Matt Chat 157: Dave Warhol Talks Intellivision

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Matt Barton's picture

I'm back this week with the first part of my interview series with Dave Warhol. Although Dave is perhaps best known for his extensive audio work, he's also one of the original designers for the Mattel Intellivision. In this segment, he talks all about the system (including a question from our very own Mr. Bill Loguidice), and the ill-fated keyboard component.

Download the video here. If you enjoy the show, please donate and/or tell someone else about the show. Views and donations are currently at a very low level, and it's getting discouraging. I need things to pick back up to maintain my positive energy! Thanks for your continued support and help.

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Matt Barton
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Hehe, yeah. I don't know if

Hehe, yeah. I don't know if it's the actual guitar playing or the confidence that goes with it, but I don't think I would have had 5% of the girls I dated back in college without that angle. I still don't know how to read music and never really learned anybody else's songs. That always felt like work to me, and who else really cares if you can play Stairway to Heaven? Not like you couldn't find 50 people in any guitar store in the world who couldn't play that behind their back better than you.

I just liked writing my own riffs and playing power chords all day. ;)

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clok1966
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As an early videe game addict

As an early videe game addict (we all are I know).. who grew up with the systems.. I would say my heyday was the 2600- to about genesis nes.. then PC where far more appealing (not tht they didnt have appeal before.. but I played both quite alot). But all my old systems.. i dont dig the 2600 out.. I dont dig my coleco out. Infact I dont mess with any old systems often except emulation, and even thats fairly rare. BUT in the last 20 years when I do dig one out, its almost alwasy the Intelevsision. I can play hours (even today) of astrosmash or Tron Deadly Discs, treasure of tarmin, AD&D.. and if I can get sombody to play Utopia or sea battle.... im in heaven. There was something about that system. maybe as a 2600 owner to start I ddint have an intelevision till very late in its life, so i had years of envy.. and yes i did envy it compared ot my 2600 at many times. I HATED the controlers, but nowdays they are "normal" to me in fact they really changed me from joystick to gamepad.. after hours on intellvison control i soon used my 2600 stick the same (in a way) my thumb on the top of the stick, i no longer held it like a traditional joystick.. all from using that thumbpad... I like the controler.. if i had a grip is the buttons wore out and the orginal intel.. they didnt plug in so broke ws broke.

Blue Sky rangers webpage was one of my first (internet) releated history lessons on games...

Bill Loguidice
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It really was Intelligent Television for the time...
clok1966 wrote:

BUT in the last 20 years when I do dig one out, its almost alwasy the Intelevsision. I can play hours (even today) of astrosmash or Tron Deadly Discs, treasure of tarmin, AD&D.. and if I can get sombody to play Utopia or sea battle.... im in heaven. There was something about that system. ...

You know, each system has their charms to be sure, and each has something that stands out about it. The Atari 2600 played fast, while the ColecoVision had the best graphics and sound, but I'd say what the Intellivision had most in its favor was the relative sophistication of its game library. You had solid strategy, RPG, sports, and action adventure titles, as well as all the usual suspects found on the other systems.

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clok1966
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true
Bill Loguidice wrote:
clok1966 wrote:

BUT in the last 20 years when I do dig one out, its almost alwasy the Intelevsision. I can play hours (even today) of astrosmash or Tron Deadly Discs, treasure of tarmin, AD&D.. and if I can get sombody to play Utopia or sea battle.... im in heaven. There was something about that system. ...

You know, each system has their charms to be sure, and each has something that stands out about it. The Atari 2600 played fast, while the ColecoVision had the best graphics and sound, but I'd say what the Intellivision had most in its favor was the relative sophistication of its game library. You had solid strategy, RPG, sports, and action adventure titles, as well as all the usual suspects found on the other systems.

Oh i agree, one of reason i mentioned the Envy thing, the two systems i played the most (besides PC's) where easily the 2600 and Intel.. and the intel wasnt in my personal library for about 3-4 years past its prime. So i think it was a combo, craving it, it was one of the 2 during my heavy playtimes. And you really did hit on one thing, the library was varied. I would say its real weakness was TO MANY multiplayer only games. All the sports games required 2 people, and quite a few others did too.. I mentioned 2 of my favorites, Sea Battle and Utopia both required other people.. Utopia is such a deep yet simple game, it really is ( i think) the first "GOD GAME"

Favorite games play a big part in your love of a console and Intel has some fairly deep games for its time. Take Space Armada or SpaceBattle games.. simple FPS shooters (on a console) but they had tactical maps that mattered, squads you had to manage (distance from enemies and such) and then the game part. Treasure of tarmin was honestly better then alot of the Home Computer RPG's of its day. Amazingly simple nowdays, but at the time they did alot with so little.. color coding monsters and gear for levels (Blizzard still does this) Adding stuff like a cloak or shield to a monster to increas its abilities (attacks etc.. baiscly making one skelleton into 10 different level enemies, excellent use of less i thought) hex based grid dungeon. the game was actually coded in 81 (some say copying Wizardry) but not released till 83. it has one of the first 3D looking if not the first on a console. You saw the monsters so they could be avoid (if there was anotehr path in the map) or shot at with ranged weapons. i th had health and Spirt.. you could die losing all of either, monsters attacked your health or spirit. Monster could change attacks, if you where low on spirt it would attack that.. made the game hard! Levels! it could have up to 255 levels. I can remeber 5-6 + hour gaming sessions.

amazing game ( yes its one of my all time favorites for that system).

Anonymous (not verified)
Intelligent TV

You are in error, sir, about the Coleco toy having better graphics and sound then the Intellivision. I encourage you to look at the games mentioned and compare them. It was also substantially faster than the Atari VCS or maybe that was a joke. Clock makes a point about the sophistication of the controller, this was not limited to simple games like the rest. That is why it had the best games. I would say it was the PS3 of the times, not the most popular but the most popular with people in the know.

Bill Loguidice
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How silly
Anonymous wrote:

You are in error, sir, about the Coleco toy having better graphics and sound then the Intellivision. I encourage you to look at the games mentioned and compare them. It was also substantially faster than the Atari VCS or maybe that was a joke. Clock makes a point about the sophistication of the controller, this was not limited to simple games like the rest. That is why it had the best games. I would say it was the PS3 of the times, not the most popular but the most popular with people in the know.

I encourage YOU to look again at the systems in question. The ColecoVision had better graphics and sound, though the latter was close, and the overall divide with the Intellivision wasn't huge. Perceived speed was superior on the 2600, which is ultimately what matters in this discussion. Obviously each system - as stated - had its own set of advantages/disadvantages in comparison to the competition (it's easy to argue for instance, that the 2600 had superior color processing). Considering the different release dates for each of the systems, how each of the consoles' engineering challenges were approached, and the differences in libraries, it's amazing we can compare them at all. Finally, in regards to your "competition having simple games" idea, that just proves your ignorance in this regard. While *I* will argue that the Intellivision had the most sophisticated game library by percentage, there were several fine examples of sophisticated games on BOTH the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision.

Also, nice flame bait with the PS3 comment. Again, advantages and disadvantages in comparison to the Xbox 360...

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ruthan
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Too much boring game sound/ music stuff in the last time

Sorry, this guys are probably, ktery very good in coding, but game music from these games, are simply boring and too much simple, happy crapp. There was technical limitation, but its like sound from guitar player with 3 out of tone strings left on guitar.. Maximaly after 30 seconds and usualy hate of these midi and older stuff, dont matters how good or bad, there are. Best midi stuff which i remember - Warcraft 2, Stonekeep, Daggerfall.
True is that the games music is hardly average normal music and thre are only few exception, like Diablo village song, Morrowind soundtrack etc..

Who: Brujah Zealot, the pimp of babylons bitch. / Location: Scorched heart of Europe. // Sorry for my moldavian sort of english, i have 2 possibilities, to be silent or try to say something +look like idiot..

Rob Daviau
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Geez
ruthan wrote:

Sorry, this guys are probably, ktery very good in coding, but game music from these games, are simply boring and too much simple, happy crapp. There was technical limitation, but its like sound from guitar player with 3 out of tone strings left on guitar.. Maximaly after 30 seconds and usualy hate of these midi and older stuff, dont matters how good or bad, there are. Best midi stuff which i remember - Warcraft 2, Stonekeep, Daggerfall.
True is that the games music is hardly average normal music and thre are only few exception, like Diablo village song, Morrowind soundtrack etc..

all you ever seem to post if negative crap comments, not sure why you even watch, surely you can find more entertainment online that you can appreciate.

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clok1966
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well one must consider that

well one must consider that the 2600 and intel had almost nothing to work with. You are compareing the music of games that where on PC's where size might have been a consideration, but it was hardly restrictive like a cart. Also a 2600 and Intel console cost less then a Soundblaster card.. in those days the HARDWARE to do complex music was out of the reach of consoles. one must remeber the SPEACH add on for the Intel cost as much as the console, the carts even had more memory. And at the time Music was just background, it was in almost all games, but it wasnt a big deal..

I myself have never been a huge video game (midi or otherwise) music person.. i can only think of a few i cared for.. Vanguard -when powerd buy energy- (just a electronic version of Attack of the Hawkmen by Queen from Flash Gorden). Reactor- nice heavy techno beat years before it was populour, and Command & Conquor.. the sound track on that was pretty awsome.. especailly "mechanical man" I do think the 2600 Vanguard did play "attack"..

Carl Mueller, Jr. (not verified)
Happy birthday, David Warhol!

Dave, if you're reading this… When are you going to hire me at your company? ;-) Have you seen D2K yet?

Matt… Great job with the show. I see no problem with asking for donations… The idea that just getting views is payment enough is ludicrous. We are all adults here, and there are these things called time and money… On the other hand, you run such a fine program, I wonder if there's some way to boost your views? Other shows like Classic Game Room can get 20,000 views easy.

Let me know if you find your Intellivision. We're still willing to send you a free copy of D2K. Maybe you could do is show detailing the history of Donkey Kong, Nintendo, and it's importance in the home console video market of the early 80s.

Carl

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