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Intellivision Time

Yesterday was entirely Genesis games (Or SMS games played on the Genesis using the Power Base Converter), so today it is time to bring something else into the mix.

This is the Intellivision. 1  It was released in the late 70’s and represented the Atari 2600’s first real competition.

The controllers have a 12-button keypad, which took an overlay.  This let games have more complicated controls, but in most games, the keypad was only used to select the initial game or difficulty level.  Games that used it for in-game controls were often difficult to play without the overlay.  The controller also has two buttons on each side of the keypad.  The big round thing at the bottom is the control disc, which had something like 12 way sensitivity.  Overall, these controllers are horrible to use.  Games such as Astrosmash would end up as tests of how much pain you could endure, rather than how good you were at the game.  In the original Intellivision, the controllers were hard-wired to the console, so there was no room for third parties to introduce more ergonomic controllers.  And the most unfortunate of all is the fact that this controller inspired many others in its evil ways.  The ColecoVision is most notable, but the Emerson Arcadia had similar controls, and even the Tomy Tutor came out with the “Joy Controllers”, which were disc-based.  Even Atari got into the act for the 5200, and the impossible to hit side buttons made an appearance on the 7800’s controllers.  Thankfully, Nintendo ended this reign of terror with the NES gamepad.2

Anyway, let’s see if I can play a few games without getting Carpal Tunnel…

  1. Okay, technically it’s an Intellivision II system, but I’m using it because the original Inty is massive and I need space on the shelf for quite a few systems… []
  2. Although the Atari Jaguar did try to bring back the keypad and overlay concept, even it had a gamepad style layout for the main controls. []

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