According to GDC 2008 attendee evaluations, the most popular session was not the Portal post-mortem or even the Super Smash Bros. Brawl development discussion. The highest rated talk was "How to Create an Industry: The Making of the Brown Box and PONG" from Ralph Baer and Allan Alcorn.
Mr. Alcorn and Mr. Baer were gracious enough to speak to GamesIndustry.biz about their first-hand experiences and the current state of the industry they helped to create. Part One, our interview with Allan Alcorn, can be read here. In Part Two of this feature, GamesIndustry.biz talk with engineer and inventor Ralph Baer.
GamesIndustry.biz: What about the current situation? Consoles are being designed with more and more technology - hard drives, ethernet connections, USB ports - making them even more expensive than ever to manufacture.
Ralph Baer: Do we really need all of that technology? Short answer - no. I mean, we played perfectly fine games with, by today's standards, extremely primitive hardware like the Atari VCS.
There's got to be a reason for playing the damn thing, but obviously the reason for playing most of those interactive, gory games is that they look a lot better when they are in high resolution. Is it necessary for the gameplay? No. Do the high-res people look down their noses at the Wii? Yes. The resolution isn't good enough for them. Does the Wii play a bunch of nice games? I think so. A whole lot of other people do.