Game industry pauses to say thanks to the father of gaming

“Thank you Ralph Baer!”

It was a heartfelt unifying moment in an evening of video game fellowship, a Vegas theater filled with the talented men and women behind not just the year’s best games, but the the best in all gaming, joining together to thank the late Ralph Baer, father of video games, at the request of the engineer and inventor’s son.

Ralph Baer was one of two honored tonight with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Pioneer Award at the 2015 DICE awards. Al Alcorn, who created the home console version of Pong in 1974, was the other.

Baer, who died last year at the age of 92, created a number of interactive games and devices for television in the late 1960s, including the the original Magnavox Odyssey. He is known as the father of video games for his creations and impact on the industry.

Rich Hilleman, chief creative director at Electronic Arts, presented the award to Mark Baer, Ralph’s son, after running a short video that highlighted Ralph Baer’s work in the industry.

“I thought I would be a little bit more together before I saw that video, but let’s see if we can get through it,” Mark Baer said after taking to the stage following the introductory video. “That was a beautiful video.

“This is the first award that I have accepted either with him or on his behalf without him being here, so it’s a little bit hard.”

Baer said that while his father has been in the National Technology Inventors Hall of fame and received numerous awards, this award is significant.

“It’s a big one because it represents recognition from the industry, recognition from all of the things that came from that little black and white movie you saw from 1969,” he said. “I want to give you thanks from and behalf of my dad.

“I am very lucky, very blessed, very honored, not just to be here today, but to be Ralph’s son.”

Mark Baer wrapped up his acceptance speech by asking if those gathered in the theater for the annual awards, would be willing to take a moment to thank his dad.

“If we could do one thing, which would make me very happy and hopefully I think it would make him very happy, knowing that he’s the the kernel, the start, the beginning of what this has all become, if on three we could say ‘Thank you Ralph,’ I would be eternally grateful and hopefully he’s watching and he would be grateful.”