The Game: You’re the pilot of a ground-based mobile weapons platform, and there are buttloads of alien meanies headed right for you. Your only defense is a trio of shields which are degraded by any weapons fire – yours or theirs – and a quick trigger finger. Occasionally a mothership zips across the top of the screen. When the screen is cleared of invaders, another wave – faster and more aggressive – appears. When the aliens manage to land on Earth…it’s all over. (Mattel, 1981)
Memories: Sound familiar? It should. This early entry in Mattel’s library of Intellivision games is, rather obviously, a not-very-thinly-disguised version of Space Invaders, the game whose home version had made the Atari 2600 a household name in the home video game biz.
With space action games very much in vogue in the early 1980s, Intellivision quickly found that supremacy in the sports game market didn’t give them the widest possible exposure. In keeping with their marketing & packaging scheme of the day (i.e. Intellivision Sports Network, etc.), the “Intellivision Space Network” was created, and Mattel went on the advertising offensive to tout its new line of space games.
An early entry on the list was this rather obvious Space Invaders homage, though as Mattel later discovered with such games as Utopia, the Intellivision would be much better off distinguishing itself with games that simply couldn’t be made for the other platforms. And as for the “Space Network”? It was later folded into the more generic, all-encompassing “Intellivision Action Network”…shortly before Intellivision’s various “networks” were dropped altogether.