As we know, the follow-up console to the Odyssey², the Odyssey3 Command Center, was ultimately cancelled in the United States – although a version of it did come out in Europe as the Videopac G7400+. But did you know that an "Odyssey 4" was in the planning stages as well, and even an "Odyssey 5" was considered as a future product? Rafael Cardoso alerted me to some fascinating engineering documents from "Papa Intellivision" Dr. David P. Chandler, who led the development of the Mattel Intellivision system from its conceptual stage all the way through release. Dr. Chandler sadly passed away in 2011, but many of his engineering notes and documents have been preserved on PapaIntellivision.com and mirrored on Archive.org.
Of particular note to Odyssey² fans are notes from early 1983 meetings between Mattel and North American Philips where future products from both companies were discussed. Included in the notes are numerous references to "Odyssey 4", which was proposed as an expandable system. A diagram labeled "O4 System Interfaces" depicts a series of expansion units, with the "O4 Game" at the center. Other systems attached to it include a Home Computing Sub-System which would support standard PC operations like discs and printers, a Home Terminal Sub-System that would connect to external services like Videotex or Dow Jones, and an Interactive Controller Sub-System that included peripheral devices like laserdisc players or cable downloads. An "O5 System" (presumably meaning Odyssey 5) interface is shown surrounding the core O4 product.
This is an amazing piece of information and reveals a possible future to Odyssey that wasn't widely known before. I plan to study Chandler's notes for a more in-depth analysis later, but a few points jumped out to me after just a quick read. First, these meetings happened in early 1983, just before the Odyssey3 project was cancelled. (The O2 Timeline shows that the cancellation announcement was made in June 1983). Second, the expandable system shown in the diagram sounds a lot like the home computer system that Philips programmer Randy Green worked on after the Probe 2000 games division shut down. The Videotex integration is interesting, since the cases of European G7200 consoles are essentially modified Minitel terminals – which connected to Videotex. And lastly, the whole enterprise seems reminiscent of the Philips CD-i, which began early development in 1984. Could it be that the CD-i, after a fashion, IS the Odyssey 4? There's probably not enough evidence to definitively say that yet, but who knows what further research might uncover? Thanks a lot to Rafael for pointing this out!
Odyssey² and Videopac homebrew programmer Rafael Cardoso is up to it again! His next release channels the arcade classic Missile Command as well as Imagic's console release Atlantis. The aliens from Rafael's earlier release Mars Menace are back in Moon Town! The human survivors from the first game have set up a colony on the Moon. But the Martian menace won't allow the colony to live in peace. It's your job to protect it from the invaders.
Moon Town! will be available in both Odyssey²- and Videopac-style packaging, and will have a limited cartridge release. You can reserve your copy at the Videopac.nl forums.
Odyssey and Videopac homebrew designer Rafael Cardoso has announced his latest release: LASER BLITZ! In each level of this shoot'em-up that takes visual inspiration from the console classic Beamrider, you have to destroy the Titan robot at the top of the screen. To bring down the Titan, you must accumulate enough energy to launch a missile. The enemy attacks start with green, then yellow, then pink and finally blue fleets, each one more powerful than the other.
The game is being released in a limited run of 50 units, 25 done in the U.S. Odyssey² style, and 25 in the UK Videopac style. The release date is the end of this month, May 31. Reserve your copy over at the Videopac.nl Forums.
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the launch of the Odyssey² video game in Brazil, a new TOWER TURTLES game has been made available. Released on April 14, it is a remake of TURTLES that brings new challenges for the turtle and its babies!!!
TOWER TURTLES was designed and developed over two years by Luciano B B A Ferreira and released by Retronic. The developer calls it "a birthday present for the Odyssey in Brazil."
It is available in two versions: Portuguese (Odyssey) and English (Odyssey²).
Rafael Cardoso and Videopac Is @live are at it again with two new releases! In the straightforwardly-named HAUNTED WOODS, your archer navigates a ghost-infested forest to rescue the lovely Princess Bia. Meanwhile, BOOM BOX may sound like the awesome cassette deck you hoisted on your shoulders in the '80s, but it's actually an Odyssey take on the classic box-pushing puzzle game Sokoban. Push the boxes carefully or everything will be blown sky high!
A gameplay video for HAUNTED WOODS can be seen here and one for BOOM BOX is located here. Both are being sold through the Videopac.nl forums, and are limited to runs of 100 cartridges each, with 50 produced in the Odyssey² style and 50 in Videopac fashion. Up for a princess-rescuing adventure? Order HAUNTED WOODS here. If box-pushing is more you speed, get BOOM BOX here.
For many years, the Odyssey² community has known about the Odyssey Game Center, a kiosk that was used in the '80s to advertise the system at stores and trade shows. Near the end of Odyssey²'s lifetime, Philips even gave some away as contest prizes. What was not known, however, was whether any of these units had survived beyond the '80s.
Now, at long last, the existence of two Game Centers has been confirmed! Two unassembled units were purchased at an auction in the North Carolina area by a Tennessee man, who assembled one and kept the other in its box. He later sold the assembled unit to a private collector who provided me this photo. The other was sold to Trade-N-Games, a retro game store in the St. Louis area. Trade-N-Games is active in the preservation of vintage kiosks and produced a great video about it, complete with closeups of the unit and even a look at the instructions for building it.
Be sure to check the video! You may not be able to get one of these for your collection, but at least you can get a good look at it.
Homebrew publisher Videopac Is @live has announced Ivan Machado's Golf Tournament, an advanced golf simulation game. From the press release:
Welcome to the best golf simulation video game for the Odyssey² & Videopac! Choose between 4 club types and hit the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. Each stroke adds 1 point to your score – keep it as low as possible! There is a 99 stroke limit to finish the 18-hole course. Don't let the ball fall into the water or sand, and avoid the trees and rocks.
Release date 8/8/2017 – Limited run of 50 copies for Odyssey² & 50 copies for Videopac. Price is 29 euros plus shipping and handling.
Be sure to check out this gameplay video, which demonstrates how impressive this game really is! You may be surprised that the humble Odyssey² is capable of this level of complexity in a golf game.
Aaron is an aant – with two A's, mind you – and he's hungry for aaples. But he's got to watch out, because Aadolf the aardvark is hungry for him! AARON THE AANT!, a game whose setting must have been inspired by the arcade classic Anteater, is the latest release from Chris Read, developer of GOSUB, WALLS, CHIEF CHEF and others. Publisher 2600 Connection is producing a limited run of 100 cartridges, which are compatible with both NTSC and PAL systems. Each game will include a 8-page Odyssey²-style manual, and a black plastic storage box with a printed color insert is available as an optional purchase. Head over to 2600 Connection's Aaron the Aant page to place your order!
I hope you all are having a great holiday season! Here is a Christmas-themed holiday gift for you: a scan of a vintage Odyssey² high-score sheet. I found this in an Odyssey² setup I purchased online some time ago. Also included was an original sales receipt for Bowling/Basketball and K.C.'s Krazy Chase, dated 12/11/1982. Most of the entries on the paper are from those two games (and Speedway and Spin-Out), so I'm guessing the scores were recorded in December 1982 as well. This family had a lot of fun that Christmas!
Web-site wise, the work to make everything mobile-friendly continues. I've finished the Articles section and am currently making inroads on the Collectibles section. There's a lot of content there, so it's taking a while. But still, progress!
LOOK WHO'S COMING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON: MEAN SANTA!
2600 CONNECTION is proud to announce the release of MEAN SANTA for the ODYSSEY² / VIDEOPAC. The game will be released on December 1, 2016!
Designed and conceived by Tim Duarte, an Atari 2600 version was published in 2009. This port of the game for the ODYSSEY2 / VIDEOPAC system was programmed by Rafael Cardoso (who also worked with 2600 CONNECTION to publish and release WILDLIFE! and HAPPY BIRD!)
The game, which is loosely based on the cartoon "HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS," features a SANTA CLAUS who has had enough of all the bad behavior of the bad boys and girls. This year, he wants to steal all the presents. There are obstacles in his way. In the shortest amount of time, you need to break in to, er... I mean, visit 16 houses and collect the presents. Don't bang into the walls! Be careful! You'll wake the parents! In the 16th and final house, there is a roasted turkey dinner that MEAN SANTA can steal so there will be no CHRISTMAS FEAST. Can you help him? There are guard dogs trying to stop MEAN SANTA.
For more information please visit the MEAN SANTA web page.
ALSO: 2600 Connection is having a HAPPY BIRD! high score contest: Win SERIAL #1 of 100 of MEAN SANTA. More details at the above site. Contest winner will be announced on December 1, 2016!
112 Ocean Avenue: the say that this house is inhabited by terrible creatures. But immeasurable treasures await those who dare enter the house!
Just in time for Halloween, the newest Odyssey² and Videopac homebrew from author Rafael Cardoso takes you deep into the famed Amityville haunted house. Armed only with a flashlight, you bravely set foot in the scary structure in search of treasure. But beware: your search will bring you face to face with deadly giant spiders, bats and ghosts! How long can you hold out against them?
Amityville! is a complicated game combining elements of Nightmare and the Atari classic Haunted House with a small dose of turn-based fighting. You'll definitely need to read the manual for this one! It will be available from publisher Videopac Is @live for both Odyssey² and Videopac+ on October 31. Ordering information can be found in this Videopac.nl forum thread.
Hello, Odyssey² and Videopac fans! I am late with these announcements because my PC's motherboard up and died a few weeks ago. (Funny, it failed after merely a few years while my Odyssey² is still going strong three decades inů) So then I had to replace it and reconfigure everything, I'm sure you know the drill. I'm back up and running now, and continuing my project to make the rest of the site mobile-friendly. (Next up: the Articles section.) In the meantime, here are some exciting things that happened recently in case you missed them:
Homebrew publisher Videopac Is @live has announced another new Odyssey² release, this time a port of a familiar Atari 2600 title. SPACE CAVERN by APOLLO GAMES is available for pre-order. It is, of course, based on Space Cavern, the 1982 title from the world's first third-party publisher, Games By Apollo. The homebrew's publisher states that the new Odyssey² version is a faithful port. This limited edition of 100 will come with a cardboard box, styled like the original but smaller, the same size as an O2 or Videopac box. The European version contains an extra sleeve in English or French (branded RCA Video Jeux) like the Atari 2600 version had in the Eighties. The manual is designed like the 2600 original as well.
And if that wasn't enough, there is a even a Space Cavern "TV commercial", done in true '80s style! (OK, it's the original 2600 commercial redone with Videopac graphics, but still great. Dig that shiny '80s sci-fi jumpsuit!)
SPACE CAVERN's 45-Euro price is a bit higher than a typical release because of the cost of the cardboard box and the royalties. Reserve your copy at the Videopac Is @live web site.
They're also working on another "new" release: Mission Impossible / Programmed Trip "ZERO Edition", an enhanced version of Missão Impossível/Viagem Programada, the one and only game from mysterious Brazilian publisher Ectron Eletrônica Ltda. A limited release of 100 "Zero Edition" carts is planned but is currently being delayed by a music tempo issue.
Homebrew publisher 2600 Connection has announced CHIEF CHEF, Chris Read's new Odyssey² title inspired by two great Activision 2600 games. Here's the official announcement:
As the apprentice chef at the Chew 'n' Spew Restaurant, things have gotten a little crazy! Chuck Chesterfield, the Chief Chef, has climbed up to the ceiling and has started to throw food at you! The only catch is he demands that you get all four items he throws and avoid the duplicates! Once you have caught a complete set of four items – tomato, cheese, lettuce, and onion – you start again at a faster level. How are your food-catching skills? Are they enough to impress the Chief Chef?
Combining gameplay elements from the Atari 2600 games Kaboom! and Pressure Cooker (both by Activision), CHIEF CHEF was programmed by Chris Read.
Originally a bug was found in the game, but that has been corrected and cartridges are now shipping in full swing.
We are also sponsoring a High Score Competition for CHIEF CHEF. Submit a picture of your high score. Highest score will win the grand prize: a WILDLIFE! special edition cartridge with a special label. Players can play with the real cartridge or may use an emulator. Either is fine. The CHIEF CHEF ROM file will be available for a free download (for use in an emulator).
For more information, visit the CHIEF CHEF web page.
Here is some exciting news for Odyssey² homebrew fans, or just anyone who enjoys eating: homebrew publisher 2600 Connection is re-publishing FATSO! Here is the official announcement:
2600 Connection is proud to offer the Odyssey²/Videopac game from Chris Read – FATSO! Previously known for his Atari VCS/2600 games (Gosub, Alien Greed, Stacker, Zyx), FATSO! is Chris's first game for the Odyssey², inspired by the Telesys Atari VCS/2600 game Fast Food.
A limited run of 30 boxed copies of FATSO! were first produced and sold by Marc Verraes (www.videopac.fr) in May 2012. After those sold, a second edition of 26 more were sold (each cartridge denoted with a letter of A through Z). Fast forward to 2014. When Marc asked 2600 Connection about releasing another run of WILDLIFE!, we worked out a deal so we could release an unlimited, unnumbered version of FATSO!
Now we are happy to allow folks who missed out on this game to purchase one. It's the same game and manual, except it does not have a serial number. The label has a little different style and the manual has some additional text. A plastic storage box is not included. We call this the unlimited release of FATSO! So what are you waiting for? Put on your "eating pants" and get yours today!
The cost is $25 plus shipping. For more information, and/or to order a game cartridge, please visit the FATSO web page.
The march to mobile-friendliness continues. Last week I discovered that the new site design had some issues when viewed on an Apple iPad. I believe these have all been fixed. Beyond that, I've converted one more section to the new design: the Links page. Working on this was kind of bittersweet. I hadn't reviewed the links on that page for some time, and a handful of sites that used to be good sources of Odyssey² and Videopac info have disappeared. Others are still around but haven't been updated for years, which is sad in a different way. I think the never-ending stream of content that is social media has largely killed off the small hobbyist web sites that used to be so common. Still, there are still a few good O2 sites out there.
Revival Studios has announced its latest homebrew release for Odyssey² and Videopac: Strikeforce. In this game, you pilot an attack chopper. You must maneuver around the screen, destroying the tanks below you while avoiding its missiles – as well as the bombs from two fighter jets up above. After destroying a number of tanks you will proceed to the next level, where the difficultly increases.
The game will have a regular cartridge release of 80 units. The games are 39 euros each. Worldwide shipping and handling is 7 euro. The game features a free plastic Videopac case. For more information, visit Revival Studios' Videopac page.
After weeks of work, I am pleased to begin rolling out a new, improved design for this web site – one that should be usable across most devices including desktops, tablets and mobile phones. It takes a while to port all the old content over, so I'm launching it in stages. As of now, the only sections with the new design are the home page, the Contact page, the Cheats section, and the Library. The Library has been totally renovated; the document viewer has been retooled to work in both single-page mode for small devices and double-page mode for larger ones. Unfortunately it's still lacking in overall content, but one reason is that I wasn't happy with the old design so I was reluctant to keep adding to it. The new design is much better, and I feel it captures that late-'70s Odyssey² aesthetic pretty well.
I'm excited by this change, and it has been a long time coming. Unbelievable as it is, this site is going to turn twenty this year. It first went online in December 1996, an era when smartphones didn't exist and many people still used 28.8 kb/s dial-up modems. Of course, the site has undergone design changes before, but a lot of its content and layout elements are still descended from back then. The new design will give me a chance to move past all that. It will take me a while to finish porting all the old content over, but after that I want to concentrate on fleshing out the site, making it the most complete source for Odyssey² information around. I hope you'll like it!
Homebrew publisher Videopac Is @live has announced the latest release from prolific author Rafael Cardoso: Mars Menace! In this latest installment of the never-ending conflict between the Terrans and the Martians, you must take TWO joysticks into the battle. A phalanx of four Martian invaders slithers along the screen in a snakelike pattern. Using a Robotron style dual-joystick move-and-shoot control scheme, you must hit each invader multiple times to make them change color. Change all of them to white, and the next level starts at a higher speed than before. If you play on a Videopac+ machine, a portrait of a nasty green Martian can be seen in the background. Gameplay footage can be seen here.
The game is slated to release on September 30th and costs 29 Euros plus shipping. A limited run of 100 copies is being produced for both Odyssey² and Videopac+. A special dual-joystick holder is being offered with the game for an additional 6 Euros. Ordering information can be found in this Videopac.nl forum thread.
Martijn at Revival Studios is clearing out his stock of homebrew games at a 10% discount. There are several available for Odyssey²/Videopac in addition to ColecoVision, MSX, Vectrex and Sega SG-1000 games. The O2 titles include:
Quantities are limited! Visit www.revival-studios.com for more details. Also, Revival is preparing a new release – Strike Force – for the coming months. You may add your name to the reservation list by emailing email@example.com.