Intellivision Summer

Back in 1983 my mum rented an Intellivision games console from Radio Rentals. She couldn’t afford to buy a console so she added it to the colour tv she rented. I actually wanted an Atari 2600 at the time but that wasn’t available from Radio Rentals. Some of the kids at school had owned an Atari 2600 for years. It was one of those things that made me realise that we weren’t as well-off as lots of other families. The Intellivisision had been on sale for two years before we got one.

We were given a choice of one game with the unit from a list that included Donkey Kong and Burger Time. Instead of choosing a decent game, I insisted we got the Tron movie tie-in, Maze-a-Tron. Tron had recently been shown in cinemas and I loved Tron. The game’s box art looks amazing on the flyer my mum brought home.

The game was terrible.

None of the shops in our town sold Intellivision games so Maze-a-Tron was the only game we had and played it to death for about six months well into the Summer of 1983. The kids at school swapped Atari games. No one else had an Intellivision.

Maze-a-Tron is a pretty dull game. You play as Tron running around a side-moving maze trying to avoid the recognisers (the flying vehicles) and, every so often, using a disc to destroy the MCP. It was incredibly repetative and frustrating.

At some point the Intellivision was shoved behind the TV and laid dusty and forgotten for about 20 years until it got thrown out with all my mum’s things after she died. She’d paid for it monthly all the way up to her death. It had been paid for well beyond its cost (and actual value).

I’ve just been trying to play Maze-a-Tron along with the (slightly better) Deadly Discs and Solar Sailor. It’s part of a general nostalgia I have for my childhood from time-to-time where I try to recapture that sense of joy I had as a boy for stuff like this.

None of the games play well or seem to be any good. Maze-a-Tron is still a terrible game. I’m not sure why I felt nostagia for the Intellivision anyhow!

why did the cover have to make the game look so good?