Originally released in 1979 by Mattel the Intellivision was Atari's first real competitor for its Atari 2600 console.
The Intellivision is a cartridge base game console that uses ROM cartridges to provide program data and outputs both audio and video to the television via a RF jack. The main casing or 'Master Component' housed not only the 'smarts' but the controllers when they weren't in use and the power supply.
It was a great system, the graphics and sound were more often than not better than those produced by the Atari 2600 but sadly it didn't have the 2600's huge catalogue of games to support it with only about a hundred and twenty five titles released.
The controllers, similar to those released with Coleco's ColecoVision game console sported a directional pad, two fire/action buttons and twelve function keys. The function key pad also allowed for game manufacturers to supply plastic overlay sheets that slotted into the controllers to customise them for that specific game title.
It wasn't all good though; to start with the controller cables were criminally short. The cables were nice and robust but that did take up a lot of real-estate when they were packed away in the unit so they had to be short to compensate. On the whole they were a pain in the arse to put back into the console anyway.
Also, if you got a bit excited you were fairly likely to pull the whole console off of whatever bit of tacky 70's furniture it was on and onto the sea-grass mat covered floor.
The directional pad on the controllers are horrible to use, especially for any prolonged period of time and the fire buttons weren't much better.
INTV System III: In the mid 80's Mattel sold the rights to the Intellivision to INTV who released the INTV System III. Technically it's identical in function to the Intellivision I and the main PCB bares a strong resemblance to the KALEX version listed on this site. The big innovation with the INTV System III was the addition of a power LED.
This unit should not be confused with the Intellivision III or even IV which were in development by Mattel before the big electronic game market crash in the early eighties. The Intellivision III or even IV were destined to be far superior consoles but sadly were never released.
Technically this isn't even really an Intellivision at all, it's an INTV System III but obviously it's still an Intellivision.
We shouldn't be too harsh. INTV was set up by some of the Intellivision developers Mattel no longer needed who had plans to release advanced Intellivision consoles, presumably developed with funds gained from the sale of the INTV System III. Sadly the cost was too high and another serious player (Nintendo) had moved into the market ending those worthy plans.
|Unit pictured has been sold and its location is unknown.|