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“Father of video games” Ralph Baer dies

Ralph Baer

San Francisco, Dec 8 (EFE).- Ralph Baer, the engineer popularly known as the “father of video games,” died at home in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, on the weekend, his family said. He was 92.

Baer thought up the idea of designing a “box” that would allow Americans to play games on their televisions in 1966 while he was waiting for a friend to arrive at the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal.

He wrote a book about his ideas and the development of video games entitled “Video Games: In the Beginning,” in 2005.

Baer and the company for which he worked, Sanders Associates, applied for the first video game patent in 1971.

Sanders Associates granted a license for the system designed by Baer to Magnavox, which sold 130,000 units of the first home video game console in 1972.

Baer, a Jewish engineer who fled to the United States from Nazi Germany with his family, in 2006 was presented with the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

The video console he designed transformed the role of the television and established the pillars of an industry that has generated billions of dollars in the last year alone.

Born in March 1922 in Pirmasens, Germany, Baer grew up in The Bronx, where his parents settled after coming to the United States in 1938.

Baer became interested in electronic engineering during his teenage years and spent the first years of his professional career developing medical equipment and other technological systems for commercial and military uses.

He is survived by his two sons, James and Mark, and his daughter Nancy Baer, along with four grandchildren.

His wife, Dena Whinston, to whom he was married for 53 years, died in 2006.