When many people think of the first console war they 9/10 will think of the Atari and the Colecovision. When it was actually the Intellivision from Mattel that went head to head with Atari in the first ever console war.
The console its self is kind of weird looking and it went through a couple of changes throughout its life, but it is the first model that is most sought after.
The console has a really odd way of inserting the game as most of the time you need to lift the thing up and slam the cartridge inside. As a collector this is the one console that I do not let my kids play without me being there. I think that as far as the controllers go they had all the best intention in the world. They have a couple of action buttons and a numeric keypad much like the more popular Colecovision had. They are wired into the console so you need to sit right next to it (later models did fix this) There is no joystick instead there is a weird pad. I have always called it a pressure pad and it can kill your thumb after a long gaming session.
One really cool thing that needs to be mentioned is the voice synthesis called the Intellivoice. This would add some really funky speech to a small selection of games. It can be really hard to track one of these bad boys down in good working order.
As far as games go the Intellivisionâ??s big claim to its fame was its fantastic sports titles. They had games that used the NFL, NBA and MLB licenses and when next to the sports titles on the Atari 2600 they blew them out of the water. For some very odd reason many games on the Intellivision are two player only. As great as the sports titles were the downfall to the game library on the Intellivision is that it lacked many of the arcade classics that the Atari 2600 had. There were some I guess you could say knock off games based on classic arcade titles that were released however.
Overall the system does have a fairly small game library. This makes collecting for the Intellivision games console pretty good. One thing the collection is fairly small and another is that for the most part it is very affordable. There are a few rare gems mainly games that were released later into the consoles life. I think that the Intellivision does have a very solid game library its just a shame that some of the best sports titles are two player only.
From a graphics point of view the games on the Intellivision did look better than the Atari 2600. If you had two screen shots side by side there really was no comparison. This would not last however and I think that later into the Atari 2600â??s life that the gap in terms of graphics between the two was not that great. Many people have issues with the frame rate on some of the games on the Intellivision. I am sure that these days that is a huge deal, but back then if you were a kid playing on this in your parents living room then you really did not notice.
Personally I think the Intellivision is a really cool system. As a collector its fairly easy to get games for it, but I always worry that the next time I put in Qbert I am going to end up putting my hand through it. I really also think that if the controllers were not as painful to use then it would probably be a lot more fondly remembered by people. I know that there are some who just canâ??t get passed how uncomfortable the controllers were. Overall this is a good system and one I think would look great in any collectors game room.
Â Intellivision Games Console Advertisement – 1982
Images courtesy of Wikipedia