Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Jerry Lawson, the ‘father of the video game cartridge’
Google’s interactive Doodle today celebrates the life and accomplishments of video game pioneer Gerald “Jerry” Lawson on what would have been his 82nd birthday. The Doodle lets you play five retro pixel-art platformers in your browser — with two even letting you play as Lawson. The Doodles’ creators want to inspire young people to follow in his footsteps, and it includes a built-in level editor and creator to nudge them on that path.
Lawson was known as the “father of the video game cartridge,” which he developed as Director of Engineering and Marketing at Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1976, the company released the Fairchild Channel F home console, with Lawson serving as lead developer. The Channel F (the “F” stood for “fun”) was the first system with interchangeable game cartridges, a novel concept in an era when games were permanently coded into hardware. Interchangeable ROM-based cartridges were a massive breakthrough that let users build entire libraries rather than playing one game ad nauseam.