Recently I found myself reading about the history of the Sega Channel (which was introduced in 1994). Although I never had it, I remember there being some buzz about it (between me and my friend at least). It really was an idea that was ahead of its time. The technology just wasn’t there yet to make it a successful venture and Sega has never had the best marketing for their products anyway, so of course it was going to start fading out fairly quickly.
These days we have the incredibly successful Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Wii Channels but dating back even way before the Sega Channel there was the Intellivision PlayCable. There was also the CVC GameLine for Atari but more on that in a future post.
Introduced in 1981, the PlayCable was basically a premium cable channel much like HBO or Showtime. You had to have a special converter — the PlayCable Adapter — to gain access to the channel (along with the monthly subscription fee of course). $12 a month with a monthly rotating cast of 20 games? Not a bad deal really and it’s still just so amazing to me how forward thinking these companies were way before a venture like this would prove popular.
Alas, the PlayCable was discontinued in 1983. With the release of Intellivision games that required more memory, the 4K of RAM that the PlayCable adapter stored was not enough to support any of these 8K and 16K games for the channel thus the PlayCable looked a lot less attractive to consumers. Not that it would have mattered much anyway because 1983 was the year that nearly killed video games.
For more information about Intellivision, be sure to check out www.intellivisionlives.com.
Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man is a video game published in 1983 by Mattel Electronics for Intellivision and Atari 2600. It is the first MOTU video game ever produced. While we’re on the subject — CAN I PLEASE GET A NEW MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE VIDEO GAME ?!?!?! Can you imagine a He-Man game done God of War-style?
Anyway, from what I’ve seen and played, He-Man games are pretty bad. And I don’t mean “bad” in the urban slang manner. I mean bad as in lame. This one definitely appears to be no different, thus keeping the bar low for all MOTU games to follow.
The object of the game is to reach Castle Grayskull and ultimately defeat Skeletor. It’s part side-scrolling shooter as you’re cruising in the Wind Raider fighting off fireballs and dropping bombs on Skeletor’s head (BTW – Skeletor is crazy fast to be keeping up with the Wind Raier on these levels). The second part of the game, I don’t know what you’d call it, but you try to make your way to the right side of the screen as Skeletor allegedly throws lighting bolts at you (personally, I think they look like spinning octopi). Once you reach Skeletor, you engaged in a comical sword fight.
What I'd really like to see is that comic book that was packaged inside.
Despite how mediocre the game is, if I owned an Atari 2600 or Intellivision this would be a cool collector’s item to have. But even then, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $75 on a “new & sealed” copy like the one that is being offered on eBay.
If you ever wanted to watch 15 minutes of Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man gameplay on Intellivision, you’re in luck:
Though there were a text-based few dungeon crawlers games created by college students in the 1970s based on the Dungeons & Dragon role-playing game, Mattel Electronics Intellivision’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was the very first licensed D&D game. The game was released in 1982, one year before CBS’ Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, but the hero in this ad looks remarkably similar to Hank the Ranger. Or should I say, Hank the Ranger looks remarkably similar to him? Of course, for all I know, this is how all the rangers dress in the world D&D.
The game was later re-leased and given the subtitle of Cloudy Mountain in order to separate itself from another Intellivision D&D game: 1983’s Advance Dungeons & Dragon: Treasure of Tarmin.
Enjoy the box art below, but please, keep in mind it’s only to be viewed with a color TV.