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|Title:||The Guy Who Invented Home Video Games, Ralph Baer and His Awesome Invention|
|Author:||Edwin Brit Wyckoff|
|Publisher:||Enslow Publishers, Inc.|
|Rating:||3.5 out of 5|
The Guy Who Invented Home Video Games, by Edwin Brit Wyckoff, is a 32-page book about Ralph Baer and some of the cool toys and games he invented. It's a children's book for the 7-8 year old reader who loves video games, but doesn't necessarily like traditional history lessons. This is a history lesson everyone can enjoy - parents too!
The book is part of a series calles, Genius at Work! Great Inventor Biographies. If you have a gamer in the family, this is a great book because it will help kids understand that everything has a history - even games. While they may love their PS4 or Wii U, reading about Baer's innovations shows how gaming evolved.
Even tough it's a children's book about a video game pioneer, it has a serious side and tells the story of how the Baer family escaped the war in Germany and were able to eventually arrive in America. His family fled to Holland shortly before the violent nightmare of the Holocaust was beginning.
Particularly in today's mobile gaming, we here of overnight success stories filed with untold wealth and fortune. We also hear of failures, but the instant-success stories permeate most articles. Reading of Ralph's family history helps show the diversity of situations that befall all of us. His interest in radio and a desire to move forward and learn the ins & outs of television is inspirational - even in our modern times.
We tend to forget the TV was a passive box that people sat idly in front of. The advent of video games enabled us to interact with the TV and that interaction has taken bold new forms as technology improves.
Most TV manufacturers were not interested in Baer's first attempt at a game console. He called it the Brown Box. Magnavox, a leading TV manufacturer, was the first company to show interest in his gaming invention. They turned it into the Odyssey and sold 350,000 units!
Although short, it has lots interesting information about Ralph Baer and his path to creating the first home video game console. Beyond that, is his childhood challenges, his decision to pursue electronics, and the other inventions he created during his lifetime. I find it an inspirational story about discovering a passion and following through with it. Overnight success comes to very few people. Hard work gives you the best chance to follow your dreams.
The sketches above show Baer's zeal for creation. He knew he was onto something. Playing games on a TV seemed huge to him and he pursued his idea. The long term success of Atari and innovation of Chuck E. Cheeses tends to put Nolan Bushnell in the spotlight. However, Bushnell saw the potential in the Odyssey which led him to take Baer's concepts to his first arcade game, Pong.
Baer received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush in 2006. While Bear provided information and interviews for this book, he passed away in December 2014. One of the most important facets of this book appears at the end of the first chapter:
"Not enough people know his name."
My local library has a copy of "The Guy Who Invented Home Video Games, Ralph Baer and His Awesome Invention". I'll bet yours does too. Turn off the Wii U and take a fun educational adventure into the advent of technology and the man who invented video games.