I just got to finish watching the first season of King of the Nerds with my wonderful Fiancee. By far my favorite competition to date was in that episode when it was simply nerd trivia. The very first question made me think, maybe I really am to big of a nerd.
The question was: Who invented pong?
Before the answers A-D even started popping up I turned to my Fiancee and said Ralph Baer. Baer was not an answer to the question so I of course recognized that they wanted D: which contained Nolan Bushnell.
I’m sorry, but I stick by my guns that Ralph Baer invented pong, the hate mail can fly now, but its true.
Ralph Baer invented this electronic video game that allowed two people to play a version of electronic tennis. At first it was very crude but eventually got refined more and more and was part of a release by Magnavox to be a home entertainment system called the Odyssey.
Nolan Bushnell was and is a brilliant engineer AND businessman. He saw potential and his company, Atari, took the concept and called it Pong, and their company took off.
Granted, Ralph Baer was an amazing man and invented so many different things and really wasn’t worried about making video games for a living. Yet true game historians still link him as the Father of Video games even when some texts say otherwise.
It was really the fact that they used the word INVENTED that really threw me off. If they had said, what two men packaged and released Pong, BUSHNELL. We have Atari. But saying Bushnell invented Pong is like saying Steve Jobs and his crew ‘invented’ the Apple OS windows type operating system. Nope, sorry, that was Xerox who had no real use for it. (Funny nerd side note on that one, it was originally pitched to Bill Gates but he turned it down.)
The show was a great nod to nerdom and geek life overall I just wish they had reworded that one question or given true props where props are due.
Ok, I’ll get off my nerd high horse now.