My Intellivision Collection

In a post on their forums this past June (of 2012), the guys who run the Retro Gaming Roundup podcast asked for people to send in photos of their retro gaming collections. That sounded like a fun idea, so I decided to take some pics of what I’ve collected and post it here.

My brother and I had an Intellivision when we were young. We played on it for hours and our parents got us a decent collection of games – probably 15 or 20. I started collecting Intellivision stuff around 2003.

The games

As far as I’m aware, I have nearly every game ever released on cart for the Intellivision. I have missed a couple of special editions (there was a Philly Classic 2001 edition of 4-Tris released that I never got), but I think I have some version of every game.

Some obligatory photos of my cart collection spread out on our living room floor:

That’s 171 boxed carts with manuals and overlays – for carts that have overlays, of course. But then, I have after-market overlays (by Psycho Stormtrooper) for a lot of those that are missing overlays as well. Obviously, I have a few duplicates. As I was collecting, if I came upon an interesting box variant I would keep that as well. So I have a few dups of games that changed their packaging over time. But I’m not really much of a completionist in this regard. If it showed up in a cartridge lot I was purchasing, I’d keep the variant. But I’m not actively searching out every variant of every game or anything like that.

Something that should be admitted: three of my boxes are reproductions – Learning Fun II, Congo Bongo, and Spiker. I have original carts and manuals for all three of those, but I never was able to get an original box for them. So when repros of the boxes became available, I went with that as a viable solution. I once saw a boxed Spiker go by on ebay for over $1000 – I’m never going to be able to spend that kind of money on this hobby…

A few standouts

Here are some shots of carts that I’m particularly proud of.

The Donkey Kong carts. These are very recent home-brew carts that finally give Donkey Kong his due on the Intellivision. The games are crazy-good.

Spiker volleyball and Spina the Bee. Spiker is one of those “holy grail” carts of Intellivision collecting. I managed to get hold of one that I believe was sold in a bag before INTV Corp realized that they really needed to print boxes to keep customers happy. Here’s a shot of the cart in a sealed bag that includes the original instruction booklet. As I confessed above, the Spiker box is a reproduction.

Spina the Bee is a recent release from IntelligentVision. David Harley has been making carts of games that were more or less finished but never released on cartridges. For various reasons, many games never saw the light of day even though they are quite playable. So David has been burning those ROM images to carts, creating overlays, boxes, and user manuals and releasing them as new home brew games. I’m pretty much going to buy whatever comes out on this platform in terms of new home brew carts.

Yogi’s Frustration is another recent IntelligentVision release. It’s a pretty difficult game (dare I say it’s frustrating?), but still something collectible.

Space Patrol is just an amazing technological feat. It’s another homebrew release, from Left Turn Only productions. It is on par with early Nintendo games. It’s incredible that such a thing is possible on the Intellivision hardware.

Illusions and King of the Mountain are another pair of IntelligentVision games. As I understand it, David Harley did some development on the King of the Mountain cart to make it more playable and add a little depth to it. It’s a hard game, but decently fun. I’m not very good at it yet.

Illusions is a very strange game. I’m still trying to get the hang of the strategy it requires.

4-Tris is (I think?) the cart that started the whole home brew scene on Intellivision. I have a Left Turn Only release as well as an earlier one. I know there is at least one other release that I don’t have, maybe there are others.

A possible true rarity

I do have one other item that may be a real rarity in INTV collecting. I don’t really know. But first, a little background.

When Intellivision was just starting out, Mattel was grouping the cartridges into “Networks”. Networks were just groupings of games. So there was a Gaming network for the casino style games, a Sports network, a Learning network for educational games, etc. After just a little time, Mattel realized that space games would warrant a network of their own. So some games that had previously been published under the Action network were re-published under the new Space network. If you look closely at my game collection as spread out, you’ll see duplicates of Space Battle and Space Armada in different colored boxes. Those are the Action and Space Network versions of each of them (Action Network had red boxes, Space Network had blue).

Here’s a shot of two Space Armada boxes, one Action and one Space.

But I actually have three versions of Space Armada, which can be seen in this pic – two blue boxes and one red.

Here’s a close-up of the network affiliation for those three boxes. Notice that one of the blue boxes says “Action Network”. It’s a blue box indicating Space Network but labeled as Action Network. I don’t know how rare this kind of misprint is, but this is the only such misprint I’ve come across.

Other INTV hardware

Of course, I also have INTV units to play all these games on.

A couple of INTV units in boxes. I don’t actually play on these consoles, they’re just part of the collection.

Here are an INTV 1 and an INTV 2 along with a musical keyboard. Both of these INTV units have been retrofitted with modern composite jacks on the back enabling them to be plugged into a modern TV. These are the consoles I actually play games on when I’m playing on original hardware.

I keep the controllers separate because I usually play INTV via emulation. I have an adapter that allows me to plug INTV controllers into a PC USB port and I usually am playing that way. I’m showing two controllers with joystick upgrades as well as the traditional disc controllers. I prefer the Sears unit controllers because they can be removed and used in this manner.

The Cuttle Cart is an INTV multi-cart. I’ve actually written my own ROM management software that is aware of the Cuttle Cart’s menu structure, so it’s a breeze to add software to the multi-cart.

I also have the Keyboard Component – necessary to play with the musical keyboard (no, I never bothered to try and get the original keyboard component that was recalled).

The System Changer allowed Intellivision to play Atari 2600 carts. Actually, it was just an Atari that passed video and sound through the Intellivision. We never had one of those when we were growing up, but I think we would have loved that. Our friends up the street had an Atari and there were definitely games that they had that we wished we could have played at our house.

We did have an Intellivoice, however. We had both B-17 Bomber and Bomb Squad back in the day.

That’s more or less it for my INTV collection. I’m decently proud of it. Intellivision is a fun system to collect for. It isn’t as vast as other platforms, so it is reasonably possible to get a more or less complete collection.