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A History of Gaming Platforms: Mattel Intellivision
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A History of Gaming Platforms: Mattel Intellivision

May 8, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 8 of 9 Next

Despite there being only five games released with the Intellivoice in mind, what was created was some of the system's more distinctive and sophisticated titles.

These include Space Spartans (1982), in which aliens relentlessly attack the player's spaceship and all-important starbases; Bomb Squad (1982), in which the player must follow voice prompts to disarm a terrorist's bomb; and B-17 Bomber (1982), which simulates a World War II bombing run; TRON Solar Sailer (1983), in which the goal is to decode an evil computer program.

The was also the ECS-based World Series Major League Baseball (1983), which was one of the first multi-angle baseball games, with its fast-paced gameplay based on real statistics, play-by-play with the Intellivoice, and the ability to load and save games and lineups from cassette.

Unfortunately, the rarity of the hardware combination allowed only a few gamers to experience programmer Eddie Dombrower's knack for simulating the Major League Baseball experience -- at least until the release of his popular Earl Weaver Baseball for the IBM PC and compatibles and Commodore Amiga computers four years later.

The advanced ECS-only World Series Major League Baseball (1983) took a different visual approach than other Intellivision baseball games, with multiple camera angles versus a single overhead view.

In 1983, the remaining ECS cartridge lineup was released. These titles included Mind Strike, a challenging, feature-rich board game for one or two players; Mr. BASIC Meets Bits 'N Bytes, which taught computer programming basics through three games and an illustrated 72-page manual; and Melody Blaster, a musical version of Astrosmash and the only other title besides the built-in music program that made use of the music keyboard add-on.

Unfortunately, while additional titles were in development before Mattel stopped supporting the ECS, no software took advantage of the additional controller ports for four-player gaming.

Third-party software support got off to a slow start on the Intellivision, with Mattel's attempts to lock out developers through the release of the Intellivision II. Besides Coleco, Activision, Atarisoft, Imagic, Interphase, and Parker Brothers all released cartridges for the system after 1982.

Although many of these were ports from other systems (mostly the Atari VCS), console exclusives found their way to Mattel's platform as well. These exclusives included Activision's Happy Trails (1983), which required a player to create new trail pathways by sliding jumbled pieces into place, and Imagic's Dracula (1983), which cast the player in the title role as both vampire and bat.

Imagic was particularly prolific on the platform, releasing an additional seven exclusives, bringing its final total to 14 titles.

These included Microsurgeon (1982), which featured lush visuals and allowed the player to navigate a patient's blood stream to cure illnesses, and Swords & Serpents (1982), an action-packed dungeon crawl that featured one- or two-player simultaneous game play as a white knight and wizard.

Article Start Previous Page 8 of 9 Next

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