“Father of Video Games” Ralph Baer Dies At 92


Widely regarded as the “Father of Video Games,” Ralph Baer passed away on Saturday at the age of 92.

Baer is credited with the original idea of playing games on TV screens. While working at Sanders Associates in New Hampshire, he invented the “Brown Box,” the first video game console, along with fellow engineers Bill Harrison and Bill Rusch. It was eventually sold to Magnavox and renamed the Magnavox Odyssey. It sold 130,000 units during its debut year, 1972.

Later that year, Atari was able to create the first arcade machine with the game Pong, and Baer sued them for copyright infringement, as it was heavily based on his own Table Tennis idea. He continued throughout his life to assist and push other companies such as Magnavox and Coleco to compete with Atari. He also developed the electronic games Simon and Super Simon for Milton Bradley, and developed a “light gun” controller that could be used with shooting games.

Baer pushed to develop gaming systems for TVs in spite of criticism from associates, coworkers, and family members throughout his life. He continued working with electronics on his own after retirement. Much of his early work is now in the Smithsonian Institution, and other museums.

h/t New York Times

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