1972

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YouTubed - Prehistoric Safari (Odyssey, 1972)

Well, sorry it's been so long since my last entry but I've been trying to come up with a way to convey the look and feel of Odyssey games without getting even more verbose than I already am. Solution!--YouTube and a new camera that actually records sound! This should help everyone understand the mechanics of Odyssey's lightgun game, Prehistoric Safari.

Prehistoric Safari (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

Prehistoric Safari: Sounds like thunder; tastes like chicken.Prehistoric Safari: Sounds like thunder; tastes like chicken.Shooting Gallery is an add-on for the Magnavox Odyssey. It comes with four games, each with its own Überlay. Three of the games use the included game cart #9 and the fourth uses #10. The add-on comes in its own box with a GUN! A realistic looking rifle type of gun that plugs right into a socket built into the Odyssey! This gun is the kind of "non-orange" fake gun that will get you seriously killed if you "playfully" aim it at an officer of the law. So, uh, DON'T do that, 'kay kids?

In Prehistoric Safari, you USE the GUN! You are the MIGHTY HUNTER! However, you've lost most of your ammunition in the volcano (see it on the uberlay?) so you only have 15 shots. After 15 shots you'd better get back to your own world, using whatever method got you there (time machine, submarine or tiny raft). PlayerTwo is just the assistant, whom we always call "Jim". Jim's job is to move the target light behind each of the hideous beasts from before time. The Hunter should attempt to obliterate only the beast behind which the light is sitting. Jim keeps the light still until the Hunter takes the shot, and then, hit or miss, 'ol Jim moves the light behind another creature that should not be! The player's roles are reversed after 15 shots, and the person with the most "kills" after one round wins the game.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Contest: Come up with the perfect title for my book!

As many of you know, for the past what, two years+ now, I've been working on a book to be published by No Starch Press and distributed by O'Reilly online and at bookstores everywhere in October 2007 (tentative, but looks likely). One of the issues I and my co-author, Matt Barton, have been struggling with with the publisher has been titling this potential opus.

Simon Says (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

Simon Says: Their ubiquitous gaze haunts me to this day . . .Simon Says: Their ubiquitous gaze haunts me to this day . . .I was unable to cajole my son into playing this game with me, but since there is a kitty cat on the Überlay I was able to lure my three year old daughter into playing it. She enjoyed it so much, that she requested to play it again on three separate occasions since.

Simon Says is best played with three people. Two people each handling a controller and a third person who plays the role of Simon. Simon draws one of the provided off-screen accessory cards, reads it and says aloud: "Simon Says: fine the (body part indicated on card)". The players have to move their PlayerSpots from their starting square to the corresponding body-part on one of the colorful Überlay children or one of their strangely legless pets. The person who gets their PlayerSpot to the correct spot first, gets to keep the card. The person with the most cards wins the game.

If the person playing Simon chooses to make it so, then the role of Simon can be played as a crafty trickster, sometimes omitting the words "Simon Says" from the command phrase. The rule being, of course, that if Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” than nobody is supposed to move their PlayerSpot at all or suffer terrible consequences, such as the loss of a card. Being the playful, tormenting father that I am, I tried it that way but quickly discovered that I should probably wait until she turns four before trying to “fake out” my daughter. It just pissed her off in a very, “Why must you cause me such pain, Daddy?” kind of way. I changed the rule to Simon having to say “please” for a command to be followed. This was more easily understood by my daughter because it’s something my wife and I are drilling into her in real life. She enjoyed chirping back at me "You didn't say 'please'!" whenever I tried to trick her.

States (Magnavox Odyssey, 1972)

The States Overlay: Alternative solution to the immigration issue; move Alaska and Hawaii into Mexico!The States Overlay: Alternative solution to the immigration issue; move Alaska and Hawaii into Mexico!This title is purely and quite overtly an edutainment title making its debut long before the term was ever coined. Analogic may have concealed its arithmetic stylings in a sci-fi envelope, but nobody would mistake States as being anything but an enthusiastic attempt to capture the hearts and wallets of America's education-minded parents.

The overlay is a map of the good 'ol United States of America, which wouldn't be complete if they didn't have the Alaska/Hawaii combo scaled-to-fit and hovering over a vanished Mexico. The off-screen props consist of 50 cards, an answer brochure entitled “Affairs of States” and a “study map”. The 50 cards each highlight a specific state with three questions about the state. The answer brochure is exactly what it sounds like, and is handier than dragging out an encyclopedia. The "study map" is a paper version of the overlay, and reminds me of the type of placemat they give kids to color while waiting for their order at a Denny's(tm) or an IHoP(tm).

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