Intellivision Keyboard Demonstration Cassette Video

When the Intellivision was released it held the promise of a future component that would turn the Intellivision into a fully functional home computer. This much delayed accessory had reliability problems. A lot of Intellivision fans were consistently disappointed for many years, but hope of release always seemed to be just around the corner.

They even released a demo system with a cassette that demonstrated the potential of the keyboard into test markets in the late 1970s. This video shows exactly what you would have seen if you lived in a test market and happened upon a store’s Intellivision kiosk.

I sadly never saw this back in the day, but I did have friends who were hardcore Intellivision fans who talked a lot about how this system was going to unlock the full potential of their Intellivision and how I would regret having wanted an Atari so badly. This video does make it look pretty amazing, but even though a few keyboards did make it into the hands of consumers, in the end, the keyboard was a bust.

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3 thoughts on “Intellivision Keyboard Demonstration Cassette Video

  1. The promise that the Intellivision would be able to be turned into a full-blown computer was the main reason my father bought us the Intellivsion over the Atari 2600 for Christmas in the early 80s. I remember he was pretty ticked off (as I’m sure a lot of people were) when Mattel kept dragging their feet on it. My younger brother and I didn’t really care. The games were great and I wound up getting my TI99/4A eventually anyway ($25 at Kmart when TI got out of the biz!).
    From the way the demos look, the Intellivision made a much better game console that it would have a computer. Honestly, I was hoping to get my hands on the piano/synth keyboard thing that they had also promised to release. Unfortunately, that never materialized either.

  2. Max Power says:

    I’m wondering about that French tutor. The voice sounds too good for the voice synthesizers of the time. Did it include a tape to play along with the lesson?

  3. The voice could have just been a dramatization too. That might have been before they really cracked down on that kind of advertizing. That’s even more likely because I don’t think it was an existing product yet.

    It’s interesting that most of the games that they show in that demo are just existing games that seem to be using the keyboard for input instead of (or in addition to) the regular controller.

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