Retrotopia Store | FAQ & Tech Support | Site Index


1983 Releases



Yogi's Adventure

Working titles: Modern Times, Yogi's Modern Times, Yogi and BooBoo, Yogi's BooBoo, Yogi's Frustration
Characters used under license from Hanna Barbera
Design/Program: Mark Buczek
Graphics: Mark Buczek, Monique Lujan-Bakerink
Music/Sound effects: Joshua Jeffe

Yogi Bear, fishing from a tree for picnic baskets, accidentally snags Ranger Smith's hat. As punishment, Ranger Smith puts Yogi to work on the Jellystone Park conveyer belt. Help BooBoo get picnic baskets of goodies up to Yogi to keep him working fast.

In 1982, Marketing went on a shopping spree, picking up licenses to dozen of cartoon characters, including the entire Hanna Barbera stable. The royalty agreements included guarantees -- if Mattel Electronics didn't release a game within a year using the characters, Mattel would have to pay a lump sum, averaging around $300,000 per license.

By 1983, realizing they couldn't get original games using the characters into production fast enough, Marketing started looking for games nearing completion that the characters could be dropped into.

Unfortunately for Mark Buczek, Marketing thought his game Modern Times was suitable for the Yogi Bear license. Loosely inspired by the Charlie Chaplin film of the same name, Modern Times was a good game that was almost finished. Suddenly, Mark was having to figure out how to shoehorn Yogi and BooBoo into it.

Months went by as the game was tinkered with, tested and re-tested. Monique Lujan-Bakerink was brought in to add special animated cartoon screens. Still, the game didn't test well and release was held up further.

Ironically, late in 1983, it was noted that the game itself tested fine, it was Yogi and BooBoo that were testing poorly. Marketing decided the game needed new characters. Unfortunately, Mark Buczek had been laid off by this time; no further work was done.

FUN FACT: When Mattel Electronics closed in 1984, millions were owed in royalty fees on undeveloped licenses -- Yogi and BooBoo, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Laurel and Hardy, Bozo the Clown...on and on. Roy Ekstrand of the Mattel Legal department speculated that Mattel, Inc. would wind up paying off at about thirty cents on the dollar.

Kool-Aid Man

Characters used under license from General Foods Corporation
Design: Vladimir Hrycenko, Mark Kennedy
Program: Mark Kennedy
Graphics: Monique Lujan-Bakerink
Instructions posted here.

Two children are trapped in a haunted house. A pair of insatiable THIRSTIES roam around trying to catch them! Help the children avoid the dangerous THIRSTIES and collect all the makings for a batch of KOOL-AID soft drink mix. Hooray! KOOL-AID MAN comes to the rescue! From then on -- the THIRSTIES, plus PHANTOM FLAVORS get chased by KOOL-AID MAN!

  • For one player against the computer.
  • 13 skill levels, including a super-easy level for the very young!
  • Two totally different game screens to figure out and master!

On December 6, 1982, all of the programmers and graphic artists were herded into a conference room and shown a series of TV commercials -- the new Kool-Aid ad campaign. It was announced that Marketing had made a tie-in deal to release Intellivision and M Network Atari 2600 Kool-Aid Man cartridges. The games were scheduled to be ready in about 6 months, which meant that programming had to begin immediately. Worse, they wanted game-screen mockups to appear in the 1983 Mattel Electronics catalog at the Consumer Electronics Show -- one month away. A two-week contest to come up with the best game concept was announced. Separate ideas were developed for Intellivision and Atari 2600.

This led to a confrontation with Marketing. The programmers' viewpoint was that the features of a game should be tailored to the system it would be played on, to take full advantage of the system's strengths. Marketing, on the other hand, wanted games designed for multiple systems, with the features being the same on each system. If a game couldn't be ported to other systems, it shouldn't be done on any system.

The programmers argued that this meant all games would have to be designed for the lowest common denominator -- the Atari 2600. Marketing argued that keeping the features the same would make games easier to advertise and make word-of-mouth among customers more favorable.

This was the programmers' chance to make a stand, insisting that because of the tight schedule, the Intellivision and Atari versions of Kool-Aid Man would have to be developed independently and differently -- there was no time to create a design that could be implemented on both systems.

Reluctantly, Marketing agreed, and two entirely different versions of Kool-Aid Man were developed, designed to take best advantage of each system. The winning design for the Intellivision version came from programmer Vladimir Hrycenko (Convoy). Steve Tatsumi did the design and program for Atari Kool-Aid Man.

Programming won the battle, but Marketing won the war -- they never again allowed different versions of a game tailored for different systems.

And, well, it looks like they were right. To this day, people still seem upset that the two Kool-Aid Man games are different. Go figure.

FUN FACT: "And please, no 'Jonestown' references," admonished manager Russ Haft (TRON Maze-A-Tron) upon announcing the contest for game ideas. He was trying to stem the inevitable suggestions that would revolve around the 1979 mass suicide via cyanide-laced-grape-Kool-Aid of Jim Jones and his religious followers in Guyana. Some people at Mattel feared that sick, juvenile jokes made by the programmers might get back to the Kool-Aid folks and screw up the deal. Of course, the only people who feared that were the people who actually knew us.

FUN FACT: Reportedly, General Foods was delighted with the games and the response to the special promotion, and expressed an interest in a Kool-Aid Man II project. But at the time (July, August, 1983) Mattel Electronics was dealing with a massive layoff and management restructuring, and Kool-Aid Man II apparently got lost in the shuffle.

FUN FACT: One magazine dubbed Kool-Aid Man as the "stupidest video game of 1983," adding "What's next, the Michelin Man game?"As a result, to this day when someone refers to Kool-Aid Man, Mark Kennedy corrects them with, "that's the AWARD-WINNING Kool-Aid Man!"

Bump 'N' Jump

Produced by Technology Associates for Mattel Electronics
Based on the Data East arcade game
Program/Graphics/Sound Effects/Music: Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark
Title screen graphics: Daisy Nguyen
Instructions posted here.

The wackiest thing to happen to driving since rush hour! You're racing down a highway, but there's a traffic jam up ahead. You can bump the cars out of the way, or jump them to score points. But slow drivers aren't the only hazards on the road! You must jump over water, and debris dropped in your path by dumptrucks. And beware of the reckless driver! Get out of enough jams and you can stop at the gas station for a fill-up.

One day, Mattel Electronics was contacted by a couple of guys from New Jersey, Joe Jacobs and Dennis Clark, with startling information: they had hooked up a PlayCable unit to a personal computer and made their own Intellivision development system. They demonstrated that they had figured out how to program Intellivision games quite well, and they wanted to offer their services to Mattel before going to some other company. Ah, blackmail is such an ugly word...

To keep them away from the competition, Mattel contracted with them to program the Intellivision version of the arcade game Bump 'N' Jump. They, under the name Technology Associates, were paid $24,000 for the conversion.

David Warhol (Mind Strike) served as liaison, giving technical assistance as needed. Except for the title screen graphics by Daisy Nguyen, all the work was done in New Jersey, in one of the programmers' basements; they weren't invited to Mattel headquarters.

An M Network Atari 2600 version was also released. An Aquarius version was announced, but not released.

FUN FACT: Bump 'N' Jump was released just after credits began appearing on boxes (the first was Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man). But since policy forbid including names of people not currently employed at Mattel Electronics, no programmers are credited on the packaging and Daisy is given sole credit for graphics. Dave and Andy Sells (Daisy's supervisor) share credits as "Project Coordinators" and the design is credited to Data East USA, Inc.

Masters of the Universe:
The Power of He-Man

Characters used under license from Mattel Toys
Program: Rick Koenig, Ray Kaestner
Graphics: Connie Goldman
Music/Sound effects: Joshua Jeffe
Instructions posted here.

Fly HE-MAN in his WIND RAIDER on a hair-raising dash in pursuit of SKELETOR. Avoid running out of fuel as you outmaneuver, bomb or blast away the fireballs coming at you -- while bombing SKELETOR on the ground below. If you get HE-MAN near enough to CASTLE GRAYSKULL he fights on foot with just his shield -- through lightning-balls, power-bolts and magic swords -- to get at SKELETOR!

Masters of the Universe -- a series of action figures tied in to an afternoon animated series -- was a smash hit for Mattel Toys, its biggest success in years. Getting Intellivision and Atari 2600 video games out for Christmas 1983 was a priority.

Wanting to avoid what happened with Kool-Aid Man, Marketing decreed that the two versions should be the same. A two-phase game was agreed on -- flying the Wind Raider to Castle Grayskull; battling Skeletor inside the castle -- with different programmers doing each phase to speed production. In February 1983, work started on the Intellivision version.

Rick Koenig (Motocross) was chosen to do the Wind Raider phase and Vladimir Hrycenko was pulled off the lower-priority Convoy to do the Castle Grayskull phase.

By the end of April, it became apparent that the Castle Grayskull section wasn't coming together. Vladimir was replaced with Ray Kaestner (BurgerTime) who was at the time experimenting with ideas for a proposed Intellivision III version of Night Stalker. Ray scrapped all of Vladimir's existing code and started from scratch with the deadline only four weeks away. Using some fancy graphics-handling routines that he had developed for the Intellivision III, Ray met the deadline.

When the game came out (on schedule) it did well, so Rick and Ray were put to work on Masters of the Universe II. It was unfinished when Mattel Electronics was closed in January 1984; Ray's part of the game eventually became the INTV Corporation release Diner, a sequel to BurgerTime.

A Colecovision version of Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man was completed but was unreleased when Mattel Electronics closed.

FUN FACT: The Intellivision III routines that Ray used and the special graphics routines Rick independently developed for the game -- all of which bypassed the EXEC -- moved objects on screen smoother and faster than in standard Intellivision games. Marketing dubbed this improved look SuperGraphics, hoping it would help in the competition with the higher resolution Colecovision. While Masters of the Universe was the first (and only) game to carry the SuperGraphics logo on the box, Marketing liked the designation so much they started using it even before Masters came out to promote any game -- beginning with BurgerTime -- that simply had nice graphics and animation. At the June 1983 Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, nearly every Intellivision game on display -- Buzz Bombers, Thin Ice, Mission X -- carried the SuperGraphics logo.

FUN FACT: At the beginning of the video game boom, Mattel Electronics worked hard to keep the names of its programmers secret, for fear Atari, Imagic or Activision would lure them away. But by 1983, this secrecy was pretty much meaningless -- headhunters had learned the identities of every company's roster (often bribing employees hundreds of dollars for copies of internal phone lists). Sure that everyone knew their identities but the public, and rankled by Activision's publicizing of their designers, the Blue Sky Rangers started pushing for names on cartridges.

The cause was helped by an editorial in the June 1983 Electronic Games magazine, written by Arnie Katz, which called upon the game companies to reveal the programmers: "All designers of electronic games are just as much creative artists as painters and novelists...Why shouldn't the creator of such a work of art be entitled to put his or her name on it to reap the praise and brickbats of gaming consumers?"

Copies of the editorial appeared throughout Applications Software pinned to programmers' cubicles. More importantly, on May 11, a few days after the magazine had hit the newsstands, VP Gabriel Baum forwarded a copy to the Senior Vice Presidents, with a brief note supporting it: "The names of our key personnel are available to any investigative headhunter and I believe that we are more likely to retain employees than to lose them by publicly recognizing their connection with a cartridge. I also believe that our Marketing group could use programmer/designer recognition to their advantage."

On May 27, Mattel Electronics announced credits would appear on future game packages.

Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man, the Intellivision and M Network Atari 2600 versions, were the first cartridges in which the design teams received credit on the packaging. The Intellivision box lists Ray, Rick, Connie and Josh, plus "Project Coordinator" (what today would be called Producer) Mark Urbaniec (Vectron).


Trademarks owned by and used under license from TSR Hobbies, Inc.
AKA: Minotaur (working title), D&D II, Treasure of Tarmin
Produced by APh Technology Consultants for Mattel Electronics
Program: Tom Loughry
Instructions posted here.

You've found the secret map to the underground lair of the dreaded Minotaur. You can go in, but you'll never come out unless you slay the Minotaur and claim his Tarmin treasure. As you make your way through the hallways and chambers, monsters wield their conventional or spiritual weapons. You must gather the proper defenses along the way. But use them sparingly, the Minotaur looms closer!

ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TREASURE OF TARMIN Cartridge was in production at APh since 1981. At the beginning, APh hoped to do two versions: an Intellivision cartridge, and an enhanced version for the original Keyboard Component, featuring synchronized voices. The Keyboard version was never started.

FUN FACT: As with ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS CLOUDY MOUNTAIN Cartridge, the capitalization and inclusion of the word "Cartridge" are contractually part of the title of ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TREASURE OF TARMIN Cartridge at TSR's insistence.

FUN FACT: TSR insisted on so much legal lingo on the title screen, there was no room for the title Treasure of Tarmin. The title screen identifies the game simply as ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Cartridge, same as on the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS CLOUDY MOUNTAIN Cartridge title screen.

FUN FACT: Programmer Tom Loughry later designed The Dreadnaught Factor and Worm Whomper Intellivision cartridges for Activision.

World Championship Baseball

Developed and scheduled to be released by Mattel Electronics, this game was ultimately released by INTV Corp. Credits and production history can be found on the INTV page, here.

Basketball II

Produced by APh Technology Consultants for Mattel Electronics
Program: Scott Bishop
(An enhanced version of the previously released NBA Basketball)

Basketball for one or two players. Scrolling screen for more than twice the playing area of the NBA Basketball cartridge. 4 on-screen players per team (as opposed to 3 for NBA Basketball).

This enhanced one- or two-player version of NBA Basketball was started in 1981 along with Baseball II as part of the next generation of Intellivision sports titles. It was briefly considered as an Intellivision III title, but work was suspended late in 1982 when Marketing decided that the next generation of sports titles would be for the new Entertainment Computer System, but that basketball would not be among the first games done (baseball, football, soccer and tennis were).


©Intellivision Productions, Inc.
Hosted by WebCom