All of these consoles were released in the USA by Magnavox after its purchase by Philips in 1974. TVs used to receive their signals from a wire connection through the VHF terminals. When you flipped the switch from Antenna to Game, the signal from the Odyssey went to the TV. Some of the games could be played without a background, such as table tennis, while others required them. One year later, this became a reality when Baer and his team created a simple game consisting of two dots chasing each other around the screen, known as Pong. The system lacked any writeable memory to track scores and not enough graphics capabilities to generate elaborate text, so many of the games required the use of game or scorecards, like those used in board games. The system came packaged with six Game Cards: Because the Football game was split between two cartridges, (one for running, the other for passing & kicking) plus the Odyssey had no save feature, you needed to keep track of your score and positions using the included game and scorecards, as you switched between cartridges on the console. Magnavox released the first video game console, the Odyssey, in September 1972, predating the Pong machines by three years. The Magnavox Odyssey is the world's first commercial home video game console. Magnavox Odyssey (1972) This was the first ever video game console released in 1972. Placing the game card firmly into the Game Card Slot turned the system on, so you had to be sure not to keep the card in the unit when you were done playing or you'd drain the batteries. The Odyssey consists of a white, black, and brown box that connects to a television set, and two rectangular controllers attached by wires. The Magnavox Odyssey lacked a computer, instead using analog circuitry and game cards that manipulate internal jumpers to achieve desired results. The Magnavox Odyssey was part board game. Unlike the joystick or modern controllers, the Player Control Unit was square and designed to sit on a flat surface. A multiplayer game was activated by pressing the reset button on the second Player Control Unit. 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. In 1966 Ralph Baer, Chief Engineer for Equipment Design at the defense contractor, Sanders Associates, began to create a technology where a game could be played on a television monitor. 2 sized sets of 11 Overlays for medium and large television screens. The game cards also doubled as the power switch for the Primary Control Unit. The Odyssey was the first game console released. Although the games didn’t have background graphics, the system came with transparent screen overlays. Because these additional accessories were often discarded or lost, it is extremely difficult to find a complete Odyssey system, today. This type of switch was common in the '70s and '80s but became obsolete with today’s modern units. The knobs controlled the vertical and horizontal movement of the “paddle”, while the EC adjusted the “ball.” To place the ball in the center of the screen, you turned the EC to the raised mark indicator. Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day, Lifewire uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. The box is made up of transistors, resistors and capacitors. The only graphics the Odyssey offered were white dots and lines. By using Lifewire, you accept our, Video Game Console Database and the Second Generation, Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device: The First Electronic Game, The 8 Best Current Gaming Consoles of 2020, A History of the Atari 2600: The Beginning of the End, The 10 Best Handheld Game Systems of 2020, A Guide to the Sony PSP (Playstation Portable), The 8 Best Nintendo Switch Kids' Games of 2020, antenna’s U-shaped wires from the VHF terminal. Overlays were used to make the limited graphical capabilities of the Odyssey more expressive. Baer’s team continued their innovations improving the tech and also creating the very first video game peripheral — a light gun that would work with the TV system. Since the Odyssey had limited graphic capabilities and displayed only a few small white blocks and a vertical line on the screen, Magnavox included translucent color overlays to … Plastic overlays that could be placed over the TV screen created graphics and color, but the actual display consisted of white squares (Paddle … The large was for 23 and 25-inch TVs while the medium ones were for 18 to 21-inch screens.