With any Magnavox Odyssey game, Baseball requires the players to bring a sense of honesty and imagination to the table. Literally you need a table to play this game.
In 1972, using a TV screen to interact with it was an amazing concept. It didn't matter that you were required to keep score of the game via cardboard sheet and a pencil. Odyssey could only display two paddles, a ball and a vertical line. There was no CPU to keep score, let alone play against you, and like many Odyssey games, Baseball was two player only.
Every Odyssey game contains physical objects the players are required to have in order to play the game. Even though this game was an 'extra' game you had to purchase, What was packaged in the game was only these parts as well as the manual on how to setup and play the game. It required the cartridge #3 which was included in the system already.
Baseball overlay for the TV, contains hitting boxes, strike zone and pitching mound
2 sets of "Line up" cards, which contains information about each batter
Cardboard cutout of a baseball diamond, placed on the table so the players knew where the base runners were
Tokens, represented the base runners
Dice, used to randomly select each batter's AVG before the game
Cardboard cutout of a scoreboard, to help the players know what inning and score was
How it is played.
The console displays the batter (one pong paddle) and the defense (one pong paddle) as well as the baseball, which in terms of today’s tech it can be viewed as big square pixel. The base runners,line up and score are controlled by using tokens,cards and cardboard cutouts with a picture of a baseball diamond on it that you place on the table.
Each player, referred to as “Coach” in the manual decides if they are home (red) or away (blue) and collects their line up cards. On each line up card contains the position , run speed (3 different levels) ,, and a intiater if the player bats right or left handed as well as spot to write in their batting avg. Each Coach then uses the supplied dice and rolls a number for each player in the line up. Using a supplied batting avg calculator sheet. The coach looks up what the batting avg for that player is and writes it on the card…
On the TV screen there is an overlay that is displayed. On the left side is outfield with four boxes numbers 1,2,3..etc on the right side is a vertical yellow line inside a bigger orange line. In the center is the baseball diamond and picher mound.
The object of the game is the “Coach” who is batting flips over the line up card and positions their pong paddle on the screen on the right side. The batter only moves up and down. The pitch comes from the left screen to the right and the defense “Coach” controls the ball, or the pitch by moving the “English” dial on their controller. The yellow and orange vertical lines on the screen are the string zone. Depending on the batting avg on the card you use the yellow or orange line. If the ball exits the right side of the screen and passes through the strike zone it is an out…etc
If the batter manages to hit the baseball then the batter moves the “English” dial on their controller and attempt to hit one of the numbers on the left side of the screen. The defense also tries to catch it by hitting the baseball with their pong paddle like a soccer goalie defends their net. If the baseball manages to go through the defense and hits one of the numbers. The number represents a single, double…etc, the team places a color token on the cardboard cut out of the baseball diamond, which represents the base runners. The color of the token is determined by the speed of the runner.
If the baseball exits the left screen without hitting any of the numbered boxes then the defense picks up a card from the ‘big break’ which includes things like ‘passed ball’, ‘error’…etc