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Interview with Al Nilsen, Mattel marketing

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https://soundcloud.com/retrogamingreddit/rretrogaming-podcast-episode-11-al-nilsen-part-i-atari-intellivision-and-the-crash

https://player.fm/series/rretrogaming/rretrogaming-podcast-episode-11-al-nilsen-part-i-atari-intellivision-and-the-crash

 

Al Nilsen worked at Mattel Electronics Marketing between 1982 and 1983 as a product manager. In this interview there's lots of Atari and Sega talk as well. He mentions that they had the idea at Mattel of manufacturing double-sided cartridges but also mentions that he was not happy with the quality of titles available. There's some good insight about the crash.

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Awesome! This looks to be much more useful and interesting than the made-up Nilsen character in Console Wars. I've subscribed to the feed even thought their first episode is about Retro VGS and proven crapsnacker Mike Kennedy.

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That is history gold! We need some kind of podcast about the Intellivision where they interview people like that and stuff.

 

https://soundcloud.com/retrogamingreddit/rretrogaming-podcast-episode-11-al-nilsen-part-i-atari-intellivision-and-the-crash

https://palayer.fm/series/rretrogaming/rretrogaming-podcast-episode-11-al-nilsen-part-i-atari-intellivision-and-the-crash

 

Al Nilsen worked at Mattel Electronics Marketing between 1982 and 1983 as a product manager. In this interview there's lots of Atari and Sega talk as well. He mentions that they had the idea at Mattel of manufacturing double-sided cartridges but also mentions that he was not happy with the quality of titles available. There's some good insight about the crash.

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It would be nice to hear from someone at Mattel marketing in the early years. Someone who came up with the early game concepts and graphics. The Intellivisionairies have a great piece on the Mazeatron concept. I assume it came from Marketing but the name is blacked out. The programmer interviews are great. Hardware wise, it would be nice to get the story on the controller.

http://intellivisionaries.com/episode-19-tron-maze-a-tron/

http://intellivisionaries.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Maze-A-Tron_Idea_Disclosure_redacted.pdf

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Wow. I'd thought he went from JCPenney to Sega. Had no idea he was at Mattel. Should be a great listen. Thanks for sharing.

 

EDIT: After I wrote this post, the memories came flooding back that JCPenney was where I could play one of those huge Atari multigame demo units. Where I lived in Long Island, NY, it was the only place that had it. The toy stores (Play World, TRU) had no demos, Sears usually had one game out (unless it was Christmas & they'd have a huge display of multiple systems & tv's...the year of 2600, 5200, Colecovision & Vectrex demos out was a fantastic Christmas).

Edited by H.E.R.O.

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He personally played all the games while at JC Penney, and would only stock a total of 100 different Atari games, so if something new came out, something would need to go. I wonder what could have happened to the industry if every large buyer showed this level of care and attention to what they were selling. Maybe the crash could have been prevented!

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He personally played all the games while at JC Penney, and would only stock a total of 100 different Atari games, so if something new came out, something would need to go. I wonder what could have happened to the industry if every large buyer showed this level of care and attention to what they were selling. Maybe the crash could have been prevented!

 

Probably true. Too many just wanted a "piece of the pie" though.

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It would be nice to hear from someone at Mattel marketing in the early years. Someone who came up with the early game concepts and graphics. The Intellivisionairies have a great piece on the Mazeatron concept. I assume it came from Marketing but the name is blacked out. The programmer interviews are great. Hardware wise, it would be nice to get the story on the controller.

I'm always trying to locate former Mattel Electronics employees that weren't programmers, but haven't had much success (and some that I actually have gotten in touch with haven't wanted to come on the show). Keith Robinson is still close with most of the programmers, but not so much with those outside that department.

 

As for the controller... pretty sure we'd have to ask Dave 'Papa Intellivision' Chandler. Unfortunately he's no longer with us.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my Intellivision ECS using Intelli-Tapatalk

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Oh yeah, I know its a hard job tracking down these people and then hoping they want to talk to you. Its a long time ago and these guys are likely older than the programmers who were just kids out of school at the time. Dave Chandler has a great website with lots of info where you can even find out the people he worked with (eg Richard Chang, Rick Timmins). There's rumors that Mattel copied the controller from Bandai, I think its the other way around; we might never know.

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As for the controller... pretty sure we'd have to ask Dave 'Papa Intellivision' Chandler. Unfortunately he's no longer with us.

 

When did he die??? :-o :(

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I'm always trying to locate former Mattel Electronics employees that weren't programmers, but haven't had much success (and some that I actually have gotten in touch with haven't wanted to come on the show). Keith Robinson is still close with most of the programmers, but not so much with those outside that department.

 

As for the controller... pretty sure we'd have to ask Dave 'Papa Intellivision' Chandler. Unfortunately he's no longer with us.

 

 

About 15 years back I tried to contact a manager of Mattel Electronics Germany. His name was mentioned in on of the papers I own. I found the exact name in Hamburg where Mattel Electronics had it's HQ and wrote a letter. But sadly I never got an answer.

I had contact with a former Mattel employee over an Ebay auction. I answered me a few questions. But it was not so much.

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