While working for Sander Associates in 1951, Ralph H. Baer came up with the idea for a video game that could be enjoyed within the comfort of your home. Sander Associates and Magnavox signed an agreement that led to the release of the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, the first video game console that could be connected to a TV. The original design of the system called for all the games to be pre-installed and that the player only had to flip the different switches in order to play the different games. However, Magnavox decided to remove those switches and replace them with cartridges, that they would sell separately.
The Odyssey sold moderately well, however, it wasn't until Atari turned their hit arcade game, Pong, into its own console, that video games started to gain mainstream attention. In 1975, Magnavox released both a downgraded version of the original Odyssey, the Odyssey 100, and a 'higher end' version, the Odyssey 200, at the same time that Atari decided to release their home Pong console. Mainstream interest skyrocketed, but thanks to the release of the inexpensive microchip, which allowed video game developers to store an entire console inside of a single chip, smaller developers flooded the market with many different consoles that looked different, but were identical on the inside.