Google's Interactive Doodle Is A Fun And Touching Tribute To Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson

jerry lawson
Google pays tribute to Gerald "Jerry" Lawson today with its Google Doodle feature. Lawson is known as one of the fathers of modern gaming who led the development of the first home video gaming system with interchangeable cartridges.

Lawson gained fame as the "father of the video game cartridge," which he created as Director of Engineering and Marketing at Fairchild Semiconductor. He got his start at an early age repairing televisions for the people in his neighborhood. The highly-creative young man also built a radio station from recycled parts. Today would have been Lawson's 82nd birthday.

jerry lawson google game
Courtesy of Google Doodle

Jerry made his way to "Silicon Valley" in its early days, as the explosion of new, innovative tech companies began popping up in the area. Upon his arrival, he joined Fairchild Semiconductor as an engineering consultant, but quickly made his way up through the ranks to Director of Engineering and Manufacturing of the company's video game division. It was here where Lawson designed the Fairchild Channel F system (the "F" stood for fun), the first home video game with interchangeable cartridges. Channel F led the way for future gaming companies such as Atari, SNES, Dreamcast, and more.

In 1980 Lawson left Fairchild Semiconductor to start his own company. VideoSoft was one of the earliest black-owned video game development companies. Lawson's company developed software for the iconic Atari 2600, which brought attention to the cartridge his team at Fairchild developed.

In a touching tribute from his family, they said Lawson was inspired by George Washington Carver as a child. It was that inspiration that fueled his desire to pursue a career in electronics. The family noted that due to a crash in the video game market, their father's story "became a footnote in video game history."

Along with the Lawson family, HotHardware thanks Google for shining a light on the incredible contributions made by a man described by his family as "our provider, motivator, teacher, inventor, mentor and friend."