Without Ralph Baer, we wouldn’t know Video Games

Ralph Baer – The father of video games

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The games have developed and advanced multifold from the time of its inception. Have you ever wondered who created the first gaming device on earth? Players around the world should thank Ralph Baer, the father of video games as he is called, who invented the kernel of the video game atom that never stopped fission, but rather accelerated and swept the whole world, generation after generation, to this day.

Let’s read more about the inventor Ralph Baer, who opened doors to a new fictional world for us… 

Who was Ralph Baer?

Baer was born in Germany at a critical period, before the outbreak of the Second World War, which prompted his family to move to the United States. A few years later, young Baer found himself working in an electronics company as a TV engineer. He thought of adding games as an additional feature to television screens and display them. His company needed to stay on par with other television companies, so the idea was rejected.

Years passed as he worked for Sanders Associates, a company specializing in building military equipment, and the idea resurfaced. He wrote a letter and tried to use terms related to the company’s interest, as the term ‘games’ was used in the army, and this time he received support. His inventions didn’t stop after this creation, he contributed to the invention of the famous memory game Simon, in addition to 150 patents registered in his name.

Thinking outside the box and creating a magical one

His idea was a guaranteed start to an industry that exceeds $100 billion. In fact, the gaming industry outperforms the film and music industry combined. Ralph Baer worked on many prototypes before presenting what we see in the following picture, the first version of ‘Brown Box’ – the first home video game console licensed by Magnavox, which later became the blueprint for Magnavox Odyssey 

Ralph Baer's Brown Box
Ralph Baer’s Brown Box
Magnavox Odyssey
Magnavox Odyssey

The Red Door of Inspiration

In the basement of his home, Ralph Baer built a personal retreat. His workshop had its own character – a front wall, its own door, an address, and even a mailbox.

Wondering which platform is better today – PC or Console? Read here

Ralph Baer's basement and his first workshop

In his late eighties, the museum wanted to acquire Baer’s workshop but he was still inventing, so the museum reached out again when he reached his nineties. They wanted to present his initial workshop set up in the museum and agreed to provide him with a much more modern workshop.

Ralph Baer in his old workshop

Ralph was sad when they packed the workshop and took it away to install it in the museum, yet he was excited that visitors from all over the world would be able to see the special place in his home that brought about the greatest innovation of his life!

Ralph Baer's Workshop in the Museum

Here you can see some prototypes and game consoles invented by Ralph Baer, which are currently housed in the National Museum of American History.

In 2014, Baer passed away at the age of 92. He once told PBS in 2013, “I am no different from a painter who sits there and loves what he does. Would you ask a guy who’s been painting all his life ‘why do you keep painting? Why don’t you retire?’ Retire to what? Stop painting? This is insane. Why would you want to do that?”

If we could look into Mr. Baer’s mind, I think we’d have an exciting ride in a world of adventure, thrill, games, and more! All thanks to his genius mind that paved the way for future gamers to follow, a gift of skill and talent.

Leading a promising future full of suspense and excitement for all gamers, we wonder how our favorite games would’ve been today without this historic invention! 


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