Remarkable Auctions: Mattel Intellivision Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball

Bill Loguidice's picture

INTV Corporation's Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball just sold on eBay for a remarkable $1,826.00 plus shipping and handling. This was one of the last cartridges released by INTV (along with Stadium Mud Buggies, known as Monster Truck Rally on the NES) circa late 1989 and is obviously extremely sought after by hardcore Intellivision collectors (though rarely reaching anywhere near what it just sold for, particularly unsealed). The limited releases of both Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball and Stadium Mud Buggies marked the end (1990) of the Intellivision's remarkable 10 year old original commercial run, even though Mattel had given up on the platform less than halfway through.

Check out the video below from "ed1269" to see how all those years of experience with the system paid off in the quality of the late-life games:

Comments

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
That game does look a lot of

That game does look a lot of fun. Do you see a comparable difference between the current gen's initial lineups and the recent stuff?

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Current gen performance limits
Matt Barton wrote:

That game does look a lot of fun. Do you see a comparable difference between the current gen's initial lineups and the recent stuff?

Tough call. You do a see a difference with most systems that are on the market for at least roughly three years. You could certainly see a difference from say, the first generation of PS2 games and late-life games like God of War II. I think for this current generation, it's a bit harder to have a strictly visual jump, i.e., what is most easily noticeable, because the visuals were hi-def and high quality to begin with. I think what you see is more impressive performance--smoother framerate, more objects on-screen, more expansive vistas, etc., because, given time and better dev tools and experience, programmers are able to get to a system's theoretical 100% usage, rather than say, 70% around the launch window. Still, it's much harder to quantify.

Certainly it was "easier" for older generations of systems to show improvements from their early generation games to their late generation games, simply because programmers were less experienced early on and in-cartridge ROM memory was more restrictive. Take the Atari 2600 as an example. Comparing say, 1977's Star Ship to a game from the 80's is not really fair. Later games could go from Star Ship's 2K ROM to 16K ROM or more, and also make use of other assistive chips, such as the SARA chip, that could double system RAM by another 128 bytes. Later programmers of course also had the benefit of being able to see what others were able to achieve, which further unleashed their creativity and competitiveness.

With today's fixed systems, there is far less opportunity to improve performance, other than through better dev tools, better OS optimization and again, able to figure out how to get closer to a system's theoretical 100% max levels (and that mostly through experience). We're probably near about the best of what the Xbox 360 and PS3 will be able to pull off, i.e., we've probably already seen about the best their top games will ever look, and we're already seeing performance levels being exceeded, for instance when 3D is activated on 3D TV's, with halved framerates and other performance hiccups (3D with minimal performance impact will have to wait for the next generation of systems).

In any case, that's why I think it's kind of a nice time for gamers. The current systems are about topped out from what they can do and their performance potential is well known. There's little that can be done that hasn't already been done from the audio-visual standpoint, so the only way to truly be competitive and differentiate yourself is to either have a compelling IP, or be more clever, as in have a compelling play mechanic.

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