The Quest for the Rings (Odyssey2 / Videopac, 1981)

So far the oldest game to deserve a post on this blog, The Quest for the Rings is my favorite Videopac / Odyssey2 game, and arguably the best. Had it been released in 1985, its computer part (more on this in a minute) would have been described as “a Gauntlet clone”… only it preceded Gauntlet by a full 4 years (and Dandy, the game that inspired Gauntlet, by 2 years).

Quest for the Rings: a dragon
Both heroes are currently thinking: can I get to the ring while that dragon eats my best buddy in the entire world?

That, however, wasn’t the extent of QftR’s innovation. It was also, as far as I know (please correct me if I’m wrong, and I’ll edit this post) the first successful combination of a video game and a board game; the game came in an unusually large (and lavish) box, which included not only the game cartridge and (beautifully illustrated) manual, but also a game board and an assortment of game pieces, plus a keyboard overlay for selecting game options. Also, it was a cooperative game at a time where that was truly rare (I don’t know of a co-op game before this one, but it’s likely that one exists). Oh, and it had four character classes for the players to choose from. Remember that all of this was at a time of games such as Pac-Man and Frogger.

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The Magnavox Odyssey2 / Philips Videopac G7000

If you thought the ZX Spectrum was “old”, you’ve got another thing coming. Meet the Magnavox Odyssey2, known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000.(1). Released in 1978, and competing with the Atari 2600, the Videopac (sorry, Americans, but I grew up with the Videopac name) was a moderately successful console. I think my father bought his in 1980, though there’s no way to be sure; as you can guess, I was quite young back then. Anyway, the console would be used for years, mostly by me and my brother, even after we “evolved” to the 48K ZX Spectrum.

Philips Videopac G7000
(image source: Wikipedia)

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  1. in Brazil, it was the Phillips Odyssey, without the “2“; I remember ads for in in the Brazilian Disney comics commonly available in Portugal when I was a kid, in the late 70s and early 80s []