Hardware Heaven: Videopac 7000
Nick takes a peek at the successor to the Magnavox Odyssey
» Manufacturer: Philips » Year: 1978 » cost: £150 (launch), £15+ (today)
Though its keyboard may fool you into thinking that it’s a computer, the Philips Videopac G7000 is the direct successor to the Magnavox Odyssey – indeed, in North America it was marketed as the Odyssey 2. As one of the wave of programmable consoles that came in the wake of the Pong clones, it was able to achieve a respectable commercial performance, outlasting the likes of the Fairchild Channel F and Bally Astrocade, but falling short of the Intellivision and especially the Atari 2600. It was most popular in Europe and Brazil.
The console’s bulky silver body is rather striking and futuristic next to the woodgrain styling of the Videopac G7000’s contemporaries. Frustratingly, the cartridge labels are uniformly black with a red number rather than a title, but cartridges have distinctive handles that set them apart from otherwise similar competitors. Some G7000 feature joystick ports while others include built-in joysticks, but the most memorable games for the system combined computer controls and board game setups to create a unique play experience. Unusually, the European version of the console doesn’t have a power switch of its own – it must instead be switched on and off at the plug socket.