03 April 2008

Inventor of Video Games @ MIT Media Lab!

I saw the originator of TV video games, Ralph Baer, at the Media Lab this Thursday. He told the hoary history of the birth of video games while he was running a big group at Sanders Associates (MIT alum-founded company), now BAE Systems. He did it entirely in secret with a technician in a back room. Ended up showing their light gun and quick game to manager-- who was immediately sold. But had a trickier time with the Board of Directors! How do we make money at this? was the key question. And Baer revealed this was an amazing demo since he recorded his own voice and played it back -- via the TV itself -- where it introduced the seven games it could play! But he persisted and made a whole series of games including ping-pong, etc. Sanders ultimately licensed this to Magnavox to create the Odyssey!

He showed the first Odyssey advertisement... This, together with Space War, the first computer game, was the birth of a modern technology-entertainment industry!

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