The Mattel Intellivision

By Kylie Davis 
April 30, 2020

Mattel, a popular toy company, ventured into the uncharted territory of electronic toys. In the late 1970’s they achieved great success in the development and sales of handheld video game devices 1 . Following this great success the company decided to take the next big step entering the realm of at home gaming consoles. The Intellivision began development in 1977 2 . Later on in 1979 the product was released for market testing in Fresno, California before being nationally released in 1980 3 . Mattel hired APH Technology Consulting to guide them through the world of electronics. The software for the program was created by David Rolfe while the hardware was created by a Mattel employee David Chandler 4 . The Intellivision was a huge success the company received and overwhelming amount of positive feed back but do to underlying circumstances their success was short lived.

The Hardware itself resembles a medium sized rectangle box with brown faux wood and bronze colored metal. The console is controlled by two controllers attached to either side of the console. The controllers have a keypad and a large round button that is used to move in 16 different directions. These controllers were controversial for the time, as gamers teetered back and forth from considering them to benefit the gaming experience from hindering it. The controls of the Intellvision were revolutionary in the playing of sports video games which was a huge strong suit for the Intellivison 5 .

The success of the Intellivision was almost immediate and offered very strong competition for Atari. 6 Although all good things must come to an end, Intellivision's end came sooner than expected. In 1984 the right were sold to INTV Corportation.

  1. “Mattel,”,

  2. Michael Z. Newman, Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), 76.

  3. Mattel Invellivision," Video Game Console Library,

  4. "Intellivision Lives! (PC / Mac)," posted by TCPretro21, March 27, 2019, YouTube,

  5. Tom Boellstorff and Braxton Soderman, "Transplatform: Culture, Context, and the Intellivision/Atari VCS Rivalry,” Games and Culture, Vol. 14, No. 6 (2019), ?,

  6. George Sullivan, "Screen Magic," Blip Magazine, Vol. 1, No 6 (July 1983), 3-5, 

Mattel Intellivision
Mattel Intellivision