Gerald Anderson Lawson (commonly known by his professional name Jerry Lawson) was an American electronic engineer best known as one of the leaders of the team that created the first home video gaming system with interchangeable game cartridges in 1994. This groundbreaking innovation made him widely recognized within the video games community.
Lawson was a self-taught electronics expert who started out his career repairing TVs and creating walkie-talkies at a young age. After attending Queens College and City College of New York briefly but dropping out, Lawson eventually settled in Santa Clara, California where he ultimately died at 70 due to complications caused by diabetes.
Early Life and Education
Gerald “Jerry” Lawson was born December 1st 1940 in Queens, New York to a longshoreman father and an educated mother who prioritized his education. From an early age he demonstrated a fascination for science and engineering – dabbling in chemistry while running an amateur radio station and building walkie-talkies he later made into walkie-talkies for personal use. Attending both Queens College and City College New York (CCNY), but dropping out before moving to Palo Alto (now Silicon Valley).
At Fairchild Semiconductor, he assisted in developing their Channel F video game console – the first home system with interchangeable games – which revolutionized gaming industry. At that time, he was one of few black engineers working in computing. However, race was both an advantage and disadvantage when applying for jobs: when successful it would get noticed; otherwise it went unseen.
Gerald Anderson Lawson, or Jerry, began dabbling in electronics from an early age. By 15, he held a ham radio license and worked in repair jobs all around Brooklyn. Additionally, he built his own televisions while spending much of his free time experimenting with tubes, capacitors, resistors and other components.
After attending Queens College and the City College of New York, he moved to Palo Alto, California – then known as Silicon Valley – and worked as an applications engineering consultant at Fairchild Semiconductor.
Lawson was widely recognized for creating the video game cartridge, enabling players to experience more games on one system instead of just those built-in to it. Unfortunately, he passed away at age 70 from complications associated with diabetes.
Achievement and Honors
Jerry Lawson is widely renowned for helping to develop video games. As an industry pioneer and his creation of the game cartridge revolutionized gaming.
Early in his childhood in Brooklyn, New York he started tinkering with electronic devices by repairing televisions. Additionally he constructed his own radio station using components purchased at local electronics stores. His first-grade teacher encouraged him to emulate George Washington Carver by becoming someone influential.
After graduating from Queens College and City College of New York in 1970, he relocated to what would later become Silicon Valley to work for Fairchild Semiconductor as an engineering consultant. In 1975 he designed Demolition Derby using their F8 microprocessor, and later founded Videosoft (which focused on video game development).
Gerald Anderson Lawson was born in Brooklyn, New York on 1 December 1940 and died of complications related to diabetes on 9 April 2011 in Santa Clara, California. As an engineer he pioneered home video gaming systems as well as modern gaming consoles.
He began tinkering with electronics from an early age, repairing televisions and creating walkie-talkies using recycled parts. His father was Blanton, while Mannings worked for the city. Blanton credits his first-grade teacher with encouraging him to pursue electronics like George Washington Carver did.
In 1975, he created Demolition Derby using Fairchild Semiconductor’s F8 microprocessor and later left Fairchild to establish Video Soft, creating software for Atari 2600 console after it outshone Channel F.
Gerald Anderson ‘Jerry’ Lawson was an American electronic engineer best known for creating the Fairchild Channel F video game console and pioneering commercial video game cartridge technology. Additionally, he founded Video-Soft video game company and passed away at age 71 on April 9th 2011.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on December 1, 1940. His father was an admiral who enjoyed science while his mother worked for the city and served on his neighborhood school’s Parents-Teacher Association.
Homebrew Computer Club was an early computer hobbyist club established by Apple cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, where only two black members existed at any one time. Videosoft, his firm that created software gaming consoles was eventually closed after only a short period and became his consulting practice instead.