1983 Releases

Technically speaking, several of the titles described on the Game Network pages were also 1983 releases; the games listed here are the ones that did not carry a "Network" designation.

Mattel originally stressed the wide variety of games available for Intellivision, but by 1983 it was clear that the market was primarily asking for arcade-type games. Work on educational and strategy games was quietly discontinued or pushed off onto the Entertainment Computer System.

Also, the emphasis of advertising shifted from the system to the individual games themselves. The George Plimpton commercials comparing Intellivision to Atari were replaced by ads for individual games available for multiple systems (in Marketing's term, "for all flavors").

The packaging reflected these two changes. The Intellivision game networks were dropped, as was the "M Network" designation for the Atari 2600 and computer versions. And whereas M Network games had used different artwork and, usually, a different title on their packaging than their Intellivision counterparts, by the end of 1983 nearly identical versions of the packaging were used for the Intellivision, Atari 2600, IBM PC and Apple releases of the games.

The first of the games listed here to actually make it to market was BurgerTime. For the first time, the box didn't use artwork by the illustrator who had done all of the previous Intellivision packages; instead, it featured the artwork from the arcade machine. Subsequent releases used a variety of art styles on their boxes.

Despite the title "1983 Releases," several unreleased games are included below. They are listed here if a Mattel Electronics catalog or press release announced them as a 1983 release or, in the case of unannounced titles, 1983 would have been the most likely year of release.

Basketball II


Produced by APh Technology Consultants for Mattel Electronics

Design/Program: Scott Bishop

(An enhanced version of the previously released NBA Basketball)


Basketball for one or two players. Scrolling screen for more than twice the playing area of the NBA Basketball cartridge. 4 on-screen players per team (as opposed to 3 for NBA Basketball).


This enhanced one- or two-player version of NBA Basketball was started in 1981 along with Baseball II as part of the next generation of Intellivision sports titles. It was briefly considered as an Intellivision III title, but work was suspended late in 1982 when Marketing decided that the next generation of sports titles would be for the new Entertainment Computer System, but that basketball would not be among the first games done (baseball, football, soccer and tennis were).

Hypnotic Lights


Design/Program: Steve Roney


A puzzle game -- move rows and columns of squares to line up matching colors.


While experimenting with Intellivision graphics, someone in the Design & Development department came up with a kaleidoscopic effect using sequenced GRAM. VP of Applications Software Gabriel Baum liked the effect, dubbed Hypnotic Lights, and askedprogrammer Steve Roney (Space Spartans) to work it into a game.

Steve's reaction was pretty much: yeah, right, what game? Marketing had a suggestion: something sort of kind of like a Rubik's Cube. That's what Steve sort of kind of gave them. But while Steve continued to tinker with it when not working on higher priority games (including B-17 Bomber, Aquarius Utopia and Space Shuttle), Hypnotic Lights was never elevated to "official" status.

Off the Wall


Design: Don Daglow

Program: Michelle Mock, Judy Mason


Delay the evil, green monsters from scaling the walls of your building as long as possible, allowing the maximum number of people inside to escape through the roof hatch to the waiting rescue helicopter.


Don Daglow (Utopia) came up with the idea for this humorous arcade-type game in November 1981. By that time he had been promoted to Director; he had no time to do it himself and all of his programmers were on other projects, so the idea was put on hold.

Michelle Mock and Judy Mason each spent some time assigned to it, but no realy progress was ever made.



Design/Program: Rick Sinatra


Control the sails and rudder to move a small sailboat around a lake


Rick Sinatra came from the Design & Development Department, where he worked on Family Budgeting, to create this simulation of navigating a small sailboat.

What neither Rick nor anyone in Marketing could agree on, however, was game play. The best Marketing could come up with was for the waters to be shark-infested, making capsizing more interesting. Rick, a proponent of nonviolent video games, was not enthusiastic about that idea.

With no one able to come up with a strong vision for the game, work on Sailing was discontinued. Rick returned to Design & Development where he worked on the Entertainment Computer System (ECS), ultimately programming Melody Blaster for the ECS Music Synthesizer.

Winter Olympics


AKA: XIV Winter Olympics

Design/Program: Chris Markle


Mattel Electronics paid millions of dollars to produce the official videogame of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Chris Markle was assigned to the project. He started sketching up ideas for a toboggan run and ski jump, but Chris left Mattel before any programming began.

This was a case where the ball was definitely dropped. After Chris left, no one else was assigned to the game. With millions of dollars invested, no one seemed to notice or care that no Winter Olympics cartridge was actually being developed.

Well, someone did notice, finally, but by that time it was too late to develop an original game. In its place, a multi-game album cartridge of previously-released Sports Network titles was rushed into production (Go For the Gold), and the lead character in Duncan's Thin Ice was changed to the 1984 Winter Olympic mascot, Voochko the Wolf. Mattel Electronics was closed before either cartridge could be released.