I’m one of those “old” gamers. I’ve been playing video games for over 30 years, which is a little startling in itself, and as much as my friends deride me for it (though I’ll never understand why), I still like playing the “old” game.

I’m sure there’s a good chunk of my readership that wasn’t alive during the first great “Console War”. Not Nintendo Vs. Sega, but Atari Vs. Intellivision.

Intellivision was a weird beast. The first real competition for the mega-popular Atari, and unconventional advertising campaign featuring journalist George Plimpton, and a very long run as far as game systems go (1979-1991). While it didn’t have the licensed fervor that Atari had, it did have a lot of Mattel licenses (Masters of the Universe), Tron, Dungeons & Dragons, and a majority of the popular arcade titles of the time. It also had Imagic as a third-party developer, which had some truly creative games on the system. And then there was Activision during its heyday.

What’s surprising about Intellivision is that it still truly lives. While Mattel no longer supports the console, the original developers still do. Classic gaming compilations are nothing new, but are near impossible to get “right” when it comes to Intellivision. Why?

The controller is not one that can be replicated with modern controllers, and while the package has come to several different consoles, none could ever capture the controller correctly, which resulted into a big mess when trying to relive Intellivision’s glory days.

PC can do this, naturally, with Intellivision Lives! and Intellivision Rocks! – And now, finally, the DS can.

The story of the DS compilation is a weird one. This title has languished in “Development Hell” for years, in trying to find a publisher, and Nintendo’s difficult stance on approving the project. But it makes perfect sense on the DS. The touchscreen can finally emulate the keypad aspect of the controlled. There’s been so many attempted workarounds for trying to emulate this, that it’s finally been done justice here for the 60 games featured.

There are a few problems with the library. Activision and Imagic titles aren’t here like they were for Intellivision Rocks!, and are sorely missed. The Tron games aren’t here, either, nor are the arcade ports. But the Dungeons & Dragons games are, minus the name being changed to something more generic. And while not every game is pretty looking (or in some cases playable in the “fun” or “easily understood” sense), games like Thunder Castle and Thin Ice are quite pretty for the system.

It’s a bare bones compilation in terms of the front-end, and the high score input is a little weird in set-up (exit the game in order to access it), but again, the chance to finally play these games in a more accurate setting removed so much frustration that I’ve experienced with every other console attempt.

There are a wide variety of games available, even if some of my favorites are missing. Frog Bog was unique, Astrosmash and Night Stalker were staples of the system. Even Las Vegas Poker and Blackjack is there (Fun Fact: The Dealer in this game used to scare me a little as a kid, as I thought he was a jerk for smiling when I lost, and looked so mean when I won). There are even a few Intellivoice titles on there.

I was excited for the chance to play Intellivision Lives! on the DS as it would represent the first time being able to play these old games properly on a console. It’s shame that Nintendo was so difficult for so long in loosening things up enough to allow it to come out, but better late than never. There are some “must haves” missing, but you can’t go wrong for $15-20 on this game, especially if you want to see what the fuss was all about for us older gamers.

I liked this title. Who knows? Perhaps you will as well.

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Filed under: 2D gamingds gamingintellivision gamingpost-scriptretro gaming