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In a celebration of those that have paved the way for our modern age of video games, we give a tribute to the life and work of Ralph H Baer. Considered by many to be the Father of Video Games, he passed away on Dec 6, 2014 at the age of 92.
While sitting at the bus station in Manhattan in 1966, Baer was struck by a novel idea. He had a vision of playing games with a “game box” that would allow board, action, and sport gaming on almost any television set. Sketching out the idea with a pencil and a legal pad, he took this opportunity to his boss, who gave him $2500 for research and materials.
An already talented engineer, Baer had been working for a military defense contractor. His development of the gaming box concept would later become the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972, with the game Table Tennis. (For those of you familiar with Atari’s Pong, this idea will seem familiar). Baer went on to develop additional electronic games, such as the popular memory game Simon. His legacy lives on in our current consoles and ever-evolving game culture.
For a true look at history, check out this video from 1969 as he tests the device.