Happy Birthday, Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson! Today’s Google Doodle Honors The Black Pioneer Of The Video Game Cartridge

Happy Birthday, Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson! Today’s Google Doodle Honors The Black Pioneer Of The Video Game Cartridge

Where would the video game industry be without this Black pioneer?

The late Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, one of fathers of modern gaming, would have celebrated his 82nd birthday today..

According to Google, Lawson led the team that was responsible for the development of the first home video gaming system with interchangeable game cartridges.

Google paid its respects to Lawson today by dedicating the first interactive game Doodle of December to the Black pioneer.

Born in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, Lawson became fascinated with electronics at an early age. After attending Queens College and City College of New York, he started a career in Palo Alto, California, as an engineering consultant for Fairchild Semiconductor. Lawson was promoted to director of engineering and marketing of Fairchild’s video game department a few years later.

“This was the first home video game system console that featured interchangeable game cartridges, an 8-way digital joystick and a pause menu. The Channel F paved the way for future gaming systems like the Atari, SNES, Dreamcast and more,” Google wrote.

The promotion granted him the position to lead the development of the Fairchild Channel F (fun) system, before Lawson left Fairchild to start his own company, VideoSoft, in 1980. VideoSoft is noted as one of the earliest Black-owned video game development companies, creating software for the Atari 2600.

Lawson’s children, Anderson and Karen Lawson, contributed to the project with Google to honor their father’s legacy.

“Due to a crash in the video game market, our father’s story became a footnote in video-game history,” the Lawson children said. “However, over the past few years, there have been numerous awards, scholarships, and media that have recognized him. Our family is eternally grateful to those who have worked tirelessly to bring his story to the public.”

“Today, we celebrate what would’ve been Dad’s 82nd birthday with the world. We would like to thank Google for working with us to share our father’s story in this Doodle. May his story continue to inspire numerous young people around the globe to achieve something remarkable,” they added.

“Dad, you were our provider, motivator, teacher, inventor, mentor and friend. We are incredibly proud of you and miss you. The planet knows your story and you will never be forgotten!”

Three games designed by American guest artists and designers Davionne Gooden, Lauren Brown, and Momo Pixel are also featured in the Doodle.