Magnavox is credited with creating the first video game system. Called the "Odyssey", and released in 1972, this system had no microprocessor, or even Integrated Circuits - it used "Diode Transistor Logic" (DTL), a form of digital circuit which predates the IC. The Odyssey cartridges had no "software" in them, instead they simply made connections between various parts of the system to enable very primitive games - in essence, all of the games logic was built into the console - the cartridge only selected the parts applicable to a particular game.
Following the Odyssey, Magnavox released several other non-microprocessor Odyssey systems featuring a few built in games that were switch selectable, each improving on it's predecessors by employing updated technology. I don't have any of the very early Odyssey systems in my collection - If you can help, please contact me.
Click any photo to view a large high-resolution image.
This is the Odyssey2, released in 1978. This was the first of the Odyssey line to employ a microprocessor (Intel 8048). This was a powerful advancement which allowed virtually unlimited games to be created and made available by ROM (Read Only Memory) cartridges, a feature used by all subsequent video game systems up until the switch to optical media. The system also included a keyboard, which was used for some games.
Views: Back, Bottom, Game cartridges.