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Ralph Baer 'the father of video games' dies at 92

Ralph H Baer, credited with inventing the first home video games, died on Saturday at the age of 92 at his home in New Hampshire, USA. 

Baer, a German-born American who fled his country in 1938 on the advent of the Second World War, pursued work in electronics before devoting his attention to interactive video games in the late 1960s, revolutionising the industry bottom-up.

Baer said in an interview for an online video-game channel in 2010 that although video games were a small sector of a 60-year career in electronics, it turned out to be an important one.

“I did come up with a concept of playing games on a home television set in the 1966 at time when a TV set was nothing but a passive device and it started a whole industry,” he added.

Baer’s best-known contribution to the industry is Pong, one of the first games to gain mainstream popularity and recognition. His first video game console was later licensed by Magnavox as the Odyssey game system, which included Pong’s precursor, Table Tennis.   

Baer plays Ping-Pong video game in 1969

 

Baer went on to develop other popular electronic games such as Simon, the handheld electronic version of 'Simon says', which required players to remember and repeat coloured buttons that flashed in a pattern. Variants of the game are still sold today and it was a success in 1979.

In 2006, then-president George W Bush awarded Baer a National Medal of Technology to mark the innovative vision of the man who is regarded as the pioneer of video games.

Watch interview with Baer discussing his work

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