Intellivision is one of the oldest home video game consoles, originally coming out in 1979. With that comes a lot of history, nostalgia, and interest today. It also, at times, comes with a mixed bag of hiccups and different levels of success in creating games for a system like Intellivision. Today, it can leave us to wonder questions like, “What are the best Intellivision games,” and “What Intellivision games should you play today?”
Intellivision was Mattel’s first venture into making video game consoles and comes from the same era as the Atari 2600. Still, even with what can be charitably described as minimalist graphics and basic games, there is plenty to love with Intellivision and its arcade-style games. So, here are just a few of the best Intellivision games:
The 10 Best Intellivision Games:
Today, every game needs a long complicated title, at least that’s what it seems. Even a sports game has to have a long complex name most of the time. Apparently, back in 1980, they didn’t need to have such a complicated title, as Horse Racing is exactly what it sounds like. You’re going to race horses when you play it. This game is simple, possibly deceptively so. In reality, this is a game where you can play with up to six people and try to influence the outcome of the race in little ways.
The real reason that Horse Racing stands the test of time, however, is that you can actually use it to bet on the simulated races. It has what is called pari-mutuel betting during races, which adds a layer to the game that almost no other video games can provide.
Anytime you get to play a game as Dracula, you know that things are going to be fun. It’s a simple enough concept, you play as Dracula, trying to feed off people and avoid potentially dangerous werewolves at night. You even get to use classic vampire powers, like mind control and the ability to turn into a bat. By no means is this a complex game, but it is an incredibly fun one.
While not as scary as Bela Lugosi or Gary Oldman in the title role, the Dracula Intellivision game is one of the best games from the classic system. Interestingly enough, the Dracula game is known as a collector’s item in the Intellivision world. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it is exclusive to Intellivision, which at this point makes it difficult to find an original copy. The game itself and the graphics are also great, though, making Dracula arguably the best Intellivision game.
Another game with an imaginative name, B-17 Bomber lets you play the game as a B-17 Bomber. Alright, so maybe it’s not the most creative name in the world, but it gets the point across. Besides, who doesn’t want to pretend they’re a pilot in WWII bombing away at their enemies? That was, after all, the most famous use for B-17s, as American bombers during World War II.
The graphics are rudimentary, though the use of multiple camera angles was certainly innovative for the time period. It’s a simple concept. You aim the target and fire. You just had to be careful of different threats to you flying through the air. It has the feel of a more complex arcade game. It’s just proof that just because a game is simple, doesn’t mean that it can’t be a ton of fun.
Bump ‘n Jump
If you’re looking for a true arcade game to get something nostalgic out of your video game experience, then Bump ‘n Jump is a fantastic option. That’s because it is a game originally designed as a classic arcade game, before being converted into a home game for Intellivision. This makes it a great, retro racing game that plays fast and loose with reality.
It works like this, you bump into other care to knock them out of your way, and if that doesn’t work you can jump on them. That’s where the name Bump ‘n Jump comes from, after all. The graphics are bright and better than you might expect, but that pales in comparison to the classic music behind Bump ‘n Jump. All in all, this is a can’t miss game.
There are games today that get tons of credit for their graphics, and rightfully so, but tend to lack in story or gameplay. Others are able to do both. Demon Attack does both, boasting some of the best graphics ever for an Intellivision game. Of course, as a game, Demon Attack also boasts being one of the most fun games from Intellivision too.
The game itself feels a lot like playing Space Invaders with a different theme. It’s a shooting game where you fight these demons by shooting them before they then break up into smaller fighters who you then have to fight. There are boss levels too, which is where Demon Attack stands out from all its similar competitors. This includes some massive bosses that are both a better challenge and better visual battle than most other games could provide.
Lock ‘n Chase
You’d be excused for confusing Lock ‘n Chase with Pac-Man, a classic arcade game because it’s actually a port of Pac-Man. Basically, the two games work the same way. You go around a maze and collect circles which can be described as food or money. Police, instead of ghosts, are the ones who try and chase you down. Really, the only practical change between Pac-Man and Lock ‘n Chase is that you can close off doorways in Lock ‘n Chase, which allows for some strategy when you’re trying to escape from different ghosts.
For anyone missing out on Pac-Man and looking for that classic arcade game, Lock ‘n Chase is a great option to pick up. No, it’s not better than Pac-Man. The thing is that it’s also not worse. So, you’ll get plenty of time and fun out of Lock ‘n Chase.
Donkey Kong Jr.
Another classic arcade game that has been converted to the home console, Donkey Kong Jr. is one of the most fun games you can get for the Intellivision console. It’s colorful, the gameplay is smooth and natural, and it gives the feeling of a retro arcade game that everyone is looking for. That was no small feat, either, as the original Donkey Kong game for Intellivision was an absolute disaster and made the release of Donkey Kong Jr. nerve wracking.
Luckily, Donkey Kong Jr. is well done and holds up today for nostalgia gaming and is the best option for this Donkey Kong model of game, where you go through levels that involve going side to side as well as up and down, that is available of Intellivision.
Here is a game that is so simple you’d be forgiven for not realizing just how great it is. The concept is that you’re playing as a frog, who needs to eat flies while they sit on a lily pad. That’s it. There are no levels. There are no bosses. The game goes on forever.
So, what is it about Frog Bog that makes it stand out? It is a simple game you can play, learn, and compete with friends quickly. After all, you do have to prove that you’re the better frog by eating more flies than the other frog on their lily pad. Want to play single player mode? That’s fine, the computer will take the spot of the second player. So, yes, Frog Bog is simplistic and easy to play, but it’s a lot of fun too.
Microsurgeon is an entirely unique game that you probably wouldn’t see being made today. That’s part of the appeal, though. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a microscopic probe that goes through organs and body fluid to fight off infections? You could say that unique is more than a fair descriptor of Microsurgeon. You can learn little tricks to getting through the body faster to fight all of these potential harms to the body.
It’s for how unique Microsurgeon is that it has become popular with collectors. This game screams 1980s nostalgia in a way that you rarely see, which makes it as good of an option as possible for anyone looking to relive the glory of the decade.
Beauty & the Beast
Beauty & the Beast could be a confusing title for this game. In a lot of ways, King Kong would be better than Beauty & the Beast, which is more commonly thought of in the context of the animated movie that came out well after the game did. With that being said, Beauty & the Beast isn’t inaccurate to the story behind the game itself. After all, it does involve a large gorilla, or beast, saving a woman, or a beauty. The thing is that the gorilla does this by climbing skyscrapers, which just so happens to exactly be how King Kong ends. So, it feels like a missed opportunity.
Luckily, Beauty & the Beast makes up for all of that by being a really great game. The graphics are bright, catching your attention, and better than you’d expect for a game of its age. It’s easy to play while still offering a challenge, and the levels are quick. This means that it keeps your attention and you won’t start to get bored while you play Beauty & the Beast.
You can relive some of the best Intellivision games with the IntelliVision Flashback.
Wrapping Up The Best Intellivision Games
So why would you care what we think are the best Intellivision games? Well, the Mattel was massively important to the history of video games, and if you a gaming nerd like us, the history of our industry interests you. So what did you think of our list? Like it, love it, hate it? Let us know why in the comments below.