Yes, we've finally returned with a new newsletter! Sorry it's taken so long, but we've been busy developing many new projects. Some -- GameCube, PAL, the arcade machine -- are announced below, others will be announced over the next few months. We're pretty excited about all of them, and we think you will be, too! They're just more proof that Intellivision Lives!
INTELLIVISION FOR GAMECUBE, INTELLIVISION ARCADE MACHINE INTRODUCED AT CLASSIC GAMING EXPO
Moving for the first time from Las Vegas to the Silicon Valley, the annual Classic Gaming Expo once again brought together the fans of early arcade, video and computer games with the pioneers who created them. Although tempted to still head for the weekend to Las Vegas, the Intellivision alumni finally decided on joining the Expo in San Jose.
Held at the San Jose Convention Center the weekend of August 21 and 22, visitors were treated to an expanded interactive game museum, seminars by gaming celebrities (featured speaker: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak), dozens of booths selling collectible consoles and games, an auction of rarities, and live bands playing videogame-themed music.
In the Intellivision booth, guests could play and purchase the PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, and Mac versions of Intellivision Lives!, the PC/Mac collection Intellivision Rocks, and the Intellivision 25 direct-to-tv unit. A listening station was available for guests to hear cuts from Intellivision in Hi-Fi, our music CD. To enhance the musical experience, the listening station included a disco ball and fog machine.
Introduced at the Expo was the GameCube version of Intellivision Lives! It was almost a no-show; the developers at Realtime Associates were still frantically debugging a prototype the day before the Expo. The working prototype arrived at the convention center via FedEx Saturday morning. This brought back memories for the Intellivision programmers, who recall all-night marathons to get games patched together for the biannual Consumer Electronics Shows in the early 1980s.
A number of GameCube owners stopped by to try out the prototype, excited that Intellivision Lives! was finally arriving for the system. The Intellivision crew was excited, too. "We received what was sort of borderline hate mail a year ago when Intellivision Lives! came out for PS2 and Xbox," said Intellivision President Keith Robinson. "A lot of GameCube owners felt left out. But Crave Entertainment, the publisher, was just unsure of the market demand. That they saw the performance of the PS2 and Xbox versions and came back to do GameCube is, I think, a testament to the popularity of Intellivision on today's consoles. A new generation is discovering how much fun these games are, and I'm glad we can extend that now to the GameCube players!"
Intellivision Lives! for GameCube will be available in stores and on our web site before Christmas.
Also introduced at the Expo was the Intellivision Arcade Machine. The high-quality arcade cabinet is decorated with artwork from classic Intellivision game boxes. The arcade is built around a PC, so most PC-based emulation programs can be used. It comes pre-loaded with Intellivision Lives! and Intellivision Rocks, and you can add your home and arcade favorites! Each machine is custom assembled by well-known arcade manufacturer Hanaho Inc. E-mail us for pricing and scheduling information. This is the ultimate for the serious Intellivision fan!
There was big news about the Intellivision 25 and Intellivision 10 direct-to-TV units: Eric Levin, spokesperson for manufacturer/distributor Techno Source, announced at the Expo that their Intellivision line had topped 1,000,000 units sold.
Further, Levin announced that the Intellivision 25 and Intellivision 10 units had been awarded the National Parenting Center 2004 Seal of Approval.
The Intellivision gang had a great time meeting the fans and collectors who stopped by the booth. There was a moment of excitement Sunday afternoon. About an hour before the show was scheduled to close, an alarm sounded in the convention center, followed by a recording that a fire had been reported and everyone should proceed to the exits.
While everyone filed out, the Intellivision crew stayed put. They suspected it was a false alarm, as there had been a false alarm in the connected hotel earlier that day. Indeed, it was a false alarm and a few minutes later the crowds were let back onto the Expo floor. The Intellivision crew was ready: they had "FIRE SALE" signs posted with special deals on most items. Thanks to the fog machine, a haze hung over the booth. The crew promised everyone that there was "only slight smoke damage..."
The crew took advantage of the situation so quickly that some in attendance half-jokingly voiced their suspicions that Intellivision had set off the alarm. Nope, it's just those classic video game reflexes.
Intellivision Lives! for PlayStation 2 and Xbox are now available through our web site!
INTELLIVISION LIVES! FOR PS2 RELEASED IN EUROPE; DUE IN AUSTRALIA IN DECEMBER
The PAL-compatible PlayStation 2 version of Intellivision Lives! is in stores now throughout the United Kingdom. It will be available in November in Italy, France, and Spain. Release in Australia is scheduled for December.
The PAL version is published by Play It Ltd. It has the same game lineup and features as the American (NTSC) version.
Release of the collection was delayed slightly because the Quality Assurance arm of Sony Europe found bugs in some of the classic Intellivision games. Their policy required the bugs to be fixed.
Play It President Mark Cale argued that, as in the American release, the bugs should remain for historical accuracy -- that, in fact, most Intellivision fans would be disappointed if the bugs were fixed. He was aided in his argument by a letter from Intellivision President Keith Robinson that started, "Fixing the bugs in the classic Intellivision games would be like breaking into the Louvre and gluing arms onto the Venus de Milo."
Ultimately, Sony agreed. The games in Intellivision Lives! are the original versions, bugs and all!
INTELLIVISION SPONSORS MUSIC SHOW, LOSES BANNER
Intellivision Productions, Inc. was a sponsor of the Supercade Music Festival at the Pomona, California, Fairplex on October 2. The all-day event combined nonstop live music with over 150 free-play arcade machines. Intellivision provided PlayStation 2 and Xbox copies of Intellivision Lives! for prizes in the classic arcade competition.
While the show was an overall success with approximately 5,000 attendees, the Intellivision banner on display at the entrance was stolen. We had grown rather attached to that banner -- it had been at every one of our reunions and shows since 1997. It was one-of-a-kind: the letters and running man logo were hand cut and sewn onto the vinyl backing by two elderly women, one of whom has since retired and the other of whom has since died. (That's right: died. Feel pretty bad now, don't you, you banner-stealing scum?)
We are offering a reward for its return, no questions asked. Please e-mail us with any information!
INTELLIVISION-SPONSORED CGE MUSEUM A HIT AT 2004 ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT EXPO
The 60,000+ attendees of the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) were treated to sneak previews of the newest, hottest games scheduled for release this Christmas. But many of them also relived happy memories by playing Pac-Man, Pitfall, even Pong.
The world's largest event for the video and computer game industry was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center May 12 through 14. For the 10th anniversary of E3, the show's organizers wanted to look back, for the first time, at the industry's history. They invited John Hardie, Sean Kelly, and Joe Santulli, organizers of the annual Classic Gaming Expo, to set up a video and computer game museum in one of the exhibit halls.
The 2,000 square foot museum included dozens of classic arcade machines and historic gaming consoles. Visitors could play games on Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision, Vectrex, Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 800 and other platforms. Arcade machines from Pong through the most popular titles of the 1980s were set to free play. Display cases were filled with rare pieces and one-of-a-kind prototypes.
There were also two "living rooms" set up: the Atari room and the Intellivision room. Each featured an old, broken-in sofa facing a console television set. The Atari room featured an Atari 2600; the Intellivision room featured both a real Intellivision console and an Xbox with Intellivision Lives!
To cover the costs of bringing the hundreds of pieces of memorabilia to Los Angeles, the CGE turned to Intellivision Productions, Inc. "We're proud to be exclusive sponsor of the museum," said intellivision President Keith Robinson. "We've worked with the CGE guys for years, and their goal is the same as ours: keeping the history of these games and consoles alive, but never forgetting that they should be played with. That's the bottom line. A few years ago we helped the CGE produce a similar hands-on museum at the Game Developers Conference, but on a much smaller scale than this. This is tremendous!"
The museum was a hit. Always crowded, it was featured in television reports by everyone from CNN to the Playboy Channel and covered by scores of print and online news outlets from around the world. Many of them, such as the G4 Network, reported that it was one of the must-see attractions of the show.
Robinson spent most of the show on the Intellivision sofa, so much time that many commented that he was, effectively, one of the museum displays: a real, live video game player from the early eighties.
While E3 was closed to the public, many of the collectibles on display (including Keith Robinson) appear annually in the museum at the Classic Gaming Expo, which is open to the public. The next Classic Gaming Expo is scheduled for August 20 & 21, 2005 in Burlingame, California, just south of San Francisco. Intellivision is an annual sponsor of the CGE.
BLUE SKY RANGERS COMMEMORATE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LAYOFFS
On February 7, 2004, nearly 100 Blue Sky Rangers, their guests and families took over an arcade in Redondo Beach, California, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mattel pulling the plug on the Intellivision video game system.
Every year the former Intellivision programmers mark the anniversary with lunch at Jino's Pizza in Hawthorne, a regular lunch hangout when they worked at Mattel.
But for the 20th, something special was called for. So Intellivision Productions, Inc., as a thank you to the programmers, bought out the arcade for the night and put all the games on free play. There were barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs and - for those who wanted to keep with tradition - Jino's pizza.
The site of the event, Castle Park, was familiar to the Blue Sky Rangers; Mattel Electronics hosted a party for the programmers there in 1983. And for their tenth reunion, the Blue Sky Rangers stopped into the arcade for a couple hours of play before having dinner at a nearby restaurant.
While the programmers have remained friends over the years and frequently get together for reunions and parties, this was the greatest number of Blue Sky Rangers in one place since the layoff of 1984.
Of particular excitement was the attendance of Gabriel Baum, former vice president in charge of Intellivision development and inspiration for Hal, the imaginary spokesman for the Blue Sky Rangers . A resident today of Chicago, this was Gabriel's first appearance at any Blue Sky Ranger reunion. As the highest ranking former Mattel employee, he cut the commemorative cake.
For their 30th anniversary, the Blue Sky Rangers will have to find a new site; the new owners of Castle Park have announced plans to demolish the arcade building in 2005.
INTELLIVISION SIGHTING: THE RUNNING MAN VISITS "THE L WORD"
The April 4, 2004 episode of Showtime Network's lesbian soap opera The L Word featured a scene where a near-riot breaks out in front of an art gallery. Pulling up to cover the action is a TV news van, marked "City Watch Live - Channel 6." The logo on the van? None other than Intellivision's own Running Man!
How did the Running Man wind up on the van? We don't know. We'd like to think a production designer for the series is an Intellivision fan. If anyone knows the truth, please drop us an e-mail.
By the way, we are usually alerted to Intellivision sightings by our fans, but in this case, Intellivision President Keith Robinson was watching the show and spotted it himself. Says Robinson, "C'mon, a lesbian soap opera? I'm there, dudes."
THE INTELLIVISION TRIVIA CONTEST!
106 of you entered our previous trivia contest. The question:
In 2002, former-Intellivision spokesman George Plimpton poked fun at his pitchman legacy by appearing as himself in a fake commercial for an educational game meant to teach children the finer differences between imported cheeses. What TV show featured this fake ad?
Sixty-four of you had the correct answer: Saturday Night Live.
From the 64 correct answers, the random number generator at http://www.random.org/ selected Christopher Currie as the winner of an Intellivision coffee mug.
Congratulations, Christopher! And thanks to all of you for playing!
Now try this question:
Last month, Intellivision took part in the Supercade Music Festival. In 1983, Intellivision had a featured booth in the Technology Exposition at what historic music festival?
(If you have trouble following the above link, or if submitting your answer fails, type the URL http://www.intellivisionlives.com/contest.shtml into your browser and try again.)
We'll pick a random winner from all complete, correct entries received before NOON PST, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15. 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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