Meet Ralph Baer. This unassuming gentleman may look like the type to tell kids to run outside and play, but in fact, he’s the reason why children and adults all over the world are attached to their living rooms. In case you didn’t know whom to credit/blame for systems like the Xbox, PS3 and Wii, it all goes back to this man, the inventor of the first gaming console.
To honor Baer, PBS Digital Studios released a short “Inventor Series” video on him and how his innovation was born.
After a stint in the military, Baer got his bachelor’s degree in Television Engineering and joined electronics firm Sanders Associates. It was there, in 1966, that he started working on the box that would change society forever, and it took Magnavox to first see its potential. The company licensed the technology and, in 1972, put out the Magnavox Odyssey, the first TV-based console gaming system. The rest is history, leading to ColecoVision and Atari all the way up to today’s hottest boxes. And, says the nonagenarian, he’s not done yet.
So the next time you fire up your Xbox or PS3, give a moment of thanks to good old Ralphie. If it wasn’t for him, the only first-person shooter you’d probably be playing is Dodgeball.