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Google Commemorates Video Game Pioneer Jerry Lawson

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Gerald "Jerry" Lawson (Museum of Play/Estate of Jerry Lawson)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Google is commemorating the life of Gerald "Jerry" Lawson on what would have been the video game pioneer's 82nd birthday.

The search giant's homepage on Thursday featured video games inspired by Lawson, who died at 70 in 2011.

Lawson is widely credited with the development of interchangeable game cartridges in the 1970s that created the model that future companies such as Atari and Super Nintendo were based on.

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Lawson stood out in Silicon Valley in the 1970s as one of the industry's few Black engineers, NPR reports.

Silicon Valley remains predominantly white, and the gaming industry is no exception.

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Just 2 percent of game developers in 2005 were African American, Engadget reports.

Google's recognition of Lawson is among the latest efforts to bring to life to the accomplishments of an electronic engineering superstar that history has largely ignored, NPR reports.

USC has created an endowment in Lawson's name for underrepresented students pursuing degrees in game design and computer science, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame in New York has created an exhibit honoring him.

I found some ads for the Fairchild channel f a system I would like to start collecting for. Unfortunately it's not everyone's favorite. It was pretty inferior for a game system and didn't stand the test of time. #retrogaming pic.twitter.com/f6Lk2CZDup

— Tʜᴇ Nɪɴᴛᴇɴᴅᴏʀᴋ 🇺🇦🎮🕹️ (@Nintendork9) July 9, 2018

Lawson helped develop one of the first known video consoles, the Fairchild Channel F (short for (Channel Fun"), which was released in 1976.

The "father of modern gaming" was among two Black members of the Homebrew Computing Club that included Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, among other Silicon Valley pioneers.

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