Jerry Lawson (engineer)

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Jerry Lawson
Jerry Lawson Software Engineer.jpg
Born (1940-12-01)December 1, 1940
Brooklyn, New York
Died April 9, 2011(2011-04-09) (aged 70)
Mountain View, California
Alma mater Queens College
Occupation Computer engineer
Children 2

Gerald Anderson "Jerry" Lawson (December 1, 1940 – April 9, 2011)[1][2] was an American electronic engineer known for his work in designing the Fairchild Channel F video game console.[3]

During development of the Channel F in the early-mid 1970s, Lawson was Chief Hardware Engineer[4] and director of engineering and marketing for Fairchild Semiconductor's video game division.[5] He also founded and ran Videosoft, a video game development company which made software for the Atari 2600 in the early 1980s, as the 2600 had displaced the Channel F as the top system in the market.[3]

Lawson along with Ron Jones were the sole black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a group of early computer hobbyists which would produce a number of industry legends, including Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.[5] Lawson also produced one of the earliest arcade games, Demolition Derby,[6] which debuted in a southern California pizzeria shortly after Pong. Lawson later worked with the Stanford mentor program and was preparing to write a book on his career.[5]

In March 2011, Lawson was honored as an industry pioneer by the International Game Developers Association.[7] One month later, he died of complications from diabetes.[8] At the time of his death, he resided in Santa Clara, California.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Cifaldi, Frank. "Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson Dies". 1up. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Fairchild Channel F - The First ROM Cartridge Console". About.com.
  4. ^ CG Expo 99 Panel announcement
  5. ^ a b c "Interview: Jerry Lawson, Black Video Game Pioneer". Vintage Computing and Gaming, Feb. 24, 2009.
  6. ^ Demolition Derby at the Killer List of Videogames.
  7. ^ Cassidy, Mike. (2011, March 3). "Gaming industry finally recognizes the work of a pioneer", San Jose Mercury News
  8. ^ Weber, Bruce (April 13, 2011). "Gerald A. Lawson, Video Game Pioneer, Dies at 70". The New York Times. 

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