Magnavox Odyssey FAQ
Created 10/29/97

Original author: Shaun Gegan a.k.a. Loomis

Now maintained by David Winter

Version 2.8.1 revised March 8, 2001

For more infos about PONG, go to

If you want to contribute to this FAQ, send en email to

You are welcome to link and use this FAQ as long as you credit the authors
accordingly. No parts of this FAQ should be removed, altered or modified
without permission.

Version info: X.X.X
| | |
| | \_ Small modifications
| \___ New sub-section added
\_____ New section added and/or FAQ restructured

Last revision:

- Added sections 3.6 and 3.7

Contributors (in alphabetical order):

Andrew Davie (
Anthony Leckington (
Jerry Greiner (
Kai (
Lee K. Seitz (
Matthew Kiehl (
Mattias Persson (
Ryan H. Osborn (
Van Burnham (

Some info gathered from:

Herman, Leonard. "Phoenix: The Fall and Rise of Video Games"
Rolenta. New Jersey. (ISBN 0-9643848-2-5) 1995.


1 - What is the Odyssey ?

2 - What is the history of the machine's development ?

3 - Can you describe the Odyssey ?
3.1 - What sort of games were played with the Odyssey ?
3.2 - How were the games played ?
3.3 - What's inside the Odyssey and how does it work ?
3.4 - What was the 1974 re-release of the Odyssey ?
3.5 - Was the Odyssey improved ?
3.6 - Was there any "hobbyist" projects around the Odyssey ?
3.7 - Were there any foreign Odyssey clones ?

4 - What items came standard with the Odyssey ?
4.1 - Hardware
4.2 - Standard game accessories
4.3 - Loose documents

5 - What additional games were available ?
5.1 - Pack 1
5.2 - Pack 2
5.3 - Electronic rifle games
5.4 - Percepts
5.5 - Complete list of games

6 - Were there any add-on hardware accessories ?
6.1 - Organizer case
6.2 - Other add-on hardware accessories

7 - Are there different versions of the Odyssey ?

8 - Didn't Atari have a hand in the Odyssey ?

9 - What technical information is available ?
9.1 - Replacing the battery pack
9.2 - Cartridge pinouts

1 - What is the Odyssey ?

The Magnavox Odyssey was the very first home video game system. It
allowed to play "Ball and Paddle" games such as PING-PONG, TABLE TENNIS,
VOLLEYBALL, BASKETBALL, and others. On January 27th, 1972, Magnavox 
production on the machine, and the system was released in May. It was
heavily advertised and reportedly sold 100,000 units in 1972 for around
$100 each. The machine was discontinued in late 1974 or early 1975 with
the release of the Odyssey 100. 200,000 units were probably sold in all.
Additional games were also available, and a rifle pack known as 
Gallery" was also available to play shooting games. The Odyssey allowed
to play a total of 28 different games.

2 - What is the history of the machine's development ?

Much of this information has been gathered from David Winter and
Mr. Baer himself. If you are interested in obtaining more historical
information then please go to

The videogame invention dates 1951 when Ralph Baer entered at Loral,
an electronics equipment manufacturer. Ralph was engaged for his
television experience. Sam Lackoff, Chien Engineer, told him to "Build
the best television set in the world". In the line, Ralph suggested to
add some sort of "interactive game" to the television to distinguish
his team from the crowd. Unsuccessfull, his idea will stay without
investigation for the next 15 years.

In 1966, Ralph Baer (who had immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in
1938), started the design his videogame invention. His system was 
based on the "Ball and Paddle" principle. The genius of his invention 
the use of a regular television set as screen, rather than an expensive
monitor, oscilloscope, or other equipment that used a CRT (Cathode Ray 
At that time, Ralph was working at Sanders Associates.

His idea was to design a system allowing to transform a regular TV set
into a home game system. The story really began september 1st, 1966 when
Ralph Baer wrote a 4-page description of his idea. No later than 
6th, he had drawn the schematics of a simple two-player game. He will
first play with it on May 7th 1967, and will demonstrate it on June 
after having improved it with the addition of an electronic gun allowing
to shoot targets on the television screen. After recruiting Bill Rusch
(an engineer) and Bill Harrison (a technician) in Octover/November to
assist him in the development of his system, Ralph will design the very
first TENNIS videogame, later sold by Atari as PONG. He will demonstrate
his complete system between November 9th and 13th to several 
such as Teleprompter, and even NYC cable company as an interactive cable
game system, but the company was skeptical, hence a bad success. This
"interactive cable game system" idea was extremely advanced and new at
that time, since games played in network only appeared 15 years later
when computers were vastly sold for home use, and became a real standart
in the 1990s with the growth of the internet.

Ralph will patent his invention on January 15th 1968 and begin the
design a more advanced system offering multiple games: the Brown Box.
This system could be "re-wired" using simple switches placed on its 
panel. The videogame system was born. The Brown Box allowed to play
Tennis, Volley-Ball, Football, and two shooting games, all of which were
played using transparent plastic overlays (used as background pictures)
placed in front of the television screen. Note that the Brown Box had a
feature that Magnavox did not include in the Odyssey for costs reasons:
electronically-generated color background. Sanders Associates had the
exclusive rights of the manufacture, sale and use of "ball and paddle"
videogames. All other makers would require licensing to manufacture the

Here's a good description by Ralph Baer himself of his Brown Box:

"The two horizontal rows of switches on the front panel (also seen in
pics on my website) were moved for each game with the aid of a card
placed between the two rows of switches. Each card (for example the
ping-pong card) had dots next to the switches to indicate which of them
had to be moved downward. The replacement of these switches with the 
carts by Magnavox was the major difference between the Brown Box and the
production version Odyssey 1 unit (good idea). The other difference was
that my Brown box had electonically-generated colored backgrounds (green
for ping-pong, blue for hockey etc,). Magnavox did not include the
color-circuitry for cost-reasons (bad idea!)."

In January of 1969, Baer demonstrated the revised unit (adding light 
and joystick interface). This is the very first fully programmable, 
player videogame unit. Demonstrations were made to several TV-set
manufacturers, including RCA, General Electric, Zenith, Sylvania, 
and Warwick-Sears. Most of these demonstrations took place at the 
Associates plant at Nashua, NH. This resulted in a first license 
with RCA in March 1970, which was later canceled.

On July 17th 1970, Ralph demonstrated his "Brown Box" to Magnavox 
engineering, production and marketing management in their Ft. Wayne, IN
plant. A preliminary License Agreement was signed with Magnavox on March
3rd. Between March and September 1970, Baer assisted Magnavox engineers
in the production of the system, which was called Odyssey. The rest is

In 1971 Ralph Baer patented the Television Gaming Apparatus:

"The present invention pertains to an apparatus [and method], in
conjunction with monochrome and color television receivers, for the
generation, display, manipulation, and use of symbols or geometric
figures upon the screen of the television receivers for the purpose of
[training simulation, for] playing games [and for engaging in other
activities] by one or more participants. The invention comprises in one
embodiment a control unit, an apparatus connecting the control unit to 
television receiver and in some applications a television screen overlay
mask utilized in conjunction with a standard television receiver. The
control unit includes the control, circuitry, switches and other 
circuitry for the generation, manipulation and control of video signals
which are to be displayed on the television screen. The connecting 
selectively couples the video signals to the receiver antenna terminals
thereby using existing electronic circuits within the receiver to 
and display the signals generated by the control unit in a first state 
the coupling apparatus and to receive broadcast television signals in a
second state of the coupling apparatus. An overlay mask which may be
removably attached to the television screen may determine the nature of
the game to be played or the training simulated. Control units may be
provided for each of the participants. Alternatively, games [training
simulations and other activities] may be carried out in conjunction with
background and other pictorial information originated in the television
receiver by commercial TV, closed-circuit TV or a CATV station."

After an initial deal with RCA falls through, the unit was further
marketed and Magnavox was licensed to manufacture and distribute what 
released in May of 1972 as the 'Odyssey Home Entertainment System.'

On a side note, the system was sold primarily through Magnavox-
affiliated stores. Retailers (and perhaps Magnavox themselves) implied 
potential customers that a Magnavox television was required in order to
use the Odyssey. This was probably done to increase television sales. 
alas, limited distribution combined with shady and uninformed retaillers
proved to be fatal blunders that ultimately backfired and killed the
machine within a year.

However, the Odyssey was re-released in 1974 to be exported in 12
foreign countries (see section 3.4).

3 - Can you describe the Odyssey ?

3.1 - What sort of games were played with the Odyssey ?

The Odyssey was a very simple machine by today's standards. Microchips
were very expensive in 1972 (Intel had just released the microprocessor 
1971). Subsequently, the Odyssey was designed with only 40 transistors 
40 diodes. It did not keep scores, did not produce sound effects, and
displayed a black and white picture with its very minimal graphic
capabilities. The only objects it could display were two paddles (one 
each player), a ball and a vertical line. All of them were not always
displayed. TENNIS used them all, but for example, the game called "Simon
Says" only used the paddles. Note that those paddles were squares and 
rectangles like in the later PONG games. Even if those graphic elements
were extremely simple, the Odyssey allowed to play 28 games of various
types: sports games (Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Football,
Basketball, Baseball), money games (Roulette), space games 
Voyage), shooting games (Dogfight, Shooting Gallery), and even 
games (Simon Says, States).

3.2 - How were the games played ?

Due to the extreme simplicity of the few graphics displayed on the TV
screen, most of the games required the used of additional accessories,
and those were numerous. Except Table Tennis, all games used transparent
color plastic overlays which contained the backgrounds of the games.
Those were to be taped onto one's television, or stored when not in use.
More than 300 other accessories came with the Odyssey, including several
sets of paper cards and paper money, dice, and miscalleanous plastic
chips. These items helped to improve the machine's aforementioned
simplicity. The Odyssey games were mainly played using those parts, and
they were selected by using small cartridges (six of them were 
provided). Each cartridge allowed playing a certain type of game, hence
several games using a same cartridge. Some games even required the use 
two or three cartridges, since they were not always played the same way.
If the Odyssey allowed to play 12 games, other games were also released 
add-ons. They were either sold separately or by packs of 6. Each game 
with its overlays and accessories, and would sometimes come with a
cartridge when not using one of the six cartridges originally provided
with the Odyssey. Also, an electronic rifle called Shooting Gallery was
available. This extension allowed playing four games. This simple light
gun would only detect light, thus allowing the player to cheat by 
a light bulb. Since no scores were displayed on the TV screen, cheating 
obviously irrelevant. As mentioned earlier, a rumor wanted that the 
Gallery rifle would only work with a Magnavox TV set. Although wrong, 
of users didn't buy this rifle and only 20,000 or so were sold.

3.3 - What's inside the Odyssey and how does it work ?

The game cartridges consisted in a small printed circuit board with no
components but only jumpers which would merely enable the necessary 
of the machine (ball generator, paddle generators, central line height
and location, collision detection) and select how the collisions between
the ball and the other objects were detected and what those collisions
would interract with. The Odyssey is a modular system since it is
programmable. It contains five types of modules: spot generators (which
display a rectangle with preset size, location and brightness; one for
each player, one for the central line and one for the gray backround 
"illuminates" the overlays), sync generators and RF modules (which
generate some parts of the video signal sent to the TV set), flip-flops
(which toggle the direction of the ball and where the english effect
acts), and gate matrix (which determines how collisions happen and how
they interract on the objects drawn). Therefore, opening the Odyssey 
reveal a main board with all the modules mentioned before.

3.4 - What was the 1974 re-release of the Odyssey ?

The Odyssey was re-released in 1974 to be exported in 12 foreign
countries (Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Greece, Israel,
Italy, Switzerland, USSR, Venezuela). So far, it has been found in 
England, and Germany. This lighter version had 10 games instead of 12. 
is unknown if it was really sold in the USA, although a very few were 
there. Games removed from the original package were Cat & Mouse, 
Haunted House, Roulette, and States. To those 7 original games, were 
three games originally available as add-ons: Soccer, Volleyball and Wipe
Out. It is interesting to note that Soccer was rather a re-release of
Football, in order to match the game rules used in the foreign 
This game can only be found in a 1974 Odyssey package. Also, the Simon 
and Wipe Out paper cards were re-printed in order to contain texts in
three languages (English, German and Spanish or Italian). To finish with
this special version of the Odyssey, the user manual was smaller: 24 
instead of 36, and the console came with an additional patent list on 
back side, showing the 12 countries where it was exported. Surprisingly,
the german Odyssey contained two special manuals replacing the original
one. These were completely translated in german, and included much more
detailed information. One manual was for the system itself, and the 
for the game rules. Very last detail: this 1974 Odyssey was supposed to 
released by ITT Schaub-Lorentz in France and Germany as the ODYSSEE (and
not ODYSSEY). If only Magnavox versions were found, the german manuals
show several pictures of TV sets made by ITT Schaub-Lorentz, and one
console found in germany has been reported to have the ODYSSEE logo (but
this one was still in a Magnavox box, and did not contain the 12 
patent list on its back side). Scans of the german manuals and 
cards are available at .

3.5 - Was the Odyssey improved ?

Odyssey cartridges contain no electronic components. The Odysey does 
have the on-screen scoring feature, does not produce any sound effect, 
does not use any cable connection. However, Ralph Baer was interested by
these features, mostly because Atari PONG had on-screen scoring and 
effects, which gave more tonus to the game itself. Ralph decided to 
an Odyssey in his lab. He made a small electronic circuit that he 
to the Odyssey (to the "Gate Matrix" module which manages collisions 
the objects displayed on screen), which could therefore produce some 
when the ball hit a player. Thinking about the limited capabilities of 
console, he also made improved cartridges by putting additional 
components of them, which gave new features to the Odyssey. Then, he 
to use again his "cable TV" games where the overlays were replaced by
constant pictures broadcasted through the TV cable. His idea was better,
since in addition to the "broadcasted overlays", new moving [football] 
were also broadcasted, thus giving the impression of playing with 
players. The modified Odyssey (that he called "Super Odyssey") was able 
detect these additional players, and even act on them as if they were 
players, thus letting users play against virtual ones. He demonstrated a
working prototype which was successfull, just like his original idea.
Therefore, Ralph decided to work on an improved but simpler version of 
Odyssey that would use integrated circuits to replace the numerous 
components of the original design. His idea was to integrate them into
several chips to lower the cost of the console. Thus was born Odyssey 
followed by improved models (Odyssey 200, 400 and 500; 300, 2000, 3000 
4000 being made with a totally different technology based around a 
game chip made by General Instruments).

3.6 - Was there any "hobbyist" projects around the Odyssey ?

In the 1970s, there was a certain enthusiasm around computers and 
games. At that time, "Make-It-Yourself" computer and video game projects
was a quite common thing, where hobbyists were assembling their own 
and eventually proposing them to magazines. The Odyssey was a simple 
game system, so there was not the same activity than with early 
but at least some people remember an amazing Odyssey user hack. Some 
discovered that the circuit boards of the Odyssey cartridges only 
jumpers. Thus, they designed custom "switch" cartridges to "try and see" 
happened on their TV. Charles L., technician, remembers it quite well:

"I am an electronics type by trade, and back in the mid 1970's I heard 
more than one technician who had soldered up boards with switches. I 
saw one, but I know it was done. I think they used a game board, 
cutting the
game traces so it was "blank" (or they started with a blank card edge 
anyway), and extended the traces to either banks of "dip" switches, or 
selector (switching would have been more sophisticated). The easiest 
would have been to wire in a "breadboard" that would accept jumper 

The one I remember the most was, I believe, a design with the "dip" 
to jumper the traces as required; not many different configurations 
possible (i.e. working configurations), so it wasn't that hard a 

3.7 - Were there any foreign Odyssey clones ?

3.7.1 - ITT Schaub Lorentz version

This is not a real clone, but a real Magnavox license sold to ITT
Schaub-Lorenz so that the company could release its own version of the
Odyssey. If ITT announced the release of the Odyssee (and not Odyssey) 
several countries for 1974, only a german version was found so far. It 
a US Odyssey that was repackaged with a different box (blue ITT Odyssee
title, different photos), german-only accessories, and small plastic
overlays on the molded english texts of the system. The carton box that 
used for shipping the system is also different: it has a large black 
logo, which is quite surprising for an ITT version, but at least it 
that the system was partially imported from the USA. The two manuals 
are same
than the Magnavox version, but they have ITT Schaub-Lorenz logos 
instead of
Magnavox logos. The exact date of this ITT version is still unknown, 
but the
system that was found was surprisingly manufactured in 1976, which lets 
that the ITT version might have been released later (at least after the 
Magnavox version).

3.7.2 - Sweedish "Channel 34" clone"

This is, however, a true Odyssey clone that was released in Sweden. 
"Channel 34", this strange system was built in a bigger white case with 
top-loading cartridge connector. The rest remained same (probably with
different copytights for the overlays) and the system was announced in 
along with two other ananlog ones. However, no Channel-34 system seems 
have survived. This is probably due to its expensive price, compared to 
cheaper and more advanced analog systems that were announced at the 
time. The "Channel-34" name looks a bit strange, but in fact it might 
from the original Odyssey that sent video signals on channels 3 and 4.

4 - What items came standard with the Odyssey ?

4.1 - Hardware

- Master control unit (ITL 200 1 of 4 pcs.)
- 2 Player control units (ITL 200 1 of 4 pcs.)
- Game cord (ITL 200 1 of 4 pcs.)
- RF switch with 2 hanging hooks (ITL 001). Came in its own box.
- 6 red-label Eveready C batteries
- 6 game cartridges:
#1 Table Tennis
#2 Ski, Simon Says
#3 Tennis, Analogic, Hockey, & Football (for passing & kicking)
#4 Cat and Mouse, Football (for running), Haunted House
#5 Submarine
#6 Roulette, States

- 22 Overlays (2 per game, for different screen sizes):
Cat and Mouse
Haunted House
Simon Says

4.2 - Standard game accessories

- Stick on numbers (642978-2)
- Football Game board field/Roulette Layout board (642898 0001)
- Odyssey stadium scoreboard (two versions)
* 642964-1 for the normal 12-game Odyssey console
* IB2874-1 with no detachable paper tokens for the 1974 10-game 
- 2 Football tokens (attached to the Odyssey stadium scoreboard)
- 2 Yardage markers (attached to the Odyssey stadium scoreboard)
- 20 Pass cards
- 20 Run cards
- 10 Kick off cards
- 10 Punt cards
- 2 Pass card
- 2 Run cards
- 2 Punt cards
- 30 Clue cards
- 13 Secret message cards
- 50 chips (16 red 16 blue 18 white) with ziplock bag
- Money (approximately 100 each of $5 $10 $50 and $100)
- 28 Simon says cards
- 50 States cards
- Affairs of states (answer folder) (591549-1)
- States study map (591550-1)
- Pair of dice

4.3 - Loose documents

- Odyssey installation and game rules book (two versions)
* IB2622-2, 36 pages. Came with the regular 1972 Odyssey models
* IB2874-1, 24 pages. Came with the 1974 Odyssey release.
- "How to get service" card (EL2811-2)
- "Thank you" card (EL3018-1)
- "Notice" card (EL3028-1)
- 2 key punch inspection cards
- A coupon that promised "free games" with registration (Percepts?)

5 - What additional games were available ?

(Major thanks to David Winter) Apparently add-on games were sold
individually or in packs of 6. Each game was packed in a black 1x4x17
carton box. There are two different lots.

5.1 - Pack 1

- Fun Zoo (#ITL900)
Included two overlays, 28 Fun Zoo Cards, and instructions.
Used card #2 supplied with base system.

- Baseball (#ITL700)
Included two overlays, game board, scoreboard, 26 Line Up Cards (13 
13 Blue), 10 Power Cards, 10 Big Break Cards, 12 runner tokens (4 red,
4 blue, 4 white), a pair of dice and instructions.
Used card #3 supplied with base system.

- Invasion (#ITL801)
Included two overlays, 40 Treasure Loot Cards, 300 army tokens,
4 token chips, dice, invasion game board and instructions.
Used cards #4, #5 and #6 supplied with the base system.

- Volleyball (#ITL702), box 982329-1
Included two overlays, game card #7 and instructions (EL 2790-1).

- Handball (#ITL701)
Included two overlays, game card #8 and instructions.

- Wipeout (#ITL800), box 982329-4
"... advance your car along the game board as you complete your laps.
You must be fast, but also accurate, as you are timed and penalized by
the timer light. (for 2 to 4 players)"
Included two overlays, game board (which folds into thirds 643004-1),
25 pit stop cards, four car tokens (small, skinny plastic cars similar
to the one in monopoly- red, yellow, green, and blue), and 
(EL 2791-1), and instructions.
Used game card #5 supplied with the base system.

5.2 - Pack 2 (one known to exist)

- Win (#7302, 1973), box 982329-13
Included two overlays, 18 word cards, 9 image cards, 18 number cards,
4 crayons, 4 slates (643211-1), and instructions (EL2913-1).
Used card #4 supplied with base system.

- Interplanetary Voyage (#7175, 1973), box 982329-14
Included two overlays, game board (643208-1), 40 mission cards,
72 knowledge cards, 4 spaceship tokens, ? message chips, and
instructions (EL 2910-1).
Included cart #12.

- Wipeout (see above).

- Volleyball (see above).

- Basketball (#7123), box 982329-7
Included two overlays, game card #? and instructions.
Might have included other accessories, but the only copy known to 
misses every piece that was originally in the box.

- Brain Wave (#7176, 1973), box 982329-15
Included two overlays, 1 game board (643210-1), 2 sets of 48 thought
tiles, 2 dice, 2 memory banks (1 blue, 1 green. 643209-1), 2 power 
(1 blue, 1 green), and instructions (EL2911-1).
Used game card #3.

5.3 - Electronic rifle games

Those four games were included in the Shooting Gallery rifle pack.
Three came with cartridge #9, and one came with cartridge #10:
- #9 Shootout, Dogfight, and Prehistoric Safari
- #10 Shooting Gallery

5.4 - Percepts

Percepts was an add-on game which was originally avilable for free 
customers would send a special pink paper included in the Odyssey 
It is also rumored that some systems included this game, but this is not
proved. Due to the way of being available, Percepts is a very scarce 
It included two overlays, two decks of 15 Percepts cards (one green, one
purple) and instructions. Used card #2 supplied with base system.

5.5 - Complete list of games

Finally, here is the complete list of the 28 Odyssey games. It is
still unknown if more were available. There's a very little rumor that
maybe 15 extra games were released, but this is absolutely not 

[David Winter]: "It is interesting to have a closer look at the black
carton boxes of those extra games. As a matter of fact, there's a
number written on one of the four little flaps of the box ends. Each
different game box has the same number, which varies from 1 to 15.
If we suppose that 15 different game boxes exist, this will mean that
only 10 of 15 games are known to exist, and 5 are still unknown.
Moreover, if we suppose that the games were originally available by 
of 6, the closest multiple of 6 is 18, which makes me believe that a
maximum of 18 games could have been planned, some of which may have
been never released. But this is really not something to consider, 
because there are, for example, two games in common between the two 
listed below. Also, there is a cartridge #11, and the game which uses 
particular cartridge is still unknown (note that we don't know which
cartridge was used by Basketball in pack #2, since only the box of this
game has been found). The sure thing is that 10 extra games are known to
exist, and there're some chances that a few more have been released. 
one day we will discover more of them. The problem is that due to their
age and since not a lot of people bought them, the latest ones (i.e. the
pack #2) are nearly impossible to find, hence a strong difficulty to 
the correct information about the additional Odyssey games."

'72 = Included in the original 12-game release from 1972
'74 = Included in the later 10-game 1974 release
EXTRA = Sold as an add-on
RIFLE = Included in the Shooting Gallery pack

| Game |'72|'74|EXTRA|RIFLE|
| Analogic | X | X | | |
| Baseball | | | X | |
| Basketball | | | X | |
| Brain Wave | | | X | |
| Cat & Mouse | X | | | |
| Dogfight | | | | X |
| Football | X | | | |
| Fun Zoo | | | X | |
| Handball | | | X | |
| Haunted House | X | | | |
| Hockey | X | X | | |
| Invasion | | | X | |
| Interplanetary Voyage | | | X | |
| Percepts | | | X | |
| Prehistoric Safari | | | | X |
| Roulette | X | | | |
| Shooting Gallery | | | | X |
| Shootout | | | | X |
| Simon Says | X | X | | |
| Ski | X | X | | |
| Soccer | | X | | |
| States | X | | | |
| Submarine | X | X | | |
| Table Tennis | X | X | | |
| Tennis | X | X | | |
| Volleyball | | X | X | |
| Win | | | X | |
| Wipeout | | X | X | |

6 - Were there any add-on hardware accessories ?

6.1 - Organizer case

This is a special case which allowed to carry the Odyssey with its
accessories, rather than using the original and fragile box. This case
is white and included loading instructions (EL2942-1). This is a very
rare item since not a lot were sold.

6.2 - Other add-on hardware accessories

- AC adaptor (1A9179) output is 9V DC 40 mA
- Shooting Gallery: electronic rifle with four games

7 - Are there different versions of the Odyssey ?

Notes on this info, to be read before examining the following table,
include research done by both David Winter and Andrew Davie. There are
different ways of sorting the Odyssey versions. On the back side of the
Odyssey, several references can be read, among which are the MODEL, RUN

Known models are 1TL200 BLAK, 1TL200 BK11, 1TL200 BK12 and 1TL200 BK13.
Known RUNs are RUN-1, RUN-1B and RUN-2.
Known serial ranges are 9xxxxxx-11xxxxxx and 72xxxxx-76xxxxx.

The 9xxxxxx-11xxxxxx serials concern a range of consoles that sold
between 1972-1974. This range was apparently used in both US and EXPORT
releases of the Odyssey.

The 72xxxxxx-76xxxxxx serials concern another range of consoles that 
between 1972-1974. Here, there's no difference in them, only the date of
manufacture changes. These may be some of the earliest machines 

About the Magnavox logo in the woodgrain of the console: the Odyssey
exists both with and without a Magnavox logo on its woodgrain. 
collectors are much more interested by the consoles with this logo since
they are much harder to find than the others. This is why it is rumored
that the consoles really manufactued in 1972 have this logo.

For now, 6 different versions are known to exist. Those were sorted
using the RUN and Magnavox logo presence, and not the serials. 
more variations could be found if we would consider all the existing
ranges of serial numbers. Since the RUN and logo are the most 
details, we did not consider the serials, nor we considered the four
models as the US ones are only ITL-200 BLAK and BK12 (of course, the
only exception there is the 10-games 1974 release wich exists both
in BK11 and BK13 versions). Also, other variants might exist in the
accessories: large or smaller Blue/White/Red plastic chips, internal
oragnisation of the top part of the box, etc.

* RUN-1 "A":
Has the word "Odyssey" stamped on the right of the cartridge slot and
"Magnavox" stamped beneath it on the woodgrain.
Originally released in 1972. 36 page manual, 12 games.

* RUN-1B:
Same as RUN-1 "A" except that the console does not have the "Magnavox"
logo on the woodgrain. Beware: this is a true "1B". The sticker on the
back side of the console shows a RUN-1 with a "B" letter stamped. This
release exists with the two ranges of serials.

* RUN-1 "B":
This is the ever confusing run number. This one should rather be 
"EXPORT model" since this is a special version of the Odyssey released
in 1974 for 12 foreign countries. It appears that this release was 
sold in the USA in extremely small quantities (about 2 consoles known
to exist in the USA, and 5 in Europe). This is a RUN-1, not RUN-1B.
Appart the different games set and date of release, the console itself
is a RUN-1 "C".

* RUN-1 "C":
Same as RUN-1 "A" without the "Magnavox logo on the woodgrain.

* RUN-2 "A":
Same as RUN-1 "A" except that this is a RUN-2.

* RUN-2 "B":
Same as RUN-1 "C" except that this is a RUN-2.

To avoid confusion, just keep in mind that both RUN-1 and RUN-2 models
exist with and without the "Magnavox" logo on the woodgrain. In addition
to this, there is the "EXPORT" RUN-1 and the RUN-1B.

8 - Didn't Atari have a hand in the Odyssey ?

Nolan Bushnell attended the "The Magnavox Profit Caravan" at the 
Marina Hotel, Burlingame, CA, on May 24, 1972. After founding Atari on
June 27th, 1972, Bushnell and Al Alcorn (his first employee) built the
famous prototype coin-op Pong machine and installed it in Andy Capp's
Cavern, a local Sunnyvale bar. Soon after Magnavox sued for copyright
infringement. Although Bushnell insisted that he did not copy Pong from
the Odyssey, US District Court Judge John F. Grady was not convinced 
Bushnell had conceived Pong prior to seeing the 1972 Odyssey demo and
ruled that Atari must pay royalties to Magnavox in order to market its
games. A $700,000 settlement was awarded in the first ever video game

9 - What technical information is available ?

9.1 - Replacing the battery pack

After 25 years of sitting in the attic, basement or garage, batteries
leak. In their little nasty leakage they create havoc for the Odyssey's
battery area. This can easily be remedied. You can get these two parts
from any decent electronics shop:
* Caltronics 6 "C" size battery holder #BH-118 $4
* Workman battery snap #L11 $1

Even though the battery snap appears to be a normal 9 volt style, it
in not. This snap is half an inch wider. You will have to remove the old
solder with some solder wick and solder the new snap in place, making
sure to allow enough wire length to reach the battery pack.

9.2 - Cartridge pinouts

The following information comes from the original Magnavox Odyssey
service manual, and has been verified and corrected from tests done with
true Odyssey cartridges (the correction was a missing jumper on cart 
As you will notice, all of the 12 Odyssey cartridges have a common 
at pins 2-4. This is the power switch, as the console is turned on when 
cartridge is inserted.

The pinout of the connector is somewhat difficult to read since the 
are numbered vertically instead of horizontally. Thus, looking at the
connector from the top, the pins are numbered as follows:

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43

The "ODD numbers" side corresponds to the cartridge side which shows
the cartridge number. Here are the jumper sets of the cartridges. Pins
separated by a '-' are connected together. A space indicates an end of
connection. For example, cartridge #2 has pins 2 and 4 connected, as
well as pins 6 and 8.

Cart #1 2-4 6-8-14-16-20-22 30-34 31-39 35-37
Cart #2 2-4 6-8 NONE
Cart #3 2-4 6-8-10-20-22 30-34 42-44 31-39 35-37
Cart #4 2-4 6-8-18 21-23 33-37-39
Cart #5 2-4 6-8-10-20-22 30-34 21-23-25 31-33-39 35-37
Cart #6 2-4 26-28-38 3-5-9
Cart #7 2-4 6-8-10-14-16-20-22 30-34 42-44 13-27 23-25 31-39 35-37
Cart #8 2-4 6-8-12-14-20-22 34-36 9-11-13 15-17 31-39 35-37
Cart #9 2-4 6-24 21-23
Cart #10 2-4 6-8-10-20-22-24 30-34 23-25 31-39 35-37
Cart #11 2-4 6-8-12-14 20-22 34-36 38-40 9-11-13 15-17 31-39 35-37
Cart #12 2-4 6-8-18 26-28 3-5-7 21-23 33-37-39

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