TRON® Solar Sailer

INTELLIVISION CARTRIDGE [Mattel Electronics #5393]

Release 1983

Working titles: Solar Sailor, Voice TRON

Based on the Walt Disney Productions motion picture TRON

Design: Keith Robinson, Don Daglow

Program: Keith Robinson, Gene Smith

Graphics: Keith Robinson

Music: Arranged by Andy Sells from the TRON themes by Wendy Carlos

Sound: Mark Urbaniec

Voices: Cory Burton (Tron), Diane Pershing & Patti Glick (Yori), Brian Cummings (MCP), Joannie Gerber (Bit) and Fred Jones (mechanical voice)

See also Intellivoice credits

Instructions Posted Here


Another exciting game derived from the plot action of the summer released TRON movie from Walt Disney Productions. You are riding inside a "Solar Sailor," traveling along an energy beam in search of the Master Control Program. Choose your route as the screen scrolls to reveal new avenues. "Recognizers" try to latch on and battle tanks attack as the MCP defends itself. Computer voices keep you advised of energy beam levels and antagonists.


A nightmare numbers game based on the Disney movie, TRON. Your challenge is to first seek out and then to decode the evil Master Control Program. The voice of TRON's girlfriend Yori helps you find the MCP as an electronic voice gives you the secret code to remember. The rest is up to you alone. "Energy low, We've been hit...end of line." Five different voices and two screens.


TRON Solar Sailer was started by Don Daglow, but it was almost immediately put on hold when he was promoted to manager. A couple of months later, Keith Robinson picked up the project. As the drop-dead deadline of October 15, 1982 approached and the game was 25% oversize, Gene Smith was assigned full time to optimize the code while Keith (to Gene's dismay) continued to add features. The day before deadline, they finished a version that both fit into 12K and was pronounced bug-free by Traci Roux in Quality Assurance.

French, Italian and German translations of the dialog were recorded but never used.

FUN FACT: In early releases about the game, Marketing spelled it Solar Sailor, with an or. It took months to convince them that the proper spelling was Sailer. (A sailor is a person who sails, a sailer -- as in this case -- is something a person sails on.)

FUN FACT: Keith wanted to use music from the film, but the Mattel legal department wasn't sure if our license with Disney included to rights to use Wendy Carlos's score; they said they'd check on it. They never did get back to Keith, so he just went ahead and used it. If you're reading this, Wendy, your check's in the mail.

FUN FACT: While testing the game, Keith's boss Mike Minkoff kept getting access codes that ended in "69." Mike accused Keith several times of skewing the random numbers for an adolescent joke. Tired of being unfairly accused, Keith put the data stream 01000101 (the binary representation of 69) in the game's opening demo screen. He then told Mike, "Look, if I was going to put a '69' in the game, I'd put it right on the title screen!" and waited to see how long it would take Mike to notice. He never did; the game went out that way. 01000101 appeared on the demo screen, in the advertising, on the back of the box and in the instructions. When Keith finally pointed it out, Mike said, "But that's 45!" Mike is such a dedicated programmer, he saw the number in hexadecimal (base 16); he never made the final calculation that 45 (base 16) is 69 (base 10).

FUN FACT: Keith and Gene felt that the digitized word "can't" in the MCP's line "I can't allow this" sounded...well...obscene, even though Deidre Cimarusti from the Voice Department insisted it had tested fine. To prove their point, Gene edited the voice file to isolate the word. They then altered the Space Spartans title screen so that it read and said "Mattel Electronics presents Space......" Well, you get the idea. This title screen became so popular among some programmers that a game was inevitable. They tacked the screen onto a version of Astrosmash with new graphics: the missile launcher, the missiles and the flying saucer were replaced with...c'mon, do we have to spell this out? (You can check out the word for yourself; it was left as-is in the game.)

FUN FACT: When you enter the access code on track one, append Keith's birthday -- 991955 -- to the code before pressing enter. He'll wish you luck before the next phase of the game.