You know the heavy hitters in the video game industry today. Sure, names like Hideo Kojima carry a lot of recognition and respect these days.

But you really shouldn't forget the name that started it all, the name that should always and forever be synonymous with interactive entertainment: Ralph Baer. Known as the Father of Video Games, Baer's career, as summarized in a recent Web2Carz interview , is absolutely astounding.

Now at the age of 90, Baer is responsible for…well, just about everything concerning the dawn of video games. This is a guy who was not only a German refugee during World War II, he also made consistent breakthroughs in the world of electronics, and eventually earned the prestigious National Medal of Technology (you can see him accepting congratulations from President Bush through the link above). You should read up on everything Baer accomplished during the first 30-35 years of his tech career; only after all that did he help produce the "Brown Box," which became known as the Magnavox Odyssey.

If you've never heard of it, that's too bad, because it's the first home video game console in history. You've certainly heard of Pong , and it was on the Odyssey that the revolutionary game debuted. But it hardly ends there; believe it or not, Baer holds a grand total of 150 U.S. and foreign patents, many of which are directly related to electronic toys and games. And he could even be considered the pioneer in the first-person shooter category, as he was responsible for the world's first light gun game, Shooting Gallery on the Odyssey.

So what does he think of all the advancements and progression in the industry over the past half-century? Well, it's a perfect quote:

"Who could have predicted it?"

Heck, I don't think anyone in the 80s could've predicted where we are now, let alone anyone in the 40s or 50s. But as Baer reminds everyone, "what is magical today won't be magical to your kids." And so it goes.

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Clamedeus
Clamedeus
8 years ago

"what is magical today won't be magical to your kids."

^ Truth.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
8 years ago

But it will be to you 🙂

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
8 years ago

Indeed. 🙂

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

Yeah, just think of the ball and the cup. Not so magical now.

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
8 years ago

No biggy! You just have to grow your kids in an amish city until they get 16yrs old and then watch'em get amazed by Pong 😀 lol Still possible!

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
8 years ago

Haha Neo. 😛

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

The history of gaming is an amazing thing, I watched a cool two part documentary on it once and there's a lot more to it than you'd. There were many times when the whole enterprise nearly shut down as a failed experiment in entertainment.

I certainly couldn't have predicted all this. As kids we watched that movie "Wizard" and thought wow man maybe years from now this could be a big competitive sport, never imagining it would so soon be approaching photorealism.

I think he cuts to the quik of the issue in that quote about what is magical; those of us who were mesmerized by Atari feel like it's kind of a shame that kids need a lot more than that now to have fun. But that's just the nature of things.

tes37
tes37
8 years ago

I watched a documentary once that had Ralph Baer in it. I don't remember if it was just about him or if it was the same show you watched. I remember I didn't watch the same tv as you, but the rest is a little vague.

Victor321
Victor321
8 years ago

Father of video games huh? Video Games at heart were always a collaborative medium, so…where's the mother :S?

tlpn99
tlpn99
8 years ago

I dunno World am on the 4th version of the cup and ball game lol 😉

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
8 years ago

haha

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
8 years ago

I know that I would never have thought the likes of Uncharted to be possible in interactive entertainment when playing a sprite based adventure game called (I believe) Hero, on the Atari. I would never have imagined how close we are to realism with Gran Turismo 5 and (reportedly) Forza Horizon playing Outrun Europa on the Master System.

It really is incredible to think how far we've come. Yet so many people are still not happy, harping on the flaws of productions… So it goes.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
8 years ago

Damn,
Besides my Telstar Alpha console(which was a variant of the Odyssey), I also used to play another of his big-time inventions too, the "Simon"


Last edited by BikerSaint on 10/12/2012 9:18:03 AM

Amnesiac
Amnesiac
8 years ago

I haven't read much about the history of video games but wasn't military funding the sole reason for video game development?
Because video games make us better soldiers

tes37
tes37
8 years ago

Ralph Baer was in the military when he stumbled upon the means to make pong. He was using military equipment and it's because of the military that further advances were made.

Rogueagent01
Rogueagent01
8 years ago

I am always amazed when I read or watch anything involving poeple like Ralph Baer or Nolan Bushnell. The things they did made this industry not only possible but allowed it to flourish. And thanks to people like them and unfortunately the funding militaries have brought to the industry we have what we have today. I would like to thank them for bringing a life long hobby to my living room.