The first game console

The Videogame History Museum (VHM, annually exhibits at E3, and always with huge success. The founders had a single goal in mind when they established the non-profit organisation: to bring together a collection, as complete as possible, for this branch of art. Although the institution, set up in Glendale in 1999, has permanently been short of funds, what the organisation asks their supporters for is not money in the first place, but information about obscure rarities or occasionally the obscure rarities themselves.

Their collection has been growing steadily, and the museum is able to present rarities that have not been shown earlier at E3. This year also, the museum brought along game room machines and vintage consoles visitors could try their hands at, and Brown Box made the greatest sensation.

Brown Box was designed by Ralph Baer, who is considered to be the father of game consoles. Baer developed the box at Sanders Associates in 1967. His idea was to create a machine that could run a number of programmes, and two players could use it. The prototype was named after its look and colour, and mainly sport games, experimental ones, were designed for it. The box was turned into a product when Sanders licensed it to Magnavox, and after renaming it Magnavox Odyssey it was marketed in 1972. It was the very first home gaming console released for commercial sale.

As the original Brown Box is in the Smithsonian’s possession, VHM only has a faithful copy that works, and is attested by Ralph Baer’s signature.