The Odyssey 2: A Groundbreaking Console (1978)

The Magnavox Odyssey˛, known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States as the Magnavox Odyssey˛ and the Philips Odyssey˛, and also by many other names, is a video game console released in 1978. In the early 1970s, Magnavox was an innovator in the home video game industry. They succeeded in bringing the first home video game system to market, the Odyssey, which was quickly followed by a number of later models, each with a few technological improvements (Magnavox Odyssey Series). In 1978, Magnavox, now a subsidiary of North American Philips, released the Odyssey˛, its new second-generation video game console.

The Odyssey2's various capabilities don't quite match up to the Atari VCS--it is slower, has a lower resolution, and has only one voice for sound versus two in the VCS. But Magnavox pushed the Odyssey2's full keyboard, and its ads proclaimed "The Keyboard is the Key." This appealed to a few players, but the arcade licenses of the other systems drew far more supporters. Magnavox also released a voice module to enhance the Odyssey2 gaming experience.


K.C. Munchkin: Look and Feel

Munchkin is cartridge number 38 in the official Magnavox/Philips line of games for the Philips Videopac. In North America for the Odyssey˛ it was called K.C. Munchkin!, an inside reference to then president of Philips Consumer Electronics Kenneth C. Menkin. Designed and programmed by Ed Averett, Munchkin is very heavily based on Namco's 1980 arcade game Pac-Man, but not a direct clone. It was however, similar enough for Atari to sue Philips and force them to cease production of Munchkin. Atari was exclusively licensed to produce the first play-at-home version of Pac-Man, but Munchkin hit store shelves in 1981, a year before Atari's game was ready. Atari initially failed to convince a U.S. district court to halt the sale of Munchkin, but ultimately won its case on appeal. In 1982, the appellate court found that Phillips had copied Pac-Man and made alterations that "only tend to emphasize the extent to which it deliberately copied the Plaintiff's work." The ruling was one of the first to establish how copyright law would apply to the look and feel of computer software.

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