Saturday, June 30, 2018

Gaming Ads: Mattel

I've decided to put all of the Mattel branches into one album; that includes the original toy company Mattel, Inc., the division responsible for the Intellivision console, Mattel Electronics, and all of the software brands, such as M Network, Mattel Interactive, and Mattel Media. The company was founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler as Mattel Creations. Some of Mattel's most successful toys released in the late 1950s and '60s, including Chatty Cathy, See 'n Say, Barbie, and Hot Wheels. Masters of the Universe (He-Man) was a big hit for Mattel in the '80s, and during the '90s it purchased both Fisher-Price and Tyco (Matchbox). I know that was a really quick summary but this post is primarily to cover the gaming portion of the company.

In 1977 Mattel Electronics was created to manufacture its own console, the Intellivision, as well as video games for other platforms. I'm going to link to my Intellivision post and video as I already covered the life of the console there. To summarize, the system was test marketed in 1979, released throughout North America in 1980, and had its own game subscription service through select cable television services from 1981 to 1983. In 1984 Mattel closed Mattel Electronics and sold all of the Intellivision assets to a group of investors known as the INTV Corporation. While INTV shut down in 1991, just last month a new company was unveiled called Intellivision Entertainment. It has plans to release a new version of the console which is something I will be keeping an eye on.

Mattel, Inc. continued to be involved in gaming following the closure of Mattel Electronics. It released a unique controller for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) called the Power Glove in 1989. The device is worn like a glove, hence the name, and contains a D-Pad, standard NES gamepad buttons, programmable buttons, and motion control functionality. Two games, Super Glove Ball and Bad Street Brawler, were made specifically for the controller, though those games can also be played with a regular gamepad minus extra features only usable with the Power Glove.

Under the Mattel, Inc. name, as well as the Mattel Interactive division and Mattel Media brand, Mattel has released numerous software titles from the '90s into the early 2000s, most of which were based on Barbie toys. It also licenses its properties, like Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Uno, to other game developers and publishers. Mattel continues to publish games itself, primarily for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Flickr album: Mattel

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