601)

Sea Battle II IN

Shootin' Gallery IM (Based on Atari 2600 title)

Smurf Rescue CO

Snow Plow SU (Atari 2600 proto exists)

Tron II MA (Released as Tron Maze-A-Tron)

Smurf CO

Solar Fox CB (Based on Atari 2600 title, #80021)

Speed Freak IN

Space Shuttle AC

Spiderman PB (Based on Atari 2600 title, #6900)

Star Trek SE (#004-007)

Strawberry Shortcake PB (Based on Atari 2600 title, #6910)

Super Pro Auto Racing IN

Super Pro European Bike Rally IN

Super Pro Horse Racing IN

Super Pro Pool/Billiards IN

Super Pro Soccer IN

Tac-Scan SE (Based on Atari 2600 title, #001-007)

Time Pilot CO (#2679)

Tower Of Mystery 20

Wings CB (#80061)

Wing War IM (Picture seen in catalog, #7209)

Wizard Of Wor CB (#80001)

XIV Winter Olympics MA (#4552)

Yogi's Frustration MA (Prototype exists)

Zenji AC (One copy may exist)




4.3 - Unreleased (but announced) titles for the ECS:


Title Mfg. Notes


Number Jumble MA

The Flintstones MA

Game Factory MA

Program Builder MA

Song Writer MA

Football MA

Soccer MA




4.4 - Software announced for the original Computer Adaptor (never released):

(These programs were all to have been provided on cassettes)


Title Mfg. Notes


J.K. Lasser's 1980 Federal

Income Tax Preparation MA

Stock Analysis MA

Jack LaLanne's Physical Cond. MA

Guitar Lessons & Music Comp. MA

Jeanne Dixon Astrology MA

Speed Reading MA

Dr. Art Ulene Weight Loss Prog. MA

Conversational French MA



4.5.1 - Easter Eggs, Cheats and Tips:


Beauty & The Beast -

- For getting high scores, instead of advancing to the 2nd

building, just fall off when you reach the top. You lose 1 man,

but gain it back with the easier play of the 1st building.


Bump 'n' Jump -

- There is a secret road, just jump off to the side and land out

of view.


Sword & Serpents:

- On the 4th level, don't read the nearby scroll, it's a trap!

- To 'win' you either have the wizard do a bunch of destroy_walls

spells to get through the back or top or bottom side of the big room

that the dragon is in, OR in one player mode, you have to walk through

the corners of the successive walls (in the back of the big room). If

you don't know what I'm talking about, practice on the lower levels by

walking diagonally, into the outside of the corner of a wall. Once

inside the dragon's lair, walk around and pick up a few neat goodies

and be careful not to get killed by black knights and evil wizards (was

there anything else that could kill you?) If you walk around enough,

the programmer's initials will appear.


Truckin': Another programmer's initials trick, anyone?


Triple Action:


Choose the tanks game and at the beginning of the screen take the red

tank and drive up to the blue tank and face it head on (about an inch

away). Now take the Blue Tank and do a 180 turn (Don't move the tank

forward or backward at all). The blue tank should be facing the left

side of your T.V. with the red tank looking at it's behind. Now move

the red tank forward and into the blue tank as far as it will go and

stop there. Now using the disc, turn the red tank to the 1:00 position,

which should look like this:


/ Now the idea here is to be partly on

__/_ the blue tank while facing away from it

XXXXXXXX / / and hitting the SIDE Button really quick

------IIII / - / "Not the FIRE Button but the 'move forward

XXXXXXXX __/ quick'button.


The Tank (red) should, with a ghostly floating effect, sail off to the

right of the screen. It will also go through the barriers and eventually

off the screen. From then on give the blue tank control to a friend and

you'll be conveniently hidden off screen while he tries to find you.

Try practicing this one awhile as it takes a bit of tweaking to get it

just right. After you do get it, try playing with the bullets, shooting

them off screen and inbetween walls and barriers. Heck, see if you and a

friend can get both tanks to sail off at the same time. It might work too.


General INTV games:


Several INTV releases will display the game's credits if you press 0 on

the title screen:

Body Slam Super Pro Wrestling

Chip Shot Super Pro Golf

Super Pro Football

Hover Force

Slam Dunk Super Pro Basketball

Tower of Doom


Several others simply display the credits if you leave the title screen

up long enough:


Monster Truck Rally (Stadium Mud Buggies)

Mountain Madness Super Pro Skiing

Super Pro Decathlon

Slap Shot Super Pro Hockey


They didn't document the "press 0" trick, but they didn't want to make it

hard to find. What you *aren't* supposed to find is the Chip Shot

programmer's secret message to his family: press 23 (2 and 3 at the same

time) on the left hand controller and 26 on the right hand controller and

press reset.



4.5.2 - 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 ([email protected])...


Speed Freak (INTV??):


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.


Space Shuttle:


Mattel did a Space Shuttle Intellivoice game that was unfinished when

we were shut down in Jan '84. Only the prototypes exist. Activision also

did a Space Shuttle game, but I don't know the status of their

Intellivision version of it.


Dig Dug (Atarisoft??):


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)


Pole Position (Atarisoft??):


Produced for and released by INTV. (#9004)


Defender (INTV Corp??):


INTV did sell it, but it was first released by Atarisoft.


Frogger (INTV Corp??):


Again, INTV sold it, but it was a Parker Brothers release.


Rocky & Bullwinkle:


An unreleased Mattel game, only prototypes exist.


Super NASL Soccer (ICA game):


In the works at Mattel for the Entertainment Computer System when we were

closed; the game was completed for INTV and released as a regular

Intellivision cartridge under the name World Cup Soccer.


Prototype Intellivoice (white / Matching Intellivision II):


It was a carved, painted block of wood for the photos. No working prototypes

were made.



4.6 - 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 Matell 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 redish brown and clearly say "Sears/

Telegames". The labels on the games sold by Sears/Telegames are of several



1. no copyright or country of origin, colored label

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

3. © MI

4. © MEI


Telegame 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" Telegame 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 Label Telegames 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



- 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



(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.


..as well as this:


: Q: The boxes do not open like the coloured 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





5.0) Vaporware, Trivia, and Miscellanea:



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 - 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:




PGA Golf (Golf) Chip Shot Super Pro Golf

Math Fun Learning Fun I

Major League Baseball (Baseball) World Champioship Baseball

NASL Soccer (Soccer) World Cup Soccer

NBA Basketball (Basketball) Slam Dunk Super Pro Basketball

NFL Football (Football) Super Pro Football

NHL Hockey (Hockey) Slap Shot Super Pro Hockey

Tennis Championship Tennis

US Ski Team Skiing (Skiing) Mountain Madness Super Pro Skiing

Word Fun Learning Fun II


APBA Backgammon (Backgammon) -\

Checkers (Draughts) > Triple Challenge

Chess -/



5.3 - Trivia and Fun Facts


Have you ever wondered...


- ...what would happen if you plugged two Intellivoices together and then

plugged in an Intellivoice game?? Grag 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 cancelled 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 tryed "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 ROM 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 Intellivison

as many people seem to think. INTV is the name of the company that

bought the rights to the system and all it's games from Mattel when

they decided to leave the market in late 1984. Mattel NEVER referred

to it's 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

it's 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:


: I just found this...I had no idea that INTV made games for the

nintendo!!! How rare is this?


Well, we can't tell you how rare it is, but we can tell you its history:

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. One of their current hits is

"Bug" for Saturn.


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


Galen Komatsu ([email protected]) 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, also Bert has the ® symbol after

'Intellivision' and 'Mattel Electronics'.


Ernie has a red stripe around the perimiter 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 elegibility for FREE CARTRIDGE if the unit requires servicing. =^)


On the second label, Ernie's looks like:


| MATTEL ELECTRONICS ® Hobby Equipment |


| Model No. 5872 104Z |

| FCC ID: BSU9RD5872 |

| _______________________________ |

||CAUTION: This is not a toy and | Input Power: |

||is intended for use by or under| 16.2VAC |

||the supervision of adults. | 60HZ |

||_______________________________| 12.8WATTS |

| |

| Serial No. P3732189 |




whereas Bert's is just:




| |

| Model No. 5872 |

| FCC ID: BSU 9RD5872 |


| |

| Serial No. P20176594 |



I haven't cracked Bert open yet so I don't know if there's any internal

differences but both refuse to run early Coleco games."




6.0) Electronic Resources, Books and Magazines:


6.1 - Internet and BBS Resources


World Wide Web pages:


- Blue Sky Rangers Website



If anything could be considered an "official" source of information

on the Intellivision, this is as close as it comes. The page defies

description, you'll just need to point your web browser at it and check

it out!


- Dr. Demento's (Greg Chance) Video Game Home Page



A very complete page containing information for all kinds of

systems, but specifically has overlay scans for the INTV, as well

as the text for some of the instruction manuals. If you have

manuals/overlays for some of the less common games, do the

community a favor and send them Greg's way!! This page also has

links to other video-game related information.


- VGR's Video Game Home Page



Another great page, home of the ever-famous .50 Chase The Chuckwagon

scan. Also contains lots of cool Intellivision stuff, including VGR's

Giant List of Intellivision games.


- Sean Kelly's Homepage



Not a whole lot here yet, but has great potential =) Sean has a very

good selection of Intellivision games for sale, his lists for these

and any other carts/hardware he has for sale are listed here.




- 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 about items should be kept to r.g.video.classic.

This newsgroup is not limited to the classic systems.


FTP Sites:






Watch this space for information....



6.2 - Books


Many thanx to Lee K. Seitz, who provided this information from his Classic

Video Game Book & Periodical List. Notes on books are copyrighted by the

individual authors; all video games are trademarked by their manufacturers.


(Author's note: I've edited the list to only include pertinent information

regarding the Intellivision, for more complete listings, please contact

Mr. Seitz at [email protected], and I'm sure that he'd be more than happy

to e-mail you the complete list.)






This list is Copyright 1995 by Lee K. Seitz. It may be freely

redistributed in whole or in part, provided that this copyright notice

is not removed. It may not be sold for profit or incorporated in

commercial documents without the written permission of the copyright







Book entries are in alphabetical order by author. The format is as


Author; _Title_; ISBN; Publisher; Date; Cover Price (in $US);

Pages; Format (see abbreviations).

Arcade: List of games covered.

Home: List of systems covered (see abbreviations) (note 1).

Notes: Notes from people who have read it, indicated by user name

(see thanks at end).


(Note 1: The "Home" section is listed only if the specific games

covered are not known. If they are known, the entry will read

something like:




The names of all games are in ALL CAPS the *first* time they are

referenced in connection to a book. This keeps users from worrying

about mixed case when searching the document. This is also true of

home systems that are not referenced often enough to have an

abbreviation. Home system abbreviations are also in ALL CAPS.


Periodicals are in alphabetical order by title. The format is as


_Title_; ISSN; Publisher; First Issue (date)-Last Issue

(date); Frequency; Cover Price (in $US); Pages; Format (see


Covers: Arcade, home, computer, and/or handhelds

Notes: Notes from people who have read it, indicated by user name

(see thanks at end).


First and last issue numbers will be listed as they are in the

periodical. This means either number (e.g. 1-20) or volume and issue

number (e.g. v1n1-v2n8). If only issue numbers are used, this usually

means that the entire run of the periodical is considered "volume 1."

In such cases, if the periodical were to be cancelled and restarted,

that would usually be considered "volume 2." Other publishers consider

each year the periodical is published to be a separate volume.






Formats (refers to the size and binding, not the content):

COL Coloring book

COM Comic book

GN Graphic Novel (like a MAG with square binding; upscale COM)

HC Hard cover (usually larger than a PB and smaller than a TPB)

MAG Magazine

NEWS Newsletter

PAM Pamphlet (approx. PB size, but no flat spine; staples instead)

PB Standard-sized paperback (or close to it)

TPB Trade paperback (larger than a PB)


Home Systems:

2600 Atari 2600 5200 Atari 5200

7800 Atari 7800 CHNF Channel F

CLCO ColecoVision INTV Intellivision

OD^2 Odyssey^2 VECT Vectrex




Blanchet, Micheal; _How to Beat Atari, Intellivision, and

Other Home Video Games_; 0-671-45909-0; Simon & Schuster (Fireside);

1982; $4.95; 128p; PB.


Notes: Illustrated by R.B. Backhaus.

Also contains a chapter on "Converting the Atari Joystick for

Left-Handed Use." (mvcooley)


Blumenthal, Howard J.; _The Complete Guide to Electronic

Games_; [iSBN?]; [Publisher?]; 1981; $[?]; [?]p; [Format?].

Home: 2600, INTV, OD^2.

Notes: Concentrates on hand-held videogames as well as home systems

such as the Atari 2600, Intellivision, Odyssey, APF, etc. (rbarbaga)


Blumenthal, Howard J.; _The Media Room: Creating Your Own

Home Entertainment and Information Center; 0-140-46538-3; Penguin Books;

1983; $9.95; 184p; TPB.

Home: 2600, 5200, CLCO, INTV, PONG, ODYSSEY.

Notes: Contains a single chapter on "Videogames" [sic], although

there are other mentions throughout the book. This chapter give a

very brief history of video games, starting with coin-op Pong and

quickly switching to home systems. It concentrates on the 2600 and

Intellivision, although the recently released 5200 and ColecoVision

are also mentioned. Also contains some nice B&W pictures of the 2600,

Intellivision, and 5200. (lkseitz)


Cohen, Daniel; _Video Games_; 0-671-45872-8; Pocket Books;

1982; $1.95; 120p; PB.

Home: 2600, CLCO, INTV, OD^2.

Notes: Adolescent level book that discusses how video games work and

their history. Contains lots of nice B&W photos of arcade games, home

game consoles, some Intellivision screen shots (from before the games

were officially named), and more. (lkseitz)


Cohen, Daniel & Susan; _The Kid's Guide to Home Computers_;

0-671-49361-2; Pocket Books; 1983; $1.95; 118p; PB.

Home: 2600, INTV, CLCO, OD^2.

Notes: Though this book would seemingly be only about computers, it

contains a fair amount of video game information also. Contains

several B&W system and game photos of several systems (INTV, Odyssey,

Coleco, Adam, Aquarius, 800, Apple, C-64, Vic 20, etc.)! Also

contains some INTV computer system game shots of these unreleased

games: Number Jumbler, Flinstones: Keyboard Fun, Game Maker and

Basic Programmer. Also contains a section on peripherals that covers

joysticks (Spectravideo, Coleco Super Action), printers, monitors,

etc. (APDF35D)

Has a "turn your game system into a computer" section, which features

a brief discussion of ADAM, Aquarius, INTV and 2600 computer add-ons,

as well as a mention of an INTELLIVISION-III (not the INTV-III) with

battery operated controls and built-in speech synth. Interesting.



Dodd, John Carroll; _A Study of the Toy Market, Videogame

[sic] Industry, Pysychological Role of Toys, and Toy Construction in

Relation to a Proposed Promotion Campaign for Mattel Electronics

Intellivision Video System_; NO ISBN; NO PUBLISHER; 1982; NO PRICE;

56p; bound photocopy.

Home: INTV

Notes: Okay, so it isn't a book. It's a School of Art honors paper

at Kent State University. It was too good to pass up. If anyone goes

to K.S.U. to look it up, I'd appreciate a photocopy. (lkseitz)


Hirschfeld, Tom; _How to Master Home Video Games_;

0-553-20195-6; Bantam; 1982; $2.95; 198p; PB.



Notes: Each game is presented with a B&W illustration of the board

with pointers to what each part of the screen represents and then has

the following sections in outline format: controls, scoring, dangers,

observations, and strategies. The following games also have a game

variation matrix (in case you lose your manual, I guess): Asteroids,

Combat, Missile Command, Space Invaders, and Warlords. Also includes

sections on high scores, clubs, exact instructions on how to find the

secret room in Adventure, some arcade games, and manufacturer

addresses. For the completist, the arcade games are DEFENDER,




Hoye, David; _The Family Playbook for Intellivision Games_;

0-8065-0799-3; Citadel; 1982; $5.95; 188p; [Format?].

Home: INTV.

Notes: Early Intellivision titles, detailed info. (jlodoen)


Kubey, Craig; _The Winners' Book of Video Games_;

0-446-37115-7; Warner Books; 1982; $5.95; 270p; TPB.



Notes: Includes a smattering of B&W photos and illustrations. This

includes photos of the controls of Asteroids, Defender, Pac-Man, and

Missile Command, plus a photo of the never-released Keyboard Component

for the Intellivision I. Be warned that some of the home games listed

are brief reviews as opposed to playing tips. Also includes sections

on "Great Video Game Arcades in the United States and Canada," "Video

Game Etiquette," "Video Songs" (songs to play by, not generally

specifically about video games), "The Future," "Videomedicine," "Video

Reform," history & status of the coin-op and home industries, and a

"Glossary of Video Slang," some of which I've never heard. (lkseitz)


Rovin, Jeff; _The Complete Guide to Conquering Video Games:

How to Win at Every Game in the Galaxy_; 0-020-29970-2 (PB); Collier

Books; 1982; $5.95 (PB); 407p; PB, HC.








Notes: [some of the above names might not be actual cartridges, but

just some games from a cartridge, due to the way the book is

organized. If you see an entry that should be changed or entries that

should be folded into one, please let me know. (lkseitz)]

Includes index. By the editor of and could order from _Videogaming

Illustrated_ (see periodicals). There also exists a hardback edition.

It is labelled "special book club edition" on the inside flap of the

dust cover. Games were grouped by type (i.e. Atari's Surround

includes hints on Intellivision's Snafu and Bally's Checkmate) because

the hints were virtually the same. Each game types has the following

sections: object, rating, strategies, cross-references, and video

originals. Each game also has a simple cartoon/illustration to go

with it. Also includes chapters on taking care of your video games,

computer games, the future of video gaming, and a glossary. (lkseitz)


Stern, Sydney Ladenshohn and Ted Schoenhaus; _Toyland: The

High-Stakes Game of the Toy Industry_; [iSBN?]; [Publisher?]; [Date?];

$[?]; [?]p; [Format?].

Home: 2600, CLCO, INTV.

Notes: It's a history on the toy industry with a great chapter on

video games. It's got detailed information on Atari's downfall but

also quite a bit about Mattel and Coleco plus some stories about 3rd

party developers. Later in the book it focuses on the industry circa

1988-9. (rbarbaga)


Stovall, Rawson; _The Video Kid's Book of Home Video Games_;

0-385-19309-2; Doubleday & Co. (Dolphin); 1984; $6.95; 140p; TPB?.

Home: 2600, 5200, CLCO, INTV, OD^2, VECT.

Notes: The 11-year-old author reviews more than 80 video games

available for the six different systems available at the time, and

offers advice on strategy.


Sullivan, George; _How to Win at Video Games_; 0-590-32630-9;

Scholastic; 1982; $1.95; 175p; PB.

Home: 2600, INTV, OD^2, CHNF.

Notes: To emphasize the importance of Pac-Man on classic video games,

note that each of the above games is a section of a single chapter,

except Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, which are contained within their own

chapter. It also covers the Atari 2600 Pac-Man and the Coleco

table-top. Each games is described with a B&W illustration (not to

scale), a brief description, and sections on the controls, scoring,

and strategy & tactics. There is also a chapter on home systems,

listing "the five companies that offer home video games" (Atari VCS,

Intellivision, Odyssey^2, ActiVision [sic], and Channel F). Another

on handheld and table-model games, and finally "Great Dates in Video

Games", which includes the Arkie awards up to 1982, and a brief

glimpse of the future. (lkseitz)


Worley, Joyce; _Video Games_; [iSBN?]; Dell Publishing Co.,

Inc.; 1982; $0.69; 64p; PAM?.

Home: 2600, ASTROCADE, CLCO, INTV, OD^2.

Notes: Contains instructions for playing arcade games as well as some

hints on how to beat them (this is bottom of the barrel stuff here).

Takes 3 pages out for home video game systems (basically just to say

buy one if you like playing these kinds of games). No ISBN number,

but it's #9280 in the series. (APDF35D)



6.3 - Magazines


_Activisions_; [iSSN?]; Activision; 1 ([Date?])-[issue?]

([Date?]); quarterly; free; [?]p; NEWS.

Covers: HOME (2600, [more?]).

Notes: Ran through at least #7 (Fall 1983).


_Blip_; NO ISSN; Marvel Comics Group; 1 (Feb 1983)-7 (Aug

1983); monthly; $1.00; 32p; COM.


Notes: Marvel tried to get in on the video game fad. As you can see,

it didn't last long. Despite the size, this was a magazine and not a

comic book. It was aimed more at younger readers than adult, but is

still enjoyable. It also has some good cartoons. (Did you know that

all Donkey Kong wanted was for someone to scratch behind his ears? 8-)



_Digital Press_; NO ISSN; Digital Press; [issue?]

([Date?])-[issue?] ([Date?]); bimonthly?; $10/6 issues; [?]p;


Covers: HOME.

Notes: STILL IN PRINT. A subscription (6 issues) to DP is $10. Make

checks payable to Joe Santulli at:

Digital Press

44 Hunter Place

Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

You can contact Digital Press at [email protected]


_Electronic Games_; 0730-6687; Reese Publishing Co.; v1n1

(Winter 1982?)-v3n4 (April 1985?); monthly (through Jan 1984), then

bimonthly?; $2.95; [?]p; MAG.

Covers: ARCADE, HOME, [more?].

Notes: The very first video game magazine. The name was changed to

_Computer Entertainment_ with the May 1985 issue. (wal)

It is known that the Mar 1982 issue is vol. 1, no. 2.


_JoyStik_; [iSSN?] (LCCN sf93-91365); Publications

International, Ltd.; v1n1 (Sep 1982)-[issue?] ([Date?]); "six times a

year"; $2.95; 64p; MAG.


Notes: Ran through at least v2n3 (Dec 1983). Color. Many screen

shots. By the same publisher who did the Consumer Guide books.


_Ken Uston's Newsletter on Video Games_; [iSSN?]; New American

Library, Inc.; [issue?] ([Date?])-[issue?] ([Date?]); [Frequency?];

$9.95/year; [?]p; NEWS.

Covers: [info?]

Notes: Advertised in back of _Ken Uston's Home Video '83_ and

_Score!_. Unkown if it was ever actually published.


_Video Games_; 0733-6780; Pumpkin Press Inc.; v1n1 (Aug

1982)-v2n? (Mar 1984); bimonthly (Aug 1982-Dec 1982), monthly (Jan

1983-Jan 1984); $2.95; 84p (Dec 1982), 106p (Feb 1983), 82p (all

others); MAG.


Notes: This was a full color magazine. In had many photos of

cabinets, consoles, handhelds, and screens. Beginning with the March

1983 issue, the back page had stats on the best selling home games,

top earning arcade games, and selected scores from the Twin Galaxies

International Scoreboard. This magazine is of no relation to the

current _VideoGames_ (one word) magazine. (lkseitz)


_Video Games Player_; [iSSN?]; [Publisher?]; 1 (Fall

1982)-[issue?] (1983?); $[?]; [?]p; MAG.

Covers: HOME, [more?].

Notes: [info?]


_Videogaming Illustrated_; 0739-4373 (LCCN sn83-8303); Ion

International, Inc.; Aug 1982-[Date?]; "bimonthly in Feb, Apr, Jun,

Aug, Oct, Dec"; $2.75 (Aug 1982), $2.95 (Feb 1983); 66p (Aug 1982),

74p (Feb 1983); MAG.


Notes: Ran through at least Sep 1983. Color and B&W. Can you tell I

only have two issues of this? 8) (lkseitz)




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.



7.1 - Hand Controllers


Let's face it, I don't know a single person would could say 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 disaasembling

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 call 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.


(If anyone knows of a source for new spare parts, please let me know so I

can include the information in the FAQ.)



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.



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 set 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 electricty. I personally

use a wrist grounding strap clipped to some metal portion of your work



"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 nutdriver), 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



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



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 set 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 is 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


The pinouts and information listed below are courtesy of Steve Roode, who

in a fit of boredom decided to find out what happened when he pushed the

5 key on his Intellivision keypad...


In trying to build the ultimate Intellivision Controller, I thought that

the hard part would be trying to figure out all of the pin assigment

combinations for all of the buttons on the controller. It turns out I was

wrong! That was the easy part... The hard part is finding components to

make the controller with! I went to a couple of stores to look for a rugged,

phone style type keypad, nice metal stick, and a couple of rugged arcade

style fire buttons. Couldn't find any of them!


Oh well.... Maybe you can! The following will describe all of the pinouts

combinations for all of the buttons on an Intellivision Controller (NOTE:

I only spent time to figure 8 directions out on the disc. I figured it

would be almost impossible to find a 16 direction joystick, and most games

don't require that many directions anyway).




Hey, I'm just an average guy... I'm only doing this to help people on their

way to building an Intellivision Controller that won't drive you nuts. I WILL

NOT accept any responsibility for what these instructions will do to your

Intellivision. I've tried it on mine, and it works fine. But please don't

blame me for ANY problems these plans may cause. Experiment at your own risk!



OK, now that that's out of the way... Down to business!


I used a Sears Intellivision Controller since I had an extra one and it was

removable from the system. Remove the screws on the back of the controller

and open it up. Next, remove the disc, the side buttons and keypad. What

you should see in the controller is a terminal where the cable comes into

the unit. It should look something like this (The numbers aren't really

there; they are my own numbering system):



1 | ----- |

| ----- | 6

2 | ----- |

| ----- | 7

3 | ----- |

| ----- | 8

4 | ----- |

| ----- | 9

5 | ----- |



Each pin on the terminal connects to a wire which connects into the

Intellivision. The numbers DO NOT correspond to the connector pin numbers;

They are my own numbering scheme. However, with a little effort, the

interested experimenter can map them if desired.


OK, using the numbering scheme above I was able to figure out the pin

combinations for each button on the controller. This took alot of time

tracing out the circuit on the plastic keypad, and verifying it with a Baseball

cartridge plugged in! The following pins must be connected for each of the

corresponding controller operations:


Connecting Pins Makes the Controller Perform

=============== =============================

1 and 4 Up Disc

1 and 2 Down Disc

1 and 5 Left Disc

1 and 3 Right Disc

1, 3, and 4 Diagonal Up/Right Disc

1, 2, 3 and 9 Diagonal Down/Right Disc

1, 2, and 5 Diagonal Down/Left Disc

1, 4, 5 and 9 Diagonal Up/Left Disc


1, 6, and 8 Upper Left and Upper Right Side Button


1, 7, and 8 Lower Left Side Button

1, 6, and 7 Lower Right Side Button


1, 2, and 6 Keypad 1

1, 2, and 7 Keypad 2

1, 2, and 8 Keypad 3

1, 3, and 6 Keypad 4

1, 3, and 7 Keypad 5

1, 3, and 8 Keypad 6

1, 4, and 6 Keypad 7

1, 4, and 7 Keypad 8

1, 4, and 8 Keypad 9

1, 5, and 6 Keypad CLEAR

1, 5, and 7 Keypad 0

1, 5, and 8 Keypad ENTER


Whew! As you can see, pin 1 connects to every combination, so in building

your controller it may be easier to connect this pin to a common strip and

connect all controls to this strip.


In examining this circuit, you can see why pressing 1 and 9 at the same

time is just as effective as pushing 3 and 7 if you want to pause a game.

It connects the same pins either way (Pins 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8); You could even

build a seperate PAUSE button on your controller if you desire!


Many interesting features could be built into this controller. For example,

if you are familiar with a 555 Timer IC, you could build an adjustable

auto-fire button! But the most important thing in building it is FINDING the

components. My initial idea was to use a push-button phone keypad. Although

it would take a little getting used to (and you really couldn't use overlays),

it would last a LONG time. Anyways, who actually USES the overlays! If a game

requires them, just put one by the side of the controller.


As a side note... If anyone can find a place to get a nice keypad, a nice metal

stick assembly, and nice arcade style fire buttons... All at reasonable prices...

PLEASE let me know ([email protected]). I really want to build one of these



I hope this info gives you the start that you need so that one day you can throw

those Intellivision Controllers where they belong... the trash!



7.6 - Fixing INTV II Controllers


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

([email protected])):


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 knowlege I gained allowed me to carefully

take apart a few controllers to cobble two together to go with my II Master



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". A crude drawing is shown.





I I /



These "hooks" are located in five spots. The first is in the centre 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. They are marked with an X on the

diagram below.




I Intellivision II I

I Hand Controller I



I 1 2 3 I



I 4 5 6 I



I 7 8 9 I


I Clear 0 Enter I

X I========================I X

I ___ I

I / \ I

I / \ I

I ( ) I

I \ / I

I \ ___ / I






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 at the four "H" locations in the

diagram below.

Intellivision II

Hand Controller Bottom Piece


===================== ========


I H Iwire I H I


\ I_____I I

_ I /_









--I I--

/ \







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


(This information was provided by our friend Keith Robison from the Blue Sky

Rangers, inclusion of this info does not serve as an endorsement... Well, heck,

unless someone else knows someone who officially repais Intellivision equipment,

this HAS to be an endorsement =) )


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)



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."


[Yes, we know used, working units sell for half that in the newsgroup,

but that wasn't the question, was it?]


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

[email protected]; 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.


If you do contact J.H.C., please let them know the Blue Sky Rangers

sent you!




8.0) Programmer Interviews:


The two following interviews were condicted over Internet with a couple

of ex-Mattel Electronics employees by Sean Kelly ([email protected]).



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 Intellevision Keyboard, the big keyboard. One

thing led to another, and in a few weeks I was on board at Mattel



>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

Intellevision 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

gameplay 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



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 unsaleable. 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

cameraderie. 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

particulary 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



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 focussed 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 desparate 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 rest-

ful 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



I came to Mattel straight out of school. I was a EE major. Initally,

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 longterm 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 BurgetTime 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



> 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 Intellivisions

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 InfoAlliance 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 "Cheesburger Birthday Cake".

> What gives??? 8-)


Dan's wife was taking a cake decorating class and one day they surprized 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?


PJ: 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



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 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



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?


PJ: 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. :-)


PJ: 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.


PJ: No problem...




9.0) Sources for hardware and software:


This list does not serve as an endorsement of these particular people/

dealers, but rather as a source of information for the collector. People

listed here have been known at some time to stock Intellivision games

and/or accessories.


(People please, ANYONE'S name will do!!!)




Larry Anderson - [email protected]

Classic Games Collector with a bug for information =)


Need the FAQ's on the Intellivision?? E-Mail me for details!

Edited by revolutionika
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