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Found 7 results

  1. Guest

    Brain Tsunami

    So, why are these two staring so intently at that vase in the middle? Brain Wave seems like a complicated mess at frist glance. There is a pile of about 90 little cardboard squares to be used (thought tiles), little cardboard holders (memory banks) for the squares (similar to Scrabble), a gameboard and two little cardboard rectangles (power markers) with holes in them for keeping track of spending Brain Power Points. After a little bit of a learning curve for me, and a little bit of a teaching curve trying to explain it to my son, we found this game to be fun and interesting. Each player starts off with their Player Spot at the Red Circle in the middle of the appropriate Head on the Überlay. On a player's turn, as a Defender, they roll the dice (two) to determine how many squares they may move their Player Spot through the maze. There's no backtracking and they may never land on the spot from which they started. The other player, the Attacker, has to maneuver their English control (They don't all-cap "ENGLISH" in these instructions like they used to, go figure) so that when the reset button is pressed, it hits the Defender's Player Spot. Brain Power Points are earned depending on where in the grid the defending Player Spot rests. The easier spots are worth less points than the harder spots, as one would assume. The interesting gameplay is that the Defender chooses where to put the Attacker's target and indirectly decides the points the Attacker will earn if the Attarker's "Brain Wave" (Ball Spot) should establish contact with the Defender's Spot. This is "Brain Wave" attack is not an easy thing to do at first. We spent many turns trying to get it right. There was enough of a balance between challange and unpredictability that we kept wanting to try again and again. The Brain Power Points are used to purchase Thought Tiles which are used to build a Train of Thought across the board. The Tiles are randomly drawn and consist of four patterns. A straight line is called a Logic tile. A right angled turn is called a Mind Bender. A four-way intersection is called a Decision Point. A terminating line is called a Mental Block. You lay each tile down like a railroad track (get it? Trains of Thought?) and try to outmaneuver your opponent's track. There are a lot of different strategies to play which we didn't get to explore in our one game, mostly involving when to use "Mental Breakthroughs" to cross an opponent's Train of Thought and when to hang on to the rarer tiles for later use. This is one of the few games on the Odyssey where we found the Video Game Component and the Board Game Component to be equally engaging. My son, 7, who was frustrated to tears with Invasion (even though he loves Risk ), really had a good time with Brain Wave. When he has fun, I have fun. It's one of those "reasons for becoming a parent" kind of things. Especially cool, it was, to see him work out tactics for limiting the Brain Power points I could gain by positioning his spot in easy to hit but low point earning areas. Smart boy. Good looking, too, but I digress. Full marks for this one. It's a shame Brain Wave is so bloody rare. I think I might do a simulation of it in Flash if I ever grow a big enough brain to handle the programming/project management aspects of such a task. Ultraman 11, Odyssey 14 Only one game left. You do the math. It doesn't look good for Ultraman. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  2. Guest

    Bon Voyage!

    Isn't that a pretty Überlay? Well, I think so, too. Sorry, this is a long one! I originally wrote it for a post at Digital Press which had only 49 views and 1 reply before I let it slip in to the oblivion of the archives. *sniff*. I learned my lesson: Forums are for conversation, not essays. Blogs are for long babbling kook-talk and that's the way I like it! There are two games described by the manual for Interplanetary Voyage. The second game in the manual is called "University of the Solar System" and could be considered "edutainment". The first game, which seems to be the one actually called "Interplanetary Voyage" is what my son, my wife and I played. I was very shocked that my wife played, but that's a rant for a different blog. The Interplanetary Voyage game pack comes with card #12 and is the only game which uses that card which generates only the two player spots (no ball, no center line). The first spot is generally sationary throughout the game, posing either as the sun or as a force field around a planet. The second spot represents a player's spaceship and disappears when it comes into contact with the first spot. This disappearance, as you may guess, represents the annihilation of the ship! The interesting twist in the control of the second spot, is that the it lags behind the input you give it, giving it the effect of a spaceship coasting through space after a quick fuel burn. The game revolves around a player using rocket "blasts" to propel their ship to a waypoint or destination. A blast consists of the pilot putting one hand on the horizontal control and one hand on the vertical control. When ready, the pilot spins each control a little bit in a desired direction and then immediately removes their hands. If they give the vertical knob a little twist, the ship moves up or down for a little bit before slowly coming to a stop. It moves right or left for a twist of the horizontal knob and some version of diagonal if both knobs are twisted. Each player starts the game with eight roulette, er, power chips and a ship token on the game board on their home space station (Alpha or Beta). Players take turns piloting their ship. On their turn, the Pilot draws a Mission card which directs them to one of the planets (ie "Deliver wives to the colonists on Venus"). The pilot has three "rocket blasts" to project their "ship" to the destination. For us, at the beginning of our game, this meant either barely moving the ship or sending it kareening into the outer regions of the solar system. In the latter situation (an off-screen ship), a "lost" ship must spend a power chip for a "navigational beacon" before it can blast again. A pilot who successfully completes the mission by lighting up the correct planet keeps the Mission card. To win the game, a player must reach the goal of collecting a required number of Mission cards: 15 for a two player game, 12 for a three player game and 8 for a four player game. Another way a player may acquire a card is to act against the current Pilot by erecting a "force field" around the planet which they think is the intended destination. To do this, they spend a power chip and move the spot being used for the sun to the suspected planet. Instant Force Field! If the active Pilot's rocket blast sends the ship into the force field, the ship is destroyed and the player who erected the field earns a previously completed Mission card from the murdered Pilot. If that Pilot has no previously completed Mission cards left then the Pilot loses two chips to the saboteur. Isn't that something? Rewarding a simulated murder! The third way to get a card is if the pilot happens to complete the mission to a planet and that same planet is the goal of the mission currently sitting on the top of the discard pile. The current pilot gets their mission card and the previously discarded mission card. Kind of like "hey, I just brought wives for the Venusian colonists, but while I'm here I'll set up a pressure dome for them, too, since the last guy couldn't do it." Pilots keep track of their last known position by using the off-screen game board on which they place their little ship tokens. In the second game, this board also cleverly serves as an answer decoder for the Knowledge questions. In this first game no action takes place on the board other than helping your remember where your ship is and for holding the Mission cards. Because of our poor piloting skills, we lost ourselves in the uncharted regions of the solar system far too often. As a result, over the course of 10 minutes we lowered our "cards to win" requirement from 12 cards down to three. We also found ourselves considering any type of contact with a target planet as a bonefied landing. "Okay, so you barely grazed the planet and shot beyond it, into the cold reaches of unknown space. Since you did technically touch the planet, or at least its upper atomosphere, we'll count it as a landing." If my family and I were playing this in 1973, and there weren't 200 games for us to play on one of the nine more recent systems in the next room, I think we could've made a very pleasant evening out of Interplanetary Voyage - once, maybe even twice. Hell if my son was as geeky as I try to be we might've played it once a month for the whole year. But not forever. We would tire of it and eventually, we proabably would've put it away and played Clue, Monopoly or Risk until the home version of PONG came out in 1975. I guess what's impossible to know, is how enchanted we would've been with the idea of playing a game on our TV and how well would IpV, or any other game on the Odyssey, would've sustained that enchantment. I think Interplanetary Voyage takes a better shot than other games for the system because it lets one pretend to be a spaceship pilot in a recognizable solar system instead of playing a "ported" version of an existing game (like "Football" or "Roulette"). You, pilot the ship. You, get lost in space. You, shuttle a fresh wife supply to Venus. It's just feels more immersive (using that term pretty loosely) than some of the more abstract games for the system. I whole heartedly give Interplanetary Voyage the point against Ultraman. I did enjoy it a lot more than my son did, however, so it wasn't shits and giggles all around. Maybe in a few years we'll try playing the University of the Solar System. The University variant contains 72 cards each with questions about the solar system (ie, name the planet that is in orbit 93 million miles from the sun and stuff like that). If this game wasn't so bloody rare, I think it would be neat to make an alternate card deck with questions about the Solar System as we know it to be now. (It's ain't just a neat collection of ellipses, that's for sure.). (EDIT: 2021, noticed I spelled the word ellipses incorrectly and had to fix it...) Ultraman 11, Odyssey 13 I'll do Brain Wave next entry. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  3. Guest

    A W.I.N.ner is You!

    W.I.N. stands for Word, Image, Number. The object of this game is to construct words, images and numbers drawn from a deck of cards using the elements on the Überlay. To claim an element for use in your assembly, you have to move the Spot while it is invisible to an element you can use. The Player Spot starts out in the blank square at the bottom center of the screen (near the scientist). You hit the reset button on the controller and the Spot disappears. You then manipulate the controls until you think you've moved the unseen spot to the element you need for your picture. You hit the reset button again, the spot appears and you see how close you got. If it lights a different element, one of your opponents may be able to claim it for use towards their own goal. The first to construct two words, one image and two number sentences W.I.N.s not only the game but possibly control of the entire Universe as well! Although that's not explicitly stated anywhere in the manual, some manipulation of spacetime is implied due to the stereotypical look of the Scientist guy. The numbers, letters, and shapes on the grid in the overlay can all be used to construct the words, images and numbers you find on the cards. You keep track by using what I still call a "magic slate". It's one of those slates that consists of a plastic pad and two sheets of thin plastic, one clear and one gray. When you write on it with a plastic stylus, the imprint makes a dark mark and stays until you lift both sheets of plastic. It allows you to use the slate over and over again. Considering how often this has been used, I'd say a pad of paper might've been more cost effective. In the case of these particular Magic Slates, one of the plastic sheets on each slate has a pre-printed template consisting of a line of blank squares for filling in your letters or numbers as you acquire them, as well as about half a dozen Images. The images are identical to those found on the Image cards. To build and keep track of your Image goal, each time you acquire a certain shape that is part of your image, you run a line through that shape. For instance, a cat has, uh, okay, here's where a picture replaces at least a dozen or so words I'm too lazy to type. Get the idea? The words are words like Holiday, Rainbow and Zippers. The Numbers are equations like 6+3=3x3, 5+3=7+1. The shapes are as you see them above on the pad. In our book, this doesn't count as a "video game" in the strictest sense. What we have to do involves moving something we can't see, so that makes it a "non-video game", I think. We each completed a Word, Number and Image and called it quits. It was challenging, in a way, but it isn't the type of challenge that we felt any type of satisfaction after meeting it. Like more than a few of the other Odyssey games, W.I.N. serves merely as a quiet reminder of the humble roots of our passion while also reminding us of about a hundred other things we'd rather be doing. Ultraman gets the point. The Score: Ultraman 11, Odyssey 12 Will Ultraman catch up and win as we play through the last three and most rare games for Odyssey? Will I ever recoup what I spent on all these Odyssey games? Tune in next entry! <- PREV | NEXT ->
  4. Guest

    Hoops

    Basketball, the game where gravity goes sideways. This game is, surprisingly, very fun. First you have to turn your gravitational perceptions to the side. See the Überlay? Okay, see the left side of the Überlay? Okay, good. That's the floor. Yeah. No, really! STOP LAUGHING! So, the two player spots, remember, we call them Player One Spot and Player Two Spot, they start the game off at center court. The reset button is pressed and the basketball comes soaring in from off-screen right. It moves past the players to the Left-positioned Wall ("floor") and rebounds back to the right ("up"). Then and only then, are the players allowed to move their respective Spots to go after the ball, "dribble" it against the "floor" and maneuver it into their respective basket. The key to this game being fun is the CONTROLLER! Yes! The design of this game is around this little box of potential fun (or potenti-ometers). Let me illuminate those of you who've never seen an Odyssey Controller. No, I don't have a fracking picture. You'll have to do this with your imagination. Picture a little box about three and a half inches tall, four and a half inches wide and about two inches deep. On the right hand side is a knob. That's your vertical control knob for the vertical movement of your Player Spot. On the left hand side is also a knob. That's your horizontal control knob for your Player Spot. Now, picture a knob within and extending from the center of the left knob. THAT's your English control. Your English control controls the up or down motion of the Ball Spot while it is in motion to the right or left and only after it has been deflected from your Player Spot. So, with regards to your control over what's going on on the screen, here's what can happen: You can move your Player Spot vertically and horizontally at the same time. You can move your Player Spot vertically and you can control the English (up or down motion) of the Ball Spot if it has just deflected from your Player Spot. You CANNOT, control the English of the Ball Spot, the Vertical movement of your Player Spot AND the Horizontal movement of your Player Spot all at the same time. Nope. Reiterating: NOPE. You'd need fingers that bent oddly on your left hand OR you'd need extra digits to extend from your palm. And that's the key to this game being fun and actually exciting. To dribble the Ball Spot each player has to position their Spot towards the Left Wall (floor) and bounce the Ball off of that Wall. Using their Vertical Control AND their English control they can move the ball up and down the screen by deflecting it between the Wall and their Player Spot while controlling the English. THAT's dribbling. When they are ready to shoot the ball, they let it rebound from the Wall and use their English control to move the Ball Spot around their Player Spot, around their Opponent's Player spot and to their net, so that the Ball Spot lights the center of the net before it leaves the screen. Are you with me? Can you visualize all that? I may have to hook up the VCR to the Odyssey someday to get it on tape. Yes, I'm serious. Okay, Now. They have to do all of this (dribble, shoot, score) while their opponent is trying to steal the ball from them. To steal it from them, the opponent has to move their Player Spot slightly closer to the dribble Wall, using their Horizontal control. When the Ball deflects off of their Player Spot, SUDDENLY, they have control over the English (vertical trajectory) of the Ball! See, the Player who has the Ball is worrying about the English, and can't worry about the Horizontal control of their Player Spot, at least not at the same time. The Player trying to get the ball has no control over the English but can direct their full attention to the Horizontal control. As soon as they gain posession of the ball, they then have to worry about the English of the Ball, and effectively can't worry about the Horizontal movement of their Player Spot! As soon as they stop to adjust the Horizontal position of their Player Spot, they're no longer moving the Ball up or down and they're vulnerable to their Opponent who could steal it easily were they to relax their guard in this manner. So, in a nutshell: By succeeding in an attempt to steal the Ball, the player immediately looses the movement advantage that allows them to steal the ball in the first place. Furthermore, in doing so, that's exactly the advantage their opponent gains. Doesn't that sound like one-on-one basketball in the real world? The offense is slowed down because they have to dribble the ball, while the defense is free to move to try and take it. These attributes immediately transfer themselves when the ball changes hands. It's beautiful, and the Odyssey is doing it with two paddles, a ball and a line (and a big black rectangle for the background). Don Emry was/is a frackin' genius. So, I give to Basketball the Odyssey Best Game Award. Truly a game that has no right to be as rare as it is. Ultraman put up a great fight in the beginning but in the end has succumbed. Ultraman 11, Odyssey 15. Keep in mind: Ultraman was still being produced in Japan last time I checked (in 2002). So, while Odyssey won this series of battles, Ultraman really won the war. So, next entry, a brief rehash of the Games of 1973. Then we'll move into the Vast Library of Home Video Games Available in 1974!!! Hardy-har-har. This is a true story: while I was blogging this, a group of kids started playing Basketball in my driveway using my, uh, basketball net-thing. I never use it, so I didn't mind. Then I heard it crash against my garage door and realized the liability I might have if it did the same thing to my neighbor's car. (parked behing the net-thing) So, I decided I had to tell them "sorry but no game" (hell, I'd give them the net if it wasn't concreted into the ground, I'll probably never use it in my life). I opened the garage door but they ran like the wind. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  5. Hi! I am looking for a Odyssey console. I do not care if it's a Run-1 or Run-2. I would be interested include two controls, 6 games, RF switch and antenna cable only, also would be interested in buying it in its original box. The most I can pay for Odyssey are $ 155 plus shipping. Thank You. Sorry for my terrible English, I am that I am Spanish and I had to use the Google translator.
  6. Guest

    1973 Introductions

    Breaking format before I start talking about each of the 1973 games. There's a really excellent thread over at the Digital Press forums and I highly recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in the original Odyssey. Go to it here. The discussion was started by a man named Don Emry and, according to him, he was the designer for three of the 1973 Odyssey games. (not that I don't believe him, I just thought I should be specific about my source.) Here are some of what I consider the more interesting quotes. One only has to spend two minutes trying to play roulette to realize how little it was play tested. It's great to hear someone from back in the day talk about the "wow" factor. I just love that quote. (not days and certainly not weeks.). Taking the implications of that comment, one could infer that even if you were the most fanatical videogamer on the planet in 1973, you could play out your favorite game in a couple of hours and be left with nothing to play until 1975. (unless you were willing to sink a lot of quarters in the arcades.) I dig the whole "game design theory" thing going on in that quote. The four 1973 games are W.I.N., Brain Wave, Basketball and Interplanetary Voyage. They are rare and I paid way too much for them. That being said, three of them were the most fun we had on the Odyssey. I'll talk about W.I.N. next entry. <- PREV | NEXT ->
  7. Guest

    1973 End of an Odyssey

    1973 is in our retro-view mirror! Only four games W.I.N Interplanetary Voyage Brain Wave Basketball Something which I forgot to demonstrate about Interplanetary Voyage that I thought was pretty neato. In the second game in the manual, "University of the Solar System", you draw cards to answer questions about the Solar System. Here is an example: The interesting thing about this card, is that the answer isn't on it. Anywhere. See the little triangle/arrow in the middle of the right hand side. That points to the answer, but only if you put it on the gameboard. See the part that says M.O.A.D.? you put the card on that and the arrow points to the name of the planet which is the answer. Nifty, eh? This is the End of the Magnavox Odyssey games. They stayed on the shelves from May of 1972 until the Fall of 1975 and were replaced by the Magnavox Odyssey 100 at least that's what I've read. We'll talk about the Odyssey 100 later. Just for the record, if you were to have purchased all of the games new in 1972 and 1973. (I'm giving rounded prices because I hate prices like $24.95. Why not just call it $25!?! Christ.) Main Console: about $100 Shooting Gallery: about $25 1972 Optional Games: about $6 each 1973 Optional Games: about $6 each So a complete Odyssey collection in 1972/73 might've cost about $200 brand spankin new. In the course of trying to amass a complete Odyssey collection I spent about $1700 USD. I'm not bragging, in fact, I'm a little embarassed knowing that some of you find stuff worth that much at garage sales and only pay $50 for it. Of course, I ended up with doubles. I've got 5 Main consoles, 4 of which actually work and are complete; A carrying case in OK condition; Three complete Shooting Galleries; three Volleyballs (one missing manual); two Invasions; three Interplanetary Voyages (one missing two playing cards); two W.I.N (one horribly incomplete, but nice box); one Basketball; one incomplete Brain Wave (missing 10 out of 96 tiles), one Fun Zoo, one Baseball, one Handball, two Wipeouts (one missing one car token), and one Percepts. It should also be noted that I made some incredibly poor buying decisions and learned some harsh eBay lessons. I probably won't be able to sell all of this for more than $1200. Not looking for sympathy (or criticism), just FYI. In all that mess and after spending all that money, I never saw a frackin' box for the RF Switch. Go figure. I bought my first Odyssey in November 2002 and bought my last item for it in September of 2004. During one week in September of 2004 every available Odyssey item that I know of, other than Percepts, arrived at my house via UPS. I've also got the shipping box for the 1973 games, the Shipping Box for my Odyssey with the silver Magnavox Logo on it, the original batteries and a roll of Odyssey tape. Anyway, that's all for now, I'll be back after I find an original Atari or Tele-games PONG unit. <- PREV | NEXT ->
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