August 2003


Visitors to the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas (August 9 & 10) viewed a prototype of Intellivision Lives! on a next-generation game system. Because the prototype was still in its preliminary stages, we couldn't announce at the show what platform or platforms the game would run on.

But now it's official: Intellivision Productions, Crave Entertainment, and Realtime Associates have teamed up to bring Intellivision to the Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox consoles this Christmas.

Intellivision Lives! drops the player into Hal's Pizza, a 360 degree 3-D environment. Arcade machines of different themes - Space, Sports, Battle, etc. - ring the restaurant. Each machine serves as an interface to the original Intellivision games, plus other exciting features. Over 50 of the classic games can be played, plus a number of games that were never released back in the '80s. The restaurant also features a jukebox that plays Intellivision-themed music.

"This takes what we've been doing with the Intellivision games to a whole new level," says Keith Robinson, president of Intellivision Productions, Inc. "We've always tried to put them in the context of when they were released - it adds that extra nostalgic boost to the experience. In our PC and Mac collections, we've done that with video clips and music and the overall design of the graphics. But now we can actually put you into an animated 3-D world that captures the feeling of 1982. It is 1982! The first time I scrolled around Hal's I started laughing. Pizza and video games. Yeah, I could live here."

Both versions are being developed by Realtime Associates, the software firm founded by Blue Sky Ranger David Warhol. Realtime produced all the original Intellivision games published by INTV Corp. in the mid- to late-1980s. Intellivision Productions co-founders Robinson and Stephen Roney have been involved in each stage of development to ensure that the design and the game emulation are faithful to the original system.

Crave Entertainment will release the games in the United States and Canada. Watch future newsletters for more information such as the exact release date, prices, and additional game features!


The 2003 Classic Gaming Expo, August 8 through 10 at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, was a great weekend for Intellivision! We had more unreleased games, more new products, and more Blue Sky Rangers than ever before!

Festivities began Friday night with an invitation-only dinner. At the dinner, CGE hosts Sean Kelly, John Hardie, and Joe Santulli presented awards to several industry pioneers.

Blue Sky Ranger Don Daglow received an award for creating Utopia, the game credited with starting the simulation genre. In presenting the award, Sean Kelly told a touching (well, groping) story of how Utopia was the last video game he played - was playing, actually - when he discovered girls. And how his Intellivision lay neglected for the next several years.

Saturday morning the Expo opened to the public. Attendees could play dozens of arcade machines set to free play, tour the museum of classic home consoles, and expand their collections from the thousands of game cartridges and systems available for sale.

In the Intellivision booth, visitors could try out and purchase the new Intellivision 25 and Intellivision 10 direct-to-TV units, the new line of Intellivision handhelds, and the Intellivision Greatest Hits collections for PC and Mac.

The show saw the world-premiere of Tutorvision, the doomed 1989 joint-project of INTV Corp. and World Book to produce a series of educational games. Despite frequent crashes by the flaky Tutorvision prototype - a modified INTV System III console - attendees were able to try out 14 never-before-seen games.

David Stifel, who programmed several of the titles, watched in amazement. "I never thought I'd see these games again!" he said.

The show also saw the world premiere of the new Intellivision Lives! for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. (See story above.)

Ten Blue Sky Rangers were in attendence: Don Daglow (Utopia), Rick Levine (Bowling, Microsurgeon), John Sohl (Astrosmash, B-17 Bomber), Stephen Roney (Space Spartans, B-17 Bomber), Keith Robinson (TRON Solar Sailer), David Warhol (Mind Strike, Thunder Castle), Bob Newstadt (Pinball), David Stifel (Game Factory), Joe King (graphics), and Karen Nugent (graphics). This was the first year that Rick Levine, Bob Newstadt, and David Stifel attended.

Helping out in the Intellivision booth were Tom Kahelin, Lisa M. Dawson, and Susan Roney. Representing Crave Entertainment, publisher of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of Intellivision Lives!, were Robert Bryant and John Bloodworth.

Sunday morning eight of the Blue Sky Rangers held a panel discussion. As a reward for sitting through the talk, everyone in the audience received an Intellivision poster autographed by the panel.

Finally, we are happy to report that Gordon the Accordion Player is still going strong at Battista's Hole-in-the-Wall in Las Vegas. He serenaded the Blue Sky Rangers Saturday night, just as he did during the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1983! (Read more about Gordon the Accordion Player in the July 2002 Intellivision Lore.)

Transcript of the Blue Sky Rangers panel discussion >


Stephen Roney, VP of Software Development, announced that Mac OS X-native Intellivision emulation software has been completed. A Mac OS X-native version of the free download Intellipack 1 will be posted in the next month. OS X-native versions of Intellipacks 2 and 3 will follow, with OS X-native versions of Intellivision Lives! and Intellivision Rocks available early in 2004. A low-cost upgrade program, similar to when the Windows XP version of Intellivision Lives! was released, is planned.

The current Intellipacks and CD-ROM collections are playable on OS X only in classic mode.

At the CGE awards dinner, co-founder John Hardie recognized Lisa M. Dawson and Robert Bryant for service above and beyond the call of duty. Lisa, who has worked full- and part-time for Intellivision Productions for over five years, is currently working fulltime for Realtime Associates on Intellivision Lives! for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Bob is a producer for Crave Entertainment, which will be publishing Intellivision Lives!

The service above and beyond the call of duty? Lisa and Bob had planned to get married on August 9. They postponed their wedding one week so that they could attend the Classic Gaming Expo.

(Their wedding went off without a hitch on August 17. They have postponed their honeymoon until the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of Intellivision Lives! have hit the shelves.)


Back in those days before voice-mail, Intellivision programmers would frequently return to their desks and find written messages of calls they had missed.

And increasingly during 1982 and into 1983 those messages read "Call Shirley."

Shirley, the programmers quickly learned, was a headhunter. A number of video game companies in those days were constantly trying to steal experienced programmers from other companies. They did their recruiting through freelance "executive search consultants," or headhunters.

Mattel tried to fight back by keeping the Intellivision game designers anonymous. Games were uncredited and fake names were used in magazine interviews.

Rumor had it that Mattel employees could get $50 per programmer phone number they passed along to a headhunter. Company phone books were said to be worth hundreds of dollars.

Despite Mattel's precautions, calls from headhunters kept coming in. And the most aggressive headhunter by far was Shirley. New programmers could expect a "Call Shirley" message within a couple of weeks of starting at Mattel.

The phrase "Call Shirley" entered the Intellivision vernacular. Managers used it as a threat: "I see the final version on Monday or you can call Shirley!" Programmers used it as an expression of defeat: "I've used the debugger, I've checked it all by hand...there's nothing left to do but to call Shirley."

One programmer even labeled an error-handling subroutine in his game "SHIRLEY." That way if the game encountered a problem, it executed the command "CALL SHIRLEY."

For all the humor she inspired, Shirley turned out to be quite effective. In 1983, she lured Russ Haft (TRON Maze-a-Tron), Eric Wels (graphics), Mike Winans (Lock 'N' Chase), Andy Sells (music/sound), Mark Kennedy (Kool-Aid Man), and Eddie Dombrower (World Series Major League Baseball) away from Mattel to form the core of the Intellivision programming group at Atari.

Indirectly, she had a positive effect on the programmers who stayed at Mattel. Vice President Gabriel Baum argued that Shirley was proof that Mattel's attempt to keep the programmers anonymous was futile. In mid-1983, the policy was changed and the programmers' names started appearing on game packaging.

Shirley's impact on Intellivision was so great that the programmers invited her to their January 1988 reunion, where they dubbed her an honorary Blue Sky Ranger.

For most of the programmers, the reunion was the first time they had ever met the mysterious Shirley in person - or learned her last name: Dellavople. Just as well; "Call Ms. Dellavople" doesn't have quite the same ring.


In a thrift store recently, Charles Dysert came across a frame selling for twenty cents.

It wasn't the frame (at right) that caught his eye, but the picture that came in it!

(Thanks to Scott Stilphen for alerting us to Charles's find, and to Charles for permission to post it.)


58 of you entered last month's trivia contest. The question:

Ray Kaestner likes to point out that one magazine writer called one of Ray's games the best Intellivision game ever and another of his games the worst Intellivision game ever. What are the two games?

49 of you had the correct answer: BurgerTime (best) and Slap Shot: Super Pro Hockey (worst). (This information is in the Slap Shot production notes on our web site.)

From the 49 correct answers, the random number generator at selected Jim Java of Lancaster, New York as the winner of an Intellivision coffee mug.

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

Now try this question:

The two kids in that picture frame above - what Intellivision game are they playing?

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, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8. The winner will receive an official Intellivision Coffee Mug - just like we use here in the office for serving up steamin' hot java!



View previous newsletters >


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