Jerry Lawson: Google Doodle celebrates game cartridge inventor Gerald “Jerry” Lawson with interactive

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Today’s Google Doodle honors one of the fathers of modern gaming, Gerald “Jerry” Lawson, who led the team that created the first home video game system with replaceable game cartridges.

Doodle comes with a variety of games and levels with his editor, allowing you to design your own game in honor of one of the fathers of modern gaming.

Here’s what you need to know and why he’s on his Google Doodle today.

Born December 1, 1940, Lawson was a video game pioneer. Lawson served as director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild’s video game division, where he was the first home video game system with interchangeable game cartridges, an 8-way digital joystick, and a pause menu. Child He directed the development of the Channel F He system. Channel F paved the way for future gaming systems such as Atari, SNES and Dreamcast.

In 1980, Lawson left Fairchild to start his own company, his VideoSoft. Videosoft is one of his earliest black-owned video game development companies. The company created software for his Atari 2600 and popularized the cartridge Lawson and his team developed.

Lawson was one of the first African-Americans to work in the video game industry, transforming the way video games were made. He was recognized as an industry pioneer by the International Game Developers Association in his March 2011, but died shortly thereafter. The Lawson Foundation helps underrepresented students pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in game design or computer science. Lawson’s achievements will be commemorated at the World Video Game Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.

Today’s Doodle takes you to a retro video game interface. There, you’ll learn a little bit about Lawson’s history and influence as you progress through simple video game levels before you can start working with characters and editing and extending the game.