I thought I was pretty clever to pursue a state historical marker for the creators of the BASIC computer language (as I note elsewhere), but I’ve been one-upped by the group that wants to recognize Ralph Baer, who led the team that created the first home video game (the Magnavox Odyssey) while he was an engineer at Sanders Associates in Nashua, now part of BAE. This was a big deal: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., has even collected some of Ralph’s materials and recreated his basement workshop for an exhibit about entrepreneurs.
Baer was a longtime resident of Manchester. As part of branding the way the Manchester Millyard has blossomed as a tech and biotech hub, a group called Silicon Millyard is raising money to make a 3-D statue of Baer sitting on a public park bench. They envision it as the centerpiece of a Baer Square on the Riverwalk in the Millyard.
They are looking for donations right now because a $15,000 donation has been offered, but it’s good only if they raise another $15,000 to match it. If you want to know more or give a few bucks, here’s the place to look.
I’ve written about Ralph, who died in 2014, many times – starting with this 2001 piece. And now, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a 2005 picture of me and Ralph playing “video tennis” (not Pong – that was Atari) in his basement, using one of his original “brown box” creations that eventually became the Odyssey.