New Hampshire honors video game pioneer with his own statue
The man who most likely can be credited with causing Pong to be born gets the honor he deserves
Ralph Baer was a video game pioneer and a common name in Manchester, NH. He was the chief engineer for Sanders Associates (now known as BAE Systems) and was behind one of the earliest video game consoles ever to be conceived. His inventions are inarguably tied to the birth of the video game industry and, five years after he passed away, he is being honored with a statue in his hometown so that no one can ever forget his contributions.
Baer was 92 when he passed away in December 2014. He brought to the world the Brown Box, a console that players connected to a TV and which was licensed by Magnavox in the 1970s. The Brown Box was a prototype for the first multiprogram, multiplayer video game system and was the precursor to what is synonymous with the video game revolution – Pong – as well as the electronic memory game Simon.
Baer maintained a lab in the basement of his home where he would experiment with new designs and ideas. That lab can be seen, in its recreated form, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Baer had donated all test units, production models, notes and schematics to the facility’s National Museum of American History in 2006 and, in 2014, the Museum made his lab the landmark anchor for the Innovation Wing of the museum.
Thanks to a campaign on Kickstarter, as well as through funding from BAE and Orbit Group, Baer will now have his immortalized figure present in Arms Park in Manchester. He is seated on a bench holding the Brown Box and the official unveiling of the statue is scheduled for this Friday.