Black History: “Gerald Lawson” The man that changed the game, literally!

Black History in the Video Gaming Industry

Gerald A. Lawson was a self-taught engineer who became a pioneer in electronic video entertainment, creating the first home video game system with interchangeable game cartridges. 

Before disc-based systems like PlayStation, Xbox and Wii transformed the video game industry, before techno-diversions like Grand Theft Auto and Madden NFL and even before Pac-Man and Donkey Kong became the obsession of millions of electronic gamers, it was Mr. Lawson who first made it possible to play a variety of video games at home.

In the mid-1970s, he was director of engineering and marketing for the newly formed video game division of Fairchild Semiconductor, and it was under his direction that the division brought to market in 1976 the Fairchild Channel F, a home console that allowed users to play different games contained on removable cartridges. Until then, home video game systems could play only games that were built into the machines themselves.

He died on April 9, 2011, he was definitely a legend in the gaming world. He has been dubbed by some as the “Father of Modern Gaming”.

I learned about Mr. Lawson while watching Netflix content about video games during Christmas of 2020 and after watching it I had to do more research on him. He was featured in the first episode of the Netflix limited-series documentary High Score, released August 19, 2020, with his story told by his children Karen and Anderson. If you want to learn more about him, do your research….

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