Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cover to Cover: Intellivision Spring 1986 Catalog (pp. 1-3)

This is probably one of the rarer bits of documentation in the GA40 archives.  After the first wave of videogames ended with the mid-1980s industry crash, the Intellivision struggled on for a few years, with new games and an Intellivision III console model released by INTV Corp.  An enterprise called Triton Products Company was still marketing the system in the post-crash era, and we're going to take a look at their Spring 1986 catalog in this next series of Cover to Cover posts.

Just in case we fear anything had changed over the years, the cover features the classic Intellivision Baseball game, a launch title that featured prominently in Mattel's advertising and apparently continued to do so even as the Nintendo Entertainment System was reviving the market:

Page 2 begins with an introductory note -- this was apparently Triton's second such catalog, and features some new post-Mattel titles, as well as some miscellaneous electronics products to help out the bottom line.  Triton was also providing repair services for old Intellivision consoles.  And of course, products can be ordered by mail or telephone -- the Internet was still a ways off in 1986.

The games begin on Page 3, leading with the Intellivision's traditional strong suit, Action Sports Cartridges, promoting newly upgraded versions of a couple older Mattel titles.  The newly updated Championship Tennis and World Cup Soccer now feature single player vs. CPU play, addressing a major shortcoming of the original versions that required two players if any fun was to be had.  World Cup Soccer also features ad banners from Coca-Cola and Perrier, in the screenshot at least, which would make this a very early example of videogame product placement.

Note that the prices of these new titles were reasonable compared to $30-$50 NES titles -- just $19.95 apiece, although presumably development costs were lower for these reworked titles than for an all-new game.  The biggest cost reduction likely came from reduced ROM production costs as time went on.

Next time, more games!

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