The age of emulation is upon us. There have been several Atari 2600 and coin-operated emulators for the PlayStation over the past few years, but no way to play your old Intellivision favorites without owning an Inty itself or having a PC. Well now that’s changed. You can now play 30 Intellivision classic games on your PlayStation and relive home console history!
The interface is handled well and is simple to work with. The menus for selecting the games are also done well, showing the game’s name, a picture of the box cover, and a screenshot from the game. In addition, there are some short video interviews with some of the original developers of the Intellivision. Anyone interested in not only the games, but the history should take 15 minutes and watch these.
The gameplay itself depends on which game you actually end up playing. Some play better than others do. There are a good variety of games here from Intellivision’s Action Network, Space Network, Sports Network, and Gaming Network. The collection includes Armor Battle, Astrosmash, Auto Racing, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Checkers, Chess, Football, Frog Bog, Golf, Hockey, Hover Force, Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack, Night Stalker, Pinball, Sea Battle, Shark! Shark!, Skiing, Sharp Shot, Snafu, Soccer, Space Armada, Space Battle, Space Hawk, Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball, Stadium Mud Buggies, Star Strike, Sub Hunt, and Tennis. Each game has a two screens pop up before play. One shows the controls for that game, the other will show any available options unless the options have to be entered in the game itself. I was actually a little disappointed by this as I would expect an emulator to start the game right from the title screen and enter the options in the game itself rather than in the PlayStation’s interface. While this doesn’t detract from the game itself, I felt it detracts from the general feel of the emulation.
For those of you who aren’t that familiar with the layout of the original Intellivision controllers, they had a 12-key number pad on the top, a 16-direction disc on the bottom (much like today’s "d-pad" on most controllers), and two "action" buttons on either side of the controller. Each game was also packaged with a set of two overlays for the keypad. Sony’s controller doesn’t have nearly this many buttons, but what is there is handled as well as it can be for a controller with eight buttons. The other seven (two buttons on the original controller were wired together and did the same thing) functions are handled by combinations of the buttons on the controller which take a little time to get used to, but aren’t that bad all things considered. If you have a hard time using or remembering which button combinations translate to the Inty controller buttons, fear not. You can also bring up a virtual Intellivision controller on screen that allows you to highlight and press which keypad button you want to use. While this is innovative, I was disappointed that during the games themselves, the overlays don’t show on this controller graphic. Anyone who has played an Intellivision game knows that many of them really do require the overlays to effectively play the game. While the overlays aren’t present, the instructions for all the games are -- or at least the parts of the instructions you need to read to effectively play the game.
While the controller has its negative points in the emulation, it also has its positive points too. Playing an action game on an original Intellivision usually resulted in these incredibly bad hand cramps due to the awful controller design. Fortunately, the PlayStation controller is a LOT more comfortable which means playing these action games becomes more fun than ever. Although it isn’t listed on the box, you can use the analog controller, which works better than the D-pad for games that utilize all 16 directions of the original control disc.
One nice feature included is the ability to save your progress at any given point in any game so you can continue later on. There are four save slots available.
That depends. The menus and such look just great. The games, however, look absolutely primitive. Hmmm, maybe that is due to most of these games being produced around 1980. Okay, so by 1980 standards the graphics are superb and rake the competition over the coals.
Once again, that depends. The sounds in the menus and such are very nice. The music is the same as Intellivision Lives! for the PC but then again, they both are more or less the same game. Much like the graphics, the sounds are primitive by today’s standards, but were once considered better than the competition also.
In a word, essential. Some Intellivision games are fairly complicated and without instructions become very difficult to play or are unplayable. The manual contains all the "need-to-know" instructions for these games. Depending on the game, the keypad designations are also included. Whatever you do, this is one instruction book to not lose as you really will use it quite a bit for reference until you become used to some of these games. You may even use it after you’ve become acquainted (or re-acquainted) too.
This compilation has a good mix of classics and some other not-so-common games. Considering the lack of buttons on the PlayStation controller, control is handled well and is very nice to use with the action games (I still have cramps from those original Inty controllers). This game probably isn’t for everyone, though. I would generally recommend this collection to any classic gamer or anyone who is curious about a big part of home gaming history. This compilation may also be a good recommendation for those with smaller children as most of the action games are very simple and generally non-violent by comparison to today’s titles which is why I give this game collection a score of 82.