- Why did you (or your parents) buy the Odyssey?
Christmas gift for our family (3 of us at the time), but primarily for me.
- How did you hear about Odyssey?
Being pretty young, I had no knowledge of it before we got it. I did have an affinity for arcade games, which is probably why my parents thought I would appreciate it.
- Where did you buy it?
Not totally sure, but… I have heard they were only available through Magnavox dealers, and when I asked my dad about it—I had to prompt him with that answer—he said it did seem likely that that was where they bought it.
- How old were you at the time?
I think I was 3.
- What games did you play? Which were the most interesting? Which weren't?
The pong game was definitely the big attraction, but I was super-intrigued by the overlays. I remember a Haunted House overlay that very much interested me…but I don’t remember much about playing the game itself.
As I believe most of the games required two players, it didn’t get a ton of use. My parents would play with me on occasion.
- How long did you play Odyssey? Days, months, years?
We got a Coleco Telstar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstar_(game_console)) in 1976, which spelled the end of our Odyssey use. So I’ll say we played it for three-something years.
- Who in your family played?
Me, Dad, Mom, and I remember playing with my grandparents on occasion.
- Where did you play (living room, basement, friends' house, etc.)?
- Did you play videogames after Odyssey? If so, which ones?
Coleco Telstar (as mentioned above), then the Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade (Atari VCS) starting in 1977. Then on to an Atari 800 in 1980, ColecoVision in 82(?), then many, many other systems.
- What seemed novel or interesting about the Odyssey? Did it remind you of other media or did it seem completely new?
It felt like the arcade to me. But it was certainly novel to play it at home.
- Did you own other accessories or games beyond the basic set?
I remember lots of overlays, and cards that went with I think the Haunted House game. One card said “Tiffany Lamp”. That is burned in my brain for no reason at all.
- How did Odyssey compare to other games you played (e.g., sports, board games, electronic handheld games, etc.)?
Generally superior to electronic handheld games, though those were often geared towards single-player play, which was nice. (The Odyssey wasn’t as I recall.)
- Was anything about Odyssey difficult to learn or understand?
That the game didn’t enforce its own rules made it hard for a young kid like me to play. For instance, one very unusual feature was that you could apply “english” to the ball in Table Tennis to make the ball curve. But there was a rule: you could only apply english on your own side of the court. Yet the game didn’t enforce the rule! You could apply english anytime you wanted, even when the ball was an inch from hitting the opposing player’s paddle, making it basically impossible for them to hit it. I remember I kept applying english in an unfair manner against my grandfather, and he kept complaining, saying “you can’t do that…”…and it made me cry.