Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Nintendo and Magnavox

In the meantime that i'm finishing the manual and planning new things for the version 0.2 of OdySim, i wanted to tell an untold story about Magnavox and Nintendo. If you remembered on the second post (aka 1st update) i wrote: "... which uses the Rifle Gun but did you know that the Magnavox Odyssey Rifle Gun was actually made by Nintendo !" and also on the post "Week-End break", i wrote: "... based on the Magnavox Odyssey technology and it was the very first "Japanese-made" (not the first video game console to be released in Japan, that honor goes to....Odyssey! and by...Nintendo! NO JOKE!). Now that would be logical since Nintendo did make the Rifle Guns for Magnavox, but that's another story.".

Well today is the time to tell the story: Back when Ralph Baer (who was working for Sanders Associates) sold the rights of the Brown Box to Magnavox. By 1971, Magnavox had made a few prototypes which they called "Skill-O-Vision" to market tests and ask people what did they think of the Skill-O-Vision, but during that year, Magnavox contacted a toy company to make the rifle guns (they surely contacted a few companies but one was chosen) and that company was Nintendo. Since e-mails and internet didn't existed in 1971, Magnavox must have seen Nintendo at a Toy Fair (i'm guessing...) or a person at Magnavox made research to find a suitable toy company. In any case, Magnavox stumbled upon Nintendo and asked them if they could do the rifle guns for them and they did. Nintendo already had guns and rifle guns which were called "光線銃SP  光線銃 カスタム" (aka Kôsenjû Guns) (click here to read about all the Kôsenjû Guns).

If you have checked the page on the "Before Mario" blog, check especially the "Kôsenjû SP Rifle" and see how this gun is the copy of the Odyssey Rifle Gun minus the small telescope sight. Still don't beleive it ? Then check these pictures of the Odyssey Rifle Gun and the Interton Video 3000 (from my collection):

Notice the battery compartments on both Interton and Magnavox rifles ? Yep, those battery compartments aren't used in those two rifles since they are powered by the console when pluged-in,  but it is used for the Nintendo Kôsenjû SP since there is no cord attached. And now, check these pictures of the Nintendo Kôsenjû SP (these were taken on an Japanese auction site):


 So there you have it, the Odyssey Rifle Gun is in fact a modified Nintendo Kôsenjû SP rifle gun! But...the story isn't finished yet. Do you know who designed the Kôsenjû SP ? None other than Gunpei Yokoi! The guy who created those Game & Watch as many other things for Nintendo. As Nintendo made the rifle guns for the Odyssey, they were analyzing the arcade video game market in the U.S. as in Japan and they notice that this new type of gaming was catching up with Japan so they decided to ask Magnavox if they would agree if Nintendo would sell and distribute the Odyssey and since they already had a contract (for the rifles), they were the very first to release the first video game console in Japan and just a few months before the release of the Epoch Electrotennis.

David Winter stated in an old message (still trying to find it) that the Nintendo Odyssey is almost the same as the US Odyssey. The only difference is the manual and the papers were in Japanese but the rest (overlays, cards, boards, etc..) were still in English. The only proof of the Nintendo Odyssey (for now) is a flyer that Toby Wickwire (aka Y-Bot) has a copy of the Japanese Odyssey flyer. Here's the pictures:

Sorry about the quality but these are the only size that exists on the Web, well until someone (maybe me? *grin*) ask Toby for better quality pictures or even better...scans! So this is the story on how Magnavox and Nintendo teamed-up 44 years ago.

--- Sly DC ---

Sunday, 27 September 2015

OdySim on a 48-inch TV

After checking out for the Epoch Electrotennis simulator, i tested out the OdySim on the 48-inch TV and...damn! It was even better than i expected! I thought that maybe the "spots" (the white squares "paddles" for each players) would be looking more like a long rectangle but given that the OdySim (and as a real Odyssey game system) are displaying at a 4:3 ratio than a 16:9 ratio, i was wondering what that would be like....and now i know. My TV displays at 1920x1080 and the OdySim displays at 800x600, sorry to say that it looks small but a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a few "thousand" words (lol) :

As you can see, the OdySim at full screen (800x600 on a 1920x1080) is pretty OK and the last two pictures, you see how a 800x600 windowed looks like on a 1920x1080. I will put a selectable 4:3 or 16:9 ratio in the second version of OdySim, meaning that anyone will able to choose between a 4:3 (1440x1080) normal display or a 16:9 (1920x1080) widescreen display.

Also, notice how the "drawn" overlays looks when it is in full screen mode ? And if you really want try out a real overlay on a big widescreen TV, well this is what it looks like:

BTW, this is not me who took this picture (thank you mystery person!) but you can see that it looks quite foolish trying to use real overlays on a widescreen TV...LOL!!

--- Sly DC ---


Sorry folks! Looks like i have forgot to add the DLL files with the Epoch Electrotennis simulator and i think that the executable (EXE file) will only work with 32-Bit Windows versions. Just tested it with another computer hooked to my 48-inch TV and the Epoch Electrotennis sim works like a charm.

If anyone has problems with it, please LMK which version of Windows you have. Again, sorry! =(

---Sly DC ---

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Week-End break! (sort of)

Hi folks,

I will be with my kids this week-end so that means no update or whatsoever until monday. The OdySim is ready to be released but before i will release it, i want to finish the manual first because this will be very helpful to anyone who never tried out an Magnavox Odyssey.

But since i'm making people waiting (shame on me!), i have a little surprise for you all! Does anyone knows the Epoch Electrotennis (also AKA as Electronic Tennis) ? Well in case some of you are wondering what it is, here's a picture of the console:

There is also a clone of this console, the "Video Game Tennis" which was an exclusive Japanese store release (err...i don't remember which one...). Anyhow, those two game consoles were based on the Magnavox Odyssey technology and it was the very first "Japanese-made" (not the first video game console to be released in Japan, that honor goes to....Odyssey! and by...Nintendo! NO JOKE!). Now that would be logical since Nintendo did make the Rifle Guns for Magnavox, but that's another story.

So going back to what i wanted to write, since i won't be making any progress this wee-end, here's the surprise in question: Version 0.2 of the Epoch Electrotennis. Just click on the link and extract the files where you want it. Some of you will surely ask: Why version 0.2 ? Well i did this simulator back in January 2013 as a test out my coding in LUA, which help a lot to code the OdySim.

Oh and here's a question to any "die-hard" game collector: This game console has the exact gameplay of a game console released in the United States but also in U.K., in Europe (brandless) and in Korea by Hanu Electronics (all these are clones of the Epoch Electrotennis BTW). (Yup, i did my homework...LOL!)

So download the Epoch Electrotennis simulator and have a great week-end folks! =)

Here's a few screenshot of the Epoch Electrotennis simulator:

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Tweaks, Atari Age forum & Overkal Soccer overlay

I made some tweaks in the menu, specifically when browsing the games. Now even if you reach the last game (at the bottom) or the first game (on the top), the red strip now goes to the last game listed at the bottom if you go up at the first game and also goes vice-versa, so now it's going full circle instead of stopping at the first and last game.

As for the Atari Age forum, i decided last night to make a post of the OdySim and put a link to this blog so that people of this forum can see how the OdySim is progressing. The link is here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/243020-odysim-the-magnavox-odyssey-simulator/

And finally, i wrote that i would add the Overkal Soccer overlay in the next version (v0.2) but the problem is that i just finished the overlay and already add it in the simulator, but i deleted the "Soccer (B)" which was using the cartridge #5. Cart #5 is just used to make an eleven meter kick...yup...only to make a kick so i simply "kicked" it out of the simulator..LOL!!!

Here.s a screenshot of the overlay with game play:

I hope that i got the numbers right because it's not easy sometime to zoom in a picture, half of the image is too blurry to see so if anyone out there could take high definition pictures, this will be very helpful!

--- Sly DC ---

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Soccer overlay(S)

Here's a game that we in North America never had with the Odyssey (bundled) or sold as an individual game (example: Volleyball), so this game is an exclusive European release (and also in South America) but...there is two, not one, but two Soccer overlays with different art design: The first one which many knows and was bundled with the ITT Odyssee (not a typo) and also with the German export version. This is what it looks like:

And the other Soccer (original name is Futbol) overlay was bundled with the Overkal and also another clone, which only an handfull of people saw this "mystery" clone and i only know one collector which has this mystery-clone (i will tell about it very soon, that's a promise!). So both these system has this overlay:

So be sure i will add the Overkal version in a future release of the OdySim but would be also great if Uppy from Atari Age forum would add also this version. See the post here: Odyssey Soccer Interest Check.

What can i say, i'm such a "sucker" when it comes to variations...LOL (get it ? "sucker..soccer ??  I know...i know...i can be such a "shower-sac" :P ) (P.S.: translate both words from English-to French and vise-versa...to understand what "shower-sac" means...heh...heh...heh...).

--- Sly DC ---

Cover of the OdySim manual

As i was going to make the Football instruction sheet for the simulator, finally realized that i will have a problem: how can i compact 6 sheets into 2 sheets ? Simply put, in the original manual of the Odyssey, Football has 6 pages and when i do a sheet for the simulator, the max is two pages (in one). Other games which has many pages is Interplanetary Voyage, it has 5 pages and Baseball which has 4 pages.

In the long run, it takes at least 60 pages for 28 games (all 12 included with the Odyssey, the 10 extra games sold in 1972 & 1973, the four games in the Shooting Gallery pack, Percepts and Soccer. And that's not counting Futbol in the Telematch de Panoramic J-5, released (and future) homebrew games and also some of my homebrew games.

So after trying to add the Football instruction page, i said "No *beep*ing way! The coding is not optimized and i'm just lucky that it simply works." So after reflection, why not make a PDF file like the scanned manual ? It's not like that a player will check a minimum 20 times the instruction sheet of a specific game, usually when someone plays on an Odyssey, they just play the most popular games so more a reason to make a PDF file with all the games rules of every released and brew games into one file. Now check out the cover:

All the pages will be 975x1255 so that if anyone tries to print it and to sell it afterwards, they will be screwed since the quality will be very bad, but at that size for reading, it is just satisfactory.

--- Sly DC ---

Monday, 21 September 2015

Dodgeball approval

I finally found my old text file when i asked Chris if i could add "Dodgeball" for the Odyssey simulator, so here's my e-mail sent to him:

From: Sly DC
To: "e-mail address withheld"
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2012 6:15 PM
Subject: Magnavox Odyssey Dodgeball

Hi Chris,

My name is Sylvain De Chantal but maybe you know me by my nickname "slydc".
I wanted to ask you if i could have permission to "simulate" your Odyssey homebrew
game Dodgeball because i'm in the process of coding a Magnavox Odyssey simulator
in LUA (so it can be adapted to various OS). I already have scans of the overlay,
scorecard and the manual. My Magnavox Odyssey simulator will be available free
of charge since it is for digitally preserve/archiving proposal.

Please let me know about this since i will include both Robert Vinciguerra (aka Rev.Rob)
Odball and Mentis Cohorst homebrew games in a future release of the simulator. I won't
ask Rev.Rob for his approval since he never shipped his Mentis Cohorst game to anyone
who paid in advanced, so in a way, he lost his copyright to his homebrew games. At least
this way, people will enjoy playing those games free of charge.

Oh, almost forgot! Will you ever release your "Captain Bruce and his Cosmic
Boomerang" game ?

Thanks and looking forward to hear from you. :)

--- Sly DC ---

And this was Chris reply:

From: Chris Read "e-mail address withheld"
To: Sly DC
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2012 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: Magnavox Odyssey Dodgeball

Sure. As for Capt. Bruce, I totally forgot about that. I may start that project back up
again. Good luck with your Odyssey simulator.

So here you have it, the first homebrew to be approved, but just realized that i took too
much time to continue the work....damn that time flies!! Oh and as i reading the correspondence,
i do state that i will include both Odball and Mentis Cohorst in the simulator and that i won't ask him for his approval but that I DID a week or two after this e-mail. I went to his web site/blog and sent him an e-mail but came back the day after with the mention "mailer-deamon failure" and also on Atari Age, his last visit dates: Jul 30 2012 5:39 PM.

Rev.Rob did released Mentis Cohorst on July 16, 2012 and sent copies of his games to people how brought it, but some received the game complete while others with missing parts. So what the hell i'm going to do with Odball and Mentis Cohorst ? Include them in OdySim  without his approval or wait that maybe....maybe one day i get a response ? I think that's a debate will have on Atari Age after the first release of OdySim.

Now i need to ask (sooner or later) ManCaveArcade about his "Odyssey Evil" homebrew game to get his approval to include it (as well his bonus game "Spirit Portal") in a future release of OdySim, so stay tuned folks!

--- Sly DC ---

Buttons layout

In case that you're wondering which button(s) does what in the OdySim, here's the buttons layout for player 1:

And here's the layout for player 2:

And for the console and the rest of the buttons, here's the layout:

That's it for now, so ....abedee...abedee...abedeee...that's all folks! =)

--- Sly DC --

Third update

As i am doing some the instruction sheets, i had an idea to add more information regarding each games, so i added these following information: Number of cartridge (the game use), the year it was released and the model number (if applicable). Check the picture below:

The new information is kinda-like the time traveling panel of the Delorean in "Back to the Future" but in black in white...LOL!

I also added a new bonus game, this one is called "Vector Tennis", simply put, it is the Table Tennis game but in vector form like if it was played on a Vectrex or oscilloscope. But i also deleted cart#11 from the menu since now it is used with the homebrew game "Red vs. Blue" and will be also used in the game "Odball" which Robert A. Vinciguerra (aka Rev.Rob) included the cartridge #11 with the Odball game, as shown below:

Cartridge #11 was unreleased by Magnavox, but Rev.Rob has self-made a couple to be enjoyed with the very first homebrew game released in 2009.

Other changes made was i redesigned a few overlays so it could look like the real thing, meaning if you were using real overlays on a real TV. The "States" overlay still gives me a black background instead of a grey background...oh well...the game simply sucks so maybe i will try to correct this in a future release.

Oh and here's a screenshot of the splash screen (intro screen):

Hope people will like it. Took me a couple of hours doing this image. And finally, i also tested a future homebrew game which should be released in Spring 2016 by djfurreh on the Atari Age forum: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/240541-magnavox-odyssey-hadeaus-war-homebrew/

That's the design of the future game "Hadeaus War!" that djfurreh is working on. Still unknown if this will be the final version of the overlay but at least we can see what it could be like on a TV or more likely on the OdySim if the author will approve to be included with the OdySim.

--- Sly DC ---

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Second update: Splash screen and sounds

Just before going to bed last night, i added a splash screen (intro screen) in which we see Ralph Baer leaning on a old television and on the screen of the TV, we see a picture of both William's Harrison and Rusch with a small screen shot of Table Tennis. When seeing the splash screen, we hear a voice saying "Magnavox presents Odyssey" which i ripped from a promotional video announcing the Magnavox Odyssey. Also, the splash screen lasts only 3 seconds before changing to the menu which i thought it was a good timing.

The voice was the first sound i have put into the simulator long ago but i also added a small kind of "ping" sound when you are browsing the game menu so that the simulator does work with sound and not like in the preview video, the first version of the simulator didn't had any sound accept for the voice intro.

So that only leaves doing instruction sheets for each game before the first release of the OdySim. There are 40 games listed and two games i am waiting for approval before adding them and i have only made so far instruction sheets for Analogic and Cat & Mouse, so only 36 sheets to go! :P

OUPS! Correction...only 35 instruction sheets to go, just remembered that cart #11 doesn't have any instructions (like Homer would say: DOH!).

--- Sly DC ---

Saturday, 19 September 2015

1st update: two new games added!

After made the first post here on this blog, i just finished adding 2 new games as bonuses, these are two of some of the homebrews i've made since 2009. They are: Duck Hunting and Maze-N-Chase.

Duck Hunting is pretty self explained: You try to shoot down ducks with the Rifle Gun. One player moves the"spot" behind a duck and the other player tries to shoot it before the other player moves his spot. So this is a new game for the Rifle Gun! Heh...when you'll see what the overlay looks like, you will be very familiar if you ever played the NES. Fun fact: Duck Hunting is based upon an old Nintendo game (i'll let you discover by yourself) which uses the Rifle Gun but did you know that the Magnavox Odyssey Rifle Gun was actually made by Nintendo ! YUP!! So for a new shooting game for the Rifle, why not make some kind of "honor" to the company who made the Rifle!

OK now for the second brew game: Maze-N-Chase. This one is based on the first ever game developed on the "Brown Box" called CHASE. Chase was a simple game that one player tried to avoid the other player and if the second player made contact (spot touches other spot), the other player (spot) disappeared. But Maze-N-Chase is pretty similar accept that you try to get the other player thru a maze from the green corner to the red corner.

Of course, the wall of the maze are only drawn on the overlay, so just "try" to stay inside the corridors (same as Cat and Mouse) and not cheat to catch the other player. So that's it for today and stay tuned folks! =)

--- Sly DC ---

OdySim: coming soon!

Hi folks!

After an almost 3 years "lost in the fog of time", i decided to continue my work on the LOVEOdyssey, which i call now: OdySim since the old name was more than a codename than a name). The OdySim is a simulator of the first ever video game console/system released in 1972 (think it was in August 1972 to be more precise) which was the "Odyssey" by Magnavox.

Well i won't tell the whole history of this system (check Wikipedia) for the whole inchelada, but
it was called the "Brown Box" created by Ralph H. Baer and with the great help of William L. Harrison and William T. Rusch, before it wa sold to Magnavox and released as the "Odyssey".
Well, ever since the released of this "Holy Grail", we are still in the odyssey of video gaming and
after 43 years, things have really changed but the fun remains the same! =)

I have posted a video on my Youtube channel of the beta version of the OdySim (still called the LOVEOdyssey). After 3 days, i finally rename the project and i just finished the "Dogfight" overlay which was half-finished still the last time i worked on the simulator.

So check the video:

So what is simulated in the OdySim (v.01b) ? Here's what:

* All cartridges (#01 to 12, yes even the unreleased #11!).
* All 12 original games that came with the game system (Analogic, Cat and Mouse, Football, Haunted House, Hockey, Roulette, Simon Says, Ski, States, Submarine, Table Tennis and Tennis).
* All extra released games (Baseball, Basketball, Brainwave, Fun Zoo, Handball, Interplanetary Voyage, Invasion, Volleyball, W.I.N. and Wipeout).
* All four games for the Rifle Gun (Dogfight, Prehistoric Safari, Shootout and Shooting Gallery).
* Also these games (Percepts (giveaway), Soccer (exclusive European overlay), Dodgeball (homebrew by Chris Read - have his approval), Red VS. Blue (homebrew by Robert A. Vinciguerra - it is a FREE homebrew) and finally Futbol game which is an exclusive game on the Telematch de Panoramic (Argentian Odyssey clone).
* Every overlays for all the games listed (except Table Tennis, cart #11 and Futbol which no official overlays exists).
* Simulation of the Rifle Gun (uses Mouse).
* Wall Center Adjust .
* Ball Speed Adjust.
* Automatic centering wall in games (but can change position).
* Automatic centering the "English" for both players (easier for people who never tried the real thing).
* Both players paddles (square spots) are automatically positioned for each games.
* Some bugs corrected (Many thanks to Nicholas Broetzman for pointing them out).

 Not too shabby for a future first release ?! (wink!)

 But before i will release the first version, i just need to finish doing all the instruction sheets for all the games (only cart #11 has no instruction sheet) and also add an intro screen. Depending on "spare" time, i estimate that i will release the first version before the end of this year (2015).

So stay tuned! =)

--- Sly DC ---

P.S: Just for fun, here's some screenshots until the first release! :p