Into the Past: Intellivision Lives Deserves Some Love
In his latest column, the Falcon discusses a potential new DS release and why it's worthwhile.
So during the E3 show last week, I had some time to scrummage through Kentia Hall for a little bit, and in full presence down there in the middle of the crowded hall was an arcade and classic gaming exhibit, lining up several coin-op machines and classic gaming consoles for hands-on play. This was a nice little break from the modern-day gaming that was going on in the two halls upstairs, something to remind you where gaming has been.
But aside from that, Intellivision Productions also had a little something on hand with their preview build of Intellivision Lives for the Nintendo DS, a game collection bringing together some of the best games from the 80's onto the modern-day handheld, stuff like Astrosmash, Night Stalker and so many, many more. In fact, there's a few I could probably name here and you'd end up scratching your head, asking if they were actual game titles.
And yet, when I asked about possible publishing of the game, Intellivision indicated that they had not found one yet, although they had a few inquiries going about. And I began to wonder why this game hasn't found a publisher yet. Yeah, I admit it's not a hot item like this week's released New Super Mario Bros. or even something along the likes of the technical shooting opus Nanostray. It is just a get-together of titles from the 80's under one cartridge. But hear me out.
First off, this collection has far more promise than previous classic releases for the system. Atari tried two different compilations that both fell flat on their face. The first, Retro Atari Classics, tried to throw style into the mix, a big mistake that left most of the games looking ugly and unplayable. Sticking to the basics probably would've been a great idea at the time. The second was a compilation of board games shrunken into handheld play, which never got off the ground because the design was uninspiring and the gameplay tedious. Fortunately, Intellivision Lives seems to dodge both these bullets, and Mr. Robinson (the prez of the company) and his employees had made sure it follows the basic formula of just having fun games. That works.
Secondly, this package isn't cheaply put together. In the two times that I've had play sessions with it now (one at the Classic Gaming Expo, and the one at E3), I've noticed that it has a stack of games featured with it that's a mile high- a count only rivaled by the GBA release of Activision Anthology, with its 80+ games. Furthermore, it offers wireless multiplayer with the use of one cart, something very few third-party cartridges do. And these games are actually fun, and might pique the interest of those who never wanted to mess with an Intellivision and its oddly shaped controller. Let's face it, a DS control interface is a lot more fun than a disc.
Finally, this would make a killer budget-priced title, and would make someone a good deal of money. I haven't really heard Crave Entertainment complain about any lack of sales behind their console releases of the Intellivision Lives! line for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox, and I'm sure, God willing, they might have a 360 version coming around, even though you didn't really buy a next-gen console to play the likes of Intellivision games unless they were on Xbox Live Arcade. The point is, the license is still pretty hot, with nostalgia and retro gaming along for the ride, and, at $20, it'd pick up plenty of buyers, in the form of old gamers who can't get enough 80's gaming and newcomers curious as to the history Mattel's machine and the Blue Sky Rangers (a team of legendary Intellivision programmers) brought about.
Intellivision Lives! deserves a release on the DS, and these three points close my case as to why Crave or someone else should easily pick it up. Maybe Activision or even Atari will feel gracious enough to sign up the game and give it a go and see what all the buzz is about. I hope so. The last thing I want to do is get stuck playing this game exclusively at trade events. I want a copy for myself.