Personally, I don't know all that much about Digiplay, other than they initially seemed to be the Brazilian distributor for Mattel. Most of the original Mattel games localized for the Brazilian market had fully localized boxes, manuals, and even cartridge labels and overlays! Check out Psycho Stormtrooper's excellent site for lots more details!
Not only were the games localized, but so was the Master Component. Their variation of the original 2609, the 5368, even had localized text on the top of the unit, but was still tagged as being from Mattel Electronics. The documentation listed Digiplay as the distributor or some such, I think. The Intellivision II was also produced by Digiplay - and even had the Digiplay logo on the front of the unit in place of the Mattel logo.
It seems that Digiplay was not interested in doing things halfway. The boxes, manuals, labels, and overlays were almost always completely translated into Portuguese, and the manuals were even done up with full color covers! All of the boxes I've seen were also book-style boxes - even for games that Mattel delivered in cheaper kinds of boxes. Later releases, like Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man don't bear the Mattel logo at all. In fact, my He-Man lists "TM - IMAGIC" on the back of the manual!
So, time for another of my favorite activities : pulling a theory out of my a.. er, thin air, to explain what was going on... Perhaps someone out there who stumbles onto this site and has better knowledge can contribute and correct. Here it comes! My guess is that initially, Digiplay had an agreement to distribute the Intellivision system and worked out some sort of deal with Mattel. The deal involved a requirement to localize the games for the market. Then, a few things happened. The market started to soften in the U.S.A. in 1983, but, as things tend to operate in global markets, the crash didn't hit the Brazilian market yet - it probably lagged by several months or even a year or more. Digiplay also picked up permission to deliver Activision and Imagic games. Later, back in the U.S., Intellivision, Inc. / INTV Corp. kept the Intellivision alive as well, and Activision bought out Imagic. Perhaps they worked out a new deal with Intellivision, Inc.?
Why is that relevant? Well, there is one thing that's odd to me about the overlay situation here... Most of the original Mattel games released by Digiplay seem to also come with localized overlays. However, some seem to come with overlays that could have come from the Intellivision, Inc. era as well. By this, I mean that many I.I. copies of the original Mattel games came with overlays that had the Mattel Electronics copyright removed. Well, most of the Digiplay versions of the older Mattel games came with localized overlays produced on materials that are clearly very different from standard overlays. However, some later ones, like Reversi, come with overlays that are in English, but have no copyright date on them. Similarly, the Activision releases also have no copyright date on them. Strange indeed! Anybody out there have some good info on this?
The Digiplay variants are sought by collectors (like yours truly) often for these overlay variations, as well as their packaging differences. To my knowledge, the ROMs are identical to those sold in the U.S.A.
Page last updated 04-Oct-2004 00:20:53 EDT