National News

Father of Video Games Dies at 92 in His Manchester, N.H. Home

In this July 2009 file picture , German-American game developer Ralph Baer shows the prototype of the first games console, invented by him during a press conference at the Games Convention Online in Leipzig, Germany. The video game pioneer who created both the precursor to "Pong" and the electronic memory game "Simon" has died. Ralph Baer also was leader of the team that developed the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console. Baer, who was born in Germany and escaped the Holocaust with his family, was a longtime resident of Manchester, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/dpa,Jens Wolf,File) AP

He called it a Game Box. It changed the world.

Ralph H. Baer, known in the industry as the father of video games, died Saturday night in his Manchester, N.H. home. The 92-year-old pioneer created the world’s first video game system in 1972, when his Game Box was released as the Magnavox Odyssey. When he wasn’t creating machines that changed the world, he also had time to come up with another classic electronic toy: Simon.

Baer was born in Germany, but fled to America with his family before World War II. In 2004, he was awarded the National Medal of Technology for “his groundbreaking and pioneering creation, development and commercialization of interactive video games, which spawned related uses, applications, and mega-industries in both the entertainment and education realms.’’


Baer could not have known that his primitive console would create a new world of creation and culture. Not to mention the billions of dollars generated by the juggernaut industry that left Hollywood and the music industry behind in terms sales.

He clearly didn’t envision the money part. Magnavox sold the Odyssey for $100. Baer’s suggestion? $19.95.


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