October 2002


In this issue of our newsletter: Space Spartans grows up, new Intellivision merchandise is available for Christmas, Blue Sky Ranger memories about Halloween, the programmer answers a question about the music in Thunder Castle, and our monthly trivia contest!


In 1982, the team of Intellivision programmers Bill Fisher and Stephen Roney made history with Space Spartans, the first game for the Intellivoice speech module.

20 years later, they're making history again with perhaps the most anticipated new game of the season: Master of Orion III. They expect it to set a new standard for turn-based strategy games.

Affectionately known as MOO3, the game isn't scheduled for release until November 26, but thanks to prerelease sales, it's currently one of the top-20 selling games on

MOO3 has been in development for over three years at Quicksilver Software, Inc., the independent software company founded by Bill and Steve, along with fellow Blue Sky Ranger Mike Breen, when Mattel Electronics closed in 1984. Over 25 designers, programmers, and artists have contributed to the project.

Bill, Executive Producer of MOO3, has been involved in every aspect of the game's creative design since its beginning. Steve (whom Bill calls "the voice of sanity") is a senior architect of its programming structure.

The object of 1982's Space Spartans was looking for alien space ships and blowing them up. 2002's Master of Orion III offers a far more complex universe. You'll discover and explore new planets. You'll meet alien races and establish diplomatic and trading relations with them. But of course, at some point, you'll be looking for alien space ships and blowing them up.

With the extent of its artificial intelligence, state-of-the-art graphics, and myriad of options, MOO3 would seem to have little in common with the simple Space Spartans. But the goal Bill and Steve set for both games - 20 years apart - was the same: push the latest technology to make the most exciting game possible.

Says Bill: "Looking back at our roots in classic gaming, good game play is what matters most. We've never forgotten that lesson."

Master of Orion III will be published by Infogrames for Windows and Macintosh.

Visit the official Master of Orion III web site >



Yes, it's time to think about Christmas shopping. Why not let someone you love relive their childhood with Intellivision games, music, and accessories?

At this year's Classic Gaming Expo, we talked with a lot of the visitors to the Intellivision booth to learn what new products they'd most like to see. As a result, we're introducing three new items.

We received many requests for us to reprint the ad we ran in the Expo program as a poster. Well, here it is! It's an 18 by 24 inch poster featuring our Running Man made up of the boxes from all 125 released Intellivision games. The perfect decoration for your cubicle or game room.

As for T-shirts, most visitors expressed a preference for black shirts. So we're introducing a new black tee featuring a colorful game screen from Astrosmash.

But a number of visitors told us that they simply don't wear T-shirts. Well, we asked, do you wear polo shirts? Why, yes, indeed, they replied. So we're also adding a black polo shirt with an embroidered Running Man logo.

These new items are in production now and will be ready to ship mid-November. You won't find them on our regular order page yet, but those of you on our mailing list can pre-order by going to our special newsletter order page > All pre-orders will ship before the items are added to the regular order page, and your credit card will not be charged until your order is shipped.

Of course, our game collections INTELLIVISION LIVES! (featuring the games from Mattel Electronics and INTV Corp.) and INTELLIVISION ROCKS (featuring the games from Activision and Imagic) are still available for play on your PC or Mac.

A big hit at the Expo was our new music CD, INTELLIVISION IN HI-FI. Nearly an hour of music from Intellivision games or inspired by them!

Round out your Intellivision collection with a baseball cap, a Running Man T-shirt (black or blue), and a Running Man coffee mug!


For Halloween 1983, a couple of the Blue Sky Rangers threw a big party themed around the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. A number of the females came dressed in bustiers and fishnet stockings. And so did one male: Tom Priestley.

Tom (designer/programmer of Number Jumble) really committed to his costume. He shaved his legs and chest. He got one of the women at work to apply his makeup. A wig wasn't necessary - he had recently dated a hair dresser; she had convinced him to perm his long, blond hair.

Tom was the hit of the party. And at some point during that Saturday night, Tom was dared to show up at work Monday, which would actually be Halloween, in costume. After a sufficient number of beers, Tom accepted the challenge.

Accompanied by an entourage of several Intellivision programmers, the statuesque Tom strolled the halls of the Mattel Electronics building Monday morning, flirting with stunned workers in other departments. Word of Tom's costume spread, and a command performance was requested by the Marketing Department.

At the time, the Marketing, Personnel, and Administrative Departments were housed about two miles west from the main Mattel Electronics building. Tom and his entourage drove over to the other location.

After making a tour of the departments, Tom and the others started back across the parking lot to their car. In the distance, they heard some whistling.

"Hey, Tom," one of the programmers said, pointing at a building under construction on the far side of the parking lot, "I think they're whistling at you."

Sure enough, a number of construction workers on various floors of the building were looking over and waving in Tom's direction. The entourage stopped while Tom stepped forward. A cheer went up from the building.

Slowly, Tom sashayed down one way, turned, and sashayed back the other way, swinging his hips. Appreciative cheers and whistles were heard from the building.

Suddenly, Tom stopped, planted his feet wide apart, put his hands on his hips, and bellowed at the workers in a deep voice: "WHAT THE #$%& ARE YOU LOOKING AT!?!?!"

There was a moment of shocked silence, then one of the workers yelled, "It's a GUY!" Various obscenities were heard and a half-dozen of the workers started climbing down from the building.

"Oh, jeez," squeaked one of the programmers, "they're coming after us!"

The group ran to their car, jumping in as construction workers started flowing across the parking lot.

With its doors still open and arms and legs hanging out, the car peeled out of the lot and down the street, back to the comfort and safety of the Intellivision programming cubicles.


James L. Guinn of Charlotte, North Carolina, writes:

First of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU! for bringing back the Intellivision. It never died for me. I have collected about three or four working units, and still have all of my old cartridges (plus a couple I've collected from garage sales).

I've been searching high and low for a CD with the original classical score which plays during Thunder Castle. In fact, I've discovered that all of the music (including the death scene) is taken from classical music. It would be great to know what all of the pieces are, but specifically, what plays in the background as you're running around with your UN-energized sword?

The pop artist, Beck, sampled a seven second segment of the same music on the track "High Five (Rock the Catskills)" on his album Odelay. I've been searching high and low on Beck fan sites, and Intellivision sites.

If you know, or have the means to find out, I *LOVE* this haunting piece as rendered on the Intellivision, and I would love to hear the original score.

David Warhol, co-designer of Thunder Castle and arranger of its music, replies:

The music you're looking for, played during the "Get Ready" screen and while you are running through the mazes, is from Schubert's Unfinished Symphony (Symphony #8 in B minor, 1st movement).

The other classical pieces used in the game:

Title Screen: Benjamin Britten, Variations on a Theme by Purcell (also known as "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra"). The Britten piece was written this century - it might have been in copyright - but I figured it was the theme from Purcell that I was actually using - from hundreds of years before.

Knight dies: Excerpt from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 2nd movement.

Power up (forest maze): Excerpt from Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.

Power up (castle maze): Another excerpt from Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 2nd movement.

Power up (devil maze): I can't remember! It's been a long time since I've played the game that far!

Get Thunder Castle on Intellivision Lives! >
Get the music from Thunder Castle on Intellivision in Hi-Fi >

Got a question for the Blue Sky Rangers? Write us here >


Forty-four of you entered last month's trivia contest. The question:

The former parking lot of Mattel Electronics is now home to a Toys 'R' Us. In 1984, the standard version of the "I Want to be a Toys 'R' Us Kid" jingle was changed. Why?

Eleven of you had the correct answer: After the video game industry crash, the reference to video games was removed from the jingle. (The jingle originally had a line, "From bikes to trains to video games..." In 1984, "video games" was changed to "all kinds of games.")

By the way, in the late 1980s, following the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System, Toys 'R' Us restored video games to their proper place in the jingle.

From the eleven correct answers, the random number generator at selected Christopher Paulin of Toronto as the winner of an Intellivision coffee mug.

Congratulations, Christopher! And thanks to all of you for playing!

Now try this question:

For Halloween 1982, Intellivision programmer Mike Winans came to Mattel Electronics dressed as a Lupin. In this context, who or what is a Lupin?

Submit your answer >

(If you have trouble following the above link, or if submitting your answer fails, type the URL into your browser and try again.)

We'll pick a random winner from all complete, correct entries received before NOON PST, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4. The winner will receive an official Intellivision Coffee Mug - just like we use here in the office for serving up steamin' hot java!



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