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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Leonard Herman Leonard Herman (19 Posts)

Leonard Herman, The Game Scholar, is regarded as one of the earliest and most respected videogame historians. The first edition of his book Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Home Videogames, which was published in 1994, is considered to be the first serious and comprehensive book about the history of videogames. He has written articles for Videogaming & Computer Illustrated, Games Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Pocket Games, Classic Gamer Magazine, Edge, Game Informer, Classic Gamer Magazine, Manci Games, Gamespot.com and Video Game Trader, which he also edited. He has also contributed articles to several videogame-related books, including Supercade, The Video Game Explosion and The Encyclopedia of Video Games. Mr. Herman has also written the book ABC To the VCS (A Directory of Software for the Atari 2600), a compendium of game summaries. He has also written and designed user's manuals for the following Atari VCS games: Cracked, Save the Whales, Pick-Up, Rush Hour, Looping, The Entity and Lasercade, as well as the user's guide to Ralph Baer's Pinball! for the Odyssey2. In 1994, he founded Rolenta Press, a publisher of videogame books, whose catalogue included Videogames: In the Beginning, by Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the videogame console, and Confessions of the Game Doctor by Bill Kunkel, the world's first videogame journalist. Two Rolenta Press books were included in a list of the top ten videogame books of all time by Game Informer magazine in 2008. Mr. Herman has served as an advisor for Videotopia, Classic Gaming Expo and the National Videogame Museum. He has appeared in several episodes of G4's Icons and in the documentary, The King of Arcades. In 2003, Mr. Herman received a Classic Gaming Expo Achievement Award in recognition for his accomplishments in documenting game history