Today’s interactive Google Doodle is celebrating the life of American electronic engineer Gerald Jerry Lawson and his contributions to the video game industry. Often dubbed as the “Father of the Video Game Cartridge”, Lawson had led the team that created the first commercial video game cartridge and developed the Fairchild Channel F video game system.
Through its interactive doodle, Google has shared some of the important events that took place in Lawson’s game-development career. The latest doodle dedicated to the American electronic engineer also has an option that allows the user to create their own game or edit existing ones.
Born on December 1, 1940, in New York, Lawson attended Queens College and City College of New York. His career started in California’s Palo Alto, at a time when the city was gaining popularity and was called “silicon valley” because of the innovative technology companies in the city. He was one of the few black men in the industry at the time who started his own company in the United States.
After Lawson arrived in California, he joined Fairchild Semiconductor as an engineering consultant and later got elevated to Director of Engineering and Marketing of Fairchild’s video game department, where he led the development of the Fairchild Channel F system (the “F” stood for fun!).
“Gerald Anderson Lawson was an engineer who was always curious, critical in his thinking, and logical in how he solved problems. He challenged us to extend beyond our limits and encouraged young people to pursue careers in science and technology. As a child in the 1940s, 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 he did what he loved. Considering the obvious challenges for African-Americans at the time, his professional achievements were quite remarkable,” read the statement released on the official page of the Google Doodle.
Later, Lawson was named an industry trailblazer by the International Game Developers Association in 2011 for his contributions to gaming. The University of Southern California created the Gerald A. Lawson Fund to support underrepresented students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in game design or computer science. Also, Lawson’s achievements are memorialised at the World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York, as per the Google page dedicated to Lawson.
Google celebrates life of American video game pioneer Jerry Lawson with animated doodle – Republic World