Ralph Baer, the father of video games

"Ralph Baer is sometimes known as the father of video games. One of his early inventions, sold as the Magnavox Odyssey, was the first home video game system.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Odyssey, and this week is Ralph Baer’s 90th birthday. So it seemed like a good time to share this video from my interview and shoot with Ralph in which we discuss, among other things, why he’s still inventing at 90 years old." [via]

  1. Man, the Odyssey was a brilliant way to go about things. What do you do if your machine can only process a few white rectangles at a time? Print static cling decals to fit over the tv!

    I knew about the decals (despite being born into a 2600 world) but until seeing it at the end of the first linked video I didn’t realize that it also came with roulette chips and other accessories. (I also didn’t know about the light gun. I remember the same technology — photosensor on the ‘gun’ detecting light from the tv — was used in a series of play-along-with-the-cartoon VHS tapes in the late 80s or early 90s.)

    I also hadn’t put together the fact that every game was a multiplayer game. In dismay at what video games have become, Baer says

    I always thought of it as a family game. And it just sort of degenerated into a one player type thing which was never in my mind.

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