Super Classic Video games

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Cost at Launch: - $299.00


Processor speed: 0.9 MHz             
Graphic capacity:   16-bit
Sound:  3 channel sound
Memory:   1352 bytes RAM
Resolution:  160 x 196

Format: NTSC, PAL

Software type:  Cartridge




When one of the largest toy companies decides to enter into the consumer market and produce its own video game system, it most certainly will turn heads.  Mattel decided to enter the videogame industry in 1980 with the release of its system.  They conjugated “Intelligent Television” into one word and named their game “Intellivision”.  The Intellivision competed against the Atari VCS 2600. It was a successful system and competed fairly well against the Atari 2600.  Graphically it seemed very appealing.  It also seemed to be a favorite if you enjoyed sports genre of video games.  Over its first 2 year period since its launch, it sold more than a million units.  As this unit became more popular, it attracted more software companies to code for the Intellivision systems.  One of the unique features about the Intellivision is that it is the first 16-bit system that was released.  The Atari 2600 was an 8-bit system, thus the Intellivision was technically more advanced when you compared it to the Atari 2600 system.  I still remember the launch of the Intellivision.  Our family already owned the Atari 2600, since its popularity was unprecedented in that time.  Once we saw the graphics of the Intellivision we were astonished.  Looking back from our present day perspective concerning graphics, it wasn’t much of a difference, but back then it seemed like a huge step and it appeared to have much better graphics.  I had a lot of fun playing the horse racing game and the baseball game when they came out. I opened some good old fashion whoop-ass on that system to my friends (Mind you these were the pre Madden days).  Both games are primitive by today’s standards, but at the time the Intellivision ruled in the sports genre. One of the main drawbacks of this system was the controllers.  The cords didn’t seem to be long enough and lacked the precision of many other controllers. The controllers felt uncomfortable to play with compared to the Atari 2600. The Intellivision 1 controllers were hardwired into the console.  This was later revised with the release of the Intellivision II system, which were removable. With the revisions made on the second version of the Intellivision system, the controllers were built fairly sturdy and seemed to function without much breakage.

As previously mentioned, there are a few variations of this console released to the public. The original “Intellivision Master Model” was released in 1980. Its launch price was approximately $299.00 (tax included).  It was bundled with the software program “Las Vegas Black Jack and Poker”. The Intellivision controller had a 12 button numeric key pad and had the capacity to move in 16 directions. These controllers were hardwired into the system.  If a controller broke, then the whole system was practically useless. This quickly prompted the engineers to redesign the Intellivision Master model to allow for the controllers to be removable and replaceable.

The Intellivision II was released in 1982 after many complaints of broken controllers.  The cost of the unit was considerably less.  Its launch price was around $100.00. Including a revised controller, the units upgrade also included a LED light to allow the owner to know when the power was turned on.  It also had a mechanism to prevent the image from burning into the TV screen if the system was unmanned for a set amount of time. The Intellivision II would hibernate and display a black screen on the television set.

The Intellivision III version was being sold in 1985.  It was mainly in large Chain stores and through mail order.  This version was also referred as the Intellivision Super Pro System.  It cost approximately $65.00 at launch.  For some strange reasoning, it went back to the original design of the system with both the electrical wiring as well as the controllers being hard wired into the system. The name changed from the Intellivision III into the Intellivision Super Pro System after a couple of years.  The models do not differ much in appearance, rather mainly by the name change.


The Tandyvision One is almost exactly like the Intellivision Master Model, but with some external appearance changes.  The architecture of the inner workings was identical to that of the Intellivision Master Model.





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