Space Network

By the end of 1981, Intellivision had the reputation for the best sports titles and Atari had the reputation for the best arcade games. In 1982 the battle was over who had the best space cartridges. The movie Star Wars in 1977 had sparked a science fiction resurgence, which hit a peak in 1982 with the release of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Mattel Electronics turned to the same TV-commercial strategy they used to establish their sports titles: a side-by-side comparison of an Atari game with an Intellivision game, in this case Asteroids versus Star Strike. The strategy paid off; four of the five released Space Network games approached the 1,000,000 mark in sales, with the fifth, Space Hawk, reaching 500,000.

Atari fought back with its highly publicized multi-million dollar purchase of the videogame rights to E.T. Atari used the anticipation for this cartridge to sell their 2600 console. Cleverly, Mattel countered by hiring E.T. star Henry Thomas to join spokesperson George Plimpton in Intellivision commercials. Mattel's lawyers, however, to avoid a lawsuit, didn't allow Thomas's connection to the movie, or to science fiction, or even his name to be mentioned in the commercials. (While the anticipation of the E.T. cartridge may have succeeded in selling Atari consoles, its actual release was the greatest flop in the videogame industry.)

Surprisingly, given the success of the Space Network, Mattel put no space titles into production for the Intellivision during 1982 or 1983 with the exception of the never-finished Target: Andromeda.

All of the games on this page were released in Space Network dark blue boxes. A couple of these games were also released under the Sears brand name in different packaging.