Learn about Jerry Lawson, the inventor of video game cartridges
The Google Doodle for today honours the life and contributions of Jerry Lawson, an American electronic engineer best known for organizing the team that built the Fairchild Channel F video game system and the first commercial video game cartridge.
Jerry Lawson, who led the team that created the first home video gaming system with interchangeable game cartridges, was a pioneer of contemporary gaming who was also one of the few Black men working in the field at the time, according to CNET. Lawson has been dubbed the “father of the video game cartridge” for his role in the early development of video games.
“Google designed a series of interactive Doodle games to celebrate Lawson’s 82nd birthday on Thursday and to recognize his contributions to gaming. The games take you on a journey through significant moments in Lawson’s career and give you a taste of the graphics and goals of early video games from the 1970s. “Additionally, you’re encouraged to design your own video games or tweak ones that already exist,” the news outlet added.
Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 1, 1940, got his start dabbling with electronics at a young age, fixing TVs and creating his own radio station out of components he got from nearby electronics shops.
Lawson went to California in 1970 to work as an applications engineering consultant for Fairchild Semiconductor after earning degrees from Queens College and City College of New York.
According to the Google doodle page, Lawson quit Fairchild in 1980 to start VideoSoft, one of the first black-owned companies that developed video games. The company popularised the cartridge Lawson and his team built by producing software for the Atari 2600. Despite the fact that they were shut down five years later, Lawson had established himself as a pioneer in the field and had worked as a consultant for several engineering and video game firms for the remainder of his career.
“In 2011, the International Game Developers Association recognised Lawson as an industry trailblazer for his contributions to gaming. The University of Southern California also created the Gerald A. Lawson Fund to support underrepresented students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in game design or computer science. Lawson’s achievements are memorialised at the World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York,” says the Google page dedicated to Mr Lawson.