First console inventor calls violent games a “disgrace”

Tuesday, 8th November 2011 02:58 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Ralph Baer, who invented the first home console in 1972, isn’t happy with the direction of some modern games.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” the Magnavox Odyssey inventor said of violent games in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune.

“What I created got abominated.”

Nevertheless, Baer is proud to have been a part of it all, and said he could never have predicted how games would rise to become a major entertainment medium.

“All I did was come up with what I thought was a fun idea that was the result of a little box that was attached to a television set. It just grew and grew and grew,” he said.

“Nobody realised, even at that time, that we were on this geometric curve that would go straight up to heaven.

“It was unforeseeable; it was fantastic. I’m glad it happened. And if I hadn’t had started it, someone else would have.”

Thanks, Gamepro.




  1. ultramega

    And the first people to develop the written word must be ashamed of all the books which have since been written which are morally apprehensive… Same goes for whomever invented the film medium, and hell, why not throw photography in there too?

    I honestly have no interest listening to stuff like this.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    A disgrace? That’s a stretch.

    Boring? Sure. Unoriginal? Definitely. Insipid, childish and juvenile? In a lot of cases, yes.

    But I wouldn’t call them a total disgrace.

    Just mostly.

    @1 There’s a difference between violence for the sake of telling a good story, and violence purely for the sake of violence. The latter is dull no matter what medium it’s presented in, but gaming seems to relish in it.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. ultramega

    Yes, of course. But the point is, it’s apparent in every medium. I just find the singling out of gaming ridiculous. If people, as much as I abhor violence for the sake of violence, wish to create fictional works containing that sort of stuff, all the power to them.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. osric90

    You know what’s a total disgrace? Some human beings’ shallow, square and limited mind and perspective.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Clupula

    I’m very proud of him for rhyming “created” and “abominated.”

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @3 Nowhere in the interview is it even remotely suggested that he was “singling out” video game.

    He was simply asked how he felt about how the medium had progressed over the past 40 years, and that was part of his answer.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. ultramega

    Um… Okay. Go ahead and nitpick my phrasing. You know quite well what I meant regardless. (Besides, I’m not really sure what you’re even on about. He is talking exclusively about video games here, thus singling them out).

    The point is, is criticisms like this are useless. People will still make senselessly violent video games, and people should be free to do so. The only way to change it, if that’s what the majority wants, is to talk with your money, really.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DaMan

    Videogames aren’t a medium, they’re interactive computer entertainment. Games were around for ages and predate culture.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @8 That’s like saying movies aren’t a medium because they’re simply pre-recorded plays, or music isn’t a medium if it’s not played live.

    Things come in different forms.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. viralshag

    @7, This article has a lot of selective quoting, you should check out the original where he actually says:

    “What I created got abominated. You can see the same thing in music, literature, art — any form of art,”

    Not gonna lie, VG, this is quite a focus on the one minor negative parts of the entire interview.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Ireland Michael

    @10 That’s Internet journalism for you.

    Tabloid sensationalism.

    I mean, why create an informed report about a heartfelt interview with the inventor of our favourite past time, when you can just pull out a paragraph of text and slap a sensationalist title on the top.

    The “Quick Quotes” news segments exist almost exclusively for the purpose of selectively quoting stuff for the most negative or dramatic headlines. You think they care about context? Hahahaha!

    #11 3 years ago
  12. DaMan

    Rather that’s like saying pop music isn’t a one.

    And slapping a pic of Mona Lisa on a box of chips would still make that a box of chips, making a porn movie with an emotional storyline still constitutes for a porn movie. They’re a spin-off.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. viralshag

    @11, It’s still pretty sad. I imagine a lot of people have no idea who this guy is. I certainly didn’t.

    It would have been good to have seen a positive report about the person who seemingly started it all. But no, we just get a cheap attempt at some flamebait.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @12 And there is a vast, vast difference between kicking a ball around a field and the ever evolving video game industry, with its multiple distribution channels, archive of similar media and creative output.

    Medium (in relation to media) is the process of communicating things to individual through a specific form of media. Gaming, but it’s digital nature, is media. So yes, it’s a medium, by any definition of the word.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. DaMan

    Evolving or devolving, it’s ultimately kicking a ball around. Note that I ‘m not the one saying it’s a bad thing.

    If you view gaming as a ‘medium’ then yes videogaming is a spin-off of that, making it therefore a medium as well, just not a standalone one.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    @15 Simply gaming isn’t a medium because it’s something snyyone can recreate in their own environment with simple items. There doesn’t need to be any distribution involved to do it.

    I’m not sure what’s hard to understand here. If it’s not distributed to a person AS A FORM OF MEDIA, it’s not a medium. If it is, it is.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DaMan

    We were talking past one another.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. xino

    I don’t mind violence in games but I just hate it how people take it too far that it is so meaningless!

    The devs who created Splatterhouse got carried away with the stupid blood without fixing the damn game!

    #18 3 years ago
  19. silkvg247

    I wonder if the inventor of the telivision would feel the same about today’s shows and movies.

    What a muppet. Also I love how he claims to have invented the video game.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @19 What the hell are you babbling about? He *did* invent video games.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Moxifool

    “What I created got abominated”.

    You short sighted fool.


    #21 3 years ago
  22. ultramega

    Oh, shit. I didn’t read the original. I was only going by what it says here. I apologize, Michael. Sorry, dude. That’s my fault for actually thinking they weren’t just quote mining here. I guess I’ve become too complacent with this site.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    @22 No worries. I wasn’t nitpicking your phrasing. I was nitpicking their selective quoting.

    The actual interview through the link is a very good read. It’s certainly nice to see real journalism still prevails somewhere on the internet.

    #23 3 years ago

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