Intellivision Lives: Revisiting Gaming’s Roots

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

The weather was sunny and pleasant in Manhattan Beach on Saturday, and it set the tone well for the whole event. Intellivision Lives! for the Nintendo DS is now available in wide release, and I had the opportunity to meet the Blue Sky Rangers, the original Mattel Electronics game development team.

For those unaware, the Mattel Intellivision was one of the three main competitors in the first console war in the late ’70s and early ’80s, going up against the Atari 2600 and Colecovision. It had a variety of memorable and innovative games and features, including a voice module and a disc-control instead of a joystick, not unlike the one that would later feature on Apple’s iPod.

The Blue Sky Rangers were Mattel’s first-party development team. Intellivision Lives! compiles their games into one collection, now available for the Nintendo DS.

The Blue Sky Rangers!

The event was very much to my liking – low-key, friendly, and very fun. I was a bit overwhelmed when I got there, but the Rangers were a great group. There was an original Intellivision hooked up (I have the later Intellivision II, myself) and I recognized the games that were played on it immediately: TRON: Deadly Discs, Frog Bog, and quite a few more. I had the opportunity to spend a good deal of time chatting with David Warhol, who, after Mattel disbanded their team, formed developer Real Time Associates. I learned a bit about the serious games initiative from him (games designed for a primary purpose other than entertainment), which is something I hadn’t given much thought before. I also sat down for a few moments with the president of Intellivision Productions and developer of TRON: Solar Sailer, Keith Robinson.

Intellivision president Keith Robinson shaking hands with yours truly.

One of the things that struck me was that every one of the Blue Sky Rangers seemed to know which titles the others worked on, off the top of their heads. There was an easygoing but tangible camaraderie among the Rangers. It was something else to be among minds that had been creating games since before I was born, and even more impressive to hear them talk about the development of their games and see those games in action.

I want to thank everyone involved in the event for making it a great experience. The Blue Sky Rangers were all awesome!

Also, the staff at The Comic Bug were very friendly and seemed just as excited as I was. They truly have one of the coolest shops I’ve ever been in, and if you’re ever up in the Manhattan Beach area, I advise you to check it out!

Best. Comic Shop. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned, because we’ll be giving away a copy of Intellivision Lives! signed by the Blue Sky Rangers in the next few days!

Extra thanks to Anthony Perez for taking pictures.

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