What was the world’s first video game?
Do you know which is the oldest video game that exists among the hundreds of hardware released over the years? Despite the great competition, only one machine can take the title of the first video game in the world, and that honor and pioneering spirit goes to the Magnavox Odyssey. Find out more about him below!
The “father” of a gigantic industry!
Today video games are an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually, but of course things weren’t remotely like that when the Magnavox Odyssey hit the North American market in 1972.
Well, long before the Atari 2600 It’s from NES establish the foundations of the market as we know it, a German engineer named Ralph H. Baer produced for Magnavox hardware that he had wanted to make since 1966. Over the years, he worked on seven prototypes alongside Bill Harrison and Bill Rusch, until finally the company agreed to start production in 1971.
The Magnavox Odyssey is a symbol of the first generation of video games and gave rise to the console industrySource: Reproduction / Wikipedia
The final product ended up redefining the history of electronic entertainment as a whole and served as the inspiration for Atari’s Nolan Bushnell to launch Pong, that archaic little game of tennis that you must know well as one of the first big steps in transforming games into entertainment. to a large audience.
But there are good reasons for you to know pong and the atari more than you know the Odyssey. After all, instead of relying on a rich library of cartridges like its successor launched in 1977, the Magnavox device only accepted simpler and very similar games, all of them showing only two rectangles hitting a square, without support for sound or more elaborate graphics than simple rectangles and squares.
Victim of technical limitations
To guarantee some variety, it was necessary for the player to buy peripherals that served as a kind of protective layer for the television screen. Basically you would fit a new picture in front of the TV to create the illusion of new graphics and environments, which was quite inconvenient even at the time.
In a crooked analogy, it was like picking up a board game, where you have to use your imagination a lot to have fun. Still, the Odyssey also managed the feat of having the first pistol in video games!
Despite so many technical limitations, the Magnavox sold 69,000 units in its first fiscal year, and reached ttotal of 350,000 consoles sold before finally being officially discontinued in 1975, marking one of the most interesting pages of the first generation of video games!