Our generous cousins were early adopters of technology.  They had the VCR back in the day when Betamax was still in vogue.  They were the first to have an Atria 2600, but they didn't let on about their other Odd purchase.

We received a giant box with colourful screenshots on it.  Emblazoned on the front were the words Odyssey.  And so our Odyssey began.

As far as consoles are concerned, this was the absolute basics in technology.  To be fair It was released in the early 1970's.

The 'graphics' were exceptionally crude.  Depending on the game you chose you had a number of white squares.  Big squares were the players, and the small square was the ball, even though it was square.  Yes, did did mention colour previously and the Odyssey sure didn't disappoint.  In the box you had a number of screen overlays!  Yep, coloured plastic that you taped to your TV set to simulate graphics.  How they managed to accomodate various TV sizes, I will never know.

One of the games which relied on the screen overlays was Haunted House.  As far as I remember one player was the ghost and placed their player in a room.  The other play would then go from room to room until it found the ghost.  I think its square disappeared when it came in contact with the ghost.

By far the killer app though was Pong.  You had a simple playing field overlay with a line down the middle.  You had large white squares on the left and right and the ball would bounce between them.  What made Pong interesting was that the joysticks used variable resistors which you tweaked to move up and down the screen and a separate one for forward and backwards to come in for the attack!  The bonus that really clinched this as the game of the 70's was the other small variable resistor which controlled the 'spin' of the ball.  When you tweaked that at just the right time the ball would curve up or down.  Many a fun night was spent tweaking the ball just before your opponent would strike it.

The Odyssey was fun for its time but nothing compared to what was to follow.  In the next part I beg my parents for an Atari 2600