Interview of Colormesticky-Karen - 2018

Karen, also known as Colormesticky, is a huge Intellivision and gaming fan. And has also worked at Intellivision Productions in recent history. Let's get to know her a little better!

 

 

Thanks for your time, let's go way back. What is the first video game you ever played?

I have no idea, but I have pretty distinct memories of my dad wiping the floor with me at Sea Battle, and of my brother and I yelling at things that were constantly eating us in Quest for the Rings for the Odyssey2. I'm pretty sure that even if I were actually GOOD at games I'd still suck hard at QftR.


Back then, was it a family experience playing games? Or more casual personal gaming?

It was very much a family affair. The Intellivision lived downstairs in the living room for years, and everybody played it. My parents got the O2 before I was born and had already burned out on it, so that was upstairs with a little TV for us kids. Eventually we got a secondhand NES, and all the consoles went upstairs. The O2 was the forgotten system and went into a closet, but we'd take it out on summer breaks.

Have you played any games with your parents as an adult?

Mario Kart DS is our Hunger Games. My dad, sister, brother in law, and I will spend hours destroying each other at it when we're together.

Did you ever get to hang out in arcades during the peak of their existence?

I didn't. I think I'm right at the age cutoff where they were fading away, plus I lived in a pretty small town. There was a local pizza place with a game room, and that was the closest I ever got to one for years. Now I'm an adult and I'm grateful to whoever came up with the concept of barcades. I usually go to one about once a year.

What are your top 5 favorite arcade games? And why?

Can I include pinball? I'm gonna include pinball.
1) Judge Dredd (pinball)
2) Jurassic Park
3) House of the Dead 2
4) Elvira and the Party Monsters (pinball)
5) Ghost Town (the cheesy mechanical one, although I like the look of the other)
As for why, I guess I just really like murdering zombies and dinosaurs, overwhelming multiballs, and silly horror. When I win the lottery, the first thing I'm gonna do (after helping all our friends pay off their student loans) is build a sci-fi/fantasy themed arcade.

When were you first introduced to the Intellivision?

I was too young to remember, so pretty young. Maybe between 4 - 6? My parents bought it for themselves, and the kids liking it too was just a perk.

Did anyone close to your family have an Intellivision or an O2 where you could borrow games?

No, but I think of it as a good thing. I still have all my childhood Inty games because nobody ever "accidentally" kept any of them. My friends were all on the NES bandwagon by the time I was old enough to share with anybody outside the house, but even then we just rented games from the grocery store. (Like I said, small town.)

Any fun stories surrounding the Intellivision and playing with family and friends you wish to share?

I remember how we all liked multiplayer games except for my mom, who just wanted to play Poker and be left alone. Now I'm an adult and I hate playing with other people too, and I totally get where she's coming from. As an adult, I've had a few friends come over and play and be like, oh! I remember this one! One went right back into AD&D like he'd just played it yesterday.

What are your top 5 favorite Intellivision games?

1) AD&D
2) Frog Bog
3) Astrosmash
4) Beauty & the Beast
5) Pitfall
I think. I feel like fourth and fifth place sometimes get swapped out for other things.

What other systems did you own or play growing up?

Just the NES and O2, plus my sister and I each had Gameboys and my brother had a Gamegear. I had a friend with a SNES and we'd play, but then I don't think I got another modern console till the original Xbox. I stuck to my original three systems for years, then two when Mom got rid of the O2. When I moved out I bought a Genesis and another O2, then ended up not liking the Genesis and gave it away.

Do you recall ever seeing any bins of games on clearance in the mid-eighties?

No,  but that doesn't mean they weren't there. I remember my mom buying Intellivision games at Toys R Us, but I don't know if they were on sale/clearance.

What systems are you currently playing a lot of these days?

Mostly Xbox One and Intellivision, and I have a 3DS I bring on trips. Still waiting for backward compatibility on a ton of 360 games, so if they ever get around to them I'll play those too. Other than that, fits and spurts with the Wii, O2, and GameCube.

Do you plan on getting a Nintendo Switch? What games on that system interest you?

No, probably not. I have a Wii U I've played exactly one time. I always buy Zelda and Mario Kart games for the Nintendo systems I have, though.

If you have kids, have you introduced them to retro gaming? If so, what systems and how do they like and react?

No kids. But if we have them, I'll definitely introduce them to what we've got.

Have you been to many gaming conventions? If so, when was the first one and what others after that have you attended?

I've only ever been to conventions with Keith, as a vendor. I meant to go to Arcade Expo in Banning the last two times, but both times I ended up being busy those weekends. So I've been to Arcade Expo twice (hands down the best one), SoCal Retro Gaming Expo, Classic Game Fest in Austin, and at least one other that's escaping me at the moment. Hoping to make PRGE this year.

Do you play or collect more for the Intellivision, or a healthy balance of both?

I collect more than I play. I feel like I only play a handful of the games I've got. I totally ignore the sports titles, and anything that frustrates me more than a little. I'm just impatient, I guess.

How many games are in your collection? Intellivision or other systems?

For Intellivision, I'm at 91/125 plus four homebrews and a few empty boxes (two repros, two original). Total for all systems (Inty included), I count 473 games. That doesn't include duplicates, my husband's games, Xbox downloads, or Inty/O2 ROMs. I have a spreadsheet, although I don't keep track of ROMs, downloads, or hubby's stuff. He throws out the packaging and sticks his games in binders with the DVDs, much to my chagrin.

What Intellivision homebrews interest you the most?

I've got 3 of the ones that do - D2K, Princess Quest, and GOSUB. I also bought Flappee Bird because it was cheap, but I don't know that I'd call myself "interested" in it. There are a handful that I don't have that sound pretty great, though. Oregon Bound is #1. I played Piggy Bank once and loved it, and Christmas Carol is awesome. As for things I've never tried, I think I'd probably like Goat Nom, Laser Sharks, Sydney Hunter, Lost Caves of Kroz, The Secret Government Waffle Project, and a couple of the ROM hacks/released-unreleased Mattel games. I also have no idea what Space Cadet is, but the art is cute and I'm all about judging things by their covers.

How often do you get an opportunity to get some gaming in?

I have a few hobbies and I'm incapable of focusing on more than one thing at a time. I get into one them and I go hard till I burn out, then move back into one of the others. So I could probably have a lot more gaming time than I do, if I put something else down and did it. Alas. Also, I'm a completionist and I basically have to double or triple the expected amount of time it takes to beat a game. I have to allow myself like four hours+ at a time to play anything modern because I get distracted by side quests. Even without kids, that's hard.

When were you first introduced to Intellivision Productions?

I don't remember, exactly. I sort of stumbled into it by getting to know Keith. I ended up helping out because I'm pushy and he needed something done, and I told him I was gonna do it.

How many of the Blue Sky Rangers have you met?

Good question. I'll think there are people I haven't met, then I'll see a picture of them at a convention I was helping at. I have such a garbage memory, it's the worst. I have stuff signed by a total of thirteen different programmers (between what's on the spreadsheet and a Flashback sleeve I had signed), and I've definitely met people and didn't have a game with me for them to sign. So more than I think, but it's hard to give you a good guess.

Were you ever at any of the infamous pizza parties with the Blue Sky Rangers?

Two. I went to the one this year, and the DS launch party was technically the pizza party that year, they just did that instead. But I was there as a fan since it was open to the public. It was before Keith and I started hanging out.

When was the first time you met Keith Robinson?

I couldn't tell you the year, but early 2000's.  He was in line in front of me at the post office and his mailing labels had the Running Man logo, and mine were from the bookstore I work at that he liked. From there we just bumped into each other around town and he eventually started coming into the shop on the day I work, and then we were taco Tuesday buddies and I'd help him on Saturdays.

How long have you worked at Intellivision Productions?

Again, not sure. It just sort of happened. I was helping Keith move some Intellivision stuff into storage and realized he needed some help at the office, so I basically informed him that I was going to. I probably helped him for about a year and a half, and he's been gone just shy of a year and I'm still around when they need me.

Was it a fun atmosphere being at Intellivision around all the history?

Heck. Yes.

Any cool stories we may not know surrounding Keith that the fans would love to hear?

There was one time after tacos we all watched him nearly wreck his car when he drove off. Check your blind spot, folks!

He thought charging extra for two kinds of sauce on your ice cream was wildly offensive.

When we went to Austin he lost his cell phone within the first hour of getting to the hotel. Losing things was like his superpower, I swear.

His favorite book was The Princess Bride. He collected anything by that author, and by Shel Silverstein. When his family cleared out his books they asked me to take them all to the shop. I kept both his copies of The Princess Bride.

Really though, he was the one with all the stories. The rest of us were just along for the ride (but not literally, because he was a scary driver and his car had like NO brakes).

Do you think one day in the Intellivision fans will see some undiscovered things from long ago?

Absolutely.

Did Keith have a complete 125 Intellivision collection?

Nope, he sure didn't. He didn't have Spiker and was missing a bunch of third party stuff, including the rare titles. He didn't have LFI either, or a boxed copy of Stadium Mud Buggies. He actually had my childhood copies of Snafu and Word Fun, and when he passed away Emily gave them back to me.

Based on the modern history of Intellivision, such as the Intellivision PC collections, TV Games handhelds, and the recent Intellivision Flashback. Where do you see the Intellivision in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

In 1 year I still see them in the planning phase, maybe with a couple projects announced and in the works. In 5 and 10 years I hope they have a bazillion new, young fans and they've done something for all ages, not just retro remakes for us old farts. But in all honesty, I know almost zero about what the plans are, and it's exactly so I don't do something like an interview where I might spill something. I was just doing inventory!   :)

Keith Robinson will be missed and remembered by many. How did you take the news of his passing?

I was shocked when it happened, but not surprised. I found out because one of his cousins posted something on Facebook and tagged him in it. I panicked and texted Emily to see if it was true. But I'd been watching him get sicker and sicker for like a year and a half, and he didn't actually get diagnosed and start getting treated until a few months before he died. I visited him the first time he was hospitalized (when they finally diagnosed him), and I guess I sort of took it for granted that he'd be leaving again like before.

A closing statement from Colormesticky:

I don't know where Intellivision is headed, but I'm looking forward to watching the journey with everyone else. I know it's in good hands. I don't know if a super-part-time labor monkey can put your mind at ease, but for what it's worth: It's going to be just fine.

~