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1984 Planned Releases



Hover Force

Developed at Mattel Electronics as Hover Force 3-D [#7742]
Completed by Realtime Associates for INTV Corporation
Design: Steve Ettinger, Joe [Ferreira] King, David Warhol
Program: Steve Ettinger
Graphics: Joe King
Sound Effects: David Warhol


Terrorist helicopter forces have taken over the island city of New Seeburg. Luckily, civilians have been evacuated from the city, but the enemy is causing millions of dollars in damage. Fires are burning out of control throughout the island.

We're sending you in with a heavily armed combat helicopter. Your assignment:

  • Use RADAR SCREEN to spot and track the enemy!
  • Use LASER CANNONS to blast enemy copters out of the sky!
  • Use WATER CANNONS to put out fires from mid-air!
  • Cover hundreds of square miles ridding the city of terrorists and fires for highest RATING.
  • Aim carefully! Your wild shots can damage the city and lower your rating!
  • Use STRATEGY! There are over 20 different types of enemy copters, each with its own skill level and flight pattern! You need your BRAINS to catch up with them!
  • Fly repeated missions, each more difficult than the one before.

One last warning: these guys will be gunning for YOU. And this isn't some game, this is combat. None of this "three lives" foolishness. Crash your copter and it's all over -- you're finished.

So watch your tail out there. Now, let's scramble!

Hover Force 3-D was developed under greater secrecy than any other Mattel game. Researcher Richard Steenblik working at the Georgia Institute of Technology had developed pseudo-3-D glasses. Small prisms in the glasses bent different colors of light entering the eye at different angles, fooling the eye into thinking that, for example, blue objects on a flat surface were actually farther away than red objects on the same surface. Georgia Tech approached several game manufacturers to see if they were interested in the technology. After a middle-of-the-night test session in which Keith Robinson (Solar Sailer) quickly threw together an Intellivision screen full of flying bugs of different colors, Mattel management decided to aggressively pursue an exclusive license for the glasses.

Game development was ordered to start immediately, before the license was secured. For fear that a competitor would find out and try to outbid Mattel, the project was kept top secret, even from the other programmers. It was code named "Peach" since the glasses originated in Georgia, the Peach State. Steve Ettinger and Joe King, who had worked well together on Magic Carousel, were given a locked, windowless office in which to work (the rest of the software staff worked in open cubicles); it was quickly dubbed "The Bat Cave."

Midway through the project, Mattel won the license and Peach emerged from the cave. The 3-D effect, while not eye-poppingly dramatic, was effective, especially given the visual cues Steve and Joe had designed. And Dave "Papa Intellivision" Chandler's group had developed an inexpensive method to manufacture the glasses, making it practical for the game and glasses to be sold together at the price of a normal cartridge. Marketing felt they could strongly promote the 3-D feature in ads and the press.

Hover Force 3-D debuted at the January 1984 Consumer Electronic Show to good response. While the 3-D effect got mixed reviews, everyone was talking about it. Management immediately started talking about putting two more 3-D games into development, including a flight simulator cartridge, but before anything could be started, Mattel Electronics closed.

For the INTV Corp. release of the game in 1986, Steve and producer Dave Warhol beefed up the "intelligence" of the enemy helicopters, adding more strategy to the play. Since the glasses were not included with the game, "3-D" was dropped from the title.

FUN FACT: The game has three difficulty levels, the middle of which, "RANGER" level, is named in honor of the Blue Sky Rangers.

FUN FACT: The island of New Seeburg derives its name from Steve Ettinger's initials: SEE.

FUN FACT: Joe King was commissioned to do the artwork for the INTV packaging; if the helicopter looks vaguely familiar, it's because he based it on the submarine Nautilus from Disney's film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Why? Joe explained, "I make every vehicle I draw look like the Nautilus."

FUN FACT: A recent magazine article reported that Georgia Tech is still trying to find a customer for their 3-D glasses.

EASTER EGG: Press 0 (zero) on either hand controller while the title screen is displayed to view game credits.

EASTER EGG: Press 23 (two and three simultaneously) on the left hand controller, 26 on the right and press reset to see Steve's message to his wife (born on October 23) and twins (born on November 26).


Developed at Nice Ideas (Mattel Electronics, France)
Design/program: Barcay & Burt
Graphics: Bob del Principe
Music/sound effects: Sam Zalan

"Well, I'll just give a brief rundown on the situation so that you can appreciate how serious things are." The head of intelligence seems ill at ease, the first time you can remember his icy control wavering.

"The last two agents we sent on this mission -- well, they didn't come back, and you're the only one we have left for the job now. You know about Mr. Andreas Skarfos, alias 'Scarfinger,' of course, and I needn't dwell on the number of times we've run into him before, but this time is different.

"He's seized an island in the Mediterranean and set up a fortress there, equipped with the most sophisticated defenses. He has a number of missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any part of the globe, and unless we answer his demands he will destroy us; only nine minutes are required to arm and launch the warheads.

"His installations are all but invulnerable to surface attack, but we've discovered a slim hope; a tunnel which leads under the island to the reactor which he is using for power. If one man could somehow reach the tunnel and destroy the reactor, we could stop Scarfinger yet!

"To this end, we can equip you with our latest Spycycle, a fully amphibious craft capable of being driven like a motorbike on land, a speedboat in the water, and a minisub undersea. You will have to ride along the cliff road to the island, then across the sea to the tunnel entrance, and finally penetrate the tunnel and destroy the reactor. But as soon as he detects you, Scarfinger will know what is happening, and arm the missiles -- you have only nine minutes for your mission."

As your superior looks at you, something in his glance seems to make you feel that you are the only one he could entrust this to.

"Of course, Scarfinger won't make life easy for you! The road is known to be strewn with land mines, and it is very twisty. Also, recent heavy rains has left large pools of water, and we think that some of the missiles on the island could be fired at the cliffs, causing boulders to tumble onto you.

"In the sea are more mines, and giant mechanical sharks which Scarfinger uses to protect his fortress; also there are many oil slicks from the numerous tankers he has sunk in the area, and these can foul your engines. We believe that some missiles can be used as anti- ship weapons, releasing torpedoes when they hit the water. Your cycle is equipped with a laser rifle and a torpedo launcher for use in this part of your mission.

"For the third part of your task, you will need antimatter bolts, but these are too unstable to last for long, so you will be supplied at sea by a friendly aircraft which drops pods containing the bolts -- you must pick up as many of these as possible to have any chance of destroying the reactor!

"Once in the tunnel, you will face hazards from neutron bolts from the reactor itself, and fire from gun turrets mounted on the tunnel walls -- being hit by either of these will increase your radiation level. You must also avoid the lasers along the sides of the tunnel.

"Once you reach the end of the tunnel, I'm afraid you're on your own; we know very little about how the reactor is constructed. We think there is a gate which you must open, and that within is the reactor core which you must destroy....

"To help you on your mission, we have sophisticated electronic simulators for the first three parts, which you can use as much as you wish to familiarize yourself with the controls. The last part, though, you will have to take as it comes. Good luck!"

Midway through 1983, Mattel Electronics, France sent their first game prototypes to California headquarters for review: Scarfinger, Spina the Bee and Illusions.

Scarfinger was a James Bond-inspired cartridge. The prototype was made up of a series of impressive special-effects laden screens, but no gameplay.

Marketing felt the game was way too complex to effectively produce and market, and that it would be impossible to translate to other systems. They passed.

The programmers deserve points, though, for creative writing.

Spina the Bee

AKA: Zzzz!
Developed at Nice Ideas (Mattel Electronics, France)
Design/program: Simonot
Graphics: Bob del Principe
Music/sound effects: Sam Zalan

Gain as much pollen and bonus points as possible without raindrops pushing your bee into the water and without getting blown off the right side of the screen.

Another of the first games developed at the French office, Spina the Bee was based on a European cartoon character, popular with little girls. (Since the rights to Spina had not been obtained, the title Zzzz! was used on the prototypes.)

The French office had been set up to develop games with a European sensibility, but after the Mattel Electronics management change of July 1983 and subsequent programmer layoffs in August, Mattel started to consider the French office simply as a source of programmers to handle the overflow from the California headquarters. The games from France would have to have wide appeal in the United States, as well.

Spina the Bee was judged not to have that wide appeal and was killed.


Working title: Escher
Developed at Nice Ideas (Mattel Electronics, France)

The enchanted mirror splits you into multiple images. You must become whole before time runs out. Changing stairways and folding cubes with SuperGraphics try to keep you from safety.

Of the first game prototypes from the French office, Illusions was the one picked as a winner and given the green light.

The multiple game screens were inspired by the physically impossible designs of Dutch lithographer M.C. Escher (1898 - 1972), hence the working title Escher.

The French office completed both Intellivision and Colecovision versions of Illusions for the January 1984 Consumer Electronics Show. While the Intellivision version was never released, Coleco later bought the rights to and released the Colecovision version.

M Network versions were also planned for the IBM PC Jr. and Commodore 64, but little or no work was done on either.

Party Line

Concept: Bill Fisher, Keith Robinson, Andy Sells
Title screen graphics: Monique Lujan-Bakerink

Includes the games:

Working title: Gang Bang
Design: Bill Fisher, Keith Robinson, Andy Sells
Program: Bill Fisher, Mike Breen
Graphics: Keith Robinson
Music/Sound Effects: Andy Sells

Developed at Mattel Electronics, France
Design/program: Grahame Matthews
Graphics: Bob del Principe
Music/Sound Effects: Sam Zalan

Design/Program: Julie Hoshizaki
Graphics: Joe [Ferreira] King, Monique Lujan-Bakerink
Music/Sound Effects: David Warhol, Joshua Jeffe

Three new games in one bring new dimensions to home entertainment. Designed for two teams or two players, choose from games featuring rollerskaters, construction workers, or flying saucers.

In November 1982 -- while having lunch at D.B. Levy's Deli in Westwood, California -- Bill Fisher (Space Hawk), Keith Robinson (TRON Solar Sailer) and Andy Sells (Grid Shock) were discussing the high-profile popularity of Trivial Pursuit. News magazines favorably reported on how people across the country were getting together to play the new board game. The solitary (i.e. antisocial) fad of video games, the magazines declared, was dead.

Bill, Keith and Andy wondered, How could video games fight back? They found the answer on the deli menu, where a selection of 3- and 6-foot sandwiches was listed as "The Party Line." How about a series of video games designed to be played at parties? Over lunch, they outlined how the games would work:

Guests at a party would be divided into two teams. The number of players on each team would be entered using the hand controllers. The game would then begin. Two players, one from each team, would compete until a timer ran out, at which point the controllers would be handed off to the next person on each team.

The games would be colorful, simple, and feature loud, nonstop music. Bill, Keith and Andy pictured partiers laughing and cheering while trying to quickly pass the hand controllers back and forth.

Sure they had a winner, they returned from lunch -- an hour or two late -- eager to share their idea with VP of Applications Software Gabriel Baum. They found Gabriel furious -- they had missed an important meeting.

"Ah," he said as they walked in, "when you weren't in the meeting, I assumed that your bloody, broken bodies must lying by the side of the freeway somewhere."

Oops. Recognizing it wasn't the best time to pitch their idea, they decided to prepare a formal presentation with a prototype of one of the games. Working after hours, they put together a fairly complete Party Line game, Gang Bang, later named Blow Out.

February 3, 1983, they filled a conference room with balloons and streamers and presented the game and concept to Gabriel, along with Directors Mike Minkoff (Snafu) and Don Daglow (Utopia). Gabriel loved the idea -- breaking open a bottle of wine in his office to celebrate -- and told Bill, Keith and Andy that they would be making their presentation again to Mattel Electronics President Josh Denham and the senior vice presidents.

The presentation was delayed three months while Keith went to France to train the programmers at the new Mattel Electronics office there, but finally, on May 13, they made their presentation to the senior management.

Bill, Keith and Andy proposed the Party Line as a series of six cartridges, each sold separately. From their presentation:

Two roller-skating dancers drop darts from a scaffold onto rising balloons. An easy enough task, except these rude guys keep bumping into each other and knocking each other off the scaffold. When the music stops, that's the signal for the next players to take the controllers.

Teams take turns having their divers jump from the high dive. Controls allow for a forward dive, back flips, and for determining when to come out of the dive. Fancy maneuvers are possible; so are painful belly flops. Three judges hold up cards to tell you how you did.

The Party Animals have put on their finest duds and are boogeying over to your house to kick up their heels. Only problem is, these are REAL animals -- moose with wide antlers, kangaroos with long tails, hippos that weigh a ton! Players must keep destruction to a minimum. Game with excellent music potential.

Each team is building a skyscraper. Between the two structures hangs a platform stacked with bricks. Players must grab bricks for their building without upsetting the platform. Each team can slow down the other -- or themselves, if they're not careful -- by throwing the platform off balance. First team to complete their skyscraper wins.

Yow! Those Party Animals are back -- and they're hungry! Players must keep the punch and cookies coming, or there could be trouble!

The looniest space battle ever. Each team is in command of a decrepit flying saucer that seems to work best as a battering ram. It's outer space demolition derby!

President Josh Denham and the other senior staff were enthusiastic about the concept, but instead of six separate games, they decided that the Party Line would be perfect for the new multi-game album concept. Three of the games -- Blow Out, Hard Hat and Space Cadet -- were chosen for the cartridge. The Party Animals would appear on the title screen.

Blow Out was already done. Hard Hat was sent to the French office for programming (in the finished game, bricks were changed to panes of glass which could be knocked off of your opponent's building with a very satisfying crash). Julie Hoshizaki (Thin Ice) did Space Cadet.

The project was delayed in July 1983 when Josh Denham was replaced by Mack Morris. Morris's right-hand man, Jeff Rochlis, didn't like the Party Line, and expressed doubt that there was any market for it. He had Marketing do extensive testing; luckily the results were positive and the cartridge was back on track. An M Network Atari 2600 version of Blow Out was even ordered.

The three games were completed and shown with a title screen by Monique Lujan-Bakerink at the January 1984 Consumer Electronic Show. They were well received, but Mattel Electronics closed two weeks later.

Despite the fact that the games were done, INTV Corp. chose not to release them. For the post-crash market, INTV President Terry Valeski felt only one-player games were viable.

Masters of the Universe II

AKA: Super Masters!
Design/program: Ray Kaestner, Rick Koenig

He-Man returns to battle Skeletor in another cartridge based on Mattel's Masters of the Universe action figures.

With the success of Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man, Marketing scheduled a sequel. Once again, the game would be in two parts, with one part assigned to Ray Kaestner and one to Rick Koenig. Ray and Rick developed some game screens using fancy new Intellivision effects, but no final name or plot for the game was agreed upon before Mattel Electronics closed. (Asked recently to describe his half of the game, Ray shrugged and replied "He-Man ran around fighting guys.")

M Network versions were also scheduled for Atari 2600 and Colecovision, but little or no work was done on either.

FUN FACT: The screens Ray developed for Masters of the Universe II -- He- Man fighting bad guys on a multilevel 3-D game field with moving walls -- didn't go to waste; he recycled them in the INTV Corp. release Diner, a sequel to his game BurgerTime.


Demo designed and programmed by Steve Roney

Experimenting, Steve Roney (Space Spartans) created a simple but effective Intellivision effect of moving a spotlight around a black screen to "illuminate" a small portion of a maze or other background.

Steve didn't have a game design in mind, but Marketing liked the effect. After checking with the Atari 2600 programmers that the same effect could be duplicated on that system, they ordered a game using the effect be developed for both Intellivision and Atari.

Despite the game being assigned a production number and entered on the schedule, no programmer was attached to the project and no actual work was done beyond Steve's initial demo.

(By this time, November - December 1983, people started to realize that Mattel Electronics would likely close soon. Marketing and management were pretty much going through the motions of scheduling and following through on game designs. A number of games, especially M Network titles, were casually added to the schedule without any programmer being assigned, or even being available.)

M Network versions were also scheduled for Atari 2600, Colecovision, and IBM PC Jr., but no work was done on these.


AKA: French Fries
Developed at Nice Ideas (Mattel Electronics, France)

Peter Pepper, the chef from BurgerTime, returns to make pizzas.

With the success of BurgerTime, Marketing ordered up a sequel. With Ray Kaestner working on Masters of the Universe II, the game was sent to Mattel Electronics, France for development. (The Colecovision version of BurgerTime had been programmed at the French office.)

Jokingly called French Fries at first, the game was officially named once a pizza theme was decided upon. There was little time for actual work on the game, though, before Mattel Electronics closed.

M Network versions were also scheduled for Colecovision, IBM PC Jr., and Commodore 64, but no work was done on these.

Magic Carpet

Developed at Nice Ideas (Mattel Electronics, France)

Pilot a magic flying carpet.

Another original idea from the French office, this title appears to have been added to the schedule based on a written proposal; a prototype of the game was never seen at Mattel Electronics' California headquarters.

M Network versions were scheduled for Colecovision, IBM PC Jr., and Commodore 64, but no work was done on these.


AKA: Speedboat
Design/program/sound effects: Joshua Jeffe
Graphics: Joe [Ferreira] King

A point-of-view speedboat race.

Josh and Joe put together an impressive demo of the point-of-view effect, racing over a lake. But Hydroplane was mostly memorable for the high-decibel shouting matches Josh and Joe got into over the design of the game. Very little was done before Mattel Electronics closed.

An M Network Atari 2600 version and a Colecovision version were planned, but little work was done on the former and none on the latter.


©Intellivision Productions, Inc.
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