From the beginning, Mattel sought to distinguish the Intellivision from the Atari 2600 by insisting that its console
was not just a toy - it would be the basis of a home computer system. Embedding the Master Component within the
Keyboard Component would unlock the full potential of the Intellivision's 16-bit microprocessor.
The Keyboard Component features 64k on a dual dynamic RAM port and its own 6502 processor to coordinate input and output
functions. Special programs were made available on cassette tape. The built-in cassette deck contains a sophisticated
cassette access connection; an audio track can be synchronized with a program and its graphics. With the supplied
microphone, parts of the audio track could be re-recorded and played over the main program. A cartridge port allows you
to run common Intellivision games without removing the Master Component, and a printer port allows output to a
40-column thermal printer.
The Keyboard Component (nicknamed Blue Whale, occasionally referred to as Intelliputer) was developed
by Dave Chandler's team of engineers, the same group responsible for the final engineering of the Master Component.
The Keyboard Component was certainly an impressive piece of equipment, but from a marketing point of view, it was
not practical; there was no way to produce it at a reasonable selling price. Had it not been for the reputation of
Dave "Papa Intellivision" Chandler, the project would probably have been phased out much earlier. Instead, his team
was allowed to continue "patching", trying to lower the cost. Planned to be made available in 1981, the launch of
the Keyboard has been postponed numerous times.
When Jay Leno attended Mattel Electronics' Christmas party in 1981, he did his homework; got the biggest
laughter with the joke: "You know what the three big lies are, don't you? 'The check is in the mail', 'I will still
respect you in the morning' and 'The Keyboard will be released in the spring'".
But consumers were not laughing. Complaints from people who bought Intellivision specifically because
could be expanded to a computer caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which initiated
an investigation from Mattel for fraud. Mattel insisted that the Keyboard was a real product that was still being
tested; a handful of Keyboard Components was made available to select stores and offered by mail to consumers who
complained (a loss for the company).
The thermal printer was only available by post; it was apparently the same printer (except for the label)
which later had a wider release as part of Aquarius. Several cassette programs have been
made available; some (Conversational French,
Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning,
Spelling Challenge, Jeane Dixon Astrology)
were programmed in assembler language for 1610 and took advantage of Intellivision’s sound and graphics,
others were more limited BASIC programs (Geography Challenge,
III) that require a connected BASIC cartridge
at the games port. With the BASIC cartridge, the user could also write their own programs.
Finally, in mid-1982, the FTC ordered Mattel to pay a monthly fine (it is said to be US$10,000) until
the Keyboard was widely distributed. Mattel was forced to use its Plan B: it launched, instead, the
Entertainment Computer System (ECS) that had been secretly
developed by a different division. Although it was less powerful than the Keyboard Component, it offered the least
that had been promised: turning Intellivision into a computer. That was enough (plus an offer to buy back all
the remaining Keyboards) to get the FTC off Mattel's back.
The Keyboard Component, with only 4,000 units produced, has been officially canceled. Units sold were collected
and the money returned. Customers who keep the equipment should sign a document exempting Mattel from any
future product support.
But it was not just that: Compro Inc., a company from Costa Mesa (California), which had been contracted to
manufacture the Keyboard, sued Mattel for US$10,000,000, alleging breach of contract, fraud and non-payment of the latest
1,300 units. This was one of the lawsuits involving Mattel Inc. in early 1984, when Mattel Electronics closed.
For its part, Compro was fueled by the video game industry. As the main supplier for Atari, Sega and Commodore,
as well as Mattel, it left the market. Today, under the name Mexmil, they manufacture insulation material for companies
McDonnel Douglas and Boeing. When asked what happened to all the equipment manufactured for video games and
computers, an employee said, "I think they sold everything to Nintendo."
CURIOUS FACT: All the money spent on the Keyboard Component has not been totally lost; measure
when groups of programmers increased during 1982, equipment was not assembled fast enough. The bottleneck was the Magus
card (connection between the development computer and the Intellivision), assembled manually.
Then, some brilliant person realized that a Blue Whale would make an excellent development system! One Keyboard
Slightly modified component (nicknamed Black Whale) could accept the compiled code for a game in a serial way
to your internal RAM; this RAM, mapped to the same address as the Intellivision cartridge, could be read by the Master
Component connected as if it were a cartridge.
Even slower to download a game than a Magus card (which reads data from the computer by parallel lines), the Black
Whale proved to be a quick and inexpensive solution. In mid-1983, half of the development systems at Hawthorne and
all development systems at French Mattel Electronics used Black Whales.
Launch announced for 1981
Sold only by mail in 1982 for US$600
Works with Intellivision I
Adds the 6502 8-bit microprocessor
16K RAM expandable up to 8M, full keyboard, cassette tape drive digitally controlled by software, expansion ports, printer port
Step-by-step to Home Computing (4187-0180-G1) [USA]
Introducing the Intellivision ECS (inside) [USA]
ECS Marketing Strategy (inside) [USA]
Guide des Codes de Caractères des Cassettes de Jeux [FRANCE]
In mid-1981, Richard Chang's development team began work on the Basic Discovery System (BDS).
It was announced by the company as a module connectable to Intellivision that would initiate children to programming
of computers by means of an inexpensive keyboard and a colored and simplified version of BASIC.
Few people knew the real purpose behind BDS: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was analyzing processes
against Mattel for not launching the Intellivision Keyboard Component.
Key people at Mattel Electronics' senior leadership, concerned that the engineering team at
Dave "Papa Intellivision" Chandler never made the Keyboard
Component at an acceptable cost, they started looking for something that they could launch instead. Afraid that Chandler had
political influence within Mattel Inc. (the parent company) to exterminate any attempt to develop an alternative to
Keyboard, they had to keep their intentions a secret.
The Design and Development team was challenged to build an inexpensive Intellivision module (up to US$150 at retail)
but that fulfilled the original basic promises of the Keyboard Component: transforming Intellivision
on a computer, make it possible to write programs, save them to tape and connect to a printer.
The module design was done by Jan Chodak and implemented mainly by Greg Goodknight. The simplified interpreter
BASIC was programmed by Jay Hastroudian. As the module's work proceeded, it was officially released and
discussed in memos as an add-on to the Intellivision line, never as a substitute for the Keyboard Component.
But the launch was forced when the FTC started fining Mattel on a monthly basis until the Keyboard Component was
launched. Finally, the Basic Discovery System was publicly publicized as a possible alternative to Keyboard.
Renamed Lucky (from LUCKI: Low User-Cost Keyboard Interface) was introduced to programmers to start the
game development. A computer-style keyboard, an extra pair of controls (for games with four players)
or a musical keyboard could be connected to the Lucky adapter.
(The idea for a modular musical keyboard came from the Design and Development team. Musical instruments were
the project group favorite. They have always produced Synsonics batteries; electric guitars, basses and wind
instruments were in the plans. Other complements to ECS were briefly discussed in the sector: a health diagnosis
module and a camera).
In the fall of 1982, at Mattel's annual meeting of marketing, sales and distributor employees, Lucky
(Computer Module, Computer Keyboard and the Music Synthesizer) was presented with his
final name: Entertainment Computer System (ECS). All those present were delighted (mainly due to the low price)
and the obvious became official: the Keyboard Component was dead.
A pre-Christmas commercial was launched with Mattel Electronics spokesman George Plimpton teasing with the introduction of ECS
(using an internal joke "[Intellivision users] won't believe your luck!"). Although ECS does not
was available for Christmas 1982, the aim of the commercial was to convince people to buy Intellivision instead
Atari or Colecovision with the promise (again) that a computer module was about to come out.
Officially presented to the public at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January 1983 in Las Vegas, ECS achieved
the market more than a year later with a handful of games. Satisfied, the FTC canceled the monthly fine.
Once the ECS was launched, however, Mattel Electronics' focus shifted. After the June 1983 CES in Chicago,
Josh Denham and Stav Prodomou, president and senior vice president of operations for Mattel Electronics, resigned.
Josh and Stav were guilty of pushing the company too far into producing hardware; hundreds of millions of dollars
were spent on development, in addition to the original Intellivision, the Keyboard Component,
Intellivoice, Intellivision II,
System Changer, ECS, Aquarius (and peripherals),
Intellivision III and the top secret
On 07/02/1983, Josh was replaced by Mack Morris, a marketing man famous for putting Breath Savers "in the blue"
(the device that made a game quickly put aside has become known as "in the blue" within Mattel).
According to Mack Morris, the emphasis was placed almost entirely on software (almost all employees related to the
hardware development were dismissed on 08/04/1983).
ECS received very little marketing support and, for future game development, reduced to almost nothing.
An announced Expander Program, containing 16k of additional RAM and extra features (including expanded BASIC)
in 12k of RAM, it was never completed.
CURIOUS FACT: The ECS sold in Europe was molded in brown plastic instead of light gray.
The launch of Intellivision II was delayed in Europe due to the pending development of a STIC chip that
would work better with the European television system (on European TV sets, the image covers about
80% of the screen), so Mattel made the brown European ECS to match the original Intellivision.
Launched in 1983 for US$170
Officially replaced the Keyboard Component
Increases memory and adds 3 channels of sound to Intellivision, cassette and printer ports
Enables the inclusion of a computer keyboard, a musical keyboard or two additional controls
Allows you to play with special cartridges that use ECS resources
Only the Melody Blaster game uses the musical keyboard
No cartridges were created to use the two additional controls
Molded in gray plastic for the North American market and brown for the European market
(The following information comes from preliminary versions of the ECS user guide written by Keith Robinson, 03/25/1983,
based on documentation by David Stifel, inputs from David Warhol and reading the unfinished ECS EXEC)
For game development, the computer adapter essentially adds five components to Intellivision:
Invisible to the programmer, there is the SDCC (Super-Duper Custom Chip) that integrates the information
control of these components and controls.
SOUND CHIP: The sound chip is a GI AY-3-8914, the same as the Master Component. The chip
contains three separate sound channels, each channel can be individually controlled by frequency and volume. There is also a
generator chip noise, which can be added to any of the three channels. These three channels are mixed with the three from the
Master Component and sent to the TV's sound output. Musically, it means that six notes can be played simultaneously.
CASSETTE RECORDER/PRINTER INTERFACE: The computer adapter contains a UART (Universal
Asynchronous Receive/Transmit) that allows you to move data sequentially to or from the
cassette recorder or to be printed by the controller program.
[ECS was designed to work with standard cassette recorders and came with a list of current models that were
compatible with it, the same 40-column thermal printer sold with the original Keyboard
Component and with Aquarius. At CES in June 1983, ECS was demonstrated with data recorders and printers
Aquarius with "Intellivision" plates affixed; they were never actually launched with that identification].
Since Intellivision was based on the General Instrument chip, it didn't take long for anyone to realize that the
General Instrument's "Orator" synthesized voice chip could form the basis of a stylish Intellivision module.
Ron Carlson, a Design and Development engineer, was tasked with developing the hardware for the Intellivoice module;
Ron Surratt, who would later coordinate M Network's game programming for the Atari 2600, was assigned to
write the software; Patrick Jost was in charge of analyzing and editing voice data.
They took advantage of the Orator’s 16k ROM to build a set of generic words and phrases that
they could be used in any game with a voice to build their vocabulary. This included reading, with a male voice,
numbers, "left", "right", "up", "down" and the well-known "Mattel Electronics presents". These
onboard phrases, called RESROM (from Resident ROM), along with the voices from the first game with voice,
Space Spartans, were recorded and digitized in New York,
at General Instrument's voice lab.
Ron Carlson and Patrick Jost oversaw the sessions in New York and returned the data to Ron Surratt in California,
that loaded them into the Intellivoice prototype. But once connected, all that was heard was the repetition of "Auk yooo! Auk
yooo!", which did not resonate well with Mattel executives and marketing people.
In quite heated telephone conversations between Hawthorne and New York, Carlson attributed the problem to Surratt's software
and Surratt blamed Carlson's hardware. "I really didn't know what I was talking about", Surratt admitted years later,
"but luckily it wasn't a hardware problem".
Finally, the errors were resolved and Mattel was fully committed to developing games with voice.
A voice model laboratory was built in the Mattel Electronics building in Hawthorne; this huge facility was ideal
for editing, as well as for "cheating" after (and occasionally during) office hours.
Voice editing was crucial, as each cartridge could support only 4 to 8k of voice data. Words needed
be digitized at the lowest possible frequency at which they could be understood; generally, the frequency was
changed three or four times in the same word - lower for vowels, higher for consonants - to gain space.
Despite this effort to gain space, the number of words that could fit within a game with a voice was extremely
limited, which probably contributed to the failure of the Intellivoice. While orders for the first voice games
launched were around 300,000 each, orders for the fourth game,
TRON Solar Sailer, released later, reached just 90,000.
A complete game for children, Magic Carousel, has been put aside.
A restyled Intellivoice, designed to match the
Intellivision II, appeared on
January 1983 Mattel Electronics catalog; a prototype,
however, it was never built. The module shown in the catalog was simply a block of wood carved and painted.
At least two prototypes were built, however, from an International Intellivoice module. The prototypes are
they look like a regular Intellivoice, but they contain additional ROM with French, German and Italian versions of RESROM.
Foreign versions of the Space Spartans were produced, but neither they nor the Intellivoice International module were
An attempt to recover the investment in Intellivoice was made by deciding to include the Orator chip and RESROM in the
Intellivision III; no module would be
needed to run the original and new games from Intellivoice.
Unfortunately, Intellivision III never went beyond the drafting table. On 08/04/1983, all the people at Mattel Electronics
related to Intellivoice were fired.
CURIOUS FACT: There was one last effort by Mattel to produce games with voice. At the end of 1983,
realizing that the price of synthesized voice chips had dropped dramatically, Keith Robinson, game manager for
ColecoVision from M Network, and programmer Tom Priestley presented a game production scheme for ColecoVision with
a voice chip built into the cartridge. Using the components of a speaker clock purchased from Radio Shack, Tom joined them with a
prototype cartridge for a game with voice for that console. Their idea was to produce versions for the ColecoVision of Space
Spartans, Bomb Squad and B-17 Bomber using existing voice data. Marketing was intrigued by the idea and suggested that
it be developed in the future, but Mattel Electronics closed shortly thereafter.
CURIOUS FACT: The Intellivoice contains a buffer chip needed to connect to the Master
Component and the Orator chip. As this buffer could conceptually be used to connect other peripherals to the
Master Component, the Intellivoice was designed with a peripheral connector, hidden under the nameplate
from Mattel Electronics at the top. Only one peripheral went to the drafting table and it could use this
connector: wireless manual controls. When marketing decided to incorporate Intellivoice into Intellivision III,
the promise of wireless manual controls came with it.
Launched in 1982 for US$70
6 compatible games developed (5 released)
It was not released in Brazil
[The following material was extracted from the Intellivoice Product Engineering Specification (Model 3330) by
Thomas L. Randolph, design engineer, 03/18/1982, revised 05/05/1982; of the General Instrument Orator Voice Processor
Product Specification and the Intellivoice Service Manual].
The 3330 produces audio signals when used in conjunction with a Master Component and/or Keyboard Component,
and voice-compatible game cartridges. Cartridges are considered "voice compatible" if they make use of the 3330's
Cartridges that are not compatible with voice do not use these features, nor do they allow certain voice signal
production functions to be performed. However, compatible "speechless" cartridges can be used with the 3330, but
no voice advantage will be available.
When used during the game, the Intellivoice unit "speaks" via the Intellivision sound channel. It uses the same
sound channel as the Master Component's sound generator.
A volume control on the 3330 allows for varying the pitch of the voice. This control does not affect the normal
sound of the game - only the voice.
The 3330 unit will be the basis for future peripherals. Additional hardware was included to allow communication
control between the Master Component and these peripherals. Future peripherals will be connected to the top
connector of the 3330.
The 3330 consists of a VLSI speech synthesizer, an LSI buffer/interface chip, an active audio filter/amplifier
and provision to assist the supply of +5V power to the Master and Keyboard Components.
SPEECH SYNTHESIZER: The speech synthesizer is an Orator SP-0256 from General Instrument. The SP-0256
incorporates four basic functions: 1. A software programmable digital filter that can be used to create a VOCAL TRACT. 2. A 16k ROM that stores both voice data (Resident ROM or RESROM) and instructions (the PROGRAM). 3. A MICROCONTROLLER that controls the data flow from the ROM to the digital filter, the assembly of
the "word strings" necessary to connect the voice elements and the amplitude and tone information to activate
the filter digital. 4. A PULSE WIDTH MODULATOR that creates a digital output, which is converted to an analog signal when
processed by an external pass-through filter.
The SP-0256 can also accept serial voice data from an external source.
In 3330, RESROM contains a variety of words and phrases that can be used in games. The PROGRAM consists of
17 parameters used by the VOCAL TRACT model to mimic human voice patterns.
BUFFER/INTERFACE CHIP: The buffer/interface chip (General Instrument SPB-640) contains logic necessary to
connect the speech synthesizer to the Master/Keyboard Component cartridge controller.
The input control of the buffer/interface chip is done initially by the signal controller of the Master Component.
Other input controls are generated by the speech synthesizer during speech production.
The buffer/interface chip has three methods of transmitting data to the speech synthesizer and peripherals
connected to the connector.
The first voice-oriented data transfer method causes the synthesizer to produce speech segments contained in its
internal ROM (RESROM): the buffer/interface chip allows the address of the desired voice segment to be transmitted
by the data controller 8 bits of a peripheral, connecting the buffer/interface and the synthesizer chip, and
defines the appropriate control lines to the synthesizer to generate the segment.
The second method of moving voice data allows the Master/Keyboard Component to load standardized voice data to
the synthesizer: cartridge data is loaded into the 640-bit FIFO of the buffer/interface chip and converted to
serial data, and the buffer/interface chip defines the appropriate control lines so that the synthesizer reads
the data in series and converts them into speech.
Finally, the buffer/interface chip also allows you to move data to and from peripherals connected to the upper
connector: the buffer/interface chip defines the appropriate control lines so that the peripheral control can
transfer data from the microprocessor in a bi-directional way.
ACTIVE AUDIO FILTER/AMPLIFIER SECTION: The speech synthesizer output is not a conventional audio output,
but a 40KHz pulse length modulated (PWM) digital signal. When viewed on an oscilloscope, this appears to be a
square wave whose edge rapidly expands and contracts as voice generation occurs.
A series of filters (an LM-324C Quad OP Amp and related components) converts the PWM signal to conventional audio,
which is then amplified (an LM-358C Dual OP Amp and related components, including volume control) and powers the
The effective band for voice signals is 150Hz to 5KHz. Within this range, there is also a pre-emphasis of 3db/bass octave.
POWER SUPPLY BOOSTING/SUPPORT: The peripheral connector has its connections organized in order to allow a
future power supply that guarantees the needs of the 3330 and the cartridge and expands the power capacity of the
The extension of the power supply can be done by allowing power to enter pin 6 of the peripheral connector.
This unregulated voltage is amplified by a 8.2 Ohm and 2W resistor to the Vcc of the Master/Keyboard Component
on pin 43 of the cartridge port to provide an increase of approximately 270mA.
The System Changer, developed under the moniker Portofino (after the Redondo Beach hotel, where the first
development meeting took place) was launched in 1983 and, thus, Intellivision could be announced as the system
that ran the largest number of games.
Many people were surprised that the Intellivision's processor could emulate an Atari 2600. Well, it couldn't.
The System Changer is simply a clone of the Atari 2600 - essentially a 6507 processor, a TIA (Television
Interface Adapter) video and sound chip and a 6532 RIOT chip (128 bytes of RAM, input/output ports and a general
System Changer only uses Intellivision for power supply and RF modulation.
Intellivision reads System Changer like a cartridge called M Network and draws an M Network title screen.
Without a cartridge in the System Changer - consequently without an external video signal - this screen is
demonstrated on television.
When a cartridge is connected, the external video signal passes through the RF modulator, thus showing the
output of the System Changer.
Although Atari threatened to sue, Mattel's lawyers concluded that it would be legal to clone a 2600 as long as
it contained proprietary hardware and no copyrighted software (as there was on Intellivision or Colecovision).
No lawsuits have emerged and clones have started to emerge from other companies.
Don't worry about opening a System Changer to read what the chips contain. Instead of being bundled into the
well-known DIP (multi-pin) packages, integrated circuits are soldered directly onto the circuit board using
microscopic wires, and then protected with an epoxy drop. This inexpensive technique was also used in most
cartridges at that time.
The only problem was that Intellivision does not have an external video output. Intellivision II was created
with System Changer in mind - it can accept an external video signal on pin 2 of the cartridge port and pass
it to the RF modulator.
The original Intellivision Master Component (and its clones -
Sears Super Video Arcade and
any INTV Master Component) requires a modification of the circuit board. Mattel used to make this modification
to people who took their consoles to a service center.
Launched in 1983
Allows you to run Atari 2600 games on Intellivision II
It was not released in Brazil
Next, the instructions used by the technical assistance to make the modification. But first, the warning:
the Blue Sky Rangers make this information available only for historical interest. They will not be held responsible
for damage to you, your Intellivision or your home if you are foolish enough to actually attempt this modification
and claim something.
2609 MASTER COMPONENT MODIFICATION FOR PORTOFINO EXTERNAL VIDEO (13/01/1983)
2. CUT FOIL: 2.1. COMPONENT SIDE - At the pad for R24 on the end that leads to Pin 1 of the RF modulator. 2.2. FOIL SIDE: 2.2.1. Cut the foil attached to J1, Pin 2. 2.2.2. Cut the foil at the pad for R3 (22K ohm 1/4W resistor) that leads to Pin 1 of the modulator.
3. INSTALL THE FOLLOWING: 3.1. COMPONENT SIDE: 3.1.1. A 1N914 diode with .250" length of sleeving on the anode lead. Anode lead to the foil leading to Pin 1 of the modulator using the feedthrough hole on this trace. The cathode to the pad for C33 (the pad at the end of the foil leading to R3). 3.1.2. A 1N914 diode across the cut foil of 2.1 above, with the cathode to the pad for R24. 3.1.3. A 2" length of insulated jumper wire from the cathode of diode CR8 to the junction of the foil between R3 and R9. 3.2. FOIL SIDE - A 6" length of coax, #RG174/U, stripped 1/4" at each end. Shrink sleeve insulate exposed braid on one end and solder center conductor to J1 Pin 2 (i.e. braid is not connected). Other end solder braid to ground foil at C33 and center conductor to cathode of new diode installed at 3.1.2 above.
Introduced in 1982, the "PlayCable: The channel for all games" allowed local cable operators to send
Intellivision games with the TV signal. Subscribers used a special converter to download games and play on their
own Intellivision and was very popular in the areas where it was available.
The PlayCabe Company was a partnership between Mattel and General Instrument, the company that developed the
The equipment was manufactured by the General Instrument Jerrold division, which supplied the cable boxes to
the cable companies.
The design of the PlayCable matched the original Intellivision Master Component. It was connected to the
cartridge slot of the Master Component and connected to the TV cable. Connected to Intellivision, it had several
pages of menus on the screen, showing the available games. Twenty titles were available at a time, alternating
monthly. The code for these games was continuously transmitted over the cable; when one was chosen, its code
could be "turned on" and inserted into the PlayCable's memory (taking about 10 seconds). Intellivision could
then read the PlayCable's memory as if it were a cartridge.
Several reasons contributed to the end of the system: 1. PlayCable did not have enough memory to download the larger games (8k and above) released in 1983. The
converter boxes would have to be upgraded or the system limited to old games. 2. With the growing number of channels that subscribers demanded ("I want my MTV!"), many cable
operators felt it was not worth reserving bandwidth for the PlayCable (especially considering the investment in
hardware necessary for the system to function). 3. At least two people realized that a PlayCable could be an excellent development system for Intellivision.
By connecting a personal computer to PlayCable, by trial and error, they quickly decoded the EXEC software and
started writing their own games. While these two were prevented from competing with Mattel, who hired them to
program the arcade conversion Bump 'n' Jump for Intellivision,
the board was concerned that PlayCable could make it very easy for small businesses to enter the "compatible-with-Intellivision"
Subscribers rented the PlayCable adapters from cable companies. When the system was discontinued in 1983, the
adapters had to be returned.
Subscription available between 1981 and 1983 for US$4.95 per month
Leased module from the local cable TV company
Available in limited areas
20 games available per month, including new releases
The Printer 40 thermal printer was one of the items promised by Mattel Electronics to integrate the
Intellivision Entertainment Center.
Prints up to 240 rows of 40 columns. The character matrix is made up of 5x8 dots and has an ASCII table of
96 characters, including uppercase, lowercase and numbers.
Works with thermal paper in reel or cut sheet.
According to the manufacturer, it is quiet and economical - consumes about 3 watts - and prints 10,000 dots
An identical model called Sprinter was designed for use with the TRS-80 and Apple computers, in
addition to the Atari 400 and 800 models, and Intellivision itself through the Keyboard Component.
The modem was one of the items promised by Mattel Electronics to integrate the "entertainment hub" of Intellivision.
Initially, some studies were done in 1980 to analyze the feasibility of launching the modem. Price surveys, coordinated
by Scott Klynas, included prices for commercially available computer accessories and contacts with major
manufacturers such as Motorola and Texas Instruments.
After this study, it was concluded that the cost of producing the equipment would be higher than expected by Mattel.
Thus, the company left Dave Chandler and Dave Hostetler to the arduous task of developing an efficient and, above
all, inexpensive modem.
The possibilities imagined by the team for the accessory were several: using Intellivision as an answering
machine, which could answer the call and record the message on the Keyboard Component's cassette tape; carry
out bank transactions with the aid of a security chip; read news; send and receive messages or images in
addition to, of course, information about selling Mattel products.
In April 1983, Mattel Electronics gathered part of the team to publicize its strategy regarding communication
and data transmission. The crisis in the electronics industry was already showing its face, but the plans were audacious.
The 1200 baud modem would have a built-in numeric keypad, battery, cursor command by controlling the Intellivision,
parallel connection for the Keyboard Component, as well as a serial connection for a "new keyboard" that could be developed.
Another point of attention is the plans for wireless connection, optical pen and use of external storage (hard
disk), something new in the field of electronic games at the time.
Marketing director Gary Moskovitz stated at this meeting: "Downloading information will be vitally important
in the years to come. I believe the sale of different software in stores will be quickly outpaced by the almost
infinite choice of software from information networks by phone or cable. We need to provide Intellivision users
with an inexpensive way to access and save data for later use".
There is no information about the existence of a prototype.