Video Games | INVENTORS | PBS Digital Studios
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Video Games | INVENTORS | PBS Digital Studios

September 21, 2019


Hi, I’m Ralph Baer. Well, I’m usually known as the
inventor of the video game, particularly the console video game business. We built a succession of seven models, the
last one of which we called the Brown Box because it was covered by brown adhesive paper.
And then we went on a two year trek trying to find somebody who would take a license
and actually produce something. That turned out to be Magnavox. COMMERCIAL VO: This is Odyssey, the new electronic
game simulator. You attach Odyssey to your television set in seconds to create a
closed circuit electronic playground. RALPH BAER: The Odyssey sold quite well. About
100,000 were sold the first year in ’72. By the end of life in ’74, 350,000 Odysseys
were in homes. Not a bad start. So several million people played video games by then. COMMERCIAL VO: It’s new from Magnavox. Odyssey. RALPH BAER: For the last 30 years I’ve been
doing toys and games, some of which became quite well known like Milton Bradley’s Simon
game for example. But by and large I’m in the same boat as other inventors. You know,
we come up with a lot of stuff, spend a lot of time developing and building things, marketing
them, and if we’re lucky out of 10 or 15 items we do a year, maybe one or two of them will
wind up with a licensing agreement. My measure of success isn’t a proper explanation
of why I do what I do. First of all, my wife died in 2006. She died on a Friday, on Monday
the President of the United States hung a National Medal of Technology around my head.
She didn’t make it. So here I am. We built this house 53 years
ago. I rattle around in it alone. So what do you expect me to do? All my friends, they’re
all gone. I’ve outlived them all. I’ll be 90 in March of next year. So what am I gonna
do? I need a challenge. And I still get a big charge out of making
something work. I write the hardware, I push a button, I download it into the microprocessor,
and it works. Aah. Beautiful. It’s like I’m basically an artist, right? I’m 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? I mean,
stop painting? This is insane. I mean, why would you want to do that, right? [laughs] So here I am.

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  1. I am glad I watched this video before I hop into a few hour gaming session of battlefield 4. I  wonder what he thinks of everything video games can do today? Thank you Ralph!

  2. to all the pro palestinians look at 2:33 you see that israeli flag that mean a zionist jew invent the video games and before you say william higinbotham the court in 1985  say that the games of tennis for two had no video singals so he cant be a video game so what you will do not stop play a video games?

  3. RIP Ralph Baer, the man who pioneered the home video game industry and invented the first home console (Magnavox Odyssey). /:C I really hope he would be referenced and recognized in the next @Wreck-It Ralph film by @Walt Disney Animation Studios

  4. Simples e genial, por mais clichê que estas duas palavras juntas possam parecer — é como Ralph Baer parece ser do primeiro vídeo de 1969 testando o Brown Box até este vídeo recente onde ele simplesmente nos convida a "não parar de pintar". Descanse em paz, Ralph Baer, sua contribuição a este mundo foi incomensurável.

  5. Nice man, nice family. He and his parents and sister escaped the Nazis. Do you ever wonder what might have been discovered, cured, etc. if the Nazis hadn't killed 6,000,000 Jews? 

  6. RIP Ralph…thanks for all this fun Ive had and continue to have even at age 45. Now you're with your wife and can be truly happy again. You sounded sad in this video. I feel for you.

  7. He was so coherent at that ripe of an age. He was very aware and worked on things until the day he passed.

    R.I.P. Baer, for as a PC Gamer, I owe so much to you for ushering in the hobby we all love from Consoles to handhelds to PC, no matter what we game on, we all owe the existence of our hobby to this great entrepreneur.

    I think I should fire up my Sega Saturn to honor the classics.

  8. RIP Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the modern form of what we know today as video games, and he didn't stop there, and never stopped making things until his last breath. He will be missed.

  9. He played video games three years before I was born. No matter what platform you game on he was the one that started it all.

  10. I am proud to be a gamer, not just because I love video games in general, but because of the way how video games were made and Ralph Baer I could not thank you enough for what you have put on this earth. I have enjoyed the NES, SNES, Sega mega drive, Playstation and Sega Genesis etc. If it wasn't for you, I would not of had those retro consoles to play on and enjoy with my family. Thank you for making my childhood awesome. R.I.P The Father of Video Games

  11. R.I.P Ralph Baer ! Thank you for creating videogames,the best entertainment we could posibbly wish for ! 

  12. First console my family bought was Coleco Vision.  I've been playing over 30+ years and don't believe I ever heard of him which baffles me.  Thanks so much for everything you did Mr. Ralph H. Baer.  Rest in peace!!!!

  13. RIP Ralph While you may have moved on from this world you will always be remembered as one of the greats of Video games and consoles alike. 

  14. Descanse em Paz, Ralph Baer. E muito obrigado por tudo de bom que fizestes para o mundo do vídeo-game (e para o mundo em geral).

  15. I still have the issue of Diehard GameFan from the 1990s where they misspelled his name as "David Bahr". Nobody deserved that.

  16. Thank you Ralph Baer. We wouldn't have home consoles without you so thank you for all you have done. Rest in peace

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