“Father of Video Games” Donates Collection to The Strong

Ralph H. Baer, widely recognized as “the father of video games,” has donated an extensive collection—which documents four decades of his career in electronic game and toy design—to The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG). The Ralph H. Baer Papers (1960s–2009) include original diagrams, schematics, engineering notes, and patents.

The Papers document Baer’s major contribution to the development of commercial and educational electronic toys and games, in particular, his work with toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates (1975–1982), video game pioneer Jay Smith III of Smith Engineering (1981–1987), and independent toy and game designer Phillip E. Orbanes (1987– 2001).

Notable electronic toys and games represented in the collection include Computer Perfection, Maniac, M.A.S.K. Laser Command, Smarty Bear, Sounds By Me, his world-famous Simon, and numerous others licensed to firms such as Coleco, Ideal, Kenner, and Milton Bradley. A working replica of Baer’s 1968 Brown Box—the first home video game, which debuted commercially in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey—is on display in “eGameRevolution,” an exhibit at the National Museum of Play produced by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games.