A question had arisen regarding whether a statement in my book, Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry, was correct or not. The book stated that Nintendo had imported the first videogame console, the Magnavox Odyssey, into Japan. Shortly after the book’s publication, this was disputed by noted videogame historian, Alexander Smith, who said that although this information had been briefly mentioned in David Sheff’s 1993 history of Nintendo, Game Over, it simply wasn’t true. Smith’s contention was that no Odysseys have ever been found in Japanese boxes or with Japanese instructions. I countered that I believed that Nintendo imported an American (domestic) version of the console, so there was no way to tell them apart from those consoles that were sold in the United States. To his credit Smith did not stand behind his initial beliefs and did some addi- tional research. He came across an obscure Japanese Odyssey fan site that featured a spreadsheet, which listed the release dates of early Japanese consoles. At the top of the list was the Odyssey, which according to the spreadsheet, had been released by April 17, 1975. Other pertinent information included a distributor’s name, Jolieb Co., Ltd, and a price, ¥58,000 ($200). Finally, there was a note that said that the source to this information was from the Japanese newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, dated April, 17, 1975. Regrettably, a copy of this paper has not yet come to light, at least not in the West. Read the rest of this article by clicking here!
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