Technology

Video-game pioneer Ralph Baer dies

Ralph Baer Image copyright AP
Image caption Although crude by modern standards, Mr Baer's creation kicked off the home gaming industry

Video-game pioneer Ralph Baer has died at the age of 92.

Mr Baer is widely seen as the "father of video games" for his pioneering work that led to the creation of the Odyssey games console.

The Odyssey, licensed to TV-maker Magnavox, went on sale in 1972 and inspired many other firms to make their own consoles.

Mr Baer also created the first peripherals for consoles and invented many popular electronic games.

Born in Germany, Mr Baer and his family fled the country before World War Two and emigrated to the United States. As a teenager he took up electronics and trained as a radio service engineer.

After the war, this background led him to a career in electrical engineering that, in 1966, saw him create a "brown box" console that let two people take each other on in several different games including a crude, by modern gaming standards, version of table tennis.

The brown box became the Odyssey and went on to become a huge hit. Its success helped to kick off the first wave of TV-connected gaming consoles and inspired an entire industry.

The Odyssey was the first of many game-related electronics devices that Mr Baer created. Among these was the first light gun that could be used to shoot on-screen targets. In later work, Mr Baer also helped Coleco develop some of its games consoles and did work on collaborative play via cable networks.

Mr Baer also came up with the electronics underpinning the Simon electronic game and by the time of his death had more than 150 patents to his name.

In 2004, he was awarded the US National Medal of Technology and in 2010 was inducted into America's National Inventors Hall of Fame.

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