Sports Network

No doubt about it, these are the games that first sold the Intellivision. An early TV and print ad showing a side-by-side comparison of baseball played on an Atari 2600 and on an Intellivision made the Atari version look laughable. The Intellivision was established as the serious sports-game machine, and Major League Baseball went on to become the best-selling Intellivision cartridge.

Mostly programmed for Mattel Electronics by APh Technological Consulting in 1979 and 1980, the games are impressive, especially when keeping in mind that all of them (except for Motocross) are only 4K in size. Also, most of these games require more than seven players and a ball to appear on screen at the same time -- difficult since the Intellivision can only draw eight moving objects on screen. Tricky swapping of players from static background drawings to moving objects and back achieves the illusion of more than eight moving at once.

The main drawback to these games is that most require two players. By 1981, work was starting on second-generation sports games that featured computer opponents; several of these were eventually released by INTV Corporation.

The Sports Network games released by Mattel were in royal blue boxes (with the exception of Motocross, which was released after the themed "network" concept had been dropped). Several of these games were also released under the Sears brand name in different packaging. All of these games first appeared in 1980 except Bowling and Boxing, which came out in 1981, and Motocross , which was finally shipped in 1983.