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INTELLIVISION SPORTS NETWORK

No doubt about it, these are the games that first sold the Intellivision. An early TV and print ad showing a side-by-side comparison of baseball played on an Atari 2600 and on an Intellivision made the Atari version look laughable. The Intellivision was established as the serious sports-game machine, and Major League Baseball went on to become the best-selling Intellivision cartridge.

Mostly programmed for Mattel Electronics by APh Technological Consulting in 1979 and 1980, the games are impressive, especially when keeping in mind that all of them (except for Motocross) are only 4K in size. Also, most of these games require more than seven players and a ball to appear on screen at the same time -- difficult since the Intellivision can only draw eight moving objects on screen. Tricky swapping of players from static background drawings to moving objects and back achieves the illusion of more than eight moving at once.

The main drawback to these games is that most require two players. By 1981, work was starting on second-generation sports games that featured computer opponents; several of these were eventually released by INTV Corporation.

The Sports Network games released by Mattel were in royal blue boxes (with the exception of Motocross, which was released after the themed "network" concept had been dropped). Several of these games were also released under the Sears brand name in different packaging. All of these games first appeared in 1980 except Bowling and Boxing, which came out in 1981, and Motocross , which was finally shipped in 1983.


Auto Racing

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1113]
Also released by Sears
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Larry Zwick
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
Snap on your crash helmet, fire up your Formula I, and slam it into first. Power through the first turn and you're off on a Grand Prix class racing circuit.

The faster you push your race car the more alert you have to be. You may slide off the track and into a maze of grass and trees. You may find yourself skidding into a pond. Or you may find yourself halfway through a hairpin turn before you know it.

Whether you race against an opponent or against the clock, there are thrills enough for anybody

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY: There were two versions of Auto Racing released due to a running change made during manufacturing. In the original version, steering is realistic -- it is oriented to the car. For example, if your car is moving downward on-screen and you want to turn right (that is, toward the left of the screen), you press right on the hand controller disc. Mattel received complaints about how difficult this was (even the instruction book warns that it takes some getting used to), so a running change was ordered to make steering intuitive -- to orient it to the screen. In the above example, to turn toward the left of the screen, you press left on the hand controller disc, even though the car is actually making a right.

Both versions had their advocates -- intuitive steering being easier to play; realistic steering being a better simulation of driving. One programmer likened it to the difference between driving an automatic and driving a stick. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell which version is which from the package; you either have to check the instruction book, or just plug in the cartridge and play.

FUN FACT: The five courses are mapped on a globe; you can drive off one, through the trees, and onto another, or onto the hidden drag strip. Drive off at the right place and the trees are spaced so that, without touching the hand controller, your car will circle the globe forever (well, until the screen-saver times out).


NHL Hockey

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1114]
Trademark used under license from NHL Services, Inc.
Also released by Sears as Hockey
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!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Your opponent has a man in the penalty box, so it's time to push hard on offense. There's the whistle! Time to move down the ice. Your team mows toward the opposing goal in perfect formation, nudging the puck back and forth as defenders move in.

You're across the blue line. You send a pass across the front of the goal, then...wham! a screaming slap shot whips past the goalie and in for the score.

The crowd roars its approval. And the buzzer announces the end of the game. You won! A little practice and you'll be ready for the big time.

PRODUCTION NOTE
NHL Hockey was one of the games to be included on the Go For the Gold album cartridge.


Tennis

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1814]
Also released by Sears
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Gavin Claypool
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
Thunk! You send a screaming serve across the net. Your opponent races to intercept it and returns a lofty lob into your deep backcourt. You get to it in time to send a smashing ground shot just out of reach of your opponent's outstretched racquet.

Play an entire three set match, and each game will be different and exciting. You control ball placement, velocity and strategy. And it's a game of wits as well as of dexterity. Even the crowd gets in the act by turning their heads to follow the ball -- and cheering at just the right time.


NASL Soccer

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1683]
Trademark used under license from NASL Marketing, Inc.
Also released by Sears as Soccer
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Kevin Miller
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
A well executed drive down the soccer field is a thing of beauty. The man with the ball jukes, whirls, passes to his teammate. The teammate dribbles toward the goal until he attracts a crowd of opponents. Then he passes to a third man who sets up the score.

The game action is as realistic as the excitement of Pro Soccer -- minus the black 'n blue shins.

PRODUCTION NOTE
An M Network Atari 2600 version, called International Soccer, was released.


PGA Golf

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1816]
Trademark used under license from the Professional Golfers' Association of America
Also released by Sears as Golf
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Scott Bishop
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
Stand steady at the tee...head down...slow backswing. Now, drive your tee shot 220 yards down the fairway, splitting a pair of sandtraps. Loft a five iron onto the green. And sink a twenty foot putt for a birdie!

You control the swing and aim throughout 9 championship quality holes. The fairways and greens are beautifully manicured, but the sand traps are deep...and the rough is...rough!


U.S. Ski Team Skiing

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1817]
Trademark used under license of the United States Ski Team, Inc.
Also released by Sears as Skiing [#4975219]
Re-released by INTV Corp. as Alpine Skiing [INTV #1817]
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Scott Reynolds
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!
Play this game NOW! Download it FREE here!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Take a deep breath, dig your poles hard into the snow, push off...and you're speeding down a world class skiing course.

Stay low and glide gracefully through the turns because you're in a race against the clock. But don't cut the comers too sharply or you'll go tumbling! All the excitement of the Winter Olympics on a beautiful video snowscape.

PRODUCTION NOTE
U.S. Ski Team Skiing was one of the games to be included on the Go For the Gold album cartridge.

FUN FACT: A couple years after the game was finished, a Mattel programmer needed to take a look at the original APh source code. He was startled to find that all variables and subroutines were named with the vilest (and most creative) obscenities.


Boxing

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1819]
Also released by Sears
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
Slip into the powerfully muscled body of the fighter of your choice. Maybe you'll go for a power slugger. Or an agile defender. Or a completely unpredictable fighter.

There's the bell! You're playing at championship speed, so the action is lightning fast. Feint, duck, block, then move in for a quick combination.

Remember that your fighter is using up precious energy. And each punch he takes has its toll. So use your brains as well as your brawn -- and keep your warrior in shape to go 15 rounds.

PRODUCTION NOTE
Boxing was one of the games to be included on the Go For the Gold album cartridge.


NFL Football

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#2610]
Trademark used under license of National Football League Properties, Inc.
Also released by Sears as Football
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Ken Smith, Glyn Anderson (instant replay feature)
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
The whistle blows! The crowd roars! The two teams sprint onto the field and line up for the opening kickoff.

Your ball, first and ten on the twenty yard line. Will you grind out the yardage on the ground...or risk a long bomb for a quick score? You and your opponent can choose from over 180 offensive and defensive plays -- so it's as much a game of strategy as execution.

Two full halves of fun. With all the refinements of passing, punting, end runs and razzle-dazzles. The computer keeps track of time and score, and the crowd lets you know what it thinks of your performance.

PRODUCTION NOTE
An M Network Atari 2600 version, called Super Challenge Football, was released.


Major League Baseball

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#2614]
Trademark used under license of Major League Baseball Promotion Corp.
Also released by Sears as Baseball
Re-released by INTV Corp. as Big League Baseball [INTV #2614]
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: David Rolfe
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
The crowd roars as the nine man home team sprints out onto the field. Then you and your opponent use all the tricks in the book to score the winning run.

You control all the action -- balls and strikes, hit and run, double plays and stolen bases. And it's not over until the last out of the ninth inning!

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
Developed at APh during 1979, Major League Baseball came out in 1980 and went on to become the best selling Intellivision cartridge, with 1,085,700 shipped as of June 4, 1983 (the last date for which figures are available). After Mattel Electronics went out of business, INTV Corp. changed the name of the cartridge to Big League Baseball rather than pay to renew the Major League Baseball trademark license.

An M Network Atari 2600 version, called Super Challenge Baseball, was released.

FUN FACT: Major League Baseball is the only cartridge to use the Intellivision sound chip for speech synthesis (the umpire crying "Yer out!"). Marketing put a stop to any further such use, fearing it would hurt sales of the Intellivoice module.


NBA Basketball

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#2615]
Trademark used under license of NBA Properties, Inc. and the National Basketball Association
Also released by Sears as Basketball [#4975203]
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!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Two teams square off at mid-court. Up they go for the jump ball. It's tipped to your team. You fake, drive, and move in for a slam dunk!

Each three man team of remarkably realistic athletes can dribble. Pass in any direction, jump, block, steal...even take a casual set shot when they've caught the other guys napping.

Four action-packed quarters -- plus overtime when needed!

PRODUCTION NOTE
NBA Basketball was one of the games to be included on the Go For the Gold album cartridge.


PBA Bowling

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3333]
Trademark used under license of Professional Bowlers' Association
Also released by Sears as Bowling [#4975223]
Program, graphics: Rick Levine, Mike Minkoff
Sound: John Sohl
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Warm up by picking up some tricky spares. Now you're ready for ten frames of championship bowling. Select the bail weight you prefer. Decide how "slick" you want the alley. Take a few deep breaths and...you're up!

Aim carefully allowing for loft and curve. Release nice and smooth, and watch the ball plunge into the sweet part of the pocket. Strike! Keep it up, score 200, and you'll get a rousing fanfare.

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
PBA Bowling was the first Intellivision game actually programmed by Mattel employees: Mike Minkoff and Rick Levine from the handheld-games department. Since Mattel didn't have development equipment yet (1980), Mike and Rick commuted from Mattel in Hawthorne to APh in Pasadena three days a week. Mike gives Rick, an avid bowler, credit for the many realistic details in the game.


Motocross

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3411]
AKA MX
Design: Rick Koenig, Rick Levine
Program: Rick Koenig
Graphics: Rick Levine, Joe Ferreira
Sound: Mark Urbaniec
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

PACKAGE DESCRIPTION
Speeding up the long straights, blasting through tight S turns, or hurling across wild jumps, you're meant to eat dirt and claim victory! What a racing bike you've got! The competition is fierce, the terrain is rough. Challenge your toughest adversary, then leave him behind, as you cross the finish line!

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY
Started by Rick Levine in 1981 as his follow-up project to PBA Bowling, Motocross was put on hold when Rick left Mattel. (Tired of commuting from Irvine to Hawthorne, Rick took a non-gaming job. Later, he went to work for Imagic, where he programmed the Intellivision games Microsurgeon and Truckin'.) Months later, biker Rick Koenig took a stab at completing the game. After several weeks, he got permission to scrap the existing code and begin from scratch. Only Rick Levine's basic concept and graphics were kept, with new animations by Joe Ferreira.

Rick Koenig approached the game scientifically, writing routines to simulate all the movements of the cycles according to the laws of physics. The result is motorcycles that accelerate, skid and jump realistically.

Although announced in Mattel catalogs in 1981 and 1982 as part of the Intellivision Sports Network, by the time the game was released in 1983 the themed "networks" had been dropped. The Sports Network isn't mentioned on Motocross's final packaging.

FUN FACT: Gravity is a factor in the motion routines. During testing, Rick made gravity adjustable to determine the best looking arc when jumping. Several unsuspecting programmers were invited to test the game, not knowing gravity had been set to zero. The first time their cycles hit a ramp, the cycles would sail up-up-and-away off the screen, while the programmers frantically tapped the controller discs, trying to make them come back down.

FUN FACT: Rick was able to reuse his basic algorithms from Motocross several times: in Racing Destruction Set, a Commodore 64 game for Electronic Arts (produced by his old Mattel boss, Don Daglow), in Stadium Mud Buggies, an Intellivision game for INTV Corp., and in Monster Truck Rally, an NES game also for INTV.


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