Hot off the presses! I'm pleased to announce a brand new area of the site: the Odyssey² Newspaper Archives, an index of O2 content that you might have seen in your daily paper decades ago. Although the Internet hasn't fully killed off the medium yet, newspapers are nowhere near the media powerhouses they once were. Back in the Odyssey²'s heyday, the daily paper was a major source of information and news for people across the world. Dig through an archive of newsprint from the early '80s and you'll likely find advertisements, sales listings, and maybe even the occasional article about our favorite console. I've been combing through some online archives for a while and saving up digital clippings, which I've placed into a kind of scrapbook under the site's Library section. So grab a cup of coffee and your morning bagel and start reading!
The content currently in the Newspaper Archives only scratches the surface – I still have dozens of advertisements to add, and there are more online archives I've yet to sift through. I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this. If you have been saving newspaper clippings on your own that you'd like to share, please contact me.
The newest Odyssey²/Videopac homebrew is truly an international effort! Designed by Rafael Cardoso of Brazil, Frozen Fort is being published by Côté Gamers of France with the help of Marc Verraes from Belgium. Plus, it's set on an asteroid, so does that make it interplanetary as well? Well, maybe not, but its story is intriguing to say the least:
After years of searching, Spencer Styles has finally managed to complete his father's quest: to find the mysterious asteroid of the ancients that all the legends of the cosmos speak of. Located at the edge of the GNZ-11 galaxy, in an as yet unexplored solar system, the asteroid can only be reached when it temporarily escapes from a swarm of millions of its fellow companions, which happens only once every ten years... the ancients hid a terrible secret... but to access it, it will be necessary to gather seven artifacts. Where are they? What do they look like? No one knows yet...and maybe no one will ever find out!
Soon you'll be able to don Spencer Styles' spacesuit and solve the mystery yourself! Frozen Fort is now available for pre-order at Côté Gamers, a French group producing collector's editions of homebrew games for classic systems. Frozen Fort is their first O2/Videopac effort, and like their releases for other systems, it will come in a "big box" (4 × 19 × 4cm) supported by internal foam wedges. Included in it will be the cart and manual, some index cards from their encyclopedia of video games, a 3D-printed certificate of authenticity with your name, and a full-color, 46-page bilingual (English and French) leaflet about the making of of the game! The game costs €45 and will be released at the end of March. Watch this forum thread for more information.
NOTE: If you read this in time, try to catch Rafael along with others from the Odyssey Brasil group on Sunday, Feb. 21, for a live stream on RetroGamer Brasil's YouTube channel. It's happening at 9:30 p.m. UTC (in the USA, that's 10:30 a.m. EST, 1:30 p.m. PST). I believe the stream will be in Portuguese, but it should be fun. They are even giving away a copy of Floresta Assombrada, the Brazilian version of Haunted Woods!
Odyssey Brasil is preparing to relaunch some homebrews in the Brazilan style, with Portuguese titles, new packaging and extras – they are really going all out! First up is Haunted Woods, which will receive the Portuguese title Floresta Assombrada. The set will include:
If you're interested, send "HELLO" to https://wa.me/p/3353382318120952/551150832487
Expect to see more such rereleases coming from Odyssey Brasil!
Exciting work is being done in South America! Odyssey Brasil is a group of passionate Odyssey fans headed by homebrew author Rafael Cardoso, Experiência Odyssey webmaster Ricardo Silva, and Márcio of the Facebook group Odyssey – O Videogame da Philips among other devotees of the system. Together, they are working to relaunch Odyssey Adventure magazine in Brazil!
If you read original issues of Odyssey2 Adventure (Odyssey Aventura in Brazil), you'll know that back in the day, Philips treated Odyssey fandom like a social club, with the magazine as its official publication. It was a fun way to provide a sense of community to all Odyssey fans as they read all the latest news about upcoming releases and events. Odyssey Brasil is aiming to recapture those glory days by creating NEW issues of Odyssey Aventura. With a constant stream of new homebrews, ROM hacks and repros, the Odyssey community is thriving once again. It seems only right for new issues of the classic magazine to report on all this activity.
Issue #9 of Odyssey Aventura, which picked up where the original eight issues from the '80s left off, was already published by Rafael some time ago. Issue #10, which profiles some older homebrews as well as the artist ZeMiaL who has provided amazing artwork for some recent releases, is coming soon. Both digital and print versions will be available. The content will be in Portuguese, although plans for an English version are being considered. Watch Experiência Odyssey for news. Announcements will also be posted on this site.
Homebrew developer Chris Read has just released a new Odyssey² game, with possibly the greatest title of any video game, anywhere: The 50-Foot-Tall Stalk of Celery! I won't try to describe it myself, and instead just post the publisher's description:
You are Rodney, friend of the 50-foot tall stalk of Celery.
Mr. Celery has a problem: It seems the vegetarians want to chomp, chew, and digest him!
As Rodney, you can help fight back! How? Well, Mr. Celery has invented a Vegetarian Killing Machine (VKM for short).
Rodney can control the VKM. Vegetarian men are running amok! Use the VKM to destroy them. How many vegetarians can you defeat?
Oh, one more thing: the vegetarians are aware of you and Mr. Celery's plans. They are hurling bombs at you!
Avoid the bombs! If you get hit by a bomb, it's all over for Mr. Celery!
With a story like that, how can you not want to play it? Cartridges and manuals are now available for purchase from publisher 2600 Connection for $25 plus shipping.
In late August, a second Videopac tournament was held in Basque Country in northern Spain, continuing the event that was started in May. This installment took place entirely in the town of Derio, so the organizers called it the I. Derio Tournament of Videopac G7000. Click here to see the leaderboards.
Thanks again to Egoitz Campo for the write-up!
NEON NIGHTS, the latest homebrew game from Rafael Cardoso, is available for pre-order now! The people of the planet Argus are under attack, only you can save them! But you'll have to cross the Neon constellations to do it. The journey will take you through four waves of different opponents, dodging and blasting enemy craft all the way. Do you have what it takes to save Argus?
Homebew publisher Videopac Is @live is taking pre-orders for NEON NIGHTS on the Videopac.nl forums. Fifty copies will be produced in Odyssey² style and twenty-five in Videopac+ style. The game features a starfield backdrop on Videopac+. Reserve your copy today!
In May of 2020, a small Videopac tournament was held in Basque Country in northern Spain. The organizers hope to make this a regular occurrence. Check out this article for some photos and to see the leaderboards.
Thanks to Egoitz Campo for the write-up. Hopefully Basque Country will see even more Videopac action in the future!
You may have noticed that site updates have been pretty rare recently. However, that's not because I haven't been working on it; I've just been busy porting 20 years of content over to a mobile-friendly framework. I am pleased to announce that this work is now done – every page on the site should be readable on mobile devices. This also gave me the chance to revamp most of the page designs. In particular, if you haven't checked out the Games Database, Collectibles section or Media section for a while, why not take a fresh look?
This project was more about bringing old content into the modern age than it was about adding new material, but nevertheless I did drop in a few new things. Here are some highlights:
After a bit of research, I think I've more accurately identified the company that imported the Odyssey² into Japan. I believe a lot of the knowledge about this topic available online is only partially correct, mostly due to the complexity of translating written Japanese text into English. Long story short: I believe the importer's name was "Corton," not "Kooton," and this article explains why.
While revamping the Collectibles section, I added a few new scans – especially to the Print Ads page. Most notably, I added several pages featuring Odyssey² and Videopac consoles from early-'80s catalogs like the Sears Wish Book. Remember poring over these magical tomes as a kid at Christmastime, dreaming about finding a shiny new Odyssey² game under your tree? Now you can relive those days! (Or at least, look at the pictures again.)
I added a few photos of console boxes, particularly to the European Consoles section. Some of these are pretty obscure. The Schneider 74+ box shown here is one you really don't see very often.
The mobile-friendly project took much longer than I'd have liked, but I'm pleased it's finally done! Next I plan to give some attention to areas of the site that haven't received any for a long time – the Games Database really needs it. There are a lot of missing entries; it's hard to keep on top of all the new homebrew releases any more! Who'd have thought that Odyssey² would receive so much support 20 years into the 21st century?
If you're a regular visitor to this site, I'd like to thank you for sticking around despite the lack of updates. Even after all of this time, I still have a huge backlog of material to add... if only I had more time to get it all done!
Rafael Cardoso, Odyssey² homebrew developer extraordinaire, is at it again! He describes his latest title, Lady Frog, as a "sequel to a well-known game." Which game you ask? I think the screenshot will tell you all you need to know. This game features songs by Ted Foolery, and if you remember his tunes from Puzzle Piece Panic a few years ago, you know they're going to be good!
Pre-orders for the game are being taken on the Videopac.nl forum. A limited run of 50 Odyssey² and 25 Videopac+ cartridges are being produced, so act now to reserve yours!
Homebrew legend Rafael Cardoso is back at it again, this time with his 19th release for Odyssey² and Videopac: COLD CASE! Based on the Atari 2600 classic Frostbite, Cold Case features the same ice-hopping action that made the original game so fun. From the game's official site:
The Game: An evil king has set his sights on ruling the Arctic and placed a curse upon the people of the North Pole, blocking all their igloo entrances and transforming the fish into killer king crabs. The king will only lift the curse if the people pay him tribute. Enter local hero Tom Snow to the rescue! He has a plan to break the curse! It involves jumping on all the floating ice blocks and changing their color from white to blue. The first time he accomplishes this feat, a magical scepter will appear before the igloo entrance. Once he picks it up, if he can change the color of the ice blocks again, the curse will finally be broken!
The object of the game is to help Tom Snow unblock igloos by jumping on floating blocks of ice. Be careful to avoid these deadly hazards: killer king crabs, grizzly polar bears, the subfreezing water, and the rapidly dropping temperature.
COLD CASE is an 8K game and works on both Odyssey² and Videopac machines, which enhanced "Plus" graphics for G7400 owners. A limited release of 100 carts is being released by Atari Compendium – reserve yours today!
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!