Football, Odyssey^2, 1978
Like Bally's Football, Odyssey^2 Football does a good job of offering the plays and the interaction that the real sport promises, without the bone crushing, spine shattering injuries.
Major difference between this and the Bally is that the Bally shows a "slice" of the football field and scrolls the field to accommodate movement, while the Odyssey^2 Football shows the whole field all the time. The Bally animations seem to move a little more realistically, too, but that's just a general impression and I can't validate that by saying I counted the frames per character or anything.
The game starts when the whistle blows (which sounds pretty good) while the players are in their huddles discussing their plays. Defense and Offense selects their plays by moving their joystick to a particular position based on plays as diagrammed in the instruction manual. It's not a bad idea to have those plays memorized before playing, because if you don't, it's harder to pass the ball to your wide receiver, who is the only one who can catch it. When he does catch it, you lose control of your quarterback and you take control of the wide receiver.
The figures that you can control are distinguished by noticeably thinner necks. I think this is a useful, subtle idea and less distracting than say, making them blink, or turning them a different color or putting a cursor under their ass.
That's really all I can think to note, otherwise, it's a football game and I guess it isn't a bad game at that. We had some fun with it, we're just not huge football fans.
Something I should talk about is a short line found in the manual.
"On-screen electronic sensors enable the defensive linesman to follow the ball automatically."
Huh? on-screen electronic sensors?!? . . . I think that says a lot about the time period in which this is written and either the level of understanding the marketers had about the technology or at the very least, the level of expectations they had of their customers' understanding of that technology.
I'm going to guess, that here in 1978, more people have a general understanding of electronics than have a general understanding of programming algorithms. So, terms like "enemy AI" or even "artificial intelligence" itself, aren't exactly in the public meme. However, everyone who's seen a James Bond movie knows about electronic sensors, right?
Next entry, Bowling and its sister sport, Basketball.