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  1. Guest


    Invasion! It's not Risk, but it tries to be! The world is a small map with 12 territories each containing a castle. Surrounding the land portion of the map is an ocean perimeter. The land part of the world gets divided up and everyone gets an equal number of castles. The object of the game is to take over everyone else's castles using your armies. You can attack any castle if it is immediately adjacent to one of your castles. After capturing a castle you get to draw a loot card which gives you gold. Use the gold to buy more armies or to buy a ship which you can use to transport armies to attack castles that aren't immediately adjacent to your already conqured land. I'll add a picture of the map board when I get a chance. EDIT: Added board and comment. If you look around the edges you'll notice "Lake Odyssey", an early "easter egg". You can't read it unless you turn the board sideways! () The blue edge is the ocean and allows for ships to sail around and drop off armies if you are invading a territory without a shared border. end EDIT To Attack a castle there are two phases. The External Battle and the Internal Battle. The external battle by land can be either a Direct Attack or a Sneak Attack. The Direct Attack is the only time you directly face-off against an opponent using the Odyssey. The duel is simply this: The Attacker sends the Ball Spot across the screen at the highest speed possible, and attempts to wiggle it, using ENGLISH, past the Defender who can only use their Vertical Control to block it. It IS a bit more challenging then, say, Tennis or Football, because of the high speed of the Ball Spot. Really, the game is mostly on the game board and in this case, the video component is used in place of dice, or "rock, paper, scissors". Each successful attack kills two defenders, while failing the attack kills one attacker. You attack until you lose enough armies to make you decide to pull back or until you wittle down the defense to two or less armies. The Sneak Attack is an all or nothing affair. If successful, you're in and all the defending armies are dead, otherwise, all of your attacking armies are toast. The Sneaky part involves maneuvering your player spot, while it is invisible, from the bottom center of the screen to either north corner of the on-screen castle so that it covers the door there. It isn't very easy. We didn't try this too often (because we didn't play for that long) but this is something that would become easier with practice. Once you are in the castle, either by Direct or Sneak Attack, you must conduct an Internal Battle, which oddly enough, does not intricately involve your opponent. Using cart #6, the same cart as Roulette, by the way, you start the spot in the center of the screen. Your opponent blanks the spot (by holding down their reset button) while you shift your horizontal/verticle controls enough so that you think that spot will now materialize on top of one of the four guard towers of the castle on the Überlay. The reset button is released and the Ball Spot slides in from off-screen to, hopefully, symbolize a destruction of all the defenders. You have as many chances to try as you have surviving attackers from the initial external battle. We kind of enjoyed the internal battles, because we found ourselves getting better at predicting where the Ball Spot would land. This didn't save the game, however. We realized, like we did in Football, just how many times we'd have to perform these frustrating and mostly un-fun little video stunts to finish the game. Having just two of us playing meant there were at least 6 castles to capture meaning there would be at least 6 External Battles consisting of one Sneak Attack or multiple Direct Attacks and at least 24 internal battles. At least! We gave up after capturing and recapturing the same castle three times, deciding that the rest of the game would take a really long time and return a proportionately small amount of fun. It should be noted that this game uses carts #4, #5 and #6 for the various attacks. It comes with a game board, two overlays, a deck of loot cards and at least 300 little tokens representing your armies. The video component detracts from the board game and we found ourselves wishing we could resolve conflicts with a short round of "rock, paper, scissors". We were bored and frustrated by the time we decided to quit. Maybe this game would be more fun with more players, (It can have up to four) but maybe that would just frustrate more people at the same time. Ultraman gets the point. Ultraman: 8, Odyssey: 11 <- PREV | NEXT ->
  2. Guest

    PER-cepts, not PRE-cepts

    I can't believe I almost forgot about Percepts! Percepts was the free Odyssey game you got for registering your Odyssey. You know the drill, you fill out a little slip of paper and mail it in to Magnavox. They get your personal information for nefarious marketing purposes and you get a free game. Not a bad deal! This game would fall into the "Simon Says" category in that you must determine where to go on the screen and get there before your opponent does. It also uses cards. Percepts comes with two decks (Purple and Green) of 15 cards each, an Überlay (both sizes) and a set of instructions. There are two games described in the instructions. The first is described as Patterns. You take the 15 green cards and lay them out, face-up in a 3x5 grid, just like the blank rectangles you see on the Überlay. Study them carefully. Here's one to help you practice. Next you and your opponent sit facing the face-up cards, with your hands off your stalwart controllers. One of you, the lucky one perhaps, draws a Purple card from the here-to-fore unused Purple deck. Both of you study the pattern (the 3x3 grid) on the card. Then, find the pattern among the 15 Green cards already laid out, note the position of this Green card. Then it's a race, using the controllers to maneuver the Player Spots to the corresponding position on the overlay! If you get there first, you win the Green card! Do this until there are no more Green cards. Count the cards and the one with the most Green cards gets to gloat. We personally thought it made more sense to win a Purple card. Winning the Green card narrows the field of possible Green card candidates so the game gets easier and easier as you progress. The second game, Symbols, is similar, but after studying the positions of Symbols on the face up cards you turn them all over. When you draw a Purple card you have to go the corresponding position of the now face down Green card that you suspect hides the Symbol in question. In Theory, one would think this would be more challenging than Patterns, but my son had an much easier time with Symbols than Patterns. This is probably due to the Symbols being easier to recognize and remember. I mean who could forget this adorable kitty cat? It should be noted that the card sets aren't identical. The Purple card with the same Symbol as the Green card does not have the same Patttern. This is important because the Symbols turned out soo much easier to remember, that it would've been an easy way to cheat on the Patterns game (by ignoring the Patterns and only paying attention to the Symbols.) I'll give Percepts a point for being a kind of on-screen/off-screen "Memory Match". It took us about 30 minutes to get through both game variations and it was way better than going outside and playing in this intense 98 degree Texas heat. It would have captivated us for an entire episode of Ultraman, only once maybe, but that's enough for the point. I'm almost starting to feel sorry for Ultraman! His little expiration light is starting to blink. Heh. I wish I had some Ultraman on VHS/DVD then I might be able to blog some Ultraman episodes to do a real comparison. The Score: Ultraman: 6, The Odyssey 10 Next entry should be about the 1972 Extra Game, Fun Zoo. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  3. Guest

    Early Edutainment

    States (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972) The overlay is a map of the USA. There are 50 cards, each highlighting a specific state with three questions about the state. There's an answer brochure ("Affairs of States") and what can best be described as a paper version of the overlay. They refer to it as a "study map", but it reminds me of a place mat they give my kids to color when we eat at a diner. The questions are cute and range from little rhymes to help your memory with learning the captials to riddles about certain official state items. For instance, on the Kansas card: 1. Arm in arm, cheek to cheeka - Kansas' capital is _______? Or for Alaska: 2. Why is Alaska's state flower easy to remember? (heh-heh, I like this one) (answers next entry!) The design of the game calls for the player to randomly select a state on the screen by closing their eyes and randomly rotating the horizontal and vertical knobs on the controller. Upon reset, the Player Spot would float out on to a random position and that's how a state gets selected for the card collecting/questions asking portion of the game. 80% of the time this would result in a blank screen because the player would turn one of the knobs too far in either direction. When it did work, the gameplay was okay enough. The player would have to select the appropriate state card from a region deck and say what state it was. If they got it right then they "win" that state's card. If that state card had already been won, they could challenge for it by answering a trivia question about the state and capture it from their opponent. Pro: Cute, simple and the questions were pretty effective as learning aids because of their clever mnemonic devices. Con: The randomization system sucked eggs! What we found to be more effective and entertaining was shuffling the cards, drawing a card and telling the player what state to put the Player Spot on. If they got it right, they won the card. If they answered a question on the card, they got to go again. We didn't have any "challenges" to capture already won cards. This also helped to speed up the game. Because this game uses the Odyssey Randomization Technique, I almost X'd it out of hand. However, after I looked through the cards, revised the rules and played a few rounds of it with my son, we found that we enjoyed playing it together. I don't think that's a Bad Thing. Now, if I were 7 years old and had to choose between this or Ultraman, I'm certain I would have chosen Ultraman. HOWEVER, I'm also pretty sure that my parents would've chosen differently and would probably have offered to play States with me. SO, I'll give this game a point for its encouragement of parents appreciating video games for their educational value and playing them with their children. The Score: Ultraman 6, Odyssey 4.0 Now, go play an (age appropriate) video game with a child you love. (or a parent, if you're still a child yourself.) EDIT: Something I forgot to mention, but I thought it was interesting. The deck of 50 States cards in four seperate Odysseys I've acquired have been in alphabetical order. Since the game requires you to divide the deck by regions, which takes them out of alphabetical order, one can only assume that if you get a deck and it is in alphabetical order, it was never played, or played by someone who was anal about order. Another interesting thing about the "alphabetical" order: each of the four decks were in fine order from Alabama to Wyoming, except Hawaii was always last , as if they'd forgotten to include it until the last minute. There's probably a production deadline story behind that. We'll never hear it. Next Entry is Simon Says. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  4. Guest

    Ultraman vs. Odyssey

    Okay, for those of you who didn't read my last entry (and who could blame you?) this blog is about pretending it isn't 2005. We're using our imaginations and pretending that it is 1973. This isn't a historical blog. I won't bore you with relevant facts. I'm going to bore you with blow by blow descriptions of really old videogames. Before I do that, I'm going to bore you by talking about the Odyssey and how it may not have had anything to do with people loving video games nor was it ever meant to! Actually, I won't talk about that at all, because it would require me to talk about things like Arcade videogames in 1972 and that's beyond the scope of this blog. I'm going to keep the concepts school-yard simple: It's my considered opinon that Ultraman would cream the Odyssey in a fight. Let's say that each day between school and dinner in 1973, you have about a half-an-hour of TV time during which you may either watch Ultraman or play your brand spanking new Odyssey. You love Ultraman! BUT, you are fascinated by this new TV manipulating toy called Odyssey! (for you English teachers out there, I'm writing in "second person presumptuous" voice) What do you do? Obviously, the day after you get it, you're going to use that half-hour to try to play it. Screw Ultraman, you can watch that Nihon-jin sixties has-been tomorrow, if you still even feel like it! To you, at this stage in the world's evolution, from your perspective in 1973, the Odyssey IS the next necessary step on mankind's road to 3-D Smellivision. Either that, or it will suck and you'll go back to watching Ultraman again real soon. Actually, this is where the comments section comes in. I'll talk about an Odyssey game and then you, the reader, leave in the comments section a so-called "comment" concerning whether or not you'd rather watch Ultraman or play the Odyssey "game o' the day/week (or however often I blog)." The beauty of this is that you get to have an opinion about a game you may not have even played! You could say you'd rather watch Ultraman because you don't like the color green and "this stupid game" had green in it! Or whatever! Talk off the top of your ass!™ That's what I'm going to do! Anyway, tomorrow I'll talk about Table Tennis for Odyssey by Magnavox. (Oh, and before you even comment. I know Odyssey came out in 1972 (May, I think) but I don't know when its 1972 extra games and the Shooting Gallery came out. I figure they were all out by 1973 so we should start playing all of 1972's games in 1973. Also, I don't actually remember if Ultraman was on in 1972, but I do remember it being on in 1973 (4:30, channel 17, in Philadelphia, I think.). So, uh, there.) <- PREV | NEXT ->
  5. Guest

    Überview, 1972

    In 1972 there was only one system: Odyssey by Magnavox There were a total of 23 games released for that system during 1972 as far as I can tell. They were released in three groups: 12 with the Main Console plus 1 free game by registering your console. 4 with the Shooting Gallery add-on accessory 6 released for individual purchase or as a set of six. I'm emoticoning these for future reference. The emoticon "system" is different from the Vs. Ultraman "system" and is just shorthand for general feelings my son and I had for each game. Your mileage may vary. With the main console: Table Tennis Tennis Football Hockey Ski Submarine Cat and Mouse Haunted House Analogic Roulette States Simon Says And the "Register your Odyssey and Get a Free Game" game, Percepts With the Shooting Gallery add-on: Prehistoric Safari Shootout! Dogfight Shooting Gallery And finally, the Six Extra Games from 1972: Fun Zoo Baseball Invasion Wipeout Volleyball Handball If these emoticons don't completely jibe with the reviews/critiques/whining I've given, so be it. My opinions about things can change with my mood. I'll start 1973 games, (all four of them) some time soon. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  6. Guest

    Place your bets!

    This is the Odyssey's version of Roulette and it isn't the relatively fun kind of Roulette where you use guns and risk killing yourself. The game uses a gameboard with a Roulette betting table on it. It uses what everyone calls "poker chips". Since there is no poker game on the Odyssey, we'll just call them chips. There's also a big wad of cash to use. The game involves the BANKER handing a controller to a blindfolded or eyes-closed player, and having them "flip" the knobs on the controller. He can hand it to them upside down, sideways, whatever. The point is, the "flipping" serves to "randomize" the controller. The BANKER then presses the reset button and a player spot is supposed to appear on the screen. More often than not, however, it appears off screen and the process must be attempted again. The spot is supposed to enter from the right side and settle somewhere on the Überlay's picture of a roulette wheel. Then, a chart is consulted to determine the winning number. It just does not work often enough. Too often, we're like: "Where's the damn spot? Oh tanj, it's off screen again." The whole thing is a bad idea for a game on a system that has no randomization capability. Roulette, in my opinion, is an example of "filling the box" so the marketing department can justify selling the product at a higher price point. Despite its pretty Überlay, Roulette is the most wretched attempt at fun that we've yet to see on the Odyssey. We hates it. We hates it so much that I'm taking away 1.25 points that the Odyssey has previously earned, just to punish it for this pathetic insult to the consumer. The Score: Ultraman: 5, Odyssey: 1.75 EDIT: A voiced opinion has expressed disapproval in my removing of points. I figured for fun I would do it differently, instead of adding points to Ultraman, I would take points from Odyssey. Instead, I will restore the points to Odyssey, but Ultraman gets the point for this game. The revised Score: Ultraman: 6, Odyssey 3.00 (by the way, if I didn't like the system, I wouldn't be devoting all this time to it. ) Tomorrow will be States, this time for sure! <- PREV | NEXT ->
  7. Guest

    First Home Adventure

    Haunted House! The thumbnail on the bottom is a shot of the same overlay with all of the transparent stuff cut out. EDIT: I forgot to say why I thought this qualified as the first home adventure game. Your mileage may vary. Unlike the other games that came with the Odyssey console, Haunted House has many traits of an "adventure" genre game in a prototypical state. It gives the player a tangible setting through which to wander; items to find and "pick up"; and a role to play, that of the Detective. Of course, what is missing is any kind of puzzle element which, one could argue, is essential to the adventure genre. Okay, so it's a stretch. I'm just saying it's more like an adventure game than any other game on this console. (if I can call Submarine a "shooter", then I'm calling this an "adventure".) END EDIT I love the Überlay for this game. It's a silhouette of a stereotypical haunted house. The house is three stories tall and filled with items such as bats, cats, skulls and candelabra. You play the game by moving your Detective through the house and "lighting" each item one at a time, in order, as specified by drawn cards. "Lighting" involves moving your TV square behind an item which causes it to glow. If you successfully light the item, you collect the item's card. Most of the house is opaque, so if your Player Spot isn't behind an item and isn't shining through a window (and it isn't supposed to be) you can't see it at all. The effect is like trying to sneak around a dark house in that you don't know when you are going to "bump" into something or suddenly shine your light through a window. If you accidentally light a window, you lose the previous card you collected. You can also lose cards if you light an item out of order. You try to get through the whole house, collecting as many cards as possible. The other player is the Ghost. At the beginning of the game, the Ghost hides his square behind an item while the Detective is out of the room (literally, not looking at the TV). During the game, when the Detective gets one item away from the Ghost's hiding spot, the Ghost appears, saying "Boo!". The Detective must sneak by without touching the Ghost. If he does touch it, the Ghost disappears and takes half of the Detective's collected item cards with him. At the top of the house is a secret message which allows the Detective to draw a card from the Secret Message deck. The message tells the Detective to go back and take a card he might have missed, or give back a card he might already have acquired. It's also a means of sending the Detective back to an earlier point in the house and giving them another chance to acquire a missed card. After the first Detective's turn, the players swap roles. This game is actually for two or more players, so you could have as many Detective's and Ghosts as you can stand, all performing one after the other. This is best described as a charming game. The art on the cards is cute. The Überlay, as I mention above, is cool. The gameplay, while not exactly engrossing, can be a good time, if you bring to it a good sense of play and humor. My son and I enjoy it, meaning we've played it on more than one occasion, believe it or not. In my ratings scale, this was worth missing one episode of Ultraman. The Score: Ultraman: 4, Odyssey: 3.0 Analogic is next which I think is the first example of a science fiction themed video game for the home. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  8. Guest

    bery, bery good to me

    Baseball. In the real world this game was what America's "pass-time" used to be. Back before videogames. Like Odyssey's Football, this game is asking you to pretend that you are playing a simulation of the game of baseball, however, this game takes one step towards being cooler than the Odyssey's attempt at a football sim: This game introduces Player Stats. Ooooo! It's probably the first example of persistent player stats in a home video game. When selecting your team, a roll of the dice assigns a set of stats to each of your players (represented by Line-up cards). Batting Average is one of them. A team member's Batting Average can rise or fall depending on your success with them at bat. The higher a Batting Average is, the closer to home plate your batter gets to start his swing, increasing your likelihood of hitting the ball. If a batter makes a hit, his batting average goes up a few points and if he doesn't, it goes down. The ball is pitched by the PITCHER/FIELDER and, using his ENGLISH control, he must maneuver the ball over the pitcher's mound on the overlay before it trajects into the batting area, otherwise, it's considered a balk. If the batter deflects it, the batter can use his ENGLISH control to wiggle the ball into the outfield, past the FIELDER and into a number of zones as it exits the left side of the uberlay. These zones determine if it's a single, double or something else entirely when it determines that a card needs to be drawn. The ball can also be "caught" by the FIELDER and deflected back. The batter is "out" when the ball is caught but a runner on base can still advance. (sacrifice fly?) To cut down on the amount of gametime, every "at bat" starts with two strikes and two balls. This brings up another team member stat: Handedness. If a batter faces an opposite handed pitcher, they get to walk to first base on one ball, instead of two. There's a separate stat for throwing handedness, but on all the line-up cards it is the same as batting handedness, so no switch hitting seems to happen in this league. Finally, each team member has a speed level, (fast, medium or slow) which is represented on the off-screen playing board by a certain color of mini-poker chip-token thing. The team member's speed plays a role in how far a player on first base may advance if a batter hits a single. This is determined by a die roll and a chart on the playing board. I think the designers of Baseball did a nice job of capturing all the little events that can happen in a game of baseball. There are cards you can draw under certain conditions to indicate that an error, wild pitch, or pick-off has occurred. The pick-off is neat because if a batter draws it he can save it until later when he's pitching and use it when he sees fit. A batter can also choose to bunt, or to make a sacrifice fly. You can even have pinch hitters and relief pitchers. If I were the least bit interested in baseball, I actually think this would be a fun game! From a videogaming standpoint, the action on the screen is very similar to what we've seen before. Player One tries to wiggle the ball spot past Player Two. Player Two then tries to wiggle the ball past Player One. However, depending on where the wiggled ball exits the screen determines a complicated variety of results which, in my opinion, might have made this game worthwhile, or, at the very least, interesting enough to read its instructions. Under favorable conditions, ie, the dead of winter/summer, poor TV reception, barren wasteland of a boardgame selection, addiction to baseball etc, this is a game that two baseball nerds might look forward to playing! Provided the year is 1974 or sooner. Unfortunately, I'm not a baseball fan, I just know enough about it to find its translation into a semi-video game to be interesting enough to think about. My son is also not a baseball fan, so dragging him through this was a bit traumatic. We did make it through four innings before he actually started crying, (which usually means it's time to stop.). As much as I wanted to like this game based on its innovations, we didn't like playing it and that's how I'm trying to award points (consistently? hell, no. Please don't ask me to be consistent). The Score: Ultraman: 7, Odyssey: 11 The Odyssey is still way ahead. I'm shocked, really I am. Either, I'm being very generous to the Odyssey or I just don't have as many fond memories of Ultraman as thought I did. EDIT: April, 2021 -- I just want to note that whenever I mention making my children cry with these games, I'm totally kidding. They were always wonderful and patient with their weird dad. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  9. Prehistoric Safari Shooting Gallery is a kick-ass add-on to the Magnavox Odyssey. There are four games in the add-on, each with it's own Überlay. Three of the games use game cart #9 and the fourth uses #10. The add-on comes in its own box with a GUN! A realistic looking gun! The kind that will get you playfully blown away if you playfully aim it at an officer of the law. So, uh, DON'T do that, 'kay kids? In Prehistoric Safari, you have the gun, you are the Mighty Hunter, but you've lost most of your ammunition in the volcano so you only have 15 shots. Player Two, is just the assistant and moves the target light behind each of the animals which you, the Hunter, intends to obliterate. The light sits there until the Hunter takes the shot, then Player Two moves the light behind another target. The roles are reversed after 15 shots, and the person with the most "kills" wins. There's a variation on the game with an awarding of points for each animal, but we decided it was more fun to just blast away the critters in "cold blood" (heh, reptile joke) without doing any more math than counting backwards from 15. The "flying lizards", which is what they called them, were the toughest to hit, in fact, I was unable to hit them. I think that it is because there is such a tiny area letting the target light shine through the Überlay that if one doesn't aim just right, it's a miss. The rest of the animals were easy to hit, especially since they sat nice and still for me. Heh. My son wasn't able to do this shooting gallery game. I don't think he "gets" the idea of lining up the gun sites to properly aim and also finds the gun to be a little heavy for his 7 year old arms. *sigh* I'll just have to teach him to kill things with a lighter lightgun from a later era. (probably zombies) The gun has a nice weight to it, makes a very satisfying noise when fired and provides a great feeling of getting ready for one's next shot when pumped. Its only drawback is that it is a little cumbersome for a child to handle, but one could also argue that this is a Good Thing. I'm going to give it a full point for the Odyssey against Ultraman. I could kill dinosaurs all day! The Score: Ultrman 6, Odyssey 6 See? Now they're tied. I bet none of you saw that coming! EDIT: I forgot to mention what happens when you shoot the Target Spot. It disappears! When you reset the gun, by using it's pump action, you're essentially activating what is equal to the reset button on the normal controllers. This restores the light for further targeting. <- PREV | NEXT -> EDIT: Later, much later, I made a video version of this review. You can see it on YouTube below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gajf3ouIbEk EDIT: Sadly, I no longer know where that video is. I stupidly deleted that gmail account during a long bout with depression and didn't even realize it also killed my youtube account at the time.
  10. Guest

    Simon Says

    Simon Says . . . Simon Says . . . I just know there was a cartoon that had a villain who used to say "Simon Says (insert victimization statement here like 'Freeze!')" Was it Super Friends? Underdog? It was some weird-ass Hanna Barbaric entertainment. I just can't remember. Anyway, I was unable to bribe my son into playing this game with me, but since there is a kitty cat on the Überlay I was able to get my three year old daughter to want to play it. Now if only she'd stop wanting to play it. Heh, just kidding. We really have a good time with it together. "Simon" draws a card and says "Simon Says find (body part indicated on card)" and the players have to move their Player Spots to the corresponding body part on the Überlay. The person who gets there first gets to keep the card, the person with the most cards wins. Simon can be tricky and sometimes not say "Simon Says" but that just made my kid confused and miserable. We did have some nice primordial videogame bonding going on with this, even though we didn't actually play an official game. I'll go out on a limb and say that this one doesn't suck, and my daughter has asked to play it again so many times that I'm going to give it a full point as I think she'd rather play this than watch Ultraman. Of course, she'd rather watch the Bugaloos than watch Ultraman. Given that she's pretty much the target demographic of this game, (young child) I'll score it based on her opinion, not mine. EDIT: I forgot to mention that if the person who draws the card doesn't say "Simon Says" then no one is supposed to move. We didn't play this way because I didn't want to start "faking out" my daughter until she was about four. The Score: Ultraman: 6, Odyssey: 5.00 Not sure, but I think that takes care of all games that actually came with the Odyssey Console. I'll start talking about the Shooting Gallery next. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  11. Guest

    A Ball in the Hand

    A few words about the term "Crap Game from Hell". While I was cajoling my son into playing Handball with me, I billed it as the "Last Crap Game from Hell from 1972!!!" This term isn't meant to malign the Odyssey or its games. It rather serves as a warning to my son that the game I'm asking him to play isn't going to be easy to enjoy, but that I need him to do his best for me. We tend to enjoy these old games a lot more when we expect that they are going to be hard to enjoy. Calling them "Crap Games from Hell" is to remind us both we need to keep our sense of humor (which is easy to lose track of during a game like, say, Odyssey's Football). Ending out our tour of 1972 home videogames we have Handball for the Magnavox Odyssey. It is another Tennis variant. You hit the Ball Spot and then try to wiggle it past your opponent's Player Spot by controlling the ENGLISH. The difference here is that the Center Line Spot becomes a WALL Spot and is adjusted to exist on the left side of the screen. The players then alternate hitting the Ball Spot against the Wall. This game uses cartridge #8 and an overlay (above). This game isn't worse than the other Tennis variants. In fact, it's SLIGHTLY better. Having a wall to hit the ball against is novel considering the only things we've EVER seen it deflect from has been the Player Spots. The instructions list some gameplay variants involving the positioning of the SERVER and the RECEIVER but they don't change the game play significantly enough to go over here. We didn't hate Handball, but we were very reluctant to continue playing it more than about five minutes. It would be safe to say that we are neutral: We are neither for other people playing it nor are we against ourselves not playing it. Ultraman 10, Odyssey 12 Okay, 1972 is over! I'll do an overview, er, I mean Überview in the next entry. FYI, there are still FOUR more Odyssey games in its library and they were all released in 1973. We'll go through those next week. <-PREV | NEXT ->
  12. Guest

    Racing's Ur Game.

    Wipeout was the first home video game racing simulation. I'm pretty certain of this. Player Spot One, the Driver, races around while the other player spot sits perched on that left icon which looks like a clock. While The Driver follows the convoluted path of the Überlay track, Player Two, The Timer, is hitting the reset button on the Driver's controller to send the Ball Spot from the right side to the left side to bounce off the Player Spot on the clock icon. This oscillating Ball Spot acts as a "timer" for Player One's race around the track. For every oscillation, Player Two subtracts a "lap" from Player One's lap count, which starts at 30. The idea is to get around the track before the lap total evaporates entirely. Another way you to "lose laps" is for your DRIVER Player Spot to collide with the Ball Spot (Timer) while you're racing around the track. If the TIMER wishes, he/she can choose to become, in essence, the SHOOTER, instead of the TIMER, and try to hit the DRIVER with the timer spot. It wasn't easy to do, but its definitely an alternative strategy. So the question to ask is what is the lap count for? Is it just a score? Well, there's also an off-screen gameboard that goes with this game! (I'll post a scan when I finish compositing it.) The gameboard supports four lanes (for up to four players) and contains passing, no passing and pit stop zones. When the player finishes his race on the screen, he uses the number of laps left from that race to move his little car token forward that many spaces on the board. EDIT: Here's the board. Christ on a choir boy! It was a pain to scan and stich together! The Red Spots are Pit Stops. Could've used more of those, I think. The White Spots are No Passing zones. The Pit Stops on the board let the player draw a card from the Pit Stop deck which gives directions like "Good Cornering! gain 2 spaces." or "Tire Change! lose 4 spaces." or even-meta directives like "Lady Luck! use to cancel any pit stop card you pick." To win the game you have to move your token to the end of the gameboard track first, by using the lap counts you earn from racing around the screen track and by maneuvering your car into the no passing zones to prevent your opponents from passing you. Complicated? Not really. Fun? Well, surprisingly, yeah. During our playthrough of the game, I noticed my 7 year old son exhibiting signs of genuine enjoyment. He got very excited and jumped up and down at certain points. He was not just tolerating his old man's weird obsession with old games so he could move on ASAP to the GameCube. One of the problems we did have was that we really weren't hitting the Pit Stop spots as often as we'd have liked, so that "random" element ("Bad Skid! Lose 2 spaces") that adds the racing flavor to the game was kind of lost. That's just the luck of the draw I guess. Maybe we couldd learn to time our lap counts so that we'd hit those Pit Stops more often. The things I really enjoyed about the design: I liked that Player Two and Player One had to use player one's controller simultaneously. Not a convention that took hold, fortunately, but an interesting idea regardless. I also liked the use of the Ball Spot as a timer and as a collision device. So, compare it to the state of the genre 30-odd years later. Racing? Yes. Timer? Check. Collisions? Yup. Hell, you could even consider the gameboard part as a kind of Campaign tracker. This is the Ur game of videogame racing! As a plus, we had fun with it so it gets the point. The Score: Ultraman: 8, Odyssey: 12 Not sure what I'm doing next. For 1972 we only have Handball and Volleyball left. Poor planning on my part to leave two with such similar names for last. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  13. Guest

    First Home Shooter

    I think that Submarine would count as the First Home Shooter, ever ! Player A plays the Convoy Commander. She is leader of of a convoy of cargo ships. She must navigate them safely through a twisty-turning path on the screen which represents the shipping-lanes. Player B plays the Submarine Commander and gets to shoot at the convoy! The Submarine Commander has more fun, obviously. When the Sub Com hits the Reset button he "serves" a torpedo that can be controlled with his ENGLISH knob. When the torpedo hits the convoy blip, it disappears. This sad event represents one ship (out of an unlimited number) sinking to a watery grave. A ship also sinks if the convoy veers out of the shipping lanes. (It supposedly hits a mine.) Each player gets to play the Sub Commander three times. The winner is the Submarine Commander who sinks the most ships either by torpedoes or mines. Submarine is OK . Not fantastic, or terrific, but "OK" in a "it's better than a kick in the shin" sort of way. You get to pretend to destroy something (finally!) and you get to taunt the Convoy Commander with bad Submarine Commander accents ("Ach, miene Ünter-der-zee-boot vill sinkt you!"). We enjoyed this for about 20 minutes but we weren't willing to take all three of our turns and ended it after two. Because of the violent nature of this one (yay!) I think ve vill haff to play it again! We might have missed half an episode of Ultraman for the sheer novelty of pretending to blow things up using little squares on the TV, so I'll give Odyssey another half point for this visceral thrill. (No, Ultraman doesn't get a half-point. No, it isn't fair.) The Score: Ultraman: 3, Odyssey: 2.0 Cat and Mouse happens later this weekend. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  14. Hi! I am looking for a Odyssey console. I do not care if it's a Run-1 or Run-2. I would be interested include two controls, 6 games, RF switch and antenna cable only, also would be interested in buying it in its original box. The most I can pay for Odyssey are $ 155 plus shipping. Thank You. Sorry for my terrible English, I am that I am Spanish and I had to use the Google translator.
  15. Guest


    Analogic. This is the first entry in the genre of "early math games that videogame makers thought had to be included to give their system an educational appeal." All of the early systems had at least one of these types of games. It impressed me that the Odyssey, an analog system that doesn't do math, would introduce this form of edutainment. Their flavoring of it is also ambitious. Analogic could also be considered the first Science Fiction themed home video game. The Überlay consists of a grid of numbers with some solid circles forming an asteroid-field-like barrier diagonally across the screen from lower left to upper right. (see pic above) The players start with their "light beam transceivers" (i.e., little white squares aka the Player Spots) on opposite corners of the field (odd player, upper left, even player lower right). They activate their light beam transceivers by pressing the reset button which, by adjusting their ENGLISH control, allows the Ball Spot to go back and forth between them. This is to represent the transmission beam between the two transceivers. It's actually a cool idea, to me. After a coin toss, a player goes first by moving to an appropriately numbered square. Here's where it starts getting, er, interesting, with the usage of the word "interesting", in this context, meaning "hardly interesting at all."The object is for the player from the planet ODD (in the upper left) to reach planet EVEN before the player from planet EVEN reaches planet ODD. If the player from planet ODD goes first he may move only to an odd numbered square. If the player from planet EVEN goes first he may move only to an EVEN numbered square. Usually a player may only move in the horizontal or vertical direction, but there's a special sitch for a diagonal move. We'll talk about that later, look forward to it! Succeeding moves go as follows, and I'm quoting from the manual, caps and italics are THEIRS: "The EVEN player may move only to a square whose number combines with ODD'S last move to total to an even number. ODD may move to a square whose number totals to an ODD figure when combined with EVEN'S last move." The player has to do these sums aloud before they move. During this movement each player uses his ENGLISH control to maintain interstellar contact. This isn't too hard to do and it is a nice touch, but at a certain point it becomes irrelevant. Once the transceivers get close enough, the manual says don't worry about maintaining contact. If it's lost by a player during their turn, when it does "matter", the other player gets a Diagonal Chip good for a diagonal move. A chip may also be acquired by touching one of the planets towards the middle of the Überlay. Presumably that is why contact between transceivers when in close proximity is unimportant, one should be able to pick up enough Diagonal Chips in the cluster of planetoids making the maintenance of the beam unnecessary, at least for purposes of Diagonal Chip acquisition. This game would not suck so much if it wasn't for the fact that it is possible to stalemate. When we played, at least, we got to a point where it was no longer possible for the player from EVEN to move in any direction. He'd summed himself into a corner, as it were. Maybe they didn't do any playtesting on this one, maybe playtesting hasn't been invented yet in 1972. Maybe he could've avoided the problem by picking up more Diagonal Chips. Dunno. Don't care. Lack of a stalemate would not have made this game much more fun or interesting, though it may have allowed for a feeling of closure and possibly a partial point for originality of design. I can't give it any points, though, because it made me cranky. I did like the theme and the idea. The gameplay, though original, in the way it introduced math on a system that can't do math, just wasn't fun enough. For the record: my son, 7 years old and pretty good at math, hates Analogic like the Grinch hated the Whos. We wouldn't miss Ultraman for this. Hell, we wouldn't miss The Partridge Family for this! If we ever recommend Analogic to you, it means we don't like you. The Score: Ultraman: 5, Odyssey: 3.0 Another edutainment title tomorrow: States. EDIT: NOT States, Roulette. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  16. Guest

    Brief Rehash

    Okay, I've played through the original 12 home video games for the Magnavox Odyssey. There are different ways of classifying them, but I'm going to stick to the simplest: by Video Gameplay. Other than Tennis which begets PONG, these games really can't be considered to have established any genres by themselves. I could classify them into the genre's as we know them in 2005 (as I've more or less been doing) but if I were staring at them in 1972/73 having never seen another home video game but for these, I think I might classify them thus: The PONG variants: All involve manipulating Player Spot while attempting to deflect the Ball Spot. Tennis, Table Tennis, Football(?) and Hockey I use the term PONG because it is well known. I should note that these games predate PONG and indeed the Table Tennis game is thought to have inspired PONG.Football is a little more special. It's more of a Sports Sim that uses the PONG mechanics to determine the success or failure of a play and then refines that result with randomly drawn cards and penalty/bonuses for play prediction. I'm not sure how to classify it when considering the accessorized play, so I'll leave it where it is for now, unless someone has something to suggest. The MANEUVER variants All involve manipulating your Player Spot in two dimensions without the added goal of deflecting and then manipulating the Ball Spot. Submarine does so while avoiding being hit by the Ball Spot so it is a little different. Since one wins by the achievement of the Submarine Commander's Objective, one could also argue that it is primarily an early shooter. They wouldn't be wrong. Ski: Stay on a trail, or maneuver yourself back on to the trail blindly. Submarine: Stay on a trail while avoiding being shot. Haunted House: Maneuver your Spot blindly through a the maze-like "negative space" between items. Cat and Mouse: Out-maneuver your opponent. Simon Says: Out-maneuver your opponent. Again, when considering the accessorized aspects of play, some of these titles might classify differently. Haunted House and Simon Says, for example, both use a card collecting system for score keeping, which adds more "feelie flavor" to the playing of the games. I could classify them as "games that use cards for score keeping". Whatever. No Video GamePlay Roulette and States qualify more as board/card games during which the video screen is used, (poorly), as a randomizing device. Either game could be played without the TV as long as a sufficient way of generating a random number is used. Unique Analogic:is hard to classify, but it might fit best under "Puzzle". While there is a slight dexterity aspect in the manipulation of the Ball Spot to maintain "contact", this is significantly secondary to choosing a number to which to move and planning well enough so that one doesn't lead themselves into a dead end. (Though, I don't think one should have to worry about a dead end. In my opinion, that's a design flaw.) Of course, these categories are arbitrary and subjective. One could also classify them under Themes like Sports, Shooter, Edutainment, Adventure etc . . . , or even to the different degrees that they each use accessories. Your mileage may vary. These are just how I've chosen to sort them out. Other games released for the system in 1972 may or may not fall into these categories. Running Score: Ultraman in the lead with 6, Odyssey trailing with 5.00 <- PREV | NEXT ->
  17. Guest


    EDIT ON: I should note, that when I heard the title of this game for the first time, without having seen the overlay nor knowing it was in Shooting Gallery, I actually thought it would be about dogs fighting. I'm glad I was wrong. No, really. Whaaat!? Well, okay, so I really wish it had been about dogs fighting. That would've been so frickin' barbaric I honestly would've loved it. /EDIT OFF My son and I played Dogfight the other night. The playfield consists of a path through which Player Two's plane must fly. Periodically there are spaces in the path and that is where Player One can shoot at the "plane". My son quickly figured out he could take his time during the "I won't get shot here" parts and zip through the areas of vulnerability as quickly as possible. This is a Fun Game! We played it for about twenty entire minutes! My son didn't want to play his part as the shooter, though. He said he was just helping me to play the game. Isn't that benign? I don't think we would've missed too much of Ultraman for this one, at least not all at once. Dogfight is fun, but it takes practice. We might've missed a little bit of Ultraman a couple of times over a period of two or three days, just to see if we could get any better at it. I'll give it a full point for the "I'd-like-to-get-a-little-better-at-this" desire it instills. I noticed a progression in gameplay with the Shooting Gallery games. In Prehistoric Safari, the target sits still until you take a shot at it. In Shootout the target sits still for as long as it takes the player to say "You'll never get me Sheriff!". In Dogfight the target doesn't sit still at all and can be moved quite quickly through the areas in which it can be shot. It is interesting to me to take a console that is only capable of drawing a center line, two player spots and a ball spot and make games from it. It seems that the designers would have one idea for a game that would work with one of the console's configurations and then they'd take that idea and make one or two entirely different games with that same idea. Each iteration was designed to make the gameplay a little more challenging. I think this progression is most evident with the Shooting Gallery, less so with the Pong type games. So what was my point? I don't know. What game am I talking about? Oh, Dogfight. Yeah, I'll give it the point today. The Score: Ultraman: 6, Odyssey: 8 <- PREV | NEXT ->
  18. Guest

    Tennis und der Überlay

    You: Didn't we just play Tennis yesterday? Me: Oh, no, that was Table Tennis and this is Tennis. You: I see. Well, what's the difference? Me: For one, this game uses the videogaming technological breakthrough known as The Overlay, in parts of the world that speak German this would be Der Über-lay (though, probably not), which, to my mind, sounds a lot more exciting. Yes, writing in the style of a Platonian dialog was never my strong suit… now let's move on. When I get my scheisse together I'll have a screenshot of the Über-lay (which is now starting to sound like pig-latin for the word "luber") for Tennis. Don't hold your breath for it, but it will get here. (Okay, I'm an idiot. It took me waaay too long to figure out how to add that screenshot.) The main gameplay in Tennis is the same as Table Tennis. You deflect the ball and try to wiggle it past your opponent while being ready to deflect it again if your opponent manages deflect it and wiggle it back to you. Again, you're using your "ENGLISH" control here to control the up/down motion of the ball while the game controls the left/right motion depending on if the ball is deflected. The difference from Table Tennis is a) The Scoring is like real-world Tennis and b) There are actually service boxes to abide by, ie you have to serve the ball to a certain corner of the screen when you first send it out. Of course, the system doesn't do any of this for you, all of the rule keeping in this game is done external to the system. You have to be able to add numbers and play without cheating to get through a game with an honorable equal. This game doesn't use Cart #1, because the Überlay actually has a line down the middle of the screen, so it uses Cart #3 which is exactly like Cart 1, only without the line.Let me tell you, we must've "gotten better" at this system because we had more fun playing this than we had playing Table Tennis yesterday. Maybe it was the colorful Überlay or maybe we were just resigned to tolerating these games with better humor. Regardless, we had some fun, for about 10 entire minutes! Would we have missed Ultraman to play Tennis? No way. Current Score: Ultraman: 2, Odyssey: 0 This is a picture of the actual game being played. A real screenshot! The Ball Spot is elongated because of the time spent exposing the film. The shots with flashes were even harder to make out. Next game is: Football, a simulation of an abstraction of game you have to pretend you're playing. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  19. Hello, I’m wondering if anyone can identify the wood type the Magnavox odyssey uses on its woodgrain patter, I want to duplicate the pattern with another odyssey inspired project. Does anyone know the type or at least a good substitute? It’s a darker woodgrain
  20. Hi all! I'm new to this forum and in need of help. I'm working on a documentary about the history of Silicon Valley and I'm seeking someone with a working Pong arcade console in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area. We are hoping to film Atari Pong gameplay as soon as possible. I've looked into buying a home console but it seems like all the home console versions of Pong don't look like the original 1972 version. Is that true? All I need to do is film the screen. Looking for the best, most authentic looking pong to film. I've been in touch with the Strong Museum and the Atari Museum but those won't work for logistical reasons. Let me know if you have any other ideas! And PM me if you know any collectors in the area! Thank you so much. - new to all things atari
  21. Hi, I was just wondering how much a used and new Magnavox Odyssey 1 would cost?
  22. Guest


    Ski! We liked this! Whoo-wee! No, seriously, we had fun with this one. It's pretty simple: the Überlay is mostly opaque, but your skier shines through a few key spots. Most notably: the trail, the flags, mountains and trees. This is an Odyssey game about controlling the horizontal and vertical motion of the glowing TV square representing your skier and moving her along a predetermined trail of translucent points. The challenge is to keep the skier on the trail. If the light square does go off the trail, you essentially lose sight of her and must blindly bring her back. While trying to get back onto the safety of the trail, you gain points if you light something up that isn't the trail. This represents a collision. For instance you can ski into a mountain, as in "Ack! I hit a mountain!" or a tree, as in "Ack! I hit a tree!" My son and I were really tickled by this in a way that probably only a parent and child playing a wholesome game together can be tickled. The person reaching the end of the trail with the fewest points (injuries?) wins. There's a timed mode and a point mode and both are fun enough to have kept us entertained for about 40 entire minutes. We may even play it again! To me, there was something lavalamp-esque about moving the little light, er, skier along the path. It brought me an inner peace not unlike meditation. I'm not being as sarcastic as one might think. The controllers are definitely reminiscent of an Etch-a-Sketch so if you remember what it was like drawing with that, then you may have an idea of the flavor of "peace" I'm talking about. It was nice to zone out and maneuver my skier through, lighting the trail. I don't know why. (I should probably mention I've been described as "spacey" more often than I'd care to admit. Might be a factor.) So, at last, here's a variation in gameplay that doesn't involve wiggling a PUCK or a Ball Spot past your opponent's paddle using your ENGLISH! This is all about control and getting into the "zone". If we do a replay day of Best of the Odyssey (before it goes back to eBay) we'll definitely play Ski! Ski actually gets the point today over Ultraman! The Score: Ultraman: 3, Odyssey: 1.5! Next game could be considered the "First Home Shooter"! Submarine. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  23. Guest

    Xtreme Square Volleyball

    Forward to present day (2005, to those of you reading this in some 25th century museum/blog-vault), videogame volleyball will/has evolve/evolved into poly-polygonal, progressively scanned-tily clad women bouncing around on exotic beaches and buying each other cute gifts. Back here in 1972/73, where I am, Volleyball for the Odyssey is the primordial soup of videogame volleyball. Don't forget, those little figures on the Überlay are static; frozen eternally in those positions. The only movement on the screen occurs with the Player Spots and the Ball Spot, just like in the most of the previous 20-or-so Odyssey games. This game requires a new numbered cartridge, which is included. Seeing a shiny new copper number seven does add a little excitement to the initial play of the game. The hardware variation this cartridge unlocks takes a half-height version of the center line from the table tennis game and stations it at the bottom of the screen as a volleyball "net". This net also acts as a barrier as we shall see below. Join me, won't you? There is a slight difference between this and the other "wiggle the ball past your opponent" games. Instead of wiggling it past your opponent and sending it off your opponent's side of the screen, you send it careening as quickly as possible over the net and off the bottom of your opponent's side of the screen without hitting the net. Surprisingly, if you hit the net, the ball does disappear! This serves to give you a clear indication that you actually have hit the net! A brave step away, this is, from the other primarily player referreed(sp?) video gameplay found in the other Odyssey games. I, for one, approve of it. It doesn't make this game any more interesting than Ultraman, though, so it won't be getting the point despite its, uh, innovation. The game goes to 15 points (just like real volleyball!) and we couldn't stomach it past the initial "who gets to serve" volley. I want to say that it was really our mood that day and not the game which made us not have fun. Even if that's true, tough luck for the game. Having to use the ENGLISH control to effect a pseudo-ballistic trajectory isn't as fun as it sounds. (okay, it didn't sound that fun either.) The Score: Ultraman: 9, The Odyssey: 12 Hey, by the way. Forward to 2005: I actually got to watch the Ultraman Origin movie from 1967 (in the original Japanese, with NO subtitles. Yeah, I'm hardcore.). I think it was three early episodes stiched together into a movie. Look, I know that Ultraman has been running for 35 seasons or so in Japan, so I mean it no disrespect. BUT DAMN! It did not age well. I'm sorry to say, that it seems, for the most part, neither Odyssey NOR Ultraman was a great way to spend one's time in 1972/73, at least in the hindsight of an adult in his protracted adolescence. I do, however, stand by Ultraman as a my choice for a worthy comparison to Odyssey. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  24. Guest

    Fun Tzu

    I never noticed before that Fun Zoo kinda rhymes with Sun Tzu so I've gone a little nuts with it. Please accept my apologies. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. -Sun Tzu, The Art of War Fun Tzu is an enjoyable game aimed at younger players to help them identify the written names of animals with their illustrations, improve hand-eye coordination through the use of the Odyssey controllers and employ morale crushing stratagems designed to annhilate the enemy's will to wage war. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. -Sun Tzu, The Same Book as Before Essentially, it is a racing/maneuvering game that takes place in a Zoo. The Überlay is very colorful and contains 28 different destinations within a Zoo, to which the Players may maneuver their Player Spots. These destinations are determined by a pack of cards which are drawn and read by the TZU KEEPER. They consist mostly of Animals but also contain concession creatures, such as the elusive Popcorn and the mighty Hot Dog. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunder bolt. -That Sun Guy Again, Same Book. The TZU KEEPER draws the card and says (for example) GO SEE THE TIGER or something like "The Tiger pounces only when certain his enemy is at his most vulnerable" (you can replace the animal "Tiger" with whatever animal is actually on the card, i.e. Penguin, Turtle, Ice Cream). The two Players must then maneuver their Spots though the yellow area (the "paths") without "lighting" any other animal cages on the way. The first to "light" the correct cage with their Player Spot, wins that card. If either Player lights the wrong cage they lose a card. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. -Surely, you know who. My son wasn't initially available to experience this game (He was playing Age of Mythology) so I conscripted my three year old daughter, to whom I think the game was most likely targeted. I played the TZU KEEPER and ordered her to the cages on each card using badly accented, cryptic references to animal behavior. ("The owl strikes from above. GO SEE THE OWL.") I drove her to ruin and made her cry. MuAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAA!!! Victory to my glorious empire!!!! Okay, forgive my self-indulgent babbling. We had a very nice time of it and my son even wanted to play after he heard us having fun. My daughter liked the pictures of the animals, was able to name most of them and, most importantly to her future life of videogaming, she was able to maneuver the Player Spot to the correct cage via the yellow paths. For a mind unjaded by the opulence of 21st century gaming, Fun Zoo is an amusing 15 to 30 minutes of quality time with a twisted father. Again, I give the point to the Odyssey. Ultraman 6, Odyssey 11 Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I'll have to pick an All-American game to talk about. I'm torn between Baseball and Invasion. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  25. Guest

    Gallery of things to Shoot

    Shooting Gallery turns out to be the coolest game from the group of Shooting Gallery games. It uses a different cart (#10), which makes the playfield very different from the other three games (which use cart #9). This configuration gives you two paddles between which you deflect your target. The target, in this case, is a relatively HUGE square. I didn't know the Odyssey could produce such a large, er, "sprite"! (of course, they don't call them sprites yet.) This large square Target Spot goes back and forth between the paddles and represents a member of whatever row it is traversing on the Überlay: plane, rabbit, duck or ship. The idea is to set up the target and let it go back and forth ten times before moving it down to the next group of objects to shoot. Player Two acts as an assistant, doing the manipulations of the controllers as well as the oscillation counting. Player One does the shootin'. So, here, for the first time, is an automatic, console-controlled target. No, it only goes back and forth so it isn't like "console-controlled" means anything like "AI" but still, it is moving and another Player doesn't have to do anything after getting it setup in the appropriate row. To make it even more challenging, there is a speed control on the Odyssey which allows the speed of the Target Spot to be increased. It becomes capable of whizzing by at tremendous speeds. This makes it pretty darn hard to shoot. I really had fun with this one. I'm not saying that I'll take it out and play it again, like, ever, but it was fun. The whole Shooting Gallery experience sweeps Ultraman. It should be important to note, however, that while I enjoyed each of the Shooting Gallery games, my son enjoyed them much less. He liked the ideas, but found it hard to use the rifle. I give it full points anyway, but thought it important to note that my son won't have any warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia for this set of games like some people who might've played it when they were children. The Score: Ultraman 6, Odyssey 9 Next entry starts the Extra Odyssey Games from 1972. <- PREV | NEXT ->
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