Odball is the world’s first homebrew videogame for the world’s first videogame system. Officially released on December 5th, 2009, it ended the longest drought in videogame history: 36 years. No Odyssey games had be released since 1973.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the plot of the game?
Each player takes turns as the attacker and defender. Rounds are determined by a sand timer. The full game instructions can be read here.
How long will the rounds last?
The sand timers are 30 seconds. This leads to a fast paced game. However, the sand timers can be turned over for a 60 second round.
How is score determined?
The attacker must hit the Sky Castle from its one vulnerable spot, above it. Rounds will continue and players will alternate between attacker and defender until one player has successfully hit the opponents Sky Castle 11 times from above. At that point, the castle is destroyed and the game is over.
How does the game play?
There is a vertical line on the screen to the left. Players can set the position of this line using the controls on the console. The ball does bounce off of this line. The screen overlay containing the Sky Castle is placed on the TV. The attacker will attempt to hit the defender's Sky Castle from above. This is done by bouncing the ball off of the vertical line. Once the ball is over the castle, then the player hits the Reset button on the controller to cause it to plunge downward for a hit. The defender's job is to deflect the Odball projectile.
Why does Odball use scaled-down overlays and boxes?
I wanted to be as authentic as possible and use actual size boxes and overlays. The reality is that this would've made each game cost a ridiculous amount of money. By using smaller boxes and overlays, I can keep the cost down. The overlay element doesn't need to fit to the screen, anyways. It's just one object, the Sky Castle, that can be placed on the screen. I think this also helps with the problem of people having different sized TV screens.
How much does the game cost?
Odball has been sold for as high as $80.00 at auction.
What Game Card is used with the game?
The game ships with Game Card #11.
Why did you use Game Card #11?
Game Card #11 is previously unreleased. It’s one of those mystery items. I wanted to see what it did differently from other Game Cards. Game Card #11 was originally intended for use with Basketball, but to save money Magnavox reused Game Card instead.
While Game Cards #8 and #11 are similar, there is a key difference that Odball takes advantage of, making it essential to game play. It's also easy to imagine how the Basketball game could've been.
Do you realize that you spelled "Oddball" wrong?
Yes, the "Od" is for "Odyssey."
What does Odball include?
- Game Card #11
- A scaled down Odyssey box
- Two scaled down screen overlays
- A custom score pad for keeping score
- One sand timer to start a new round
- Instruction page in the style of classic Odyssey games
- A hand numbered certificate of purchase
Who designed the art for Odball?
There are two distinct works of art included in Odball, a pencil Sky Castle, and a Sky Castle rendered in Photoshop as a composite of multiple real images.
The “Pencil” Sky Castle was created exclusively for Odball by artist Tim Miller, whose previous experience in the gaming industry includes work on the unreleased Xbox game, Xavier Fox.
The “Photoshop” Sky Castle” is licensed from artist Renato Dornas, who would appreciate it if I gave a shout out to Aviary, a social network whose mission is to make the world's creation accessible.
How was the box art chosen?
I couldn’t decide which Sky Castle to place on the box, so I let the members of AtariAge forums decide for me. The “pencil” art won the vote.
How many copies of Odball have been produced to date?
There are 25 copies in circulation.
Does the game contain any easter eggs?
You betcha. I had to throw one or two in there.
Click for full size:
- AtariAge Forums: Odball Orders Thread
- Tim Miller’s Art on Photobucket
- Odball Entry in ConsoleCity’s Games Database
- Renanto Dornas’ Aviary Page
- Wikipedia’s Homebrew (video games) Article
- David Winter’s PONG-Story! A site dedicated to Ralph H. Baer, inventor of Odyssey