There has been a lot written about the technology that became the Odyssey console by Magnavox, but not much understanding. Even though we have had a plethora of documentary information about it for over a decade, it seems that nobody has actually looked at these documents in much depth. In embarking to understand the stages of the development of the Odyssey, myself and other researchers have broken through much of the legendary narrative.
A typical rendition of the Odyssey story would go as follows:
Ralph Baer, lone inventor at Sanders Associates, uses his television expertise to create the first thing we would call a video game. Executing his vision with a small team, they bounce from prototype to prototype to create a box that can display three dots and a line – perfect for playing Table Tennis. After packaging their device, Sanders sells it to Magnavox who decide to make it too expensive with a load of dice and boards. Because of that and poor advertising, the Odyssey doesn’t do well, but its technology inspires Pong and cements the Odyssey’s place in video game history. Ralph Baer is never recognized for his invention until the 1990s when he begins making appearances at retro shows, revealing the duplicity of the attention hogging people at Atari.
Sure, this is a slightly reductive summary, but even the specific details are things that people believe are settled fact. We are going to break down each of these pieces one by one. Divided into sections about Vision, Production, and Legacy, we will peel back the curtain to see what the evidence supports for this typical tale of the Odyssey.
Talk about video games (vids) and consoles from your past and present!!
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- MAACA Mega Contributor
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