Masters of the Universe®: The Power of He-Man®

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [#4689]

Release 1983

Characters used under license from Mattel Toys

Program: Rick Koenig, Ray Kaestner

Graphics: Connie Goldman

Music/Sound effects: Joshua Jeffe


Instructions Posted Here

Blast or dodge a hail of fireballs to chase and challenge SKELETOR!

PACKAGE DESCRIPTION

Fly HE-MAN in his WIND RAIDER on a hair-raising dash in pursuit of SKELETOR. Avoid running out of fuel as you outmaneuver, bomb or blast away the fireballs coming at you -- while bombing SKELETOR on the ground below. If you get HE-MAN near enough to CASTLE GRAYSKULL he fights on foot with just his shield -- through lightning-balls, power-bolts and magic swords -- to get at SKELETOR!

• 1 player, 4 levels -- Pactice Novice, Challenger, Master.

• 2-phase action. Fly a gauntlet of fireballs to where SKELETOR awaits, to draw his sword for combat.

• 5 chances at the start. If fuel gets too low or you have a crash, lose a chance and start again.

• Score enough ppoints and HE-MAN gets a bonus chance.

• Realistic graphics as HE-MAN runs to his WIND RAIDER, takes off, lands, or turns to fire 0 in rugged mountain country.

• Fire tha blasters, drop the bombs, crash into flying fireballs. Battle SKELETOR at CASTLE GRAYSKULL. Super sound effects.


Even if HE-MAN makes the distance, the battle's just beginning. SKELETOR is waiting.

DEVELOPMENT HISTORY

Masters of the Universe -- a series of action figures tied in to an afternoon animated series -- was a smash hit for Mattel Toys, its biggest success in years. Getting Intellivision and Atari 2600 video games out for Christmas 1983 was a priority.

Wanting to avoid what happened with Kool-Aid Man, Marketing decreed that the two versions should be the same. A two-phase game was agreed on -- flying the Wind Raider to Castle Grayskull; battling Skeletor inside the castle -- with different programmers doing each phase to speed production. In February 1983, work started on the Intellivision version.

Rick Koenig (Motocross) was chosen to do the Wind Raider phase and Vladimir Hrycenko was pulled off the lower-priority Convoy to do the Castle Grayskull phase.

By the end of April, it became apparent that the Castle Grayskull section wasn't coming together. Vladimir was replaced with Ray Kaestner (BurgerTime), who was at the time experimenting with ideas for a proposed Intellivision III version of Night Stalker. Ray scrapped all of Vladimir's existing code and started from scratch with the deadline only four weeks away. Using some fancy graphics-handling routines that he had developed for the Intellivision III, Ray met the deadline.

When the game came out (on schedule) it did well, so Rick and Ray were put to work on Masters of the Universe II. It was unfinished when Mattel Electronics was closed in January 1984; Ray's part of the game eventually became the INTV Corporation release Diner, a sequel to BurgerTime.

A Colecovision version of Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man was completed but was unreleased when Mattel Electronics closed.


FUN FACT: The Intellivision III routines that Ray used and the special graphics routines Rick independently developed for the game -- all of which bypassed the EXEC -- moved objects on screen smoother and faster than in standard Intellivision games. Marketing dubbed this improved look SuperGraphics, hoping it would help in the competition with the higher resolution Colecovision. While Masters of the Universe was the first (and only) game to carry the SuperGraphics logo on the box, Marketing liked the designation so much they started using it even before Masters came out to promote any game -- beginning with BurgerTime -- that simply had nice graphics and animation. At the June 1983 Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, nearly every Intellivision game on display -- Buzz Bombers, Thin Ice, Mission X -- carried the SuperGraphics logo.

FUN FACT: At the beginning of the video game boom, Mattel Electronics worked hard to keep the names of its programmers secret, for fear Atari, Imagic or Activision would lure them away. But by 1983, this secrecy was pretty much meaningless -- headhunters had learned the identities of every company's roster (often bribing employees hundreds of dollars for copies of internal phone lists). Sure that everyone knew their identities but the public,and rankled by Activision's publicizing of their designers, the Blue Sky Rangers started pushing for names on cartridges.

The cause was helped by an editorial in the June 1983 Electronic Games magazine, written by Arnie Katz, which called upon the game companies to reveal the programmers: "All designers of electronic games are just as much creative artists as painters and novelists...Whyshouldn't the creator of such a work of art be entitled to put his or her name on it to reap the praise and brickbats of gaming consumers?"

Copies of the editorial appeared throughout Applications Software pinned to programmers' cubicles. More importantly, on May 11, a few days after the magazine had hit the newsstands, VP Gabriel Baum forwarded a copy to the Senior Vice Presidents, with a brief note supporting it: "The names of our key personnel are available to any investigative headhunter and I believe that we are more likely to retain employees than to lose them by publicly recognizing their connection with a cartridge. I also believe that our Marketing group could use programmer/designer recognition to their advantage."

On May 27, Mattel Electronics announced credits would appear on future game packages.

Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man, the Intellivisionand M Network Atari 2600 versions, were the first cartridges in which the design teams received credit on the packaging. The Intellivision box lists Ray, Rick, Connie and Josh, plus "Project Coordinator" (what today would be called Producer) Mark Urbaniec (Vectron)