One of the hardest aspects of reviewing compilations is the nostalgia factor that hits gamers and reviewers alike. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective, so these games must be scrutinized from a different perspective, one that takes that nostalgia factor into account when composing a review. Because nostalgia is mainly what these compilations sell, it’s not state-of-the-art. Like watching an old movie, you don’t see it because they are cutting edge. If you didn’t own an Intellivision or you simply don’t care for videogame nostalgia then you may rate this game lower. Many of today’s gamers didn’t live the ?80s; many don’t remember Atari and much less the Intellivision. But both of these systems are part of videogaming history, and that’s the value they have nowadays. As a compilation, is it worth buying? That’s what this review tries to answer.
The graphics above all cannot be compared to today’s games; it would be unfair to do so. The technical aspects of the game have to be compared to the original games, because it is, after all, a compilation. Judging by those standards, Intellivision Lives! does a great job in recreating the look of those 80’s classics. It is a tough job to make every game look the way it did way back in that decade. Gamers with the retro bug shouldn’t worry because they will enjoy Intellivision games in the way they did before.
There’s not much to say in this department because, during the time of the first consoles, the sound of the games was not an especially important aspect; any bleep noise would do. But some of the Intellivision games had a more sophisticated sound scheme than the competition at the time. Again, as with the graphics, the sound is faithfully reproduced and very enjoyable for the fans of the system. The music and sounds are two things that can make you remember most games. The example of movies comes to mind again. When you hear the Star Wars theme or The Godfather theme it sends shivers down your spine; it’s much the same thing for people who once owned an Intellivision system.
This is where the biggest problem comes into the mix: the control scheme; mainly due to the weird controllers that the Intellivision had. It consisted of a disc – like a hockey puck – and it had 12 buttons. Some games did utilize all of the buttons, but most of them used only 2 or 3. So, gamers will not have that hard of a time when using the GameCube controller as a replacement. The more complicated games on the compilation, and those that use more buttons, can be played with a virtual keypad that appears on the screen. It’s not the most fluid way to play a game but it’s a fairly solid solution. If you get past the hassle of the control scheme you will enjoy the simple gameplay evident in most of the games. One positive thing that games had during the ?80s was that they were simply fun to play. Even by today’s standards some oldies are more fun to play than the newest of titles.
Videogame History Lives!
This review could not be complete without mentioning the extra features found in the compilation. You can find an interview with the ?makers’, displayed original artwork, TV commercials, as well as facts about the individual games. The menu resembles an everyday scene from the compilation’s era: an 80’s pizza parlor. I hope I’m not the only one who lived through those times and places, especially as many arcade machines where to be found in pizza parlors and cafes. The nostalgia factor kicks in again; the work on the menu is great.
Those people that didn’t get to see the Intellivision system will likely find it hard to believe that Mattel once produced a videogame system. Today it would be most unlikely for Mattel to attempt to put out a console, but in the ?80s they gave (the then) mighty Atari a considerable run for their money. It was much like what Sega did with their Genesis system against Nintendo. Boasting some of the best graphics and sound of the time, the Intellivision surpassed many of Atari’s consoles until Mattel’s videogame dream fell apart. History is retold through the people that win, but stiff competition always means evolution for an industry. Atari may have won in the end but many gamers have fond memories of the 80’s system that wasn’t Atari. Compilations like this are a valuable addition to any serious player’s games library; their value strives to shine through the historical importance of the system and its games. Intellivision Lives! on the GameCube is a faithful compilation that remains true to its roots and won’t disappoint videogame archeologists.