The Odyssey 300
The Odyssey 300 follows the Odyssey 100 (white) and the Odyssey 200 (orange). Unlike its predecessors, it’s built on a single chip, the AY-3-8500 “Ball & Paddle” integrated circuit from General Instrument. It’s the same chip used in Coleco’s Telstar, released in 1976, two months before the Odyssey, and is the console the 300 was designed to compete with. The 300 plays three games – Smash, Tennis (which is really Pong), and Hockey – and has three levels of difficulty. According to the manual, “. . .as an extra challenge has switchable skill levels of Novice, Intermediate and Expert which automatically adjusts the player size, speed of the ball and deflection of the ball.” The Odyssey combined the player size, speed, and deflection angle into three skill levels. Other consoles – the Super Pong, for example – have independent switches for each of those gameplay variables.
The real winner in the competition between Magnavox and Coleco was General Instrument. The AY-3-8500 chip was the backbone of probably 200 game consoles worldwide, and General Instrument sold a chip for each one that was made.
2015.012.588 – Gift of Scott Correia