Magnavox Odyssey (Boxed)

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The Magnavox Odyssey was the World's first home video game console. It was first demonstrated on May 24, 1972 and released in August of that year, pre-dating the Atari Pong home consoles by three years.

It was designed by Ralph Baer, who began around 1966 and had a working prototype finished by 1968.

The Magnavox Odyssey was a cartridge based console allowing it to play a different game simply by inserting various game cards.

The console only powers on when one of the cards is inserted. The machine is considered by some to be the first games console with cartridges, but this is stretching the case a bit, as the cards merely contain jumpers to alter the screen and not data.

Although the console itself was black and white, colour was added to the games by use of a screen overlay that attached to the screen of your CRT television. The static electricity of old style CRT screens was enough to hold the plastic sheet on.

There were multiple items supplied with the box to make the games more playable, including plastic chips and playing cards, there was a roulette game with it's own card for a table, and also a gridiron pitch and cards for the American Football game.

Our Magnavox Odyssey was kindly donated by David Bingham, whose son wanted it to come to us specifically, as he realised its significance to gaming history.

Manufacturer: Magnavox
Date: August 1972

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH68502. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Magnavox Odyssey (Boxed)

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