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INTELLIVISION

Strategy Network


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INTELLIVISION STRATEGY NETWORK

The Strategy Network cartridges were based on classic board games, with the exception of the original title Utopia. Each of these games could be played against a computer player; Marketing liked to hold up these games as proof of the "Intelligent" in "Intellivision."

Strategy Network cartridges were released in purple boxes. Backgammon and Checkers were also released under the Sears brand name in different packaging. Checkers was released with different packaging in Great Britain under the English name Draughts.


ABPA Backgammon

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1119]
Trademark used under license from American Backgammon Players Association
Also released by Sears as Backgammon
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!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Beating Intellivision at backgammon is a lot of fun. But it's definitely not child's play.

The computer knows all the tricks -- and it calculates all the odds before it moves.

Can you find a flaw in its strategy? Can you give it pieces to gobble up freely, then trap it in the back game? Or will you just cross your fingers, press the button and roll the dice?

Perfect your own backgammon skills with this modem version of one of the world's oldest games.

PRODUCTION NOTES
ABPA Backgammon was one of the original four games introduced with Intellivision when it was test marketed in 1979.

The program code was recycled in the Triple Challenge cartridge released by INTV Corporation.


Checkers

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#1120]
Also released by Sears
Released by Mattel in Great Britain as Draughts [#1120]
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
Pit your skill and imagination against an opponent who can assess the board opposition in a few seconds and think several moves ahead.

The computer won't make a foolish mistake, but you can still beat it...if you concoct a strategy it can't handle.

PRODUCTION NOTES
The game Checkers is known as Draughts in Great Britain, necessitating a packaging change for the English market.

The program code was recycled in the Triple Challenge cartridge released by INTV Corporation.


Takeover

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [UNRELEASED]
AKA Empire
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Jeff Ronnie
Instructions posted here.
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Essentially an Intellivision version of the war/strategy board game Risk, Takeover was well-liked among the programmers. Unfortunately, the game used the same colored-squares graphics mode used by Snafu, limiting the screen graphics to colored blocks, plus the eight moving objects. Marketing felt that while the game was good, it looked too boring to be a successful seller. The game was never released.


USCF Chess

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#3412]
Trademark used under license from U.S. Chess Federation
AKA: Chess
Heuristics programming: Teletape, Inc.
User interface programming: Russ Ludwick
Graphics: Dave James, Peggi Decarli
Instructions posted here | Overlays posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game on Intellivision Classics for PlayStation!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
A great new way to play the ultimate game of strategy, whether you're a novice, intermediate or expert. Pit your skill against the computer or an opponent. Select from eight degrees of difficulty and a time limit on moves. Move up in skill as you improve.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
A good Chess program was beyond the capabilities of the both the Intellivision hardware and the Intellivision programmers, but Marketing felt that it was a must-have title to establish the Intellivision as more than a toy.

Money was authorized to produce the Chess cartridges with 2K of RAM on board to bolster the insufficient 147 available bytes in the Master Component. No other Mattel Intellivision cartridge was released with onboard RAM.

The gameplay programming was farmed out to Teletape, Inc., a company with experience in Artificial Intelligence. In-house, Russ Ludwick programmed the on-screen display and user interface.

Although on the schedule from early on, the technical difficulties (including a record 19 weeks of testing and debugging) held up release of the cartridge until 1983. When finally released, it did receive the good reviews Marketing was looking for.

The program code was recycled in the Triple Challenge cartridge released by INTV Corporation.

FUN FACT: Russ tested the program by playing countless games against the cartridge at all levels. He found that when playing at the highest levels, the cartridge was good, but slow. He got in the habit of making a move, then going home and letting the Intellivision think about a response overnight. Because of this, three features were added: (1) the normal Intellivision time-out feature was disabled, (2) a feature letting you switch to an easier level in the middle of a move was added, and (3) a warning that moves at higher levels could take hours -- or days --was put into the instruction book.


Utopia

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5149]
Working title: Island
Design, program: Don Daglow
Graphics: Kai Tran, Don Daglow
Sound: Russ Lieblich
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!
Play this game NOW! Download it FREE here!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
You and your opponent each have an island to rule. Points are accumulated based on the welfare of your island people. You can choose to be a benevolent ruler or an aggressive dictator. Your people need food, housing, and industry for clothing and other essentials. What you cannot manage are natural disasters. A single hurricane could wipe out your crops, sink your fishing fleet, destroy all the homes and factories you've built. Rebels may automatically appear should the welfare of the people drop. They could attack. Classic dilemmas in a game that is sure to become an absorbing classic in its own right.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
In college, Don Daglow had been a fan of mainframe computer simulation games, so it was only natural that he would try a simulation game for the Intellivision. His result, Utopia, was hailed by reviewers for its originality: it wasn't another arcade rip-off, and it wasn't just a video version of an existing game or sport. It was even educational without being boring.

Although Marketing didn't put much of a push behind the game (they preferred graphically splashier, no-brainer games like Star Strike), the reviews (Playboy Magazine put it in their "Video Game Hall of Fame") and word of mouth pushed sales to a respectable 250,000.

Today, Utopia is one of the best-remembered Intellivision game, with some people referring to it as Civilization 0.5, a reference to Sid Meier's later breakthrough computer simulation game.

An Aquarius version was also released.


Reversi

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5304]
Working title: Othello
Produced by APh Technological Consulting for Mattel Electronics
Program: Greg Favor
Instructions posted here | Overlay posted here
Play this game on Intellivision Lives! for Windows & Mac!

CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Three levels of difficulty insure you'll be playing Reversi for a long, long time. Your objective is to take control of the board. Your opponent is either another player or the computer. Either way, it's great fun. As the game progresses, the playing pieces switch from black to white or white to black depending on which player takes control. Your score is continuously displayed on the screen.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
Reversi is an old board game that seems to make a reappearance every generation or so. In the late seventies, it had regained popularity from one toy company under the trademark Othello.

Atari licensed the name Othello for a video game version, but the game itself was in public domain, so Mattel also did a version. In trying to come up with a title for it, Mattel discovered that the classic name of the game, Reversi, had never been trademarked. So Reversi (TM Mattel) became the name of the cartridge.


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