Memories of the Magnavox Odyssey2

As a kid, I was always seemingly one or two (or three) video game systems behind the times. There was really only one TV in my house where you could hook up a video unit, and as much as I played my original Gameboy, my dad wasn’t about to fight with me over the TV when he got home from work just because I wanted to play Super Mario.


Now, around age six or seven, my mom was babysitting the son of a family friend. He was several years older than me, and much like the by the big brother I always wanted and never had. His name was Brent. Brent was always really kind to me and would play with me, even though I was a little girl that probably was driving everyone else nuts. One day, Brent offered me a gift I simply couldn’t refuse, an Odyssey2. I’d never heard of it before. All I knew was that it was a video game system that I could hook up to the TV. I’m not sure why that was so much of a big deal for me, as I did have a handheld, but being able to hook it up to the TV just made it seem so much cooler and real for me. Brent had this Odyssey2 from the time of the unit’s release, ~1978. But even more than just the Odyssey2, Brent gave me The Voice adapter as well, allowing the games to have sound effects and voices, which was a big deal for its time.


My parents hooked it up for my younger sister and me and we spent an entire Saturday playing the system. We played lots of the classics…Turtles, K. C.’s Krazy Chase, Alien Invaders Plus!, Smithereens!, and one of my personal favorites, Type and Tell. Type and Tell was awesome for us because we’d make the game say scandalous things like “poot.” We’d laugh hysterically and then make up more silly stories for it to tell. The pronunciation was off for most things, which is what made it awesome. I was in love with the system, but then, the unthinkable happened. The next day, I went to go play my Odyssey2, but I couldn’t get it to turn on. I was heartbroken. My dad couldn’t figure out the problem, so we disconnected the system. I still kept it. About 15 years later, I decided that I wanted to see if I could get it to work again. I went to Goodwill, found an old TV (VHF hook-up required), to set up the system. I got it going again and spent another glorious Saturday playing Odyssey2 with my sister, making Type and Tell say goofy things and laughing at Smithereens! calling us turkeys. I’ve still got my Odyssey2 and it still works.

It’s a classic system that doesn’t get quite enough attention in my opinion. My current quest is to track down a complete Quest for the Rings set to see how one of the first video game RPGs functions.


Do any other retro fans here have a functioning Odyssey2? What are your favorite games? Do you still play?

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Ashley Thomas is a freelance writer, Signum University grad, and war cleric. She completed her M. A. in Imaginative Literature in summer 2017. Ashley writes under the name, The Nerdy Blogger. You can read her blog at You can follow Ashley on Twitter and on Facebook, where she shares nerdy posts every day. Ashley and her husband, Ryan, reside with their cats, Luna and Oliver, as well as a large quantity of books, comic books, tabletop games, retro video games, and polyhedral dice. Ashley wants to be Brienne of Tarth, Hermione Granger, and Leslie Knope when she grows up.
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