Mattel Intellivision

The Mattel Intellivision was test released in 1979 by Mattel Electronics, and was the first Video Games Console to have a 16Bit processor. The console had a 4K Internal Rom system, and was based on a General Instruments Chipset. The console came with two hand controllers built in which sported a twelve button keypad, four action keys and a direction disc. At the time when Atari was the only other major video game manufacturer, this control pad was very unusual.

General release went ahead in 1980, with four cartridges: Poker & Blackjack, Math Fun, Armour Battle, and Backgammon. The original price was $299 which was double the cost of Atari's game console, but this didn't affect sales - nearly 200,000 units were sold in the first year. With the promise of an imminent keyboard add-on which would turn the console too, consumers were interested in the new video games console.

In 1981 Mattel went ahead with an aggressive advertisement campaign, which proclaimed the Intellivision better than the number one selling consoles at the time - the Atari VCS (later the Atari 2600). This in turn generated a lot of media coverage of the 'war' between the two consoles, which in fairness did neither of them any harm. By the end of its second year the Intellivision had sold close to one million consoles.

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Although the promised keyboard add-on never appeared (this was one of Mattel's original selling points - the fact the console would also act as a computer - something that never actually passed the test phases) a voice synthesis add-on was released in 1982, known as the Intellivoice. This was a 'plug-through' adapter, that added speech to games which supported this feature. These included B17-Bomber, where you would hear orders passed to you from your co-pilots!

The Intellivision soon had new competition from the Colecovision, which had better Graphics & Sound, support from arcade companies like Nintendo, Sega & Konami, and even had an add on adapter that allowed it to play all the Atari games currently on the market. As a result, the Intellivision lost some of its market share to the new console.

In an attempt recoup some of their losses from Atari & Coleco, Mattel introduced the Intellivision II in 1983, which was a cheaper looking black plastic unit, retailing at $150 (I'm sure this is just a coincidence, but Atari moved away from their 'wood grain' console, to the sleeker black-plastic 2600 around a similar time!). And, just like Coleco had done the previous year, they also introduced the System Changer Module, which allowed Atari 2600 games to be played on the Intellivision.

Unfortunately for Mattel (and indeed Atari, Coleco & MB) the influx of new consoles and cheap video games causes saturation of the market - there simply weren't enough sales to go round. All four main console manufacturers slashed the prices of their consoles, resulting in massive losses, redundancies and eventually the crash of the American Video Game Market. Enter stage right a Moustached Italian Plumber and a Japanese Pachinko machine manufacturer, and a whole new era of video gaming is born.

So that's the potted history of the Colecovision. A console which lost out to the video game crash due to poor management decisions and market saturation. A shame really, with over 100 titles, the console was starting to have a nice catalogue, thanks to the 'Blue Sky Rangers', Mattel's in-house software development team. However, titles such as Space Armada, Star Strike & Mission X still get some play time around my house - the Intellivision is still the console of choice for my missus. And with the recent release of Intellivision Lives for the X-Box & Playstation 2, a whole new generation are being introduced to these games too.

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Backgammon

Box: 
yes
£12.00
Manual: 
yes
£12.00

A real battle of wits and strategy! It's you against the computer in this test of imagination, skill, and luck! Designed to help improve beginner and intermediate skills as well as providing a real test for the champion player.

B17 Bomber

Box: 
yes
£15.00
Manual: 
yes
£15.00

Europe 1943. You control a B-17 flying fortress. Your mission: select a 'target of opportunity' fly to it, drop your bombs and return safely to base. Enemy fighters try to shoot you down and flak bursts in the sky as you start your bomb run. The voices of your crew announce approaching fighters planes & targets, as you play pilot, machine gunner, bombardier & navigator.

Astro Smash

Box: 
yes
£12.00
Manual: 
yes
£12.00

You're in command of a battery of laser guns. You have unlimited ammo and a lot of targets! You can roll up big scores by hitting a spectacular barrage of falling rocks, bombs, guided missiles and attacking UFOs.

Auto Racing

Box: 
yes
£8.00
Manual: 
yes
£8.00

Grand Prix action awaits you at every turn. Choose from five different courses, five different cars. Then take the controls. Zoom down straightaways, clip curves, make a fast break around hairpin turns. You're the driver - the race is on.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons - Cloudy Mountain

Facebook
Box: 
yes
£18.00
Manual: 
yes
£18.00

Journey into a land of treasure, adventure and dark, dark danger. Lead a 3 man expedition through winding mountain caverns, in search of tools and arrows. Within the caverns, deadly monsters lie in wait. Slay the monsters, overcome the obstacles of a hostile land and enter the legendary cloudy kingdom.

Armour Battle

Box: 
yes
£10.00
Manual: 
yes
£10.00

It's armoured conflict and you command the spearhead! Combat missions galore in this computerised tank battle! Manoeuvre two tanks through hundreds of different terrains!

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