Travel back in time to the dawn of interactive electronic games. Pong For Odyssey2 offers a standard two-player version of the classic video table tennis game, as well as electronic recreations of the analog version of the game available on the first home game system, the Magnavox Odyssey. (RenÃ¨ Van Den Enden [published by Packrat Video Games], 2004)
Memories: Odyssey2 homebrews are a lovely thing to behold, and this is a game that you’d think would have been done sooner on this machine – especially with Magnavox’s claim to fame as the first company to manufacture and distribute a home video game system in the United States (or anywhere else for that matter). In the end, it took 25 years to get a Pong game on this console.
It’s not a bad game of Pong either, though it falls victim to something that makes it very faithful to the pedigree of the Odyssey name: there’s no AI allowing you to play a single-player version of Pong; those who choose to fly solo with this game are limited to Squash (a single-player raquetball game which was also a common feature on the Odyssey and its legacy of dedicated consoles). With all of the other options available in this game – the ability to select NTSC or PAL display at “boot-up,” the Voice functions, and so one – I guess we know where the memory went, but at the same time, that wealth of options is what got me thinking thst single-player Pong might be an option too.
The graphics for the “analog” modes which replicate the unusual controls of the original Odyssey console are remarkably faithful to the 1972 game console which started it all, right down to the high-contrast black & white graphics.
Overall, Pong For Odyssey2 is a neat package if you’re a fan of the original Odyssey or the original Pong. But it’s a little shortchanged in the solo play department.
Full disclosure note: the writer of this review participated in the game’s release in the capacity of its cover art designer.
Unused Pong For Odyssey2 artwork
An earlier draft of the cover art that didn’t make it – complete with flaming hydraulic paddles.