Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An Interview with Ralph Baer, the Father of Video Games

Interesting to see how interface design decisions were derived in the past ...

"RB: Well, it's different fun, but it's a lot of fun. And to think about ping pong, one more digression. One of the complaints that his highness Nolan Bushnell had was "Well, you didn't have any scoring on screen." To which I respond: well, it's kinda funny, you know. We've been playing real ping pong for the last hundred years, right? And tennis. And guess how you score tennis and ping pong? You call out the score, you know, nice and loud, right? Nobody needed any scores on the screen.

That was a real iffy addition. I had no way of doing it with the technology available to us for a price in 1966-67. But it was not necessary to play an interesting tennis game. You just call it out -- who needs scoring?

What was stupid on our part -- and I couldn't believe in retrospect -- was that we didn't have any sound. Yeah, that was the big attraction, addition, that made it much more lively a game that Alan Alcorn and Bushnell came up with, adding a "pong" sound when you hit the ball. Why we didn't think of that, in retrospect? I can't believe we didn't do that. Part of it was that I wasn't really a game person, ever. It only grew as I worked with the stuff."    (Continued via Confusability)    [Usability Resources]

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