The 'Father of Video Games' Reflects on His 40-Year-Old Invention

Ralph Baer, who turns 90 this year, discusses his life's work, which includes creating the Magnavox Odyssey home video game console and the toy Simon. 

Ralph Baer, who turns 90 this year, discusses his life's work, which includes creating the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console, and the iconic pattern game Simon. When people ask him why he's still inventing, he says "I'm basically an artist. I'm no different from a painter, who sits there and does what he loves. Would you ask a guy who's been painting his whole life, 'why do you keep painting? Why don't you retire?' Retire to what?" The inspiring short documentary is a part of a series of profiles of inventors by David Friedman, a photographer based in New York. 

The full commercial for Magnavox Odyssey, which appears in the documentary, is on YouTube:

Simon, distributed by Milton Bradley, is still sold today, but this 1990s commercial is pretty great: 

For more videos in the Inventor Portraits series, visit http://www.davidfriedmanphoto.com/blog/inventors/.

Via Vimeo Staff Picks

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Video

Just In