Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cover to Cover: Imagic Catalog 1982 (pp. 4-7)

We're paging through the Imagic video game catalog from 1982, looking at the company's lineup for the Mattel Intellivision console.  Pages 4 through 7 are now up for inspection, so let's get to it.

Atlantis, like Demon Attack, was an Intellivision version of a popular Atari 2600 title, and took advantage of the Intellivision's additional horsepower to provide a more detailed background and a night-attack mode, with searchlights outlining the darting alien ships.

Beauty & The Beast was one of Imagic's most derivative games, clearly inspired by Nintendo's Donkey Kong but coming to market before Coleco's official adaptation for the Intellivision.  It's much nicer-looking than the Coleco game for the same platform, and changes up the play dynamics a little bit by using windows instead of ladders to ascend.  But the giant ape throwing boulders at our running and jumping hero out to rescue his girlfriend is a little... um... see where the catalog copy asks the player to "see how high you can climb"?  Clearly unique and different from Nintendo's "How high can you go?"  At least that's what I'm sure Imagic's legal department would have asserted.

Microsurgeon is one of Imagic's best-remembered Intellivision titles -- the Fantastic Journey-esque concept of piloting a surgical robot probe inside a fully mapped-out human body was, again, a concept that would never have worked technically on the Atari platform.  Designer Rick Levine's concept was unique and fresh, even in an era when wild experimentation was the order of the day, and had enough medical credibility to feature gallstones, tapeworms, and cholesterol, among other ailments.

The Intellivision section closes out with a subscription flyer for the Imagic Numb Thumb Club, which wasn't as imaginative as Activision's coveted high-score patches, but allowed players with $2.00 to spare to get a game poster, wallet card, and one year's subscription to the company newsletter, the Numb Thumb News.  I wonder if many of the offered game posters survive -- they would be interesting if not terribly valuable collectibles today, though one imagines some would be rarer than others.

Next weekend, we'll flip the brochure over and look at Imagic's Atari 2600 titles, most of which are better-remembered than their Intellivision games.

No comments:

Post a Comment