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Santa's Helper (Intellivision)

Posted: November 29th, 2019, 5:18 pm
by VideoGameCritic
So I was waiting until now to review this, for obvious reasons, but I'm starting to think Santa's Helper is more of a demo than a game.

The screen looks beautiful with a cozy snow covered hose and a path leading through some evergreens. Presents are scattered around and two elves blink on and off. You move Santa around the screen, and he's exceptionally detailed and colorful. He can pick up the presents but that's about it. You can't leave the screen and there's no audio.

Am I missing something? Is it possible to even review this? Or did I just do that?

Re: Santa's Helper (Intellivision)

Posted: December 5th, 2019, 7:51 pm
by sixam ... 958038457/

Here is something that some of our Intellivision friends may not know... A game called HAPPY HOLIDAY'S was being worked on in 1983, but was never officially released. It would have included 3 holiday themed games... Santa's Helper, Easter Eggcitement and Trick or Treat. Here is a rare unfinished prototype/demo of the Santa's Helper game (with newly inserted 8-bit music). :)

Design/Program: Dale Lynn
Graphics: Kai Tran, Lori Sunahara

Santa's Helper
Find and gather all the toys and gifts. Find the elf for extra points. Get all the gifts and join Santa in his sleigh. Drop gifts down chimneys as they scroll past below the sleigh.

Easter Eggcitement
Find the Easter eggs hidden in the park. Find the Easter Bunny for extra points.

Trick or Treat
Go trick-or-treating; get candy from houses where the lights are on. Avoid the witches, ghosts and pumpkins.

As Intellivision games started growing in size, a technical limitation was hit: the Intellivision memory map only allowed for 16K of cartridge space. Some new games on the drawing boards, especially ECS games, required at least 24K.

The Design & Development department worked around the problem by building cartridges using pageable ROM. 4K blocks -- pages -- of data could share the same address space and be selected by the program as needed.

While the pageable ROMs were intended to allow larger games, it was apparent that they would be ideal for multi-game "albums." Several old and/or new games could easily be linked together on one cartridge with a menu.

To demonstrate this, Dale Lynn of the D & D department came up with the original idea Happy Holidays. The cartridge would contain three original holiday-themed games.

Demo screens for the games were designed by Kai Tran and Lori Sunahara, also of D & D, and Dale programmed some simple animation. Dale presented the idea at a meeting of the senior Mattel Electronics executives.

Re: Santa's Helper (Intellivision)

Posted: December 7th, 2019, 6:17 pm
by VideoGameCritic
Very insightful - thanks sixam!

I love the idea of a game covering several holidays.

Any word on if a ROM has been uncovered?