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IntellivisionRevolution Forums » Intellivision » Mattel Intellivision » PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo

PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo

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1PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Wed 17 Feb 2021, 2:33 am

e_bags


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I recently came across a case of 6 games (5 sealed and 1 open) in a Mattel box.  Inside of the box is a mail in card to PlayCable c/o Mattel in which the customer has to fill in his name, address and cable company and check off 5 games he wished to receive for free.  The postmark date on the card is April 9 1984.  The return label on the box itself is from May 30 1984.  There is also a printed note saying some of the games were out of stock and they sent replacements ones.  I also got the console from the same person.  Inside of the console box is the manual for the PlayCable, a bag for the Intellivision and an empty bag for I assume the PlayCable unit.  There is also an interesting sticker that must have been on the PlayCable unit itself.  I'm assumingthe console was bought from the cable company along with the unit.  I'll include pictures of it all.  Unfortunately I do not have the PlayCable unit but I have the documentation, some packaging and the manual.  Also is the order mail in card and the box of games!

Has anyone heard of this promo?  It says on the card the promo is good for 30 days and expires on 06/30/84.  I thought PlayCable was out of the picture by 83'.  I noticed the serial number on the Intellivision console is different than any other I've seen.  Perhaps it is due to the whole PlayCable association.  Anyway, any additional knowledge would be great.  

I also have more pictures if needed.

Thanks!

IntvPrime and astrosmashed like this post

2PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Wed 17 Feb 2021, 2:41 am

e_bags


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All of my photos are 4000 x 4000 and max size is a lot smaller. I'll have to work on getting the photos uploaded somehow...

3PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 10:36 am

astrosmashed


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e_bags wrote:All of my photos are 4000 x 4000 and max size is a lot smaller.  I'll have to work on getting the photos uploaded somehow...

Try uploading the photo into MSPaint, shrink the size and re-save it. It will give you a much smaller file size. Can't wait to see the pics!

4PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 10:45 am

cmart604


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Looking forward to seeing the pics of everything. Hopefully you've uncovered something we haven't seen before.

5PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 11:38 am

e_bags


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I've got some other pics but this should suffice.

So, notice it was a promo for 5 free physical games in mid 1984. I reached out to some people and they think it was Mattel trying to clear their inventory/say thank you to the loyal customers.

This person mentioned Mattel had a promo where you would cut the upc's or labels off of your boxes and send them in for free games but said this looks different. The upc promo wasn't through PlayCable like this is.

I messaged a few people on the internet to help out with this promo card. The 5 games in the box are sealed so I don't want to open them to check the manuals. The games in the box are different than the ones checked off on the card. Well some are different, as that printed note says.

The console I have came with the PlayCable manual, the PlayCable stickers and the empty packing bags for the console and PlayCable Unit.

I'm guessing the original owner bought the system and PlayCable from the cable company and returned the unit unfortunately. But late in the life somehow got ahold of this 6 month promo for some free games!!

Let me know what yall think!
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cmart604, intellivotion and astrosmashed like this post

6PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 11:44 am

e_bags


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Some more pics of the manual.

I was looking at the registry for console serial numbers and didn't notice any that started with AT.

I thought it may have significance to the PlayCable being this console was most likely bought from the cable company.  Someone mentioned it may just mean it was made in Taiwan.  Figured I'd throw that out there.
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7PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 11:49 am

cmart604


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Very cool. I haven't seen the offer for the 5 free games before or the green sticker. The orange sticker is off of the Intellivision itself. If you're ever interested in parting with the Playcable stuff I'd be interested in buying all of it or trading for it.

8PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 11:54 am

e_bags


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I can see some of the stickers are off of the console itself.  I can see the residue shape of the glue on the console that matches.

Yea the green sticker was interesting.  I'm guessing that one was on the PlayCable unit.

These are the two bags, assuming 1 for console and 1 for PlayCable unit.
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9PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 11:57 am

e_bags


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I bought this stuff at a garage sale 30 miles from the address of the person from the mail in card. The person I bought it from said it was his good friend's stuff. Perhaps I can track the person down to ask him if he remembers what the promo was all about.

Do you think it's necessary information to try and bug this person to find out?

10PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:28 pm

e_bags


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Notice that Bowling and Football are on the list of physical games to get from the list.

Those two games aren't listed as available for the PlayCable service.

Perhaps these two games were available on the service at some time? Maybe they weren't and were only available in physical form....

Does anyone know if these games were over 8k in size? Maybe they'll be added to the list?!

11PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:35 pm

astrosmashed


Janitor
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e_bags wrote:

Do you think it's necessary information to try and bug this person to find out?

In a word, yes. There's precious little info on PlayCable out there, and speaking as a person who grew up in a household that had it not once, but TWICE, I'd love to learn as much about it as possible.

BTW, the nerve of PlayCable to send out Poker+Blackjack as an alt choice cart. EVERYONE had that friggin' game!!

12PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:39 pm

e_bags


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Nevermind about Football and Bowling, they are on the first page of the available games on the original flyer for it.

I did notice on the flyer it says "not only will you receive controller overlays and manuals but you will get quarterly updates sent directly to your home."

Maybe this promo was part of one of those quarterly updates?

Yes, I understand the significance of uncovering the information. I'll see if I can locate the persons involved and get some direct information from them if they remember.

cmart604, intellivotion and astrosmashed like this post

13PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:47 pm

e_bags


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I can't remember exactly, but I think I remember the person saying the Vegas Blackjack/Poker wasn't included in that original box of games.  He may have said it was bought separately.    

Inside of the box are all sealed copies of:

MOTU He-Man
Dungeons and Dragons Treasure of Tarmin
NFL Football
Snafu
Astrosmash

Blackjack/Poker is opened but looks in perfect condition.  The overlays were never used.  The person said he used the Blackjack once to make sure the console was working.
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Last edited by e_bags on Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

cmart604 and intellivotion like this post

14PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 12:51 pm

astrosmashed


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e_bags wrote:Nevermind about Football and Bowling, they are on the first page of the available games on the original flyer for it.

 

Football + Bowling were both on PlayCable for most of the months that we had it. Astrosmash + Baseball were on it just about all the time as I recall. Somewhere, there is a complete list of games that were on it from month to month.

15PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 2:12 pm

e_bags


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cmart604 wrote:Very cool. I haven't seen the offer for the 5 free games before or the green sticker. The orange sticker is off of the Intellivision itself. If you're ever interested in parting with the Playcable stuff I'd be interested in buying all of it or trading for it.


Although I am a video game fan/enthusiast, I am not a collector.  Therefore I will be looking to sell what I have.  I don't think I should split everything up as they are all mostly tied together.  I haven't decided exactly what direction to take yet.  Thanks!

I wanted to make sure it gets documented and the history uncovered if it's anything special before I send it off to someone else.

cmart604 likes this post

16PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 2:37 pm

cmart604


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Sounds good. I'm happy to buy it all as a package if you'd prefer. You can message me and we can discuss further if you'd like.

17PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 18 Feb 2021, 3:44 pm

intylab

intylab
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Very cool!


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https://linktr.ee/intylab

18PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Fri 19 Feb 2021, 7:26 pm

mrme


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Playcable units weren't sold, they remained the property of the cable company and provided as part of the subscription.  The cable company would have provided a package of game instructions and overlays upon subscribing, and looks like quarterly updates of instructions and overlays.  When the subscription was cancelled the playcable units would have had to be returned but not the other stuff.  I haven't heard of cable companies selling intellivisions but anything is possible.  Looks like they at least serviced them.  The Taiwan intellivisions are pretty rare; could they be tied to playcable and manufactured by GI; who knows.

Mattel closed Mattel Electronics and sold off all their intellivision inventory and properties on February 4 1984.  But that wouldn't have included PlayCable which was a separate company, a joint venture with GI.  While some cable companies might have cancelled their deal with playcable in 1983 it looks like this cable company and this customer stayed until the end.  The free cartridges might be the playcable company's way of saying sorry for cancelling on the customer.

Since there are five other sealed cartridges the poker & bj cartridge might have come with the system. Is the cartridge and box made in Taiwan?

19PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Fri 19 Feb 2021, 8:55 pm

e_bags


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Yes, the Poker+BJ box and cartridge are made/printed in Taiwan. I am pretty sure now that the guy said that game came with the system. It does make it weird now that the card says 5 games and 5 games are in the box, but the Mattel box itself says 6 toys. I wonder what else was in there to take up the space. Can't imagine they would send them flopping around. And yes, I didn't notice any other AT serial numbers on the console registry or any other available pictures/mentions anywhere.

If you look at the parts included inside the PlayCable manual it mentions the Mattel Intellivision Master Component. In doing research I read that the cable companies supplied the consoles. That green sticker would justify that I guess....

This whole thing must be a last ditch effort to clear inventory/say thank you & sorry for the future not working out!

20PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Sat 20 Feb 2021, 11:46 pm

mrme


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The box is just a repurposed cardboard box. Was probably used to ship cartridges from the manufacturer. It probably had six identical cartridges in there when playcable received it from Mattel or wherever they got it. Playcable wouldn't normally stock cartridges so they must have ordered them just for these giveaways. Where in your research did you find that the cable companies supplied the consoles? It wouldn't have been part of the subscription. They would have had to sell them.

21PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 04 Mar 2021, 4:39 pm

e_bags


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Your box of games and flyers are very interesting. I'm also in contact with Paul Hilt the Sales Director and General Manager of PlayCable between 1981 and its closure in 1984. We have talked a bit about the final days of PlayCable, Paul had this to say...

"Toward the end of 1983, when it was clear the joint venture would be ending, GI approached me with an offer to basically stay 6 months to shut down PlayCable... Basically, I was tasked with negotiating out of the contracts I originally persuade them to sign.

Overall, the negotiations went well. Since Atari and Mattel Electronics business problems and losses were well known at that point, the cable operators were sympathetic to PlayCable's situation. I was authorized to keep the operators happy and, although I don't recall the details, the terms were pretty generous (e.g., Each subscriber would be sent 5 or so free cartridges; Corning test subscribers could keep the Intellivisions). I finally closed PlayCable's door in April 1984, however for all intents and purposes, PlayCable had been over in January 1984."

I think the 1983 closure date commonly quoted for PlayCable is just inaccurate. There is evidence out there for it limping through in at least some areas to 1984, and there is this article from CableVision sounding the closing bell.

The Corning test that Paul refers to was a trial that was run with one of the last cable companies to sign up to PlayCable in the summer of 1983, Corning NewChannels. Along with some other enhancements PlayCable loaned Intellivisions to Corning customers to see if removing this barrier to entry would raise uptake. The Intellivisions that were loaned out were defective ones returned to Mattel under warranty and which had been fixed and refurbished.

So it looks as though the box of games you have is one of the sets of five sent out to customers who were still subscribing to PlayCable in spring 1984. The 6 game outer packaging is standard Mattel retail packaging, so they were probably just saving money. The fact that the subscriber was in NJ and a customer of Suburban CableVision is interesting. They took PlayCable earlier, you can find their employees discussing PlayCable on p75 of the Feb 83 copy of Video Games Magazine, which has the only image of a real PlayCable menu screen - https://archive.org/details/Video_Games_Volume_1_Number_05_1983-02_Pumpkin_Press_US. I wasn't aware of Suburban being part of the loaner Intellivision trial, but perhaps they were. I have seen suggestions that some cable companies sold the Intellivsion to their subscribers, but I've not found any hard evidence to back this up. I guess this might be an example of one of those. Certainly the brown box it is in suggests it has had a non-standard life.

22PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 04 Mar 2021, 4:41 pm

e_bags


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Now's the time to subscribe to PlayCable, The All x Game Channel and get $25 cash in the mail from Mattel Electronics after you buy an Intellivision Intelligent Television Master Component before February 14th. Just clip the certificate from Intellivision ads appearing in this newspaper today and call your cable operator for complete details. Then subscribe to : PlayCable and be the first on your block to get the f world's most sophisticated computer game library. 1 . at your fingertips, 24 hours a day. . . on cable! Your cable operator is standing by with the action-packed video games you want to play and plenty of Intellivision Master Components. . . but don't wait to order, this is a limited time offer. Cablevision Bayonne, N.J. ' (201)436-0882 Cablevision Cresskill, N.J. (201)569-3861 Suburban Cablevision E. Orange, N.J. (201)672-6883 Vision Cable Palisades Park, N J. (201)886-0900 "


I found this from an old newspaper advertisement from Jan 28, 1982 local to where I bought the stuff. The cable companies did provide the consoles.
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23PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Empty Re: PlayCable Free Cartridge Promo Thu 04 Mar 2021, 4:49 pm

e_bags


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I forgot to add this to the original reply. This was the article being referenced there.
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