The Game: In Speedway!, one player guides a race car through an endless onslaught of slower-moving traffic, Monaco GP style; colliding with anyone stalls the game for a moment. Two players are required for Spin-Out!, a copycat of Atari’s Sprint 2 coin-op, in which two race cars zip around a convoluted little track in an attempt to be the first one to rack up three laps. Crypto-Logic! lets you type in up to 18 characters on one line, and hit the enter key to completely scramble those characters. A second player then has to figure out what the jumble of letters was with as few misses as possible. (Magnavox, 1978)
Memories: The Odyssey2 was born from the ashes of Magnavox’s aborted Odyssey 5000 project, which would have housed 24 dedicated games for 2 to 4 players in a large, silvery console – and chances are, a lot of those games would have been along the lines of Speedway! and Spin-Out!. As it happened, the Odyssey 5000 was killed by the arrival of the Fairchild Channel F and the Atari VCS – the first video games with cartridges containing different software – but the basic shape of the console itself was retained. (The Odyssey 5000 would have looked a lot like the Odyssey2, only the keyboard area would have been nothing more than a tray to hold all of the joystick controllers in place. The basic shape of the joysticks was also retained from the Odyssey 5000.)
To help make its launch title a showcase for the Odyssey2’s much-advertised keyboard, Crypto-Logic! was added, giving the first cartridge at least one game which would use the keyboard.
Actually, to this day, this most common of Odyssey2 games can still be a lot of fun with the right crowd.