I can’t help tooting my own horn but I just found a hard copy of an email sent to me on January 10, 2000 from Crispin Boyer, my editor at Electronic Gaming Monthly, which at the time was the world’s number one videogame magazine. Crispin stated that they received “loads of positive feedback“ regarding my article about Ralph Baer. This one from Chad Harris was one of them:
Subject: The Baer Essentials
In the twelve years that I’ve been reading your publication (including its first year as Electronic Game Player), I haven’t read anything as entertaining, informative, or important as “The Baer Essentials” in EGM #126. Leonard Herman’s article is more than just a “story” about the origin of the video game – it is the exemplification of the pioneering spirit and boundless imagination possessed by Mr. Baer and those who supported him. No one else (that I’ve read) has been able to accomplish this in the eighteen years that I’ve read video game publications (obviously the result of expert knowledge and exhaustive research on Mr. Herman’s part!).
The accompanying interview is also invaluable to one’s understanding of gaming’s past. One comment in particular by Mr. Baer – “For every guy who has imagination, there are always 15 who don’t.” – is an unfortunate truth applicable to all generations of video games. It could be argued that the overabundance of too many derivative games helped lead to the “crash” of the industry some sixteen years ago. Thankfully, even with conservatism and license-driven development running rampant, there are enough true innovators to ensure a healthy future for our favorite pasttime.
Thank you EGM, Mr. Herman, and Mr. Baer for such a wonderful piece of journalism, and for reminding me why I became involved in video games a quarter-century ago.
Thank you Mr. Harris for these kind words. And thank you to Crispin for forwarding this to me so many years ago.
Unfortunately, I don’t toot my own horn enough but Ralph Baer always told me that this was one of the best articles ever written about him and he believed that it was the catalyst that led him to receive the National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush at the White House some six years later.
The article itself can be downloaded from this thegamescholar.com site here.