Consoles of the '70s

Our guide to the grandfathers of gaming


Magnavox Odyssey 300

The first system to use a single game chip containing the entire magic of one Pong system. Curiously, it used only one knob per side. Also: it was yellow and contained the three games of the O200.


Magnavox Odyssey 400

The O400 was the exact same as the O200 (three knobs and all), yet this time it included onscreen scoring. And if you somehow lost track of superfluous aspects of the game like who won, a helpful “W” displayed on the victor’s side.


Magnavox Odyssey 500

For all intents and purposes, the 500 was incredibly similar to the 400, except for the stunning inclusion of color graphics. At this time, the four games (Soccer was the newest) were the sharpest they’ve ever been. This was the last three-digit Odyssey entry.


Atari Stunt Cycle

Based on the arcade game and popularized by the Evil Knievel daredevil craze, Atari released a home version of Stunt Cycle that worked remarkably well. The point of the game was to leap over an ever-increasing amount of buses as a motocross rider. The controllers resembled a motorcycle’s handlebars and were used for the bike’s throttle.


RCA Studio II

Already obsolete by the time it hit stores; the Studio II’s games were in black and white and made simple beeping sounds. Five games were built in and utilized key pads as the controllers. Completely killed off once the Atari 2600 was released.


Atari Video Computer System AKA Atari 2600

Wildly successful, the Atari 2600 popularized the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridge-based games, rather than having everything built into the system. Featuring switches for color/B&W graphics, handicap play and game select, the 2600 also cycled through color schemes to avoid images being burned into your TV. A number of third-party developers crapped out worthless third-party games like a horrible port of Pac-Man and ET, thus leading to a waning public interest, which then helped crash the entire industry.


Coleco Telstar Arcade

The last of the Coleco Pong consoles, the Telstar Arcade utilized cartridges even though only four were ever released. Besides tennis variants, the Arcade had a racing game and a shooter. We only know that from looking at the Frankenstein-esque console. If that abomination could talk, it would probably whisper “Shoot me.”

Topics

We recommend