A legal emulation pack of games produced for the Intellivision, put out by the original programmers of that system, the Blue Sky Rangers. It is the ultimate collection for the classic gaming or Intellivision enthusiast, as it includes:

Edited from http://www.makingit.com/intellivision

Versions are made for Windows, Macintosh, and Playstation, among others. The windows version will not run under NT, and the Playstation version has terrible stability and control issues, but all in all it is an excellent value for the price. Three free downloadable "packs" containing three games each are downloadable from the site. They are a lot of fun, and bring back much classic gaming nostalgia. I'm glad that someone finally brought this system to emulation, and legally, making it all the better.

Alas, I can now relive the many lost hours trying to subvert the underwater beast in Shark! Shark!, or the endless twitchy fun of Astrosmash. Ahh the days.

Platforms: PC, Macintosh, PlayStation 2, XBox, GameCube (not yet released)
Genre: Compilation
Developer: Intellivision Productions (PC/Mac), RealTime Associates (PS2, GC, XBox)
Publisher: Intellivision Productions (PC/Mac), Crave Entertainment (PS2, GC, XBox)
Release Year/Date: 1998 (PC/Mac); November 28, 2003 (PS2, XBox), November 8, 2004 (GameCube)
ESRB Rating: E

(The PlayStation version of Intellivision Lives! that JayBonci refers to was actually called Intellivision Classics. The console versions of Intellivision Lives! have a somewhat different game lineup, as I'll expand on later.)

I grew up on the Intellivision. Technically it was quite outdated when I started playing on it in the late 80s - though the system and its games continued to be sold and supported by INTV Corp. for several years after Mattel Electronics disowned it, it couldn't compete with the superior graphics, sound and controls of the Nintendo Entertainment System (and to a much lesser extent, the Sega Master System). It's probably no coincidence that when the even more advanced Sega Genesis launched in 1989 (with the SNES on its way), INTV Corp. declared bankruptcy soon after. Nevertheless, I loved the Intellivision. BurgerTime, Pitfall!, Tron Deadly Discs, Shark! Shark!; I spent way too much of my youth playing these simple-yet-addictive games.

So you can imagine I'd be delighted with being able to play a whole mess of them on a current-generation console, on a single disc for $15 to $20. But frankly, I kinda feel like I was gypped. First, here's a list of the games on the PS2 and X-Box versions (and presumably the GameCube version):

Combat and Sorcery
  • Armor Battle
  • Battle Tanks
  • Biplanes
  • B-17 Bomber
  • Hover Force
  • Sea Battle
  • Sub Hunt
  • Thunder Castle
  • Tower of Doom
  • Utopia
    Unreleased Titles
  • Number Jumble
  • Space Cadet
  • Demo Cartridge
  • Hypnotic Lights
  • Takeover
  • Magic Carousel
  • Astrosmash
  • Space Armada
  • Space Battle
  • Space Hawk
  • Space Spartans
  • Star Strike
  • Crosswords
  • Factor Fun
  • Frog Bog
  • Math Master
  • Memory Fun
  • Sharp Shot
  • Word Hunt
  • Word Rockets
  • Baseball (Baseball, World Championship Baseball)
  • Basketball (Basketball, Slam Dunk: Super Pro Basketball)
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Football (Football, Super Pro Football)
  • Golf (Golf, Chip Shot: Super Pro Golf)
  • Hockey (Hockey, Slap Shot: Super Pro Hockey)
  • Racing (Auto Racing, Motocross, Stadium Mudbuggies)
  • Skiing (Skiing, Mountain Madness: Super Pro Skiing)
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field (Super Pro Decathlon)
  • Volleyball (Spiker: Super Pro Volleyball)
  • Wrestling (Body Slam: Super Pro Wrestling)
  • Bomb Squad
  • Buzz Bombers
  • Racing Cars
  • Night Stalker
  • Pinball
  • Shark! Shark!
  • Thin Ice
  • Vectron
    Gaming and Strategy
  • Backgammon
  • Checkers
  • Horseracing
  • Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack
  • Reversi
  • Las Vegas Roulette
  • Royal Dealer

    My first gripe is at the bottom half of this list. Count up the titles, and you'll find that 29 games - nearly half of those on the disc - are in the Sports or "Gaming and Strategy" sections. It's 31 if you count Sharp Shot and Racing Cars. What bright person thought we'd all enjoy playing a 25-year-old checkers or football game when we could go on Yahoo for the former or play what's essentially the same game with much better graphics in the form of a Madden or ESPN game, I've no idea.

    The second issue - and I can't really fault the developers for this, but it still kinda irks me - there are several games widely considered among the best on the console which are not present. There are reasons for this; some of them (like Atlantis and Pitfall) were produced by third parties, some (like BurgerTime) were made or ported by Mattel/INTV but owned by other companies (Data East owns the rights to BurgerTime and Lock 'n' Chase), and a couple (like Tron Deadly Discs) were licensed titles which, for whatever reason, Intellivision Productions couldn't get the rights to republish. A few of these games, however, are available in other collections (chiefly Intellivision Rocks!, which is currently PC/Mac only).

    Third and perhaps foremost are the controls. These really vary from game to game, but they seem to range from mediocre to downright awful. One would think that the developers would accomodate the differences between the old Intellivision paddles and the PS2/XBox controllers, but all they really do is run an emulator which pretends the controller is an Intellivision paddle. In games where all one really has to do is move around and maybe hit a button to jump or something, that's not really an issue, but in games with series of menus like Space Spartans, it becomes a real pain in the ass trying to figure out what you're supposed to be pressing. (I still can't figure out how to start a game in Auto Racing.) There are also some control glitches which may be the result of this, or may simply be carryovers from the original system (for instance, in Astrosmash, holding a direction while hitting hyperspace will cause your ship to keep sliding that direction afterward, even if you let go of it).

    In addition, we have the profoundly stupid "radical gameplay modes", which just makes you play the game upside-down, or have 40 copies of it on-screen, and other lame excuses for features.

    There are some good points. The compilation includes some previously unreleased material, as well as some background information on the various games (though this is also available through the company's website). All but one of the Intellivoice-enabled games are available - B-17 Bomber (a flight simulator), Space Spartans (which, if I recall correctly, was some sort of space combat simulator), World Series Baseball (you figure it out), and Bomb Squad (a quirky puzzle game that could probably do with a GBA remake). The only one missing is another Tron game, the title of which I can't recall. (There were in all three Tron games, and Mattel's contract called for a fourth that never materialized.) And - well, if you're a fan of the old Intellivision games, there're probably a couple games on it that make it seem worth the price. I'm still disappointed, but Shark! Shark!, Astrosmash and Space Hawk were probably worth it.

    So in conclusion... if you like some of the games on that list, or if you really enjoy 25-year-old sports games for some reason, and you don't think the controls will bother you too much, go ahead and buy it. If you never played on the Intellivision, however, it probably won't be of any interest to you.
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