Saturday, June 23, 2007

Back Where It All Began

Selling off my Commodore 64 and Vic 20 libraries made room in my office for the one system I'll never sell - indeed, my first system which I got for Christmas way back in 1981 - the Magnavox Odyssey 2. Oh, I had wanted an Atari for Christmas that year, but my parents, persuaded by a smooth sales clerk at a department store, choose to stick me with the system.

I certainly made the best of it, though. In fact it worked out quite nicely, as the games coming out for the system at the time were generally quite good, and in some cases better than their Atari counterparts. While my friends were lamenting the piss-poor adaption of Pac-Man available for the 2600, I was enjoying the awesomeness of K.C. Munchkin. Another aspect of this was the sleepovers we had in my basement where my friends and I set up both systems side-by-side and enjoyed the best of both worlds.

Like all the old systems I collected games for back in the nineties (via pre-eBay flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales) I continued to build up my Odyssey 2 collection long after the system became a footnote in gaming history. And in recent years it has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts with the amazing homebrew scene. People are making all - new games for the Odyssey 2 that had they been released back in the 1980s would have been heralded as killer apps for the system.

So with only the Odyssey 2 and the Vectrex left from my once all-encompassing retrogame collection, I have decided to resume collecting for them, with the Odyssey 2 coming first. I want to get complete (box and documentation) copies of every North American release for the Odyssey 2, as well as all the amazing homebrews. I also need a new voice module, since my old one seems to be toast. I have lost two eBay auctions for The Voice so far in the last week, but I am hopeful another one will become available soon.

Last week I did win the only semi-rare Odyssey 2 game that I did not yet have - Atlantis by Imagic. This title was the second and last third-party game released for the Odyssey 2 back in the day, the other being Demon Attack which I already had. I have also ordered another homebrew, Mr Roboto, from Packrat Games and expect it in a few days.

Atlantis is really good, even though the center gun is missing in the Odyssey 2 version. One thing I've rediscovered since hooking the Odyssey 2 back up is that it has a number of amazing shooters available for it - UFO, Freedom Fighters, Kill The Attacking Aliens (an amazing homebrew game), as well as the aforementioned Imagic games. The maze chase games are also a treat with KC Munchkin, KC's Krazy Chase, and Turtles all offering great gameplay.

I have also set up my Odyssey 2 corner of my office with my gallery of flyers as well as my original Odyssey Adventure Club membership certificate, all framed and on display. I'm quite proud of it:

So I'm back where it all began, with the system my parents stuck me with all those years ago. Still, with the robust homebrew scene, it feels like everything old is new again.

No comments: