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Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! In Stock. How Bad Do You Want it? Different games that use the same game card can have different overlays, which can change a game with the same controls from, for example, a mountain ski path to a movement-based Simon Says game.
In addition to the overlays, the Odyssey came with dice, poker chips, score sheets, play money, and game boards much like a traditional board game.
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Named the Shooting Gallery, the rifle-shaped device registered a hit when pointed at a light source such as a dot on the television screen. In , while working for military contractor Loral Electronics, engineer Ralph H. Baer was assigned to build a television set; while doing so, Baer claims he had the idea to build something into a television set that the owner could control, rather than only hooking it up to a remote television station. Baer did not pursue the idea, but it returned to him in August while waiting for a bus. As Channel LP had little to do with the typical military contracts Sanders worked on, rather than bring the idea to his bosses Baer instead commandeered an empty room and assigned one of his technicians, Bob Tremblay, to work on it with him.
Baer spent the next few months designing further prototypes, and in February assigned technician Bill Harrison to begin building the project. Harrison spent the next few months in between other projects building out successive modifications to the prototype. Baer, meanwhile, collaborated with engineer Bill Rusch on the design of the console, including developing the basis of many games for the system. The first game was developed by May, a two-player game where the players repeatedly press a button in competition to fill or empty a bucket of water, and by June multiple games were completed for what was then a second prototype box.
Baer demonstrated the new prototype to Campman, who enjoyed the shooting game, increased funding, and recommended Baer demonstrate the project to senior management. Baer additionally felt that he was not proving successful at designing fun games for the system; to make up for this he formally added Bill Rusch, who had helped him come up with the initial games for the console, to the project. Campman felt that the system was advanced enough to begin trying to find a manufacturer to buy it; they had decided to aim for selling the rights to produce the console, as Sanders was not in the business of making and selling commercial electronics.
The team first approached the cable television industry, and the prototype attracted the attention of TelePrompter Corporation, who had seen it during a visit. After a few months of talks, cash-flow problems forced TelePrompter to back out in April It was picked up again in September, this time without Rusch, and went through two more iterations resulting in January in the seventh prototype, known as the "Brown Box" due to the wood-grain stickers on the casing.
Baer demonstrated the system to several companies, who all expressed enthusiasm; only RCA was willing to purchase the device, however, and an agreement could not be reached. The three creators of the Brown Box again demonstrated the device to Magnavox in July ; they received a tepid reaction from most of the executives, but Vice President of Marketing Gerry Martin was in favor and Magnavox agreed to produce the console.
After a long period of negotiations the two companies finally signed an agreement in January Magnavox designed the exterior of the machine, and re-engineered some the internals with some consultation from Baer and Harrison; they removed the ability to display color, used only the three dial controller, and changed the system of selecting games from a dial to separate game cards that modified the console's circuitry when plugged into the console.
Baer was upset with the board game additions, which he felt were pointless add-ons that would go unused by players.
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Magnavox announced the system's launch date of September , and demonstrated it for months prior to Magnavox dealerships and media. Magnavox began advertising the Odyssey in mid-September , including an appearance on the game show What's My Line? As neither Pong nor the term "video game" existed, the company described the console as "the new electronic game of the future" and "closed-circuit electronic playground".
The Odyssey was sold only through Magnavox dealers; the company hoped that as the first such product, consumers would visit its stores. There are conflicting reports between Baer and Magnavox employees as to whether Magnavox produced , or , consoles in ; additionally, Odyssey product manager Bob Fritsche recalled selling 69, units that year, while Baer recalled sales being closer to , Customers unfamiliar with the new device may have misunderstood Odyssey's interoperability.
Magnavox assistant product planner Don Emry said that the sales were in line with the original projections, if not with the production run. Magnavox discontinued the console after ; according to Baer it sold , units in total worldwide, though statements by Fritsche indicate it may have been higher.
As the Odyssey was discontinued Magnavox released the first successive dedicated consoles —consoles that could only play games built into the system—in the Odyssey series , the Odyssey and Odyssey , as part of the first generation of video game consoles ; the Odyssey was only capable of playing the ping pong and hockey games from the original Odyssey.
While it showed the potential of video game consoles and marked the end of the early history of video games and the beginning of the commercial video game industry, the Odyssey is not generally considered a major commercial success. Magnavox produced no more games for the console after and rejected Baer's proposals for an add-on that would add sound to games, a putting controller and associated golf game, and console variants that would have been cheaper or supported up to four players.
In Ralph Baer was awarded the National Medal of Technology for "his groundbreaking and pioneering creation, development and commercialization of interactive video games, which spawned related uses, applications, and mega-industries in both the entertainment and education realms". MoMA's Paul Galloway described the console as "a masterpiece of engineering and industrial design" and stated that it was "hard to overstate the importance of [Ralph Baer's] place in the birth of the industry".
In May , Nutting Associates chief engineer Nolan Bushnell , designer of the first commercial arcade video game , Computer Space , saw a demonstration of the Odyssey at a dealership. Alcorn soon developed Pong , which Bushnell recognized as a potential hit, and it became the company's first game. Pong was very successful, and in turn helped drive sales of the Odyssey; Baer once noted that customers bought the console because of Table Tennis , in turn because of Pong , and joked that they may as well have stopped designing games after that game card.
In , however, Magnavox sued Atari along with several competitors including Nutting, Allied Leisure, Bally Midway , and Williams Electronics for infringing on Baer's patents for video games played on a television screen. The judge ruled that Baer's more general patent for the Odyssey constituted "the pioneering patent of the video game art", and held the defendants' games as infringing the patents.
The court, however, ruled that the oscilloscope -based game did not use video signals and therefore did not qualify as a video game, and ruled again in favor of Magnavox and Sanders. A total of 28 games distributed on 11 different game cards were released for the Magnavox Odyssey. Another game, Percepts , was available for free to players that sent in a survey card. A light gun accessory, Shooting Gallery , was available for purchase, and included four games on two cards that used the rifle. A final four games were released for sale in , designed wholly or in part by Don Emry.
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