TRON® Deadly Discs
INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#5305]
Release #36 1982
Working title: TRON I
Based on the Walt Disney Productions motion picture TRON
Design & Program: Steve Sents
Graphics: Eric Wells
Sound: Bill Goodrich
Package Illustration: Jerrol Richardson
TRON Deadly Discs was in production at the same time as TRON, the Disney movie; the design for the game was based on storyboards and production stills from the film.
Mattel Electronics bet a lot of dough that the movie would be a phenomenon. A state-of-the-art special effect film about video games, the hottest trend in the country -- how could it miss? Well, it did. The lukewarm reception the movie received did little to boost interest in the six TRON games Mattel released (four originals, two conversions). TRON Deadly Discs, though, was a strong enough game in its own right to garner good reviews and word-of-mouth; it went on to sell over 300,000 copies -- a respectable number, but only about a third what Marketing was hoping for. Ironically, the original production run was planned to be 350,000, but at the last minute it was increased to 800,000. "The reason for the increase," explained Marketing man Dick Baumbusch in a June 1, 1982 memo, "is due to the anticipated popularity of the Tron film and the fact that we will feature it in a commercial this Fall. Also, the international demand for Tron will limit any downside risk." It was this type of forecasting that put Intellivision where it is today.
In answer to a frequent question, there was no connection between the production of Mattel's TRON video games and the arcade games TRON and Discs of TRON. A separate company had licensed the arcade rights to the movie and there was no communication between them and Mattel.
Early catalogs listed TRON Deadly Discs (under its working title TRON I) as a Space Network cartridge; it was actually released as part of the Action Network.
An M Network Atari 2600 version and an Aquarius version were also released.