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Ralph Baer, Video-Game Pioneer, Dies at 92

Ralph Baer, Video-Game Pioneer, Dies at 92

Ralph Baer

Image credit: bitte8bit | Flickr
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Ralph H. Baer, the creator of the Magnavox Odyssey (known as the "Brown Box"), the first commercial console for home video games, died at the age of 92 on Saturday.

A pioneer in the now $93 billion gaming industry, it's likely you've played with the games and systems Baer invented or influenced. In addition to building the first light gun -- a gun-shaped controller that allows users to shoot objects on screen -- he created the forerunner to Atari's Pong game as well as the colorful electronic memory game Simon, which made its debut in 1978 at Studio 54 and continues to be sold today.

Related: Across the U.S., Bars Are Letting You Play Your Favorite Childhood Video Games

In 1971, while employed at Sanders Associates, a defense contractor in Nashua, N.H., Baer filed for the first ever video-game patent. His papers are now housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and he was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2006.

So, what can entrepreneurs learn from Baer's legacy? The biggest takeaway is this: he never stopped inventing. And, as is the case with the best entrepreneurs, his work has inspired generations of new innovators, with a promise of more to come.

Related: Can Video Games in the Office Make Employees More Productive?

Edition: December 2016

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