Vintage Intellivision gaming systems made sports super realistic (by 80s standards!)

Vintage 1980s Intellivision gaming systems

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These vintage Intellivision games and gaming systems from the 80s were said to be more realistic than anything else available at the time. Even well-known writer/sports journalist (and sometimes actor) George Plimpton was impressed with them, and served as brand ambassador. 

Back then, people were so excited by these technological marvels… though you may laugh to see (or remember) how simplistic and pixelated the games really were.

Intellivision: Two pictures are worth a thousand words

George Plimpton for Intellivision: “More realistic gaming” (1981)

Atari vs Intellivision? Nothing I could say would be more persuasive than what your own two eyes will tell you. But I can’t resist telling you more. – George Plimpton

George Plimpton for Intellivision More realistic gaming (1981)

It’s obvious how much more realistic Intellivision graphics are. But take a closer look. Notice the Intellivision players. They’ve got arms and legs like real players do.

Look at the field. It actually looks more like a real baseball field. I think you’ll find that Intellivision looks a lot more like the real thing.

Intellivision soccer game vs Atari (1980s)

More about action

You can see how much more realistic Intellivision looks. What we can’t show you here is how much more realistically it moves. If you could compare the two, I think you’d see that Intellivision has smoother and more life-like movement than Atari.

Intellivision golf game vs Atari (1980s)

Intellivision poker game vs Atari (1980s)

More about control

If you’ve ever played a video game, you know how important control is. And if you held these two control units in your hand, you’d know Intellivision gives you more. The Atari hand controller offers only 8 positions and one button.

The Intellivision hand controller has 16 positions and 4 buttons. So Intellivision allows you to maneuver players and objects in more directions with greater precision and accuracy…

About Intellivision More realistic gaming (1981)

MORE: Check out some of the top vintage video games & classic consoles from the 70s & 80s


Mattel Electronics: Intellivision – Intelligent television
Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog cover

The Intellivision intelligent television system and components (1980)

Intellivision is a system of modularized hardware components and a broad spectrum of software that offers consumers benefits for now and in the years to come.

The heart of Intellivision is the Master Component. By itself it provides a variety of entertainment and game play through the use of preprogrammed ROM game cartridges. These are true to life in visual appeal, simulated sound effects, and variability. Games that challenge both mind and body: Sport games, Las Vegas games, Strategy games, Action games, Children’s Learning Fun.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (1)

The addition of the Keyboard Component expands the system’s capabilities to provide the added benefits of programs in Family financial and tax management, Physical health and well-being, Self-education through the use of pre-programmed software featuring an expert consultant who actually talks to the consumer. The user responds in English using a familiar typewriter-like keyboard. There is no requirement for knowledge of a computer language.

Truly, a computer for the home.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (2)


Vintage Intellivision sports games (1980)

Games include Major League Baseball, NFL Football, Auto Racing, PGA Golf, Tennis, NASL Soccer, Skiing, NHL Hockey

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (3)

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (4)


Intellivision sports, strategy, and children’s games 

Games include Boxing, NBA Basketball, Backgammon, Checkers, Math Fun, and Word Fun.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (5)


Action and gambling games for the Intellivision

Games include Armor Battle, Sea Battle, Space Battle, Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack, Las Vegas Roulette, and Horse Racing.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (6)


Financial and business options on the 80s Intellivision

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (7)


Retro Personal Improvement and Self-Education programs for Intellivision (1980)

Programs include Jack LaLanne’s Physical Conditioning, Jeane Dixon Astrology, Dr Art Ulene Weight Loss Program, Guitar Lessons & Music Composition, Speed Reading, and Conversational French.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (8)


Classic gaming cartridges for Intellivision – Intelligent Televison (1980)

Games shown include Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack, Major League Baseball, and Armor Battle.

Vintage 1980 Intellivision game system catalog (9)

SEE MORE: Crazy expensive personal computers from the ’80s, and how their features compare today


Home video game system — Intellivision by Mattel Electronics (1981)

The home video system comes of age. Never before has a home video system offered such vividly exciting and challenging game action.

Realistic graphics. The Intellivision game characters actually have arms, legs, heads and hands. They run out on the field when you press “reset.” They pass, catch, jump and dribble.

Realistic action. The players are in proportion to the size of the field, and the field often ”scrolls” from one end to another. So you always have a close-up view of the action.

Challenging games. Conventional video games often have limited strategic options. But the powerful built-in Intellivision computer offers far more video game variety. The NFL Football cartridge, for example, features more than 180 different plays for passing, running, tackling, and intercepting.

Vintage 1981 Intellivision game catalog (1)

A lot more fun. Intellivision has video games for everyone. Choose from major league sports excitement, Las Vegas-style gaming, rousing battle action, adventures in outer space, children’s learning programs and classic strategy games.

And a whole lot more. Each Intellivision game program comes with custom overlays for your game controls. So you spend more time enjoying the game and less time figuring it out. Intellivision is as easy to connect as a ”rabbit ears” TV antenna. Just attach the switch box to your TV antenna connection, plug in a couple of wires, and enjoy. Then when you feel like watching regular TV programming, just flick the switch.

Quality and value. A lot more than conventional video game systems. Better graphics. Better sound effects. More realistic video game action. And a beautifully engineered product that will provide you years of fun, games and family entertainment.

Games shown include Auto Racing, NHS Hockey, NFL Football, Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack, Sea Battle, NBA Baksetball, Horse Racing, Major League Baseball, Space Battle, Skiing, and TEC Word Fun.

Vintage 1981 Intellivision game catalog (2)

ALSO SEE: Remember the Atari Lynx & Lynx II portable video game systems?


Retro Intellivision ad (1982)

Vintage 1982 Intellivision game catalog (1)


Intellivision: Intelligent Television ad (1982)

Experience Intellivision. Experience the challenge and excitement of home video entertainment available only from Intellivision.

Discover Realism. Intellivision playing fields look like real playing fielas. They’re even in perspective. Intellivision players have arms and legs like real players. What’s more, they’re in proportion. The plain fact is: Intellivision is more like playing the real thing.

See the difference. Still pictures can’t show you how Intellivision players run, kick and hit more realistically. Visit your Mattel dealer and ask for a demonstration. You’ll see the difference in the realistic sound, vivid color and exciting action.

You’re in control. If you’ve ever played a video game, you know how important hand-controllers are. Intellivision hand-controllers feature directional disks with 16 positions. This enables you to maneuver players and objects in every direction. The controllers also have four side action buttons for quick response throughout the game. Each Intellivision game cartridge comes with custom hand-controller overlays giving you even more control and realistic detail.

ALSO SEE: Remember Merlin, the retro electronic game that looked like a phone?

Vintage 1982 Intellivision game catalog (2)


Intellivoice voice synthesis module (1982)

Now Intellivision talks to you. IntelliVoice is an all-new Intellivision feature — a voice synthesis module. It generates human-sounding voices which become an essential part of the game play. You concentrate on the visual action while your IntelliVoice component keeps you aware of depleting energy levels, shield damages, and attacking fighters.

Voices that sound human. IntelliVoice produces voices with personality. All instructions, directions and announcements are crisp and clear. IntelliVoice is your computer voice partner in game play. Not just effects. Voices generated by IntelliVoice give you important game playing data. The IntelliVoice comes in throughout the game, keeping you informed at all times.

Vintage 1982 Intellivision game catalog (3)

Added realism. The IntelliVoice feature adds important new dimensions in realism. For example, IntelliVoice seems to put headphones on you as you command a B-17 Bomber over enemy territory, contending with attacking fighters, navigation requests, and tower instructions.

Easy add-on installation. The IntelliVoice unit simply plugs into the cartridge outlet on your IntelliVision Master Component. IntelliVoice cartridges simply plug into the IntelliVoice unit.

Games shown include Space Spartans, B-17 Bomber, and Bomb Squad.

Vintage 1982 Intellivision game catalog (4)


Star Strike instructions for Intellivision by Mattel (1980s)

Vintage 1980s Intellivision Star Strike game instructions

Vintage 1980s Intellivision Star Strike game setup

DON’T MISS: After arcade video games like Pac Man & Space Invaders hit the scene in the ’80s, weekends were never the same again

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. A friend of mine got an Intellivision for Christmas in 1981, and I was blown away by it. It made my Atari set look pretty lame in comparison. The one game I remember was Sea Battle, which I could have played for hours. The controllers were also incredibly responsive and easy to use, and gave you more controlling options than the basic Atari joystick.

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