Magnavox Odyssey

The Magnavox Odyssey was the first home video console produced in the world. It was manufactured by Magnavox and released in August 1972. The unit was discontinued in 1975 with a total of 330,000 systems sold. Its successor was the Magnavox Odyssey 2.

A working prototype of the console was finished in 1968, known as the brown box. This prototype is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History located in Washington D.C..

The Odyssey connected to a television set and used cartridges for game play. A total of 27 games on 12 different cartridges were available. The original unit was powered by batteries and lacked sound. The system used removable printed circuit board cards that contained jumpers and signal generators to produce the game logic and screen output.

The Odyssey had translucent overlays to put on the television to simulate color graphics, but only two television sizes were supported. These overlays could be used with multiple game cartridges, however different rules were used for playing. The unit was also sold with dice, poker chips and score sheets. The Odyssey came with two paddles.

An available accessory was a light gun, called the Shooting Gallery that used the light from the TV; but it would also register a hit if the gun was pointed at a light bulb. An unreleased accessory and game for the Odyssey used a golf ball attached to the top of a joy stick that the player would hit with a putter.

Image Caption: Magnavox Odyssey – World’s first video game console. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia