The Ft. Wayne Indiana History Center is honoring one of its local heroes, Philo Farnsworth, a television pioneer. A resident writes in to the local paper requesting that another great local creation be celebrated: The Magnavox Odyssey.
In a letter to the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette, a man named David Lee Ennis writes:
Regarding the editorial "Furthermore ... Farnsworth finally getting credit he deserves" (June 26) about Philo Farnsworth. Another major Fort Wayne invention was Magnavox's video game called Odyssey in the early 1970s. I was on the original design team, and my first assignment was to design the optional rifle. There is a misconception that Pong was designed by Magnavox before Odyssey, but Pong was never a Magnavox product.
Ralph H. Baer, who worked at Sanders Associates, has the first video game patents. He requested that Magnavox redesign the video games for production, which it did. While Odyssey was being prepared for production, the Pong inventor, Nolan Bushnell, approached Magnavox with two prototype Pong units with the hope that Magnavox would manufacture the units. For some unknown reason, he was turned down.
Magnavox's corporate headquarters, which included engineering, were located at Indiana 14 and Magnavox Way before moving to Tennessee.
The History Center should consider adding the Odyssey video game and rifle to is exhibits.
As someone whose first home console was an Odyssey 2, I'm all for this. Ft. Wayne History Center, prepare your Odyssey wing!
Odyssey game created in city [Letters to the Editor, Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette]