Oldschoolvideogamez - your best way to recall classical video games of the past. Old school video games: Magnavox Odyssey Old school video games: Magnavox Odyssey

Magnavox Odyssey

Magnavox Odyssey

Still one of the more controversial systems ever made, the Odyssey may or may not be considered the first programmable video game system. While it did feature removable game cards that allowed players to change the gameplay, these did not contain actual programs - instead, they physically altered the signal path inside the machine itself, leading to differences in the system's output (and, consequently, gameplay). Conceived during a brainstorm by designer Ralph Baer, the idea of a TV game system was shopped around to various manufacturers before finally being picked up by Magnavox. Originally released in 1972, each package contained a set of dice, playing cards, poker chips, and screen overlays to add depth to the various games. Scores were kept not in the system's memory but on paper, and players were responsible for making up their own rules. The system was powered by batteries, though an AC adapter was available as an optional purchase.
The Odyssey would go through several incarnations over the years, from the Pong-like Odyssey 100 and 200 to the all-new, truly programmable Odyssey 2, which featured a built in keyboard and standard joystick controllers. By the time the Odyssey 2 was released, competitors were beginning to gain a foothold and the system was eventually left in the dust by the Atari 2600. There's no question, however, that Ralph Baer and his original Odyssey were pioneers in the video game industry - and if you believe his war stories, he even had his idea for Pong stolen by Nolan Bushnell during a bar conversation.

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