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The Magnavox Odyssey was the first video game console ever released to the public, predating Atari Pong, the Atari 2600 and even agriculture by a few years. It was actually the first system ever to feature a Pong-type game; however, graphical limitations of the time made displaying any colors besides black prohibitively expensive, rather limiting the ability of most people to play (or see) the game. Because of this, by the time Atari released their Pong console some years later it instantly won over the buying public with its revolutionary visible graphics, leaving the Odyssey in the dust and Magnavox with nothing to do besides sue Atari for defamation of character.
edit The Odyssey consoles
However, there was not just one Magnavox Odyssey. On the contrary, Magnavox released a whole long line of Odyssey consoles, all of which were remarkably similar to their predecessors and often worse. Below is a list of those consoles.
- Odyssey -1 (703 BC): Uses overlays to read poems by Homer. It is not considered a game console, due to the lack of graphics.
- Odyssey 0 (1968): It's a brick. Just a brick.
- Odyssey (1972): The very first Magnavox console. It had a whopping 3 games (Pong, Visible Pong and Functional Pong) but none of them could be played as the controller had not been invented.
- Odyssey 100 (1975): Magnavox had finally perfected the controller, allowing people for the first time to play the monochrome games the Odyssey came with. Magnavox gave the Odyssey 100 wireless controllers, mostly on account of the fact that they did not have the ability to harness wire technology. Also made console most horrendous shade of orange imaginable.
- Odyssey 200 (1975): Like the 100, but with 200 in its name.
- Odyssey 300 (1976): This one introduced a wonderful innovation to playing Pong on the Odyssey: now the score would be kept onscreen, instead of making the player use plastic sliders on the outside of the console. (No really.)
- Odyssey 500 (1976): Through some sort of fatal factory error, Magnavox accidentally made this console with better features than previous iterations. They vowed not to make this same mistake again.
- Odyssey 1000 (1977): Added separate controllers! But forgot to put buttons on them. Shit.
- Odyssey 1100 (1977): Remembered buttons on controllers this time, being sure to make them as stiff and unresponsive as possible.
- Odyssey 2001 (1977): Infamous for killing its users and refusing to open pod bay doors.
- Odyssey2 (1978): Now with sprites and higher-quality graphics, not just blocks and has over 9000 games released. This model contains a built-in ice cream shop implanted on top of the back of the console and a robot that haunts you in your sleep packed with the console with every copy. This is far better than all the other Odysseys although it can scare you in your sleep.
- Odyssey3 (1983): So advanced that only Europeans could play one. North America was limited to the RCA Studio III, which could only play E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial. Due to these limitations, many gamers based in North America decided to attach two of their Odyssey2 consoles together using Crazy Glue to make their own Odyssey3. It is a little known fact that the Odyssey3 was test market released for two seconds in the US. The marketing experiment failed when consumers saw the price tag of $Arm.leg. Pong sold separately.
- Super Odyssey (1991): Added only game to receive the Magnavox Seal Of Quality, Super Pong, which was much like Regular Pong but with glitches.
- Odyssey64 (1997): Played Pong in an astonishing 64 bits. Skeptics argued that the processor is only 1-bit.
- Odyssey 360 (2006): Introduced "Odyssey Live", allowing millions of gamers to play broken Pong games online with one another. Being an Odyssey console, gamertags couldn't be more than one character in length, and all players' shouts of "GTFO FAGGOT" were converted to Morse code.
- Odyssey Vista (2007): Had a tendency to blue screen at random. Very susceptible to viruses. Still could only play Pong.
- Odyssey 9000 (2008): The most recent Odyssey console, released in 2008. Keeping with Magnavox's tradition of innovation, the Odyssey 9000 introduced nothing new whatsoever.
edit Games released on Odyssey consoles, 703 BC-present
The Odyssey was released in a very early stage of the gaming industry's life, when stealing ideas from other companies was perfectly okay and people were readily entertained by rectangles doing nothing on a screen. Since Magnavox was the first company in, they had nobody to steal from, but Atari could sure as hell steal from them. But because Atari actually was capable of coming up with more than one good idea, they were able to dominate the gaming industry while Magnavox was stuck trying to figure out how to keep score in Pong, despite that they were never actually able to improve it in the several decades they tried and competed against every legendary game from Super Mario to Robot Unicorn Attack. Today we remember the Odyssey as...well, we don't, really.