Fort Wayne, Indiana may not strike a familiar chord within the video game industry, but in the late 1970s, it was an unlikely hotbed of activity supporting what was then considered the most serious competition faced by the Atari VCS. Fort Wayne was home to the original game development group working on new titles for Magnavox’s Odyssey 2 console…or at least it was for a little over a year. The original development group was disbanded sometime in 1979, with the bulk of new software for the Odyssey 2 being generated by freelance programmer Ed Averett. Averett’s initial involvement with the Odyssey 2 was not as a game designer, but as a sales rep. Working for Intel, Averett worked Magnavox’s account, providing the manufacturer with the chips that drove the Odyssey 2; he would later write games for Magnavox on a royalty basis, which was an unusual arrangement in the early 1980s.
Magnavox was bought by the electronics wing of North American Phillips, which itself was the American division of a Dutch-based Electronics company. N.A.P. quickly brought a version of the Odyssey 2 to the Netherlands as the Videopac console, and set up its own game design group there (which was responsible for many of the European-only releases for the Videopac). But N.A.P. also resurrected the U.S. Odyssey 2 design group, basing them in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1981.
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