Ralph Baer Story
Engineer invented the predecessor to today’s home video game consoles while working at a defense contractor in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Ralph Baer, widely known as the father of home video game consoles, died Saturday at the age of 92.
Baer, whose death was confirmed by the New York Times, began exploring the possibility of playing video games on a television screen while working as an engineer at a defense contractor in 1966. The result of his work was the “Brown Box,” a prototype for what would become the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home gaming console. His invention helped transform computer gaming, an activity previously isolated to large, expensive computers, into a global market now generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.
Video About Ralph Baer
Sanders Associates, the Nashua, N.H.-based military contractor that employed Baer, applied for a patent for Baer’s invention in 1971 and was granted US Patent No. 3,728,480 in 1973. In 2010, Baer recalled how his invention immediately captivated the patent examiners reviewing his application.
“The examiner and the lawyer were talking jargon back and forth, and the examiner really wasn’t paying much attention to me,” he told the US Patent and Trademark Office. “While they were bantering back and forth about the claims, I set up a small television set and my game console in the examiner’s office, and within 15 minutes every examiner on the floor of that building was in that office wanting to play the game.”
Source: Steven Musil
Image Source: Major Nelson