Quizicality 04 — Odyssey²

As you may or may not know, the Odyssey² was a home console that included a full Qwerty keyboard.  The few quiz games available for it take advantage of this setup.

Math-A-Magic! (1980)

Math-A-Magic box

Yes, another math quiz game.  But this one is probably the easiest out of all of them to play because of the keyboard.  And whoever you are who actually likes math quiz games – and I know you’re out there – I imagine you’re chillin’ out to some Barry White in your Jacuzzi, relaxing with your shirt off and your Fields Medal and Nobel Prize competing for space on your bare chest.

Math-A-Magic! 01

When you boot up the console and get to the familiar “Select Game” screen, press 1, 2 or 3 to choose which variant of the game you want to play.

Math-A-Magic! 01a

This first variant of the game is just a straight-up quiz that asks you for the answer to an arithmetic question.  You can choose Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication or Division.

Math-A-Magic! 02

You can also choose from three difficulty levels.  I chose the easiest because Math is hard.

Math-A-Magic! 03

The Odyssey²’s keyboard means you don’t have to futz about with joysticks to get your answer inputted.  Just type in the answer and press enter.  The timer in the upper-left keeps track of the time spent on the whole quiz.

Math-A-Magic! 04

Getting a question right will get you this matching message and a cheerful 8-bit beep sound.

Math-A-Magic! 05

Getting it wrong will result in a harsh sounding buzz.

Math-A-Magic! 06

Here’s a glimpse of the Subtraction mode…

Math-A-Magic! 07


Math-A-Magic! 08

and Division.

Math-A-Magic! 09

The second gameplay mode is more like an algebraic equation, where you must solve for x, or in this case, ?.  I’m glad I didn’t have this game when I was a kid and I had my Odyssey².  I would have cried.

Math-A-Magic! 10

The third gameplay mode only utilizes Addition and Multiplication.

Math-A-Magic! 11

You are asked for a number to start with…

Math-A-Magic! 12

Then your selected number (in this case 2) is paired with a set of numbers in sequence from 0 up and the operator you chose (either + or Á—).  So, this first question is 0Á—2, the next is 1Á—2, the next 2Á—2, and so on.

This one is better and more full-featured than the Atari 2600 and Channel F math quiz games.  If this kind of thing appeals to you, this is probably where to look to get your math on.

Crypto-Logic! (1978)

Crypto-Logic box

This is a game I did have when I was a kid, and it’s on the same “Speedway! Spinout! Crypto-Logic!” pack-in cartridge that came with the system.

Crypto-Logic! 01

There is only one mode of gameplay, and to access it on the cartridge, press 4.

Crypto-Logic! 02

This is a two-player game, sort of like that old game Hangman.  So this barely counts as a quiz game.

Crypto-Logic! 03

Player 1 has to think of a word (it can even be BOOBIES!) and Player 2 has to look away from the screen while this word is being typed.

Crypto-Logic! 04

When Enter is pressed, the game will scramble the word on the screen.

Crypto-Logic! 05

Then Player 2 has to guess the word.  Whenever a letter is typed that is either not in the word or doesn’t belong in that place, a harsh 8-bit signal is heard.

Crypto-Logic! 06

If the right letters are typed in, they stay on the screen until eventually the whole word is spelled.  When that happens, a score appears, showing the number of incorrect guesses that were made.  So a higher score is bad in this game.

To play again, press Reset.

So how much fun is this?  If I remember right the last time I actually played this with someone, it was only because we were completely bored with playing the other Odyssey² games we had.  And the last time I played Hangman with someone, it was because we had gotten bored of playing Tic-Tac-Toe.

Buzzword! (1978)

Buzzword box

This one has the same basic premise as “Crypto-Logic!”, but the game will select its own words for you.

Buzzword! 01

Press 3 to start this game.

Buzzword! 02

This can be a one-player game since the console provides each word to guess.  We can see that this one is a six-letter word.

Buzzword! 03

Each letter you type can appear in one of two places.  If you get it right, it appears in its place in the word up top.  If you get it wrong, it takes up one of the eight places down below.

Buzzword! 04

So let’s guess that tried and true letter combo RSTLNE.

Buzzword! 05

This one actually stumped me.  I knew it wasn’t CANDLE, nor FONDLE, nor BUNDLE.

Buzzword! 06

But I was eventually able to handle it.

Buzzword! 07

To get a new word to guess, press Reset.

Buzzword! 08

There’s no score to keep track of, so if you want that kind of thing, you’ll have to do that yourself somehow.

Buzzword! 09

And here’s what it looks like when you guess absolutely no letters right.  I can tell that the game was disappointed in me.

This one feels a little more polished than Crypto-Logic!, but it lacks the two-player element.  And neither game are really what we’re looking for when we think of quiz games.  All three of these games are neat little time wasters that are part of multi-game cartridges, so if you collect for the Odyssey², you might see them floating around.