Intellivision by Mattel

The Intellivision was developed by Mattel to compete with the great Atari 2600. The console was test marketed in Fresno, California, in 1979 with a total of four games available. It was released nationwide in 1980 with a price tag of $299 and a pack-in game: Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack. The Intellivision was not the first console to challenge the Atari; Fairchild Semiconductor, Bally, and Magnavox were already on the market. However, the Intellivision was the first serious threat facing the Atari 2600; an advertising campaign hosted by actor George Plimpton mercilessly compared the capabilities of the Atari 2600 to those of the Intellivision.

During its first year of marketing, Mattel sold 175,000 Intellivision consoles and expanded its library with 19 new games. Mattel quickly realized that the potential benefits were much more important with the games; the US firm formed its own internal game development group. To keep its programmers far from Atari, their identity and their workplaces were kept secret. For the public, the programmers were referred to collectively as the Blue Sky Rangers. In 1982 sales were progressing. More than two million consoles were sold towards the end of the year, generating $100 million in profits. It was a big year for Mattel. Game publishers for Atari, Activision, Coleco, and Imagic began to develop games for the Intellivision. Most titles have sold over a million copies each. Further, Mattel introduced a new innovative device, the Intellivoice. It was a voice synthesis device which produced speech for games specifficaly designed for this device.

After several years of decline and against all odds, the console rises from the ashes when a group of employees bought all rights to the Intellivision and its software from Mattel, as well as any remaining inventory. The new company, INTV Corp., continued to sell old stocks through resellers and mail order. When the old Intellivision II stocks were exhausted, they presented a third version. This console was only a cosmetic refresh of the first Intellivision console (console that was later renamed the Super Pro System). In addition to the manufacture of new consoles, INTV Corp. also continued to develop games, publishing some new titles. INTV Corp. definitively closed its doors in 1991.

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