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Intellivision Inc Collecting: What else might be out there?


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So, I've been on an Intellivision Inc collecting kick for the last few years. There's just something fascinating about the whole era. I suppose it's the inconsistent styling that lead to a variant collector's dream nightmare of varying styles of manuals, labels, boxes, overlays, etc.

 

Now that I've nearly wrapped up the bulk of my Intellivision Inc collection of games (minus a few variants and one really rare expensive game), I've moved on to some of the oddball items such as double labeled carts, copyright-less overlays, manual and cart label variations, and rare components that were never CIB. One reason I enjoy collecting these items (and Intellivision Inc as a whole) is that there are still undiscovered variants popping up (like the recently discovered Word Fun manual). So my question is:

 

What yet undiscovered Intellivision Inc items would be cool to find today?

 

I'll start :D An obvious answer would be the missing boxes for the oddball manuals that have turned up (Frog Bog, Word Fun, Checkers, Tennis, Loco-Motion, and Tron Solar Sailor). When you think about it it's really odd that out of the 55 games in the original Networks + the 1983 non-Network games, only ~45 got the full CIB Intellivision Inc treatment. They did 3/6 ECS games, but the Jetson's and Scooby Doo likely had licensing issues and Melody Blaster needed the synthesizer, which many people didn't own. To keep it simple, we'll leave the ECS discussion for another day. So why not Frog Bog, Word Fun, Checkers, Tennis, Kool-Aid Man, Loco-Motion, or the four Intellivoice games? Dammit, now I'm doing research :roll:

 

A Method to the Madness?

 

Kool-Aid Man and Loco-Motion were obviously left out because both are hyphenated :ponder: Seriously, though. It's probably that both had licensing issues and neither would have sold well after the crash. Kool-Aid Man wasn't a great game and wasn't well received. They were considering a sequel, which never released and it was a product of poor timing with the Video Game Crash. I can see why it may have been more trouble than it was worth. Loco-Motion was a conversion of the Konami arcade game of the same name. Mattel and Konami jointly developed it and released it just in time to compete with the more successful rip-off, Happy Trails, to be released by Activision. In the end, they didn't sue and ramped down the marketing. They had some left over stock which was released with black and white labels and manuals, likely in baggies.

 

The Intellivoice games, released in 1982, were a product of disappointing sales and also suffered from the crash. Tron only sold 90,000 copies, with the last few getting released in baggies with black and white paper manuals. It's no surprise they abandoned the Intellivoice games as well.

 

Tennis was the only Sports network game that wasn't released as an unbranded Intellivision Inc game, however I.I. manuals have been identified. A few were likely sold (possibly in baggies) with the black and white manual and an odd cart (no screws, but it had a blue label). My guess is that they opted not to formerly sell it CIB because there was already a new Championship Tennis game releasing around the same time, so why compete.

 

Word Fun was licensed by the Children's Television Workshop, so there could have been some licensing issues there, but so was Math Fun. It seems like both would have had the same treatment. A more likely reason was a known bug that prevented Word Fun from working on the Intellivision II. Considering how many people had Intellivision II's at the time, it may have been a huge hassle.

 

Checkers...I'm not sure why Checkers wasn't done. They did the other 4 Strategy games, however Backgammon clearly didn't sell many copies and Chess wasn't too far behind. My guess is that they didn't put much energy into Checkers, Backgammon, and Chess because of plans to recycle the ROMs into Triple Challenge. INTV was formed around 1984, so it was likely already being discussed. I think the final release of Triple Challenge was in 1986. To be honest, none of the three were terribly fun for most. There were certainly easier ways to play these than on an aging pre-crash console. Either way, I still hope to someday find an Intellivision Inc Checkers box and cart.

 

Frog Bog was a great game that I believe would have done well as an Intellivision Inc title. Call me crazy, but I believe Frog Bog will be the next rare and undiscovered box that will surface someday ;)

 

That's all I have for now. Thanks to Intellivisionlives and intvfunhouse for unknowingly letting me link to their pages. I'll post some pics and further the discussion periodically. I'm sure there are at lease 3 people out there who actually read this and appreciate it. Sorry if it's long, awkwardly specific, and/or mind-numbingly boring :grin:

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It's fun to speculate on all of this, and I think your points make a lot of sense, Jason. Overall, IMO the primary driver behind all of these was simple:

 

(Projected) Sales volume -- can Intellivision, Inc. sell enough to justify printing more (cheap) copies?

 

I think that the easiest thing to do was whip up some extra manuals on the cheap when stock for a particular game started running low. Furthermore, it appears that there may have been a good deal of overstock initially printed up for overseas markets -- the -0410 boxes with slots on the back for localized manuals. So slap a cheap B&W English manual onto the already prepared international market release and voila! More to sell in the North American market! These were mixed into the piles of cheap games at Kay Bee toward the end of the I.I. run in my area back then.

 

The best way to figure this out of course would be to look at actual inventory numbers, etc. but who knows if any of that kind of dry actuarial information has survived all these years.

 

Clearly the Intellivision still had "legs" in the market to justify manufacturing more copies of some of the games. But, why Math Fun and not Word Fun? Maybe it was something like this:

  • Small initial run of Full Color Math Fun (one of the oldest games for the console) (1979) (let's pretend 20,000)
  • Intellivision is a hit! Print More! (Largish run) (1980/81) (say, 100,000)
  • Oh, let's release Word Fun too! (New game, heyday of system, largish print run) (1981/1982) (say, 100,000)
  • Gosh, these edutainment games don't sell that well

It may simply be that Math Fun was in the market longer, available for the entire heyday of the market, and had fewer competing games during its lifespan. Word Fun comes along later, even as the market crests, but also has much more competition with the newer Space Network games, Imagic and Activision coming on board -- a larger library in general.

 

Now, those numbers are out of thin air, but I think you see where I'm going with this. Math Fun had an easier market, and with the early emphasis on the Keyboard Component (that promise was actually why my parents got Intellivision), and the small early game library, it simply could sell better - buyers had no choice. Flash forward to 1985 and it's more likely that, even with slow but steady sales, more Math Fun copies were needed. When you add in the incompatibility issue with Word Fun you also get additional downward pressure on its sales volume. Fixing Word Fun ran afoul of the shoestring budget, so it wouldn't happen.

 

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The overlay variations are one of the things that hooked me on variations. There was a site (Steve R's site??) that had many of these listed, and that was it - my resistance crumbled. When digging for overlay variations, all the manual and box stuff escalated, too. <shudder>

 

These overlays are a strange mixture. Obviously, these were made after Mattel Electronics was gone, and / or official licenses had expired, so that explains some of them. Some seem nearly impossible to find, others impossible NOT to find. Then there seems to be some strange tie to the Digiplay releases. I.e. quite a few of the copyright-less overlays show up in those games. Most Digiplay releases actually have localized overlays, but quite a few have these anomalous ones, too. Oddest perhaps are the Activision ones. It makes me wonder if those (the Digiplay ones) are somewhat gray market.

 

Some of these, like Astrosmash and Soccer, have been proven to exist, but are rare as hen's teeth it seems. I bought a lot of sealed I.I. Astrosmash copies looking in vain for those overlays. Never succeeded. :/

 

On the other hand, the overlay variants are perhaps simpler to explain, Digiplay connection aside. Use 'em until they run out. Print more w/o the Mattel copyright when they're gone. It paints an interesting picture of games to speculate about. Again, this would seem to be influenced by historical sales trends, the state of inventory at the point of transition from Mattel Electronics to Intellivision, Inc. and then later, to INTV Corp. Were those papery overlays only printed up by INTV Corp.? My reason for that speculation is based on World Championship Baseball. Since it was released by INTV Corp. and both standard and papery ones exist, that seems clear.

 

Also can we assert that these would only have been included for games that required "full" printings of boxes / manuals and labels? Or were there piles of boxes, stacks of manuals, labels, and carts ready to be assembled, with stuff just tossed together?

 

Math Fun is interesting because it still keeps the The Electric Company logo on it. Bump 'n' Jump is an arcade license, but that hideous Red and paper tells us it was *late* and must be from the INTV Corp. days.

 

It would be interesting to get more clarification on just how things worked w.r.t. the old Mattel games and the I.I. to INTV Corp transition. Has this been touched upon in any of the Intellivisionaries podcasts?

 

Maybe all the copyright-less overlays are from the INTV Corp. days? The world may never know.

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Cool! Do you know if these were in an Intellivision, Inc. box? Or part of the mountains of loose carts you're chewing through for your endeavors?

Pretty sure he found them down his pants as that's where he said he keeps all his overlays.....or was that just the extra ones that he sends to Eric???

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It would be interesting to get more clarification on just how things worked w.r.t. the old Mattel games and the I.I. to INTV Corp transition. Has this been touched upon in any of the Intellivisionaries podcasts?

 

Hey, that reminds me... where the hell are those guys? Hard at work in the studio, one would hope ;)

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So long and complex posts here!!! I've had to print it to read it while ....I was sitting in the bathroom :lolblue:


I overlooked the Intellivision Inc collection for years, and I started focusing on it in the last months. I think the forum needs a pinned thread for the matter.



Thanks Jason and Steve for the articulated analysis.

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So long and complex posts here!!! I've had to print it to read it while ....I was sitting in the bathroom :lolblue:

 

I overlooked the Intellivision Inc collection for years, and I started focusing on it in the last months. I think the forum needs a pinned thread for the matter.

 

 

Thanks Jason and Steve for the articulated analysis.

I could spend months combing over intvfunhouse. Steve has done a stellar job at documenting Intellivision history and variants.

 

I'll post a pic of my copyright-less overlays this weekend. I'm sure I have NightStalker.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So a few weeks ago I was in a half awake/dream state and thought, "How cool would it be if there was a boring black and white Intellivision Inc branded console?" So I made a really terrible one :D I threw in some other rare goodies to spruce up the pic a bit. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Sexy pic!

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