The Intellivision is a video game console that was released in 1980 by Mattel. Development of the console began in 1978, less than a year after the publication of the competing product Atari 2600.


The Intellivision was developed by Mattel Electronics sub-division, which had been established for the development of electronic games. In 1979 the unit and four related games in Fresno were brought to market, to test its marketability. In 1980 the system was finally at a price of $ 299 with the game Las Vegas Blackjack published throughout the United States. Although Mattel did not compete first with Atari ( Fairchild Semiconductor, Bally, and Magnavox had already brought gaming consoles on the market ), the Intellivision was the first serious threat to Atari's dominance in the video games market. In a series of commercials with George Plimpton Mattel introduced mercilessly the technical inferiority of the Atari 2600 compared to the Intellivision dar.

In the first year Mattel sold 175,000 Intellivision consoles, and extended the games selection on 19 tracks. At this time, all games were developed by an external company. In order to increase the profit with its own software, Mattel founded an in-house game development department. In order to prevent that competitor Atari hiring away the programmers whose identity and whereabouts were kept secret work. In public, these programmers were usually called Blue Sky Rangers.

1982 reached sales of the console, a new high. About two million Intellivision consoles were sold by the end of Mattel and brought a profit of around $ 100 million a. Ataris Third party developers Activision, Coleco and Imagic began with the release of games for the Intellivision. From the most popular titles have been sold over 1 million each. In response to the success was Mattel before a new peripheral device that Intellivoice. In connection with certain games this device was used for the issue of language.

With the announcement of a computer keyboard Mattel created a stir. This computer upgrade proved to be expensive and complicated to manufacture, and finally Mattel by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was fined $ 10,000, which was payable on demand until Mattel released the promised upgrade. Finally, the keyboard was available through a written order. 4,000 units were sold, many of which were returned, as they Mattel recalled in 1983. The reason for this was that the developers had developed a more efficient production method. A new computer upgrade, the Entertainment Computer System ( ECS) was significantly smaller and easier to produce than the original keyboard. The two devices were incompatible, but owners of the old version could exchange their keyboard to the new model.

Parallel to the ECS the Intellivision II released in 1983 with detachable gamepad and a new design, as well as the system changer to play Atari 2600 games with the Intellivision and a keyboard extension for the ECS. However, with the release of these devices came new problems on Mattel: With new game consoles ( ColecoVision, Atari 5200, Vectrex ) won competing manufacturers market share, and the video game crash of 1983 made ​​the whole industry to create. In August, the production of Mattel was heavily throttled and lowered the price of the Intellivision II from $ 150 to $ 69. Mattel Electronics posted a loss of $ 300 million. Early next year the department as one of the first major victim of the crash was closed.

A group of employees bought up the rights to console and software, and the remaining inventory and sold them in the character of the new company INTV Corp.. through mail order. After all Intellivision II specimens were sold out, they released a new console, the INTV III. It was a variant of the Intellivision in a new design, which was later renamed the Super Pro System. In addition to manufacturing new consoles, INTV Corp. developed. new games. Eventually, however, died, sales, and INTV was dissolved in 1991.


  • The Intellivision was the first 16- bit game console, although it has often erroneously referred to as a 10 - bit system.
  • The Intellivision was the first system with broadband support. In 1981 General Instrument together with the Mattel PlayCable, could be received with the game via a cable connection.
  • More than 3 million Intellivision consoles were sold during his twelve-year sale.
  • A total of 125 games for the Intellivision published.


  • General Instrument CP1610 16 -bit microprocessor CPU with 894.886 kHz
  • 371 bytes of RAM
  • 160 × 196 pixels
  • 16 (simultaneously displayable ) Colors (Color Processor AY- 3-8915 )
  • 8 sprites
  • Dreikanalton ( sound chip: GI AY- 3-8914 )

Controller Information

  • Gamepad with twelve keys
  • Four lateral " Action Buttons "
  • " Directional Disk" to input of 16 directions