June 17, 2012

Spend Father’s Day with the Fathers of gaming!

If you are sitting around the house with dear old dad and don’t know what to do, I have compiled a list of what i feel are the fathers of modern gaming. From Ralph Baer, to John Carmack, to Shigeru Miyamoto, all of these people have had a huge impact on the industry. Happy Father’s day everyone!


Ralph Baer- Deemed the “Father of Video Games”, Ralph Baer’s work lead to the creation of the industry itself. In 1966 Baer would go on to create the “brown box” console that would later be refitted into the Magnavox Odyssey. Baer also created the first light gun peripheral that would later be released for the Odyssey. The light gun became a staple not only in the home console realm, but dominated in the arcades still to this day. If you don’t have an Odyssey or it’s becoming harder to track one down, Baer also brought us Simon, the pattern matching game that has entertained millions since the 70’s.

What to play: just about anything on a home console, just turning the console on would be a tribute. Pong would be great to play but just remember that Pong was published by Atari, for which Magnavox filed suit of copyright infringement due to Baer having a strong resemblance to the electronic ping pong game that was for the Odyssey.



Shigeru Miyamoto – The father of Mario, maybe the greatest gaming icon of all time. Miyamoto is known for other great Nintendo franchises as well, Zelda, Pikmin, Donkey Kong, Nintendogs, the set of “Wii” games like Wii Sports and working on such franchises as Star Fox, F-Zero, and Super Mario RPG. Miyamoto has made a huge impact in the industry that will be felt long after her is gone. He is also one of the only people that can get up on a stage, like at E3 for example, and all you can do is smile and get excited for what he is presenting. Miyamoto, despite rumors of his retirement, is hard at work on the third installment of the Pikmin series for Nintendo’s new console the WiiU. Titles from this acclaimed developer are always ones to look forward to and will capture your imagination like nothing else.


What to play – Mario, Mario, and more Mario, Nintendogs for the 3DS and DS, Pikmin 1 &2 (both available on the Gamecube and Wii), Donkey Kong available on the Virtual Console and 3DS, and any Zelda (thought some are stronger than others, you can’t go wrong with any of them). If he had one low note in his career that would be Wii Music and there is really no need at all to pick this up, go play Wii Sports instead.


Nolan Bushnell – The founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain, and had the chance to become part of Apple with Jobs and Wozniak, but turned it down to center of attention the home console and arcade business. Bushnell led Atari during the launch of the Atari 2600. Bushnell left Atari the following year due to differences within the company over the 2600 life span and closed software tactics. In 2010 he returned to the company he founded as part of the board of directors. The 2600 showed what the home console market can do and how it can destroy itself with over saturation.

What to play: anything from the 2600 days, though he may have exited the company a year after its launch, the console is still his and a great one at that. To be on the safe side though, skip E.T. and the 2600 version of Pac-Man; you’ll thank me later for this. Pong would also be a great tribute, Atari made the arcade and home versions of the game.


Gunpei Yokoi – The father of Nintendo’s tech and the creator of portable gaming. Yokoi is responsible for the creating the Game & Watch line of handhelds, the Game Boy, and the critically panned Virtual Boy. Yokoi also had his hand in some of Nintendo’s early staples, being appointed supervisor over Miyamoto’s Donkey Kong, and partnering with Miyamoto again on Mario Bros. Yokoi had produced several other franchise as well including Kid Icarus, Metroid, and Super Mario Land. In 1995 the failure that was the Virtual Boy was released and discontinued a year later. Despite it being a commercial flop there were some good titles to be had on the ill fated system. Unfortunately, Yokoi is the only one on this list that is not here with us today, but his genius can be found in Nintendo products, even today. The DS design is made to be reminiscent of the Game & Watch LCD handhelds that really put Nintendo and Yokoi on the map.


What to play: Any iterations of the Game Boy, Super Mario Land can be bought on the 3DS store as well as Metroid. If you have a Virtual Boy, I have one and proud to have it, check out Mario Tennis, Red Alarm, Teleroboxer, Virtual Boy Wario Land, and Vertical Force.



John Carmack- Co – Founder of Id Software and Id Tech, John Carmack pioneered the way for tech in video games. Developing new technologies for games, Id’s games were always on the fore front of cutting edge. Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake always pushed tech and gameplay first, stories were typically second. Id’s major release this past year, RAGE, showed just how good Carmacks skills are. The story may be have been cut and paste but there is no denying the game ran at a blistering 60FPS, was drop dead gorgeous, and had some of the best, if not the best, animations in all of gaming. Carmacks Id Tech and the Quake engines run quite a few popular titles including – Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 and the original Half-Life ran on Quake.


What to play – and of the Doom or Quake titles, Wolfenstein 3D, or Rage. These are all done by Id but you could play some of the aforementioned titles above and still get a feel for Carmacks wonderful programming skills.



Ken Kutaragi – The father of the PlayStation, had a pivotal role in bringing in the 32-bit era of consoles. During the SNES/Super Famicom days, Nintendo wanted to add a CD drive to the console, Kutaragi designed the drive, but when relations between Sony and Nintendo faded, Kutaragi made a push for the drive to become its own independent console. The PlayStation was born and owned the 32-bit era and its hugely popular successor, the PlayStation 2, brought a great console and the power of DVD’s to the living room. Kutaragi’s last play in the video game industry was with the debut of the PlayStation 3, the most powerful home console yet, and brought the power of Blu-Ray discs to the fore front of the HD format war. In 2006 Kutaragi was replaced by Kaz Hirai and in 2011, Kutaragi bowed out of his honorary chairman position.


What to play: as with Ralph Baer, turning on a PS1, PS2, or PS3 would be enough. When you do turn on the consoles, just take a minute and remember how much the PlayStation brand pushed in new technology. Even thought CD’s weren’t new to the gaming industry the PS1 put them at the forefront showing cartridges were outdated and cost ineffective. The PS2 pushed DVD’s and the PS3 is showing that if there is a physical media still to be had, Blu-Ray is leading the way.


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