MB Omni

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This highly unusual stand alone game console was originally released in 1980, and cost $119.99 at retail. It was mainly involved answering trivia questions loaded in from 8 track tapes. it had a monaural speaker for the questions to be heard and answers to be given.

For display the console had four 2 character, seven segment displays to show the players points as well as to alert the player on when input was needed.

There is provision for four players, each sat at a corner of the machine, and they interact with the machine with a row of 11 buttons, which have labels 0-9, there is an enter button, and one for Go. depending on the question, the buttons are also coloured, and for other more complcated questions, there are letters too.

The machine relied on the tape to provide questions, but also had data stored internally for scoring and holding the answers on channels that could not be heard.

This gave it the potential to be programmable. It could play audio or read data from the left or right channels, it could also play 8 track tapes, though only in mono.

The tapes contained 4 programs each, the machine has a selector dial to choose which one to play, after inserting the tape, each player presses enter to register to play. The Omni then asks each player in turn questions played from the tape, they are then required to answer as quickly as possible, either selecting the right colour, spelling a word, or entering a number. The tape goes forward to the answer, points are then awarded by the Omni for correctness and answering the question the quickest.

At the end of the game, the winning player is alerted. Sometimes music would need to be played, as the correct part of the tape would take longer to find.

The game although fun, could be frustrating as lengthy pauses would interupt the game for long periods, and the tapes could be less than reliable.

In all there were 13 tapes released, including ones featuring the Sesame Street characters.

Manufacturer: Milton Bradley
Date: 1980

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH68367. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

MB Omni

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