c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a Jerry Lawson: Who is he? Google Doodle honours video games pioneer.
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Jerry Lawson: Who is he? Google Doodle honours video games pioneer.

One of the pioneers in the field of electronic gaming was born 82 years ago today.

Gerald "Jerry" Lawson, one of the founding fathers of modern gaming, was born on this day 82 years ago. He led the team that created the first home video game system with interchangeable game cartridges. Davionne Gooden, Lauren Brown, and Momo Pixel, three invited artists and American game designers, have created games for this occasion. To play them, simply click on the doodle.

On December 1st, 1940, Lawson was born in Brooklyn, New York. From a young age, he experimented with electronics, fixing televisions in his neighbourhood and building his own radio station from repurposed components. He attended City College of New York and Queens College before departing early to start his degree at Palo Alto College in California. Due to the influx of cutting-edge technology companies that were opening up shop in the area, the city and its surroundings were dubbed "Silicon Valley" at the time.

Lawson joined Fairchild Semiconductor as an engineering consultant after moving to California. A few years later, Lawson was given the opportunity to lead the creation of the Fairchild Channel F system (the "F" stands for fun!) while serving as Director of Engineering and Marketing for Fairchild's video gaming division. This was the first home video game system console to include a pause menu, an 8-way digital joystick, and interchangeable game cartridges. Future gaming consoles like the Atari, SNES, Dreamcast, and others were made possible thanks to Channel F.

One of the first black-owned video game production companies, VideoSoft, was founded by Lawson after he left Fairchild in 1980. The business popularised the Lawson and his team's cartridge by developing software for the Atari 2600. Despite the fact that they shut down five years later, Lawson solidified his position as a pioneer in the field and spent the rest of his career consulting for other technical and video game firms.

Lawson was honoured as an industry pioneer in 2011 by the International Game Developers Association for his contributions to games. The Gerald A. Lawson Fund was established by the University of Southern California to assist underrepresented students who want to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in computer science or game design. The Rochester, New York, World Video Game Hall of Fame honours Lawson's accomplishments.

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