There’s a good chance that most of you might be familiar with the Intellivision, that weird console released by Mattel Electronics back in 1979. It was rectangular in shape, and used an odd controller that had a numeric keypad on it. However, shortly after its launch, the Intellivision went on to become one of the most serious competitors to the incredibly popular Atari 2600, selling over 175,000 units in its first year alone. This success saw the expansion of its game library, which consisted of only 4 games at launch, to 19 titles by the end of its first year, all of which were developed by a single company, APh.
After a successful launch, it was clear that Mattel had created the Intellivision solely to take a slice of the video game pie. This was no easy task – numerous other competitors were also trying to break through Atari’s virtual monopoly on video games, most failing to make any noticeable dent in their market share. Thus, the Intellivision ended up taking Mattel by surprise. When they realized that their consoles were flying off the shelves, the company decided to open a studio dedicated to developing first-party software for the console. The studio housed a team of 5 developers, whose location was kept a closely-guarded secret by Mattel to prevent their rival, Atari, from finding them and giving them a better offer to make them defect.