For today's exclusive and extensive Gamasutra interview
, video game inventor Ralph Baer candidly discusses his roots, his work ethic, the problems with patents, and what drove him to create the first video games.
In this excerpt, Baer explains that though games may have, over the years, acquired the stigma of being an activity for children, his intentions in creating some of the first examples was very much in line with the all-ages mentality that has recently come back in fashion:
"Shooting at the screen is fun for anybody up to the age a hundred and twenty-two. And besides, if you remember, they were all two-player games to begin with, so it's a matter of family interaction: father and son, mother-daughter, mother and son.
GS: So from the very beginning, it was a multi-generational...
RB: Yeah, because who watches television? The family watches television, right? So the idea was a family game without it even being defined that way.
Now that you mention it, I never spoke of it that way. It was just the natural thing, because who watched television sets? It wasn't fourteen year-old Johnny in his bedroom with his personal television set, because hell no, we were lucky to have one goddamn set in the household, right? So it was a family affair. So the games [were designed that way] in my mind even without thinking about [them being] family games."
You can now read the full Gamasutra interview
with much more from Baer on the genesis of his games work, why the patent system has 'never worked,' and Baer's early legal run-ins with Nintendo (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).