Who invented PONG? Better yet, who invented the video game? Most people would say "Nolan Bushnell," and a few others "William A. Higinbotham." Or was it Steve Russell? It's a tough enough question for any serious videogame historian. However, if you asked Ralph Baer, he'd tell you that he was the first person in the history of the world to "come up with the idea of playing games on a screen" or some such nonsense. At any rate, although an avid self-promoter, Ralph Baer truly hasn't gotten the credit he deserves for his hard work and ingenuity with the "Brown Box," the first home game console and the progenitor to the Magnavox Odyssey. Now, thanks to Coin-Op TV, you can see Baer in his domain, and get his perspective on how videogame history REALLY begins with him. (Note, if the link doesn't work, try here.)
I've always tried to like Baer and appreciate his important contributions to the industry, but somehow he's always managed to rub me the wrong way. He strikes me as the type that would've loved to make billions and billions of dollars by putting a strangehold on the videogame industry, forcing all subsequent innovators to pay up (keep in mind, he's taking credit for "playing games on a screen", a pretty damn broad scope for a patent). Indeed, he was able to get Atari to pay him an out-of-court-settlement (i.e., a bribe), though (to my knowledge) later home console makers managed to get past his expansive and multitudinous patents.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the interview, which really does contain some interesting moments. For instance, I was shocked at Baer's frankness about his experience with weapons and arms (it's almost a bit sinister).
Check out the video and let us know what you think. I'm particularly curious about what you guys think of Coin-op TV in general and the hosting style. To me, it's a refreshing (make that EXTREMELY refreshing) alternative to the ADD-style editing of G4 and other programs.