by Dark Watcher
The Magnavox Odyssey was the very first home video game system. It was the brilliant creation of Ralph Baer (dubbed "The Father
of home video games"). It played "Ball and Paddle" games such as "Ping Pong", "Table Tennis", "Volleyball" and others.
On January 27th, 1972, Magnavox began production on the machine and the system was released in May. It was heavily advertised and reportedly sold 100,000 units in 1972 for around $100 each.
The Odyssey has no real specs. It contained no processor or memory. The box is made up of transistors, resistors and capacitors. Odyssey used cards that contained pin outs to change game settings. Plastic overlays that could be placed over the TV screen created graphics and color, but the actual display consisted of white squares (Paddle and ball) on an all black background. The Odyssey originally came with six game cards and a 36-page user manual for the twelve additional games offered for the system.
The launch of Odyssey generated a severe case of "PONG Madness". Companies worldwide began developing their own "PONG" machines.
|FACT: Magnavox Odyssey was sold only in Magnavox stores. Customers were told that the Odyssey would only work on Magnavox brand televisions. A nice lie that contributed to the amount of units sold. Before it became Odyssey, Ralph Baer's creation was simply called "The Brown Box". We were able to get our claws on this historical prototype (pictured below).|