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Thursday, December 11, 2014

inventor of first video games console is no more

People are obsessed with mobiles – over the primary object of voice communication – the modern day cellphone offers much more – it is not even the camera, or the music player that is attractive – there is access to web – emails – social media of FB, Whatsapp and more ….and then what keeps adults and children glued is ‘games’ – be it Temple run; Angry birds, Flappy bird, Streetfood tycoon, candy crush, paper toss or smaller games.

Leave mobiles, early day computers were far different – much less memory – bulkier – slower and more of computing and data tools – and when it came into vogue in 1980s MS-DOS was pretty complex  for commoner to handle – and did not offer wide variety of games.    Still people spent hours together engrossed in Solitaire,   Dangerous Dave, Digger, Princess of Persia. Then the elite chose to have Xbox, the gamer of Microsoft which represented a series of video game consoles.  The brand was first introduced  in 2001 in the United States, with the launch of the original Xbox console.

~ all these and all those who enjoy gaming must know of Ralph Baer who died aged 92 – he is the Inventor of the first video games console in 1972. An engineer who was told by colleagues that he was 'wasting his time' designing the world's first video games console in 1972 has died this week at his home in Manchester, New Hampshire; he first considered the possibility of a video games console while working as a television engineer in the 1950s. 

Over the next ten years, as chief designer for Sanders Associates - which is now part of defence contractor BAE Systems - he started working on his idea. He had his break-through in 1966 while waiting at a bus stop in New York, after which he wrote down a four-page proposal, which he developed into the world's first video games console.  His initial design was a simple Brown Box,  with controlled a Table Tennis game on the screen.  His Brown Box, which was licensed by Magnavox in the 1970s, was the forerunner for the Magnavox Odyssey, which is acknowledged as the world's first video games console.  

His invention predated the Atari, and he had a developed a table-tennis game, before the rival system launched their world famous Pong.  Mr Baer was born in Germany to a Jewish family and was fortunate enough to leave the country in 1938 to the United States, avoiding the Holocaust. The Magnavox Odyssey was launched in 1972 and was able to play around two dozen games.  The games system plugged into the back of the television set featured hand-held controllers which allowed players to direct action on the screen. The company failed to develop a major video games division, but made substantial money from suing companies such as Atari and Nintendo for infringing upon Mr Baer's patents.

The Magnavox Odyssey sold 330,000 units between 1972 and 1974.  Mr Baer received the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush in 2006 and was inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010. Mark Baer said his father had patients for more than 150 inventions, including a light gun and talking cards.  Ralph Baer said : 'If you have it in your genes, it's almost like breathing.'


With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Feb 2014

Photo and news credit : Daily Mail.co.uk.

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