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Intellivision

Intellivision was the first video game console released by Mattel; production began before that of the Atari 2600. Mattel's aim was not to compete with Atari; but once Atari entered the market, Mattel became more reluctant to enter the market. However, they finally did so, and the Intellivision was test marketed in California in 1979.

The system shipped in 1980 with a price tag of $299 and a pack-in game: Las Vegas Blackjack. Sales grew through the first half of 1982 before the Intellivision II took its place. It had compatibility problems with some titles designed for the original unit; apparently, some of the problems were by design. Those issues, along with the Video Game Crash of 1983, eventually took out the Intellivision (along with all of the other consoles) and put an end to Mattel Electronics Inc. However, a former VP of Mattel Electronics went on to sell both master components and games through mail order until 1990.

The Intellivision was the first 16-bit console. The system is still being kept alive today by a group called the Blue Sky Rangers. They are the former programmers from Mattel. They renew the copy right whenever necessary and are keeping the system in check.

Specs:

CPU and Memory Information 16-bit processor running at 894.886 KHz 112 16-bit locations for RAM (or 224 bytes) + 147 bytes "scratchpad" RAM

 
Graphics Information 160 pixels wide by 196 pixels high (5x4 TV pixels make one Intellivision pixel) 16 colors, all of which can be on the screen at once 8 sprites, of size 8x8 (can be "doubled" in any dimension by doubling the pixel size horizontally or vertically)
 
Sound Chip: 3 channel sound, with 1 noise generator Controllers: The Intellivision is unusual in that, in its most popular incarnation, the Intellivision I, the controllers are wired directly into the unit. 12 button numberic keypad (0-9, Clear, and Enter) 4 side "action buttons" (where the top two are actually electronically the same, giving three distinct buttons) Directional Disk, capable of detecting 16 directions Had "overlays" that sat inside the controller and showed what buttons did what. (The ergonomics are abysmal by modern standards, and you can't use all of these things at once, but this controller has a lot of flexibility, even by modern standards!)

Games: Approx. 100 produced Typical size was 4 kilobytes. The talkers had up to a whopping 16 KB, although Space Spartans had only 8KB, affecting the quality of the voice.



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