Three games, one cart! This is getting out of hand . . .Before I talk about the individual games on this cart, I should point out that this entire cartridge uses the keyboard and nothing but the keyboard. I don't know why, but I find that admirable. This console actually uses its keyboards while other consoles only have half-hearted attempts at keyboards (Atari, Bally).
Match Maker! Odyssey^2, 1978
This is one of those "deja vu" games, we've seen it on other systems before. I think I enjoy this version of "memory match for TV" a tiny bit more than the others. This is directly attributable to how painless it is to use the Odyssey^2 keyboard for typing in single letters (or short phrases). The graphics that you must match are very, very simple but are distinct from one another and are a veritable "who's who" of icons from other Odyssey^2 games. I'm not crazy about videogame versions of the matching game. I'd much rather crawl around on my floor with my children while playing Memory Match, but that may just be me. However, as these games go, I think the Odyssey^2's interface solution (with a full keyboard) is the most comfortable out of the video Memory Match offerings of the late 1970s.
Buzzword! Odyssey^2, 1978
Buzzword is just Hangman without any hangin'. You get eight chances to guess a word wrong and when you run out, game's over. Why would kids want to learn to spell if there isn't the threat of someone's virtual death looming over them? If they get the word right, there's no reward either, it's just "hit reset" and try to guess another word. This game is easier to play than the other versions I've managed to actually enjoy writing about, mostly because of the Odyssey^2 keyboard, but without a lynchin', there's just no spark to it.One more thing I must note about Buzzword: The directions claim that the Odyssey^2 picks each word from its "demonic dictionary". There's no other attempt at alliteration, nor any other references to nefarious elements of our demon haunted world throughout the rest of the pamphlet. Why, then, should they choose to do so for a dictionary? What the hell is up with that? Weird.
Witness a single example of its demonic vocabulary.
Logix! Odyssey^2, 1978
Logix! is a Mastermind variant with nothing to especially distinguish it from the others except that no number occurs more than once in the five digit number sequence to be deduced. This simplification does make the game more accessible for beginners, but there's no harder variation to make it more challenging after they get the hang of it. Maybe they couldn't afford the memory needs of a more challenging variant because the "demonic dictionary" of Buzzword was hogging all the space. (I know, I shouldn't blame what are probably design decisions on perceived console limitations, but I had to take another poke at the "demonic" thing.)
Yet again, what Logix! does have going for, it is the Odyssey^2 keyboard. It's just nicer to type in the guess than to do the joystick manipulations needed on the other systems. I don't remember how the Atari handled it (was it on Brain Games and used the keypad?) but I remember playing it on the Fairchild. I liked it fine on there, but I like it better with the full keyboard. If only there were tougher variations included.
Odyssey^2's Baseball is next. (and then Computer Golf, Math-a-Magic/Echo, and Sea Wolf/Missile on the Bally, which I missed during my 1978 Bally run through and then we're done 1978!)