Game Cartridge Creator Jerry Lawson Dies at 70

By Alexander Bevier in Gaming News
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm
Jerry Lawson, the creator of the Fairchild Channel F, the first cartridge-based gaming console, passed away last Saturday. He was 70 years old. 

Lawson, who was also a member of the Homebrew Computer Club alongside Apple creators Steve Jobs and Stevew Wozniak, recently received a Lifetime Appreciation Award from GDC's Diversity Special Interest Group.

"Jerry was an amazing personality," family friend David Erhart told Wired. "He created part of the videogame industry history in Silicon Valley and it was always a pleasure to hear his stories about back in the day." 

Lawson's other work on the Channel F involved downloading games through cable TV -- an early precursor to downloadable content. Still, cartridges -- and the challenge of making them -- will always be his primary legacy. The Channel F only created 28 games, but the technology was not easy to create. Lawson was a hard worker and kept creating, even after losing a leg and sight in one eye due to diabetes.

"He continued building devices to control telescopes, lasers, tools, etc., up until the day he went to the hospital," said friend Erhart. "His workbench had more tools than most people would even know what to do with. He taught me quite a bit and I'll miss him sorely."

A memorial service for Lawson is planned for mid-May. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

 [source: Wired]

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