The Godfather of Games

There’s names you probably know from the video game world like Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, but many weren’t familiar with the name Ralph Baer until he passed away at the age of 92.

Yet as Esquire tells us, he created the Magnavox Odyssey video game console, which debuted in 1972, but Baer first came up with the idea for video games in 1966. Baer was an engineer, and he applied for the patent in 1971 for what was called “the Brown Box.”

The Odyssey sold 130,000 units the first year it was out, and Esquire tells us, it was “all hardware – 40 transistors and 40 diodes.” Atari came up with Pong several months later, and Baer sued. (If you enjoyed playing old school arcade games where you can shoot things with a “light gun,” Baer invented that too.)

So while many wouldn’t know the name Ralph Baer, we’re very grateful for his innovations, and the incredible industry he innovated back in the ‘60’s.

David Konow

David Konow has been a writer for far too long. He has written for Deadline, Indiewire, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, The Wrap, Tom's Games, and many others. He has also authored three books: Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and Reel Terror (St Martins).


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