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Mattel Intellivision
Released in response to the Atari VCS and Magnavox Odyssey 2, the Intellivision was apparently the world's first 16 bit games console, based round the General Instruments GI1600 processor. Designed in 1978 (the touchpads have that date stamped on them), test marketed in 1979 (the base of the console shows 1979) and released in 1980, the console sports attractive fake woodgrain and gold panels as was popular in the day as well as strange looking controllers that featured discs instead of the more usual joystick type thumbpads. Each controller also had 4 fire buttons and a number pad with space for an overlay detailing the options for each game. Button-tastic! :)
The pix show the construction of both the console and the joypads, the pads themselves being a pretty ingenious design that features a folded matrix system as found in keyboards etc; this matrix simply sits over the bottom half of the controller and makes contact with the external wires via a springpad at the back so there's no nasty wiring internally. Repair is also simple since you just need to swap out the matrix. The console itself is awash with socketed GI chips, with the CPU itself being hidden underneath a big metal heatsink which I wasn't about to remove :)
Well constructed, by Radofin of all people! Variations of the Intellivision soldiered on until 1990 when the spinoff company INTV filed for bankruptcy. Companies such as Telegames in Leicester (UK) still have Intellivision bits left over from that period - my Intellivoice module came from there in 2000.
Related Links
Intellivision Service Manual courtesy of Andrew Kohtz

All images and text © Adrian Graham 1999-2018 unless otherwise noted using words. Also on