Ralph Baer, ‘father of video games,’ dies

Ralph Baer, a video game pioneer who created both the precursor to “Pong” and the electronic memory game Simon and led the team that developed the first home video game console, has died. He was 92. Born in Germany, Baer escaped the Holocaust with his family. He started thinking about what later became the home video game console while working as a television set designer in the 1950s. In the next decade, he started working on television games as chief engineer for Sanders Associates, now BAE Systems. Baer told The Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire in 2012 that he couldn’t stop inventing.

If you have it in your genes, it’s almost like breathing.

Ralph Baer

Before inventing the system that became known as the Magnavox Odyssey, Baer said he often was asked by co-workers how the group would make any money from the project. A version of Baer’s early prototype, the Brown Box, is now at the American History Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian plans to open a gallery next year with a focus on innovation and is including Baer’s workshop.