The Godfather of Videogames – Ralph Baer passes away at age 92
I love videogames, even though I mainly write about comics and movies on this site, I love gaming equally but usually find myself playing them rather than writing about them. I have been gaming as long as I can remember and recall playing Space Invaders for the first time when I was about five or six years old, I was captivated by the ability to actually interact with what was happening on the screen in front of me … and from that point on became a dedicated ‘gamer’.
Though like all things in life that I love, it’s not just the act of playing games that fascinates me but also the process of making and designing them. Famous game designers such as Yu Suzuki, Tomonobu Itagaki, Kenji Eno and many others are superstars to me, having visited and enjoyed the many worlds they have created over the years, so it is with a heavy heart I report that the creator of Videogames Ralph Baer died yesterday at 92 years of age.
Ralph Baer was born in Germany in March 1922, his family moved to America just before the start of World War 2. Ralph actively worked in electronics and graduated from the National Radio Institute as a service technician in 1940. He worked for many years as a senior engineer for Loral electronics until the early 1960’s, when he came up with the idea of inventing a machine to play games on a television, this lead to the early development of the Brown Box, the non-commercial version of what ultimately became the Magnavox Odyssey: the worlds first dedicated home games system.
He was presented the National Medal of Technology award by George Bush in 2006 to honour his creation of a new interactive entertainment system. He passed away in his home in New Hampshire, December 6th 2014. RIP Ralph Baer, you have given myself and many millions of other gamers countless hours of entertainment and pleasure over the years and created the biggest entertainment industry in history.