Intellivision - Version 1 KALEX Release

16-bit Game Console


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Intellivision Version 1 KALEX Release (see bottom of text)


Originally released in 1979 by Mattel the Intellivision was Atari's first real competitor for its Atari 2600 console.

The Intellivision is a cartridge base game console that uses ROM cartridges to provide program data and outputs both audio and video to the television via a RF jack. The main casing or 'Master Component' housed the 'smarts', the controllers when they weren't in use and the internal power supply.

It was a great system, the graphics and sound were more often than not superior to those produced by the Atari 2600 but sadly it didn't have the 2600's huge catalogue of games to support it.

The controllers, similar to those released with Coleco's ColecoVision game console sported a directional pad, two fire/action buttons and twelve function keys. The function key pad also allowed for game manufacturers to supply plastic overlay sheets that slotted into the controllers to customise them for that specific game title. Coming first with the design the Intellivision's game console controller was the first to offer a directional pad.

It wasn't all good though; to start with the controller cables were criminally short. The cables were nice and robust but that did take up a lot of real-estate when they were packed away in the unit so they had to be short to compensate. On the whole they were a pain in the arse to put back into the console anyway.

Also, if you got a bit excited you were fairly likely to pull the whole console off of whatever bit of tacky 70's furniture it was on and onto the shag pile carpet.

The directional pad on the controllers are horrible to use, especially for any prolonged period of time and the fire buttons weren't much better.

All that said it was arguably the first 16-bit game system as its General Instrument CP1610 CPU was 16-bit. It was the first system to offer a music synthesizer keyboard and to add real-time human voices during games with the addition of the Intellivoice; see separate page on this site for that hardware. Another first was the ability to download games via the cable TV networks with the use of the PlayCable adapter. More technically interesting the Intellivision was the first game system to have a complete upper and lower case font set with most standard punctuation characters present. A number of games for the system set new game software design standards and genres. The game Utopia is celebrated as the first CMS / Construction and Management Simulation (SimCity style) title.

Gold plate and brown? Seriously guys...

KALEX Release: This version has the stamping 'KALEX' on the solder side near one of the connectors; seen in image twelve. The entire casing is slightly larger by about two millimeters all around so it is impossible to properly put a standard Intellivision case top onto the base of this one.

There are numerous component changes; the most notable being the addition of a smaller PCB see in images fourteen and fifteen.

Both the KALEX and the 'standard' Intellivision (Version 1) listed on this site were shipped with the same Rev 5 controllers.


Intellivision Version 1 KALEX Release
16-bit Game Console

Intellivision KALEX Intellivision KALEX Power Supply Intellivision KALEX Motherboard Intellivision KALEX Joystick Intellivision KALEX Paddle Intellivision KALEX RF Switch



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