See that fancy piece of Japanese/ American hardware in front of you? You can thank deplorable factory sweatshops for producing it. And you can also thank Ralph Baer for pioneering the idea of home entertainment. Unfortunately, that might be difficult, as the dear Mr Baer has passed on.
Although at 92, that’s one hell of an innings. Baer is the man responsible for the very first video games console, the Brown Box. It looked like this:
Wood that gives me wood. Baer was also responsible for the Magnavox Odyssey, a console big enough to be considered a lethal weapon during blunt force trauma murder investigations. From there, Baer also pioneered the creation of the light gun peripheral, had a hand in creating Pong and ended up with over 150 patents registered in his name.
Meanwhile, I’ve yet to open this jar of Bovril. I don’t think words can accurately sum up how important Baer was to our industry. He laid the foundation for video games, that other visionaries worked and improved on. He was essentially, The Beatles of gaming. Minus Yoko Ono. While words may not suffice, words and video most certainly will. Here’s a lovely PBS documentary on the legend:
Rest in peace, video game daddy-o.
Last Updated: December 8, 2014