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INTELLIVISION

Action Network


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INTELLIVISION ACTION NETWORK

The Action and Space Action Networks featured arcade-style games. The Intellivision was introduced with the promise of a well-rounded library, but by late-1982 it became obvious that, responding to market demand, most of the new games then in development would wind up in the Action Network. Rather than continuing to point out the growing disparity between the Action and the, say, Children's Learning games (two titles and holding), Marketing quietly discontinued the network concept.

All of the games on this page were released in Action Network red boxes, with the exception of Pinball. While Pinball had long been listed as an Action Network game, it was released in 1983 after the networks had been abandoned. Several of these games were also released under the Sears brand name in different packaging.


Armor Battle

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1121]
Also released by Sears [#4975211]
Working title: Tanks-A-Lot
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Chris Kingsley
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Dust off your field glasses and scan the horizon for enemy tanks. There's one -- grinding its way out of the woods!

You see each other at the same time. Both turrets swing toward their targets. Who will fire a split second sooner? And who will be reduced to a pile of rubble?

When you've beaten your opponent, move on to a new battlefield. There are literally hundreds of new terrains to conquer!

War may be nerve-wracking, but this is pure fun!

PRODUCTION NOTE
An M Network version of the game, called Armor Ambush, was released for the Atari 2600.

FUN FACT: The game actually made it pretty far through the production phase with the title "Tanks-A-Lot" before some Mattel bigwigs pronounced the name "stupid" and made APh change it. David Rolfe (Major League Baseball) avers, however, that the name wasn't APh's idea - it had been attached to the original concept art that came from Mattel.


Sea Battle

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1818]
Also released by Sears [#4975213]
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Ken Smith
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Destroyers, battleships, submarines, minesweepers, and aircraft carriers! You're the Admiral, and your mission is to rid the seas of the enemy fleet.

Start by setting a strategy. Lay invisible minefields where you think the big enemy ships will travel. But be careful, because the other Admiral is laying mines to foil you...

Battle stations! Now you slug it out with shells, torpedoes, and naval tactics. Sleek battleships are waiting to pounce on sluggish minesweepers. You can't relax for a minute.

But who worries about the torpedoes, you say. Full speed ahead!

PRODUCTION NOTE
An M Network version of the game - called Sea Battle in some catalogs, High Seas in others - was announced for the Atari 2600 and completed, but never released. An Aquarius version was also announced, but never completed.


Space Battle

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#2612]
Working title: Battlestar Gallactica
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Hal Finney
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Outer space action! You must outwit the computer-controlled invaders! Consult the situation map, deploy the defense. Switch to cockpit close-up. Fire lasers! Save the command ship! You do it all, amidst the simulated sounds of outer space combat.

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
If the enemy spacecraft look familiar, it's because they are Cylon raiders from the late-seventies TV program Battlestar Gallactica. One of Mattel's subsidiaries, Concepts 2000, had the license to produce Battlestar Galactica electronic toys, so it was figured to be a lock that Mattel would get the license to produce the official Battlestar Gallactica videogame. Wrong. The game was well into development when they discovered Mattel didn't get the license. The name was changed, but the graphics remained the same.

An M Network version of the game, called Space Attack, was released for the Atari 2600.

RUNNING CHANGE: When the game was finished, Dale Lynn, who tested it, said it was too easy. APh cranked up the difficulty, but Dale told them it was still too easy. "Maybe for you," he was told, "but not for the general public." Wrong again. Consumers found the game too easy when it was released.

A more difficult version was released soon after as part of the new Space Action Network. This version, in a blue box with a blue label, is the more familiar.


Sub Hunt

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3408]
Working title: Submarine, Submarine Battle
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Tom Loughry
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
You're at the periscope of a Nautilus class nuclear submarine, the last line of defense between the enemy and the fleet. Enemy PT boats drone around seeking you out. Meanwhile, enemy destroyers constantly jockey for depth-bombing position. You must keep you head to control depth, speed, direction and torpedoes. You have simultaneous periscope and satellite horizon displays with compass readings to keep you afloat and the enemy at bay. If you do it, you should be immediately commissioned an Admiral in the U.S. Navy.


ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS
CLOUDY MOUNTAIN Cartridge

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3410]
AKA Adventure (working title), Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Cartridge
Based on the role-playing game by TSR Hobbies, Inc.
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Tom Loughry
Instructions posted here.
Play the prototype for this game, "Adventure," on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Take the wrong turn and you'll soon be staring at the biggest, meanest and most clever dragon you've ever imagined. You start out in a maze. But, this is no ordinary maze. It's revealed to you only a few feet at a time as you enter each new uncharted corridor. The maze scrolls: up, down, right and left. You don't know when it's going to take a turn -- for the worse. That dangerous dragon could be between you and the treasure that you must find. Along your way you'll find a variety of objects to help you avoid the dragon. Based on the popular role-playing board game, this video version will provide you with many hours of enjoyment.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Because of its complexity, this was the first cartridge to go over the 4K size limit; it was allocated a whopping 6K.

Originally released as ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Cartridge, CLOUDY MOUNTAIN was added to the name later when ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TREASURE OF TARMIN Cartridge was announced.

FUN FACT: The all-capitalization and the word "cartridge" are actually part of the title, as required by the contract with TSR Hobbies, owners of the Dungeons & Dragons trademark.


Explorer

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [unfinished]
AKA Zork
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics

PRODUCTION HISTORY
As indicated by its working title, this game was inspired by the text adventure game Zork. It didn't get too far; about the only record of it is in a December 10, 1981 status report written by Gabriel Baum, VP of Applications Software, after reviewing development at APh: "A new game closely paralleling Dungeons & Dragons. A man in a large cave searches for treasure, is attacked by beasts and defends himself or proceeds within the game using objects he collects. Currently only some graphics are defined." The game apparently was discontinued because it was too similar to the two Dungeons & Dragons cartridges already in development.


Snafu

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3758]
Working titles: Blockade+Snakes, Ssssnakes!
Program, Graphics and Sound: Mike Minkoff
Music: Russ Lieblich
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
You each start off with little lines that start to grow.

They grow fast, tangling, weaving, writhing like magic beanstalks. And you're at the controls, trying to completely enclose the other guy so he can't grow any more.

This is a game of lightning quick strategic decisions. Hesitate...or slip...and you'll find yourself surrounded.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Developed under the working title Blockade+Snakes to reflect the two basic versions of the game. In the first, inspired by the board game Blockade, opponents try to surround and trap each other. In the second, inspired by a handheld LED game in development at Mattel but never released, opponents bite at each other's tails until one is reduced to nothing.

Mike liked the name Ssssnakes! and started using it on the title screen; he fought for it to be the final name. Marketing instead chose Snafu, from the military acronym "Situation Normal -- All Fouled Up" (actually, most veterans use a different word than "Fouled"). Mike hated the name since it had nothing to do with the gameplay.

Snafu was the only game released to use the Intellivision video chip's colored squares mode.

An Aquarius version of Snafu was also released.

PLAYING TIPS: From Intellivision Game Club News, Issue 2, Winter 1982 (credited to "Mike, another Intellivision programming specialist"):


Triple Action

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3760]
Working titles: Some of Theirs, 5-in-1 Arcade, 3-in-1 Arcade
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Design/Program: Rich O'Keefe
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
It's three classic video games in one!

Racing Cars -- You and your opponent race against the clock down a crowded highway.

Battle Tanks -- It's a duel to the finish between two heavy tanks. One of you will end up as scrap iron.

Biplanes -- It's a thrilling dogfight -- biplane style! Watch out for the control tower...don't get lost in the clouds. But most of all, watch out for that blood thirsty baron with a leather cap!

PRODUCTION HISTORY
This started out to be a collection of six games "inspired" by Atari 2600 cartridges, hence the APh working title, Some of Theirs. Space considerations forced this to be dropped to five: a tank battle, a car race, a dogfight, a Breakout-like game and a Pong-like game. Within Mattel Electronics, the cartridge was known as 5-in-1 Arcade.

Shortly before completion, Mattel's lawyers stepped in and decided that some of Some of Theirs was TOO MUCH like some of theirs. To avoid a lawsuit from Atari, the lawyers asked that Brickout!, the Breakout-like game, and Hockey, the Pong-like game, be dropped from the cartridge. The game was renamed 3-in-1 Arcade and, finally, Triple Action.

A sequel, More of Theirs, was started by Rich O'Keefe but never completed.

FUN FACT: More hours were spent in the programming cubicles playing Biplanes than any other Intellivision game. Although it's one of the simplest, many programmers felt it was the most challenging and fun of the two-person games. The first time you deliberately stall, go into a free fall, then pull out with a backward loop at the last second to blast your opponent at pointblank range is a joy!

FUN FACT: So many hours were wasted on Biplanes, that when a memo was circulated April 1, 1982, ordering Triple Action deleted from programmers' hard disks, Biplanes-addict Steve Montero (Night Stalker) didn't argue; sheepishly, he erased it, only later discovering that the memo was an April Fool's hoax.

FUN FACT: In Biplanes, although the game ends when one player reaches 15 points, bullets in the air at that point are allowed to score. It's possible, therefore, to have a game with a 15-15 tie, or to win with 16 points.

FUN FACT: Brickout! was another early programmer favorite. Although cut from Triple Action, the game was available for downloading on a programmer's development system and led to a one-person waste of time when an opponent for Biplanes wasn't available.


Brickout!

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [UNRELEASED]
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Design/Program: Rich O'Keefe
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

GAME DESCRIPTION
Use your paddle to bounce a ball against descending rows of colored bricks. Hit bricks disappear, scoring points.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Brickout! was an Intellivision version of the Atari arcade and video game Breakout. It was intended for the Triple Action cartridge, which was originally to have included five arcade-type games. Brickout! was shelved for fear of legal action from Atari; such fears also killed the original version of Astrosmash, which was an Asteroids-like game.

The stand-alone version of the game was popular with the Mattel Electronics programmers. It finally had its commercial release on the Intellivision Lives! CD-ROM in December 1998.


Frog Bog

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5301]
Working title: Frogs
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Peter Kaminski, Tom Soulanille
Instructions posted here. | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Sitting upon two lily pads in the middle of a lily pond are a pair of hungry frogs; one for you, one for your opponent. Overhead swarm delicious flies. Whether or not your frog scores his dinner while you rack up points is entirely up to you. You control the height and direction of his jump; even the flick of his long pink tongue. Leap too high or at the wrong angle and "Pl-op" your frog goes into the pond. He must swim back to his lily pad, taking away valuable scoring time while your opponent goes on racking up points. As play continues, night will come to the pond. Or, you can choose to play the entire round at night, leaping for fireflies -- in the dark.

PRODUCTION NOTE
An M Network version, called Frogs and Flies, was released for the Atari 2600.


Land Battle

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5302/UNRELEASED]
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Glyn Anderson
Revised Graphics: Peggi Decarli
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

PROGRAMMER'S GAME DESCRIPTION
Land Battle is a two player war game which utilizes both strategic and tactical modes of play. Each player controls an array of forces with the objective of capturing or destroying his opponent's "flag."

The game can be played on any of thousands of different countryside maps -- the first thousand of which are selectable at the beginning of the game. All of these maps show roads, towns, hills, lakes, forests, orchards, and fields, and these geographic features impose restrictions and necessitate clever planning on the part of the player.

At the beginning of the game each player has control of the following military resources:

You can capture opposing forces which subsequently become yours.

In order to wage an effective war, you must allocate your resources into patrols, direct the patrols across the map, encounter enemy patrols, fight battles, besiege towns, and eventually capture or destroy the enemy flag.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
This wargame simulation took a long time in programming (officially 391 days, compared to 170 days for Night Stalker, begun at about the same time); when completed in mid-1982, Marketing was concerned that its design already looked dated.

A second concern was that, due to the complexity of the game, it required more memory than an Intellivision contained; the cartridge would have to include 256 bytes of RAM onboard. Only USCF Chess had been approved for onboard RAM, an expensive proposition.

When the Entertainment Computer System (ECS) was given the green light, Gabriel Baum, VP of Applications Software, proposed changing Land Battle to an ECS title; the ECS had an additional 2K of RAM available for cartridges. Marketing resisted this -- they still wanted Land Battle as a stand-alone game. Peggi Decarli was assigned to give the game a graphics makeover.

After the makeover, Marketing still didn't find it visually interesting enough. By that time, wargame fanatic Steve Sents, having completed Deadly Discs, had started work on an ECS wargame called Desert Fox, which Marketing liked the looks of better. The decision was made to kill Land Battle and incorporate as much of its gameplay and programming as possible into the Desert Fox design.


CONTINUE TO ACTION GAME NETWORK, PAGE 2


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