The Magnavox Odyssey 2 (stylized as Magnavox Odyssey²), also known as Philips Odyssey 2, is a second generation home video game console that was released in 1978. It was sold in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil and Peru as the Philips Odyssey and in Japan as Odyssey2 (オデッセイ2 odessei2). The Odyssey 2 was one of the four major home consoles prior to the 1983 video game market crash, along with Atari 2600, Intellivision and ColecoVision.
In the early 1970s, Magnavox pioneered the home video game industry by successfully bringing the first home console to market, the Odyssey, which was quickly followed by a number of later models, each with a few technological improvements (see Magnavox Odyssey series). In 1978, Magnavox, now a subsidiary of North American Philips, decided to release an all-new successor, Odyssey 2.
In 2009, the video game website IGN named the Odyssey 2 the 21st greatest video game console, out of its list of 25.
The Videopac G7200, unlike Videopac G7000, had a 9" (23 cm) black & white display built in.
The original Odyssey had a number of removable circuit cards that switched between the built-in games. With the Odyssey 2, each game could be a unique experience, with its own background graphics, foreground graphics, gameplay, scoring, and music. The potential was enormous, as an unlimited number of games could be individually purchased; a game player could purchase a library of video games tailored to their own interest. Unlike any other system at that time, the Odyssey 2 included a full alphanumeric membrane keyboard, which was to be used for educational games, selecting options, or programming (Magnavox released a cartridge called Computer Intro! with the intent of teaching simple computer programming).
The Odyssey 2 used the standard joystick design of the 1970s and early 1980s: the original console had a moderately sized silver controller, held in one hand, with a square housing for its eight-direction stick that was manipulated with the other hand. Later releases had a similar black controller, with an 8-pointed star-shaped housing for its eight-direction joystick. In the upper corner of the joystick was a single 'Action' button, silver on the original controllers and red on the black controllers. The games, graphics and packaging were designed by Ron Bradford and Steve Lehner.
During the time of Odyssey 2's manufacturing, some came with controllers that could be plugged and unplugged from the back of the unit via their DB9 connector, while others had their controllers hardwired into the rear of the base unit itself.
One of the strongest points of the system was its speech synthesis unit, which was released as an add-on for speech, music, and sound effects enhancement. The area that the Odyssey 2 may be best remembered for was its pioneering fusion of board and video games: The Master Strategy Series. The first game released was Quest for the Rings!, with gameplay somewhat similar to Dungeons & Dragons, and a storyline reminiscent of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Later, two other games were released in this series, Conquest of the World and The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt, each with its own gameboard.
Its graphics and few color choices, compared to its biggest competitors at the time—the Atari 2600, Mattel's Intellivision and the Bally Astrocade—were its "weakest point". Of these systems, the Odyssey 2 was listed by Jeff Rovin as being the third in total of sales, and one of the seven major video game suppliers.
The console sold moderately well in the U.S. Prior to the nationwide release of the Mattel Intellivision in 1980, the console video game market was dominated by the competition between the Odyssey 2 and Atari 2600. It remained one of the three primary consoles from 1980 to mid-1982, though a distant third behind the Atari 2600 and Mattel Intellivision. By 1983 over one million Odyssey 2 units were sold in the U.S. alone.
To sell would-be customers on its resemblance to a home computer, the Odyssey 2 was marketed with phrases such as "The Ultimate Computer Video Game System", "Sync-Sound Action", "True-Reality Synthesization", "On-Screen Digital Readouts" and "a serious educational tool" on the packaging for the console and its game cartridges. All games, aside from Showdown in 2100 AD, produced by Magnavox/Philips ended with an exclamation point, such as K.C. Munchkin! and Killer Bees!.
No third-party game appeared for the Odyssey 2 in the United States until Imagic's Demon Attack in 1983. The lack of third-party support kept the number of new games very limited, but the success of the Philips Videopac G7000 overseas led to two other companies producing games for it: Parker Brothers released Popeye, Frogger, Q*bert and Super Cobra, while Imagic also released Atlantis.
European models had no power button, and black action buttons
In Europe, the Odyssey 2 did very well on the market. The console was most widely known as the Philips Videopac G7000, or just the Videopac, although branded variants were released in some areas of Europe under the names Philips Videopac C52, Radiola Jet 25, Schneider 7000, and Siera G7000. Philips, as Magnavox's Dutch parent company, used their own name rather than Magnavox's for European marketing. A rare model, the Philips Videopac G7200, was only released in Europe; it had a built-in black-and-white monitor. Videopac game cartridges are mostly compatible with American Odyssey 2 units, although some games have color differences and a few are completely incompatible, such as Frogger on the European console, being unable to show the second half of the playing field, and Chess on the American model, as the extra hardware module could not work with the console. A number of additional games were released in Europe that never came out in the U.S.
In Brazil, the console was released simply as Philips Odyssey (since the original Odyssey had had only a limited release by a local company, Planil Comércio, under license). The Odyssey 2 became much more popular in Brazil than it ever was in the U.S.; tournaments were even held for popular games like K.C.'s Krazy Chase! (Come-Come! in Brazil). Titles of games were translated into Portuguese, sometimes creating a new story, like Pick-axe Pete!, that became Didi na Mina Encantada! (Didi in the Enchanted Mine) referring to Renato Aragão's comedy character, and was one of the most famous Odyssey games in Brazil.
The Odyssey 2 was released in Japan in December 1982 by Kōton Trading Toitarii Enterprise (コートン・トレーディング・トイタリー・エンタープライズ, a division of DINGU company) under the name オデッセイ２ (odessei2). "Japanese" versions of the Odyssey 2 and its games consisted of the American boxes with katakana stickers on them and cheaply printed black-and-white Japanese manuals. The initial price for the console was ¥49,800, which is approximately US$200 (equivalent to about $610 in 2022). It was apparently not very successful; Japanese Odyssey 2 items are now very difficult to find.
LIST OF ODYSSEY2 GAMES:
4 in 1 Row (Europe Only)
Air Battle (Europe and Brazil Only)
Alien Invaders Plus (IN BOX)
Armada (Europe Only)
Armored Encounter/Sub Chase
Attack of the Timelord
Backgammon (Europe Only)
Blobbers (Europe Only)
Casino Slot Machine
Catch the Ball/Noughts and Crosses (Europe and Brazil Only)
Chez Maxime (Europe Only)
Chinese Logic (Europe and Brazil Only)
Clay Pigeon (Brazil Only)
Comando Noturno (Brazil Only)
Conquest of the World
Depth Charge/Marksman (Europe and Brazil Only)
Didi na Mina Encantada (Brazil Only)
Electronic Table Soccer
Exojet + (Europe Only)
Freedom Fighters (IN BOX)
Frogger (Europe and Brazil Only)
The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt
Helicopter Rescue (Europe Only)
Invaders from Hyperspace
I’ve Got Your Number
K.C. Munchkin (IN BOX)
K.C.’s Krazy Chase (IN BOX)
Kinder im Verkehr 1 (Europe Only)
Labyrinth Game/Supermind (Europe Only)
Las Vegas Blackjack
Le Trésor Englouti + (Europe Only)
Loony Balloon (Brazil Only)
Morse (Europe and Brazil Only)
Moto-Crash + (Europe Only)
The Mousing Cat (Europe and Brazil Only)
Musician (Europe Only)
Neutron Star (Europe and Brazil Only)
Nightmare (Europe Only)
Nimble Numbers Ned
Norseman (Europe Only)
Out of this World/Helicopter Rescue
Pick Axe Pete (IN BOX)
Pocket Billiards (IN BOX)
Popeye (Europe and Brazil Only)
P.T. Barnum’s Acrobats
Q*Bert (Europe and Brazil Only)
The Quest for the Rings
Race (Europe Only)
Secret of the Pharaohs (Europe and Brazil Only)
Showdown in 2100 AD
Sid the Spellbinder
Super Bee (Europe and Brazil Only)
Super Cobra (Europe and Brazil Only)
Syracuse (Europe Only)
Take the Money and Run
Trans American Rally (Europe Only)
Type & Tell
War of Nerves