A Black Man Developed the First Cartridge Video Game Console | Jerry Lawson

A Black Man Developed the First Cartridge Video Game Console | Jerry Lawson

February 14, 2020 6 By Sebastian Fry


(pinging) (machine moving) – This is Jerry Lawson, and
I’m originally from New York city born and raised in California since 1968. In the early 70’s I was
involved in development on one of the first computer
programmable home video game. It’s called the Fairchild Channel F (air whooshing) (techno music) (techno music) (techno music) – [Narrator] Gerald Lawson
was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 1st, 1940. Lawson’s
father was a longshoreman with an interest in science. His mother was a member of the P.T.A., and his grandfather was
educated as a physicist. Gerald’s parents encouraged his interests in radio and chemistry. In first grade, Lawson was
inspired by the story of African-American inventor
George Washington Carver. Jerry received an amateur
“ham” radio license at age 13 and earned money repairing
television sets in high school. The teenager eventually saved
enough money to build his own radio station in his bedroom. In 1970, Lawson joined
the sales division at Fairchild Semiconductor in San
Francisco as an applications engineering consultant. Five
years later, he created an arcade game in his garage,
called “Demolition Derby”. Jerry was quickly promoted
to chief hardware engineer and director of engineering
and marketing for Fairchild’s video game division. Lawson led the development
of Fairchild Channel F, which was released in 1976
and was the first video game console designed to use cartridges. This innovation provided
a new revenue stream for the budding industry,
and was the key development that sparked a new
generation of game consoles, like the Atari 2600. (light techno music)