1984 Planned Releases

During 1982, while video game companies weren't really paying attention, the video game fad ended. Teenagers switched their televisions to MTV; adults got hooked on the board game Trivial Pursuit. But more and more companies announced new titles for Atari, Intellivision and Colecovision.

Millions of games were on store shelves for Christmas 1982, but as 1983 started, retailers started returning millions of them unsold.

Thanks to a market of hardcore players, the demand for video games was still growing, but at a much slower rate than the manufacturers were churning out new cartridges.

Because they failed to keep up with this evolving marketplace, Mattel Electronics' top management was replaced in July 1983. Due to the development and manufacturing time for a game -- six months minimum, realistically around a year -- there was little effect on the 1983 product line, but the strategy for 1984 was radically different.

Fewer titles were to be released. Every title had to be produced for multiple systems to make marketing and advertising more efficient. M Network titles had already been released for Atari 2600IBM PC and the Apple II. Adding ColecoVisionCommodore 64 and other computers was planned.

Most titles were also required to have a licensing tie-in: an arcade game, a movie, a television show. A title would be released without a tie-in only if it had some feature or effect so innovative that marketing could build promotion of the game around that feature (for example, the 3-D glasses of Hover Force 3-D).


Also planned for 1984 was discontinuing the early Intellivision cartridges. Instead, the old 4K games were to have been bundled into 36K multi-game "albums" as new technology and falling ROM prices made larger cartridges possible.

Except for Go For The Gold (which recycled four Sports Network games in an Olympics-themed cartridge) and Party Line (which would have included three original games), no album cartridges were announced. But dozens of different combinations were proposed.

Most of these proposed albums were obvious -- sports games, action games -- but several interesting ideas came up. One was to use canceled or marginal (in Marketing's viewpoint) games so that one new title could be included on each cartridge (using Thin Ice to anchor a children's album was briefly considered). Another was to include the Intellivoice game Space Spartans on a space album, since it was only 8K, could be played at lower levels without voice, and might spark some sales of Intellivoice modules, which were gathering dust on store shelves.

Who knows? -- Magic CarouselAdventures of TRON and other shelved titles all might have finally seen the light of day, but Mattel Electronics closed in January 1984, before any album cartridge could be produced.

  • Computer Corridor (unfinished)
  • Happy Holidays (unfinished)
  • ADVANCED DUNGEIONS & DRAGONS TOWER OF MYSTERY Cartridge (released by INTV Corp as Tower of Doom)
  • Target Andromeda (unfinished)
  • Go For the Gold (unreleased)
  • Hover Force 3-D (released by INTV corp as Hover Force)
  • Scarfinger (unreleased)
  • Spina the Bee (unreleased)
  • Illusions (unreleased)
  • Party Line (unreleased)
  • Masters of the Universe II (unreleased)
  • Flashlight (unfinished)
  • Pizza Time (unfinished)
  • Magic Carpet (unfinished)
  • Hydroplane (unfinished)
  • King of the Mountain (unreleased)