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HomeWorldInteractive Google Doodle honours American video game pioneer Jerry Lawson

Interactive Google Doodle honours American video game pioneer Jerry Lawson


Google on Thursday created an interactive doodle to commemorate the 82nd birthday of American electronics engineer Gerald Jerry Lawson and his contributions to the video game industry. Lawson, according to the Google Doodle page, led a team that created the first home video gaming system with interchangeable game cartridges.

The Doodle game dates back to 1970s video games as well as pivotal moments in Jerry Lawson’s career. A click on the Doodle will take you to a page where you can create your own video game or edit existing ones.

Lawson, who was born December 1, 1940, in New York, attended Queens College and City College of New York. At a young age, he began tinkering with electronics, repairing televisions in his neighbourhood and building his own radio station out of recycled parts.

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His career began in California’s Palo Alto – at a time the city was gaining prominence and was dubbed ‘Silicon Valley’ because of the presence of innovative technology companies.

Lawson worked as an engineering consultant for Fairchild Semiconductor before being promoted as Director of Engineering and Marketing for Fairchild’s video game division, where he oversaw the development of the Fairchild Channel F system (the ‘F’ stood for fun!).

Lawson left Fairchild in 1980 to start his own company, VideoSoft, which is remembered as one of the first Black-owned game development companies.

The company developed software for the Atari 2600, which popularised the cartridge developed by Lawson and his team.

Even though the company closed five years later, Lawson continued to contribute to the industry and worked with various engineering and video game companies.

Lawson was named an industry trailblazer by the International Game Developers Association in 2011 for his contributions to gaming.

“As a child in the 1940’s, he was inspired by George Washington Carver. That inspiration provided the spark that ignited his desire to pursue a career in electronics. He loved what he did and did what he loved. Considering the obvious challenges for African-Americans at the time, his professional achievements were quite remarkable.” Jerry Lawson’s children Anderson and Karen Lawson said to Google.



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