National Game Registry: Mattel Electronics Intellivision

United States Library of Congress

Mattel Electronics Intellivision

image: INTV Funhouse

Mattel Electronics Intellivision
image: Old Computers

Mattel Electronics Intellivision
image: Old Computers

This article features the best games released for the Mattel Electronics Intellivision as selected by the National Game Preservation Board and recommended for permanent preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Game Registry.

System: Intellivision
Manufacturer: Mattel Electronics
Debut: 1979 (test market), 1980 (mass market)
Nation of origin: United States

Mattel Electronics entered the video game business in 1979 with their Intellivision console, simultaneously launching the first great console war with competitor Atari. The Intellivision’s controllers were very complex, featuring button inputs, a keypad, and a dial/wheel for directional movement. So complex was the input that overlays were provided for users that had difficulty remembering the controls for each game. The Intellivision is considered by some, thanks to some rather acrobatic logic, to be the first 16-bit system, which shows exactly how meaningless bit counts really are compared to processors and graphics/audio chips. Debatable claims aside, the Intellivision was capable of some very attractive graphics and its games contained more musical content than many of their contemporaries on other systems. Along with its main competitor, the Atari 2600, the Intellivision survived the video game industry crash of 1983 when Mattel’s game development team bought the Intellivision rights from Mattel. The new company, INTV, continued as a mail-order business throughout the 1980s.  The following Intellivision releases have been inducted into the National Game Registry:

Astrosmash (1981)
SNAFU (1981)
Utopia (1981)
Pitfall (1982)
Shark! Shark! (1982)
Thunder Castle (1982)
Diner (1987)


Emulation: National Game Registry recommends Nostalgia for Intellivision emulation on home computers.

Manuals: Many Intellivision games are less than self-explanatory. An extensive collection of original manuals and controller overlays may be viewed at Intellivision Lives

Reviews: Video Game Critic offers several Intellivision reviews.

Visit the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

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