Philips Videopac Computer G7000 / Odyssey 2

~ As an initial note: I must apologies for the poor photos for this one.
~ It was the first console I'd done and had a bit to learn about photographing them.

After the merger of Magnavox and Philips in 1974 Philips released the 'Philips Videopac Computer G7000' to the European market in 1978. The G7000 is essentially identical in function and form to the Magnovox Odyssey2 which was released for the US market. The main difference, bar the NTSC / PAL variation is that the G7000 does not have the big, red power button on the upper face and the action buttons are black not red.

This was a brave foray into the game market bringing both a cartridge based system and a home computer to a table already crowded with Atari 2600s. Atari had released their 2600 a year earlier but it wasn't natively a home computer as such and in this the G7000 appealed to consumers.

In effect the seemingly attractive membrane keyboard is horrible to type on and hardly ever used bar in a few educational titles and for selecting games. A cartridge titled 'Computer Intro!' was released to ease new enthusiasts into programming and you can write your own programs (slowly) in BASIC or machine code but almost anyone who tried would agree that it wasn't a pleasant experience. Also, there is also no way to save your programs once you've written them. There are three unused port covers on the back of the G7000 which may indicate that extra peripherals had been planned but never eventuated. More on this below**.

To its credit the G7000 had great joysticks for the day and the marketers they didn't miss a chance to advertise the fact. They were good, eight directional, self centring and required very little force to move the stick to its maximum point of travel. This was quite a selling point, or so the advertising stated when comparing them to the  Atari 2600 joysticks which admittedly were quite stiff.

The most memorable part about the G7000, bar the cartridges having big pull handles on them are the interactive 'board game' titles such as 'The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt', 'Conquest of the World' and what is by far the best title, 'Quest for the Rings'; a very Lord of the Rings-esque/Dungeons & Dragons romp. These games shipped in large boxes and come with plastic counters and overlays that can be placed over the G7000's membrane keyboard to customise it to that specific game. The titles are amazingly well developed and years before their time. They were marketed as the 'Master Strategy Series' and the only contempary comparison would be the VHS and DVD games popular in the late 80s and 90s; which sucked in comparison. : )

The G7000 has 'okay', single channel sound as is but consumers could buy an expansion module called 'The Voice' which added surprisingly good additional sound capabilities and very good speech synthesis.

Graphically the G7000 was inferior to the Atari 2600 and later to the Intellivision but to its credit the characters on screen moved more smoothly than other consoles. So you got slightly more boxy graphics but a more natural movement feel which made the G7000 seem more capable... apparently.

There were a number of add-on hardware modules released for the G7000. As mentioned above 'The Voice' is a huge sound and speech component which sits over the whole top and cart port section of the G7000. There is also a chess module which incorporates a cartridge cabled to a black box which sits on top of the full length of the G7000 called the C7010. It basically adds additional CPU and memory to the G7000 which doesn't have enough grunt to play a worthwhile game of chess on its own. **In 1983 the 'Home Computer Module C7420' was released and like the C7010 sat across the top of the G7000. This adds a much needed CPU and memory boost to the G7000 and above all it gives users the ability to save and load programs to most standard cassette recorders. It came loaded with Microsoft BASIC, upgraded the G7000's 160 X 200 resolution to 320 x 240 pixels and provided numerous other features and performance upgrades.

A lesser known add-on is the 'VU-0011 Modulateur SECAM' which allowed the G7000 to output to SECAM.

Philips later released a number of different versions of the G7000, all with different hardware to entice buyers. Units in this series are the G7000, G7200, G7400, G7401 and the N60, some of which came as a combo CRT screen/keyboard/computer all in one shell.

Philips Videopac G7000 Controllers Philips Videopac G7000 Philips Videopac G7000 Rear Philips Videopac G7000 PCB Philips Videopac G7000 Motherboard
Philips Videopac G7000 Joystick          
 
Unit pictured has been sold and its location is unknown.