Gerald “Jerry” Lawson is known as the “Father of Modern Gaming” because he led the team that made the first home video game console with swappable game cartridges. Today’s Google Doodle honors him. On what would have been his 82nd birthday, Google made an interactive Doodle to honor him.
Today’s (December 1) Google Doodle has five games that players can also change. The games were made by three American guest artists and game designers. Dionne Gooden, Lauren Brown, and Momo Pixel all worked with Google Doodle to make games where players have to win coins and avoid enemies on their way to the finish line. Google users can also use Doodle to make their own platform games.
Who is “Jerry” Gerald Lawson?
On December 1, 1940, Gerald “Jerry” Lawson was born in Brooklyn, New York. From a young age, he was interested in electronics. He fixed TVs and made his own radio station. George Washington Carver, a famous Black scientist from the early 20th century, also influenced Lawson.
Lawson went to Queens College and City College of New York, but he dropped out early to start his career in Palo Alto, California, which is known as Silicon Valley because it has so many tech companies.
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How Did Jerry Lawson Become Famous?
He worked as an engineering consultant for Fairchild Semiconductor before being promoted to director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild’s video game department. There, Lawson was in charge of making the first home video game console with a joystick, a pause menu, and game cartridges that could be changed.
This console, which was called Channel F (the F stood for “fun”), paved the way for games like Atari, SNES, and Dreamcast. In 1980, Lawson started his own company called VideoSoft, which made software for the Atari 2600. It was one of the first video game companies owned by Black people.
Lawson was seen as a pioneer in his field, and he later worked as a consultant for engineering and video game companies. In 2011, the International Game Developers Association named Lawson a pioneer in the industry, and the University of Southern California set up the Gerald A. Lawson Fund to help students study game design or computer science.
Is Google Doodle Honors A Pioneering Video Game Designer?
Lawson’s accomplishments are remembered in the World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. Anderson and Karen Lawson, who are the children of Jerry Lawson, worked with Google to make today’s Doodle.
In a statement, they said, “Gerald Anderson Lawson was an engineer. He was always interested, thought critically, and solved problems in a logical way.” He told us to go beyond what we thought we could do and told young people to go into science and technology.
“Today would have been Dad’s 82nd birthday, but he’s no longer with us. We want to thank Google for helping us share the story of our father through this Doodle. May his story continue to motivate young people all over the world to do something great.”
“Dad, you were our provider, our inspiration, our teacher, our inventor, our guide, and our friend.” We miss you and are very proud of you. Everyone on Earth knows about you and will never forget you. Pop, happy birthday! We love you!”
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