• Mattel was founded in 1945. It was the first manufacturer of photo frames and doll accessories. After the launch of the Barbie doll in 1959, the company shifted its focus entirely to toys.
    The incredible success of Barbie filled Mattel's coffers, which soon diversified its line by buying small toy companies with different product lines. Today, with well-known brands like Hot Wheels, Barbie and a series of other acquisitions that include Fisher-Price and Tyco, Mattel is one of the largest and most successful toy manufacturers in the world. In 1977, Mattel, under its line Mattel Electronics, produced the original Auto Race, the first electronic handheld game. It was coarse compared to current standards - the look was represented by red LEDs and the sound consisted of simple beeps. But the new product was a huge success, spawning many other handheld games like Football and Battlestar Galactica. These games sold millions and gave Mattel confidence to enter the unknown video game market with the Intellivision Master Component.

  • Mattel Electronics successfully tested Intellivision in Fresno, California, in 1979, with four games: Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack, Math Fun, Armor Battle and Backgammon. The following year, Mattel Electronics went national and quickly sold all of its first year production.

  • Despite allowing movements in an impressive 16 positions, the directional dial was widely criticized for being clumsy in some games. Some accessories were created by other companies to supposedly improve control of the disc. Plastic sheets (overlays) were supplied with the cartridges and inserted in the controls, on the numeric keypad. Some overlays brought important information about the game.

  • Initially, Mattel Electronics delegated the game programming work to the company APh Technological Consulting. In 1980, an own development team was formed, known as The Blue Sky Rangers - the name was chosen during a brainstorming process for new games, called "blue-skying".

  • Mattel aggressively advertised in famous magazines and, like Atari, used TV commercials as an important part of advertising. For most commercials until 1983, Mattel hired writer George Plimpton, who became known as "Mr. Intellivision". The infamous Plimpton ads helped publicize the system and enhance its technological advantages over the Atari VCS (known as 2600). The ads usually featured an Intellivision game - usually a sports game, which made full use of the system's capabilities - alongside a simple-looking 2600 game.

  • Following the path of Atari with its 2600, Mattel Electronics has sublicensed the rights to distribute the Intellivision Master Component under different brands, including Sears Tele-Games Super Video Arcade, the Radio Shack Tandyvision One and the GTE Sylvania.
    Except for aesthetic differences, most systems are identical to the original. Sears Super Video Arcade features a different splash screen and the company has re-released some game titles under its own brand.

  • Despite the good commercial results, Mattel Electronics started to have problems with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Several customers complained about the delay in launching the Keyboard Component , a module with a keyboard and cassette player promised by the company for 1981.
    Although a few units could be launched for testing on the market and for those consumers who complained vehemently, the Keyboard Component would cost the company a lot for large-scale production. The 4,000 units produced (at a loss) were not enough to calm the FTC. They imposed monthly fines on the company, which prompted Mattel to pursue an alternative plan for a cheaper, yet less-resilient expansion module - the Entertainment Computer System (ECS) - launched only in 1983.

  • Mattel disclosed that, with the resources of ECS, in addition to the Master Component itself and other peripherals such as Modem, Printer and Speech Synthesizer, Intellivision would have practically the same potential as a microcomputer of the time. The set of equipment would form the Entertainment Center.

  • Very innovative for the time, the PlayCable was launched in 1982: an adapter that allowed you to download games over the cable TV network directly into memory device, which would be read by the Master Component as if it were a cartridge. The subscription service was a partnership between Mattel Electronics and General Instrument (developer of the Intellivision chip) and made around 20 titles available every month. It was discontinued in 1983.

  • Still in 1982, Mattel Electronics launched the synthesized voice module Intellivoice , the second accessory of its kind for a video game console (the first to be launched was The Voice, for Magnavox's Odyssey console).
    With the ingenious use of pre-recorded sound samples on the equipment and recordings loaded from the cartridge, each title for Intellivoice had its identity.
    Although impressive, even using low recording frequencies, only five games with voice were released. Intellivoice's poor sales forced Mattel Electronics to issue free module coupons for those who purchased a Master Component or games by mail.

  • In 1983, to reduce production costs, Mattel Electronics launched the sleek and smaller Intellivision II, with removable controls and an external power source.
    Another "feature" was a secret hardware validation that did not allow third-party software to operate. This check affected the arcade versions of the Coleco 1982 - Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap and Carnival - and inadvertently prevented Mattel's The Electric Company Word Fun from running. Fortunately, internal and external teams have found a way to circumvent this verification. But malaise with partner companies was already established.
    A special video output was added to the cartridge door and made System Changer possible, a module that allowed Intellivision II to run Atari 2600 games All other versions of Intellivision consoles require internal modifications to use System Changer.

  • In the same year, the second computer module was launched: the Entertainment Computer System (ECS), replacing the late Keyboard Component. ECS, like System Changer, had the same style as Intellivision II, although compatible with all models of Intellivision and Intellivoice.
    The ECS has a pluggable keyboard, an expander box and a power supply, in addition to allowing the connection of a standard cassette recorder and a printer.

  • Despite all the releases, the future of the Intellivision modules, however, was uncertain. Mattel Electronics, after changing the company's direction in 1983, shifted its focus from hardware to software.
    This change removed the priority of modules like ECS and Intellivoice; only the Master Component would continue to receive support for software and dissemination. In the end, only a musical keyboard (Music Synthesizer) and five cartridges were launched specifically for ECS.

  • Following general industry losses with the "big video game crash" and a lot of money spent on hardware development, Mattel Electronics closed its doors on 1/20/1984, and its estate was sold to a company owned by Terry Valeski, former senior vice president of marketing and sales for Mattel Electronics, for about $ 20 million.
    In addition to carrying out the inventory, Intellivision Inc. sold cartridges for some complete games that had not been previously released.

  • In 1985, as soon as the remaining Mattel Electronics products were sold, Valeski bought shares from other investors in Intellivision Inc. for $ 1 million and formed Intv Corporation.
    The new company hired programmers from defunct Mattel Electronics to produce new games for Intellivision. The company also launched the INTV System III (which was later named INTV Super Pro system), based on the original Intellivision Master Component and with minor aesthetic differences.
    Like the Atari 2600 Jr., the INTV System III was sold as a low-cost alternative to the most modern systems of the time, with prices below $ 60 and many games below $ 20. Intv Corporation continued to produce new products until 1990, when it went bankrupt and closed in 1991.

  • Mattel was not idle after closing its electronics branch. The toy company became involved again with the games industry and joined Nintendo in 1986.
    It not only produced new software and peripherals for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), but also distributed them across Europe in 1987 and Canada, as a Nintendo representative, between 1986 and 1990.
    Although most of the 1990s were quiet in the video game business for Mattel, in 1999 the company acquired a major computer software publisher called Learning Company, but got rid of it a year later due to the high costs associated with its acquisition. .
    At the turn of the decade, in an effort to try to embark on the growing wave of nostalgia for electronic classics, Mattel successfully reintroduced reproductions of its classic line of handheld games.
    A few years later, in 2006, the company acquired TV game maker Radica and launched the first console actually manufactured by Mattel since the Intellivision II, the Mattel HyperScan.
    HyperScan combines a scanner of collection cards (cards) with fighting games for a young target audience.
    For the first time, a company that had participated in the market before the 1984 crash was returning to the volatile market for electronic games.
    Unfortunately, for Mattel, HyperScan did not arouse much interest and found its way into sales and inventory burns shortly after launch.

  • Exclusive rights to the Intellivision system and games were acquired by former Mattel Electronics programmers who, in 1997, joined and created Intellivision Productions Inc. The company chaired by Keith Robinson created free game emulators from Intellivision for PC and Mac, in addition to launching collections of classic console games for Xbox, Playstation, DS and GameCube.
    The Intellivision logo and its mascot "running man" started to print T-shirts, mugs, caps and other accessories for sale on the official website. The participation of Intv Productions representatives in fairs and events kept the history of the console alive and helped to create a nostalgic wave of old games, reinforced with the launch of Intellivision Flashback on 10/01/2014, a compact version of the Master Component with 60 original games in memory.

  • The death of President of Intellivision Productions, Keith Robinson, on 6/13/2017, left a huge doubt about the future of the company. After a few months, already in 2018, the official website was redesigned and a new company was introduced: Intellivision Entertainment, led by Tommy Tallarico, a musician and producer of game soundtracks, as well as an Intellivision fan and collector.
    Tommy assembled a team with big names from the gaming scene of the 80s, 90s and 2000s to create a new console: the Intellivision Amico.
    With design similar to Intellivision II and extremely advanced hardware, the Amico was introduced at the end of that year and pre-sales started, with the motto of Intellivision classics recreated for the new console and the rescue of the meetings of family and friends around of the tv to play.
    With a promised release for 10/10/2020, the Amico pre-order was a success and the few units were soon sold out. The launch, however, was postponed to 4/15/2021 and later to 10/10/2021 due to the pandemic of COVID-19 (New Corona Virus) that severely affected the world economy in those years.

  • Source: Classic Gaming Brasil, Gamasutra, Wikipedia, "1983: o ano dos videogames no Brasil" from Marcus Chiado, Sergio Vares