Magnavox Odyssey — Game Consoles — Video Game Wiki

Magnavox Odyssey
1972 – 1975



Magavox Odyssey Retail Box

Above: Magavox Odyssey Retail Box


The Magnavox Odyssey, a first generation game console, was with a combination of analogue and digital circuitry. While there has been some disagreement over where the unit is digital or not, it is the first game console and it does have a considerable amount of digital circuitry. However, to clarify the issue of digital or not, the only art of the console that is not digital is the controllers. In fact, many console of the time had analogue controllers.

The odyssey did not go on to be a large success. Some blamed marketing for its poor results.

In 1961, a group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology programmed a game called Spacewar! on a DEC PDP-1.


Magavox Odyssey First Generation Game Console

Above: Magavox Odyssey First Generation Game Console


In 1970 Nolan Bushnell saw Spacewar! for the first time at the University of Utah. Deciding there was commercial potential in an arcade version, he hand-wired a custom computer capable of playing it on a black and white television.

The resulting game, Computer Space, did not fare well commercially and Bushnell started looking for new ideas.

In 1971, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, saw a demonstration of the Magnavox Odyssey, and hired Al Alcorn to produce an arcade version of the Odyssey’s ping-pong game called PONG.


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