19 Facts About Magnavox Odyssey


The hardware was designed by a small team led by Ralph H Baer at Sanders Associates, while Magnavox completed development and released it in the United States in September 1972 and overseas the following year.

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The Magnavox Odyssey console came packaged with dice, paper money, and other board game paraphernalia to accompany the games, while a peripheral controller—the first video game light gun—was sold separately.

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The release of the Magnavox Odyssey marked the beginning of the first generation of video game consoles and was an early part of the rise of the commercial video game industry.

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The Magnavox Odyssey lacks sound capability and can only display monochrome white shapes on a blank black screen.

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Internally, the Magnavox Odyssey architecture is composed of digital computing parts.

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Magnavox Odyssey is capable of displaying three square dots and a vertical line on the screen.

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Team from Magnavox Odyssey led by George Kent turned the prototype console into a final product.

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The rifle game was turned into a separately sold add-on game, Shooting Gallery, and Magnavox Odyssey added paper money, playing cards, and poker chips to the console, to go along with the plastic overlays for the games designed by Bradford that enhanced the primitive visuals.

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Magnavox Odyssey performed market surveys and playtests in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and demonstrated it to dealers in Las Vegas in May 1972.

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Magnavox Odyssey announced the system's launch date of September 1972, with availability restricted to dealers in 18 metropolitan areas, and demonstrated it for the next few months to Magnavox Odyssey dealerships and media.

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Magnavox Odyssey initially ordered 50, 000 units, but before release increased its production capabilities and built a larger inventory, as market testing found an enthusiastic response to the console.

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Baer believed that the low initial sales were due to the high price, and because Magnavox Odyssey restricted sales to its dealerships and implied that the device only worked with Magnavox Odyssey televisions.

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The Magnavox Odyssey did not appear in the pre-Christmas 1972 catalog, but the January 1973 catalog depicted the console in a two-page spread with pictures of bundled and optional games and the light gun.

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Magnavox Odyssey rejected the proposals, instead releasing four games for sale in 1973, designed wholly or in part by Emry.

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Magnavox Odyssey lowered the price to US$50 if purchased with a television.

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In late 1973, Magnavox Odyssey ran a large advertising campaign for its 1974 products, including sponsoring Frank Sinatra's November television special Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back.

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Magnavox Odyssey produced no more games for the console after 1973 and rejected proposals for different versions of the console or accessories.

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The root of the conflict was a set of patents by Baer and the development team—particularly a pair which described how the Magnavox Odyssey showed player-controlled objects, or dots, on a video monitor and described a number of games that could be played with the system, with one patent by Baer and one by Rusch.

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Judge, John Grady, ruled in early 1977 that Baer's patent for the Magnavox Odyssey constituted "the pioneering patent of the video game art", held the defendants' games as infringing, and set a precedent that any video game where a machine-controlled visual element hit and bounced off a player-controlled element violated Rusch's patent.

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