Video-game pioneer Ralph Baer talks technology with UK students



By Kayla Pickrell

[email protected]

When it comes to video-game consoles, there’s one guy to turn to to give praise that we have entertainment every night. Be it XBox, Playstation or Wii, the man to turn to is Ralph Baer.

“The Father of Video Games” invented the first video game console in 1966 called the brown box, which later was named the Magnavox Odyssey when Magnavox bought the licensing.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive when it came out,” Baer said.

Monday night I was invited to spend the evening talking to Baer in a classroom with 20-something other students who were just as eager to hear him speak as I was.

He talked about visuals in video games, smartphone gaming, 3-D and even Siri.

Questions ranged from “What would you have done different?” to “What do you see in the future?”

Here are a few questions he answered for students:

It’s like saying with all books, is there any content left to write about? Of course there is.

I think it’s great. Whenever I play smart-phone games, it’s always retro games. That stuff will never die. I’m sure there’s a Simon game on the smartphones too.

I have no idea simply because I don’t follow it. I have 10 million other things to do.

My uninformed opinion is that games are an art form, so just leave them alone. There are horrible books and movies out there. It’s the same for video games. But there are also great ones.

To spend an hour in a room with Baer was probably as wonderful for me as it would be for Cats fans receiving the opportunity to spend an hour with Coach Cal one-on-one, asking him any questions you wanted — and getting an answer back to all of them.

Baer said the future of gaming lies in 3-D. To Baer, the greatest innovation in entertainment itself is 3-D.

“It’s going to be more important when we figure out how to make 3-D without glasses in television,” he said. “3-D games are bound to happen, just look at the 3-DS.”

When it comes to Siri, Baer has big hopes for Apple.

“In 10 years the damn things will be smart enough to talk to each other. People will end up having a conversation with them,” he said.

“It’s like robots taking over.”