Mattel Intellivision Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Version 3.0 - June 27th, 1995Copyright (c) 1995 Larry AndersonAll right reserved. This document may be copied, in whole or in part, by any means provided the copyright and contributors sections remain intact andno fee is charged for the information. Contributors retain the copyright to their individual contributions.The data herein is provided for informational purposes only. No warranty is made with regards to the accuracy of this information.These people, either knowingly or unknowingly, helped contribute informationto this FAQ:John Bindel (jbindel@cs.tamu.edu)James Carter (jscarter@aol.com)Greg Chance (gchance@ecst.csuchico.edu)Jeff Coleburn (vsp@netaxs.com)Clint Dyer (apdf35d@prodigy.com)Allan Hammill (warspite@ix.netcom.com)Ed Hornchek (edh@netcom.com)Joe Huber (huber@rock.enet.dec.com)Jerry Greiner (jerryg@hevanet.com)Sean Kelly (skelly@bbs.xnet.com)Ken Kirkby (kirkby@decus.org.au)Ralph LinneMatthew Long (mlong@ccd.harris.com) Craig Pell (VGR) (vgriscep@wam.umd.edu)Russ Perry Jr. Robert Poniatowski (pony@shakala.com)David Tipton (6500dtpt@ucsbuxa.ucsb.edu)Paul Thurrott (thurrott@ix.netcom.com) Steven Roode (ANA-NG@ix.netcom.com)Joe Santulli (digitpress@aol.com)Laury ScottLee K. Seitz (lkseitz@iquest.com)Chris Williams (psu01940@odin.cc.pdx.edu)Jeremy Wilson (xeno@io.org) --------------------------------------------------------------------------

This FAQ will be posted once a month around the 15th (usually =) ).Items that STILL need help are:- More historical information: Dates, people, places, etc...- A list of dealers and/or private parties that regularly sell Intellivision games/hardware (***STILL NEEDED!!***) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^- Ratings and reviews for games - these may not be included in the FAQ, but are needed for another project.- More information regarding the people responsible for forming INTV Corp, as well as dates and the like.- More game tips and easter eggs!!- Internet resources (web pages, FTP sites, and video game related BBS's)- BBS's that may have video-game related information- Catalog numbers for titles released under the Sears Tele-Games label (still need a lot of the titles, I only have catalog #'s for 3!!)- Catalog #'s for Parker Bros. Super Cobra and INTV Triple ChallengeIf you have any additions, corrections, comments, flames, or pats on the back,please mail them to me at larry_a@netcom.com. Contributors will get their names immortalized in the credits, as well as a warm and fuzzy feeling =)


Table Of Contents:
1.0) General Information
1.1 - A Brief History of the Mattel Intellivision
1.2 - Timeline
2.0) Technical Information
2.1 - General Hardware Specs
2.2 - Processor Specs
2.3 - Graphics Specs
2.4 - Operating System Specs
3.0) Hardware Descriptions
3.1 - Intellivision Master Component
3.2 - Sears Super Video Arcade
3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision One
3.4 - Sylvania Intellivision
3.5 - Intellivoice Voice Synthesis Module
3.6 - Intellivision II
3.7 - INTV System III
3.8 - Computer Adaptor
3.9 - Entertainment Computer System
3.10 - Music Synthesizer
3.11 - System Changer
3.12 - Joystick Substitutes
3.13 - Compro Electronic Videoplexer
3.14 - PlayCable
4.0) Cartridge Listing
4.1 - Released Titles
4.2 - Unreleased (or rumored) titles
4.3 - Unreleased (or rumored) titles for the ECS
4.4 - Unreleased titles for the original Computer Exp. Module
4.5 - Easter Eggs, Cheats and Tips
4.6 - Information regarding Label Variations
5.0) Vaporware, Trivia, and Miscellanea
5.1 - Intellivision III
5.2 - INTV Corp. Games
5.3 - Trivia and Fun Facts
6.0) Electronic Resources, Books and Magazines
6.1 - Internet and BBS Resources
6.2 - Books
6.3 - Magazines
7.0) Reapir Information
7.1 - Hand Controllers
7.2 - Cartridge Problems
7.3 - Console Disassembly
7.4 - General Troubleshooting
8.0) Programmer Interviews
8.1 - Daniel Bass
8.2 - Ray Kaestner
9.0) Dealers


1.0) General Information:
1.1 - A Brief History of the Mattel IntellivisionAt the end of 1979, Mattel Electronics (a division of Mattel Toys) releaseda video game system known as Intellivision along with 12 video gamecartridges. Poised as a competitor to the then king of the hill Atari 2600,Mattel Electronics called their new product "Intelligent Television", stemming largely from their marketing plans to release a compatible computer keyboard for their video games console. Mattel's marketing was anything *but* intelligent and almost destroyed the company by 1984. In one sense the system was very successful, with over 3 million units sold and 125 games released before the system was discontinued by INTV Corp. in 1990.The original Master Component was test marketed in Fresno, California in late 1979. The response was excellent, and Mattel went national with theirnew game system in late 1980. The first year's production run of 200,000units was completely sold out! To help enhance it's marketability, Mattelalso marketed the system in Sears stores as the Super Video Arcade, and atRadio Shack as the Tandyvision One in the early 1980's.1980 was a turbulent year for the Intellivision. Mattel announced that an "inexpensive" keyboard expansion would be available in 1981 for the mastercomponent to be dropped into. This was to turn the system into a powerful 64K home computer that could do everything from play games to balance your checkbook. There was a great deal of marketing money and press coveragedevoted to this unit; a third of the box for the GTE/Sylvania Intellivisiondescribes the features of this proposed expansion. Many people bought an Intellivision with plans to turn it into a computer when the expansionmodule was released. Months, then years passed and the original expansion keyboard was released only in a few test areas in late 1981. With theprice too high and the initial reaction poor, the product was scrapped in1982 before being released nationwide.1982 saw many changes in both the videogame industry and the Intellivision product line. A voice-synthesis module called Intellivoice made sound andspeech and integral part of gameplay, through the use of special voice-enhanced cartridges. The Intellivision II was also released this year,which one company spokesperson described as "smaller and lighter that theoriginal, yet with the same powerful 16-bit microprocessor". The newconsole was more compact than the first, and its grayish body made it lookmore like a sophisticated electronic device than the original design.1983 brought more promises from the folks at Mattel, the most significantof which being the Intellivision III. This was shown off at the January1983 CES show, and lauded in the videogame mags for many months afterwards.In June of 1983 at the Summer CES show, Mattel announced it was killing the Intellivision III and including most of its high-profile features intotheir long-awaited computer expansion, the Entertainment Computer System.Probably the most ambitious effort the Intellivision team had undertaken, the Entertainment Computer System was comprised of a computer keyboard add-on, a 49-key music synthesizer, ram expansion for the keyboard add-on to expand it to a full 64K RAM and 24K ROM, a data recorder to store programs, a 40-column thermal printer, and an adapter which would allow you to play Atari 2600 games on your Intellivision. The RAM expansion modules, data recorder, and thermal printer never made it past the drawing board, and the music synthesizer had but one software title to take advantage of its capabilities. While the 2600 adapter greatly expanded the library of available games, much of the steam this generated had already been stolen by Coleco's own expansion module.1984 would spell the end of the original Intellivision as the world knew it.T.E. Valeski, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales at MattelElectronics, along with a group of investors, purchased the assets, trademarks,patents, and right to the Intellivision in January of 1984 for $16.5 milliondollars. The purchase was backed by financing from Tangible Industries, a division of Revco Drug Stores, The newly formed company was originally calledIntellivision, Inc., and later renamed INTV, Inc., after Valeski negotiatedall rights from Revco in November of 1984. During the next two years, the newcompany would lie dormant while plans were being made for a re-emergence.In the fall of 1985, the INTV System III (also called the Super Pro System)appeared at Toys 'R Us, Kiddie City, and in a mail order catalog sent toowners of the original Intellivision direct from INTV. The new consolewas of the same general design as the original master component, exceptit sported a fresh black plastic shell with brushed aluminum trim. Several new games accompanied the release of the new system, and 1985 would register over $6 million dollars in sales worldwide, indicating that INTV Corp. had indeed revived the Intellivision. INTV continued to market games and repair services through the mail with great success. Between 1985 and 1990 over 35 new games were released, bringing the Intellivision's game library to a totalof 125 titles.Many more changes were to come during the final six years of Intellivision'suseful life. In 1987, an improved master component called the INTV System IV was shown at the January CES, which sported detachable controllers and a timing device. Unfortunately, this never saw the light either. In the fall of 1988, INTV re-introduced the computer keyboard adapter through their mail order catalog on a limited quantity basis. In 1990, INTV discontinued retail sales of thier games and equipment and sold them only through the mail channels. The change in marketing was due to agreements with Nintendo and Sega to become a software vendor for the NES, Game Boy and Genesis. In 1991, INTV sold out its stock of Intellivision games and consoles, and the company, along with theIntellivision, gradually faded into black.


1.2 - Timeline1979 - Intellivision is test marketed1980 - Mattel Intellivision released nationally, Computer Expansion announced1982 - Computer Expansion Module scrapped due to high cost and poor response1982 - IntelliVoice released 1983 - Intellivision II released1983 - Entertainment Computer System released, many periphs. announced1983 - 2600 System Changer released1983 - Intellvision III announced1983 - The videogame market begins to crash1983 - Intellivision III dropped1984 - The videogame market bottoms out1984 - Mattel sells the Intellivision rights to VP Marketing T.E. Valeski + investors, forming INTV Corp.1985 - INTV III released, along with new Intellivision titles. Agressive retail and mail marketing result in $6 million worldwide sales that year1987 - INTV IV announced, to be scrapped later1990 - INTV Corp. discontinues retail sales, markets through mail only1991 - INTV Corp. sells off its remaining Intellivision stock.


2.0) Technical Information:
2.1 - General Hardware SpecsIntellivision Master Component (these apply to the clones as well)


CPU: GI 16 bit microprocessorMemory: 7K internal ROM, RAM and I/O structures, remaining 64k address space available for external programs. Controls: 12 button numberic key pad, four action keys, 16 direction disk Sound: Sound generator capable of 3 part harmony with programmable ASDR envelopes.Color: 16Resolution: 192v x 160h pixels-----2.2 - Processor Specs(Author's note: Most of this information was captured off the net two years ago, would the original author please speak up and maybe help me clean up this info?? =) )GI 1600, running at something like 500KHz. Processor has 16 bit registers, uses 16 bit RAM, and has 10 (yes, 10) bit instructions. Intellivision cartridges contain ROMs that are 10 bits wide. Tenbits are called a decle, and half that is a nickle. There were 160bytes of RAM, I think (general purpose RAM -- there is also RAM usedby the graphics chip for character bitmaps and to tell what is whereon the screen).The CPU was strange. For example, if you did two ROTATE LEFT instructions,followed by a ROTATE RIGHT BY 2 (rotates could be by one or two), you didNOT end up with the original word. The top two bits were swapped!Ken Kirkby also has this to add:"The GI CP1600 was developed as a joint venture in the early seventies between GI and Honeywell. One of the first commercial uses of the CP1600 was its incorporation into Honeywell's TDC2000, the first distributed control system, prototypes existed in late '74 I think. Honeywells then Test Instrument Division also incorporated into a Cardiac Catheterisation system called MEDDARS which was released for sale about 1979. The CP1600 was definitely a 16 bit chip." -----2.3 - Graphics Specs160x92 pixels, 16 colors, 8 sprites (they were called "moving objects" rather than sprites). I don't recall the sprite size -- I think it was 16x16. Sprites could be drawn with oversize pixels (I think they could be linearly doubled or quadrupled, but again, memory is hazy). Graphics is character based. The screen is twelve rows of twentycharacters. Characters either come from Graphics ROM (GROM), whichcontains the usual alphanumeric symbols and a bunch of other thingsmeant to be useful in drawing backgrounds (256 characters in all),or Graphics RAM (GRAM), which the program can use to build picturesneeded that aren't in GROM (like sprite images). GRAM can hold 64.The predesigned sprites located in ROM were a big help in speeding upgameplay. (Now that I think about it, maybe sprites were 8x16 -- I don't recall them taking up 4 pictures in GRAM -- but two seems reasonable).Eight of the colors are designated as the primary colors. The othereight are called the pastel colors.There were two graphics modes: Foreground/Background, and Color Stack.In F/B mode, you specify the colors for both the on and off pixels ofeach card ("card" is the term for a character on the screen). One ofthese (the on pixels, I think) could use any color, but the other couldonly use the primary colors.In CS mode, you can give the chip a circular list of four colors (pastelsand primaries are both allowed). For each card, you specify the ON bits color from any of the 16 colors, and the OFF bits color comes from thenext color on the circular list. You can also tell if the list is toadvance or not. Thus, in CS mode, you only get four colors for the OFFbits, and they have to be used in a predetermined order, but you get touse the pastels. Most games used CS mode.I seem to recall that a sprite could be designated as either being infront of or behind the background, which determined prority when itoverlapped the ON pixels of a background image.You could tell the graphics chip to black out the top row or the firstcolumn (or both) of cards. You could also tell it to delay the displayby up to the time of seven scan lines, or to delay the pixels on each scan line by up to seven pixel times. Using these two features togetherallows for smooth scrolling.For example, a game that is going to scroll a lot sideways could blackout the first row. Now, to scroll the background to the right by one pixel, you just have to delay by one pixel time. This moves everythingover. The black part is NOT delayed -- that is always displayed in thefirst 8 screen pixel locations. The net result is that you now see onepixel that was previously hidden under the black strip, and one pixel onthe other side has fallen of the edge, and everything appears to havemoved over. Thus, to scroll, you only have to move the screen memoryevery eigth time, when things need to be shifted a full card. There isno need for a bitblt-type operation.The hardware detected collisions bewteen sprites and other sprites orthe background.GRAM and (I think) screen memory could only be manipulated duringvertical retrace. At the end of vertical retrace, you had to tellthe chip if it should display or not. If you weren't done, youcould keep manipulating by not telling it to display, but thenyou end up with a flicker. Unacceptable.-----2.4 - Operating System SpecsThe operating system did several things: - It allowed the program to specify a veloc for each sprite. The OS would deal with adjusting the sprite position registers for you and cycling through your animation sequence. - For each pair of sprites you could specify a routine to be called when that pair of sprites collided. For each sprite, you could specify a routine to be called when that sprite hit the background or the edge of the screen. - It maintained timers, and allowed you to specify routines to be called periodically. - It dealt with the controls. You could specify routines to be called when the control disc was pressed or released, or when buttons were pressed or released. It provided functions to read numbers from the keypad. The calling sequence for these were a bit strange. When you called these, they saved the return address, then did a return. You had to call them with nothing after your return address on the stack, and they return to your caller. When the number is ready, they return to after where you called them, but as an interrupt. In generic assembly, it would be like this (I've long since forgotten 1600!): jsr foo bar: ... ... foo: ;do some setup or whatever jsr GetNumberFromKeypad spam: ... GetNumberFromKeypad returns to bar immediately. When the number is read, spam will be called from an interrupt handler. If you didn't know that a routine did this, reading code could get rather confusing! --------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.0) Hardware Descriptions:-----
3.1 - Intellivision Master ComponentThe original, the one the started it all. It has a brown molded plastic casewith gold trim on the top. Two controller wells are recessed in the top for housing the two hard-wired controllers. The controllers are also brown molded plastic, with a 12-key numeric keypad, two fire buttons located on each side, and a gold disk centered in the bottom third of the controller which is used to control your on-screen persona. The power and reset switches are located on the top of the unit, in the lower right hand corner: (Top View) _||_ _|_ Power Cable -->|| |<-- RF Cable || | ================================= | || | ---------------------------- || | /\ .... | | .... /\ || | \/ .... | | .... \/ || | ---------------------------- || | [ ][|] || ================================= ^ ^> Power Switch |> Reset Switch-----

3.2 - Sears Super Video Arcade Up until recently, if you wanted to market your product through Sears, it hadto have thier name on it. Much like Atari with the Tele-Games Video Arcade, Mattel created a clone that was similar yet different to the INTV I. Functionally identical, this unit has a cream-colored case with a wood-grainfront, and removable controllers that rest in the center of the console. The power and reset switches are circular in shape and about an inch indiameter: (Top View) _||_ _|_
Power Cable -->|| |<--
RF Cable || | ================================= | || | ---------------------------- || | |... |... | || | |... |... | || |__________| /\ | /\ |_/-\_/-\_|| | | \/ | \/ | \-/ \-/ || ================================= ^ ^> Power Switch |> Reset Switch-----

3.3 - Radio Shack Tandyvision IYet another clone, this console has faux wood-grain (what was it with videogames and woodgrain in the early eighties??) paneling in the place of theINTV I's gold panels. Otherwise, this unit is totally identical to the INTV I.-----

3.4 - GTE / Sylvania IntellivisionStill another clone, this console is identical to the original Intellivision except for the brand name. The box has a very detailed description of the Computer Adapter that was never released... Rumor has it that these were given away for free with the purchase of a Sylvania television.-----

3.5 - Intellivoice Voice Synthesis ModuleThis module attaches to the cartridge port of your Intellivision, and through the use of special voice-enhanced games, your INTV could talk. There were 5 games released to take advantage of the unit's capabilities (Space Spartans, B-17 Bomber, Tron Solar Sailor, Bomb Squad, and World Seires Major League Baseball (also requires the ECS) ). The module has a dial on the front to control the voice's volume. Voice games will work without the adapter, but since the voice was made to be an integral portion of the game, they're extremely difficult to play.Underneath the plastic Mattel Electronics logo on the top is an expansion connector. Everyone pop the cover off and make sure it's there? =)-----

3.6 - Intellivision II In 1982, Mattel decided that they needed to spice up the design of the Intellivision, as well as attempt to shave some costs; the Intellivision II was the result. Some key differences include: - A much smaller footprint - Grey plastic case with a thin red stripe circling the unit - External power supply (not standard by any means) - Detachable controllers (although the fire buttons on these controllers are nearly impossible to use, and darn uncomfy =) ) - Combination Power/Reset switch (probably the most annoying feature of all, you have to hold the switch for 5 seconds in order to turn the unit off) -
Power LED Indicator (Top View) ============================ | || ... || ... || | || ... || ... || | || ... || ... || | ___ || ... || ... || Power LED Ind.-->| * | | || /\ || /\ || | |___| || \/ || \/ || ============================ ^> Power / Reset SwitchThis unit contained a revised ROM which was necessary for the System Changer (more on that later), but also caused incompatibilities with certain Colecogames and some Mattel games (Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, and Carnival DEFINITELY do not work, Chess is a maybe).This unit also used a non-standard AC Adapter, making it near impossible to find a replacement at your local Radio Shack. For those who are handy enoughto construct their own, here are the specs: Input: 120V 60Hz 25 Watts Output: 16.7V AC 1.0A-----

3.7 - INTV System III (Model #3504)In 1984, the vice president of marketing for Mattel Electronics bought therights to the Intellivision and formed a company called INTV Corp. The result of this venture was the release of the INTV III, or Super Pro System.This redesigned unit is physically identical to the original INTV I, except that it has a black plastic case with silver plates, and also has a Power LED indicator between the Power and Reset switches. The controllers are black with silver discs, and the keypads were either silver with black lettering or black with silver lettering.-----

3.8 - Computer AdaptorThis unit only saw a limited test marketing run of less than one thousand units in late 1981. It was color-keyed to match the INTV I, and the entire game console fit into the top of the unit. It sported a full-stroke 60-key keyboard, built in cassette recorder, and brought the total memory capacity of the Intellivision to 64K. A modem expansion module was also planned. Due to it's high street price (around $700, versus an announced price of $150), the plans to market this unit nationally were shelved.-----

3.9 - Entertainment Computer SystemSpurred on by the increasingly popular home computer market, Mattel introduced the Entertainment Computer System along with the INTV II in 1983. This unit plugs into the cartridge port of the INTV II, and has its own cartridge slot, two additional controller ports, a cassette interface, and a balance dial for controlling the output level of the ECS's three additional voices. The unit requires an additional power supply. Here again, Mattel used something completely different from the rest of the industry: Input: Output: 10.0 VAC, 1.0 AThe ECS came pacakged with a 49-key chiclet-style keyboard, power supply, and a well-written manual describing INTV BASIC. Upon returning your registration card, you would receive "The Step-By-Step Guide To Home Computing", which included a very detailed BASIC Tutorial, and some more in-depth study of the ECS's abilities. For the techies, the unit sported an additional voice chip (bringing the grand total to 6), 10K of ROM and 2K of RAM for programming purposes.This unit comes in two flavors, the grey mentioned above, and also a darkbrown color keyed to the original Intellivision. Functionally, the units areidentical. The dark brown variety is extremely difficult to find.Expansions announced for this unit include a 16K RAM, 8K ROM expansion, a 32KRAM, 12K ROM expansion, data recorder, and a 40 column thermal printer. Noneof these peripherals ever made it to market.-----

3.10 - Music SynthesizerThis was an add-on for the ECS, a full 49 key piano style keyboard. It has 6 note polyphony (for you non-musicians, can play 6 notes at once), and plugs into the controller ports on the ECS via a dual 9 pin connector. Melody Blaster was the only program released by Mattel to specifically take advantageof this component.This unit also came molded either in light gray or dark brown plastic.Although they are both pretty tough to find, the brown variety is extremelyrare.-----

3.11 - System ChangerThe Atari 2600 had the biggest library of games at the time, and Mattel added the capability of playing 2600 carts to the INTV II with this module. This unit also interfaces with the INTV II via the cartridge port. It has a cartridge port on the top of the module, Game Select and Reset keys flanking the two difficuly and color/BW switch: (Top View) ________________________ | _____________ | Legend: | | _ _ | | ________| |_____________| | 1 - Game Select | | 2 - Left Difficulty | <--- To INTV | 3 - Color / BW Switch |_______ ___________________ | 4 - Right Difficulty | | 1 |2|3|4| 5 | | 5 - Game Reset | |_____|_|_|_|_____| | |_______________________| The controller ports are located on the front of the module, and any of your favorite 2600 compatible controllers work just fine. If you don't happen to have Atari controllers lying around, you can use the disc controller attached to the INTV II in lieu of them. If you happened to own an original Intellivision, sending in your MasterComponent and $19.95 would get you a ROM upgrade that was required for this unit to work with the older equipment.-----

3.12 - Joystick SubstitutesFor the masses who couldn't stand to use the Intellivision's awful disc controllers, there were a couple solutions: - INTV Corp. released a set of clip-on Joysticks which snapped onto the lower half of your controller, these are of questionable quality and value: _______ / \ |-------| ________________________ \_______/ | | | | | _________ | | | | / \ | | | (Side View) | ( (INTV) ) | | | | \_________/ | ___________| |___________ | | | _________| |_________ | |_______________________| | | ____| |____ | | | |_ ----------- _| | (Top View) |___| |___| - A couple of other companies released sticks that either glued onto the existing discs, or replaced the disc entirely, with a shaft that screwed into a hole drilled into the center of the replacement disc. One of these add-ons also came with oversized fire buttons that clipped over the exisiting buttons.-----

3.13 - Compro Electronics (CEI) VideoplexerTired of switching between your 8 favorite games?? Get a Videoplexer! Similar to the RomScanner for the Atari 2600, this unit would store 8 Intellivision games and allow you to switch them on the fly via a touch panel on the front ofthe unit. -----

3.14 - PlayCableThe idea of beaming Junior videogames through Cable TV is not new; a companycalled PlayCable created an adapter for the Intellivision that plugged intothe cartridge port, and the service would have had a selection of 20 of themost poular games available every month. Steven Roode and his brother were fortunate enough to have this service, and what follows is his description of the hardware and the service provided:

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When you signed up for Playcable, you were given a box which would plug into the Intellivision's (INTV's) cartridge port. The box had the same color scheme as an INTV I, and it's dimesions were the same height and depth of the INTV I, with the length of an INTV II. It had a power cord comming out of it. Additionally, you were given a RF box which had a coaxial in, a coaxial out, and two RCA outs. One RCA out was connected to the INTV, and one was connected to the Playcable unit. The setup looked roughly like this: Cable In | | ----------- | ----+ | <= RF Box ----------- |_||_||_| ______________| T | | V | | | ================================================= | || | | ---------------------------- || ------------- | | /\ .... | | .... /\ || | | \/ .... | | .... \/ || | | ---------------------------- || ------------- | | [ ][|] || | ================================================= Intellivision Playcable BoxFor about $4.95 a month, the cable company would transmit 20 games (Although for the first few months, there were only 15 games). When you turned on the INTV, a sort of 'boot screen' would come up and you would hear a sound that sort of sounded like a clock ticking. After a couple of seconds, you would hear 4 long beeps and the Playcable title screen would pop up. There would be one of four different songs in the background (I know that one was the victory song in checkers, one was The Entertainer, one was Music Box Dancer,and I forget the other one). Each screen listed 5 games (I think, it may have been 4), and you could cycle through the games lists by pressing the disc. When you found the game that you wanted, you would press the number next to it, and press enter. A title screen of the game would pop up, and again you would hear ticking. After a couple of seconds, you would hear the same 4 long beeps and the game would be ready to play.The following are excerpts from a Playcable-specific game manual describingthe game loading process:
==========================================================================

HOW TO SELECT YOUR FAVORITE GAME FROM PLAYCABLE:- Set the PlayCable TV/Game switch to GAME.- Turn on your television and turn to Channel 3 or 4. (The same setting as the switch on the bottom of the Mattel Electronics Master Component.)- Turn on the Master Component; push the RESET button.- The screen will read, "PLAYCABLE CATALOG." The screen will then change to: "PLAYCABLE PRESENTS INTELLIVISION. PUSH DISC."- Push the directional disc (the big, round button on either hand control) to see each page of the catalog. The series will start again automatically as you keep pushing the disc.- To call up a game, find the page on which the game appears. Press the number of the game on your keypad, then press ENTER. Wait about 10 seconds. When the four rectangles in the upper left hand corner of your screen turn white, your game is ready.- Push the disc again and the game will appear.- To select a new game, push RESET. The catalog will re-appear. ==========================================================================

One of the neater aspects of Playcable was that they would rotate outabout half of the games every month. When they did, you would get instruction books and overlays for each new game in the mail (and allof the overlays were attached with perferations; so you would have tosort of tear them apart).Playcable tended to have some pretty decent games on it. You would always have a couple of the 'classics' every month (i.e., I don'tthink Baseball and Astrosmash ever came off!), and you would get somepretty recent games as well. Once in a while they were slow in changing the games. They were supposed to be rotated out on the 1st of each month. Believe me, my brother and I would fake sick to stay home from school sometimes on the 1st! If by noon they weren't changed, we would call the cable company and by the end of the day they were updated (One other neat little sidenote: When they changed the games out, the system would still be up. First, all game choices would dissapear. Then, two by two, new games would pop up. You could actually see them appear!)We had Playcable for about two years (I think 81-82), and our cable company was big into promoting it. They had INTV playathons at some of the local malls, giving away free INTVs to high scorers in certain games. During one promotional weekend, the cable company showed nothing but people playing INTV and the announcers commenting on how realistic the gameplay was. I think we even have one Playcable T-shirt laying around somewhere!Finally though, our cable company stopped carrying Playcable, andunfortunately, we had to surrender the box. I would liked to have keptit to see how it worked. All in all, our family has a lot of fondmemories of Playcable... I think it helped to enhance the uniquenessand mystery of the Intellivision. --------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.0) Cartridge Listing:
4.1 - Released TitlesThis list contains information from VGR'S Giant List of Intellivision games, Sean Kelly's list, Paul Thurrott's List, and some information I have gleanedfrom personal experience.Manufacturer's Key:MA = Mattel IM = Imagic PB = Parker Bros. IN = INTVSE = Sega AT = Atarisoft AC = Activision CO = ColecoSU = Sunrise IT = Interphase 20 = 20th Century Fox CB = CBS Electronics ST = Sears Tele-GamesOvr? Key:Yes = Has overlays No = No Overlays ?? = No clue =)L/R = Has different overlays for the left and right controllersNotes:Any interesting tidbits, such as additional hardware required, release notes, and compatibility. Please note that the compatibilityissue varies from person to person, e.g. two people have told me thatChess works in their INTV II's, but it freezes in mine. Title Mfg. Part # Ovr? Notes

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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons MA 3410 Yes
Advanced D&D Treasure of Tarmin MA 5300 Yes
Armor Battle MA 1121 Yes
Astrosmash MA 3605 Yes
Atlantis IM 700006 Yes
Auto Racing MA 1113 Yes
B-17 Bomber MA 3884 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)
Backgammon MA 1119 Yes
Baseball ST 49 75202 Yes (Mattel Baseball)
Beamrider AC M-005-02 Yes
Beauty & The Beast IM 700007 Yes
Blockade Runner IT 8010001 Yes
Body Slam Wrestling IN 9009 No
Bomb Squad MA 3883 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)
Boxing MA 1819 Yes
Boxing ST 49 75221 Yes (Mattel Boxing)
Bump 'n Jump MA 4688 Yes
Burgertime MA 4549 Yes (INTV II Pack-In)
Buzz Bombers MA 4436 Yes
Carnival CO 2488 No (INTV I/III Only)
Centipede AT 70254 No
Championship Tennis IN 8200 Yes
Checkers MA 1120 Yes
Chip Shot Super Pro Golf IN 8900 No
Commando IN 9000 No
Congo Bongo SE 006-06 No
Defender AT 70252 No
Demo Cart MA ???? No
Demo Cart II MA ???? No
Demon Attack IM 700005 Yes
Dig Dug IN 9005 NoDiner IN 8800 No
Donkey Kong CO 2471 No (INTV I/III Only)
Donkey Kong Jr. CO 24?? No
Dracula IM 700018 Yes
Dragonfire IM 700010 Yes
Draughts MA 1120 ?? (Eng. ver. of Checkers)
Dreadnaught Factor AC M-004-04 Yes
Electric Company Math Fun MA 2613 Yes
Electric Company Word Fun MA 1122 Yes
Fathom IM 7205(?) Yes
Football ST 49 75201 Yes (Mattel Football)
Frog Bog MA 5301 Yes
Frogger PB 6300 No
Happy Trails AC M-003-04 Yes
Horse Racing MA 1123 Yes
Hover Force IN 8500 No
Ice Trek IM 710012 Yes
Jetson's Way With Words MA 4543 Yes (ECS Required)
Kool Aid Man MA 4675 Yes
Ladybug CO 2483 No
Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack MA 2611 Yes (Included with system)
Las Vegas Roulette MA 1118 Yes
Learning Fun I IN 9002 No
Learning Fun II IN 9006 No
Lock 'n Chase MA 5637 Yes
Locomotion MA 4438 Yes
Major League Baseball MA 2614 Yes
Masters of the Universe MA 4689 Yes
Melody Blaster MA 4540 L/R (ECS Required)
Microsurgeon IM 720013 Yes
Mind Strike MA 4531 Yes (ECS Required)
Mission X MA 4437 Yes
Motocross MA 3411 Yes
Mouse Trap CO 2479 Yes (INTV I/III Only)
Mr. Basic Meets Bits & Bytes MA 4536 L/R (ECS Required, 3 O/L)
Mountain Madness Skiing IN 9007 No
NASL Soccer MA 1683 Yes
NBA Basketball MA 2615 Yes
NFL Football MA 2610 Yes
NHL Hockey MA 1114 Yes
Night Stalker MA 5305 Yes
Nova Blast IM 700022 Yes
Pac Man IN 8000 No
Pac Man AT No
PBA Bowling MA 3333 Yes
PGA Golf MA 1816 Yes
Pinball MA 5356 Yes
Pitfall AC M-002-04 Yes
Pole Position IN 9004 No
Popeye PB No
Q*Bert PB 6360 No
Reversi MA 5304 Yes
River Raid AC M-007-03 Yes
Royal Dealer MA 5303 Yes
Safecracker IM 710025 Yes
Scooby Doo's Maze Chase MA 4533 Yes (ECS Required)
Sea Battle MA 1818 Yes
Sewer Sam IT 8010002 Yes
Shark! Shark! MA 5387 Yes
Sharp Shot MA 5638 Yes
Slam Dunk Basketball IN 9001 No
Slap Shot Hockey IN 9003 No
Snafu MA 3758 Yes
Space Armada MA 3759 Yes
Space Battle MA 2612 Yes
Space Hawk MA 5136 Yes
Space Spartans MA 3416 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)
Spiker! Volleyball IN 9102 No
Stadium Mud Buggies IN 9100 No
Stampede AC M-001-04 Yes
Star Strike MA 5161 Yes
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back PB 6050 No
Sub Hunt MA 3408 Yes
Super Cobra PB No (European Release)
Super Pro Decathalon IN 9008 No
Super Pro Football IN 8400 No
Swords & Serpents IM 720009
Tennis MA 1814 Yes
Thin Ice IN 8300 No
Thunder Castle IN 4469 No
Tower of Doom IN 8600 No
Triple Action MA 3760 Yes
Triple Challenge IN No
Tron Deadly Discs MA 5391 Yes
Tron Maze-a-tron MA 5392 Yes
Tron Solar Sailer MA 5393 Yes (Intellivoice Req.)
Tropical Trouble IM 700017 Yes
Truckin' IM 710023 Yes
Turbo CO 2473 No
Turbo CB CI241303 No (European Release)
Tutankham PB 6340 No (European Release)
USCF Chess MA 3412 L/R (INTV I/III Only??)
US Ski Team Skiing MA 1817 Yes
Utopia

 

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