October 17, 2018

Remembering Ralph Baer, Father of Video Games

Ralph Baer

Photo from NPR.

Technology and technology related fields move fast. Things change, hardware gets faster, software gets updated, engines get new releases, and games gain the potential to continue to grow because of it.

Gaming is a field defined by what is next, potential, and where things are going. The video game industry is comparatively new on the entertainment scene (although many would argue “gaming” has been around since the dawn of man) and being new there have not been a lot of moments where we have lost industry icons.

This weekend the game industry lost one of these icons and I believe it is worth slowing down for a moment, looking up from the latest software package or project, and taking some time to remember Ralph Baer.

If you are not involved in the game industry you may not have heard the name Ralph Baer or references to the “Brown Box” console that later became the Magnavox Odyssey, although you may remember the pattern matching game Simon, also credited to Baer. You may never have heard the stories of the conflict between Bushnell and Baer or Magnavox versus Atari, but these where some of the defining moments of the early video game field. Engineers and visionaries that saw the potential of video game systems and gave birth to an industry. It is from these visions that modern day gaming owes it roots and legacies.

Whether the father of video games or father of game consoles, Ralph Baer is one of the founding fathers of an industry that has grown to greatness and still has potential to change the world. It is in these moments we should remember what gaming was, is, and can be as the journey the game industry has taken over the last 50 years is nothing short of remarkable. Thank you Ralph, for starting something that I count as an integral part of my life and career. There are not enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation.

Read more info here: Ralph H. Baer (Wikipedia)

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