Intellivision FAQ

Version 0.7

by Larry Anderson


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 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 ( 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 (

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. 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.

- 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 ( 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 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.



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.


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 =) 


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
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, 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

_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 ( 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 

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; 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 (

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 [s] sounds, 
no loud popping p's and so on. I finally developed a pretty good ear for which 
voices would synthesize well...

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

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

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

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

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 -
Classic Games Collector with a bug for information =)